Honda’s decision to redesign the current Civic after barely a year on the market was described to me by one former Honda insider as “the closest they will ever come to admitting to gross incompetence.” Even though the Civic has been panned by most outlets, the staff at About.com called the Civic one of the Best New Cars of 2012.Aaron Gold, author of the piece, lauded the Civic for being “… the most comprehensive compact car on the market. You can get a sedan or a coupe; a high-fuel-efficiency version; a high-performance version; a leather-lined version; a hybrid version; even an alternative-fuel version that runs on clean natural gas. And whichever Civic you choose, you’re virtually guaranteed years of trouble-free motoring.” Gold’s depiction of the Civic brings to mind an automotive buffet. And like most buffet restaurants, the abundance of choice cannot be correlated with the quality of the offerings. Seeking a … [Read more...] about 2012 Honda Civic Wins About.Com “Best New Cars Award”, Praise From Derek’s Grandma
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The internet has been a boon for car buyers in a million ways, but for new car marketers it’s been a decidedly mixed bag. GM’s California-only experiment selling new cars over eBay was quickly abandoned, after generating more embarrassment than sales. Now, another high-ish profile online new car marketing gag has flopped, as Autoweek reports that Groupon’s car debut is going nowhere: Only four consumers agreed to pay $200 for a $500 discount voucher on a new-vehicle purchase at LaFontaine Buick-GMC-Cadillac in Highland, Mich. Groupon and LaFontaine had set 10 as the minimum required for the vouchers to be issued.For companies like Tesla, who hope to do without traditional franchised dealers altogether (Chrysler may harbor similar desires), the internet is next great frontier in new car sales… but the eBay and Groupon failures are troubling signs for that dream.According to Donna Harris of Automotive News [sub], there were a few specific problems with the … [Read more...] about Will Online New Car Sales Ever Take Off? Should They?
Back in 1994, I bought a brand new Toyota Camry. It drove like an underpowered Mercedes with an advanced sixteen valve, four-cylinder engine. Unbelievably quiet, refined, and durable beyond compare. The Camry offered a level of quality back then that most other automakers couldn’t match at even twice the price.This good news spread throughout the land. Within eight years, everyone in my family along with millions of other new car buyers had a Camry or a Lexus ES300 in their garage. By 2002, Toyota had made the Toyota Camry a gold standard in the American marketplace and annually decimated the rest of best selling car rankings. The Camry was dominant, price aggressive, ubiquitous, and even hated.Hated it was first and most of all by those enthusiasts who always lust for a mainstream car that can offer more thrill. If your desires were more on the pistachio and less on the vanilla side of things, the Camry was not for you. As Jim Press, when he still was at Toyota, used to say: … [Read more...] about New Car Round-Robin: 2012 Toyota Camry LE
During all the je ne sais quoi of the 2016 Paris auto show, we missed some major tire news: Michelin is replacing its Pilot Super Sport (PSS) with the Pilot Sport 4S (PS4S).What? Why? The PSS is still young. It is also the tire that dominated our latest summer tire test, and, frankly, it’s one of the best-balanced summer tires on the market. But, if Michelin sat happy with the PSS and turned its undivided attention to rating restaurants, its competition would catch up on the tire front while reaping the benefits of knowing where to get the best eats.The PSS can handle wet conditions as well as dry. However, according to Michelin, the upcoming PS4S expands the envelope of performance even further with better wet and dry braking, better lap times, and even better wear; an independent testing lab has estimated the PS4S’s life at greater than 30,000 miles. Plus, it features a fuzzy, velvet-like sidewall relief like that found on the Pilot Sport Cup 2. That … [Read more...] about Michelin Launches New King of All Tires, the Pilot Sport 4S
(Let’s all welcome Zombie McQuestionbot back to TTAC. He’s a well-known and well-loved writer who is now writing for “bigger” and “better” and “more easily recognized” and “less thoroughly despised” outlets than this one, but we managed to convince him to write a few questions for us — JB)Mustangs. I know, right? I almost bought a Mustang once. Actually, I did buy a Mustang. I was in the American South on my way to see an actual underground bullfight, with a bull and everything. But it turned out that the two-year-old “Mustang” that I agreed to pay five thousand dollars for in a back room of a Mexican restaurant was actually a Mustang.You know, a horse.The good news is that “Trigger” and I had plenty of good years together before I let him retire to a farm in Oregon. For “plenty of good years” subtitute “one drunken night”. And for “a farm in Oregon” substitute … [Read more...] about QOTD: What’s The Best Retro Mustang?
