Category: Editorials

By on July 17, 2020

fca canada

In the Stephen King novel Pet Cemetery, a rural family discovers that burying the body of a dead pet (and later, larger mammals) in the old graveyard out back returns the deceased family member to the clan — miraculously reanimated, yet fundamentally changed.

That seems to be what Fiat Chrysler has in mind for a famously long-running nameplate. Read More >

By on July 17, 2020

Earlier this week, presumed Democratic nominee for president and former shut-in Joe Biden discussed some of the changes he’d make if elected. While most do not overlap with the automotive industry and would force your author to digress into rants about the perils of unchecked government spending, one item tied to his ambitious $2 trillion climate proposal is related directly to cars — and feels uncomfortably familiar.

Biden appears interested in bringing back the Car Allowance Rebate System (aka Cash for Clunkers) from the last recession, or at least a version 2.0 that accelerates electric vehicle adoption and development inside the United States.  Read More >

By on July 16, 2020

2019 Accord. Reader TheGamper

I have long been a family sedan buyer and was looking at replacing my aging ride. I have enjoyed rowing my own gears for more than two decades now, with the occasional automatic transmission thrown in the mix.

This time was a little different, in that there are so many extracurricular activities with three kids. My wife and I frequently find ourselves having to divide and conquer to get it all done. Making the challenge more difficult has always been the fact that I prefer a manual transmission, while she avoids driving a stick-shift like the plague, despite being fairly well versed in the three-pedal dance. I guess, like the market in general, she just doesn’t find joy in that level of engagement.

So, the writing was on the wall: An automatic transmission was in my future when I began hunting for a new whip.

Read More >

By on July 16, 2020

The unbridled enthusiasm and lust over Ford’s reborn Bronco, which greeted hungry eyes on the evening of July 13th, lasted not quite two days before a fly hit the ointment.

Would-be owners were enthused to see that the Bronco’s gnarly, off-road-oriented Sasquatch package, is available even on the lowly(?) base model, but a reality Ford left unmentioned spoiled some of their fun yesterday. Read More >

By on July 15, 2020

Subaru Legacy 2018 Logo Emblem Grille

J.D. Power’s Automotive Brand Loyalty Study dropped this week, with Subaru and Lexus predictably topping the charts. Subaru actually edged out Toyota by a hair in the mainstream segment by retaining 60.5 percent of its owners, and is assumed to be aided by younger generations just getting into vehicle ownership. This is something we can back up anecdotally, as many drivers look back fondly at the nameplate and are eager for a second helping.

If your author had a nickel for every person that happily reminisced about the hand-me-down Subaru Legacy or Forester wagons they drove during their formative years, he would have a jar full of coins wasting space on a shelf somewhere because nickels aren’t particularly valuable.  Read More >

By on July 15, 2020

Would you enjoy piloting a tiny car that combines sultry coupe styling with t-tops, a powered metal convertible roof, and room for four real adult-sized humans?

Look no further than the Subaru Vivio.

Read More >

By on July 14, 2020

Today brings Part II of my 2012 Subaru Outback’s sales and ownership story, as the green all-terrain wagon recently pulled from the driveway for good. If for some reason you didn’t read Part I, find it here.

Now we press on with the vulgar topic of money.

Read More >

By on July 13, 2020

Eventually, the absence of a body-on-frame, go-anywhere, dedicated off-road SUV was too great for the Ford lineup to bear — which is why, after a quarter-century absence, the Bronco triumphantly returns to do battle with its Mopar foe, the Jeep Wrangler.

Talked about endlessly since Ford announced the storied model’s return and leaked as often as celebrity medical records to the National Enquirer, the Bronco makes its debut with the goodies fans want and certain things all SUVs need in the futuristic year of 2021. Namely, a four-door model. Read More >

By on July 13, 2020

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

The Ford Bronco news doesn’t just stop with one model. There’s not one, not two, but three in the family.

That threesome includes the two-door and four-door versions of the Bronco, as well as the smaller Bronco Sport.

Think of the Bronco Sport as an off-road version of Ford’s Escape crossover. Ford might get mad at us for saying that, but hey, we’re not PR.

Read More >

By on July 13, 2020

Please don’t send us emails complaining about the use of the word “normal” in a headline. Yes, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is still a RAV4. Yes, it has every right to exist, and it makes its parents proud, each and every day.

Especially lately, given that the electrified version of the country’s top-selling compact crossover outsold its conventional sibling in June. Not that the hybrid RAV4 was a sales slug to begin with. Read More >

By on July 13, 2020

2012 Fiat 500 Gucci Edition in Denver junkyard, RH rear view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe junkyard tells me that the Fiat 500 depreciates nearly as quickly as the New Mini and Mitsubishi Mirage, though the current generation of 500 remains sufficiently recent that most examples I see are crash victims.

This car, though crashed, is still special: a genuine, numbers-matching Gucci Edition Fiat 500, found in a Denver car graveyard. Read More >

By on July 11, 2020

Jeep/Facebook

Having watched The Hunt for Red October last night, your author knows all too well what can happen when two superpowers engage in a game of brinkmanship. He’d also like to see Montana.

Having enjoyed years of nearly complete dominance in the true off-road SUV market in America, Jeep now finds itself in a battle against a vehicle no consumer has yet laid eyes on: the Ford Bronco, due for a public unveiling on Monday. On Saturday morning, Jeep decided to crank that newfound rivalry up to “11”, teasing a future product with a monster engine.

Read More >

By on July 10, 2020

I last gave an update on the vehicles which occupy my drive back in February. At the time, the Volkswagen’s roof rattle issues had (finally) been corrected and I was all ready for a quick sale of my Subaru Outback. But said quick sale was interrupted by a few different issues, both local and global.

Uncertain Times for car sales, eh?

Read More >

By on July 9, 2020

Nissan Frontier production line Canton Mississippi - Image: Nissan

As Nissan flings an old truck with a shiny new powertrain at midsize truck buyers, a top-down replacement waits in the wings.

To say a successor for the Frontier has been a long time coming would be the ultimate understatement. The current body has soldiered on since late 2004, when the second-generation truck appeared as a 2005 model. You author has gone through six cars since that long-ago year.

But the wait’s nearly over. And there’s even something to look at. Read More >

By on July 9, 2020

Rare Rides occasionally features vehicles that have somehow slipped through the 25-year importation net and exist in this country as illegal immigrants. First up was a little Citroën Picasso hatchback from Arizona, and more recently we featured a bright orange Fiat Barchetta from Florida.

Today we venture into illegality once more, with the luxurious and beautiful Lancia Thesis from 2003.

Read More >

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