Tag: QOTD

By on September 21, 2017

2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Coupe - Image: © Timothy CainAt new car dealerships, coupes are thin on the ground. The demise of the Honda Accord coupe at the end of the 2017 model year shutters the mainstream midsize coupe segment, a category long since diminished by the disappearance of two-door Camrys, Altimas, and the Avengers.

Compact coupes are rare, too. You won’t find two-door versions of the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Sentra, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Corolla, or Volkswagen Jetta, although their predecessors all offered coupe variants.

Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Chrysler Cordoba, Ford Thunderbird? Long gone. But coupes — genuine two-doors such as the pillarless Mercedes-Benz E400 4Matic I’m driving (and being massaged by) this week, or the Honda Civic, or the Infiniti Q60, or the Rolls-Royce Wraith — are still available.

Would you buy one? (Read More…)

By on September 19, 2017

Peugeot Bipper Tepee, UImage: PSA Group

Yesterday, we brought you the latest update on PSA Group’s long-term plan to return to the U.S. market. The company will start producing U.S.-compliant vehicles starting in three years, with the French automaker able to turn on the product taps anytime after that, should buyers (and more importantly, a dealer network) fall into place.

No, there’ll be no Renaults, no slinky Alpine A110 coupe, but there could be Citroëns, Peugeots and DS models available within the decade should PSA’s plans come to fruition. Forget Germany, Japan, Korea and Sweden. Forget Ford. Is there a French car in your future? (Read More…)

By on September 18, 2017

Pagani Zonda Cinque
Last week I had the good fortune to spend a couple of days with Andrew Comrie-Picard, wheeling some gnarly Jeeps and riding along in psychotic 600-horsepower rallycross cars at a GRC event in Seattle. The Jeeps growled like Chewbacca on a bad fur day, while the rallycross cars felt like a freight train speeding up my spine and coming out my ear.

As with all good conversations, the topic frequently centered on cars. On the way to drive Jeeps, ACP posed a great question: What’s your definition of a supercar?

(Read More…)

By on September 14, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Grande sliding doors - Image: Chevrolet, FCA, The Truth About CarsWould a minivan with all-wheel drive, added ground clearance, and wheel arch cladding ever stand a chance of being called an SUV?

It’s not so far-fetched. There was a time when the Subaru Outback was perceived as nothing more than a wagon, but times changed.

What about the other way around: does the Chevrolet Tahoe Grande’s sliding doors necessitate a minivan designation for America’s top-selling full-size SUV? In other words, is a full-size SUV with sliding doors no longer an SUV?  (Read More…)

By on September 13, 2017

Image: Nissan Pao, via Wikipedia

It happened quite by accident last week, as good ideas often do. After last Wednesday’s Rare Rides post concerning the Nissan Stanza Wagon, reader comments got a little sidetracked. Dal20402 lamented there had never been a worse name for a car than Axxess (the Stanza Wagon’s successor).

Before I could unplug TTAC from the Canadian outlet on the wall, other commenters were jumping in with their terrible name suggestions. Seemed like a fun game, so today we open the floor to everyone’s suggestions.

Give us your submissions for the worst-ever automotive model names.

(Read More…)

By on September 12, 2017

1958 Chevrolet continental kit, Image: hstowe/Bigstock

So, yesterday afternoon TTAC author and moderator Corey Lewis decided to scorch our retinas by posting a photo of a very unique Mazda Miata on Slack. A very bad Miata, too.

The image originated from quaint Saint-Jérôme, Quebec, a northern bedroom community of Montreal. In it (photo rights require us to paint you a grim picture), the red NA Miata sported a laundry list of aftermarket add-ons — accessories the owner no doubt felt made his or her Miata the gosh darn hottest Miata around. Like New York’s hottest club, this thing had it all. Fender skirts. Chrome luggage rack. Chrome wheel arch trim. Oh, and a completely nonfunctional continental kit, as all continental kits are these days.

It was a crime against Miatas.

Which leads to the question: what non-factory add-on isn’t a crime? (Read More…)

By on September 11, 2017

zip ties, Image: NorGal/Bigstock

Most of us reading — and writing for — this site have found themselves in possession of a complete and utter beater car at some point in their lives. Whether through necessity (young kid with no money) or choice (strange attractions to unreliable British machinery), roadside repairs often figure into our past in some form or another.

The most versatile of all roadside repair items? Zip ties, of course.

(Read More…)

By on September 7, 2017

Eight Toyota Camry Generations - Images: ToyotaThe launch of the 2018 Toyota Camry in July 2017 marked the arrival of America’s eighth Camry. Near the end of Ronald Reagan’s first term, the first Camry — not the first Camry, but the first Camry available for U.S. consumption — was launched in front-wheel-drive sedan and hatchback formats.

By 1997, the Camry was America’s best-selling car — a title it has held in each of the last 15 years.

The second-generation Camry spawned a V6 powerplant, available all-wheel drive, and a hatchback-replacing wagon. The third-generation Camry kept the sedan and wagon, dropped the AWD, added a coupe, and was built in America. The fourth iteration of the Camry, 1997-2001, dropped the wagon and began to be seen as the automatic choice for America’s midsize sedan buyers. The fifth Camry, which ran from 2002-2006, was sturdy enough to be form the foundation for two more Camry generations. The sixth Camry was the first to be available as a hybrid, but it put an end to the coupe, which in the prior two generations was known as Camry Solara. The seventh Camry, 2012-2017, sometimes hailed as the most American-made of all cars, benefited from a thorough refresh for 2015. The eighth Camry, at dealers now, represents much more than a major overhaul, with significant increases in fuel economy standing out as a leading improvement.

