We’ve got a special treat for you today — this glorious Aston Martin Lagonda from that future dystopia now long past, 1984. And futuristic it was, when you consider this car was sprawled across luxuriously carpeted showrooms beginning in 1976.So let’s go back in time. Is your leisure suit ready?The Lagonda you see here is not the original Lagonda design. You see, that version was based on a contemporary DBS and was announced at the 1974 London Motor Show. Now known as the Series 1 Lagonda, that model is extremely rare, with a production run of just seven cars. If you find a ’74 or ’75 Lagonda, do let us know.What we have here is a Series 2, which is the Lagonda most people think of when they hear the name. On offer from 1976 through 1985, production delays meant customers did not receive deliveries until 1979. Poor show, Aston.The only engine available is this carbureted 5.3-liter V8, generating 280 horsepower. So, basically the same as a General … [Read more...] about Rare Rides: The 1984 Aston Martin Lagonda, a Paragon of Reliability
How did you celebrate Warren Brown Day? What? You didn’t know about Warren Brown Day? Well, my friend, allow me to fill you in. If you are a subject of the Washington, DC metro area, then June 15th was officially Warren Brown Day for you. The day celebrates Warren Brown’s contributions to automotive journalism. This came as a great surprise to me; as far as I knew, Mr. Brown’s primary contribution to automotive journalism was finding a way to get around the Washington Post‘s policy on accepting luxury travel.It occurred to me that maybe the city was honoring a different Warren Brown, so I went back and checked the original article in American Journalism Review to make sure that I had the right guy. Once I started re-reading it, however, I quickly forgot all about Mr. Brown and his Italian vacation, because the most important story Frank Greves tells in his overview of automotive journalism has nothing whatsoever to do with the perks of the business. [Dan] Neil … [Read more...] about No Fixed Abode: All The Unreliable Ways In Which We Talk About Reliability
Remember TTAC’s Future Writers Week? You chose the writers. The writers wrote. The stories are in (well, most of them …). Here is the first one. Do you like it? Tell us. The stories will be published in the sequence in which they arrived in TTAC’s mailbox. Despite living in California for nearly eight years now, and recently becoming a citizen of these United States, I still consider myself to be an Englishman. To be English in America is a generally pleasant experience – no man will ever get tired of pretty girls telling him how cute his accent is – but it is also a life full of little differences which remind you every day that this is not your home, even though it is where you live.One such difference I have noted, particularly around this site, is the American perception of Volkswagen, which I find quite puzzling.So please indulge me by engaging in a brief mind exercise and bounce this scenario around your brain for a moment: … [Read more...] about If Only Everything In Life Was As Reliable As A Volkswagen…
Matt writes:I am anticipating that my 1997 Subaru Legacy wagon, with 210,000+ miles on the clock, will need replacing soon. I’m lucky in that my wagon is a five-speed manual with the 2.2-liter EJ motor, so has been fairly bulletproof. In the last 19 years, it has needed only minimal work besides regular maintenance and wear items (brakes, clutch, tires), aside from the occasional axle or other random parts (i.e. alternator). I’ve been looking around at affordable commuter 5-door hatchbacks (Mazda3, Impreza, Focus, etc.) as it must fit multiple kids, sports gear, and I need a daily driver for work (~45 miles round trip).Here’s my question: I would like something a little sporty as more than half of my commute is on fun twisty back roads. I keep going back and forth on whether or not to go for a naturally aspirated or turbo engine, followed by trying to decide between auto or manual. I feel like my five-speed-manual Subaru skewed my … [Read more...] about Ask Bark: Old vs. New Tech – Which Is More Reliable?
Adam writes:Hello Sajeev, I have a classic “keep it or sell it” question for you and the greater TTAC audience.Two years ago I bought my wife a 2005 Saab 9-2X Aero (sadly an automatic, which was a non-negotiable requirement for my wife). You may remember these as being rebadged Subaru WRX wagons, and that was the main reason I bought the car at the time. I assumed that since the underlying platform was basically a “reliable” Subaru, repairs would be infrequent and parts would be plentiful.The reality is that I’ve never spent so much money trying to keep a car in good running condition. The car is now at 127,000 miles, and in the past two years we’ve done the following work: valve cover gaskets (twice), rebuilt heads and head gaskets, new power steering pump, replaced valve breather assemblies, new radiator, just to name a few things off the top of my head. None of these pending repairs were brought to light through the very thorough pre-purchase … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Saabaru, The “Reliable” Subaru?
