Category: Editorials

By on May 10, 2019

Chevrolet Camaro Visibility, Image: Camaro5.comTTAC Commentator Volvo writes:

Why does the design of most newer vehicles have very poor driver visibility for objects close to the car? This is pretty much all around but especially the rear. I find the current design even makes it difficult to judge front and rear bumper distance from an object. This definitely was not the case for most cars prior to 1995.
  • Is it to lower drag?
  • Safety mandates?
  • Just design esthetic?

Read More >

By on May 9, 2019

2019 Honda Passport

There always seems to be room for one more at the SUV and crossover table, regardless of marque. Witness mighty Mercedes-Benz, a company filling every niche and crevasse in its lineup with an ever-expanding portfolio of high-riding wagons. When the late Alfred Sloan posited a vehicle for every purse and purpose, this is hardly what the man had in mind.

It is where we are, however, and automakers are only too glad to serve up an ever wider buffet of all-wheel drive options. Honda, for its part, has been surprisingly recalcitrant in the SUV onslaught, soldiering on for years with simply the CR-V and Pilot. It took a relative age for the HR-V to appear and, along the way, the offbeat Accord Crosstour came and went.

That “H” badge carries a lot of weight, so you knew Soichiro’s Dream was eventually going to produce a two-row SUV with off-road pretensions and a lot of familiar Honda feel. Given all this, one thing is certain: the 2019 Honda Passport is going find buyers. A lot of them.

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By on May 8, 2019

In a QOTD post last week, we walked down Nineties memory lane. The topics of discussion were the vehicle designs we still found stylish in The Current Year. In that post, conversation was restricted to domestic brand offerings.

Today, we go foreign.

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By on May 7, 2019

That headline is only the second 1980s musical reference of the day, which might point to a lack of sleep on the part of your author. Blame a raging sinus infection, or perhaps exposure to a heavy Twitter conversation that began yesterday and continues into today.

I’m a passive observer in all of this, as Twitter’s toxicity makes Love Canal look like a lush Koi pond. Engage at your peril. And yet an element of the back-and-forth that rages online in the center of the Canadian universe (Toronto) is something frequently mentioned in far calmer TTAC chatroom discussions.

How much car is too much car?

And, does it matter if you buy to cover all the bases? Read More >

By on May 7, 2019

Rare Rides returns again to De Tomaso, shortly after it covered the obscure Guarà Barchetta. This time, the subject vehicle is a British-designed Mini, rebodied by Bertone, then sported up by De Tomaso. Quite a pedigree.

Presenting the 1978 Innocenti Mini De Tomaso:

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By on May 6, 2019

2019 Chevrolet Volt rear

February 15th was a sad day, even for those who hate cars. On that day, General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant produced the last Chevrolet Volt — a green car born at the dawn of a new era that didn’t take off exactly as envisioned.

In the truck-loving land of (relatively) cheap gasoline, electric vehicles are only just now eating up more than 1 percent of the market, thanks mainly to the Tesla Model 3 and what ownership of said vehicle says about your lifestyle and viewpoints. Plug-in hybrids are struggling, however, and the most famous of them all is now dead. A victim of falling sales, though your author would be curious to learn the model’s margin.

Despite offering the most practical combination of conventional gas-powered driving and electric ability, many claim the Volt’s failure was one of marketing, not engineering. Read More >

By on May 6, 2019

Last week, San Jose became subject to borderline draconian street-racing laws after city council (unanimously) voted to pass legislation effectively making it illegal to even watch impromptu automotive exhibitions. However, “spectating” is loosely defined in the new law, as parties don’t have to know a race is going on to get into trouble.

Even milling around a car show before shenanigans break out is enough to earn someone a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

The new laws give police plenty of power to break up late-night car events, plus the ability  to arrest whomever they want — creating a pretty good incentive to just stay home, rather than risk getting into trouble. It also feels like overkill, and it sets an ugly precedent for punishing Californians who aren’t actively contributing to a crime.  Read More >

By on May 6, 2019

1995 Ford Mustang GT in California wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsAfter writing about junkyard cars since early 2007, I just realized that the newest discarded Mustang I’d documented was a 1984 model. As you’d imagine, Mustangs from the late Fox and SN95 eras are easy to find in North American wrecking yards, so I resolved to shoot the next interesting one I found… which turned out to be this much-abused ’95 GT I spotted in a Silicon Valley self-service yard. Read More >

By on May 3, 2019

You read the title correctly. There’s a Triumph TR8 for sale in the urbane and international city of Tampa, which is in Florida. Miraculously, the sporty convertible has traveled just 90 miles since 1981.

It’s beige, malaise, and showroom fresh, so let’s have a look.

Read More >

By on May 3, 2019

2018 Ford F-150 White Two Tone - Image: Ford

Americans love their Ford F-150s, but buyers are increasingly opting for a powerplant boasting fewer than eight cylinders. As such, the automaker is cutting the third shift at the Windsor, Ontario engine plant tasked with building the 5.0-liter Coyote V8.

Ford V8s and Windsor have a long association, but the extraneous employees needn’t worry about hitting the job boards. There’s a much larger V8 in need of assembly. Read More >

By on May 3, 2019

1994 Buick Roadmaster Interior Dashboard Steering Wheel, Image: momentcar.comTimothy writes:

Sir, I have a problem with my 1994 Buick Roadmaster. You remember the one that I inherited from my parents but didn’t care for the way it rode? Yeah, that one.

I followed a lot of your advice in making it a much more desirable car for me: big sway bars, rebuilt the front suspension with police grade goodies. Same with brakes. Redid the steering box, too! But now there’s a problem: the darn thing keeps blowing its horn!

Usually I’m in a store when it goes off and the call comes over the loudspeaker that my car is screaming at the top of its lungs. And those triple horns are loud!

Please tell me how to get this fixed! Read More >

By on May 2, 2019

Image: FCAToday’s truck trio includes three very expensive rigs that aren’t likely be used for hauling duties or any other truck-type responsibilities. And that’s a good thing, because they’re loaded up on equipment and leather, and covered in nice metallic paint. Which nice truck gets used as kindling? Let’s find out.

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By on May 1, 2019

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

Forgive this writer for channeling Jonathan Pryce. Brush up on your secret handshake, too, as Tesla has a new version of the Model 3 customers can’t order online.

It’s a model that stands to become even more of a ghost than the U.S.-market Model 3 Standard Range, which disappeared from the company’s website after being on sale just a few days. American customers don’t apply here, as this cynical model’s sole purpose is to undercut a government EV incentive program’s price cutoff by a single dollar. A dollar, it should be said, that’s worth about 75 U.S. cents.

Who’s excited about 93 miles of range? Read More >

By on May 1, 2019

We’ve talked about the Nineties in a couple of recent QOTDs, and today we’ll do it once more. This inquiry was generated in TTAC’s Slack foyer, where Adam Tonge mused about styling from the greatest decade.

What domestic Nineties ride has aged better than all the others?

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By on April 30, 2019

Sometimes car companies have radical ideas that don’t really pan out when it comes time to persuade consumers to part with their money. Today’s Studebaker Wagonaire is such a vehicle. It falls into the unique convertible-wagon-truck grouping, in which the only other member is a GMC Envoy from 40 years later.

Read More >

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