Throughout The Car Industry
Categories: Car Reviews
This just in: German carmakers are good at what they do. Very good, in fact. Over the last few decades, the big three Germans—BMW, Mercedes, and Audi have dominated the luxury sedan market with a convincing mix of style, poise, posh, attitude, and attention to detail. They took all of the complaints that consumers had about other luxury vehicles and made them into strengths. No longer were people forced to choose between a Cadillac boat, floating along down the highway, or a sorely underpowered Mitsubishi Galant that struggled to get up to the speed limit. Once the populous realized they actually had a choice, and could opt for a more refined, better engineered, and more agile vehicle, the monopoly began and the new Big Three left many cars and companies in their collective wake.
Posted In: Car Reviews, Professional Car Reviews
Tags: car Reviews, 2017 Volvo S90, Volvo, S90
There are few cars that actually elicit a physical reaction from people when they start up, but the 2012 Aston Martin N420 will make a believer out of anyone gearhead or otherwise. Not like an Aston Martin needed anymore fanfare. Being the go-to car for most James Bond films over the years has all but inducted it into the Hollywood Garage of Fame. However, this Bond car is one that the bad guys could hear coming a mile away.
Times have changed. It used to be that as auto enthusiasts had to make a very difficult choice. Did they want luxury, or performance? Most younger, testosterone-driven males would almost always choose performance. They would revel in the harshness of a solid-axle rear end in their Z28, or the unabashed noise coming from their straight-piped Superbird, or watch as the soles of their tennis shoes melted to the firewall of their Shelby Cobra. It was considered a badge of honor for most red-blooded American males to get essentially beaten up by their car in the name of stepping up their performance just a fraction of a second. But, then, as those same red-blooded boys grew up into somewhat respectable adults and occasionally began to have families and careers, they began to want a bit more from their daily rides. Suddenly, or not so suddenly, those guys started enjoying the softness of a supple Cadillac suspension, or the poshness of a Buick’s interior, or the quiet demeanor of an Oldsmobile’s refined engine, and, over the course of time, the alacrity with which they celebrated getting pummeled by their cars faded, and, in its place, came a resignation. The young man became an old man, because he had to put his toys away and grow up. Speed was a thing of the past, and no longer could he tolerate the sacrifice his old Mustang or Corvette demanded, and instead gave in to the comfort of a bigger, and slower, car, but losing some part of himself along the way. And that’s how it went for decades.
Instead of always trying to be ahead of the world on information and breaking news, sometimes it's better to take a deep breath and look back on what has already come to pass. Some may argue that the Golden Age of automobiles was the mid to late 1960s; however, there is a compelling argument that can be made for the mid to late 1990s as either a second Golden Age or perhaps even a Renaissance. Although instead of huge displacement and grossly overrated horsepower numbers, these later cars used forced induction and new technology to compete on the highest level of production vehicles.
It’s sad to say, but with the number of new production model cars we’ve seen over the past decade or so, we are almost becoming desensitized to them. It seems like every car company is trying to make one of every conceivable model car or truck. And, in the endless pursuit of trying to capture a piece of every single market niche, some… many… companies have all but abandoned their own identities and their own foundational characteristics. Their mission becomes blurry to consumers and their integrity seems to be sacrificed in the name of the almighty dollar. So, more and more, we see many new cars with familiar badges, but we forget what those car company’s values were built upon. And while that’s happening more and more lately, sometimes… just sometimes… it doesn’t.
The Touareg: the VW Group midsize SUV for those too poor to afford an Audi Q7 or Porsche Cayenne. Or that's what most people think. And God forbid you mention your Touareg has a diesel. Most people will keep standing there just long enough to drop their gaze to see if you're wearing socks with your Birkenstocks and invent a sick family member/pet/head-of-state they have to visit—like right now—before they sprint away from you.
Posted In: Car Reviews, Driving, Good, Bad & Ugly, Humor, Miscellaneous, Special / Limited Edition, Technology
Tags: 2004 VW Touareg V10 TDI volkswagen porsche cayenne audi q7 sq7 diesel turbodiesel towing boeing 747
When you think of classic sports cars that have been sold throughout the US over the years, there are a few cars that come to mind—certainly the venerable Corvette and the Porsche 911 take the lion's share of the credit (and deservedly so), but what others? Maybe a car like the Mazda Miata which has been going strong for more than twenty years, or more recently cars like the Porsche Boxster or even a Lotus or two might spring to mind. But more often than not, one of the most impressive traditional sports cars to ever grace a showroom in America gets almost no credit whatsoever: The Honda S2000.
Sometimes there are sports cars that come into our world that perform well, look good, and yet never really succeed at being very memorable. Whether too slow to really stand out, too posh to really be sporty, too bland in character, or maybe just too brief a production run, there are any number of reasons those cars just didn’t stick with us. But then, there are some cars that storm onto the scene with apocalyptic world-ending force.
Posted In: Car Reviews, Professional Car Reviews, Special / Limited Edition
Tags: Reviews, nissan, GT-R, 2017 Nissan GT-R
In the automotive industry, we’ve see quite a few types of philosophies when it comes to building cars. There is the exclusive, hand-built, limited production track, a la Ferrari (no pun intended); then there is the mass-production, cheapest parts we can use to make an affordable car and still make a profit, which brings several companies to mind (we’re looking at you Scion and Kia). Sometimes carmakers want to build something completely of their own design, with no help from anyone anywhere. Take for example the Lexus LF-A: Here was a car that took Toyota a decade to build. Granted, it was a great car, but it took so long that by the time it hit the market, some of the tech they used to make it was already outdated. No bueno. So what is a company to do when they want to build a car, yet may not have the necessary capital, research and design know-how, or simply don’t want to wait out the process and need to get a car with their name out there as soon as possible? Simple, use someone else’s car with your name on it.
Posted In: Car Reviews, Professional Car Reviews
Tags: car reviews, 2017 Fiat 124, reviews, fiat, 124
In the modern world of SUVs, it seems like the choice are endless; yet, somehow, everyday there are even more choices. Nearly every manufacturer on Earth has been trying to get a piece of the rapidly growing pseudo-truck market (Can a Bugatti SUV really be that far away?). When it comes to SUV choices, there are small, large, low cost, high luxury, very off-road capable, very on-road capable, fast, extremely fast, slow, slower, three-door, five-door, front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and dozens of other minor options to choose from.
In recent years, carmakers have been under tons of pressure to develop more fuel efficient vehicles. They have been obligated by the government to get their corporate EPA numbers up however possible. So that’s what they’ve been doing… Or saying that’s what they’ve been doing anyway. In 2014, however, Hyundai (along with its subsidiary Kia) were hit with the single biggest fine in the era of the Clean Air Act. Why such heavy discipline? Well, it seems that Hyundai sort of… embellished… the ability of a few models' ability to achieve 40 miles per gallon on the highway. And by “few”, we mean around 1.2 million vehicles in all. The Elantra actually got closer to 38 mpg, not the 40 as advertised. And while that small two-mile-per-gallon discrepancy may not seem like a big deal, when you are lying to customers who are basing their purchasing decisions on cars that are very similar and one edges the other out, or seems to anyway, in fuel economy and then doesn’t, you’re going to have quite a few angry folks knocking on your door. The fine levied by the government was enormous—$100 million in total—and beyond that Hyundai lost another $200 million in greenhouse-gas emissions credits it got for claiming to have high-efficiency vehicles. After they got kicked in the teeth for lying, Hyundai downgraded the Elantra’s highway mpg to 38 mpg, and made the decision to build a car that lived up to its claims.