But which Toyota Camry is best of all? (Read More…)

By on September 6, 2017

Back in August, Tim Cain reported on some rather strong statements made by McLaren. The company’s chief engineer proclaimed that McLaren stood alone among true sports car offerings — quite a stance to take, indeed. Don’t worry, the statement was not without very specific qualifiers.

Today we ask you to set your own qualifiers (or definition) around that term tossed around more than a football: sports car. What defines the breed for you?

(Read More…)

By on September 5, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Bolt, Image: General Motors

The full-scale rollout of Chevrolet’s Bolt to all U.S. markets saw its sales reach new heights in August 2017. Not dizzying heights, mind you — with 2,107 vehicles sold last month, the all-electric Bolt’s popularity is about 34,000 units shy of the Honda Civic’s.

Still, many mainstream, gas-powered models would kill for 2,000-plus buyers per month. The Jaguar XE, XF, and XJ, for example. The Toyota 86. Oh, and the Cadillac ATS, CTS, and CT6, along with gobs of other models from various brands. It’s a grim time for cars, but certain electric vehicles find buyers solely because there isn’t much choice when it comes to ditching your fuel tank for good.

The emergence of lower-priced EVs with ranges capable of reaching another city has made the electric car, once an oddity, into something approaching mainstream status. But are you tempted by their gas-free siren song? (Read More…)

By on August 31, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Suburban interior column shifter - Image: ChevroletSetting aside the glorious wonders of the manual, DIY shifter, is it not becoming increasingly clear that the automatic transmission shifter reached its zenith with the traditional column shifter?

One thing is certain: the column shifter is quickly fading away. The electronic controls behind many shifters are more often linked to unnecessarily complicated shifters than a simple, intuitive, steering column-mounted unit. There are pushbutton affairs on the center stack in Lincolns, rising and falling console-mounted pushbutton arrangements in Hondas and Acuras, rotary dials in everything from the Ford Fusion and Ram 1500 to the Jaguar XJ, monostable shifters with no detents in vehicles of every sort, and a horizontally opposed array of buttons and switches in a GMC Terrain that GMC felt necessary to explain for three hours.

We’re not sure these alternative shifters have shoved society along the path toward enlightenment.

But when Ford’s North American product communications manager, Mike Levine, tweeted a picture of a 2018 Ford F-150 with a 10-speed automatic and a column shifter — merging the past and future — we naturally wondered whether column shifters deserve more involvement in the present. (Read More…)

By on August 30, 2017

Image: Bentley Arnage Final Series

 

Time to suspend disbelief, much like you do with your favorite television show featuring dragons and incestual relations (between people, not dragons). A new government regime has outlawed production of the private automobile. All new car sales will end in 48 hours. Much like Jack Bauer, you’ve got to make an important decision in that timespan: Purchasing your last car of choice.

Which automobile will you pick, knowing it’s the last one you’ll ever have?

(Read More…)

By on August 29, 2017

2017 Toyota 86 sunset - Image: Toyota

On Sunday, Matt brought you the story of Toyota’s latest plan to ditch its longstanding reputation for building boring yet reliable cars — a problem some quality deficient automakers would kill for.

The brand has recently bolstered its efforts to draw its design direction away from the realm of “safe” and into the neighborhood of edgy, funky, and just maybe, controversial. (How about that new Camry’s face, eh? Hmmm…) Still, design doesn’t equal driving thrills. Visual excitement doesn’t quicken the pulse after you’ve slipped behind the wheel.

To this end, Toyota appears ready to launch a performance line similar to Lexus’ F sub-brand. The automaker known for (very successfully) playing it safe may let its hair down. And not a moment too soon, some might say. While the upcoming 2018 Camry gains significant standard power from Toyota’s four-cylinder engineering prowess, vehicles like the C-HR crossover, Corolla, Corolla iM, and other models aren’t exactly causing heart palpitations on test drives (or any other drives, for that matter).

Let’s pick up that syringe filled with muscle enhancer, shall we? (Read More…)

By on August 24, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Malibu Premier vs. Malibu L - Images: Chevrolet.comSometimes the little things make a big difference. Body color door handles, for example, can take a simple compact car from appearing fit for penalty box duty to appearing worthy of driveway placement. Swap those black side mouldings and matte black mirror housings for body color paint and you’re home free.

In other instances, the absence of foglights in foglight housings turns a decent front fascia into a disappointment. A bigger front air dam has the potential to suggest the addition of horsepower. Chrome window surrounds, upgraded lighting, metallic paint, and red-trimmed grilles can add a premium aura to otherwise pitiful products.

Oh, and don’t forget the wheels. Wheels can cover a multitude of design errors.

But does any car benefit more from big, stylish wheels; body colour mirrors; and LED daytime running lights than the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu? And does any car suffer more from small wheels with puffy tires, black mirrors, and stock lighting than the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu? (Read More…)

By on August 23, 2017

defender_g_wagen_2

Let’s say you had around $50,000 to spend on a vehicle purely as an indulgence. In this indulgence, you desire a somewhat rare SUV that’s basic, yet carries substantial prestige. In the same way, your SUV of choice would be very capable off-road, but you’d never take it there (as it’s simply too valuable). This vehicle would be for around-town jaunts on sunny days only.

A tough and specific decision for you, as imaginary well-heeled buyer of this used SUV. But never fear, as we’ve narrowed the choices down to two for today’s QOTD.

So, between the Land Rover Defender and Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, which do you choose to lighten your wallet?

(Read More…)

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