By on November 22, 2016

2015 Kawasaki ZX-14R, Image: © 2016 Jack Baruth/The Truth About Cars

For the time being, we can still call it “Indian Summer.” Maybe not for much longer — my alma mater, Miami University, bent the knee to social-justice pressure on this issue a few years ago. We had been the Miami Redskins, but after a prolonged siege by the forces of manufactured outrage the university agreed to change us to the Miami Redhawks. It is worth noting that the Chief of the Miami Tribe in no way objected to the old logo or name; he thought it was used in a reasonable and dignified manner. But when faced between the choice of respecting the opinion of an actual Native American or listening to the incoherent babble of their own privileged white-girl hearts, Miami’s students of course chose the latter.

I kind of like the bird they chose — it looks angry, although to my mind it is not distinct enough from the Bowling Green Falcon, and that’s a shame because BG is an emphatically third-rate university and Miami is only second-rate. Angry is good. It’s easy to picture such a red hawk flying above the muted palette of the Ohio late fall forest, two-lane roads with orange and red leaves disconnected from stems by a killing morning frost then resurrected in impromptu whirling whorls set to spinning above the tarmac by the Vettes and ‘vertibles of all sorts, the lumbering Harleys and white-trash sportbikes and adventure-cuck bikes taking brief but permitted nonsense trips to nowhere. We can get these magical weekends every once in awhile, right at the end of the season, and this past Saturday was the perfect example — 76 degrees and a panoply parade of pleasure vehicles out for the last sorties of the year.

Now it’s 28 and I’m the only bike on the road to work this morning, flash-frozen on the freeway, every joint hurting and the tires chilled to a sort of bitter truce with the road surface, chittering at the hint of a lean.

(Read More…)

By on November 16, 2016

2017 Buick Cascada - Image: BuickFront-wheel-drive, soft top, four-cylinder engine, hefty curb weight— the ideal car for the Enterprise Rent-A-Car lot at Miami International Airport?

Not so.

On sale since January, the Buick Cascada has attracted 6,154 individual U.S. buyers over the last ten months.

According to Buick, General Motors has only seen three Cascadas make their way into fleet use, for a total of 6,157 Cascada sales through the end of October. (Read More…)

By on October 5, 2016

The Mazda MX-5 RF, Image: PRNewsFoto/Mazda Motor Corporation

Mazda has kicked off presale orders for its 2017 MX-5 RF, the “retractable fastback” that gives would-be convertible buyers an extra feature to help win their spouse’s support.

Introduced to salivating journalists at the New York Auto Show, the model starts at $32,390 (including a $835 destination charge) in Club trim — a $2,955 increase over a 2016 MX-5 Club. (Read More…)

By on September 26, 2016

INF15021_Q60_051_EMBARGOED Until 1.11 1245PM EST

Convertibles are a niche market, and Infiniti doesn’t feel it’s a market worth pursuing. At least, not right now.

The automaker’s product strategy chief confirmed to Car Advice that a droptop version of its second-generation Q60 coupe isn’t in the cards, eliminating the open-air option from the brand’s lineup.

Let the Germans have at it, the executive implied. (Read More…)

By on August 11, 2016

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth, Image: FCAThe fourth-generation ND Mazda MX-5 Miata is undoubtedly, indisputably, undeniably the best addition you could make to your garage.

Some people disagree.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported 480 U.S. sales of the Fiat 124 Spider in July 2016. The Spider is a thoroughly transformed version of Mazda’s fourth Miata: different body, distinct suspension tuning, unique powerplant.

With the 124 Spider’s arrival in the United States, 13 months of Mazda MX-5 Miata sales growth came to a screeching halt. (Read More…)

By on July 20, 2016

2016 Mazda MX-5 Soul red

Bonus. It’s the money you didn’t expect to receive from your employer at the end of the fiscal year, the mussel bar you didn’t know existed at the new Yelp-hyped strip mall restaurant your significant other convinced you to try, the extra hour of sleep you grabbed exiting daylight saving time last autumn.

There are vehicular bonuses, as well. The Jeep Wrangler succeeds at what it was built to do: to handle genuinely tough off-road situations. But it’s also a convertible.

Our long-term Honda Odyssey seats eight in surprising comfort, just as it ought to. But the Odyssey also handles really well.

After growing acquainted with all kinds of odd duckling electric cars, the Tesla Model S didn’t merely expand our expectations for electric range and performance, it looked really good while doing so.

After a blissful week of sunshine during which I drove 260 miles with a variety of passengers on mostly coastal routes, never attempting for a moment to do anything but drive the car harder than we would any other test car, it turns out our Mazda Canada-supplied 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata travelled 34 miles per gallon. Bonus. (Read More…)

By on May 16, 2016

2017 Mercedes Benz C 63 S Cabriolet driving rear

Sales of scarves are poised to jump in Germany after a court ruled Mercedes-Benz can’t blow on its customer’s exposed necks.

A verdict from that country’s Federal Court of Justice just dug a temporary grave for the automaker’s “Airscarf” system, Carscoops reports, citing the German publication Automobilwoche.

The outcome of the automaker’s legal dispute with the company that holds the original 1996 patent means a “stop sale” order for models equipped with the warm air-blowing headrest. (Read More…)

By on October 26, 2015

2014 BMW 4 Series Convertible 01

Jared Gall at Car and Driver has compiled a fantastic list of coupe vs. convertible weights and found that, on average, roughly 200 pounds is needed to give God a direct look into your car. But there’s hardly any consensus among different automakers.

Porsche, for example, has no difference in weight between its Cayman and Boxster, whereas BMW’s 4-series carries a 500-pound penalty for plein-air cruising. Many bespoke two-seaters carried small penalties for drop-top enthusiasts: Jaguar’s F-Type, Alfa Romeo’s 4C and Chevrolet Corvette convertibles were all only 1 to 2 percent heavier.

(Read More…)

By on June 21, 2015

mercedes-g500-convertible

Up until 2013, one could purchase a Mercedes G-Wagen with a droptop. Now, the automaker is thinking of dropping the tops throughout its SUV lineup.

(Read More…)

By on January 11, 2015

2016-Buick-Cascada-03

Revealed ahead of its 2015 Detroit Auto Show debut, the 2016 Buick Cascada marks the brand’s return to the convertible game after a 25-year absence [Live photos now available – CA].

(Read More…)

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