Archive for the ‘Columns’ Category

My How You’ve Grown

July 21st, 2021 Comments off

Automotive history is full of shiny diamonds that originally hit dealer lots looking a lot more like coal before the market forced them to refresh and try harder to draw consumer attention away from superior competition. When Jeep dropped pictures of the latest Compass refresh coming our way for 2022, the classy modern interior trim and large high-res screen on the dash reminded us that this particular rock has spent a long time in the tumbler before anyone started labeling it desirable. Read more…

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What’s Old is New Again

February 10th, 2012 No comments

2013 GMC Acadia Denali

      The grumblings coming out of the Windy City this auto show season have been clear. The GMC Acadia is aged and is barely getting a facelift after 6 model years on the market. But look closer folks. That large crossover you see with the gleaming red GMC badge is hardly an Acadia. No, that my friend, is a facelifted Saturn Outlook. Read more…

Does A Four Cylinder Belong In Today’s Premium Cars?

September 12th, 2011 No comments

     A while back we were staring down a schedule featuring two consecutive Audis powered by the company’s latest 2.0-liter four cylinder. There was a time not so long ago that seeing such a pint size engine in a anything from a premium manufacturer like Audi would have spelled certain sales doom and a hearty round of “what were they thinking!” reviews from the automotive press. Having spent considerable time with these engines in various Volkswagen and Audi products, including an A4 that we tested and approved a few years back, we were confident we’d continue to like what Audi was offering. It didn’t hurt that both the A4 and A5 were equipped with the standard 6-speed manual transmission, an increasingly rare treat for us three-pedal fans.  But the question remains, does a four cylinder belong in today’s premium cars? Read more…

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Fiat Brand Returns

December 10th, 2010 No comments

     If you want a new Italian car right now, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati will be happy to oblige — assuming you can afford the six-figure price. That’s about to change now that FIAT has announced its return to America with a cute little compact car called the 500. It’s set to be available on dealer lots by the end of the year, and it will be a test of whether Americans are ready to embrace affordable Italian cars once again. Read more…

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The Best of Mercury

July 19th, 2010 No comments

      The demise of Mercury has had the auto world considering what went wrong with Ford’s mid-priced brand. While we recently shared our suggestions on which vehicles most contributed to Mercury’s demise, there were plenty of vehicles in the brand’s history that are worth celebrating. Never having owned a Mercury, one of my earliest tastes of automotive freedom was experienced from the passenger seat of a ’76 Montego that my high school buddy drove. The car had a power dome hood that stretched a good six feet ahead of the windshield, a one piece bench seat, AM radio, and the requisite full vinyl top – complete with opera windows. Though ragged and worn, that behemoth was our transportation many a Saturday night out with the guys. That Mercury dripped character from chromed bumper to chromed bumper. Like the Montego, Mercury produced several memorable cars  over the years. Had Ford produced more vehicles like these, perhaps Mercury’s fate would have been different. Read more…

Unloved Mercurys: Ten Cars that Misaligned the Brand

June 8th, 2010 1 comment

      Now that Ford has made official what many had been predicting (hoping for?), the discontinuation of the Mercury brand demands some reflection on what went wrong.  Ford launched Mercury in 1939 in order to bridge the gap between Ford and the Lincoln brand, which itself old Henry had purchased in 1922.  This was a logical move considering that cross town rival General Motors had five car divisions producing six brands (Cadillac offered an entry level companion make called LaSalle from 1927-1940) in addition to the GMC Truck division. Read more…

Cadillac CTS – Spiritual Successor to the DeVille?

March 3rd, 2010 No comments

      Some time ago I had expressed concern about the popularity of so-called entry level luxury cars. I feared they were cheapening such storied nameplates as Cadillac, BMW, and Mercedes Benz. My biggest concern was with Cadillac, whose luxury cars once had an unmatched presence on the road due – in part – to a combination of massive size, flawless proportions, and trend setting styling. The CTS was a great car, I argued, but just ‘inexpensive’ enough that it was perhaps too accessible. Read more…

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The Plight of the Entry-Level Luxury Car

February 28th, 2010 2 comments

     Acura TSX, BMW 3-series, Cadillac CTS. Excellent cars? Yes. Luxury cars? Hardly.
     I’ve taken the time to contemplate the subject of luxury manufacturers recently. More specifically, I have been considering the ultimate value of the entry-level “luxury car”. Two very different cars started my mind’s wheels turning. One was a result of a brief conversation I had about the value of the Cayenne to Porsche. Read more…

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Three Cars That Could Save Detroit

February 28th, 2010 No comments

Interceptor, Demon, Volt Show How Americans Could Launch an Assault

     I’ve always wanted to learn German for two reasons.
     One, it would slightly increase my chances of becoming a test driver for Porsche, giving me a shot at the coolest job on the planet. And two, I’d love to read what the Berlin newspapers wrote in 1945.

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Entertainment Evolves

February 15th, 2010 No comments

    You’d have to look far and wide to find something that has changed as drastically as in-car electronics in just ten years. OK, any number of Hollywood has-beens might fit the bill, but limit the context to cars and it’s the myriad entertainment, navigation, comfort, climate, and luxury features that have evolved at an astonishing pace. Read more…

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