Tag: QOTD

By on June 5, 2017

FH3 Press Photo

Most gearheads of a certain age got their first tastes of behind-the-wheel speed not through their right foot but through their right thumb. Atari, Nintendo, PC … or – for the youngsters among us – PlayStation and Xbox.

Me? Well, here’s the one that hooked me into the world of pixelated dashboards and synthesized exhausts.

(Read More…)

By on June 1, 2017

2018 Toyota C-HR, Image: © Timothy Cain

People want to talk to me about the 2018 Toyota C-HR.

Since I took possession of a Toyota Canada-supplied C-HR last Friday, more people have approached me to discuss the C-HR than any other car I’ve ever had the pleasure or displeasure of testing.

Naturally, I assume they’re not going to have kind things to say. Let’s be honest: the Toyota C-HR is not a conventional beauty. “It’s not mine,” I quickly declare to a couple examining the C-HR in the grocery store parking lot as I approach it, bags in hand. “You can say whatever you think.”

And then they do. But the words they speak are not in keeping with my expectations. (Read More…)

By on May 31, 2017

Image: Capture from YouTube

In a classic case of fight-or-flight response, a Milwaukee woman named Melissa Smith has just filled up her Subaru Outback and realizes there’s a man on the driver’s side about to steal her off-roading vehicle. Rather than let the thief drive off with her ride, she takes action. Immediately jumping up onto the hood, Melissa stares the criminal right in the eyes. According to an interview the victim provided to various news outlets, the thief laughed in her face and turned the wipers on, in an attempt to brush her off like mere precipitation. That didn’t work. She grabs onto the wipers for dear life. Then in two successive attempts, the would-be thief accelerates quickly and brakes, trying to shake Ms. Smith from the hood.

(Read More…)

By on May 30, 2017

Image: Daihatsu Charade, via Craigslist

I really enjoy encountering the cheap and cheerful compacts of the past. Their lack of technological complexity, superb integrity in exterior design, and complete absence of flim-flam is refreshing.

Our Rare Ride today is such a compact, from a company many in North America don’t know. It’s the Daihatsu Charade.

(Read More…)

By on May 25, 2017

2017 Subaru Impreza 5-door – Image: © Timothy Cain

A band is only cool until everybody knows it’s cool.

Subaru, long a niche automaker with unique product offerings and limited geographic appeal, has tripled its U.S. market share over the last decade. Subaru will likely sell more than 650,000 new vehicles in the U.S. this year. The Subaru Outback and Forester are among America’s 12 most popular utility vehicles. And in a shrinking car market, U.S. sales of the Subaru Impreza — a newly launched compact for 2017 — are up 41 percent so far this year.

Subaru just dropped a new, fifth-gen Impreza 5-door in my driveway for a week-long test. It’s quite clearly the best Impreza ever: quiet, refined, solid, sufficiently powerful. The driver’s door armrest is plush. The car itself is — and we’re talking about an Impreza here — quite attractive.

The 2017 Subaru Impreza is, to be frank, normal. It doesn’t sound like a thrummy flat-four is present under the hood. The seating position doesn’t put your hips and feet on the same level. The windows have frames. There are other people driving the same car.

Has Subaru become a mainstream automaker? And if so, has some of Subaru’s appeal been lost? (Read More…)

By on May 24, 2017

[timbphotography/Bigstock.com]

Daring. Thinking outside the box, as it were (a three box, naturally). Putting forth a car which is a bit risky and against the grain of the accepted beige sedan CUV. Increasingly, automakers are unwilling or unable to play in this space. Regulations, fuel economy and stiff competition force each manufacturer in line with the others. A midsize vehicle that’s almost identical to the offering at the dealer across the street is not out of the question.

But there has to be an answer to my Question of the Day, which is thus: Which modern auto manufacturer is the most daring?

(Read More…)

By on May 23, 2017

ford logo

It’s the dawn of a new era at Ford. With luck, nothing will change with the upcoming Bronco except, hopefully, an earlier launch date.

By axing retiring CEO Mark Fields and elevating Jim Hackett to the biggest office in Dearborn, Ford hopes to chart a course towards larger profits and happy, smiling shareholders. After Fields took the helm, the company’s share prices made like the Andria Doria. Can’t have that.

Flanking Hackett are two men with really long job descriptions. Joe Hinrichs, executive vice president and president of Global Operations, will tackle product development and purchasing (among other things). Jim Farley, hater of General Motors, is literally overseer of everything. Everything. All the regions, all the sales, all the mobility. Oh, and Lincoln — Farley will keep watch over Lincoln.

But imagine, for a moment, these three head honchos didn’t just advance their careers. No, you’re in the driver’s seat now. (Read More…)

By on May 22, 2017

BORGHI,RN, ITALY - AUGUST 12: power music audio system with amplifiers bass and treble speakers in the car trunk, exhibited during the rally "Fashion tuning club" on August 12 2012 in Borghi RN Italy, Image: ermess/Bigstock

Youthful exuberance. We’ve all fallen victim to it. From “hold my beer” moments to an ill-advised rendezvous with you best friend’s girl, one’s youth is often rife with boneheaded choices.

Thing is, as gearheads, we have yet another outlet on which to waste money and make poor decisions: our cars. And, like you, I’ve definitely a few doozies in my closet.

