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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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On: Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 3:15PM | By: John Welch

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good: Everything about the Ford F-150 Raptor makes me happy. Long-Travel suspension? Check. Huge, CORR-style fender flares? Check. 310 bhp V8, soon to upgraded to 400? Check. Skid plates, unique and strangely attractive grille, vicious rubber and a composed on-road ride? Check, Check, Check, and Check. I've always liked Chevy trucks but this thing is just too good to be believed. It looks like it wants to eat babies without going way overboard (ala SuperSwampers, stupid brush guard, TruckNutz) and apparently the thing is beyond capable. Even though I don't currently have any reason to own one, I'm sure I could make something up.

How could this package get better? The current 5.4 liter mill will be joined by a 6.2 liter option by the end of the year. This thing is so serious it comes with a little red stripe dead at the center of the steering wheel's rim. Use it to make sure your tires are pointing arrow straight when that lurid power-slide gets away from you. Heh, that is the sort of thing that makes a pseudo race-dork like me sweat in his sleep. Edmunds Inside Line has a great image gallery. See the video after the jump  from Motor Trend. Anyone want to inform me what dictionary the word "Heavy-Dutyized" comes from?...

The Bad: London is a lot like Central Florida. Heavily congested roadways, outrageous tolls, zero effective public transportation. In order to enter the heart of London, in an automobile, you are required to pay an £8 "Congestion Tax". Oh, wait, it isn't a tax, according to British Officials, “TfL and the UK Government are agreed that the congestion charge is a charge for a service and not a tax which means that diplomats are not exempt from payment.”

Ah but we (the United States) disagree. We so vehemently disagree that our Ambassadors have racked up £3,446,520 in fines by completely disregarding the congestion 'charge'. I thought the Obama administration was going to improve international relations!? Our response to the fines? According to a US Spokesman, “This is a long standing US policy and is not changed by the change in ambassador. We believe the charge to be a tax that is prohibited by various treaties.”

Russia is the next most serious offender, collecting £2.6million in fines, followed by Japan at £2.3million. This story originated from The Times Online.

The Ugly: Ahhh this is my favorite post of the week. The post where-in I get to voice my opinion about gawd-awful mistakes that have been made by people far more intelligent then myself; illustrating the beauty of the Internet. You don't have to have any qualification to be an expert in your own head.

Who are the college educated Marks who's hard work is going to be panned this week? The design staff who came up with the new Mazda 3, and their superiors who allowed this atrocity to be formed in steel, aluminum and injection molded plastic. I realize that these nice people are all Einstein compared to me, also that the 3 is a phenomenal small car. It isn't their intelligence that I'm dog-piling, it's their wretched taste in front fascia design.

Who passed out the mushrooms at Mazda's design facility? You'd have to be zonked out of your mind to think that the previous generation Peugeot line-up had a design language worth ripping off. That up-turned Cheshire grin makes me want to kick every 3 I pass. I don't of course, but I want too. Whats worse is that you can tell the fascia is just tacked on to the old chassis from a mile away. I want cars that look like mean robots, not lackadaisical Anime pandas. I'm reminded of the Smilex link from a previous post.

Remember "A Christmas Story"? The downtrodden family has to eat Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant unaware that the duck will be brought to their table, head-on. Ralphie stares at the duck's lifeless face with a pained expression on his face. His mother asks, "Ralphie, whats wrong?" Ralphie responds, "It's smiling at me!!" That's how I feel every time I see a new Mazda 3, "It's Freaking Smiling at me!!" Only, in "A Christmas Story," they proceed to hack the duck's head off right there at the table. I have yet to witness a Mazda 3 get it's arrogant smirk hacked off by any gigantic cleavers; and that's too bad.

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