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Chris Tonn

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 […]

By on October 26, 2020

There was a time, not all that long ago, when I was all about Honda. I’ve lost count – at least seven variants of the big H have spent time in my various garages. Once, I even owned a Civic race car – no, it never raced in my care, but that’s a long story […]

By on September 30, 2020

Much ink has been spilled in the automotive press over the decades making reference to the “same sausage, different lengths” philosophy of product planning prevalent within the premium German marques. Generally, that’s been a rap on the highly-derivative styling between the three (or more) varieties of sedan each automaker would offer. Today, sedans don’t matter. […]

By on September 14, 2020

Some of the best driving roads on the continent, the Hocking Hills of southeastern Ohio, lie roughly one hour from my front door. Not coincidentally, those roads are also merely four hours from every Detroit-based ride-and-handling engineer, not to mention the buff books. These twisties, shaped by the glaciers, have been worn smooth by generations […]

By on August 26, 2020

The bad news comes at you daily, it seems. No, I’m not talking about the pandemic, the state of our economy, politics, or the dumpster fire that passes for public discourse these days. I’m talking about bad news that hits even closer to our hearts – the slow demise of the traditional manual transmission. Pundits […]

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