Archive for June, 2013
In a previous blog, I questioned whether Shaquille O’Neal truly had enough legroom to fit in that Buick LaCrosse—you know, the one in the commercial that has aired incessantly for more than a year. Today, I stumbled upon this ad, which shows the late basketball legend Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain (who, like Shaq, was 7-foot-1) trying to get into a Volkswagen Beetle back in the late 1960s.
Jeep’s unveiling of the 2014 Cherokee was one of the more controversial new-model introductions in recent memory. As soon as photos of it were released earlier this year, the reaction on various blogs and online forums was intense . . . and intensely negative, for the most part. The new Cherokee’s raked-back nose and radical “squint-eyed” headlight/parking-light treatment were the design elements many viewers found most offensive.
With several iconic design elements to its name (particularly its trademark seven-slot upright grille), Jeep is one of the most tradition-bound automotive brands around. It can be difficult for designers to come up with something innovative and forward-looking when working under the constraints of these heritage cues, so sometimes “comfort zones” need to be pushed.
Chrysler Group officials were undoubtedly seething over the last two weeks. On June 3, NHTSA asked the company to recall 2.7 million Jeep Grand Cherokees and Jeep Liberties (years ranging from 1993 to 2007) because some of those SUVs had caught fire in rear crashes. Chrysler contended that the recall was unjustified.
You could feel Chrysler’s resentment in its early response to NHTSA. “The focus of this request,” asserted Chrysler in regards to the fires, was so rare that it occurred “less than once for every million years of vehicle operation.”
Chrysler had been challenging this recall for two weeks, and yesterday the automaker and federal officials reached a compromise. The automaker agreed to recall 1.56 million SUVs: 1993-1998 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002-2007 Jeep Libertys. Excluded were 1.1 million 1999-2004 Grand Cherokees.
To me, satellite radio is the greatest car feature since the stereo. After a lifetime of listening to the same old same-old on terrestrial radio, including the seven Fleetwood Mac Rumours songs that are played daily on every rock, oldies, and “light FM” station (am I right or am I right?), it’s liberating to have more than a hundred channels to choose from.
Note: In 2013, Ford is still struggling with glitches and consumer complaints regarding its MyFord Touch interface control system, available in all of its cars and SUVs as well as the Ford F-Series. Presented here is a MyFord Touch-related article from August 2011 that we feel is still relevant today.
On the day that Google used high-tech graphics to honor Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday, auto-technology expert Jason Vieau had a lot of esplainin’ to do about MyFord Touch.
The controversial interface control system is so sophisticated, and has generated so much consumer frustration, that Ford dealerships have begun to stage technology workshops to explain it all. Arlington Heights (Illinois) Ford held two of them on the morning of Saturday, August 6, 2011.
Seven Ford customers, all in their 50s or older, arrived for the 10:30 tutoring session. Don Lane, a white-haired grandfather originally from Georgia, knew he had a lot to learn about the MyFord Touch system in his new Ford Edge. “It’s a bit overwhelming, to be honest with you,” he said.
On a humid, overcast morning, Vieau invited Lane into a Ford Explorer that would remain parked in the lot (with the air conditioning on, thank God) throughout the training session. Bruce Smith, a bespectacled 50-something who would take detailed notes with his pen and paper, climbed into the back seat with me.
Roush Mustangs are known for their loud, menacing exhaust note. When we drove the 2014 Roush Mustang Stage 3 with the 675-horsepower Phase 3 package, we captured that exhilarating, ferocious noise. We present it here for your consideration. (Adjust your volume accordingly.) Roush exhaust.
For Eric, renting a Lamborghini from Imagine Lifestyles in Miami was a transforming experience.
“I felt like I had gone from a regular Joe to Joe DiMaggio!” he beamed.
It’s the Earth lover’s dream-come-true: an electric car that’s powered by the sun!
In late 2011, SunPower announced partnerships with Ford and Nissan regarding the Ford Focus Electric and Nissan Leaf. A year and a half later, a small number of these electric car owners are pursuing this option. Some believe that it not only makes sense for the environment, it could actually make sense for them financially.
On the homes of Focus Electric and Leaf owners, SunPower is able to install solar energy systems that involve approximately 150 square feet of solar panels. Each system is able to generate enough electricity to power an electric car. SunPower stated that each 2.5-kilowatt system produces about 3,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, which they claim would be enough juice to power a Focus Electric for 12,000 miles and a Leaf for 10,000 miles.
Are these funny car ads? Humor is a very personal thing. What’s funny to one guy may prove utterly banal to another. That said, certain elements of our editorial team found these auto ads especially amusing. Let’s see what you think.