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In an automotive world where many vehicles look too much alike, the Smart ForTwo stands out. Like a baby shoe surrounded by sneakers, wingtips, and cowboy boots, the Smart’s diminutive size almost always elicits a smile. But just like that baby shoe, it really doesn’t fit the needs of most American buyers.
The business world took notice when, in early 2008, Indian billionaire Ratan Tata added Jaguar and Land Rover to his vast industrial portfolio. The acquisition proved to be a source of pride for Indian nationals, many of whom delighted in the irony that India, once a subject of the British Crown, was now in control of a pair of storied English luxury brands.
When the Smart ForTwo was introduced for the 2008 model year, uninformed detractors of the diminutive two-seater devoted considerable energy to worrying about how unsafe such a small car would be in a crash. Count my mother among them.
When it goes on sale in February, the Cascada will be the first convertible to grace Buick showrooms in nearly a quarter of a century. So why would the company return to a market it had long since abandoned? There are a couple of reasons.
I don’t fit in the Mitsubishi Mirage. I mention this because I want to fully paint the picture of a man on a mission. The mission, in this case, was to break 40 mpg in a non-diesel, non-hybridized test vehicle.
In 2015, there are no truly bad new cars. You can argue the veracity of that statement if you wish, but at no point in automotive history has it been harder to pick a car you might call “bad.” Sure, the current-generation Mitsubishi Mirage has its detractors, and not without cause, but what would you say is the 2nd-worst car?
Automatic transmissions have gone through many changes since being introduced by Oldsmobile for 1940, but rarely have there been as many different types offered as there are today. Following are technical descriptions of the four basic types that have been used of late, but if you prefer to simply know how they might affect the driving experience, just skip down to the “On the Road” section.
It’s something car guys might sit around and debate: the first of this, the biggest of that, the smallest of something else. And that’s just how this list got started. While discussing something entirely unrelated with Publisher Tom Appel and Collectible Automobile chief John Biel, we ventured off topic (not an altogether unusual occurrence when the current topic isn’t cars) and ended up brainstorming this list. Being as the session took place just before lunch – and was thus foreshortened by same – we encourage correction if you beg to differ.