Posts By: Chris Tonn

By on April 19, 2019

Does a crossover really need to be good to drive, or is mere competence good enough to win buyers? Most carmakers settle for “good enough,” and yet they keep selling. Mazda, of course, doesn’t settle. Performance is baked into everything it offers. I’m certain that if Mazda offered a panel van, some fool out there […]

By on April 15, 2019

Hyundai turned itself into a successful brand by building sensible, reliable cars and crossovers that match up nicely with the competition. Where rival carmakers have a product, Hyundai has a very similar alternative. Making a sale by imitating the class leaders is generally a winning strategy. And then you have the 2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo […]

By on April 4, 2019

Welcome to the least hip car segment – the minivan. It’s what our parents drove, right? Nobody wants to be as tragically uncool as their parents, even as they themselves become parents. Might I, an experienced parent, suggest something to the millennials and hipsters who are starting to reproduce? Consider getting back to the minivan […]

By on April 3, 2019

A big luxury sedan is sedate, ponderous, and numb. Insulation from everything outside the cockpit is paramount. Arriving refreshed and relaxed is the order of the day in this class of car. The little F-Sport badge on the tail of this 2019 Lexus LS 500 changes everything. While one can still chauffeur grandma to church […]

By on March 28, 2019

Yet another three-row crossover. Yawn. It’s even painted white, like the appliance it’s certain to be. But people keep buying these things, like it or not. Since few want my ideal family hauler – the minivan – this genre is the best way to haul more than five people. And I’d argue that this 2019 […]

By on March 19, 2019

  The luxury crossover realm is a weird one. The market has been built on the age-old plan of taking a more basic model and adding profitable flash. The problem lies when the base model is good enough for most buyers. Indeed, starting out with the best-selling non-truck in America means building something distinctive atop […]

By on March 15, 2019

This coming weekend,  dozens of the best endurance racers in the world take to a bumpy old airstrip in Florida for the annual 12 Hours of Sebring. God knows I’d love to be there — but not in the stands. I’m a man of action, you know. I want to get involved.

I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you, but much like me, you aren’t going to be a world champion race car driver. Each year, there are roughly 20 drivers in the world with a seat in Formula One. Another 30 or so seats in IndyCar, and 40ish in NASCAR. Several scores of seats are available in IMSA, but bring a checkbook. If you’re reading this and you are not 10 years old with seven years of high-level karting experience, blessed with ungodly talent, or paired with a parent with ungodly money (see Stroll, Lance), you aren’t going to be spraying champagne on international television.

Facing this reality, what’s an enthusiast to do? One could always build or buy a race car or get involved in track days or autocross. But there is another option that comes with both minimal cost and risk — working on a pit crew.

(Read More…)

By on March 12, 2019

Remember 2005? An old, ugly English prince marries for the second time. A hurricane devastates the U.S. Gulf Coast. Newlywed Chris signs a mortgage on a house and begins to prepare said house for the arrival of a newborn. And Nissan reveals the D40-chassis Frontier. Fast forward. Charles wonders when his mom will give it […]

By on March 11, 2019

Let’s face it. Most Toyotas are boring. Sure, enthusiasts get tossed the occasional bone – the 86 and the upcoming (controversial) Supra – but otherwise, the lineup doesn’t excite. I believe that there are gearheads deep within the bowels of Toyota R&D, however. Those who recall the days when several proper performance cars shared a […]

By on March 4, 2019

I’ve long scoffed at the class of trucks often referred to “Cowboy Cadillacs,” those seemingly built for the well-heeled Texan deep within every suburban dad who wants to prove he’s the king of the bagged mulch pick-up lane at Home Depot. Loaded down either from the factory or a catalog with big wheels, low-profile tires, […]

By on March 1, 2019

Ah, the mainstream compact crossover. Quickly overtaking the traditional midsize sedan as the new family vehicle of choice, every manufacturer has to have one or more with which to fill the lot. The formula is simple — usually two rows with five seats, a reasonably powerful four-cylinder, benign handling, and striking-but-instantly-forgettable styling. No need to […]

By on February 26, 2019

I want first to apologize to the Jeep owners of northern Columbus, and by extension all brethren of the seven-slot grille everywhere. In my week driving this 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, I neglected to properly wave in most cases. It’s a Jeep thing, and apparently I don’t understand. I suppose it’s an ethical thing — […]

By on February 19, 2019

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” That adage, from George Santayana, has a less well-known corollary that I just made up: “Those who do remember the past are doomed to watch idly while our memories are sold out to create something much, much worse.” Take the 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross […]

By on February 11, 2019

The Napoleon complex, of course, is where those of smaller stature overcompensate by being overly aggressive. Named for the legendarily short French emperor (who may or may not have actually been all that tiny), those so afflicted may be excessively loud, with a temper matching their height. We car enthusiasts tend to anthropomorphize our four-wheeled […]

By on February 4, 2019

Imagine a world in which The Fast And The Furious movie never had a sequel, let alone eight. Dom Toretto and the team didn’t keep being criminals or fighting crime — they just settled down in Southern California and had families. In this imaginary offshoot of an imaginary world, there is one question that needs […]

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