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Jo Borrás

I've been in and around the auto industry since 1997, and have written for a number of well-known outlets like Cleantechnica, the Truth About Cars, Popular Mechanics, and more. You can also find me talking EVs with Matt Teske and Chris DeMorro on the Electrify Expo Podcast, writing about Swedish cars on my Volvo fan site, or chasing my kids around Oak Park.

By on May 18, 2022

Ford

Unless you’ve been living under a rock since 2019, you’ve probably realized that just about every major carmaker has plans to go “fully electric” at some point in the rapidly approaching future. That’s going to mean big changes in the way we buy and use cars, obviously— but change is hard, and not every company is going to be willing or able to make those changes.

That equally obvious fact begs the question: who’s not gonna make it?

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By on March 10, 2022

Just about every automaker has committed itself to going “all-electric” at some point in the next decade, and whether you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing, it means that the internal combustion engine (“ICE”, for the purposes of this article) is dead tech walking. Death and discontinuation are usually one-way tickets to the scrap heap for cars – but some cars are different. Some cars are special, and being made rare or obsolete just makes them more appealing.

The Great Jack Baruth once called this The Grand National Problem, and I think there are a few ICE cars out there that will be more appealing to car guys and gals than others in 20- or 30-years’ time. As such, I’ve taken some time to look at the automotive class of 2022 and pick my 5 future ICE Age Classics. Enjoy!

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By on March 2, 2022

chayanuphol/Shutterstock.com

It’s that time of year again, when many of you will file your taxes and get back a bunch of money. Some more than others, of course, and probably not enough to buy the sort of car you probably want, but could it be enough for a down payment? That sounds about right – and, if you’re anything like me, you’re about to make a very bad decision.

Why are you making a bad decision? Because you’ve said the words, “Why would I buy a new Accord when I could get a used [insert German sports sedan] for the same money?” out loud, and sort of believed it. If only a little.

Or, I dunno. Maybe you’re smart. If you are, sit back, get set for some Schadenfreude, check out some of the ridiculous cars we dumb people will be spending our tax money on/ruining our lives with once the H&R Block check hits.

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By on February 8, 2022

Last week, Nissan – as part of the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance – announced an ambitious plan to invest 23 billion Euros in new products, starting with the all-electric Nissan Ariya crossover and compact Nissan Micra, as well as a commitment to developing a new type of solid-state battery that could rocket the company back to the forefront of the electric car market in a way that it hasn’t been since the original Nissan LEAF went into production all the way back in 2010. It was a bold statement of intent, but one that begs the question: Can Nissan pull it off?

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By on January 3, 2022

Jo Borras/Toyota

When Toyota first entered the high-end American luxury market with the Legendary Lexus LS400 and ES250 in 1989, it wasn’t a forgone conclusion that it would succeed. Automotive buff books of the era wrote articles questioning whether or not the yuppies would be willing to trade in their BMWs and Mercedes for a Japanese luxury car. Some even questioned whether the Japanese could be trusted to build a V8 at all, such was the xenophobic belief that a V8 luxury sedan was inherently a Teutonic thing.

A few decades on, it’s obvious that Lexus could compete successfully against BMW and Mercedes – but Toyota approached the market cautiously with its first cars, nibbling away at the S class and, later, the 190E and 3 series markets. What if it hadn’t? What if, instead of going down, Lexus had had the stones to go up? In today’s episode, our Automotive Sam Beckett travels back in time to convince Toyota that the V12 powered Century would make the perfect flagship for Lexus, and bring a vulnerable Mercedes-Benz to its knees.

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By on December 29, 2021

GMC

Before we get to this list of “best luxury cars”, I feel like you might be wondering about that headline. Why $90,060? I chose that number because the ceiling for my “best cheap cars” post was based on half the average selling price of a new car (more or less), and arbitrarily decided to keep going with that theme and set the floor for this list at approximately twice the current average.

As for the list, itself, I’ll try to answer it the same way you’d probably answer your rich friends if they asked you for help picking a new car: With a question of my own.

No, it’s not anything as pedestrian as, “What do you plan on using it for?” That kind of stuff is for the poors. For the rich people, the real question is: Who are you trying to impress with it?

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By on December 22, 2021

Dodge/Stellantis

It’s been a few months now, so I’ve had plenty of time to get used to it — and yet, it still seems wrong. It feels factually wrong, emotionally wrong, and just wrong wrong. What is “it”, you ask? It’s this: Ram and Dodge topped the 2021 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, ahead of Lexus, Mitsubishi, and Nissan.

If someone told me, “The most reliable new cars you can buy are Rams, Dodges, Lexuses (Lexii?), Mitsubishis, and Nissans …” well, I’m not sure how you’d respond, but I would assume they sold Rams, Dodges, Mitsubishis, and Nissans, and just threw Lexus in there to give the list some credibility.

I won’t go as far as Brightwork Research in calling J.D. Power “a fake entity”, but my gut tells me that there has to be more to JDP’s Initial Quality Study than — well, initial quality — that’s pushing weird brands up in the ranking, and I’ve decided to do a little more research to find out what. If you’re as curious as I am, keep reading.

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By on December 21, 2021

NAIAS

The Detroit Auto Dealers’ Association recently got some good news. Michigan lawmakers have decided to give them a $9 million grant to put on a Detroit Auto Show — the first since 2019 —  and effectively “reopen” one of the world’s biggest auto shows. And, while it’s good for the dealers, I have to admit that the news has left me angry with rage.

But why? I’m a car person, so I should be happy, right? After all, Detroit is a major show, packed with cool concept cars and big, international reveals. That stuff’s exciting, who wouldn’t want more of that!? But, sitting here and facing down the start of 2022, I can’t get past the feeling that the traditional auto show is dead — and should stay dead.

