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The Chaos Theory As Seen In Today's Traffic Jams

On: Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 4:07PM | By: Peter C Sessler

The Chaos Theory As Seen In Today's Traffic Jams test 1-1

You’re driving along at a nice pace and all of a sudden, you see brake lights ahead of you, and traffic begins to slow. Probably an accident, you think. After an indeterminable time, traffic once again, begins to move. You keep your eyes open to see what caused the traffic to slow down, but you don’t see anything at all. It’s a bit frustrating not to have someone to vent your anger against, but as you probably have noticed, this is far from being uncommon. Traffic slows and speeds up with no apparent reason.

Don’t worry, though. There are people who make a study of this. Traffic engineers, who use mathematical and computer models, typically find that traffic jams are caused by accidents, bad curves, hills, merging lanes—all logical reasons. The way to alleviate this problem is to simply build bigger and better roads. Sounds logical, but is it?

Bugatti Plans On Keeping World Record

On: Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 2:06PM | By: Chris Weiss

Bugatti Plans On Keeping World Record test 2

Wolfgang Durheimer has been doing a lot of talking lately, and the media has been doing a lot of hanging on his words and speculating about the future of Bugatti/Bentley. The latest Durheimer sound bite indicates that Bugatti has no intentions of relinquishing the world speed record, suggesting that it has a Veryon successor in the works.

The Bugatti Veyron sold the last of its 300 examples earlier this summer, leaving Bugatti with just the open-topped Veyron Grand Sport in its line. It's rumored that Bugatti will bring the four-door 16C Galibier to market in the next few years, but it will be without a hardcore coupe in the vein of the Veyron.

How To Make Your Car Last Forever (Or Close To It)

On: Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 11:02AM | By: Peter C Sessler

How To Make Your Car Last Forever (Or Close To It) test 2

Some cars have a reputation for running forever, Hondas, for one, or some of those old Dodge Darts with the Slant Six engine. Even those cars, though, eventually make it to the junk heap. But don't get depressed; you can extend your car's life by following some rather simple procedures. Most of them seem very commonsensical, but the key is how often you do them. The following applies to all vehicles.

First, follow the service schedule. This seems pretty simple, but you'd be surprised how many car owners don't follow the manufacturer's maintenance schedule. Maintenance intervals are getting longer and longer, so it is, therefore, much more critical that they followed. A lot of cars today have warning lights to remind you, should you forget. Considering the investment most people make to own a car, it is inexcusable not to take care of it properly.

Cadillac Unveils Ciel Convertible Concept

On: Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 9:05AM | By: Chris Weiss

Cadillac Unveils Ciel Convertible Concept test 2

Last Wednesday, when Cadillac announced that it was producing the Converj plug-in concept as the ELR, it mentioned that it would launch a concept the following day at the Concours d'Elegance Pebble Beach. If you read it quickly, it appeared the concept was going to be the next version of the ELR, since the entire press release save for the last paragraph was about the ELR. But if you read a little closer, Cadillac simply said: "Cadillac will reveal another new concept car on Thursday, Aug. 18, at a special event prior to the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance."

The new concept isn't the next iteration of its plug-in, but a classicly styled convertible that it calls the Ciel.


Mercedes-Benz 230/250/280SL Roadster 1963-71

On: Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 5:22PM | By: Peter C Sessler

Mercedes-Benz 230/250/280SL Roadster 1963-71 test 2

The original Mercedes-Benz 300SL debuted in 1954 to raves and race wins, but its gullwing doors and very high price made the car unreachable but for the very rich. Still, Mercedes-Benz felt that the car had market potential and so, by 1963, the latest version of the SL (Super Light) was introduced. The car was less expensive than the 300SL, and it resembled the 1954-1963 300SL with its large open grille with the Mercedes-Benz star, but its clear-cut lines were a departure from the 300SL. The 230SL (from 1963-67) had a more angular appearance with cleaner sides and hood; however, it was the optional hard top, which incorporated a center dip, that was the car’s most distinctive feature—the Pagoda roof.

The 1963-1971 SL clearly established the marque as the sports car from Mercedes-Benz. True, like all Mercedes-Benz offerings, it was an expensive car, to be sure, but that didn’t hurt sales. In fact, the car started the reputation that it was built for the well-to-do.

