Summer officially began this week, meaning we are about as far away as humanly possible from the dark and stormy depths of winter. A perfect time, then, to watch action from the 1997 Maine Winter Forest Rally.
You may’ve noticed an ad campaign by General Motors touting the toughness of its steel cargo bed in comparison with Ford’s aluminum cargo hold. The Chevy came out battered and bruised, but Ford’s aluminum-bodied F-150 incurred multiple lacerations. GM, in its comparison, proclaimed itself the winner.
Then late Friday, a plucky upstart called Honda (you may know the company for its motorized bicycles and electrical generators), threw massive shade on the Detroit rivalry using the same test.
Automotive crossbreeds don’t always turn out for the better. GM’s past is littered with parts-bin-assembled cars that should never have existed. Pontiac Aztek and Hummer H3 are just two examples of good ideas gone horribly wrong.
The 2016 Camaro is not another example; this is parts bin raiding gone right, oh-so right.
In a nutshell, the new Camaro SS is what happens when you take a Cadillac ATS Coupe and a Corvette Stingray engine and wrap them in the latest Chevy stormtrooper styling. The result is something of an automotive unicorn. Under the hood lies a 6.2-liter small-block V8, yet the Camaro tips the scales at a svelte 3,685 pounds and boasts BMW-like weight balance.
This past weekend was one of the best in motorsport, with action from the Nurburgring, Monaco, Indy, and Charlotte.
Not to be left out, the entertaining FIA Rallycross paid a visit to Lydden Hill in the UK. Next, they’re off to the Hell Circuit (yessir, that’s its name) in Norway on June 10th.
The Thundersaloon (you must read that name like a monster truck announcer: “THUNDERsaloon!”) series of racing featured great UK drivers like Robin Donovan and John Cleland. The series saw V8 Carltons, RS500s, and Honda Legends tearing up tracks across Britain.
The Internet is abuzz about a video which purports to show a sleeping driver being chauffeured through stop-and-go traffic by his Tesla Model S on “Autopilot” mode. All sorts of questions have been raised: Is this legal? Is it safe? Could it happen at higher speeds? What happens when you fall asleep behind the wheel of a Model S that is doing 85 mph instead of 10 mph? Who takes vertical videos? Who takes vertical videos seriously, other than the WorldStarHipHop crowd?
I’ll answer most of these questions — below the jump, of course. But the most important question that people are asking goes like so: Is this video faked?
Let’s face it: Nobody wants to drive what their parents drove, even if it’s the right vehicle for the task at hand. Minivan shoppers balked at their parent’s station wagon, and CUV shoppers seem to believe that minivans are the gateway to mom-jeans and velcro sneakers.
My sister-in-law is the perfect example of a conflicted minivan shopper. With four kids, she needs a minivan. However, because she grew up sitting in the back of a string of Chevrolet Astro vans, she has a special hatred reserved for minivans. It probably doesn’t help that her parents recently traded in an Oldsmobile Silhouette for a Chrysler Town & Country.
Technically, a family of six will fit in your average three-row crossover, but even the biggest CUVs have a cramped back seat and limited cargo compared to the average minivan.
Seeing an opportunity to differentiate itself, Kia decided to put a different twist on the Sedona when it was redesigned for 2015. The latest Sedona gives up some traditional minivan practicality in an attempt to appeal to crossover shoppers on the fence.
It’s no secret that Honda strives to offer a “Goldilocks-just-right” option in just about every segment — not too big, not too small; not too cheap, not too expensive; not too flashy, not too bland, and with a dollop of practicality on top. This formula has led to a lineup of sales successes with few exceptions. Oddly enough, Honda’s new-to-America HR-V is one of those exceptions.
What gives? Have subcompact CUV shoppers forsaken Honda? Is the Renegade that good? Or is there some other explanation?
Surrounded by hundreds of miles of tinder-dry forest, Fort McMurray, Alberta seemed to ignite in an instant when wildfires overtook the oil-producing Canadian city earlier this week.
As the 88,000 residents fled in their vehicles, in many cases with just the shirts on their back, dashcams captured their flight towards safety.
It’s harrowing stuff, especially when you consider there’s only one highway leading into the city — an artery that quickly turned into a parking lot as flames encroached on both sides. Amazingly, no lives were lost in the fast-moving disaster.