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By on December 20, 2021

Ford Maverick

Before we get to this list of “best cheap cars”, I feel like you might be wondering about that headline. Why $22,515? I chose that number because the average price of a new car in 2021 has crept past $45,000 for the first time — $45,301, to be exact — and half of that is … well, you get the idea.

As for the list, I’ll try to answer it the same way you’d probably answer your friends if they asked you for help picking a new car: With a question of my own.

“What do you plan on using it for?”

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By on December 17, 2021

GMC

Why are we switching to electric cars? I mean, I’m not talking about the need to “do better” when it comes to Mother Earth and the baby kangaroos — even Randy Newman wouldn’t bomb the baby kangaroos — but are EVs and billions spent to lower prices and build chargers for the things really going to make the world better if people just look at them as a way to have their cakes and eat them, too? To put it another way, are you really reducing your carbon footprint behind the wheel of a 9,046 lb. GMC Hummer pickup?

That’s right, kids. The upcoming all-electric Hummer will tip the scales at more than 4.5 tons — and that’s “just” the pickup. The SUV will probably weigh more since it’ll be hauling around more glass, seats, and carpets than the pickup. Despite having enough mass to generate its own gravity, the GMC-badged truck can rocket to 60 mph in under 4 seconds, and effectively crush its way through untouched, virgin wilderness in a manner worthy of its heritage as an Army man cosplay favorite (Punisher window sticker not included).

It’s almost enough to make me throw my hands up and say, “Why bother!?” And that, dear B&B, led me to ask myself the question: What would I drive if I just didn’t give a f***?

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By on December 7, 2021

Image: GM

These days, it’s hard to imagine a company better positioned to take on Tesla than Geely-owned Volvo and Polestar. Volvo made headlines back in 2015 when it promised that all new Volvos would be electrified starting in 2019 and ruffled more feathers when it spun off its successful motorsports brand, Polestar, into a purely electrified performance car line. Parent company Geely’s Chinese heritage allows Volvo nearly unfettered access to the all-important Chinese market and allows the company to benefit from economies of scale – through the Geely, Lynk & Co., and Zeekr car lines – that it simply wouldn’t be able to realize on its own.

Over the past 10-or-so years, the Swedish company – once on the verge of extinction – has flourished, going from strength to strength. Ford looks absolutely ridiculous for having sold Volvo, now valued at more than $20 billion, to Geely for “just” $1.5 billion (with Polestar going for another $20 billion, all on its own) back in 2010.

Sure, Ford wanted to fire-sale Volvo – but Ford wasn’t the only troubled American car company holding on to a respected Swedish car brand looking to make some fast cash. With a push here and a nudge there, Geely could have bought Saab, instead.

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By on December 1, 2021

FabrikaSimf/Shutterstock.com

You finally did it, didn’t you? You beautiful disaster, you did it! You spent nearly $30,000 US American dollars on thirty-seven-year-old Toyota Corolla because of a comic book, and you aren’t even mad about it. Hell, you paid a little extra for the “authentic” Fujiwara Tofu Shop decals on the doors. You. Kick. Rear. And now, after you didn’t think it could be possible to feel better about your automotive purchase, I’m going to make you feel better about your automotive purchase – because you can now buy factory-fresh parts for your Corolla AE86, straight from Toyota.

That’s right kids, through its captive motorsport brand, Gazoo Racing, Toyota is reproducing spare parts for the Corolla Levin Sprinter Trueno “AE86” as part of the GR Heritage Parts Project. The project reproduces new original parts that have been discontinued and sells them as genuine parts with a standard new part warranty, “in order to support customers who wish to continue driving older vehicles that are full of memories and that they truly love.”

All kidding aside, you have to admit that the concept of a Heritage Parts program is great, even if the Initial D AE86 isn’t exactly your cuppa – but it sort of begs the question, what other new-age classics might be worthy of a heritage program? I’m glad you asked!

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By on November 30, 2021

Back when the Tesla Model S was new, it achieved something almost unthinkable for an upstart carmaker. I’m not talking about bringing a full-size electric sedan to market, and I’m not talking about building a seven-passenger sedan capable of Ferrari-baiting acceleration, either. What I’m talking about is the Tesla Model S’ outstanding 5.4 safety rating from the NHTSA – a score that was so high, it effectively “broke” the organization’s five-star scale.

The question of Tesla safety in the lab seemed to be settled, but – nearly 10 years on – we finally have some real-world data to look at, and the results are not quite what you’d expect from a car with “the highest safety rating of any car ever tested”.

I mean, unless you expected the Model S to have nearly 160x the fatality rate of a Chevy Bolt, anyway.

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By on November 22, 2021

The Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 4MATIC is the three-pointed star’s first real attempt at an all-electric flagship in its 100-plus year history, and its importance to the brand cannot be overstated. Simply put, Tesla is already beating Mercedes-Benz, and the upstart, 500-mile range Lucid Air isn’t going to pull any punches, either. The EQS must come […]

By on November 12, 2021

Despite being presented as the ideal vehicle for “urbanites and city dwellers who don’t drive long distances,” it’s actually rural drivers who stand to benefit the most from making the switch to an electric vehicle (EV). And that’s often true regardless of what state they live in or what type of vehicle they currently drive. And, while it’s true that rural communities across the country have their own cultures and characteristics, common themes like longer driving distances, larger vehicles, and a number of shared socio-economic factors all contribute to a potential benefit from vehicle electrification.

So, without further ado, here are five reasons why rural drivers stand to benefit the most from switching to an electric car.

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