Category: Editorials

By on October 7, 2020

Elon Musk went on Kara Swisher’s podcast recently and complained about the media coverage of Battery Day and I have to say, Elon, in the highly unlikely event that you’re reading this, hire a real honest-to-God comms shop.

Let me hit you, dear reader, with some inside baseball. You probably know that just about every large company, including every automaker, has some kind of communications/public relations department.

Tesla, it seems, does not.

Update: Now we know it does not, not anymore.

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By on October 7, 2020

Checking through the Buy/Drive/Burn archives, we’ve considered three sets of wagons previously: American wagons of the Seventies, Japanese wagons of the Nineties, and European wagons of 2004.

But Americans have more European luxury wagon choices in this, the Awesome Year of 2020 than in the decade and a half prior. So let’s revisit the discussion.

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By on October 6, 2020

Image: FordBetter than 16 percent of the new vehicles sold in the United States in the third quarter of 2020 were full-size pickup trucks, an increase created by relatively steady truck sales in an unsteady world.

And who’s to thank? Ford, primarily.  Read More >

By on October 6, 2020

Subaru

The Subaru BRZ, which shares its bones with the Toyota 86, is a delightful and affordable little sports coupe. It’s also a bit long in the tooth. Never fear, as a 2022 model is on the way.

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By on October 5, 2020

1989 Volvo 780 Bertone in Colorado junkyard, RH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsI’ve documented quite a few discarded Volvos in this series, from the PV544 through the S60, and I never fail to stop and photograph a genuine Italo-Swedish Volvo Bertone Coupe. Here’s the latest, a 1989 780 in a Denver car graveyard over the summer. Read More >

By on October 2, 2020

BMW has applied its new corporate grille to the 4-Series and nixed the retractable hardtop from the convertible in exchange for a ragtop that helps the model dump unnecessary weight. While the softer sunshine rig sounds relatively impressive, this will likely be a lateral move for most fans. The brand’s elongated Hitler mustache grille hasn’t gone over with everybody and a soft top certainly seems less premium. But BMW thinks it can win customers over on practicality and substance.

For starters, the new system offers a smidgen more headroom (just 0.2 inches) and has improved thermal insulation and sound dampening to keep it on par with the outgoing hardtop. It also takes up less space when stowed and only takes 18 seconds to do so at speeds at or below 31 mph. Read More >

By on October 2, 2020

We’re getting the feeling that Nikola Corp is going to be the biggest dumpster fire since our multi-year love/hate relationship with Faraday Future. Content creators on YouTube are now criticizing the startup for abusing copyright claims to strike down videos that were coming down hard on its recent actions after at least two financial commentators operating channels on the Google-owned video platform have had clips removed this week.

While copyright abuses have become uncomfortably common as a way to censor opponents on YouTube over the last few years, they’ve become increasingly predatory as Google rarely seems interested in siding with the little guy. We suppose this was the inevitability of the proliferation of a corporate-controlled internet but knowing that makes the practice seem no less grimy, especially with terms and services being so woefully vague that content can be removed for practically any reason, to begin with. Nikola is hardly the first company to engage in this grotesque behavior and will not be the last.

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By on October 2, 2020

Recently we featured the MG RV8, which was an old MG B with a V8 engine from Rover. Today we cover a similar V8-powered MG idea, with some additional crazy sprinkled in for good measure.

Presenting the 2005 MG XPower SV-R. It’s all over the place.

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By on October 1, 2020

The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) has finished a study on driver assistance systems and issued some moderately surprising results. While nowhere near comprehensive enough to be the ultimate authority on self-driving cars, it did give us a taste of Europe’s new grading system and how it will be implemented as more vehicles are tested. For now, NCAP is focused on a handful of models ranging from the pedestrian Renault Clio to the much more expensive Mercedes-Benz GLE.

While one might expect the moral of the study to be roughly ‘you get what you pay for,’ the reality seemed much more complicated after the Tesla Model 3 ended up in sixth place out of a possible ten. Anybody who has ever used Tesla’s Autopilot will tell you it’s probably the most impressive advanced driving suite currently on sale. This author certainly would before the smile dissolved and he was forced to you that it (and other) driving assistance packages are horrible, misleading inventions that need to be gotten rid of as soon as possible.

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By on October 1, 2020

Today’s Rare Ride was formerly unknown to your author. A brief boutique brand in the Fifties, Woodill went away long before most of you were even born. Let’s see if we can learn a bit more about this American take on the classic British roadster formula.

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By on September 30, 2020

Image: Evan El-Amin/Shutterstock.com

President Donald Trump has consistently defended his administration’s attempts to roll back Obama-era fuel-economy standards by complaining that building cars with better fuel economy in mind makes them less safe and more expensive.

He brought it up again during the presidential debate last night.

This is, to be quite frank, bullshit.

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By on September 29, 2020

While the Rare Rides series has featured a few Lotus vehicles in past, none of them rose quite to the importance of today’s single-seat example. A one-of-one, it’s the car Lotus used in the 1981 Formula One racing series.

And now you can buy it, and drive it on quick jaunts to Target or Cracker Barrel.

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By on September 29, 2020

Toyota’s all-new Venza fills a two-row, crossover-sized void between the smaller RAV4 and the larger Highlander, and is essentially a return to what the Highlander was originally. To help draw in buyers to its resurrected nameplate, Toyota decided to use a long-standing Subaru ad trope: the family pet.

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By on September 28, 2020

2019 Honda Ridgeline EXL Cape Tryon PEI - Image: © Timothy CainAuto high beams were not the feature I thought I’d miss when our family switched from a 2018 Honda Odyssey to a 2019 Honda Ridgeline. I spent more than three decades living in urban environments. High beam use was limited to vacations or weekend getaways in country idylls.

Even after three years of rural life, auto high beams still seemed to me to be just a frivolous luxury. At least they did, until we gave them up in the switch to the Ridgeline, which isn’t the top-spec model needed to acquire the auto high beams. It was a switch that occurred during some of the longest days of the year, when there are roughly 16 hours between sunrise and sunset on Prince Edward Island.

Now the daylight hours are shrinking and I am forced to repeatedly push and pull a signal stalk forward and back with the sheer strength of an index finger, like some sort of penurious Suzuki Equator driver. It’s cruel and unusual punishment, that’s what it is. DIY high beam engagement may well be an enhanced interrogation technique, the details of which have not yet been uncovered in a David Shepardson exposé.

Fortunately, almost everything else about the 2019 Honda Ridgeline has fostered an increasingly contented ownership experience, the likes of which I’ve ever encountered in a 5,000-mile/4-month test. Read More >

By on September 28, 2020

Aston Martin’s V12 Vanquish was the company’s heavy hitter GT of the 2000s decade. Between 2001 and 2007, just over 2,500 examples of the Vanquish were produced, composed of 1,492 standard 2+2 coupes, and 1,086 of the sportier S version that ditched the rear seats.

Now, a select few customers can have a thoroughly reengineered Vanquish S, created by the man who designed the original.

Read More >

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