Archive for September, 2013

Sep
18

R-Line models of the CC come with these 18-inch wheels instead of the standard 17s.

2013 Volkswagen CC R-Line

Dates tested: 9/03/2013-9/16/2013

Miles driven: 106

Real-world fuel economy: 22.0

Driving mix: 80 percent city, 20 percent highway

Base price: $33,260 (not including $865 destination fee)

Price as Tested: $34,125

Quick Hits

The great: Comfortable, attractive interior

The good: Sporty handling

The not so good: Low roof line seriously compromises entering and exiting

Sep
17
V6 Madness

This 1983 Indy pace car sported a twin-turbocharged V6 that never made it into production. A single-turbo 3.8-liter V6 boasting 185 horsepower was available, however.

The V6 engine has played a funny role in American automotive history. For domestic product, the V6 represented–at least for a time–a response to high fuel prices and and, on a grander scale, the passing of an era. For import products, V6 engines meant stepping up into the mainstream, and competing head on with domestic makers in the massive midsize sedan market, and later the burgeoning SUV/crossover segment. What we have here are five ads openly celebrating the charms of V6 motoring. It’s worth noting that the V6 engine that once seemed like so much of a compromise is now being replaced by even more-efficient small-displacement turbocharged 4-cylinder mills. In fact, neither the Chevrolet Malibu nor the Ford Fusion is available with a V6 engine anymore.

Sep
16

Avalon Hybrid prices begin at $36,365 for the XLE Premium. Better equipped XLE Touring and Limited models start at $38,060 and $42,210 respectively, including an $810 destination fee.

2013 Toyota Avalalon Hybrid

Dates tested: 8/29/2013-9/12/2013

Real-world fuel economy: 31.2 mpg

Driving mix: 100% city

Base price: $35,555 (not including $810 destination fee)

Quick Hits

The great: Impressive fuel economy

The good: Reasonable hybrid price premium

The not so good: Somewhat complicated audio and climate controls

Sep
13

Our 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT came to $32,875 as tested.

2013 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT

Dates tested: 8/29/2013-9/12/2013

Miles driven: 200

Real-world fuel economy: 18.9 mpg

Driving mix: 65 percent city, 35 percent highway

Base price: $26,695 (not including $995 destination fee)

Optional Equipment: Customer Preferred Package ($515), Security Group ($395), Dual-DVD Entertainment ($2490), Power Driver Seat ($295), Navigation System ($1490)

Price as Tested: $32,875

Quick Hits

The great: Strong, responsive drivetrain, luxury-level ride quality

The good: Quiet cabin, lots of space, decent fuel economy

The not so good: Limited headroom–especially with available sunroof

Sep
12

Lighter and more efficient, the 1.8-liter TSI will replace VW’s ubiquitous 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine now found in many Jettas, Passats, and Beetles.

By Don Sikora II

At first glance, Volkswagen’s 2014 U.S. line doesn’t look all that different than it did in ’13. There’s big news just below the surface, though. Specifically, there’s significant changes hiding under the hood of many of the company’s best-selling models.

Sep
11

Though the last new Jaguar S-Type was sold stateside in 2008, Jaguar still produces a vinyl-roof kit for the car.

According to Merriam-Webster, a landau is “a four-wheel carriage with a top divided into two sections that can be folded away or removed and with a raised seat outside for the driver.”

I would argue that, except for a tiny fraction of the population using the word, “landau” is more closely associated with a vinyl or fabric roof adornment once found on higher-end versions of certain automobile models.

Sep
09

The 2014 Toyota Tundra family includes (left to right) top-line 1794 and Platinum, mid-line SR5, and luxury Limited. All feature new grilles, taillights, and fender sculpturing.

In the hugely high-volume full-size pickup class that hosts just six main competitors, Toyota’s Tundra ranks … fifth. That’s an uncustomarily low sales position for any vehicle offered by the world’s largest automaker.

It’s hardly unexpected, however. Full-size pickups are one of the last bastions of American dominance, and cracking that market with a foreign nameplate has been a tough row to hoe. Just ask Nissan. Its Titan was introduced about the same time as the Tundra (1999), has perennially ranked a distant sixth (dead last) in volume, and during 2012, sold at a pace of about one Titan for every five Tundras. And for every five Tundras, Ford sold about 18 F-150s.

Sep
06

Our RX 350 included the Premium Package, coming to an as-tested aksing price of $48,625.

2013 Lexus RX 350 AWD

Dates tested: 8/22/2013-9/05/2013

 Miles driven: 311

 Real-world fuel economy: 19.1 mpg

Driving mix: 60 percent city, 40 percent highway

Base price: $41,060 (not including $895 destination fee)

Optional Equipment: Heated and ventilated seats ($640), Mark Levinson audio ($995), Navigation Package ($2775), Premium Package ($2260)

 Quick Hits

 The great: Silky drivetrain, luxurious ride

 The good: Classy cabin, comfortable seats

The not so good: Less fun to drive than other vehicles in class

Sep
05
Women in Car Ads

Sure, she’s happy about the 1975 AMC Pacer now, but wait until she tries the air conditioning on a hot day.

You see it in all types of advertising. The approving look, often from some tough critic, that validates a purchase decision. We know from advertising, for example, that really cool moms stock the fridge with Sunny D. We know this, because their kids told us so.

Sep
05

1968 Kaiser Jeep Jeepster Convertible

Note: This article is reprinted from the August 2013 issue of Collectible Automobile.

By Jack Stewart

By the mid Sixties, Jeep’s dominance of the then-small four-wheel-drive market was being challenged by the International Scout and the Ford Bronco. To retaliate, Kaiser Jeep Corporation went Commando.

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