Watch the horror for yourselves after the break: (Read More…)
The Lexus RX isn’t a sales success; it’s a sales phenomenon. It’s a magical cash generating unicorn that can seemingly do no wrong. The RX outsells every other luxury vehicle in America. Despite sales being down 6.5 percent in 2015, the RX crossover nearly outsold the entire Lincoln brand. When the numbers were tallied, Lincoln brand as a whole beat the single Lexus model by just 617 units.
Why do I bring up the Lexus RX so early in a review ostensibly about a Lincoln crossover? Two reasons. We might as well talk about the elephant in the room and I genuinely don’t understand why the RX outsells the MKX by nearly 5:1. As I discovered during a week with the latest incarnation of Lincoln’s MKX, the Lincoln is quite simply a better Lexus than the RX.
In the middle of a desert, a fleet of gorgeous supercars sat patiently, awaiting the next slightly hungover bachelor party, or group of corporate khaki-wearers. Yet, I could feel the unmistakable sense of power as I arrived at Exotics Racing in Las Vegas. These beasts waited to be unchained by a capable driver.
Exotics Racing is the brainchild of stunt driver and former Euro NASCAR champion Romain Thievin.
“I started with almost nothing,” says Thievin. “And now, I own over 50 exotic cars.”
With locations outside of Las Vegas and Los Angeles, Exotics Racing is the perfect place for pleated Dockers-wearing cubicle dwellers to have team-building events. Thievin’s fleet includes everything from Lamborghini Huracans to Audi R8s to Porsche 991 GT3s. But when I called Exotics Racing to let them know I was in town, Thievin and his team insisted that I drive the latest addition to their impressive fleet.
Behold, the McLaren 570S.
Mario Berthiaume will never forget May 21, 2015.
The rookie racer from Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada is laying down pre-season testing laps in a brand-new racecar prior to the first race of the Nissan Micra Cup. The car feels good. Mario’s lap times are falling, albeit gradually, thanks in part to a new set of tires. His approach is methodical. He’s taking on one corner at a time; after perfecting one turn as much as he can, he moves on to the next. After all, mastering braking points, lines, and apexes at Mont-Tremblant is key to getting the most out of the low power, pint-size racer.
Everything is going as planned.
That is, until seven laps into the fourth shakedown session of the day. Mario makes a rookie mistake and it happens. The rear of the #7 Micra swings right-then-left like a pendulum. The fresh rubber digs into the warming tarmac on the inside of Circuit Mont-Tremblant’s turn 10, causing the Micra to tip and roll. In under 10 seconds, Mario’s racing dream has turned into a $30,000 nightmare — and the twisted aftermath is resting on its side on the outside of turn 10.
His season is over before it even begins.
Japanese car companies have been trying to break into the American full-sized pickup market for decades. Despite Japanese trucks having a sterling reputation for dependability and reliability internationally, ‘Muricans are a different bunch. Not even Ford’s switch to “European-style” twin-turbo engines and aluminum bodies could stop the freight train that is the F-Series sales chart.
On the opposite end of that sales chart is the last-place Titan. Nissan sold just 12,140 Titans last year, 1/10th of Toyota’s own meager volume and 1/65th of Ford’s truck sales.
Rather than picking up its marbles and going home, Nissan thought outside the box and came up with a novel idea. Why not “right-size” a 3/4 ton truck and sell it for a little more than your average 1/2 ton? With the Detroit Three engaged in serious towing and payload wars, the heavy-duty pickup segment looks more like a Freightliner convention.
That’s where the diesel Titan XD comes in.
The BMW 3 Series has been the benchmark to which all manner of vehicles are measured. The comparisons go beyond the likes of the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Volvo S60, and include BMW M3 vs Chevy Camaro and BMW 328d vs Toyota Prius. It seems that every car company in America makes at least one “3-Series fighter.” But there’s a problem with your largest volume product being put on this kind of pedestal: die-hard fans hate change.
Enthusiasts claim that BMW ruined the 3 Series when they redesigned it in 2012. The “F30” sedan got bigger, fatter, softer, and more gadget-filled than ever before. BMW fanbois cried in their gemüsesuppe, Road & Track called it an “also ran” and … BMW laughed all the way to the bank.
For 2016 the 3-Series gets a facelift, new engines and a redesigned suspension. What isn’t changed, however, is BMW’s new direction. And that’s a good thing in my book.