For some people (you know who you are), the 200 horsepower provided by the 2011 Hyundai Sonata’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder base engine just isn’t enough. The traditional solution: a V6. But Hyundai, taking a page from Chrysler’s Iacocca-era playbook, has opted to offer a turbocharged 2.0-liter four instead. The specs look good: 274 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 269 pound-feet of torque from 1,750 rpm. The pricing? Even better. The Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T lists for $24,865, only $1,550 more than the regular Sonata SE. Are these the cheapest horses new car money can buy in a midsize sedan?
The ad shown above seems to cement a sad reality for automotive enthusiasts: the objects of our passion are no longer considered the cutting edge of material culture. And this reality is reflected is reflected in more than just ads for mobile phones, the object that appears to have replaced cars as the touchstone of youthful cool. For a broad array of reasons, young people (the traditional arbiters of cool) are less obsessed with cars and car ownership than they once were. Even automakers themselves are rushing the automobile to the scrapheap of history by seeking to load ever more phone-like capabilities to cars, a trend that both fuels phone mania and disinterest in driving as an intrinsically rewarding experience. But, it seems, that cars can still be cool after all…
TTAC commentator talkstoanimals writes:
Sajeev, I have a 2010 Mustang GT with the Track Pack that I love driving – when it works. The problem(s) is, after 6 months and just short of 5k miles, the car has had several driveline problems. First, the clutch failed and Ford replaced the pressure plate, clutch disc and slave cylinder – a fix that took two weeks to complete. A few days later the rear clutches in the differential failed and Ford replaced those – another two days out of service. Now, only 2 months after the first clutch work was completed, it’s pretty obvious that the clutch is failing again based on the way the gearbox resists clean engagement in almost every gear.
So my question is, WTF is wrong with the driveline in this car?
Over the long haul of the Pony Car Wars, Ford’s Mustang has set the standard to which all others aspire. Having handily outsold the old F-Body Camaros (to say nothing of the nearest import-equivalent, the Nissan Z), Ford reigned alone over the declining muscle-coupe segment for much of the last decade. But the Pony Car cannot thrive alone, and the Mustang couldn’t keep its sales from sliding ever further… it needed some competition. Now, rather than fighting for pieces of a shrinking segment, the Camaro, Challenger and Mustang have been able to grow their sales together, revitalized by the renewed Pony Car Wars. Though our simple volume projection shows the Camaro on track to take the Pony Car crown from the Mustang, the short-term trends indicate a close battle to the finish this year. Hit the jump for summer sales comparisons…
Later this month at the upcoming Paris auto show, Lotus will be revealing the first car that reflects their new strategic vision, a vision of going upmarket and luxurious to compete directly with the likes of Porsche, Ferrari and Aston Martin. The car, originally slotted to fill the role of the much beloved Esprit, will now be “something more” than the Esprit. The midengine supercar is rumored to be powered by the V10 engine that powers the Lexus LF-A. Toyota currently supplies Lotus with all of its production car engines. The LF-A’s announced production run of 500 units probably won’t cover that engine’s development costs, so the rumor makes sense.
The Shelby 427 Cobra is a curious car. There are few vehicles that more worthily deserve the description iconic. The originals are so historically significant and rare that each is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars (and in the case of the six Daytona Coupes, millions), yet stylistically identical replicas are ubiquitous. Chances are, if you see a Cobra, it’s probably not real baby seal. Over the decades thousands of replica Cobras have been produced to varying degrees of fidelity by a variety of kit car and turnkey manufacturers. When Carroll Shelby realized that he couldn’t sue the replicar makers into submission, he decided to make his own “continuation series” Cobra replicas (in your choice of carbon fiber, fiberglass or original aluminum bodies). He’s also come to a licensing agreement with Superformance, who make superb Cobra and Daytona Coupe reproductions. I’m a big supporter of the idea of intellectual property, and Ol’ Shel is entitled to make a living off his name and accomplishments, but Carroll Shelby’s proprietary attitude towards the Cobra borders on the absurd.
Automotive enthusiasm is a hugely diverse phenomenon, and for plenty of hobbyists, the smaller the car the better. The NY Times recently caught up with a few such microcar mavens at the Microcar/Minicar World Meet, and helped shed some light on the miniaturist automotive subculture. Sure, some might call driving a Goggomobile pickup the length of Route 66 without ever exceeding 30 MPH a bit…eccentric, but the passion that these microcar maniacs exude is undeniable.New York Times Video - Embed Player
One of the reasons why I started writing for TTAC was that, as a lifelong resident of the Detroit area I was tired of watching people with little direct knowledge of this region using stereotypes and caricatures to demean my neighbors. Typically people outside the region will describe Southeastern Michigan as a place of unemployment, indifferent workers, crime and racial disharmony. As with most prevarication, there’s an element of truth to those stereotypes, but it’s not the whole truth.
I can understand finding that kind of behavior in comment threads online, but it’s distressing when what is generally considered the leading newspaper in the country, the New York Times, lazily relies on a ‘usual Detroit template’ when covering an event in this area.
Whatever you do, don’t talk about anything related to the car itself. Reference an obscure previous ad for the car instead. Also, if the car’s target market is young men, be sure to make the ad’s protagonist an elderly female. Finally, the concept must be strange enough to be totally unmemorable. Then sit back and watch as your over-the-hill muscle car doubles its volume and still doesn’t quite match the Mustang or Camaro’s volume. Success!
OK, so we’ve been convinced that the re-born “Lancia Stratos” isn’t just a photoshop… but honestly, we wish it was. Because then the autoblogosphere might not have spent half the week running silly headlineslike “It’s Real!” and “Headed To Production!” and “My Sophisticated Appreciation For The Iconic Lancia Stratos Just Got All Over My Favorite Pair Of Blogging Sweatpants!” The reason that these headlines need to stop are simple: 1) Nobody will ever see this car on the road, 2) it will never be offered for sale, 3) It’s not even a freaking Lancia and 4) the entire story is so knee-deep in bullshit that it’s amazing anyone pays even the remotest bit of attention to it. And since we’re speaking truth to fanboyishness, I’ll just go ahead and say it : nobody actually wants a Lancia Stratos anyway… and even if they did, they certainly wouldn’t want this new one. Yes, you heard me.