Archive for December, 2012


2013 Lexus IS C

Note: This report supplements Consumer Guide Automotive’s full report on the 2012 Lexus IS C, a premium-compact car that starts at $41,190.

Ugliest Cars

Aston Martin Lagonda

One sure way to load your inbox with nasty emails is to publish a list of ugly cars. I caught the most flack for selecting the Toyota Celica as one of five nasty-looking rides for my 1995-2004 list. Please be sure to check that out.

Interactive Drive Control

ZF manufactures the Interactive Drive Control System (IDCS), which is standard on the Buick Regal GS.

While the badge may say your new car is a Buick or a BMW, there’s an excellent chance that many of its parts, or even entire assemblies, were built by a completely different company. I’d guess that most consumers are aware that many of their car’s parts are made by outside suppliers through the relatively recent phenomena of branded audio systems. Think of some of the brands that appear on new car stereos today: Bose, Sony, and Fender to name a few.


A proposal for a multi-cylinder Cadillac was completed in 1961. It had a sweeping roofline reminiscent of Cadillac’s fastback coupes of the late ’40s.

Cadillac’s V16 of the 1930s is fairly well known, as is its 2003 Sixteen (as in V16) concept car. But what is not generally known is that Cadillac toyed with the idea of a 16-cylinder car in the 1960s.

Nash Rambler; Fiat 500 Cabrio, Bring Back The Rambler!

A fan of the old Nash Rambler (white), Frank suggests that the Chrysler Group create a new-style Rambler (yellow)—a convertible with a top that folds back on rails (like the Rambler and the 2012 Fiat 500 Cabrio).

Back in 1950, Nash—later one of the building blocks of American Motors—introduced the Rambler, a cute, little (for the time) 4/5-passenger convertible with a top that folded back on rails. It wasn’t the first time somebody would use this trick to make a sedan into ragtop, nor would it be the last. In fact, today’s Fiat 500 Cabrio is just such a car.


Auto-Dimming Mirrors

In some four and a half years with Consumer Guide Automotive, I have driven many different vehicles. Every time I get into a test car equipped with a rearview auto-dimming  mirror, I cringe a little. These devices are intended to free the driver from the oh-so-difficult task of flipping a little latch on the bottom of the rearview mirror to save his or her eyes from the blinding effects of the headlights of the car trailing behind. However, these automatic devices (which are supposed to be smarter than the driver and save a tiny bit of effort) sometimes work poorly.


2013 Land Rover LR2

Land Rover is a bit of a dichotomy. On the one hand, the name is virtually synonymous the world over with rugged off-road ability. On the other, it’s recognized as a luxury marque, at least in the U.S. Those may seem to be conflicting attributes, but the company—and its products—pull off the combination.


This 2013 Subaru BRZ has a nice, big knob for volume but not channel selection. On SiriusXM, getting from ’70s on 7 to Krishna Das Yoga Radio on Channel 360 is going to be a pain in the butt.

There’s no arguing that the things most auto writers focus on—price, power, handling, comfort—aren’t hugely important. Lord knows I focus on that stuff when I evaluate a car. In fact, at Consumer Guide there are exactly 10 things, plus value, that we fixate on. You can see the list as a part of any of our regular reviews.

Buick Encore Walkaround

2013 Buick Encore

Buick’s new-for-2013 Encore is a genre-bending compact crossover that aims to stretch the boundaries of a traditional entry-luxury vehicle even further than the 2012 Buick Verano compact car did. You can take a quick walk-around of this unconventional new Buick in the pics below.

Ralph Gilles Bio

Ralph Gilles with a Dodge Charger SRT8

From an early age, Ralph Gilles, Senior Vice President of Product Design at Chrysler, dreamed of becoming a car designer. “I’ve always loved cars,” he said. “I played with them. I didn’t have video games, we didn’t have iPhones, we didn’t have Macs. That was my thing. I would make model cars.”