Category: Editorials

By on April 3, 2020

Have you ever wished for a very luxurious coupe for grand touring purposes — one with an unconventional engine placement and the underpinnings of an economy car?

Well, we’ve got a car for you: the 1988 Zimmer Quicksilver.

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By on April 2, 2020

Today’s Rare Ride is from a time when a few of the sensible people at the Volvo Boxy Car Company created a special, sporty version of their mainstream model. From long ago and now largely forgotten, it’s the 1979 Volvo 242 GT.

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By on April 1, 2020

2022 Chevrolet Traverse Premier

Things in the automotive industry are in constant flux, and as the industry goes, so must we.

While the coronavirus pandemic has the industry temporarily paused, along with the rest of the world, there will, sooner or later, be a resumption of production and vehicle sales. And since we’re in tune with the pulse of the industry, we’ve decided we need to change our name. We’re doing so now, so that we can suck up the sweet, sweet Google juice as bored shoppers search for the car they plan to buy as soon as the shelter-in-place orders lift.

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce The Truth About Crossovers.

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By on March 31, 2020

Recently we featured a flagship Bentley in the Azure convertible, which was among the most expensive production cars money could buy. Today we have a look at the cheapest Bentley available – the Eight. Let’s check out the Bentley for poor people.

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By on March 31, 2020

As the status of the North American Honda Fit remains unknown, its more evolved global sibling (the Jazz) hasn’t held our interest. With sales of economy vehicles still losing ground to crossovers and U.S. Fit volume going from modest to borderline meager over the last five years, there’s a good chance Honda may not bother updating it here.

The 2020 Euro-market reboot only offers a hybrid drivetrain — a 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle engine mated to a 96-kW synchronous AC motor — and adds a plethora of standard safety tech and connectivity features. While other markets will see internal-combustion version, the best Honda has on offer is a pint-sized i-VTEC (988 cc) making 120 horsepower. Frankly, it doesn’t seem like a good fit for this market and may explain the company’s reluctance to confirm anything for North America. But Honda has made some changes that we hope carry over to all of its future products, regardless of the name carried on the rear hatch or the engine lurking beneath the hood.  Read More >

By on March 30, 2020

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We can’t tell you how the Chevrolet Trailblazer, reborn as a vastly different vehicle for 2021, drives (thanks to a first drive program scuttled at the 11th hour by coronavirus), but at least we can tell you what to expect at the pump.

As the model starts quietly trickling onto dealer lots at a time when most Americans are scared to leave the house, the Environmental Protection Agency has gotten around to testing the model’s full range. Two three-cylinder engines and two transmissions are on tap. Let’s take a look. Read More >

By on March 30, 2020

Considering the insanity our consumer markets have seen over the past few weeks, I’m kicking myself for having let my warehouse club membership lapse a year or so ago. I reasoned that there was absolutely no need for me to buy staple foods (or paper products) in bulk quantities. There would be no circumstance short of the apocalypse where my regular supermarket could not adequately fill the needs of my family.

Yeah, I’m kicking myself.

Anyhow, that got me thinking about other things that one could buy in larger packages than normal. Looking at the photos of the 2020 Mini Cooper S Countryman I drove a few weeks ago, it clicked – this is the bulk package Mini Cooper. A fair bit more Mini than the standard three-door hatchback, the Countryman is the Mini for families.

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By on March 30, 2020

1995 Volvo 850 Turbo wagon in Colorado junkyard, RH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWhen I’m strolling through my favorite junkyards and looking for significant bits of discarded automotive history, I’m always on the lookout for interesting Volvos. Thing is, my definition of interesting has long spanned the PV544/Amazon Era through the Late Rear-Wheel-Drive Brick Era, meaning that the universe of front- and all-wheel-drive Volvos beginning with the 1993 850 has been neglected in this series.

Lately, I’ve been making an effort to fill in some of those blank spots in the junkyard record, and so I went out and found a ’97 850R sedan and today’s find: this 1995 850 Turbo Wagon. Read More >

By on March 27, 2020

News arose yesterday that General Motors’ and Ford Motor Company’s battle plans rely heavily on SUV and pickup sales, rather than electric vehicles. Details of the corporate strategies, first shared by Reuters, soon circulated through the media, with many outlets upset that the pair seem to have oversold the role electrification will play in their respective lineups through 2026. One wonders how they could possibly be this surprised.

