By on March 25, 2020

1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera Brougham emblem in California junkyard - © 2016 Murilee Martin/The Truth About CarsLast Wednesday we recounted the cars of our youth — specifically, the first car we could recall which really impressed. Though few of you could top my example of the superbly fresh and fun Dodge Neon, everyone put in a good effort.

Today we’ll flip the question, and consider the first vehicle we recall as a disappointment to our youthful car enthusiast selves.

(Read More…)

By on March 18, 2020

Today we take a little trip down memory lane and consider the cars which impressed us most in our youth. And not the part of youth which contains a driver’s license and costly insurance, but the more formative experiences before that. Let’s talk foundational cool cars.

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By on March 13, 2020

Today’s Rare Ride put me immediately in mind of the Austin Cambridge featured in this series last year. Both were intended primarily for British customers, and both have a similar upright sedan shape which seemingly made so many British cars of the Fifties look exactly the same.

Let’s take a look at some basic Euro Ford transportation that was grandfather to the Cortina.

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By on January 2, 2020

Reflecting on the numerous sedans which passed away at the end of the 2019 model year, we recently asked you to pick the best all-round offerings in sizes small, medium, and large. In each size grouping, we excluded premium and luxury offerings, and each time someone complained that the list lacked premium offerings.

It’s 2020 now, and as always at TTAC we aim to please: Today we select the best sedans from premium and luxury marques. Small cars are up first.

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By on December 11, 2019

As 2019 draws to a close, the future of the sedan has never looked dimmer. A number of sedans die with the current model year, with the majority of funerals happening at American brands. For now, let’s pick out some bright spots in our sedan offerings before the herd is thinned considerably in 2020.

Up first this week are the small sedans.

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By on November 19, 2019

nissan

With America now fully retreated from the compact car space, Japan is left holding the bag in a dwindling market. For two automakers — Honda and Toyota — the abandonment of the compact car market has added wind to slackening sails, but their gain comes at the expense of other players. Nissan is one of those players.

With its next-generation Sentra, Nissan hopes to steal from its rivals’ plates and amass a bigger slice of the pie. (Read More…)

By on November 5, 2019

As selling compact passenger cars to Americans is no longer a responsibility borne by domestic automakers, Japan is left shouldering much of the burden in a segment it’s always excelled in. Western car sales are on the decline and, with the Detroit Three pulling out, Japan saw both a challenge and an opportunity.

The biggest players, Toyota and Honda, chose to expend every round in their magazines in the hopes of scoring hits. The Civic and Corolla diversified, upping their game and pulling further ahead of rivals like the Nissan Sentra and Mazda 3.

If capturing a bigger share of the pie while stabilizing their own softening sales was the goal, Honda and Toyota seem to have succeeded. With two months left in 2019, it’s increasingly looking like both models could finish 2019 with a sales increase. (Read More…)

By on October 16, 2019

bmw

Hoping to attract new clientele, BMW has crafted a sedan aimed at capturing the attention of lower-end American buyers. The 2020 2 Series Gran Coupe is not a four-door version of the well-regarded 2 Series coupe, but you probably knew that by now.

Sporting precious little real estate between the front door and front wheel arch, a raised, pedestrian-cushioning hood, rear flanks and roofline mimicking the Chevrolet Malibu, a front-biased drivetrain, and a platform borrowed from a pair of small crossovers, the 2 Series Gran Coupe is not the long-hood affair you lusted after as a kid. To its credit, BMW couldn’t stomach the prospect of offering the model in FWD.

All-wheel drive comes standard on this thrifty German chariot. (Read More…)

By on October 8, 2019

Recently Rare Rides featured the Rolls-Royce powered Vanden Plas Princess, which was the very pinnacle of luxury offered by BMC’s coachbuilding arm.

Today we’ll check out one of the less luxurious cars British Motor sold to the proletariat: It’s an Austin Cambridge from 1957.

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By on September 11, 2019

We’ve all been there at one time or another — standing in line at the counter of the rental car company. Perhaps you made a reservation in advance, perhaps not, but your fate was sealed the same when a class of vehicle was selected. From there, you were left in the hands of the person working the counter at Rental Car Incorporated.

Today we’re going to talk about the times you’ve lost at rental car roulette.

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By on August 15, 2019

2018 Ford Europe Fiesta range - Image: Ford

If the global economy were weather, yesterday brought dark clouds, an unsettling calm, and that weird ozone smell that heralds a violent storm. The bond market is waving its hands and flashing a warning sign. Spooked traders waded through a sea of red as Wall Street and other foreign exchanges began resembling the elevator scene in The Shining.

It’s quite possible all those warnings issued by major automakers of a looming recession weren’t made out of an abundance of caution, but something a little more concrete. No wonder the likes of Ford and General Motors find themselves in the midst of “downturn planning.”

As you read yesterday, one possible consequence of another economic meltdown is a return of smaller, more affordable vehicles — products both Ford, GM, and Fiat Chrysler spent the last few years dropping from their lineups. While the entirety of these small vehicles wouldn’t return in such a scenario, some might. Which cars deserve a green light? (Read More…)

By on August 6, 2019

2019 Mazda Mazda3 front quarter

While professional sports in America are generally the envy of the world – especially when it comes to the variety of high-level team sports available to the fan – soccer (football to the rest of the world) does wonders for maintaining a competitive balance amongst teams due to the system of promotions and relegations. For those uninitiated, the last-place teams in the top level of the various soccer/football leagues are relegated to the next lower league, while the top teams in the lower levels move up a rung on the ladder.

Imagine this system were in place in mainstream American sports. The Cleveland Browns would be competing against high school teams by now.

I can see eyes glazing over already. “Stick to cars! Stay in your lane!” – just like every sports reporter hears any time they venture into politics. I’m getting to that. Basically, Mazda has long been compared to other mainstream Japanese brands – Honda, Toyota, Nissan. But now, they’ve put forth efforts to be promoted to an entry-level luxury brand, and the newest 2019 Mazda 3 AWD sedan seen here is ready to play in that league.

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By on June 13, 2019

Car manufacturers don’t always strike a chord with consumers, and even studious brand Lexus is not immune from model flops. Back in 2012, the company offered three compact vehicles nobody wanted.

Today you’ll select one to take home for keeps, whether you like it or not.

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By on June 10, 2019

Vehicles from plucky AMC are always welcome here at Rare Rides. Thus far, the series has featured a Metropolitan, a concept Van, a Matador Barcelona, and a very tasty Sundancer. The latter is a cousin of today’s relentlessly beige Concord two-door sedan.

Ready for some malaise?

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By on April 5, 2019

Rare Rides has featured a couple of Plymouths before, both of which were sporty and boasted two doors. Today’s Plymouth also has two doors, but is perhaps not quite as performance oriented as its brethren on these pages.

Hailing from 1980, it’s a super Malaisey Champ hatchback.

(Read More…)

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