Mike writes:Hi Sajeev,I’ve enjoyed your columns. [That makes one of you! – SM]The VW and Audi Forums are still abuzz with reports of VW mechatronic failures in the mid-2000s DSGs. Do you have any information as to whether the newer versions (they’re from a 6 to 7 speed DSG, I read) are any less failure prone than the earlier versions? I read in one of Mr. Baruth’s columns that auto journalists (or whatever we might call them) find themselves constrained to avoid commenting on the chronic reliability problems in your latest whiz-bang pseudo-racer mobile, lest they fall from favor with the manufacturer and their access to further models for reviews be cut off. (What David E Davis could do, Joe Schmoe can’t, if he is writing for a small internet site.)I’m thinking that your average “review” of a new car is substantially lacking when it comes to mentioning the failures and weak points of similar models or products of the … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Trusting Auto Journos on DSG Reliability?
If reliability is the No. 1 trait your next car must have, you may then opt to visit your nearest Lexus dealership before considering anything from the Ford dealership across the street as far as Consumer Reports is concerned.Lexus, Toyota and Acura dominate the consumer magazine’s Top 10 in reliability for 2013, with a total of seven Japanese automakers taking almost all of the marbles; the only non-Japanese makes to make the Top 10 were Audi (No. 4), Volvo (No. 7) and GMC (No. 9).Meanwhile, Ford was pushed into the No. 26 slot after being stranded in the 27th position last year. Lincoln fell back to No. 27 on reliability, with BMW’s MINI in dead last on the side of the road. Reasons for both Ford and Lincoln being where they are include complaints about the automaker’s MyFordTouch system, and problems with their EcoBoost engine.If you’re at the Toyota dealership, however, Consumer Reports recommends anything but the Camry, Prius v or RAV4. The magazine … [Read more...] about Lexus No. 1 in Reliability, Ford Near Bottom
Consumer Reports released its new car reliability ratings today, and one company should take a long hard look at itself in the Italian-American mirror.The annual report covers brand reliability and includes a list of the 10 best, and worst, vehicles in terms of reliability. While there are some predicable favorites, Buick managed to hit an unexpected home run and electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla surprised everyone with reports of mechanical issues stemming from — get this — the electronics. Consumer Reports ranks Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat, and Ram as the bottom four brands in terms of reliability, calling it a “turbulent voyage.”While Jeep fares a little better, it has nothing to brag about considering its Renegade made the “Worst of” list due to a buzzy drivetrain and subpar build quality. Also near the top of the FCA trash pile is Fiat’s 500L, which uses a long wheelbase version of the SCCS platform found in the … [Read more...] about Consumer Reports Crowns FCA as the Four Least Reliable Brands Available
Buick grabbed much of the limelight when Consumer Reports released its 2016 reliability survey results yesterday, earning the best-ever brand ranking of any domestic marque. But atop the leaderboard, Lexus and its Toyota parent brand continued the automaker’s reign.Not surprisingly, three of the five most reliable vehicles in America are therefore Lexus and Toyota products. With the Lexus GS and Toyota 4Runner, the top 10 list is half-filled with Toyota products. Only one vehicle in the top ten is a domestic, the eighth-ranked Chevrolet Cruze.They may be reliable, but do Americans actually want these vehicles? We took a look at the five least reliable vehicles in America and realized that, yes, in some cases, Americans do want them. In fact, the vehicles on the least reliable list account for 2.7 percent of the U.S. new vehicle market.When it comes to the five most reliable vehicles in Consumer Reports’ survey, less than 1 percent of the market’s buying habits are … [Read more...] about Consumer Reports 5 Most Reliable Vehicles For 2016 are Mostly Niche Models You Won’t Buy
Headlining 2016’s Consumer Reports annual reliability rankings were the dreadful results of four Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ brands. Bringing up the rear in uninterrupted fashion were Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat, and Ram. Jeep was only three spots ahead of Dodge.Not coincidentally then, two of the five least reliable new vehicles on sale in America are also FCA products. All five are domestics, though they’re not all built in the United States.Still, poor reliability does not necessarily correspond to poor marketplace performances. Three of the five least reliable vehicles in America are sales leaders in their respective categories; another is a steady top-tier player.And one of the least reliable new vehicles on sale today has failed so badly in the marketplace that its days are numbered. (We’ve also examined the list of the five most reliable vehicles on Consumer Reports’ list and checked out the marketplace performance of those vehicles.)CHRYSLER … [Read more...] about Big Hits, Massive Flops: These are Consumer Reports Least Reliable Vehicles for 2016