Posts By: Matthias Gasnier

By on October 3, 2014

Econolodge

You can check out all the Coast to Coast 2014 updates as they get published here.

We are now leaving Memphis TN to drive South to New Orleans, Louisiana, crossing Mississippi via Jackson. For those of you unfamiliar with this often underrated State, Mississippi is home of the blues and the birthplace of Elvis Presley (check out Elvis’ cars here if you haven’t already). We are now entering the next level of pickup domination, more in line with the national sales charts: based on official FY2013 data supplied by JATO, the Ford F150 is the most popular vehicle in Mississippi followed by the Chevrolet Silverado. Full Mississippi stats and my exclusive review of America’s budget motels below the jump. Make sure you read till the end as it gets more ‘authentic’…

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By on October 1, 2014

Elvis pink CadillacElvis with his legendary pink 1955 Cadillac Series 60 Fleetwood

You can check out all the Coast to Coast 2014 updates as they get published here.

Today we stay in Memphis as in my opinion the one attraction really worth seeing in town is Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. I wasn’t expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised with the tour’s thoroughness, the extravagant decoration and endless flow of music sales records detailed on the self-guided iPad tour. My never-ending thirst for stats was quenched here, and that says a lot! It was also an opportunity to go beyond the singer’s most commonly played hits and discover gems like ‘She’s not you’, ‘Good luck charm’, ‘The Girl of my best friend‘ or ‘Return to sender‘. Most significantly (and relevantly), there is also a car museum displaying a collection of cars Elvis owned. I have ranked the most stylish Elvis cars here along with detailed background info about each model. Yes this is absolutely and unashamedly subjective. The full ranking is below the jump.

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By on September 23, 2014

2015 Chevrolet Colorado2015 Chevrolet Colorado

You can follow all Coast to Coast reports here.

After Nashville TN, we are now heading 222 miles South West to Memphis, still in Tennessee. As a reference point, the best-selling vehicles in Tennessee are the Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry and Ford F150 (2012 figures). Splitting the F-Series into its specific variants (F150, F250) does mean it is ‘only’ #1 in 22 states. However if we get into detailed observation, Memphis is the first city I have visited so far to have a strong mid-sized pick-up truck heritage and I will cover this at the end of the report. My first striking impression in Memphis is the markedly older vehicle landscape, in line with the region struggling a little economically in recent times. Cars 6-7 years or older are the norm here which prompts me to describe the state of the US car landscape as I have been witnessing it so far.

Full report below the jump.

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By on September 20, 2014

Follow all my Coast to Coast 2014 trip reports as they get published here.

After crossing Georgia and part of Tennessee – the State of Davy Crockett, Aretha Franklin and Dolly Parton (of course) – we have now landed in Nashville, the country music capital of the world. Having grown up in France, I am not overly familiar with this music genre but listening to Sirius XM’s “The Highway” satellite radio station all day long while driving had me catch up on lost time in a flash.

Full report below.

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By on September 19, 2014

30 mpg30 mpg average in a full-size pick-up truck is possible: the proof.

I started this New York to Los Angeles Coast to Coast trip by driving South along the East Coast all the way through to Charleston SC and Savannah GA. It’s now time to go north-west, taking Interstate 16 to Macon then the 75 through to Chattanooga, Tennessee via Atlanta, and continuing on the 24 to Nashville. A total of 585 miles (940 km) from Savannah to Nashville, the longest daily stretch so far in this Coast to Coast trip. And this is where Albert – my Ram 1500 EcoDiesel pick-up truck – met his match in the form of a bright yellow Peterbilt truck, and beat his fuel economy record to reach a very symbolic milestone…

Full report below the jump.

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By on September 18, 2014

Albert Savannah 2Albert in the Avenue of the Oaks – Wormsloe Plantation Historic Site in Savannah, GA

Now that we have gone through New York CityWashington DC through Virginia, North & South Carolina and Charleston, it’s time to travel further South along the East Coast of the United States and the Interstate 95 to Georgia – the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr and Ray Charles. But first, I’ll give you my first impressions on running a full-size pick-up on diesel in the US.

Full report below the jump…

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By on September 17, 2014

1. Ford F250 Charleston 2Ford F250 in Charleston SC

After driving from Washington DC through Virginia, North & South Carolina, we are now in Charleston SC. I know a lot of you live in town and have already predicted the type of cars I would see depending on which area of town I travel to. So I need to preface my observations by saying I spent some time in North Charleston, Downtown Charleston and Ashley River as this will impact the landscape I have observed.

Full Report below the jump.

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By on September 12, 2014

Nissan Rogue Virginia. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comNot my picture, but the Hero of the Day: the Nissan Rogue.

