As with software (and hardware) every now and again, it’s necessary to do an update. Same goes for automotive knowledge. Maybe a better term would be conventional wisdom. Things change – and new things come along.
For instance: A lot of people still assume that 28-32 pounds of air in a tire is about right. It was about right… 20 years ago. And while there are still vehicles that have tires that want 28-32 pounds of air in them (most of these are trucks with M/S-rated tires) it is very common for car tire pressures to be in the 40-45 psi range nowadays.
The Note remains one of the very few small – and low-priced – hatchbacks that’s not too small to be other than a commuter car, a single person’s car or a second car. It could absolutely serve as a family’s primary – or only – car.
In ’07 Nissan introduced the Versa hatchback, which stood out among economy cars – literally – because it was taller-roofed and had a much roomier (almost mid-sized car’s) back seat and an open, airy feel because of its low-cut beltline and expansive glass area. Initially, it was also sportier than others in its segment. Standard equipment included a powerful 1.8 liter, 122 hp engine and a six-speed manual gearbox.
Lexus has traditionally been more about luxury than sport, but with the 2014 GS350 F Sport that may be about to change.
Lexus was originally – and for the most part has remained – a brand devoted primarily to luxury. To poshness, softness, quietude and comfort. ES, RX, LS. These have been the big-sellers, the money-makers.
As the 1980s started and the Reagan Era dawned, Chevy brought some power back to the Camaro, finally making it one of the best American performance cars available in an otherwise lackluster automotive age.
Arguably, the best second-generation Z28s were the first – and the last.
Toyota has long wanted to crack the American full-size truck market. For 2014 they've improved the Tundra, but is it enough to compete with Ford, Chevy and Ram?
One area where the Japanese have not been able to eat the proverbial lunch of Detroit’s Big Three has been full-size pick-ups. To date, none of the Japanese 1500s have been more than peripheral players.
BMW's X5 has become a classic, one of the best sporty sport utility vehicles around. Not messing with a good thing, BMW has made it incrementally better for 2014.
When you’ve got a good thing going – and BMW’s X5 has been going good for almost 15 years – you don’t mess with it. Not fundamentally. Keep what’s good – what works – and tweak things to make the overall package better.
Automotive journalist Eric Peters takes a walk down memory lane, highlighting the great and interesting muscle cars and other vehicular curiosities he has owned.
I’ve got posters of Lamborghini Murias; I once got to drive a Pantera GTS – the 351 Cleveland howling inches behind my right ear. I’ve spent the past 20-plus years driving other people’s new cars. But how about my own cars?
Traction and stability control make modern cars generally safer for winter driving. But, sometimes technology fails where good old fashioned skill behind the wheel can prevent a crash during extreme winter driving.
Times have, as the saying goes, changed.
If you learned how to drive before – roughly – the mid-1980s, you probably learned how to drive in a car without anti-lock brakes or traction/stability control. The skills acquired (hopefully!) such as learning to apply just enough braking pressure to slow the car without locking up the wheels – and to back off the brakes if the wheels did lock up (so that you could still steer the car) are great to have but to a great extent no longer apply.
It’s frankly hard to find much to criticize about this car. The Passat costs less to start than pretty much any other car in this segment, it’s got more engine/transmission options, it is wonderfully roomy and comfortable, drives beautifully.
One of VW’s chief calling cards has always been efficiency.
For a long time – until very recently, in fact – VW was the only car company selling affordable diesel-powered cars. The handful of others were all high-end luxury brands (Mercedes, BMW, Audi).
David Cox: "There needs to be a strong research and development aspect to the test runs in order to justify the use of a unique, taxpayer-funded facility."
A major name in automotive development brought one of his exotic vehicles to the 3.5-mile-long runway at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida recently to evaluate its aerodynamics and to see how the car would handle throughout its performance range.
For entry level luxury, Lexus has long been the leader. With the ES350 for 2014, the company looks set to retain its dominance in the segment.
Who says badge engineering can’t work?
GM (and Ford, too) got heckled for years . . . for doing it wrong. For taking, say, a Chevy Cavalier, adding some chrome here, a wreath and crest there – and calling the unholy result a Cadillac Cimarron.