By on July 15, 2013


I’ve had the Cadillac for about three weeks. During this time, I’ve learned a lot of things. Primarily, I’ve learned that it takes at least three weeks for a new key fob to reach a Cadillac dealer. I find this hard to believe, but I’m reassured by my salesman’s constant phone calls that insist it will arrive “any day now.”
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By on July 12, 2013

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I recently wrote an article entitled “Going Ugly On Purpose.” This was a piece about how automakers are intentionally uglifying their base-level vehicles so people pay more for nicer models. Many of you read this story from start to finish, absorbed the facts, perused the nuances, and then scrolled straight to the comments where you got into a fight about California versus Texas.

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By on July 10, 2013

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I recently visited the great state of Texas (State motto: “Don’t shoot!”), where I made several highly important observations that I will now share with you. They are:

1. Everyone loves pickups. This matter is not up for dispute. If you walk into a dealership, you will walk out with a brand-new pickup, even if you’re just the FedEx guy dropping off a package.

2. Everyone loves Texas. Nearly all of those pickups are the “Longhorn Package” or the “Lone Star Model” or the “Build A Huge Border Fence Edition.” Also, more than one resident told me a story about how some giant, low-priced national chain restaurant tried to move into a local strip mall, only to be put out of business by a mediocre, Texas-owned fish place.

3. It has not rained in Texas since the Bush administration. Governor Rick Perry responded to this in 2011 by asking Texans to pray for rain over a designated three-day rain-praying period. Interestingly, the governor of my home state, Georgia, attempted a similar thing in 2007, and it only just stopped raining this morning.

But my most interesting Texas-related observation relates to license plates. This won’t surprise regular readers, as I go on license plate-related rants with surprising frequency. There was, for example, that time I made fun of Montana for having a “Quilt Lover” license plate, which resulted in a ricin-laced quilt appearing on my doorstep.

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By on June 14, 2013

Derek writes:

One of the things Doug and I wanted to do with this column is to highlight the regional differences in car choices – not just in condition and value but the overall selection. Any surprise that humid, sunny Atlanta has a dearth of Audis while snowy Canada is awash in them?

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By on June 14, 2013


Recently, and with great interest, I read Thomas’s article on electronic license plates. For those of you who haven’t read it, and are therefore hopelessly behind the times, a quick summary: (Read More…)

By on June 10, 2013


I recently got behind a Toyota Sienna in traffic. This is a fairly common occurrence that usually involves a) changing lanes, and b) speeding up to see whether the children inside are watching SpongeBob SquarePants.

Of course, the children inside are always watching SpongeBob SquarePants, except in this case, where the Sienna didn’t have its rear DVD player on. This is probably because it was an Enterprise rental, likely the result of a cheerful woman behind the counter announcing: “Good news, Mr. Smith! We don’t have any compacts, but I’m going to upgrade you for free!”

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By on May 30, 2013


Well, folks, the day has come. You’ve shined your shoes. You’ve worn your good suit. You’ve called your wife and excitedly announced: “Honey, I’ll be late tonight!” You’ve refreshed TTAC for days, weeks, months, only to discover that now, finally, they’re here: photos of the all-new BMW X5.

Of course, I’m kidding. You probably saw those X5 photos yesterday on Jalopnik and scrolled right past them, thinking: Do they have any Russian dash cam videos today?

But photos of an all-new X5 are a big deal. That’s because our nation’s streets will soon be flooded with them, each driven by someone who believes that no drive is complete without a little texting. And so, on the occasion of this grand unveiling, I’ve decided to take you through some of the BMW X5’s hallowed history.

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By on May 28, 2013


Today, dear readers, I come to you with some bad news: Chevrolet is cancelling the Tahoe Hybrid. This is a major event. So major, in fact, that – upon reading it – you probably took a deep breath, sat back in your chair, gazed at the computer screen, and thought to yourself: They still make the Tahoe Hybrid?

