I remember when the RX rolled onto the scene in 1998. It was truly the first successful crossover as we would know it today. While everyone else was trying to produce a truck-based luxury SUV, Lexus took the Camry/ES platform, put a jelly-bean inspired box on top and jacked the ride height up to 7.7 inches. The result was instant sales success. As we all know however, success has a price. The marshmallow-soft FWD RX lacked road feel, steering feel and sex appeal. Although it’s a bit late in the game, Lexus has decided to fix that last problem with the introduction of the 2013 RX F-Sport. (Read More…)
TTAC commentator Gannett writes:
This has now become an important question around our house: what’s the best/cheapest (not necessarily the same thing) way to drive 25,000 miles a year?
Oldsmobile, Packard, Plymouth. Another dead brand with obscure concept cars in this part of the alphabet is Pontiac. This is their Rageous concept from 1997, another proto-CUV, and what some have called “the Aztek that should have been”. Imagine a four door Trans Am (the rear doors are suicide style like on the RX-8 Mazda) with a hatchback and a flat load floor that will accommodate a 4X8 sheet of plywood. A ’90s vintage LT1 and a Corvette based rear suspension completed the package, which of course had Pontiac’s supernumerary nostrils from that era. Actually, the Rageous isn’t that obscure. Mattel’s Hot Wheels released their own version of it in 1999 and reissued it at least 8 times since then. Like the Jeep Jeepster concept, if you’re a Gen Y’er, or a baby boomer who collects Hot Wheels you may actually remember the Pontiac Rageous. (Read More…)
What do the Volvo XC60 and Lexus RX F-Sport have in common? Not much. Yet. Today’s vehicles aren’t just built on “modular” platforms, sharing parts with other vehicles from the same manufacturer, they are also “parts bin creations.” You’ll find the same power mirror switch in a Chevy, Jeep, Peugeot, Citroën, Lancia, Lincon and many more. That’s because car parts are like Lego pieces, made by a handful of car parts companies and designed to be everything for everyone. It’s cheaper for everyone to design one switch, one control module, one key fob and just alter some of the plastics and a connector to suit your new car design.
Press fleet vehicles are full of little surprises.
A rap CD with a certain word used 200 times in a three minute song.
Then there are the unusual litany of condoms, leftover roaches (the smokable variety), and paternity results that no doubt tell you more about your peers than you ever thought possible.
Finally, there was a trade-in that topped them all. I called it the Thelma and Louise car.
My girlfriend needs a car while in the midst of many other big financial decisions that severely limit her car budget. Here’s the situation. (Read More…)
Geely-owned Volvo has uncovered what Reuters calls “widespread cheating by its car dealers in China.” Dealers inflated sales to win cash rebates for meeting targets. An investigation found thousands of fake sales booked in 2011. In order to make books balance, 2012 sales were under reported. (Read More…)
Fisker is still likely to be rescued by a Chinese savior, but it won’t be Geely. Reuters is reporting that Fisker’s outstanding obligations to the Department of Energy have scared off the Chinese auto maker, leaving Dongfeng as the sole suitor for the beleagured EV maker.
My refusal to convict Oldsmobile driver Rod Kinkade on the testimony of a cycling team had the bike riders of TTAC howling for my blood. They won’t get it; I paid for eleven units of the finest junkie-and-derelict blood the last time I was struck by a motorist. It took three long, expensive days of ICU residence to get all that blood into me while they were Hemovacing the bad stuff out of a two-inch-diameter hole in my right leg. No soup for you, roadies.
A Volvo 140 doesn’t always jump right out at you, thanks to its similarity to its still-with-us-in-huge-numbers descendant, the Volvo 240 (especially when viewed from the rear), so I probably overlook a few of these in junkyards. The 140 isn’t an uncommon sight in Denver, and I’ve found this ’68 142 and this ’69 145 just in the last year. I’ve always liked these cars (though I’ve only owned one example, and it was quite troublesome), so it makes me a little sad to see another one about to get crushed. (Read More…)
Automatic high beams have been around since I drove a 70’s era Cadillac DeVille, probably longer. At the Geneva Motor Show, Volvo shows a new and improved automatic high beam. Fitted into the S60, V60 and XC60, Volvo’s Active High Beam Control shields cars in front of you from the brights. (Read More…)
Two months ago, we wrote that Geely will pour $11 billion into a development program for the next generation Volvos, and that half of that money would go to Sweden. Our commentariat did not quite buy that and said that the technology will go to China. Right they were. (Read More…)
Nose jobs are half price in Sweden and Volvo is doubling down on 2014 rhinoplasty. The Swedish auto news site Teknikens Värld has posted high-res leaked photos of Volvo’s 2014 lineup and every model except the dead-to-America C30 and ancient XC90 is getting a refresh inside and out.