Archive for July, 2013
In Consumer Guide’s opinion, the redesigned 2014 Mazda 6 has leapt to the top of the pack of the extremely competitive midsize-car class. In addition to its athletic character, this car is remarkably fuel-efficient. In our three Mazda 6 testers, we have averaged 30.6, 30.8, and—with our long-termer—32.0 mpg. In 330 miles of 95-percent highway driving, Consumer Guide editor Don Sikora averaged 40.3 mpg.
If you can, avoid driving through someplace for your morning caffeine. The line is often inexplicably held up, and the alternative is infinitely more entertaining. I recommend getting out of the car and venturing into your local gas station mini-mart for some good old-fashioned commuter-time people watching.
About once a week while commuting, I spot a car that I had mostly forgotten about. Today, I followed for some distance a Chrysler Sebring coupe. For the first time since I first became aware of that car, I was struck by the notion that it was not entirely without its charms. The Sebring coupe isn’t exactly stunning, but it’s attractive enough in a conservative, ages-well sort-of way.
They’re certainly not for everyone, but electric vehicles are getting better and better, and thus ever more suitable for a wider range of drivers. Witness the latest electric vehicle to join the market: the Chevrolet Spark EV.
In 2009, a banner driving year that included a chance to slip behind the wheel of a Ferrari F430 and a Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé, I decided it would only be fair to balance those automotive extravagances with a test drive of the worst car I could possibly imagine. Nothing built in my lifetime fits that description better than that antithesis of proud German engineering, the Trabant.
One of the great perks of auto writing is the occasional, casual, sometimes rather sudden meeting with fascinating people. Seems that executives and other senior manufacturer folk aren’t allowed free time, and are expected to make the most of travel time, even time they might have spent alone with a newspaper and poached eggs.
My breakfast with Ed Welburn was just such a moment. Welburn, for those who don’t know, is General Motors’ global vice president of design. Ed has been with GM since 1972, and he just wrapped up work on the 2014 Corvette.
It’s a summer tradition of mine to attend the Goodguys Heartland Nationals show at the Iowa State Fairgrounds every Fourth of July weekend. I haven’t missed a single show yet, and this year’s edition was the 22nd annual. Goodguys shows are street rod, custom, street machine, and muscle-car events first and foremost, but every year I’m surprised at the number of interesting stock (or at least “stock-ish”) vehicles I find mixed in with the expected T-buckets, ’32 Fords, Tri-Five Chevys, Mustangs, Camaros, and Chevelles. Most Goodguys events draw huge numbers of cars (this year’s Heartland Nats reached a record-breaking 4,300 vehicles), more than any one person can see in a weekend. With that kind of volume, chances are good you’ll find something that’s right up your alley. I decided to chronicle some of the more unusual “non-custom” vehicles I came across. Have a look . . .