By on June 16, 2021

Matt raised an interesting question yesterday in his piece on GM’s worker woes.

Specifically, should drug testing even be a thing for plant work when many states are legalizing or at least decriminalizing marijuana?

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By on June 7, 2021

It’s now been a full week since Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer. And with the pandemic seemingly receding — my state and city move to full-go reopening on Friday — people are anxious to move.

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By on April 2, 2021

QOTD Question of the day

Jan, Toyota’s innocuous ad spokesperson, poses our question of the day (QOTD)  to picture yourself in a new Toyota. We’re asking, what new vehicle of any make would you picture yourself in? Assuming, of course, dealers still exist.

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By on January 14, 2021

 

hybrid

Which drivetrain would you prefer: The hybrid two-motor setup that Toyota has paired with their 2.5-liter DOHC four-cylinder that puts out 245 horsepower or Kia’s conventional V6 that produces 294 HP?

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By on June 3, 2020

You’ve had it. You see no point in going on doing what you’re doing anymore, no bright side to sticking it out and hoping for sunnier skies. You need a change, and the great woods and hills beckon, free of people, social media, politicians, and large, soulless companies that treat you like a less-than-human cog in an inefficient machine.

You’ve come into some money, let’s say, and have a book you’ve never gotten around to writing (or reading). A change of pace would do you good, assuming you can stand the solitary life and aren’t afraid of either the dark or getting your hands dirty.

However, before putting this plan into action, you’ll first need a vehicle. (Read More…)

By on April 9, 2020

2003 Honda Civic GX in California wrecking yard, fuel gauge - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

It seems readers gravitated to Chris’ recent review of the Silverado 1500 Duramax. Indeed, I was curious to see just how well General Motors’ new 3.0-liter inline-six diesel handled day to day life and, more importantly, how well it performed at the pumps.

Looks like the pickup’s fuel economy was worthy of note. With each full-size member of the Detroit Three now fielding an oil burner, light-duty diesel fuel economy has become another arena in which to do battle. Of course, the industry has always used fuel economy as a yardstick (despite it not being much of a selling point at various times in history), and as always, the buyer’s mileage will vary, regardless of what EPA figures appear in the window sticker.

Have you ever been pleasantly surprised? (Read More…)

By on September 13, 2019

Image: VW

God knows we’ve talked up crossovers ad nauseum. Not in the same uniformly derisive manner as certain twenty-something bloggers, mind you, but the topic certainly has staying power — and with good reason. The thing about these (mostly) non-canyon-carving family boxes is that they insert themselves so easily into so many people’s lives, ticking a great number of boxes on a regular family’s list of must-haves. Hence the sales, the popularity, and the press.

So copious is the choice awaiting a would-be crossover buyer, he or she might become overwhelmed with indecision, ultimately requiring the intervention of medication and therapy. For others, the thought of bringing any one of these things home might leave a bad taste in their mouth. And for a certain few, the crossover of their dreams just hasn’t arrived yet. The love affair they didn’t think could happen awaits just over the horizon. (Read More…)

By on August 21, 2019

Between 1953 and a few weeks ago, the Chevrolet Corvette stuck to a very specific formula: Engine at the front, driven wheels at the back. With the debut of the 2020 C8 Corvette, all of that changed. Today we want to find out what you think about the metamorphosis of an iconic sports car nameplate.

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By on February 25, 2019

DeLorean DMC-12

Even those with even the slightest passing interest in Hollywood movies know that the Oscars were doled out last night at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Films are fine, but anytime a screenplay involves copious (and sometimes gratuitous!) volumes of cars, well, gearheads like us tend to sit up and take notice.

Never mind Best Actor or Best Screenplay. What’s your pick for Best Car?

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By on May 18, 2018

Mazda CX-9 blind spot monitoring - Image: Mazda

One of the criticisms of all the various pieces of technology that serve as driving aids is this: They make it too easy for drivers to fall into bad and lazy habits.

I thought of this while making a lane change near my Chicago home the other day. The test car I was in had blind spot monitoring, and I made the change without turning my head, and with barely a peep at the mirrors.

