I have a few years, certainly, but time seems to move exponentially quicker in relation to the appearance of grey hairs in my beard. So naturally, I’m thinking about my daughters, now 10 and 8, and what they will be driving.
It’s a legitimate concern, as we start to manage the end-of-life on our current fleet, and consider what our next new car will be. I see many parents will hand down an existing family car to their spawn upon reaching driving age, which seems like a great way to ensure you know the maintenance and accident history of what will be protecting your precious spawn.
Electra. Wildcat. Grand National. Riviera. Buick has some storied names in its history. Unfortunately, as we wind down 2016, all of those nice names remain long gone, never to return.
In their place, throughout the decades, there have been some awful sedans, a truck-based item, even a minivan. We’ve also got some tasty crossovers which may or may not be propping up Opel’s failing product line across the ocean, and also appealing to and/or made in China.
So, let’s decide if the Encore is actually the worst offering Buick ever unleashed, all things considered. Shall we?
Unassuming. Conservative. Mild in appearance. All of these terms — and more — perfectly fit the Subaru Forester XT I picked up yesterday morning, bitching and moaning all the while about the miserable cold weather.
Boxy. Tall. Big greenhouse. Yes, the slab-sided Forester’s proportions haven’t changed much since arriving on these shores in the late ’90s. Even the Burnished Bronze Metallic paint is reminiscent of the ubiquitous early-2000s metallic gold of my friend’s long-gone ’02. No aggressive fender bulges, diagonal character lines, coupe-like roofline or ground effects package for this little rig. That simply wouldn’t suit the Forester’s staid-but-capable persona.
Cranking the seat warmer to 11, I drove off. Man, I thought, this thing goes like stink. (Read More…)
Two disparate experiences precipitated today’s QOTD: a quick stop at the local Hyundai dealer … and a conversation with my nine-year old.
From unpredictable East Coast weather to trying to guess next week’s gas prices, there are an abundance of variables in life around here. One constant, however, is my penchant for driving through a dealer’s lot or three to check out inventory whenever I make a trip to town. Yesterday, I turned a wheel at the Hyundai store, idly wondering if how many Santa Cruz pickups will be in stock when they finally make production. (Read More…)
Despite the scores of new cars available to North American drivers, not every niche is filled. Entire segments of the new car market have all but been abandoned in the almighty search for profitability — or in the case of some OEMs, mere solvency.
Whither the personal luxury coupe? How about the almighty two-door, full size SUV? Buyers would certainly snap up tens of these every year.
Weather forecasters deserve our scorn, and Northerners know why. They call for one to two inches of snow, update the forecast to four to six inches later in the day, and you wake up the next morning to find eight to twelve inches of fresh powder blanketing your driveway, your car, your life, your fragile psyche.
It happens every winter, but a good insurance policy against aorta-popping fits of rage (and exertion) is to get yourself a good winter vehicle. Something that eats snow and ice for breakfast and comes back for more. Ideally, it’s a low-cost, no-commitment “beater” that throws itself in front of winter’s bullet to spare your pampered summer ride, but not always. (Read More…)
Spending pre-internet years living in a place where everything worth seeing, doing, or buying was an hour away, necessity dictated the invention of games to stave off boredom during yet another mind-numbing trip to civilization. Games of “Count the Potholes” were always popular, but the most creative was the “20-Year Game.” Here’s how to play:
We called our 1968 Plymouth Valiant 100 “Slithis” after a cheesy horror movie about snakes. I’m not sure why, in retrospect; most likely because it was a green. It wasn’t that metallic gold green popular in the early 1970s, sometimes called “baby shit green” (parents will understand). Just eight years after production, Slithis’ verdant topcoat was starting to lose its lustre. It had 98,000 miles on the odometer and we paid $50 for it — a genuine “$50 special.”
Today, something comparable would have twice as many miles, cost 10 to 20 times as many dollars, and likely be in far better shape. (Read More…)
Chances are, if you read TTAC as part of a balanced breakfast, you probably had more than a few toy cars scattered around the house like rice at a wedding when you were an OshKosh B’gosh-clad tike. These diminutive metal replicas lurked deep within the shag-pile carpeting, lying with their pointy sides up, waiting to rend bare feet asunder.
