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Chris Tonn

By on October 12, 2021

In the beginning, someone created the buggy. Now the buggy was primitive and lacked more than a couple of horsepower, and darkness was over the surface of the automotive world because this buggy had leaf springs. And some engineer said, “Let there be a functional suspension,” and there was a coil spring – and, if […]

By on September 7, 2021

As I’m sure many of you who’ve read my work here know, I’m not a full-time automotive journalist. I work in a sales career – my nights and weekends, when not occupied with my kids and their activities, are spent in my dungeon of a basement office, mashing out car reviews and other stuff. I […]

By on August 31, 2021

It’s probably exciting to be working in transportation media at a dawn of an all-new product category. Imagine the journalists in 1964 witnessing the birth of the pony car. What about those in the mid-Nineties covering the birth of the crossover – never mind, that probably wasn’t all that thrilling. I’m picturing, instead, the newsroom […]

By on August 18, 2021

As I’m sure you’ve seen elsewhere on these pages, the 2023 Nissan Z has broken cover in Brooklyn. And as much as I, TTAC’s professed Z fanatic, would love to be there, I simply can’t get away from the desk this week. Tim’s there, but I suspect he’s spending most of his time geeking out over Seinfeld filming sites.*

*Ed. note: Chris knows me too well. But Seinfeld was mostly filmed across the river in Manhattan and I’ve been to the diner that served as the coffee shop. It wasn’t that good.

Yes, we saw the reveal of the Z Proto last summer, and this production version isn’t changed all that much. Most notably, beneath the sculpted sheetmetal lies a platform that isn’t all that different than the outgoing 370Z, with a 400hp V6 that, while stout, isn’t all that new either. The journalists are surely agog with the reveal of the new car, but almost none of them will buy it. And, when you break down the likely sales figures, the new Z will likely sell in a year what a Ford F-150 sells in a day or two.

The sports car market in general is irrelevant. So why does a new Z matter? Let’s wander a bit into the history of the Z for a moment.

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By on June 8, 2021

2018 Toyota C-HR front quarter

Believe it or not, there was once a time before every automaker had something resembling an SUV on their lot. Of course, that time faded with the Carter administration. Today, every mainstream brand boasts a variety of lifted wagons to grab at every possible sliver of the segment.

Arguably, Toyota was there at the beginning of the modern crossover with the 1995 RAV4 – pedants of course will bring up the beloved AMC Eagle, but that didn’t exactly light up the sales charts. The combo of wagon-like interior space with perceived capability has proven irresistible for a quarter century.

Toyota has gone back to the well once more with the Corolla Cross, which would be the eighth distinct crossover/SUV in the lineup. Keen observers will note the dimensional similarity to the oddly-styled C-HR. Do both need to be on the floorplan at the same time?

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By on May 4, 2021

There are pros and cons to living in Ohio while attempting to convince people that I’m a motoring journalist. On the plus side, I don’t have to live with the horrendous roads or the stifling car insurance rates that come with living near Detroit. Downside? I’m not in the heart of the action. Many times, […]

By on April 21, 2021

It’s perhaps a bit ironic that Jeep has Ford to thank for at least one sale. Last summer’s media blitz surrounding the coming release of the still-coming Bronco stirred a latent yearn within the soul of my wife. A winter vacation to an RV park in Florida had her thinking aloud about the joy of driving topless (the Jeep, you pervs), while an oft-delayed home refinance freed up a good portion of our paychecks.

The result – the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Freedom you see before you. In the time-honored tradition of TTAC thumbing noses at the buff books and their manufacturer-supplied long-term testers, I’ll be bringing periodic updates about the ownership of one of the most venerable nameplates to grace our roads. A brief discussion of the buying process – and the disposal of our previous steed – will be included.

Last – let me emphasize – this is my wife’s car. Neither of us has, in forty-two years on this earth, ever purchased a new car. My bride has long relied on cast-offs from others, never truly choosing exactly what she wants – so this process was guided by her wants and needs. I lent whatever expertise I could, and was the primary contact with the dealership – but it’s HER baby.

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By on April 6, 2021

  Remember recess kickball? Invariably, a pair of jocks and/or popular kids would square off, choosing, in turn, their sides for the battle over the red rubber ball. The draft lines would dwindle to a few undesirables – the uncoordinated, small kids certain to be a drag on the lineup but required to be there […]

By on March 11, 2021

“That sounds fun,” Spenser from roadside assistance thought to himself as he read the message from his dispatcher. “Four-wheel drive required.”

At least that’s how he’d related it to me when he arrived with his 4×4 midsize pickup and six-ton winch. Perhaps I imagined it in a delusion spurred by mild dehydration and hunger. You see, I was stuck.

Driving a capable vehicle like the 2021 Ram TRX will give you incredible confidence in the abilities of the vehicle and in your own driving. Unfortunately, when you finally run out of talent and road, you might find yourself well beyond the reach of your typical roadside wrecker service.

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By on February 19, 2021

Just then, they came in sight of thirty or forty sporty crossovers that rise from that plain. Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. Such is the life of the sports-sedan enthusiast these days, tilting at the hulking windmills as […]

By on February 7, 2021

Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.comIt’s time for football! It’s time for commerce!

I’ll be updating this post with YouTube links to every car (and car-adjacent) commercial as the game goes along. Check back throughout the game for updates as each new ad airs.

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By on February 5, 2021

Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com

It’s about that time. It’s the time of year where we gather around the biggest screen in our social group with dozens of our closest friends and/or acquaintances we at least trust to bring the good beer. Time to share all of those great recipes you’ve been working on — whether for guacamole, wings, or a lovely new strain of a communicable disease.

Ahem.

Yeah, let’s not do that. Let’s stay home, make a small batch of guac for your own fam, and spring for the good stuff yourself since you don’t need to account for the one guy who brings a sixer of Natty Light when you’ve stocked the fridge with artisanal growlers.

Since the crowds won’t be too rowdy, you can finally pay attention to both the commercials and the big game. We’ll have live-ish coverage of the automotive-adjacent ads during the game, but as usual, some automakers have released their ads early. Check ’em out!

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By on January 29, 2021

I’m trying to imagine the buyer who walks into a Lexus dealership, ready to buy an SUV. The options can be overwhelming. No fewer than five distinct models with a bit of ground clearance dot the clean, modern showroom and perfectly aligned aisles of fresh deliveries. The RX is the gold standard of luxury crossovers, […]

By on January 4, 2021

I’d like to think the term wouldn’t need an explanation at this point, but for the sake of those just tuning in from parts of the country where vegan eateries outnumber personal automobiles, I’d like to offer a definition. A “brodozer” is a pejorative reference to a full-sized pickup truck, modified typically by the owner […]

By on October 30, 2020

Let me indulge in a bit of inside baseball for a moment. Those of us who make (at least something resembling) a living talking about cars tend to read a good bit of our colleagues’ work – and then discuss it at length via whatever channel we have at our disposal. Indeed, that’s what has […]

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