(Read More…)

By on May 19, 2017

1991 Pontiac Trans Sport, Images: RM Auctions, Inc.

Those of you who follow my Questions of the Day (so, 100 percent of the B&B) may notice I’ve been on a bit of a nostalgia kick lately. Asking you about your formative driving experiences or your first-ever car ride has generated some great stories. We all have old memories locked away in the memory vault, so we may as well drag them out and dust off a few.

My question today is about your teen years. More specifically, the high school ones. Such a variegated parking lot of treasures, rust, and Best Buy sound systems. Which ride sank to the bottom of the barrel as the worst in your high school parking lot?

(Read More…)

By on May 17, 2017

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF, Image: Mazda

Yesterday, Steph Willems asked in his Question of the Day what BMW should do with Mini and its lineup of identical-but-different vehicles almost nobody is buying. Since it seems like you’re quite eager to give brand strategy advice, let’s do it again today.

I want you to tell me what you’d do with Mazda, because its current PR line isn’t sitting well with me.

(Read More…)

By on May 16, 2017

2016 Mini Clubman

It’s a brand most of us never think about. We never consider buying one, nor do we rush to our laptops/tablets/phones to excitedly discuss the latest update to the brand’s lineup. Simply put, there’s something about the brand that’s lacking.

Maybe it’s horsepower, or lack thereof. Or maybe it’s reliability. Whatever the reason, Mini is not — with some exceptions — at the forefront of our collective consciousness.

It’s a brand that tries hard to remain relevant, especially over here in Crossoverland. Hey, four doors on a Cooper! Look — a longer Clubman! Excuse me, sir, can we interest you in a considerably larger Countryman? Nothing Mini about it, har har…

And yet, for all of its attempts to stay in the buying public’s eye — culling unpopular models like the Paceman and “right-sizing” its current products — Mini’s U.S. sales are still heading in the wrong direction after reaching a 2013 peak. That year saw the brand unload 66,502 units, a clear high-water mark. Last year? 52,030. The first four months of 2017 shows sales slipping behind last year’s tally.

The brand needs to do something to slow the descent, but — as we learned yesterday — it won’t field any new models for a number of years. (Read More…)

By on May 15, 2017

[Image: daseaford/Bigstock.com]

It came out of nowhere — abruptly, suddenly, and violently — like an action scene in a Martin Scorsese movie. A deafening bang drowned out the music on my radio and rattled my one good eardrum. This was followed by an explosion of green leaves, a savage hammering of the brake pedal, and a lot of creative swearing.

Someone had thrown a damn cabbage at my car.

(Read More…)

By on May 11, 2017

2017 Kia Soul - Image: Kia

Recommending vehicles, and having those recommendations go unheeded, is a key component of your role as an automotive enthusiast.

Whether you’re known as a go-to source for vehicle recommendations because of your encyclopedic automotive knowledge, because you’re a keen driver who once raced a Spec Miata, because you’ve brilliantly chosen five consecutive impeccably reliable midsize sedans, or because (like many TTAC contributors) you spend a week with new vehicles as they enter the market, you are relied upon by friends, family, and co-workers.

When asked, what new vehicle ends up topping your Most Recommended list? Forget Consumer Reports’ recommendations and Car And Driver’s 10 Best. If a friend asks you what new car they should buy, what car is it most likely to be? (Read More…)

By on May 10, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 Midnight Edition

My previous Question of the Day focused on your favorite special-edition vehicles, where I so kindly jarred your memory of the excellent Mercury Villager Nautica and GMC Jimmy Diamond Edition. Both of those vehicles showcased enough delightfully distinguishing features that I had to recommend them as prime examples of doing special editions right in the ’90s and early ’00s.

But not all special editions are worthwhile. There are plenty of ill-conceived, silly special editions out there, crapping up the aesthetic of everything in their vicinity. Some look too of the moment when most of those moments certainly don’t deserve memorialization.

Which brings me to my question for you today: What’s the lamest special edition?

(Read More…)

By on May 9, 2017

[Image: BMW Group]

A little piece of resurrected BMW history has again faded to black, leaving the automotive landscape missing yet another traditional two-door coupe. BMW confirmed to Road & Track the 6 Series coupe ended production in February, apparently unbeknownst to everyone, ending a model that harkened back to the glorious 633CSi and 635CSi of the 1980s.

Fear not, 6 Series fans — the four-door Gran Coupe and Convertible live on, though likely not for long. The boys from Bavaria are readying a potential successor to the 6 Series in the form of a new 8 Series lineup, the first of which could appear in late 2018. A grand tourer-style coupe and convertible positioned above the 7 Series (but below Rolls-Royce) is BMW’s plan to counter an ultra-luxury offensive from rival Mercedes-Benz.

BMW doesn’t want to spread its models too thin. Understandable. BMW isn’t a charity — if it was, there’d be a 440i coupe in my driveway with a trunk full of 18-year-old Glenfiddich for which I paid not a cent. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen with the 6 Series Coupe, staying competitive and profitable sometimes means leading a doomed animal behind the barn. And these days the animal is never one with four doors or a voluminous cargo hold.

The tears fall like rain from motoring purists. Dread fills their hearts. More killing is on the way. (Read More…)

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