After New York City and Washington DC, today we continue South on the Interstate 95 Highway to cross Virginia via a detour to Williamsburg, then North and South Carolina to arrive in Charleston. As soon as we leave the Washington urban area, the vehicle landscape starts to progressively change to allow more pick-up trucks on the road. My Ram 1500 4×4 (Albert) is now starting to feel less out of his comfort zone and more and more at home…

Full report below the jump.

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By on September 10, 2014

1. Toyota Corolla Washington Toyota Corolla in Washington DC (these are from Maryland for illustration purposes)

After managing to drive through Manhattan and escape unscathed, we are now travelling 250 miles Southwest to the country’s capital city, Washington DC. But first, I’ll answer a few of the questions you asked in my first article:

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By on September 9, 2014

3. Ford E-Series New York 1Ford E-Series in Times Square, New York City – September 2014

You may remember my Trans-Siberian Railway series that took us from St Petersburg through to Mongolia. This time we are crossing the United States of America from the East to the West coast, departing in New York and arriving in Los Angeles. Last month the US new light vehicle market rebounded back to levels not seen since January 2006, so what better timing than now to explore it in detail, observing specificities in the automotive landscape as we go through various cities, States and regions.

Full report below the jump…

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By on June 25, 2014

This is the final Mongolian post in our Trans-Siberian Series, exploring a very unique and surprising list of the best-selling models in the country. Next stop will be China! But first, a slice of modern Mongolian culture for you. As you will see below the Mercedes G-Class is at world-best levels in the Mongolian sales charts and has reached cult-level in the country. Proof: above is the music video for Mongolian R’n’b artist Tselmuun’s latest hit “Setgel”. From 2min49 in the video you can see a line of Mercedes G-Class behind the dancers, not one but 4 of them – so hot right now…

If you can’t wait for the next report, you can follow my trip in real time here, or check out 174 other car markets on my blog.

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By on June 20, 2014

This is the next step in our Trans-Siberian adventure. After reporting on the impressive number of Hummers in Mongolia’s capital city Ulaanbaatar, today we have a look at one of the most peculiar characteristics of the car landscape of Ulaanbaatar (and the country): used right-hand drive Japanese imports. Hope you enjoy, and stay tuned for the last Mongolian update in this long-term Photo Report, detailing the official best-selling cars in Mongolia in 2013…

If you can’t wait for the next report, you can follow my trip in real time here, or check out 174 other car markets on my blog.

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By on June 16, 2014

Hummer 2One of the many Hummers I saw in Ulaanbaatar

This is the next step in our Trans-Siberian adventure. We stay in Mongolia, and after one week in the Gobi desert, saying that getting back to the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar (nicknamed UB here) is a total shock is an understatement. You would assume that civilisation progressively creeps back to culminate in UB, but it’s not so. Anything outside of UB is desert steppe, and when you arrive in the city it’s like turning a huge switch on: you instantly are in traffic jams going for kilometres! I saw in 10 seconds the amount of cars it took one week to spot outside the capital…

I couldn’t go on without pausing on one of the most surprising particularities of the UB car landscape: the astounding frequency of Hummers…

If you can’t wait for the next report, you can follow my trip in real time here, or check out 174 other car markets on my blog.

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By on June 13, 2014

Silver MustangMake no mistake: our van is a Silver Mustang.

Today we continue on our Trans-Siberian adventure, with the last report dedicated to the Gobi region in Mongolia. We have seen in the previous Gobi post that the UAZ vans and jeeps were by far the most popular in the Gobi desert. It’s no surprise then that we did this whole trip in one of them, the UAZ Bukhanka. In Russia, this off-road van (real name: UAZ 452) has earned a few nicknames – Bukhanka: (loaf of bread), Tabletka (pill) or Golovastik (tadpole) – in Mongolia our driver has baptised its own Silver Mustang, because of its grey colour and its ability to gallop to the most isolated stretches of the Gobi.

If you can’t wait for the next report, you can follow my trip in real time here, or check out 174 other car markets on my blog.

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By on June 2, 2014

Ghost motorbike rider Gobi desertLike a ghost riding the desert… Forget cars, motorbikes are the preferred motorised means of transportation in the Gobi.

Today we continue on our Trans-Siberian adventure. The last update was just an introduction to the Gobi desert region, now we are getting serious. Traversing the harshest terrain in the Gobi desert took us 4 days on an often disappearing track, only rarely flat. Needless to say only the sturdiest four wheel drives are allowed here.

If you can’t wait for the next report, you can follow my trip in real time here, or check out 174 other car markets on my blog.

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