Our intention this month was to run a feature called "How to Conduct a Super-Boffo 30-Minute Road Test That Doesn't Frighten the Salesman into Having You Arrested." Thirty minutes, we figured, was probably the max that a new-car dealer would allow. But first we needed to know if that premise was correct. So we interviewed a dozen salesmen and general managers to find out what the current test-drive rules are. We'll discuss later what to do when you're finally behind the wheel. For now, the trick is getting your butt into the car in the first place. It's not as easy as we thought. The first thing you should know is that test-drive rules are unique to each dealership. We visited a Volvo store where a salesman said, "If I believe you're a serious customer, I'll let you take a car home for a night with unlimited miles." Then we visited a Honda dealership where the general manager said, "Our test drives are restricted to less than five miles, with the salesman driving half … [Read more...] about How to Get That New-Car Test Drive
The Dodge Dart is the hero in town in Albuquerque NM* You can see all my USA Coast to Coast Reports here! *After detailing the history and highlights of the Old Route 66 from Oklahoma to New Mexico, we now pause in New Mexico to analyse the vehicle landscape in Albuquerque and Gallup. This, a special feature on ethnic car buyers’ preferences and state-wide sales data below. Ford F-250 in Gallup NMFirst a bit of trivia about New Mexico: this state is the 5th most extensive (121,589 sq mi or 315,194 km2), the 36th most populous (2.1 million inhabitants) and the 6th least densely populated of the 50 United States. Inhabited by indigenous peoples of the Americas for centuries before European exploration, New Mexico then belonged to the Imperial Spanish viceroyalty of New Spain, then part of Mexico, a U.S. territory before finally becoming the 47th state in 1912. During World War II, … [Read more...] about Coast to Coast 2014: New Mexico
From the December 2016 issue Mario Fasanetto goes shrieking through the forests of the Eifel Mountains in a Lamborghini Aventador SV, a car that seemingly came about when Clark Kent and the devil had a baby. The Lambo’s body is slashed with cuts and gouged with holes and tattooed with black blades that order the wind to either go through it or around it. The four pipes under the rear origami “bumper” gush blue flame—flame!—a good six inches when the whip comes down on the 6.5-liter, 8500-rpm V-12. This is the car that appears when you call for an Uber in Mordor. Today is one of those special days when being a car-magazine editor is exactly what everyone thinks it’s like all the time. We’re behind Fasanetto, Lamborghini’s chief test driver, trying to keep up, two ham-handed journalists foolishly given our own 740-hp SVs. One is virtually identical to Fasanetto’s stock all-wheel-drive SV, and the other is a prototype … [Read more...] about Ringing the Bull: Testing the Lamborghini Aventador SV’s New Rear-Wheel Steering at the ‘Ring
Mercifully, at least to those of us living in the Snow Belt or in the Great White North, the official start of summer is only 57 days away. You know what that means: swimming pools, grilling meat, and — for gearheads — road trips.I’m of firm belief the journey is half the fun, especially if you’re taking the Queen Family Truckster somewhere new. The countries on either side of the 49th parallel are filled with random and bizarre roadside bric-a-brac, some of it fit for discussion on this website, some of it — as we shall see — is straight from Hugh Hefner’s imagination.My home province has a weird fascination with naming towns after, well, things and acts one will not find detailed in the latest issue of Good Housekeeping. Heart’s Content, Heart’s Delight, and Heart’s Desire are all pretty PG-13, but there are not one but two areas containing the word Dildo. Unsurprisingly, the sign pointing to the town is one of the … [Read more...] about QOTD: Best Roadside Attractions?
Plug ‘n Drive sounds like the world’s less appetizing fast food restaurant but is, in actuality, a not-for-profit organization with a strict focus on encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles. It’s so committed, in fact, that it is opening a “Electric Vehicle Discovery Centre” near Toronto’s York University in order to provide the general populace free opportunities to pilot EVs.Of course, you don’t just get to test drive electric vehicles — there is an agenda here. Plug ‘n Drive also wants to use the location as a base to educate people on how to get the most out of EV ownership, make a case for the environmental and economic benefits of electric transportation, and explain government programs like Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan. Think of it as an EV church, where the faithful can worship and and non-believers can be converted. “Try to imagine … [Read more...] about EV Proponents Try Something New: A Permanent Location for One-Stop Test Drives