Category: Rants

By on September 13, 2021

Twinsterphoto/Shutterstock.com

Whether it’s adapting to a rapidly changing performance landscape or overcoming the encryption that’s being built in to cars’ electronic brains, it’s tough to be a tuner these days. But you know what they say, “When it rains, it pours.” And, for aftermarket performance tuners, the hits just keep on coming.

Don’t take my word for it, though. Ask Brent Leivestad, the owner of a small Colorado speed shop called PFI Speed who just got hit with an $18,000 EPA fine – a fine that, if not paid within 30 days, could increase to $180,000.

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By on August 25, 2021

Den Rozhnovsky/Shutterstock.com

Software updates. Precisely when we had to start having a conversation about software updates – over the air or otherwise – in an automotive context isn’t something I can answer. We didn’t have them for about 100 years. Then, we did. What’s more, it seems like everyone is more or less OK with that, but should they be? Are these software updates really making your car better, or are they slowly throttling back your car’s performance and functionality in a bid to frustrate you into buying a new one?

Let’s take a few minutes to explore the possibilities.

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By on August 19, 2021

Acura

Last week, we reported on Acura’s plans to bring back the Integra. In the article, I hinted at how Acura can go about getting it right.

I’d like to expand on that.

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By on August 18, 2021

 

Since last night’s unveiling of the 2023 Nissan Z, I’ve been chewing over my thoughts on the car. Is it good, or is it another misfire from a brand that’s struggling to recapture glory days?

After exerting far too much brainpower on the question — I’d rather ponder what’s for lunch — I’ve arrived at my answer.

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By on August 18, 2021

There’s a great scene in The Commitments where Jimmy Rabbitte, the main kid, puts an ad in his local paper to recruit talent for his band. If you’ve never seen the movie, it’s definitely worth the two-hour – a er, commitment (sorry), but that’s off-topic. Rabbitte puts out this ad, and would-be musicians knock on his door. When he opens the door, he asks them one question:  Who are your influences?

It’s a great question, isn’t it? It cuts through lots of the usual interview BS and small-talk and hand-wringing and gets right to the meat. In The Commitments, the right answers were Al Green, Wilson Pickett, and Otis Redding. Over at Hyundai/Kia, however, it seems like the right answers were Lancia Delta, Lancia Stratos, and Porsche 959.

What the heck is Jo talking about this time? I’m glad you asked.

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By on August 13, 2021

Michele Ursi/Shutterstock.com

The current $7,500 Federal electric vehicle tax incentive could get a boost to $12,500 if the “Clean Energy for America” bill ever makes its way to reality – but it’s absolutely the wrong way to go, in my opinion. And, I know – “Who cares what Jo thinks about EV incentives,” right? Right –except that very, very few people in the industry have as much “green cred” as I do, so maybe you’ll want to give this one a read.

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By on August 11, 2021

Joyseulay/Shutterstock.com

The Fast and Furious franchise gets a lot wrong when it comes to tuning cars – but what thing it gets mostly right is the spirit of family that comes with that lifestyle.

Normal people don’t tune their cars,” the great Jack Baruth told me, years ago. “Normal people buy Camrys and don’t think about their cars at all until it’s time to buy their next one.”

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By on August 4, 2021

LL_studio/Shutterstock

On Tuesday, Matt wrote an op-ed piece in which he said that it’s a mistake for automakers to bring back mask mandates.

I disagree. Read More >

By on July 16, 2021

Yesterday, I got Musked*.

I wrote an op-ed about how I think the Cybertruck won’t sell well over the long term, though I do expect it to sell strongly at first. I said it might be the first real flop from Tesla.

Perhaps predictably, it caused quite the stir among the company’s fans on Twitter.

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By on July 15, 2021

Tesla

Tesla’s Cybertruck is in the news again, thanks to some (on paper) comparisons between it and the Rivian R1T and news about a deal with Samsung for cameras for the truck.

I’ve been thinking this for quite some time — since the unveiling, really — and the more I see the truck in the news, the more I think it might be Tesla’s first true flop as a model.

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By on July 13, 2021

Smile Fight/Shutterstock.com

A little under two weeks ago, yours truly wrote about President Joe Biden’s plans for cutting tailpipe emissions and helping to encourage the shift to electric vehicles.

I laid out three basic philosophies that are at play in the debate as to how best move consumers en masse from internal-combustion-engine cars to EVs.

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By on June 30, 2021

Ford Bronco

We reviewed the 2021 Ford Bronco earlier this week, and while my feelings toward Ford’s new rival for the Jeep Wrangler were more or less on the positive side of the ledger, I do feel that something is missing.

That thing is a broader range of powertrains.

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By on June 29, 2021

A few weeks ago, Ford took the wraps off of a new, “right-sized” pickup for the 2022 model year called the Maverick. The truck is different. For one, it’s a unibody design with four doors and a bed that’s integrated into the cab, not separate. For another, it’s a hybrid — which, I dunno. That seemed kind of brave, for Ford. It seemed brave enough to me, at least, to inspire me to take a closer look at the little truck’s specs … and that’s when I noticed that the new Maverick isn’t that little after all.

In fact, at 199.7 inches long, the new “compact” Maverick is a full two inches longer than the 1992 Ford F-150 “full-size” half-ton pickup.

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By on June 28, 2021

A report from Axios shows that Toyota has given $55,000 to 37 Republican politicians who objected to the certification of Joe Biden’s election as president of the United States.

That’s about a quarter of the number of GOP pols who voted against certifying Biden’s win.

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By on June 25, 2021

We gave you all the goods on the 2022 Honda Civic hatchback yesterday, and part of that reporting also mentioned the Si performance trim — and how it’s likely that the Si trim will be offered only on sedan models.

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Recent Comments

  • sayahh: I used to buy Defenders but I haven’t been driving much, so I might get a set of Michelin’s Pilot...
  • Scoutdude: Be sure to look at the tirerack testing numbers too, at least for the tires that they have tested. That is...
  • Scoutdude: There are two basic kinds of analog gauges. One that return to 0 when power is removed and those that hold...
  • dal20402: These seem to be touring all-seasons, and the DWS06 is in the high-performance all-season category....
  • 28-Cars-Later: If only they could have gotten WiLL Smith as their spokesman, maybe it could have worked.

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