Archive for 2013

2014 Toyota Highlander

Highlander is redesigned for 2014 with more flowing lines and available 8-passenger seating.

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.

Tropic Green GTO

1971 Pontiac GTO The Judge convertible front view.

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.

Saab Abstract

Quiz Image #1

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.

2014 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid

The new-for-2014 Acura RLX is now joined by the RLX Sport Hybrid.

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.

Passat TSI

Our test Passat TSI listed for $31,715 in SEL trim, and averaged an impressive 28.5 mpg in an even balance of city and highway driving.

2013 Volkswagen Passat SEL 1.8 TSI

Miles Driven: 208

Fuel Used: 7.3 gallons

Goodbye Holden

Holden became a division of General Motors in 1931. The company was founded in 1856 as a saddlery.

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.

Emerald Coast Cruzin' Show

As seen at the 2012 Panama Beach Emerald Coast Cruzin’ Car Show

Emerald Coast CruzinThe 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.

An annual event, the Emerald Coast Cruzin’ show takes place in ever-balmy Panama Beach, Florida, usually in early November.

Young Driver

There’s a good chance this young driver has never seen a manual transmission.

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.


Santa Fe can be had in GLS and better equipped Limited Trim. Our well-optioned front-drive Limited test car came to $36,980 as delivered.


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


Only Canadian consumers had access to this tidy-looking DeSoto.

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.