the occasional journalist fight, the New York Auto Show is one of our favorite automotive expos. It's not an all-out automotive blitzkrieg like Geneva, but the vast majority of New York debuts are actual, honest-to-goodness production cars rather than spiffy concepts that only show what could be possible. And if you've paid attention to our show coverage, some mighty big nameplates had some show-stopping debuts here in the Big Apple. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.We've walked the show floor, sipped some free coffee, shook hands with plenty of executives, and after two days of New York madness, we've come up with our picks for the five best reveals here at the show. Which of the new cars took top honors? You'll have to scroll down to find out. #5: 2014 Nissan NV200 TaxiThis is it, folks – the vehicle that will slowly but surely replace the now-dead Ford Crown Victoria as the official taxi cab of New York City. Nissan's homely-yet-useful NV200 provides the basis for the … [Read more...] about Editors’ Choice: Top Five New York Auto Show Debuts
Best new girl
2016 Honda HR-V 1.8-liter SOHC I4 (141 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm; 127 pounds-feet @ 4,300)Continuously variable transmission, all-wheel drive27 city / 32 highway / 29 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)28 (Observed, MPG)Base Price: $20,115As Tested: $26,890All prices include $900 destination charge. It’s no secret that Honda strives to offer a “Goldilocks-just-right” option in just about every segment — not too big, not too small; not too cheap, not too expensive; not too flashy, not too bland, and with a dollop of practicality on top. This formula has led to a lineup of sales successes with few exceptions. Oddly enough, Honda’s new-to-America HR-V is one of those exceptions.Based on numbers from GoodCarBadCar, the Jeep Renegade is outselling the HR-V at a clip of 1.4:1 so far this year. Even Buick shifted more Encores — just — than Honda sold HR-Vs.What gives? Have subcompact CUV shoppers forsaken Honda? Is the Renegade that … [Read more...] about 2016 Honda HR-V Review – The Farm Girl’s Daughter
Greatness isn’t always universal. Being a great sprinter doesn’t make one a great marathoner. In fact, exhibiting greatness in one sense will often make for a fatal flaw in another. If you need any proof of this, simply pick up the closest Greek tragedy and read it.The same can be be said of rental cars. The qualities that make a car a great rental don’t necessarily translate into a great daily driver. That being said, after four days in Northern California, I’m prepared to remove the Chevy Impala from its lofty perch as the best rental car money can buy (or rent) you.The 2016 Chrysler 300 C is the best rental car in the world.I very nearly didn’t get the opportunity to find out. When I arrived at San Jose International late on a Wednesday evening, the Emerald Aisle looked bleak. I strolled up and down the nearly empty garage several times, and had nearly resigned myself to a Camry SE when I saw the Phantom clone turn the corner, freshly washed and ready … [Read more...] about 2016 Chrysler 300C Rental Review – The Best Car Money Can Rent
My first thought was that a constant velocity joint on the left axle exploded again. However, Mike the mechanic (not to be confused with Mike and the Mechanics) told me there was “a hole in the transmission” in the ’02 Saturn that’s been my daily driver the past few years. I spent a few days asking myself whether it made any sense putting $1,000 into a 15 year old car that’s gone on pretty much unchanged since it was first designed in the early ’90s. My second thought: What’s the next thing that’s going to break?I started looking around for a small, inexpensive, new car, with a focus on subcompacts. I also asked my colleagues who review a lot more cars than I do for their recommendations and settled on two finalists, the Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit. How did I come to that conclusion? Different cars were rejected for different reasons. I don’t like the Chevy Sonic‘s motorcycle inspired … [Read more...] about TTAC’s New Long-Term Tester: 2015 Honda Fit EX 6MT
“You don’t have to meet me inside the airport,” I said, as Danger Girl led me by the hand to the baggage claim area of the Albuquerque Sunport. “I’m not a ten-year-old.”“I just didn’t want you to get lost.”“Lost?” My attention was briefly diverted by a curvaceous Latina in some sort of slutty-jumpsuit made from translucent fabric. “This is, like, the fourth-smallest commercial airport in North America.”“Lost,” DG clarified, following my glance to the young lady who was now obliviously bending over to fix her sandal, “like that.”“Oh.”last week, you know,” she said, tossing my luggage into the cargo compartment of her newest rental car. “I didn’t get credit for that rental.”“So?”“So, it was the rental that was going to put me over the top for my next free rental day.”“Wait. You’re angry because you didn’t get … [Read more...] about Danger Girl Bids Farewell To The Old New Camaro