It was a harmless maneuver, as no one was near me. The system worked. But I chided myself – I’d let technology make me lazy.

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By on May 10, 2018

1974 Chevrolet El Camino in California junkyard, grille, © 2016 Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars

Forgive us for the gratuitous use of the R-word, but stereotypes loom so large that it’s the easiest way to describe this automotive subsegment. Unfair, perhaps, and potentially offensive to some, but that’s the way it is. Decades of conditioning — helped by our friends in Hollywood — have led us to associate certain vehicles with a certain socio-economic group of rural land owners.

Frankly, who doesn’t want to own a patch of God’s green earth and tear it up on lonely dirt roads in a rear-drive American car? Let’s see a show of hands.

Anyway, we’re not here to cast judgement on anyone, nor are we here to talk about any tweet-worthy social issues. We’re definitely steering clear of that. It’s the cars we’re interested in. (Read More…)

By on April 2, 2018

Despite the downturn of a few different motorsport series — witness the hemorrhaging of  NASCAR’s fan attendance — there’s plenty of great racing on this planet. Some of it, in fact, is absolutely bonkers.

In Australia, V8 Supercars run door handle to door handle in cars that resemble production machines, just like NASCAR used to do before Brian France decided we all needed a series with confusing points systems and asinine stage racing. IMSA races are generally entertaining, with the added bonus that most of them are livestreamed, then archived on YouTube.

One of the best shows currently on asphalt? Stadium Super Trucks, the gonzo brainchild of Robby Gordon.

(Read More…)

By on February 15, 2018

2019 Hyundai Veloster N

Amid the Chicago Auto Show hoopla last week came reports that Mercedes-Benz was considering dropping out of next year’s Detroit Auto Show, news that has since been confirmed. I was invited to a dinner with journalists by an OEM during the Chicago show, and while eating, the PR guy posed a question – “Does the auto show still matter to you guys?”

Immediately, all in attendance agreed that the shows are as important as ever to consumers and the dealers who sell them cars. Which makes sense – the shows are usually run by dealer associations, with the intent of generating sales leads.

For us in the media, though, it’s been an open question. Thanks to changes in technology and how both journalists and PR departments do their jobs, many journalists now find it easier (and cheaper) to cover the shows from home (especially if they snagged embargoed material in advance).

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By on December 29, 2017

Yesterday I talked about the worst kind of subprime lenders and how they misused the courts to collect their profits. There was a broad spectrum of reader response, including a few people who felt compelled to discuss the fact that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote and therefore won the presidency. (To which I can only respond: that’s like awarding the Super Bowl win to the team with the most rushing yards.)

Here’s what we didn’t discuss: our own experiences with subprime loans and/or bad car deals. I suspect that there are some members of the B&B who have never so much as walked by a subprime lender; I also suspect that there are plenty of readers who are currently in a subprime situation right now but don’t want to admit it.

So for today, let’s consider two topics: a) What’s the worst car deal you ever made? and b) did you ever use a subprime source? I’ll start, of course.

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By on December 12, 2017

public domain

As I type this, the first flakes of this winter’s first real dumping of snow are falling lazily outside my window. By morning, the landscape should resemble the countertop in a Studio 54 bathroom. Then the real fun begins.

Carefully gauging your braking distance and leaving more room between your car and the car ahead, wondering all the while if that Rogue you can’t see around is hugging the back bumper of the car in front. Wondering what’s going to break loose first on a highway off-ramp — the front end or the rear. Trying to coax frozen wiper blades off the windshield without leaving the rubber strip behind. Downshifting at the top of hills. Trying to clear freezing rain off your windows without turning into William H. Macy in Fargo.

Never mind what happens in the ritzy ski lodges of Sweden and the Alps. Winter sucks. The only perk is it’s a lot easier to make a U-turn, assuming there’s no cops around and your vehicle’s e-brake isn’t of the electronic kind.

Depending on where you call home, you’ve probably switched your seasonal rubber by now. Or have you? (Read More…)

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