By on October 18, 2017

1997 Honda PreludeWe’ve asked you before about the particular brand you’d resurrect if given the power to bring just one back from the dead. A different Question of the Day also inquired which models trumped the previous generation by bringing fresh ideas and improvements to the redesign.

Today, we follow similar lines and ask which model was killed off too soon; which vehicle deserved one more generation.

(Read More…)

By on October 17, 2017

1994 Dodge Ram, Image: Brian Cantoni/Flickr

There’s a questionable spy photo of the next-generation Ram 1500 floating around. “Questionable,” because since the dawn of time, a Ram pickup, whether prefixed by “Dodge” or not, has retained solid, distinctive, and simple lines.

Unfortunately, the 2019 model seen in the photo appears with an odd mish-mash of Silverado and Tundra styling cues in place of today’s handsome front fenders and traditional crosshair grille. This got the TTAC chatroom talking. After all, the Ram nameplate is well-known for taking a styling direction and running with it for decades. Two styles over 40 years, essentially.

That got us talking about the most memorable Rams, the most quintessential and #iconic Rams, and, eventually, to the most famous Ram of them all. (Read More…)

By on October 16, 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

Hands up: how many of you guys and girls reading this have a radio in their car? Good, that’s just about everyone. Now, how many have a favorite tune or genre of music they crank to eleven when hitting the road? That’s what I thought.

Rock ‘n’ roll and fast cars have been intertwined since the ‘50s, and if one had to count the number of car references in rap music, well, we’d be here all day. So here’s today’s question: on what do you hit “Play” when it’s time to drive?

(Read More…)

By on October 11, 2017

1983 Oldsmobile Toronado brochure pageLast month we featured a Question of the Day about the worst model names ever glued onto the back of a vehicle. Everyone had fun trashing corny, little-known nameplates from here and abroad, as well as the various and oft-nonsensical letters applied to the back of many North American offerings today.

Today we flip this question and talk about the best model names. What’s your selection for the best vehicle names out there?

(Read More…)

By on October 9, 2017

Winter city snow

Alert readers will have noted by this time that I have lived my entire life in the refrigerator that is Eastern Canada. Snow appears early, sticks around like an unwelcome houseguest, only to begrudgingly depart sometime after Cinco de Mayo. My father often says his retirement plan consists of loading a snowblower into the bed of a pickup truck and heading south. The first place he stops where someone asks “What’s that?” is where he makes his new home.

On Friday, I regaled you with my tale of finally paying off a car (thanks for the kind words in the comments, readers). Since I’ll be keeping the Charger, and live well into the snow belt, I will soon need to get it ready for winter.

(Read More…)

By on October 6, 2017

2018-jeep-wrangler-jl-towing-4

Time to eat my words. Two years ago, I said the real reason there’s no Jeep pickup is this: A Jeep and a pickup are the same thing. I was wrong. The JL Wrangler Pickup is apparently a sure thing, although I’ll believe the existence of a two-door version when I see it in showrooms.

Let’s assume for a moment that Jeep will start by selling a four-door Wrangler with a 6.5 foot bed, pretty much like all the mules that have been spotted running around. Where will the volume for this vehicle originate? And how much of that volume will there be?

(Read More…)

By on October 4, 2017

2011-audi-r8-42-spyder-shifter-photo-416617-s-1280x782Yesterday, Steph Willems penned a little Question of the Day about the manual transmission. In it, he asked what would have to occur to get you, the buying public, back into the manual transmission in a large-scale way.

As of this writing, it’s blowing up the comment counts as everyone lists the particulars of how they hem and haw over the manual transmission. Shifting a vehicle yourself is romanticized and desirable; a bygone art to be treasured and maintained for future generations of drivers.

Except when it isn’t. What would force you from a manual transmission vehicle for the rest of your days?

(Read More…)

By on October 3, 2017

gearshift stick shift manual transmission

A telling conversation took place last week. A longtime friend, who’s now more gainfully employed than in years past and owns a current-generation Nissan Rogue, texted me about the 2018 Nissan Qashqai — known as the Rogue Sport south of the border.

As he rarely uses his Rogue for cargo or passenger-hauling duties, the reduction in volume isn’t a concern. My friend wants more content for the same price as his larger vehicle. I informed him that, unlike in America, he could choose a Qashqai/Rogue Sport with a manual transmission, provided he’s willing to live with whatever Nissan Canada’s base trim amounts to.

