Archive for March, 2014

2014 Dodge Durango R/T

Our test 2014 Dodge Durango R/T AWD came to $49,965 on the sticker, this with a load of options and the $995 destination charge.

2014 Dodge Durango R/T AWD

Miles Driven: 311

Fuel Used: 21.1 gallons

Real-world fuel economy: 14.7 mpg

Find the Fake Car!

Identify this car for one bonus point. It’s an ’92, if that helps.

Back by popular demand, here’s the fourth installment in our “Find the Fake Car!” series.


Jim Jeffords, seen here behind the wheel of the “Purple People Eater” died March 6.

Jim Jeffords, who won national sports car championships in 1958 and 1959 while at the wheel of the famous “Purple People Eater” Chevrolet Corvettes, has died.


Identify this car for one bonus point. It’s an ’81, if that helps.

Funny thing about the memory–it doesn’t let you know when things begin to fade beyond easy recall. I realized last week that I can no longer remember the name of my fifth-grade science teacher. I rather expected to remember all my grammar-school teachers on my deathbed. Looks like that plan is off.

Small Pickup Sales

Once hugely popular, compact pickup sales have dwindled steadily since the end of the Nineties. A 1984 GMC S-15 is show here.

Consumer Guide recently sat down with GMC marketing manager George Jones to talk about the all-new 2015 Canyon midsize pickup. Here’s what we learned:

2015 Tahoe and Suburban

The tested LTZ represents the top of the Tahoe lineup. While it boasts a rich-looking interior, “lesser” models ride better.

A previous post outlined the changes made to GM’s redesigned full-size SUVs for 2015; this one concentrates on how those changes affect the driving experience.

All of these models come with GM’s “EcoTec3” 355-horsepower 5.3-liter V8 except for the top-line GMC Denali, which sports a 420-horsepower 6.2-liter version. As expected, the Denali feels stronger than the others, but acceleration – at least with just two people aboard – is more than adequate in all. The only fly in the ointment is that the 6-speed automatic transmission (which is standard on all models) occasionally exhibits some delay before downshifting when the throttle is stabbed while underway.

1970, Rotary Engine, Rotaty engine cutawy.

Mazda took considerable stock in the rotary engine’s ability to help sell small cars in America. It’s worth noting that not a single rotary-powered Mazda is currently available in the U.S. A 1970 R100 is pictured here, a rotary cutaway behind it.

Seems so long ago now, but it wasn’t really until the late Seventies that Japanese carmakers began making inroads with mainstream American buyers. Before that, the best from Datsun, Honda, Mazda, Subaru, and Toyota were regarded more as curiosities than as legitimate alternatives to Detroit iron.

2015 Audi A3

The 2015 Audi A3 starts at $29,990 not including an $895 destination charge.

Since its introduction in the U.S. back in 2006, Audi’s entry-level A3 compact has been offered only as a four-door hatchback. Though very practical, that body style was often viewed with disdain by contemporary American buyers, as it was primarily associated with cheap little “econoboxes.” And with a starting price of $25,000 – with a front-drive, 4-cylinder powertrain – the little Audi wasn’t exactly cheap. Whether that stunted sales in this country can only be speculated, but the A3 didn’t do as well as most competitors’ entry-level cars, which were often the biggest sellers in their respective lineups.

2014 Lexus GS 350, snow

Our test Lexus GS 350 AWD came to $62,700 on the sticker, including a host of options and the $910 destination charge.

2014 Lexus GS 350 AWD

Miles driven: 436

Fuel used: 23.6

Driving mix: 55% city/45% highway

1970 Shelby GT-500 Fastback

This 1970 GT-500 is one of only 286 produced.

Note: This article is reprinted from the April 2014 issue of Collectible Automobile

Carroll Shelby’s—and ultimately Ford Motor Company’s—dream of building a super Mustang had been realized in full well before the last snake-badged “ponycars” were retailed in 1970. Starting in 1965 with an improved 289-cid V-8 and suspension, brake, and chassis enhancements, the GT-350 became an instant Sports Car Club of America class champion. That the white-and-blue fastback-body Shelbys looked so much like mass-market Mustangs made them great “halo” cars.