By on July 9, 2016

Driving Matters Mazda6 Times Square Mesh Board South, Image: Mazda USA

Our own Timothy Cain was smitten after spending a week with the midsize Mazda6. It’s a hard vehicle to hate. With its sexy, sculpted sheetmetal, it’s one of those cars you turn back to look at after you park it.

But the Mazda6, even with its willing chassis and sporting demeanor, is still missing many ingredients, one of them power. Call it the Miata Effect, or simply realize that Mazda doesn’t have its own V6 to stuff under the Mazda6’s long hood. Mazda’s midsize sedan isn’t nearly close to the most powerful option in the segment.

That may change though thanks to the Mazda CX-9 and its 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

(Read More…)

By on June 13, 2016

Cash in Glovebox

In a business that hocks products worth tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars, you’d hope the professionals reviewing those products would provide facts and honest, valuable personal opinions to readers.

Those hopes have never fully panned out in the automotive industry, as we learned most recently with CleanMPG’s Wayne Gerdes a few months ago and a scathing story that detailed an OEM paying a social media influencer $300,000 for a few photos.

But how pervasive is the payola problem in automotive journalism? And do you even care?

That, Mercedes proclaims turbochargers are the future, and woke bae BMW wants to build your safe space … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on May 2, 2016

1984 Chrysler Laser XE Turbo in California Junkyard, RH front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The K-platform-based Dodge Daytona was built for the 1984 through 1993 model years and sold pretty well; we’ve seen a few of them in this series. The Daytona’s Chrysler-badged sibling, the Laser (not to be confused — though many do — with the Mitsubishi Eclipse-based Plymouth Laser), was sold only for the 1984-1986 model years and is a bit harder to find. (Read More…)

By on April 29, 2016

Volkswagen 1.5-liter TSI engine

Diesel? What’s that?

Volkswagen is embracing a far less controversial type of fuel with its new 1.5-liter TSI engine, unveiled yesterday at the Vienna Motor Symposium.

The ultra-efficient four-cylinder uses variable turbine geometry (VTG) in its turbocharger to generate peak torque at a low 1,300 rpm, then maintain a flat torque curve until about 4,500 rpm. This leads to fuel economy gains and a better driving experience. (Read More…)

By on April 11, 2016

1985 Dodge Daytona in California Junkyard, © 2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

After the near-miraculous success of the K platform dug Chrysler out of the pit of its near-bankruptcy and controversial government bailout (no, not that bailout, the earlier one), Lee Iacocca led the company to produce a bewildering number of vehicles based on the K. Chrysler had some sporty machinery based on the Simca-derived Omnirizon (not to mention some hot rebadged Mitsubishis), but the Dodge Daytona and its Chrysler Laser sibling were the bread-and-butter factory hot rods of the 1980s and a bit beyond.

Here’s an ’85 I spotted at a now-defunct Los Angeles-area yard a while back. (Read More…)

By on January 11, 2016

00 - 1991 Dodge Shadow in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

The Dodge Shadow was one of many, many versions of the Chrysler-saving K Platform, and it sold in fairly large quantities before being replaced by the Neon. As recently as five years ago, Shadows and their Plymouth Sundance siblings were among the most numerous Chryslers in American wrecking yards, but massive numbers of Sebrings have replaced them nowadays. I ignore most of these cars when I see them, but I can’t resist photographing examples with excessively 1990s tape stripes and decals or super-stripper no-option packages.

Today we’ll be looking at a car that puts turbocharging, overwrought 1990s tape graphics, a convertible top, and fire damage all in one K-car package. (Read More…)

By on October 19, 2015

15 - 1984 Mitsubishi Starion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Many of us laugh at the Starion now, but it was considered genuinely badass by me and my high-school peers back in 1983 or 1984. It looked fast and mean and had the magical-in-the-1980s word “TURBO” on every possible surface.

Of course, it was also a flaky, breakdown-prone money pit, but it took a few years for that to become clear to everyone. Still, Starions show up in self-service wrecking yards to this day. Here’s a battered ’84 that I saw in the San Francisco Bay Area a while back. (Read More…)

By on September 30, 2015

21- 1985 Dodge Lancer ES Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Chrysler hadn’t been making the K Platform for long before they branched it out into the bewildering K Family Tree that confuses everybody to this day. Iacocca’s Chrysler-saving (or demise-postponing, depending on your point of view) platform gave us both the worst car in human history and a Dodged-down version of the swanky LeBaron GTS. Here’s an example of the latter that I saw in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service yard. (Read More…)

By on August 26, 2015

18 - 2000 Volvo S80 T6 Junkyard Car - photo by Murilee Martin

I promised more 21st-century Junkyard Finds recently, so here’s a high-end Volvo with turbo boost rivaled only by its turbocharged depreciation levels. Yes, it’s the Volvo S80, complete with twin-turbo 286hp tranverse-mount straight-six. (Read More…)

By on August 13, 2015

2014 Lexus GS 450h Hybrid Exterior-004

The 2016 Lexus GS will sport Toyota’s 2-liter, turbocharged engine, which is already in the NX200t and is coming to the IS200t. The GS will be the third Lexus model in the States to feature the engine — overseas, the RC will get it as well, but that model hasn’t been confirmed for the U.S. market.

The 2-liter turbo, which produces 241 horsepower, will complement the GS350 and GS450h, which will get incremental improvements over last year. The 3.5-liter V-6 underneath the hood of the GS350 will get a small power bump (311 horsepower vs. 305; 280 pound-feet vs. 277). According to Lexus, the V-6 will have port and direct injection, but the automaker didn’t specify if the engine used the same D-4S system found in the 2016 Toyota Tacoma.

The GS200t will be rear-wheel drive only and will be paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Countdown to the RX getting the same treatment starts … now.

(Read More…)

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