Archive for April, 2013

Apr
30
VL Destino

Bob Lutz is replacing the hybrid powertrain of the Fisker Karma with the Chevy Corvette’s ZR1 engine.

Bob Lutz has accomplished more in his golden years than most auto execs do in a lifetime. At age 69, Lutz became General Motors’ Vice Chairman of Product Development and helped create cars such as the Cadillac CTS, Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Malibu, Buick Enclave, Buick LaCrosse, and Pontiac Solstice. He also championed the electric/gas Chevrolet Volt before withdrawing from an active role at GM in 2009. Now at age 81, Lutz is launching a high-performance sedan, the VL Destino.

Apr
30

Acura Vigor

There was a long period where the words sexy and sedan simply didn’t belong in the same sentence. Some might argue that the pair can describe classic-era Cords and Duesenbergs, but wouldn’t you still rather have the 2-door version?

Apr
29

2013 Nissan Pathfinder

The Nissan Pathfinder’s 2013 redesign included the “big switch”—going from body-on-frame truck-type construction to a unibody platform. For more on this vehicle, including a drive report, pricing, and photos, check out Consumer Guide’s detailed review of the 2013 Pathfinder as well as our long-term road test. Meanwhile, here are three “yays” and “nays” based on a month’s worth of driving impressions.

Apr
29

This truck is fairly typical of the rolling-billboard breed. As the tires appear properly inflated and the rear glass clean, we can only assume that this van moves from time to time.

The operators of businesses located in shopping centers and plazas often find themselves handcuffed when it comes to advertising. Sure, they’re free to do what they want online and in the Yellow Pages, but out in front of the shop? Not so much.

Apr
25

BMW 335d

In the last five years, many cars, trucks, SUVs, and minivans have come and gone in the U.S. retail landscape. Many made indelible impressions. Others slipped softly from our consciousness. It’s the latter that I wish to celebrate. Here are five vehicles from the last five years that you either forgot were sold in the U.S. or never knew existed.

Apr
25

Saturn Vue

You hear often enough that ugly vehicles are the product of “design by committee” thinking. I can’t help but wonder, in the case of the five cars and trucks listed here, why no one on that committee raised his or her hand and noted, “Dude, that thing’s nasty.” But, be it too many or too few decision-makers in the design studio, these are some unpleasant-looking machines.

Apr
25

Steve King and Johnnie Putman, Chicago radio personalities and car enthusiasts, are longtime friends of Consumer Guide Automotive. Click the video below for their latest car review. For more details on this subcompact car, go to Consumer Guide Automotive’s review of the 2013 Kia Rio.

Apr
24

The 2014 Mazda 6 Grand-Am GX race car, powered by a production-based SKYACTIV-D clean-diesel engine, poses with its showroom-stock counterpart.

Consumer Guide recently sat down with Robert T. Davis, Mazda’s senior vice president of U.S. Operations, to discuss several topics, including the current state of the company’s grassroots motorsports efforts and the MazdaSpeed brand, the decision to offer the new 2014 Mazda 6 with a diesel engine, the challenges of marketing SKYACTIV fuel-efficient design technologies, and the development of the much-anticipated next-generation Mazda Miata.

Consumer Guide: Mazda has a much stronger grassroots-motorsports image than other manufacturers. Does that motorsports-based following translate to the more-mainstream vehicles?

Apr
24

Dan Gurney poses with the Lotus 29 as he prepares to practice at Indy.

The year 1963 was an exceptionally good one as far as car debuts go. John Biel has already looked at the Porsche 911 and Jeep Wagoneer, and of course there was the Buick Riviera and the original Corvette Sting Ray.

There was also another interesting debut, especially if you’re the type of person who focuses attention to Indianapolis as the calendar turns to May. It’s been 50 years since the Lotus 29—commonly known as the Lotus-Ford—took the “Brickyard” by storm.

American racer Dan Gurney convinced British racecar builder Colin Chapman to build a Lotus racer specifically for Indianapolis, and the pair talked Ford into supplying engines for the effort. The Indy-bound Lotus 29 followed the design concepts of the successful Lotus 25 Formula 1 car, though it was longer, taller, and wider. The Indy Lotus used an offset suspension system that mounted the tub closer to the left wheels than the rights to help the car get around Indy’s banked left-hand turns.

Apr
23

Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL

Shortly after obtaining my driver’s license in the early 1970s, I rushed out and bought a ’64 Olds Cutlass coupe (for $50), at least in part so that I wouldn’t have to tool around in my Dad’s grandpa-green F85 sedan. Back then, driving a 4-door (or—heaven forbid—a station wagon) meant you were borrowing your parents’ car, and that was decidedly uncool. Absolutely no teenaged car guy I knew ever bought a 4-door with his own money.

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