By on December 13, 2019

Cadillac may be embarking on a nail-biting journey with its electrification plan, but its naming strategy could prove considerably less rocky. Or not. Announced Thursday in Detroit, the premium brand’s evolution to emissions-free status will coincide with a return of actual model names for new vehicles — a move many Cadillac watchers have long hoped for.

Yes, the alphabet soup that comprised all but one member of the Caddy clan will fall by the wayside, replaced by real words. Names that mean something, that stimulate emotion. Ford thought it necessary. Can you guess what we’re going to ask today? (Read More…)

By on December 12, 2019

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

In keeping with this month’s theme of “winter is coming” (perhaps it’s already arrived where you live), denizens of the sun belt with their blemish-free highways will have to put up with another question that hardly applies to their lifestyle.

We’ve asked you in the recent past about winter rubber, and even implored you to share the contents of your trunk, but today we’re going to discuss aspect ratio. With winter comes potholes, and it continues to amaze this writer the number of people who choose style over steelies, forgoing the wheel-protecting cushion afforded by a taller tire. (Read More…)

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 December 10, 2019

Night Court was ranked No. 21 on the Nielsen ratings and Nike execs were contemplating what eventually became the “Bo Knows” campaign when Chrysler’s Ultradrive automatic entered production in Indiana.

Boasting four speeds and a protective limp-home feature soon to be the butt of jokes, Ultradrive was Chrysler’s go-to FWD tranny for many a year. As you read yesterday, the original four-speed version will end production in 2020. Yet memories linger… perhaps even yours. (Read More…)

By on December 9, 2019

Subaru Ascent

We don’t know about the rest of you lot, but the vast majority of us who toil at this august publication reside well within the snow belt. Starting around this time of year, shovelling, bundling up, and generally cursing at cold weather is a daily occurrence for most of the masthead.

Modern cars are virtually maintenance-free these days — save for vital fluids, of course — especially compared to the Bad Old Days when one had to gap plugs and set points in order to get to church on time. Despite this, are there any particular ways in which you prepare your car for winter?

(Read More…)

By on December 6, 2019

gm

Cars are out, crossovers are in. This is as true as saying the sun rises in the east or that the slow air leak in your back tire will eventually get worse. It’s a given, and, with the current onslaught of crossovers now trickling into previously unexplored white space, your choice has never been greater.

2019 may be remembered as the year automakers broke out of traditional segments and began inserting boxy products into that narrow window between existing models. Chevrolet, Buick, and Mazda all decided it was a good idea to pursue buyers in tweener segments. The question today is: have any of these supposedly right-sized products moved you to consider a brand you’d normally have ignored? (Read More…)

By on December 4, 2019

An article posted yesterday on these renowned pages really got me thinking about how certain brands seem to not have much of a future in the automotive landscape of 2020 — and beyond. If you didn’t click the link there, you may be wondering which brand I’m presently speaking of. It is of course Alfa Romeo.

Let’s do some Italian-style pondering.

(Read More…)

By on December 3, 2019

2018 Ford Super Duty, Image: Ford

Depending on your lifestyle, hanging something off the rear bumper of your car, SUV, or pickup might be a regular occurence. Maybe you’re a member of the horsey set, hauling thoroughbreds to and from the tonier enclaves of Southern California or Kentucky. Perhaps you’re a road trip buff with a family to lug around. It could be that boats and ATVs consume every minute of your waking thoughts, and the contents of your garage show it.

Or, just maybe, you’re the owner of an old Mazda B-Series who searches in vain every week for just enough scrap metal to keep the lights on at home.

At some point in your towing experience, did something go terribly awry? (Read More…)

By on December 2, 2019

frozen car. Shutterstock user Pixelcruiser

Winter arrived north of the border with a bang this weekend, catching some people and good many municipal snowplows off guard. Stuck and otherwise immobile vehicles littered the roadway like debris at a ticker tape parade.

This frozen wasteland got your author thinking — what’s the stickiest situation in which you’ve ever placed a vehicle?

(Read More…)

By on November 30, 2019

We don’t normally ask questions on the weekend, but in the spirit of the holiday, coupled with the fact that too much excitement could aggravate your already elevated cholesterol and blood pressure, we’d like to know what you’re thankful for in the automotive realm. Hardly original, sure, but bear with us.

There’s one caveat here: this question only pertains to contemporary OEM products and features, not bygone equipment or aftermarket upgrades. There’ll be no giving thanks for three-speed manuals or the Oldsmobile brand today.

With bitching now the top-ranked pastime, let’s speak from the heart and pin down something automotive that makes being alive in 2019 great. (Read More…)

By on November 27, 2019

Today’s Question of the Day was generated by some comments on yesterday’s post regarding the new Jeep Grand Wagoneer. There, it was clear that two divergent camps of opinion were present regarding the model’s long hiatus.

Let’s explore this a little further.

(Read More…)

By on November 26, 2019

Last week’s Tesla Cybertruck introduction is still dominating discourse, and in classic Tesla fashion, it’s doing so in a truly annoying way. Following a sketchy tug-of-war with a downslope-pointed, rear-drive F-150 intended to show the cockroach-shaped Cybertruck’s brawn, Ford has demanded a do-over on a (literal) level playing field.

Again, it’s annoying.

While “polarized” doesn’t begin to describe the reaction to Cybertruck, one comment about the retro-futuristic EV caught my eye. It was a reason why someone might not consider the vehicle, and it has nothing to do with power, price, or build quality. (Read More…)

By on November 25, 2019

The internet collectively lost its mind when Elon Musk rolled out his Cybertruck last week in California. More polarizing than the ends of two magnets, people either loved or hated the thing. But — and this is key — regardless on which side of the fence a person stood, it seemed that everyone was surprised by how the thing looked.

Today’s QOTD is easy: what other vehicle debuts caught you off-guard?

(Read More…)

By on November 21, 2019

1968 Ford LTD in Colorado wrecking yard, trunk - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Wednesday night marked the first time this season that yours truly was called upon to perform an annual ritual; one that falls on random days throughout the cold and dark months. A friend called me for a boost. While jumping dead batteries is a task I loathe — all stemming from a childhood fear of electricity — I perform the task at least once a winter, sometimes several times, and have for two decades.

Why? I’m always the guy with the cables. And it’s only during battery-reviving excursions like this that I pause to think about all the crap that accumulates in a person’s trunk during the year and how, quite often, most of that junk is of zero usefulness to the owner in the event of a breakdown or emergency.

So, how much of what’s in your trunk actually serves a useful purpose? (Read More…)

By on November 20, 2019

pt cruiserIn our question of the day post last Wednesday, we asked you to submit the vehicles that left you wondering what the manufacturers behind them were thinking. Today, we’ll take the opposite tack and focus our attention on the automotive products which came along at exactly the right time.

(Read More…)

Recent Comments

  • 56BelAire: Many people have been giving their offspring stupid made up names for decades…..why not stupid made...
  • PrincipalDan: They were good enough I put a set on my F150 and a set on my Highlander.
  • Jeff S: “Cadillac” and “future” sounds more like an oxymoron. Can’t see much of a...
  • Jeff S: How about using a name from Chevy especially since Cadillac shares parts with Chevy. How about the Cadillac...
  • FreedMike: Maybe not, but speed has a way of selling cars like this. I agree, he’d probably be just fine with a...

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