In later years, these toys were supplanted by trips to real dealerships, where I no doubt made a nuisance of myself as a prepubescent boy who was interested in examining the new metal for that model year. There are three models whose image remain firmly imprinted on my mind after seeing them for the first time through the lens of a youngster’s eye. Surely, you’ve got one too.
You read it here this morning, but perhaps a friend already texted you the bad news. Maybe a few Facebook acquaintances or Twitter followers changed their avatar to reflect the loss.
Yes, the Chrysler 200, formerly the Chrysler Sebring, has shuffled off its mortal coil, leaving behind only memories and a hefty inventory of unsold models.
As TTAC’s Timothy Cain said in his heartfelt obituary, the 200’s passing is more than just the loss of a slow-selling model — it’s the death of FCA’s midsize car portfolio. Formerly numbering one (after the death of the barely facelifted Dodge Avenger), the warehouse’s tenant list now registers zero occupants.
Think back to any previous decade. Back then, could you picture a day when the Chrysler stable contained just two models? That’s where we’re at: an aging rear-wheel-drive sedan and a minivan are the only things keeping Chrysler from joining Plymouth, Eagle, and DeSoto in the cold, cold ground. (Read More…)
I had somewhat of a unique high school experience, in the sense that it was the most after-school special, stereotypical experience possible. I went to a suburban school with just the right amount of ethnic diversity — which is to say that even the black and Hispanic and Asian kids listened to Pearl Jam and wore Ralph Lauren.
When it came to our first cars, we didn’t just go down to the local dirt lot and buy something with our savings from fast food jobs. No, we were spoiled brats who were given sensible compact to mid-sized sedans by our parents. We didn’t lust after MK II GTIs or Geo Storms — no, we sat around the lunch table in 1994 and debated the merits of the fifth-gen Honda Accord, the basic but steady Ford Taurus, and the GOAT XV10 Toyota Camry, especially the blingy “American Edition.”
As for me, I had my heart set on the recently introduced Nissan
Hey, let’s give this a try again.
Do you hear that sound? It’s the collective silence of every cheerleader in America not giving a single care to the possible death of a V6-powered Mustang. Even though the automatic, drop-top, V6 Mustang is colloquially called the Cheerleader Edition, do you think Sally McJumpyskirt really cares if four or six or eight pistons are doing battle with physics under the hood? Nope.
But we’re different. We care that the V6 offers a more aurally pleasing soundtrack than the cookie-cutter 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder model. We care that, in the real world, the V6 will likely return fuel economy that’s nearly as good as its smaller, boosted cousin. We care that the tried-and-true 3.7-liter V6 is just that — tried and true.
Yet, I can’t help but not care about its death.
I work with logos in my day job and it’s always nice to see a clever logo design. Maybe I’m strange but things like the negative-space arrow in the FedEx brand excite me.
That’s why I’m a bit perplexed about the current badge Ford uses on its F-150 pickup trucks.
Editor’s note: BMW losing its way has been a hot topic ever since the E30 went out of production. This QOTD from Doug is probably one of the most commented articles in TTAC history. It originally ran January 23rd, 2015.
Twenty years ago, BMW was the coolest automaker in the world. I know this because I – as a young lad of less than ten, growing up in the 1990s – desperately wanted my father to purchase a BMW. And he – as a rational, middle-aged man in his 40s – ended up in a Camry with cloth seats and a tape player. He wasn’t the BMW type. He wasn’t cool enough. Back then, few were.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, it has officially emerged that Volkswagen has been lying to the general public like one of those guys who approaches you at a gas station and says his car has broken down and he just needs three more dollars for a bus fare.
This is surprising. Anyone who ever owned a Volkswagen knew that they were a bit sleazy, in the sense that they told you they offered “solid German engineering” when what they really offered was a bunch of untested parts farmed out to the lowest bidder. But we never really expected them to be overtly lying about stuff. Especially stuff as important as emissions results.
Or at least, I say “important,” but then I stop and think about it for a second, and I wonder: How important really are emissions numbers?