Lichtronamo writes:Hi Bark,I’m starting the process of finding a used car for my daughter who turns 16 in September and will (hopefully) get her license afterwards.She’s 5’3″ and about 90 pounds, so a B- or C-segment car would be right in terms of size. She’s also listened to me go on about how great it is to drive a manual transmission since she was born, and believes this to be a fundamental need of any car purchase. Our budget is upwards of $10,000 with driver safety the other primary criteria. Fuel economy and reliability aren’t negatives. While I should probably zero in on finding a nice Corolla, I’m looking for an out-of-the-box choice with some car-guy (and girl) cred. Golf? Mini? Mazda3?Oooh, the Ten Thousand Dollar Challenge! This is my favorite game to play. The “Under $10K, Any Make” search is, by far, the most popular search on a certain orange-colored, third-party website, so dealers intentionally … [Read more...] about Ask Bark: First Car For A Car Girl
If you want to truly understand how the sausage of “automotive journalism” is made, there are two articles that you absolutely must read. The first is fun: it’s by Neal Pollack and it talks about the outrageous excesses of Mercedes PR’s “Pied Piper.” The second is long and occasionally tedious: it’s called “Taking Readers For A Ride” and it was written for American Journalism Review by a fellow named Frank Greve with material assistance from … yours truly.Most people know by now that the majority of new-car press introductions are absurdly sybaritic affairs, featuring five-star hotels, unlimited room service, outrageous gifts, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Why does Subaru have to introduce the XV Crosstrek in Iceland? The simple answer is that they didn’t … but they knew that the broke-ass journalists who used the trip as a vacation (and, in at least one case, a hookup) would treasure the trip for the … [Read more...] about No Fixed Abode: The Best Press Event Ever!
“Hey, baby, it’s me.” Ugh, I hated it when they started the calls off that way. Especially when it’s from a number that I don’t recognize. A Texas number, at that. I hadn’t been in Texas in close to a year. Of course, in this day and age, that meant nothing.“Hey, what’s up?” Non-committal, no inflection in my voice. Could have been anybody on the other end.“I’m in trouble, honey. I did something stupid.”Okay, that narrowed it down a bit. Of all the women I’ve been involved with in the past 12 months, only…two of them are likely to have done something stupid enough to be calling ME, of all people. I’m normally the cause of trouble, not the solution.“What did you do?”“I got pulled over…my plates were expired.” Okay, that narrowed it down to one. Elyse. Twenty-five years old. Playboy-quality body. Likely to do something stupid. Too broke to be able to afford to renew her … [Read more...] about Sunday Stories: The Genesis of Something New
I’ve been doing this racetrack thing for sixteen years now, and I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Mustangs on fire off the shoulder of Shenandoah. I watched Xenons glitter in the dark near the Thunderhill gate. All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.As you might imagine, I’ve been exposed to pretty much every sort of idiocy that is possible on four wheels, and pretty much every sort of idiot who can squeeze or fold himself behind the wheel of an automobile. When I started my trackday career, under the tutelage of a private instructor who kept me on a very short leash and deliberately prevented me from indulging in the typical foibles of the novice driver, I was extraordinary contemptuous of the mishaps and mistakes I saw happening all around me. As the years have passed, I’d like to think that I’ve become a bit more accepting of my fellow track rats.This past weekend, however, I believe that I observed the ne plus … [Read more...] about Trackday Diaries: A New Life Awaits You In The… Other Sports Beckon!
Two weeks ago, the B&B took the time to educate me about license plate readers and their various extra-legal uses. As someone who has worked at least part-time in the tech industry since the mid-90s, I started thinking about what the cost would be of a distributed plate-tracking business. Eventually the readers will be smaller and less obvious, at which point you throw a couple of bucks to Uber drivers and the like to toss them on all four corners and send you the data.Given enough sources, eventually you’d be able to have a pretty good database of personal movement in your chosen area. That data is certainly worth money to someone, whether that “someone” is a real-estate developer, a fast-food franchisor or a private detective. Short of writing legislation specifically to stop such activity, I don’t see how anybody’s going to stop that business model from eventually becoming a reality.In the meantime, however, there’s already one entity that has … [Read more...] about Hey, Here’s A Great New Use For License Plate Readers