By on June 2, 2020

Most examples of the popular first-generation Focus lived life as appliances. Use and abused, they filtered to the used car lots during the late 2000s alongside brethren like the Mercury Cougar and Jaguar S-Type. However, a select few were spared from such an ignominious fate by performance tuner Saleen. The Californian company took some new Foci and imbued them with extra performance.

Today’s Rare Ride is among the chosen — it’s the 2005 Saleen Focus.

(Read More…)

By on May 6, 2020

It’s the mid-1980s, so having a gas-guzzling, rear-drive Malaise box from the late ’70s is unthinkable. No, you’re a modern consumer, and you demand something front-drive and economical, but still with Malaise build quality.

Today we pick a compact Ace of Base from 1985.

(Read More…)

By on May 4, 2020

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid - Image: Toyota Canada

Perhaps you read on Sunday how the week ending April 26th was the fourth consecutive week of rising U.S. sales. If you haven’t yet, please do so before we report you for venturing outdoors.

Yes, the recovery in U.S. auto sales is well underway, helped along by easing coronavirus measures and holdout states finally getting on board with online sales. Normal volume remains well down the road, however. And for some segments of the industry, pre-pandemic sales levels are even further out of reach. (Read More…)

By on April 8, 2020

The AMC Gremlin celebrated its 50th birthday recently, a fact which would have passed by without notice were it not for commenter Steve Biro. And since we’re talking Gremlin today, we may as well take a look at an oddball trim that’s as quirky as it is rare.

It’s a Levi’s Gremlin from 1976, and it comes standard with an invitation to the Pants Party.

(Read More…)

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.

(Read More…)

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.

(Read More…)

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.

(Read More…)

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.

(Read More…)

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.

(Read More…)

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…)

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