By on January 16, 2017

At the 2015 Palm Beach Auction, driver Herb – on his birthday – got to drive “Herbie” across the block. Image: Barrett-Jackson

This week, the deep-pocketed guys and girls of the car collecting world will descend upon the state of Arizona for the annual collector car auctions. From the televised glitz of Barrett-Jackson to the white-gloved stratosphere of RM Sotheby’s, there is something on the docket to fit everyone’s taste.

For years, I’d watch the events on television or follow the sale prices online with a certain amount of apoplexy. “They paid how much? For that?!?” I’d routinely fume, reliably waking my spouse and buying myself yet another night in the guest room.

A couple of years ago, though, I had a minor revelation.

(Read More…)

By on January 12, 2017

1990-toyota-corolla-blue-front-quarter

This Monday, I sat among a herd of journalists and executives waiting for the Honda Odyssey press reveal to begin. While nominally I was there to cover the event on behalf of this fine publication, I was also considering my next family car purchase.

Jack wrote at length yesterday about the relatively recent phenomenon of at once coddling and ignoring the spawn relegated to the stern of the family vehicle. While I don’t intend to completely answer the questions raised, I’d like to consider what might affect our choice of family conveyance.

(Read More…)

By on January 11, 2017

2018 Lexus LS at NAIAS Front, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

On Monday at NAIAS, something interesting happened at the corner of Predator Maw and Sporty Junction: Lexus revealed a new 2018 LS500.

As a fan of the LS model since inception, I was interested. And as far as I can tell, this is the first LS that breaks with a few traditions dating back to its introduction for model year 1990. In no particular order, I’m going to come up with a list, and I’m going to create this list without any judgment, contrary to normal lists around here or created by anyone with real opinions. (Hey, I could end up on the front page of a major search engine’s automotive page!)

With calm, collected thought, I’ll run through them quickly before I get to our Question Of The Day. Come along.

(Read More…)

By on January 10, 2017

2018 LS500 at NAIAS

Ask anyone who was there, and attendees of this year’s North American International Auto Show will likely describe an event lacking luster. Depleted of energy. Devoid of the excitement that normally comes from splashy, much-anticipated launches.

Could it be that the Consumer Electronics Show held a week earlier in sunny Las Vegas sapped some of the life out of Detroit? Consider this: the top-selling midsize car in the U.S. — the Toyota Camry — suffered through an underwhelming unveiling that should have had people talking. At least, more than the number who did.

What were radio news segments talking about on the way to this year’s show? Highlights of the just-wrapped-up CES. Oh, that Chrysler Portal. My, what a car that Faraday Future FF 91 is. A taste of the future, the tech geeks gushed. So, where does this leave traditional auto shows? What becomes of Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago? What about Geneva? Paris? (Read More…)

By on January 4, 2017

Super Car Garage

A new year dawns and a lot of people are making resolutions about what they’d like to do or not do, depending on whether you’re talking about going to the gym or smoking. So, while most of those resolutions will come to naught — like they have for the past All Of The Years — I was thinking about something else that will never happen.

Follow me on a little flight of fantasy, and let’s see where we end up. (Read More…)

By on January 3, 2017

2016 Ford Mustang GT

So, Ford’s press conference earlier today took a cluster bomb approach to the act of doling out news. Are you ready for a hybrid F-150? Will Chevrolet film a commercial showing how easy it is to pierce the battery pack with a toolbox?

Never mind that for now — it’s the looming hybrid Mustang that’s the real shocker, though perhaps it shouldn’t be. We’re all pretty certain that the V6 ‘Stang is a dead pony walking (trotting?), and that 2017 will be the 3.7-liter’s last go-around. That leaves a big gap between the 2.3-liter EcoBoost and the 5.0-liter Coyote, which Ford will soon swap for a 4.8-liter unit with gobs of refinement.

Mark Fields wasn’t dishing too many details this morning, but he did make it pretty clear that the mid-range power choice in future Mustangs will be a hybrid setup with “V8 levels of power,” starting in 2020. Undoubtedly, you’ll find a four-cylinder engine married to that battery pack and electric motor. (Read More…)

By on December 28, 2016

2003 Chevrolet Tahoe

Not that one, obviously. That one’s mine, and it’s pretty old. As 2016 finishes itself off, I want to get your take on the best GM vehicle sold this year.

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By on December 22, 2016

WRXMountain

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.

(Read More…)

By on December 20, 2016

subaru forester

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…)

By on December 15, 2016

mg-midget-yellow-front-quarter

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.

(Read More…)

By on December 13, 2016

winter parked car (a2050/Flickr)

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…)

By on December 12, 2016

2000 Jeep Cherokee

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:

(Read More…)

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