By on July 24, 2017

04 - 1987 Saab 900 in Colorado junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Ages ago in this series, I asked the 20-year question and you, the Best & Brightest, did not disappoint with your answers. Today, your mission is to simply answer the following: what car do you desire from the year of your birth?

For me, that model year is 1980. Let’s see what was shiny and new on the showroom floor back when interest rates were larger than the salesman’s lapels.

(Read More…)

By on July 21, 2017

1995 Plymouth Neon, Image: Wikimedia Commons

If you’re a believer in the idea of authentically American small cars, then you’ve had a rough couple of years. The last compact or subcompact to be engineered ground-up by an American corporation was probably the ’95 Dodge/Plymouth Neon, although some kind of argument might be possible for the Chevrolet Cobalt. In 2017, the Big Three have been reduced to selling locally assembled versions of a German car, a Korean car, and an Italian car. We’re basically where Brazil was in 1990.

Things are going to get worse. GM might discontinue some small cars altogether. Ford is going to build the Focus in China. FCA probably has no plans to bring a Dart successor here. This is the end, beautiful friend. Do you care?

(Read More…)

By on July 19, 2017

2014 Fiat 500L Exterior-003

Each week, TTAC’s basic car correspondent Matthew Guy brings you an Ace of Base article. Matt’s carefully selected examples are base models which tick many desirability boxes, proving you don’t need thousands of dollars in engine upgrades, brakes, pieces of trim, or tech packages to have good and enjoyable transportation. Overall, the Ace of Base series is positive and uplifting, presenting us with the best of the best of base. The other half of the basic coin is being ignored, however, and that’s where you come in.

Today we seek your nominations for the new vehicle which best represents a Waste of Base. 

(Read More…)

By on July 18, 2017

LeBron James Kia ad, Image: Kia

If a famous person sways your purchasing behaviour, you’re likely an idiot. Actors and other celebs rake in great coin shamelessly hocking products to the teeming masses, be it life insurance, Preparation H, overpriced jeans, or underperforming vehicles. To them, the suitcase of cash emits the siren song, not the product. (Don’t start up about athletes and sports-branded clothing. We’re not going in that direction.)

No company covets celebrity endorsements quite like automakers. Whether it’s longtime Anglophile Tom Brady shilling for Aston Martin or LeBron James’ sudden love for Kia’s spectacularly slow-selling K900, nothing gets eyes on the product faster than having someone famous stand next to it. Surely, none of us would ever fall for such a thing.

Celebrity endorsements, if you want to call it that, only bolsters a non-mouth-breather’s buying decision if it reinforces a previously held position. Already angling for a Chrysler Newport? Well, your favourite star from, say, Barney Miller, agrees it’s a sensible purchase. And several dollars less than Caprice! However, if said celebrity is someone you desire, rather than just respect or admire, it could be argued that there’s some subtle, subconscious influence at work. It it enough to tip the scales in favor of a certain product?

That’s something only you can answer. (Read More…)

By on July 17, 2017

06___2018_honda_accord_touring

It won’t have escaped your attention that Honda hauled the wraps off its 10th-generation Accord on Friday. Some good things were added: trunk space, a ten-speed automatic, and turbocharged engines. However, as Soiricho gives, Soiricho also taketh away: the V6 disappeared, as did the coupe.

The move wasn’t surprising, as coupes (and non-crossovers in general) are currently enjoying the popularity of fish-flavored toothpaste. With their numbers dwindling, what car currently on sale today would you like to see as a coupe?

(Read More…)

By on July 14, 2017

car back seat interior, Image: Blaz Kure/Bigstock

Yesterday, we talked about how self-driving cabs would quickly become absolutely filthy, the same way that most of mass transit is absolutely filthy. I’m not sure if that’s always the case, to be honest.

Which got me thinking about autonomous vehicles — is there a way I could ruthlessly limit the customer base of any given vehicle to those whose thoughts on personal hygiene, food disposal, and bodily fluids mirrored mine? There are surely people who are fussier than I am, as well, and perhaps they don’t want me in their vehicles.

(Read More…)

By on July 12, 2017

saab-900

Last month, I brought to you a Question of the Day about resurrection; saving something from an untimely death. Naturally, we were talking about car brands — specifically, which dead brand you’d select to bring back to life in a modern world, with a modern lineup.

In the well-established TTAC interest of balance, fairness, and equality in all things, now we ask the opposite question: Which car brand deserved its death?