Buyer Incentives May Come As Detroit Suffers Customer Satisfaction Blow

On: Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 3:54PM | By: Chris Weiss

Buyer Incentives May Come As Detroit Suffers Customer Satisfaction Blow test 2

After seemingly being back after their highly public woes of 2009, American automakers have suffered another blow. It seems that customers just aren't as satisfied with many of Detroit’s brands as they were last year. The American Customer Satisfaction Index has brought bad news to several key American brands and good news to Japanese counterparts.

Quest For A Good Mechanic

On: Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 1:00PM | By: Peter C Sessler

Quest For A Good Mechanic test 2

There’s no question about it, finding a good mechanic is about as hard as finding a good doctor or dentist—probably harder! At least with a doctor you’ve got some recourse, mostly legal, if there’s a problem. But with a mechanic, there’s not much you can do about it if you’ve been had.

The best source of information regarding reliable and professional service at fair prices (and with it, a measure of trust), is through word of mouth. But even if a shop gets rave reviews from your family or friends, it’s best to also find out if the facility specializes in certain types of cars, and how long the shop has been used by the person who made the recommendation.

2012 Jeep Wrangler Gets Engine Reduction?!

On: Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 12:09PM | By: Chris Salamone

3.6-liter Pentastar test 2

We’ve waited, and waited, and waited. Since the Wrangler’s inception, some of the vehicle’s strongest characteristics have remained its greatest weaknesses for everyday driving: low-end torque and gear ratios meant for off-roading. That potent mix of rock-crawling power has historically meant terrible gas mileage and unfortunate off-the-line acceleration times. Finally, as of 2012, Jeep has decided to rework the Wrangler’s engineering to try to maintain the vehicle’s legendary off-road prowess while improving fuel economy and quickness.

The devout Jeep driver may recall how the company has reduced engine size offerings over the years, fearing their beloved overlander would become just another ‘soft-roader’. But really, Jeep’s recent decision to utilize the 3.6-liter Pentastar engine over last year’s 3.8-liter makes perfect sense. Other than an ego-slashing drop in physical size, the latest Pentastar offers more torque, more horsepower, and greater fuel efficiency (up to 21 mpg).

Kia Launches RWD Sports Car Concept

On: Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 10:25AM | By: Chris Weiss

Kia Launches RWD Sports Car Concept test 1-1

Well, as promised, Kia has announced its own sporty sedan concept. Unfortunately, the car looks like a cheap Korean-made knockoff of the million-dollar Aston Martin One-77. Not exactly the best way to announce that you've arrived in the serious performance car market. The four-door rear-wheeler will make its debut at next month's Frankfurt Motor Show. Kia provided a sneak peak last week.

Despite the fact that its pointed headlamps and vertical air intakes look ripped off and dumbed down from the One-77, some of the car isn't a bad effort. The car packs four seats and four doors into a flowing, extended-coupe profile. We're not too sure we can take the hood-mounted rear-views seriously on a Kia, however. And from what we can see of it, that flat-faced rear-end yells misfortune.

2012 Honda Accord Price Holds Steady

On: Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 9:12AM | By: Chris Weiss

2012 Honda Accord Price Holds Steady test 2

Some good news and some bad news. Good news: The 2012 Honda Accord sedan and coupe will be priced exactly the same as the 2011 Accord sedan and coupe. The bad news is they'll also be pretty much the same models with nary an improvement or addition. Then again, when you're a solid market-leader like the Accord, maybe that's good news/good news.

Bentley Talking Diesel And Hybrid Options

On: Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 3:10PM | By: Chris Weiss

Bentley Talking Diesel and Hybrid Options  test 2

If you had to identify the two Bs of sheer environmental carnage and destruction, you couldn't do much better than "Bugatti" and VW stablemate "Bentley." Along with a few other perpetrators like Rolls Royce and Aston Martin, these two Volkswagen ultra-premium brands make up a who's who of the worst EPA ratings. And that happens year after year.

Luckily for them, both Bugatti and Bentley can sit back and rely on more efficient Volkswagen brands to offset the hefty numbers choked out by their massive-engined, heavy-bodied sports and luxury offerings. But that doesn't mean the brands aren't at least looking at ways of becoming more fuel efficient and eco-friendly. Even the richest of the rich want to feel good about themselves sometimes.