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By on May 24, 2013

Ford-SVT-Contour. Photo courtesy

(The idea for this series based on the numerous emails sent between Derek and Doug, containing long forgotten cars that have fallen into a derelict state. While our intrepid authors would love to own these cars should they ever win the Powerball, they find it difficult to actually part with the funds required to take them home, especially given the significant reconditioning required. In addition, you’ll see the difference between a snow belt car and a clean car from the south, as both authors compare examples from their respective locales.)

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By on May 20, 2013


I recently wrote an article entitled “Lincoln Can and Will Come Back,” in which I insisted that Lincoln would, someday soon, rise from the ashes and return to its rightful place as a top luxury brand for people who can’t afford an Infiniti. Many of you thought I was crazy, largely because Lincoln’s lineup consists of five re-skinned Fords, all of which share the same name.

But as a patriotic American, I am certain that Lincoln will come back. In fact, I believe its resurgence has already begun, as I will illustrate with a comparison between the Town Car and the MKT. I know what you’re thinking: Why are you comparing the Town Car with a … wait, what the hell is an MKT? Is that a sedan? The answer is: because that’s what Lincoln is doing. You see, Lincoln is telling current Town Car drivers – in other words, airport limo services and Jack Baruth – that the MKT is the Town Car’s rightful replacement. Also, the MKT is not a sedan, but rather a medium-sized hearse that Lincoln calls a crossover.

So let’s see how it stacks up in a comparison.

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By on May 14, 2013


I recently made a troubling discovery. Samsung, noted manufacturer of telephones the size of a license plate, is now producing a refrigerator with Twitter. Let me repeat that for those of you who merely skim my articles (Hi, mom!). Samsung manufacturers a refrigerator with Twitter.

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By on May 10, 2013


Naming a car is tricky business. We know this because after years of challenging design work, engineering efforts, focus groups, and meetings that probably involved colorful PowerPoint presentations, Subaru named its first midsize SUV “B9 Tribeca.” Speaking of which: designing a car is tricky business.

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By on May 2, 2013

Wheel arches!

The Stagecoach Music Festival is a lot of things to a lot of people. Really, it’s the lifeblood of the place where they hold it, though I’m not entirely sure where that is, because I hadn’t heard of it until yesterday when Toyota released the redesigned 2014 4Runner there.

By “redesigned,” which is Toyota’s word, what I actually mean is “facelifted.” And by “facelifted,” what I actually mean is: I have absolutely no idea what’s changed. I’ve looked over the photos and it still looks identical to the old 4Runner, which is to say that it’s 5 percent brawny, hulking SUV and 95 percent brawny, hulking wheel arches. Also, there are now LEDs.

By coincidence, I got behind a 4Runner in traffic the other day. This provided me with some good reading, because all 4Runner owners are required by Toyota to have bumper stickers. Seriously. When you’re test driving one at the Toyota dealer, they say: do you have a lacrosse bumper sticker? If you reply “no,” they show you a Highlander.

Between the bumper stickers and the Stagecoach Music Festival, I was lost in thought about Toyota SUVs. And that’s when it hit me: Toyota now sells seven different sport-utility vehicles. How did this happen?

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By on May 1, 2013

I’ve always been fascinated by the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Not fascinated enough to buy one, of course, although I think that even I – an unemployed blogger who wears pants at least two days per week – could qualify for financing through Mitsubishi Credit. Presumably, this would depend on whether I arrived at the dealership wearing pants.

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By on April 27, 2013

As you know from my previous post, I recently attended a Nissan LEAF drive in Nashville. This was lots of fun and impressively quiet.

On the drive back from to Atlanta, I encountered a very unusual sight. Somewhere in north Georgia, I was passed by a green Honda Accord Crosstour with an Alaska license plate. This person drove more than 4,000 miles to get to that stretch of highway, crossing through much of Canada, the Upper Midwest and half of the South. And my first though upon seeing it was: Someone bought a Crosstour?!

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