(Read More…)

By on July 11, 2017

10 - 1992 Plymouth Sundance Down On the Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

We’ve all been burned at one time or another. As time passes, the chances of a rip-off, raw deal, or money-draining, hair-pulling lemon grow greater. Maybe you didn’t like the cut of the salesman’s jib. Maybe the dealership botched or sidestepped a necessary repair. There’s no limit to the number of ways a car, or a car company, can turn once-happy customers into sworn enemies.

In my family’s lineage, the only automaker that really fits this bill is Chrysler. Old Chrysler. Often Bad Old Chrysler. And yet, it wasn’t always that way, nor did it stay that way. But for a period of a few decades, Chrysler Corporation’s name was mud, despite the rosy, horsepower-clouded memories of a family member once seduced by Good Old Chrysler.

The first cut is the deepest, they say, and Chrysler came at the remaining members with a meat cleaver. (Read More…)

By on July 10, 2017

Shopping cart full of cash money bills, Image: urfingus/Bigstock

Since we started Question of the Day, we’ve interrogated you on a myriad of subjects – ranging from the one that got away to your thoughts on a particular brand. Today, our question is a heckuva lot more straightforward.

What’s on the short list for your next car?

(Read More…)

By on July 5, 2017

2017 Ford GT - Image: Ford

Even for a dyed-in-the-wool fanatic of a particular car, said fanatic is likely reasonable enough to see one or two flaws somewhere in their beloved ride of choice.

Conversely, the biggest consumer of Haterade for the very same car is often able to see a couple of good qualities or features in the vehicle they despise. Other times, the losers and haters passionate individuals on either side of the automotive aisle (road?) can come together and agree certain vehicles are just not that great, overall.

Today we ask: Which current vehicle has the fewest redeeming qualities?

(Read More…)

By on July 3, 2017

windshield wipers, Image: Sashkin/Bigstock

Look, with the best word in the world, we’re all pretty odd around here. Writers, readers, editors (past and future), we’re a community of pedantic gearheads with an affinity for the peculiar. How else to explain Panther Love or Sajeev’s Bitter Tears?

I’m no different, which is why I like it here. One of the things I enjoy — which no one in my immediate family can seem to explain — are cars and trucks with a weird number of wipers. Two wipers? Pah! How pedestrian. The discerning TTACer requires – nay, demands! – their ride of choice to be equipped with rain-clearing devices of the oddest configuration!

Ahem. Yes. Let’s look at a few, shall we?

(Read More…)

By on June 28, 2017

1995 Ford Explorer Limited, Image: Ford

Back in late May of this year, I inquired which modern automaker was the most daring. While I posited it could be Nissan or Volvo, many of you replied it was actually Dodge, followed by Kia and Mazda.

This week, let’s turn back the clock a couple of decades and see if all our answers require a bit of reworking. We’re off to everyone’s favorite car decade, the 1990s. Which automaker was most daring in the era of the neon and teal fanny pack? I’ll give you two specific model examples, much like I did before.

(Read More…)

By on June 27, 2017

2007 Saturn Ion Red Line

Absence, it is said, only makes the heart grow fonder. Maybe ’80s fashion wasn’t so bad after all. Go ahead, roll up the sleeves on that oversized rayon blazer. Naturally, the sentiment also applies to defunct car brands.

Just last week, Corey asked what extinct car brand you would resurrect if given the chance, leading this author down a mental road populated with nothing but Studebakers and Oldsmobiles. There’s a Sophie’s Choice for you. However, one brand that didn’t see much discussion that day, at least not on our Slack channel, was Saturn.

Bozi’s had a hell of a time recently with the problem-plagued engine under the hood of his wife’s Vue hybrid, something which hasn’t exactly endeared him to the former GM division. Still, yesterday we got to talking about the brand, and it seemed very few people do not have a memory of a Saturn SL1 or SL2, or perhaps the unpopular L-Series — including myself.

Unpleasant to drive, but utterly reliable. Hmm… is it time to journey down a plastic-coated memory lane? You bet. (Read More…)

By on June 26, 2017

Davey Allison

Ever since racers figured out they could trade a bit of real estate on their ride for some sorely needed cash, sponsors have been plastering their names on just about every flat surface of a race car.

Sometimes the results look like a person put a bunch of logos in their mouth and sneezed on the car, but other times — either through careful planning or happy coincidence — a team will create something for the ages.

(Read More…)

By on June 21, 2017

18 -1992 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Lately, I’ve taken you back in time when it’s my turn to offer up a Question of the Day. Today is no exception, as we’re going to discuss the past and the future at the same time. Now, while your head is spinning and you reach for a VHS copy of Back to the Future, allow me to explain.

We’re going to discuss the car brand you’d like to resurrect, and the models it would offer today. Sound like fun? (Read More…)

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