“No way,” he told me. “I like features. I’ll never bother with standard transmissions again.”

This is coming from a guy who for years drove a base Volkswagen Fox, followed by a base GMC Sonoma, each equipped with a three-pedal setup. Granted, no one looked towards the Fox or Sonoma for spirited driving. Still, it seems age and income has done its work — no longer is my friend interested in anything but enjoying a lifestyle of convenience.

Are you the same way? (Read More…)

By on October 2, 2017

2018 Chevy Silverado 3500 Dually

People have been predicting it for years, we foreshadowed it a few months ago, and on Thursday it finally happened: one can now waltz into a dealership and spoil the better part of a hundred grand on a pickup truck.

See that 2018 Silverado 3500 Crew Cab Dually up top, though? It doesn’t cost $100,000. It doesn’t even cost $50,000. It is, in fact, only $340 more expensive than a top-rung Honda Ridgeline.

Wait. What?

(Read More…)

By on September 29, 2017

devillpickup

This is the day of the expanding man… and of the expanding pickup truck trim level. I’ve speculated elsewhere about a truck-based luxury sedan from General Motors, but other possibilities exist for the current GM full-sized platform.

There’s just one problem with the idea of a Cadillac-badged pickup: it might force GM, and the automotive media, to come to grips with some unpleasant truths about what really sits on top of the Sloan Plan nowadays.

(Read More…)

By on September 28, 2017

1996 Chevrolet Impala SS - Image: ChevroletAztek. Cimarron. Le Mans. General Motors has gotten it wrong more than once.

But General Motors, in business for nearly 110 years — and eight years in its current post-bankruptcy iteration — also gets it right. Sometimes GM gets the styling right. Sometimes GM perfectly meets the segment’s needs. Sometimes the performance bargain is unbeatable. Every now and then, those factors merge together and General Motors introduces a thoroughly impressive vehicle.

You could make a case for the C7 Chevrolet Corvette. A 1960 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham is a stunning example of GM knowing precisely what Cadillac should be. A mid-90s Chevrolet Impala SS represents GM boldly thumbing its nose at conventional performance. Cars such as the Pontiac GTO, Buick Regal GNX, and Chevrolet Nomad hold a special place in the hearts of many.

But what do you believe is the best General Motors vehicle of all time? (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2017

2014 Range Rover, Image: Jaguar Land Rover

Last week we took entries for the worst utility vehicle of the past decade. There were certainly plenty of submissions; it’s always easy to dream up crossover criticism (less dream, more nightmare in the case of the Acura ZDX).

This time around, we flip the question: What’s the best utility vehicle of the past 10 years?

(Read More…)

By on September 26, 2017

1990 Land Rover Range Rover in Denver wrecking yard, grille badge - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Maybe one day we’ll all look back and wonder how we could have been so wrong. “Of course,” we’ll say over drinks at the back of the pub, “it was all so simple. People wanted cars. Land Rover cars. And we were too stuck in our ways to see it.”

“Crossovers were king back then. Buyers couldn’t get enough of ’em,” we’ll recall, growing agitated over our past myopia. “Harley-Davidson could have put a pup tent on the back of a Tri Glide and sold 50,000 a year. Foolishly, we didn’t notice the simmering desire for a car — a regular car, dammit! — from an automaker that sold SUVs and nothing but since 1948.”

As Rod Serling used to say, this isn’t a future that will be, but one that might be. Yesterday we brought you a report detailing Land Rover’s plans to reveal a high-end luxury car, not an SUV, in 2019, all part of a plan to capitalize on decades of accumulated brand cachet and plunge into a wholly untapped segment. Road Rover is the vehicle’s rumored name, Autocar claims.

Suppose they’re right? (Read More…)

By on September 25, 2017

2018 Kia Stonic, Image: Kia

It’s not a secret most of us at TTAC are not, to put it charitably, overly enamored with the current crop of alphabet soup adorning the trunk lids of most new cars today. The market has endured alphanumeric model names for years, but at least, say, in the ‘80s and 90s there was a very good chance the numbers stood for engine displacement. Not anymore.

This is why I am glad Kia has chosen to simply make up words for its new product. The Stonic is allegedly a portmanteau of ‘speedy’ and ‘tonic’. All right, then. At least it’s not the 6000SUX or something.

Automotive history is littered with many great and bizarre names. Here’s a few: (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…)

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