Some time ago, I ranted on these pages about European methods of testing fuel mileage (and thus also CO2 emissions), and the way they give unfair advantage to downsized turbocharged engines, compared to good old N/A units. So it’s quite convenient that for my first TTAC European review, I got a Škoda Rapid, powered by a 1.2 TSI turbocharged four-cylinder – a typical example of downsized powerplant. With the Rapid being a relatively small and light family car, the little four-banger may have an opportunity to really shine, and show us whether downsizing works. Or not.
Despite being falsely accused by members of the B&B of hating wagons, I will formally declare that I adore them – I’m just a realist about their sales prospects in the United States. The 2013 Audi RS4 Avant forces me to confront the dissonance over lusting after such a car, while knowing that it would be a non-starter in North America for all but the most eccentric rich dudes, ala the Mercedes E63 Wagon.
Ever since I began writing about cars for various online publications, one argument keeps showing up in readers’ comments: Many European cars that are regarded by Americans as totally flaky (e.g., Fiats, anything French) are considered quite reliable in their home continent. The subtext of this argument is generally “You can’t let Americans have anything nice, because they’ll destroy it like a bunch of chimpanzees given unlimited meth and armed with claw hammers.” Meanwhile, the American readers of these comments usually fulminate about Yurpeans being a bunch of public-transit communists who don’t understand cars. This age-old debate— which I suspect appeared for the first time in an automotive BBS, circa 1979— surfaced again in the comments of yesterday’s Cadillac Catera Junkyard Find. What’s going on here? (Read More…)
Ahead of the Geneva Auto Show, we have our first look at the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka, which is known here as the Buick Encore. The Euro twins get a stop-start system across the board, and two extra engine options. A naturally aspirated 1.6L gasoline engine making 113 horsepower, or a 1.7L diesel making 128 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. Looks better dressed down, no?