Archive for April, 2013

Apr
22

The 560-horsepower 2013 BMW M5

I just spent the weekend in BMW’s awesome 2013 M5. I say awesome because the car accelerates about as rapidly as anything I have ever driven and is capable of reaching absurd speeds, space permitting.

So what’s the problem? The problem is that I really didn’t enjoy driving the car. And, after careful consideration, I blame my ambivalence on the M5’s outsized performance potential—or more correctly, the compromises made to achieve that potential.

Apr
22
Jeep Wagoneer

1991 Jeep Wagoneer

Whether you’re “old money” with funds that have ripened for generations or you’re “new money” and your ship has just come in, you’re faced with the same need to secure motor vehicles that reflect your ability to experience the good life. It turns out that for a portion of the “smart set,” that just-right ride is a Jeep that hasn’t been made for more than 20 years.

Apr
19

The Fiat 500 Abarth has a 160-horsepower turbocharged version of the 500’s 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, and the Cabrio adds a retractable cloth top that stacks atop the rear deck. The main exterior differences between the 500 and 500 Abarth are a different front fascia, unique 16- or optional 17-inch wheels, uprated brakes with red-painted calipers, sport suspension, and signature Abarth badges. The front badge has an air intake that feeds air into the engine.

Drop the top and drink in that raspy exhaust note. The fun-to-drive nature and great sounds of the Fiat 500 Abarth will soon be available without a roof. Get ready for the 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio (meaning cabriolet; i.e., convertible). The 500 Abarth Cabrio, also known as the 500c Abarth, will go on sale in the second quarter of 2013. Meanwhile, here it is in pictures.

Apr
19
Luxury Car Bargains

Volkswagen CC

With new-car prices ever on the rise, the average new-car buyer might find it nigh on impossible to enter the luxury market. Hold on to that dream, dear readers, because here are five vehicles you can buy right now that allow you to have that premium feel without too much of a hit to your bank accounts.

Apr
18

Click here for more coverage of the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Turbo Diesel.

At the 2013 Chicago Auto Show, General Motors introduced the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Turbo Diesel—the company’s first diesel-fueled passenger car in the U.S. in more than 30 years. Today, GM declared that the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Cruze TD has been EPA estimated at 46 mpg highway, which trumps fuel-economy estimates for non-hybrid passenger cars, including all competing diesels.

Apr
18
Grooviest Vehicles of 1965

Buick Riviera

My colleagues probably didn’t expect me to jump in on this thread, but I couldn’t resist. You see, I was lucky enough to be a car-crazy high-school senior in 1965, a year so packed with cool cars that it’s still tough picking just five personal favorites.

Apr
18
Any Color You Want

1977 Dodge Monaco interiors

Henry Ford once said, “Any customer can have a car painted any color he wants, so long as it is black.” For most of its production run, the Ford Model T was only available only in black because black paint dried the fastest and it simplified production to have only one color. Today, BMW has broadened the choice of free colors to black and white on many of its models. If the customer wants something more colorful, that’s a $550 option. Jaguar’s new F-Type sports car has a standard black convertible top. A top of another color is a $600 option. British Racing Green paint, once the most popular choice for an English sports car, is now a $1,500 option on the F-Type.

Apr
17

My wife and kid and I are vegetarians, which can complicate road-trip dining. For non-vegan meatless meals, let me recommend the Country Sampler at Cracker Barrel. It’s just a plateful of not-especially-healthy side dishes, but they’re really good side dishes, and hey, we were on vacation.

My kid has been horse crazy for most of her 13 years. As a parent who is more or less responsive to the wants and needs of my child, I donated a precious week of vacation time to a spring-break, horse-country road trip.

As luck would have it, Consumer Guide’s long-term Nissan Pathfinder arrived right around the time I was setting up my out-of-office voicemail greeting. Our handsome red test vehicle came well equipped, though not quite loaded. (Getting lost in St. Louis is still pretty much my fault—what was life like before navigation systems?)

Apr
16
Fiat 500e Pics

The only obvious differences in appearance between the Fiat 500 and the 500e, shown, are the unique wheels and white lower grille with 500e logo.

Despite being an electric car, the Fiat 500e looks very much like the conventional Fiat 500 upon which it is based. Your average citizen will likely never guess it runs on electricity instead of gasoline.

Apr
16
A silver Hummer H2 drives over a rocky hill, Hummer Poem

Hummer H2

We at Consumer Guide often let major anniversaries slip by unnoticed, instead paying undue attention to lesser milestones. In keeping with that fine tradition, we honor the introduction of the poster child for wasteful motoring. And yes — it really has been ten years since you first saw a Hummer H2.