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And Car Reviews

SRT8 392: Not So Challenging To Love

On: Thu, May 5, 2011 at 2:00PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Dodge Challenger  SRT8, 392, test 2

If we are being honest, when the Dodge Challenger first bowed onto the scene, it didn't really live up to the legend and lore of its namesake. Sure it looked good, but it was heavy, a bit underpowered unless you opted to drop down 40 grand for the SRT variant, and seemed to just be another cookie-cutter wannabe amidst a lineup of mediocre models.  

It seems Dodge may have realized this somewhere along the way, and actually did what a lot of American car companies refused to do in the past:  They fixed their mistake, at least in terms of the SRT model. The new Challenger SRT 392 is nothing short of a beast. Taking a page out of other performance car's books, Dodge execs realized that car guys (and gals) are nostalgic in their taste for fast iron. They enjoy heritage, and want to feel a link to the past when gas was cheap and changing a cam in your car took a weekend and a few beers. So for those not in the know, the 392 harks back to those days gone by.

Mercedes Benz: Concept A (Plus)

On: Thu, May 5, 2011 at 9:10AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Mercedes Benz: Concept A (Plus)  test 2

Mercedes has made a big splash by unveiling its diminutive new Concept A to the auto show circuit. With the understanding that the Smart Car is not exactly a luxury compact, the German automaker is setting its sights on the smaller, luxury segment.  

 Although obviously a concept car, the Concept A is a hint at the upcoming new A-Class to come out next year. The front-driver will likely sport a blown 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that will put down a little more than 200 horsepower (which is about 20 ponies over the latest European model). Don't be surprised to see a seven-speed automatic attached to this little car. Mercedes just recently developed the new dual-clutch transmission for the C-Class and mounted it to, among other choices, a 1.8-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine that makes 201-hp and 229-lb-ft of torque. That combo might just show up in the very near future. There is no talk of a hybrid or electric model just yet.  

Classic Car Cultist: International Scout II

On: Wed, May 4, 2011 at 4:47PM | By: Chris Salamone

International Scout II  test 2

 Oh… you’ve never heard of the International Harvester Scout II? Well, I’ll bet you’ve seen it in one of the 34 movies and shows starring this epic American off-roader, such as Desperado, Avalanche, Milk, Dallas, and, of course, Swamp Thing. The Scout II may not be your absolute favorite hero machine, but as far as credibility is concerned, Swamp Thing is commonly accepted as the authoritative standard for cult classic films and this car is the perfect automotive pairing to swamp monsters and hokey script writing. But, the Scout II offers much more than just a funky aesthetic.

The International Harvester Scout was one of the seminal production civilian off-road SUVs, meant to compete with early Jeep models. Scouts were produced as two-door trucks with inventive options such as a half cab pickup or removable hard and soft tops. Considering that IH spent a total of 24 months in R&D for the entire vehicle (engine and manufacturing), the Scout was and remains to be an incredible achievement.

U.S. Auto Sales Up; High Demand For Fuel-Efficiency; General Motors, 2011 Ford Explorer.

On: Wed, May 4, 2011 at 2:57PM | By: Tim Healey

U.S. Auto Sales Up test 2

American auto sales rose 18 percent last month, due to new models and better fuel-efficiency. The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate now stands at 13.2 million, which is the third straight month that it's been over 13 million. Despite supply problems and rising fuel prices, every automaker posted sales gains as the industry as a whole saw its second largest percentage gain for the year.


Tally-ho! Earth's First Hybrid Goes For A Spin

On: Wed, May 4, 2011 at 1:37PM | By: Chris Salamone

Porsche Semper Vivus test 2

Over the years Porsche has stood out as a company which not only produces exceptional vehicles, but as a company that also turns a profit with regularity. But the claims to fame don’t stop there. In 1900 Porsche manufactured the first functional hybrid car ever built: the Semper Vivus. Take that Prius! Yes, a full one hundred years before Toyota rolled out with the Prius the Semper Vivus roamed the concrete jungles of yesterday, err… minus the concrete. Recently Porsche decided to remind the world of their EV achievement by taking the Semper Vivus out for a spin.

Video: Sounds And Sights Of The Zagato Tz3 Stradale

On: Wed, May 4, 2011 at 12:59PM | By: Chris Weiss

Zagato TZ3 Stradale test 2

It made its grand debut last week, but the sexy, curvy TZ3 Stradale from Zagato was mostly interested in showing off its looks. This week, the TZ3 shows its personality and inside. We get to take a look inside the engine bay and underneath the tires. And we get to witness the special edition's personality through its throaty V8 grumble and on-road temperament. As they so often say, it's what's on the inside that counts.

