Archive for December, 2013
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.