Archive for December, 2013

Dec
17
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Highlander is redesigned for 2014 with more flowing lines and available 8-passenger seating.

Toyota’s Highlander was introduced in 2001 as one of the first “crossover” midsize SUVs. Built on an automotive-type unibody platform rather than being of truck-based body-on-frame construction, it set new standards for car-like composure for the class. Although it started life as a 5-passenger vehicle, it gained an optional 3rd row for 2004 that raised capacity to seven, and added a hybrid version the following year.

A redesign for 2008 left Highlander a half-size larger, but it remained a 7-passenger vehicle offered in gas and hybrid form. By this time, many other midsize SUVs had gone the crossover route, so it no longer stood out for its car-like behavior. Nonetheless, it proved a very popular vehicle that remained a benchmark for the class.

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Unlike some redesigns, the 2014 Highlander (right) carries over none of the previous generation’s styling themes.

For 2014, Highlander is being redesigned again. Due to go on sale early in 2014, it again comes in gas and hybrid versions, but gains about three inches in length and now offers seating for up to eight passengers. It also adds some new standard and available features that bring it fully up-to-date.

Dec
16
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1971 Pontiac GTO The Judge convertible front view.

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

The quintessential American muscle cars of the Sixties and early Seventies were, in many ways, all about the numbers. Cubic inches, horsepower, torque, axle ratio, quarter-mile time in seconds: There were so many ways to attempt to quantify which one was king of the street and strip. But there was one other group of numbers that become increasingly important to keep in mind. That was the sales figures. Nowhere did that seem to matter as much as it did at Pontiac.

Dec
13
Saab Abstract

Quiz Image #1

 

By now you know the drill. We provide you with five abstract images from auto brochure covers, and you try to figure out what vehicles these snippets are from.  This time we’re looking at European cars of the Sixties. Every vehicle here is a regular production model and was widely available for purchase in countries you’ve heard of.

Dec
12
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The new-for-2014 Acura RLX is now joined by the RLX Sport Hybrid.

Even the name sounds high-tech. And when the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD goes on sale in the first quarter of 2014, more than a few buyers might find themselves dazed and confused by the car’s technology. And that’s just the mechanical bits.

What that string of words and acronyms means is that Acura’s flagship sedan, which was redesigned earlier this year and rechristened “RLX” (previously just “RL”), has not only gained a hybrid sibling, but a performance-oriented Sport Hybrid sibling. And it seems to live up to its name.

Dec
11
fetchimage

Our test Passat TSI listed for $31,715 in SEL trim, and averaged an impressive 28.5 mpg in an even balance of city and highway driving.

2013 Volkswagen Passat SEL 1.8 TSI

Dates tested: 11/27/2013-12/04/2013

Miles Driven: 208

Fuel Used: 7.3 gallons

Real-world fuel economy: 28.5 mpg

Dec
11
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Holden became a division of General Motors in 1931. The company was founded in 1856 as a saddlery.

General Motors today announced plans to end vehicle and engine manufacturing in Australia and New Zealand, as well as greatly reducing its engineering presence in the region. Presented here is the press release explaining that decision.

GM to Transition to a National Sales Company in Australia and New Zealand

Company to cease manufacturing in Australia by 2017

DETROIT – As part of its ongoing actions to decisively address the performance of its global operations, General Motors today announced it would transition to a national sales company in Australia and New Zealand. The company also said it would discontinue vehicle and engine manufacturing and significantly reduce its engineering operations in Australia by the end of 2017.

Dec
10

The Emerald Coast Cruzin’ show may have wrapped up for 2013, but Chicago radio legends Steve and Johnnie have captured the best cars and trucks of the event.

Dec
09
Young Driver

There’s a good chance this young driver has never seen a manual transmission.

Fans of the holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life  will likely recall one of that movie’s best-delivered lines. About midway through the film, after a resounding chorus of “Buffalo Gals”, George Bailey fails to seize the moment and sneak a kiss from Mary, prompting a portly middle-aged gentleman on a nearby porch to mutter, “Ah, youth is wasted on the wrong people.”

And so it goes with driving. As I close in on 50 years of age, I recall the many tribulations of driving cars—especially less-than-new cars—back in the early Eighties. Cars did things like stall, get stuck in the snow (at least more than they do now), and, occasionally, just completely fail to start. Sure, cars still periodically fail us, but so rarely these days that we’re stunned by anything beyond a dead battery.

Dec
09
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Santa Fe can be had in GLS and better equipped Limited Trim. Our well-optioned front-drive Limited test car came to $36,980 as delivered.

 

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited FWD

Dates tested: 11/22/2013-12/02/2013

Miles Driven: 275

Fuel Used: 13.8 gallons

Real-world fuel economy: 19.9 mpg

Dec
06
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Only Canadian consumers had access to this tidy-looking DeSoto.

By now you probably know the drill; We give you an abstract portion of a brochure cover, and you have to guess the vehicle featured. For this quiz we’re featuring cars that were available to Canadians, but NOT Americans.

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