Chevy Gives Details On New Corvette

On: Wed, May 4, 2011 at 11:26AM | By: Chris Weiss

Chevy is hoping that customers will find the 2012 interior just a little mo test 2

Okay, "new" might be a bit of an overstatement. The 2012 Corvette is more like an ever-so-slightly tweaked geriatric. It will be the last C6 Corvette model year that we see before the C7 debuts next year as a 2013 model. But, 2012 is the 100th anniversary of Chevy, and we've seen that the Corvette will be sort of a party vehicle, with various special editions and packages offered. 

Chevy previewed a few of the changes that will affect all 2012 Corvettes in anticipation of the muscle car's launch.

Nearly 900,000 GM Vehicles Under Investigation For Faulty Fuel Gauge

On: Wed, May 4, 2011 at 10:51AM | By: Chris Weiss

GM Vehicles Under Investigation For Faulty Fuel Gauge  test 2

Last week, AAA locations around the country reported that "out of gas" calls have spiked significantly this year, a phenomenon that's undoubtedly tied to the insane prices of gas. Well, now there's another little wrench in the fuel equation, at least for GM owners. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced on Friday that it's investigating 865,000 GM vehicles for faulty fuel gauges. The gauges have caused a small percentage of owners to run out of gas.

According to its announcement, there have been 668 complaints about the fuel gauge issue on vehicles from Chevy, GMC, Buick, and former GM brand Saab. Fifty-eight of those complaints come from drivers that actually stalled out because their tank was empty even though the fuel gauge read as though they still had gas left. At least one crash allegedly stems from the issue.

GM U.S. Pickup Car Rumors

On: Wed, May 4, 2011 at 10:29AM | By: Chris Weiss

Holden Ute test 2

Man, I don't think the pickup car has had this much time in the spotlight since the 1960s and 1970s. In the past month, we've seen a pickup car from BMW (yes, here's the proof), a high-performance tuner pickup car that took advantage of the highly publicized BMW model, and now more GM pickup-car rumors.

The rumors have been around for years, but they got a little extra juice last week when GM North America President Mark Reuss was quoted as supporting the idea of a North American pickup car in Australia's Sydney Morning Herald. Australia, of course, is one of the world markets where GM does offer a pickup car (known as a ute down under) in the form of the Holden Ute and Ute SS.

Smart Takes Its "Worst" Tour Nationwide!

On: Wed, May 4, 2011 at 8:46AM | By: Andrew W Davis

RE-photo illustration by author test 2

That might not *actually* be what they’re calling it, but can you blame me?

OK, I’ll play this one straight from now on. Not because I'm afraid of the retribution—or lack thereof—that can come my way from needling the nerds that buy this ridiculous car as they’re an apparently ever-diminishing pool (sales down 66 percent since Aug. 2009!), but because my electronic breath is wasted as ForTwo buyers must be able to shrug off constant insults or they wouldn’t drive the kind of vehicle that even circus-clown-car-buyers avoid else someone might think their ride is ridiculous.

So, instead, I’ll forget what Forbes said about the Little Coupe that Can’t—see my other article!—and try to find something positive to say in recognition of the Magical Misery Tour smart (the company) is bringing to burgs like yours so that smart (again, not the term for intelligence) owners can all come out of the weirdwork together and collectively fine-tune their reasons for not being ashamed at driving something so clearly not meant for American roads in everyone’s way on American roads.

Oh. That didn’t end up being “positive,” did it? Let’s take another run at it…

WTH? Fuoriserie Torino Fruits Up Land Rover Defender

On: Tue, May 3, 2011 at 12:22PM | By: Chris Weiss

WTH? Fuoriserie Torino Fruits Up Land Rover Defender test 1-1

Well, what the hell did the cat drag in here? Italian customizer Fuoriserie Torino thought it prudent to take one of the most masuline, testosterone-fueled vehicles out there and cover it in a vineyard motiff. Not even a somewhat respectable-looking vine-and-leaf motif, which probably could have been done in a way that would almost complement the Defender's muscular, no-nonsense body, but a completely effiminate, flowery-purple camo job. Why?!

Don't get me wrong, I like wine as much as the next guy. And there are probably a few cars that would look good in a wine wrap (maybe after a glass or two, anyway). But the Land Rover Defender? That's not exactly the canvas for a purple-and-light-green vineyard painting. There are so many other ways you could have made this somewhat acceptable—deep merlot color, some sort of powerful winery mascot/logo, etc. How exactly do you defend this decision?