Archive for August, 2013

Aug
21

Everybody loves a good mystery. Well, here are five of them from the days of Beatlemania for you automotive Agatha Christies to crack.

How many of you will know them all? As Inspector Clouseau would have said (A Shot in the Dark, 1964, 102 mins.), “I suspect everyone . . . and I suspect no one.”

Scroll all the way down for the answers.

Be sure to check out the Mystery Cars of 1952 and 1975, as well.

Aug
20

Per Rick, you might want to get used to this view of the new Corvette. Few cars, no matter the price, are going to win a stoplight challenge against Chevy’s latest sports car

For more background on the new Corvette, click here.

While our first post on the redesigned 2014 Corvette Stingray dealt mostly with background, stats, and descriptions, this one focuses on the driving experience. Which, when it comes right down to it, is the primary point.

Although some past versions blurred this image somewhat, the Corvette is first and foremost a performance car. Perhaps because of some of those past versions – which veered toward being more of a “boulevardier,” probably due to the strangling emissions regulations of the time – the Corvette is sometimes viewed by sports-car elitists as somewhat … well … gauche. But they would be well advised not to express that opinion at a stoplight.

The truth of the matter is, this latest C7 generation of the Corvette is in a performance league where few other cars can play. And most of those that do cost multiples as much.

Aug
20
Chicago to Detroit

Rick’s ride to Michigan was this Chrysler 300 Glacier

Compared to most people, I do quite a lot of highway driving. Unlike most people, I usually do it in silence. That would probably bore most folks on the bi-weekly, two-hour trek down to my weekend farmette, but for me, it’s a welcome chance to clear my head and think about things that matter … like how I’d spend the vacation time I rarely take.

But for longer drives, I have a different strategy. Before I even leave the garage, I plug in my stone-aged MP3 player that contains a collection of favorite road tunes and crank up the volume.

Aug
19

Japan’s Mitsubishi Lancer did double duty as America’s Dodge Colt

Here we’re taking the Mystery Cars quiz from Truman Era to the (Gerald) Ford years. If you missed it, check out the Mystery Cars of 1952. and the Mystery Cars of 1964. Scoring? Same as last time; we expect most car folks to pick off at least one. Serious car lovers should nail two or three, and the big-time car spotters will claim four or five. Tell us how you did.

Aug
16

Mystery Cars of 1952

Below please find five relatively obscure 1952 vehicles for you to identify. Scoring? Let’s say that we expect most car folks to pick off at least one. Serious car lovers should nail two or three, and the big-time car spotters will claim four or five. Tell us how you did. Also, if there’s a model year you’d like to see us feature for the quiz, let us know. Answers below.

Too easy? Try the Fake Model Name quiz.

Aug
15

The 2014 Corvette Stingray ushers in the “C7” generation of “America’s sports car”

 

Since the 2014 edition of the Chevrolet Corvette marks only the seventh redesign in the car’s 61-year history, it isn’t often that “America’s Only Sports Car” gets a major overhaul. As such, its designers not only have to make up ground lost to newer competitors, but vault the car far enough ahead that it won’t be terribly outdated before its next redesign – which, if history is any indication, is probably another ten years away.

A decade is nearly an eternity in car years nowadays, as technology is advancing at a stunning rate. But Chevrolet seems confident that the new Corvette can hold its own in its market, and that the car is far enough advanced that it raises the bar competitors will have to clear for years to come. So convinced are they, in fact, that they graced the car with a hallowed name from Corvette’s glory years: The new 2014 model is called, correctly, the Corvette Stingray.

Aug
14

2013 Hyundai Sonata Limited

Dates Tested: 7/29/2013-8/12/2013

Miles driven: 302

Base price: $25,845 (not including $795 destination fee)

Price as tested: $29,685

Options on test car: Floor mats ($110), Premium Package ($2900)

Real-World Fuel Economy: 20.6 mpg

Driving Mix: 60 percent city, 40 percent highway

Quick Hits

The Great: Great value, classy cabin, simple controls

The Good: Good power, lots of room up front

The not so good: Middling observed fuel economy, marginal adult rear head room

Aug
13

1977 AMC Pacer Wagon Review

It’s tough to write about the Pacer. Like Edsels, Yugos, and Pontiac Azteks, the AMC Pacer is used too often, and too freely as a punch line, which is kind of a shame. To put things into perspective, Consumer Guide used the term “Futuristic” to describe the car back in 1977.

Aug
12

The 2013 Nissan Leaf SL spent two weeks with the Consumer Guide staff

 

2013 Nissan Leaf SL

Dates tested: 08/01/2013-08/15/2013

Base price: $34,840 (not including $850 destination fee)

Price as tested: $36,910

Options on test car: Floor and cargo area mats ($170), Premium Package ($1050)

Real-World Range: 85-90 miles in mild temps with occasional air conditioner use

Aug
09

The hyper-efficient XL1 (shown here) provides the groundwork for the high-performance XR1

By Chris Poole

Volkswagen’s futuristic XL1 hybrid looks set to sire a mid-engine sports coupe with similarly high-tech, low-weight construction, plus the GTI “hot hatchback’s” lively turbo-4 engine. Though not a done deal yet, the XR1 promises Porsche 911 go—and near 60 mpg.

What It Is

The 2016 Volkswagen XR1 is being mooted by Britain’s CAR magazine (June 2013 issue) as a conventionally powered sports-car spinoff of the German brand’s high-tech XL1 diesel-electric hybrid coupe. “VW has yet to sign off on the XR1, but insiders are talking positively,” says correspondent Georg Kacher, who also reports a possible starting price of £40,000, around $60,000 at current exchange rates.

Though Kacher provides no timetable, we think the XR1—which might get a different name for retail sale—could be ready for model-year 2016, as it’s expected to employ much of the XL1’s basic design and technology. Unlike the Europe-only hybrid, which costs some $120,000 and is being limited to just 250 copies, the XR1 could be sold in America as well and, given the projected price, should be far more readily available, though yearly production volume is anyone’s guess at this point.

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