Using data issued to parts suppliers from the two automakers, AutoForecast Solutions predicted North American production of SUV models from GM and Ford will outpace the assembly of traditional cars by more than eight to one in 2026. Roughly 93 percent of those models are expected to be dependent upon gasoline. Meanwhile, Reuters compared the manufacturers’ strategy against Tesla — a company that only exists for the explicit purpose of selling EVs and has never assembled a gas-powered automobile — as if all manufacturers are equal in scope and cater to the same type of customers.  Read More >

By on March 27, 2020

2020 Audi A6

Once upon a time, if you were shopping for a luxury vehicle that drove like a sports car, you’d get a BMW or, in some cases, a Jaguar. If you wanted one strictly for its comfort and opulence, you’d get a Mercedes-Benz or a Lexus. If you wanted a sort of ‘tweener, then you’d consider an Audi, particularly since it was one of the few in its segment to offer all-wheel drive. But these days, the German (and Japanese, and British) luxury giants have become so competitive with each other, they’re no longer separated by the unique characteristics that once defined them.

When it comes to the midsize-luxury-sedan trifecta, this trend couldn’t have been any more apparent. The BMW 5 Series seemingly gave up some of its enthusiast-minded “ultimate driving machine” superiority to focus on technology innovation while the Mercedes-Benz E-Class lost its allure for over-engineered excellence during its mix-up with the DaimlerChrysler merger of equals. Meanwhile, Audi took the lead with the A6, dethroning its direct competitors from their winning pedestals in numerous class comparisons over the years just by ticking all of the boxes incredibly well.

Does the story remain the same with the new fifth-generation model, which recently launched in our market?

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By on March 27, 2020

Buy/Drive/Burn has focused solely on Japanese trucks lately, and thus far covered the Seventies, Eighties, and Nineties. Today we turn to the new century and take a look at three midsize Japanese pickups. They have something in common: All them are pretending to be a different brand than they actually are.

Badge games, activate!

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By on March 26, 2020

About a year ago Rare Rides featured its first Nash, the tiny Metropolitan. Today we take a look at the full-size car that occupied the showroom floor alongside its smallest sibling.

Hailing from 1955, it’s a Statesman.

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By on March 26, 2020

2019 BMW M340i front quarter

Do you consider yourself a responsible, wholesome driver? Are you a driver who maintains control in all driving situations? Or are you tempted to leave each stoplight in a snarl of revs and a haze of vaporized Michelin?

At the moment, BMW does not offer its flagship sports sedan, the M3. We are left with this, the 2020 BMW M340i. While the M3 – when it comes – will likely offer a batshit crazy amount of horsepower, I’m reminded when I drive this sensibly-powered M340i of Lord Acton’s chestnut: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

I’d like to think that I’m a decent, incorruptible fellow, thus 382 horsepower is enough for me. It’s probably enough for you, too.

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By on March 25, 2020

2020_Tacoma_TRD_Off_Road_01_50A9E609C6722DED1EB517DDEAC1D10E71825716

Here’s a change of pace: something to look forward to! In this instance, it’s a bevy of Toyota products poised to spring forth after this virus thing shuffles beneath the banner of “bad memory.”

The brand that’s shown no shortage of initiative in recent years plans to continue its new product flow, this time focusing more on trucks than cars. Read More >

By on March 24, 2020

With the coronavirus keeping everyone on the cusp of cabin fever, we’ve seen unaccompanied celebrities release collaborative renditions of terrible songs in order to maintain their fragile egos, museums offering virtual tours and activities, and texts from good people that we haven’t heard from in ages. The secret to living in isolation, it seems, is to remain active and upbeat while sharing those positive vibes — something made easier by the internet.

Keeping that in mind, we noticed some buzz surrounding Fiat Chrysler lead designer Ralph Gilles on Monday. Seemingly bored to tears, he’s been working from home this month and decided to share a rendition of the Dodge Charger (maybe Challenger?) the team has been working on. While clearly an early design draft of a yet-unbuilt concept model, we’re not so sure the artist has taken the exercise totally seriously.  Read More >

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