By on October 24, 2017

Toyota TJ Cruiser Concept

Toyota is parading the TJ Cruiser concept around the Tokyo Motor Show, taking the public’s temperature on how it might be received as a production model. The vehicle itself is an amalgamation of a traditional sport utility vehicle and ultra-practical cargo van. With an emphasis of being simple, rugged, and sensible, it’s everything a specific subset of enthusiasts have been clamoring for.

We already hinted at our approval of the general idea with our own Tahoe Grande concept — a hypothetical model merging the dynamic features of Chevrolet’s Tahoe SUV and the unparalleled practicality of the family-friendly Dodge Caravan. It was pure sex and so is the Toyota TJ Cruiser, sagaciously speaking. (Read More…)

By on August 16, 2016

2007 Honda Element EX, Image: American Honda

“About twice a week, I’ll come out to the parking lot and see that somebody’s left a note asking to buy it,” Peter said, chuckling. “But the only reason I’d sell it would be to get a newer one. And the prices on those are even crazier. So I’ll keep it. Forever. It’s my car for life, no matter what else I buy or own or whatever.”

A devoted ultra-marathoner and trail-runner who thought nothing of running 30 kilometers on Saturday and then doing it again on Sunday, Peter was the photographer assigned to me on a recent project for another media outlet. He was (obviously) hugely fit, extremely disciplined, and very much in love with his car.

But what kind of car could inspire that kind of affection from a guy like Peter, to say nothing of all the parking-lot stalkers who keep trying to buy his car? Is it a Boss 302? A 458 Speciale? A pristine MkIV Toyota Supra Turbo? I’m afraid not. The belle of Peter’s ball is a homely little box of a car that, when it was new, rarely left a showroom without the assistance of a massive trade allowance, a flatbed tow truck, or possibly both.

(Read More…)

By on March 3, 2016

2007 Honda Element EX, Image: American Honda

Phil writes:

Hi Bark,

My 2003 Honda Element is in need of a new engine due to a burnt valve. The vehicle is in otherwise good shape, with both the body and interior holding up well. I would like to keep it. However, my Element’s 240,000 miles and the quoted $2,800 price for a 70,000-mile replacement engine give me pause. I have another newer vehicle, so transportation isn’t a problem.

Should I fix the Honda and keep it as a sometimes commuter — or move on?

Ah, sentimentality. I’m going to answer your question in a bit here, but allow me some poetic license first.

(Read More…)

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