Archive for October, 2016
Class: Premium Midsize Crossover
Miles Driven: 296
Fuel Used: 14.4 gallons
Fact: Ferrari no longer builds cars equipped with manual gearboxes. Most of the Italian sports cars now come with a 7-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission that Ferrari—and most buff books—claim produces better acceleration numbers than would a traditional stick shift.
Class: Midsize Crossover
Miles Driven: 363
Fuel Used: 18.1 gallons
Pontiacs were always a little cooler than Chevrolets, at least at Fremd High School in Palatine, Illinois, in the early Eighties. My take, and the take of my gearhead buddies at the study-hall table, was that the Firebird was a notch above the Camaro (thank the 400-cubic-inch V8), the Ventura was a bit better than the Nova, and the Grand Prix had it all over the Monte Carlo. On the subject of Bonneville versus Caprice, we were divided. Police versions of the big Chevy were cool enough to break down the barriers of brand loyalty.
Coupes account for only five percent of the premium vehicle market, but they’ve also traditionally been important halo vehicles for their respective brands. That’s certainly been the case at Infiniti, where the Q60 coupe and convertible (and their G35/G37 predecessors) have typically been the most stylish and dynamic vehicles in the marque’s model lineup. After a year’s absence, the Q60 coupe returns for 2017 with a new design that shares elements of its architecture with the Infiniti Q50 sedan. We recently had the opportunity to sample the hottest version of the Q60 on a San Diego-area drive route.
America’s relationship with the versatile, practical hatchback has been a decidedly on-and-off affair.
During the ‘70s and ‘80s, it was “on.” Virtually every mainstream manufacturer offered one. But they were usually the cheapest cars you could find, and thus garnered a negative image that screamed, “I bought the cheapest car I could find.” Hardly a prestigious statement. As a result, their numbers dwindled during the ‘90s and remained low for the next couple of decades.
Two articles from Collectible Automobile® magazine, a Consumer Guide® Automotive companion publication, have won writing awards from an international vehicle-history association.
The term “cab forward” was first used by the railroad industry to describe steam engines designed with the passenger compartment located toward the front of the vehicle. The advantage of the layout was a clear and unfettered view of the track ahead. For this reason, cab-forward engines were most commonly seen in rail yards where traffic is heavy.
Americans are generally a lucky lot—at least as consumers. We usually get first crack at new blockbuster movies, there’s virtually nothing we can’t purchase and have shipped to us within 24 hours, and nearly every major automaker sells its wares in the U.S. Mexico-Only Ramcharger.