Cashing Out

Punishment vs. Being Held Responsible

Prius Clover (And Other Stuff)

2017 Chrysler Pacifica

Cashing Out

A moment came when Captain Smith knew the Titanic was doomed – and from that moment on, saving the ship…

2017 Chrysler Pacifica

Give ’em credit for not giving up. Chrysler – the company that invented the things – is the last of the…

New Car Reviews

2017 Chrysler Pacifica

'17 Pacifica lead 2

Give ’em credit for not giving up. Chrysler – the company that invented the things – is the last of the Big Three to still have a minivan in its lineup. GM and Ford long ago said to hell with it – ceding this market to the Japanese (and Koreans). Which the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna pretty much own now, as a result – with the Kia Sedona and Nissan…

2017 Kia Sportage

'17 Sportage road 2

It is no easy task to find something worth telling you about crossover A vs. crossover B. Usually, it’s like trying to put together 2,000 words describing the difference between a green M&M and a red M&M.    But Kia gave me something to work with here. A couple things, actually. First, power. Unlike the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, which don’t have much. They are brilliant toasters – if…

2017 BMW M2

17 M2 lead

Speed is not – contrary to the saying – always just a question of money. Sometimes, you get to pay less to go just as fast. And get some other worthwhile things, too. In the BMW M2 coupe, for instance. It’s just as quick as the very similar in shape and layout but slightly larger (but not more roomy and much more pricey) M4 coupe, which starts at $65,700 vs.…

2017 Honda Ridgeline

2017 Honda Ridgeline

Everything makes a comeback. The El Camino, for instance. Only today it’s called the Ridgeline – and Chevy doesn’t make it. Honda does. But it’s the same thing, basically: A car with a pick-up bed Better, in some ways. Because it has four doors instead of just two, no driveline hump dividing the floorpan in half, cramping up the interior (because it’s based on a FWD design, engine and transmission/axle…

2016 Kia K900

'16 K900 road 1

Sometimes, a good idea doesn’t work twice. The Hyundia-Kia conglomerate looked at the success Toyota has had with its Lexus luxury line – and in particular, the original (1989) Lexus LS 400 sedan – and figured what worked for Toyota ought to work just as well for them. What Toyota did was (probably) buy an E-Class Mercedes, take it apart, then build one almost exactly like it using their parts – and sell…

2016 Toyota RAV4

'16 RAV4 curb 1

Slow cars are back. More precisely, slow crossover SUVs are here – and people seem to be okay with it. Maybe because they are only slow in relative terms, relative to the performance other cars (and some – usually expensive – crossovers) offer. Picture a continuum, with “slowest” on the left and “quickest” on the right. The slowest new car (or crossover) takes about 11-12 seconds to reach 60. The…

Politics

Cashing Out

Titanic sinking

A moment came when Captain Smith knew the Titanic was doomed – and from that moment on, saving the ship was no longer important. Surviving the inevitable sinking was. This seems to be the case with VW. Like Titanic, the company is taking on water. You can feel the list. People are looking for the exits. The trade publication Automotive News reports that about half the roughly half-million owners of diesel-powered Volkswagens fingered by Uncle want cash rather than their cars. This is understandable, if regrettable. First, there’s no fixing the “affected” cars.…

Punishment vs. Being Held Responsible

arthur

Which is better? Which is right? Punishing people … or holding them responsible for the harms they cause? Libertarians think (well, this Libertarian thinks) it is enough to hold people responsible for any harms they cause. That punishing them when they have caused no harm to anyone is bizarre, cruel – and most of all, morally indefensible. Punishment is fundamentally vindictive. It is about harming the person – either physically or some other way (as by taking his money or depriving him of his liberty). If the person who is the object of punishment has harmed someone,…

Another Canary in The Coal Mine…

Canary lead

Another canary in the coal mine has just dropped to the bottom of its cage. A few weeks back, I wrote about evidence that the bubble-ized new car business – “sales” inflated by the same kinds of financial flim-flam that gave us the housing bubble just about ten years ago – is on the verge of popping. And may have already popped. Now comes another indicator. Sales of Chevy’s Camaro muscle car and its two rivals, the Ford Mustang and the Dodge Challenger, have stalled. Suddenly, too. As if they just ran out of gas…

No Smoking… In Your Own Car

Bland image

Soon, they’ll be coming for your cigarettes. In your car. See Sandra Bland. Or, the study released by the CDC that characterizes “second-hand smoke” as the latest threat to “safety” and (of course) “the children.” It urges what you’d expect: That it be made illegal to smoke in your own car, at least, if “the children” are present. Possibly even if they’re not. See Sandra Bland. Or Daniel McIsaac. Both were ordered by armed government workers – law enforcers – to put out their cigarettes while sitting in their own cars during a traffic stop. Maybe for “officer safety”…

Tesla All Fired Up…

Hindeburg

Tesla is all fired up. Literally. At a demo for media in Paris, a Model S went up in smoke. Caught fire, burned itself to a smoldering slag heap. At a media event (see here). Where – one assumes – there were reporters on hand. Not much reporting took place. To find out about this auto da fe it was necessary to dig. It wasn’t brought to the attention of people. This is curious. I myself am a car journalist and have attended hundreds of media “reveals” and “ride and drives” for new cars. If…

Now Uncle is “Investing” in Tesla

Barnum lead

Elon Musk may be the ultimate crony capitalist – the PT Barnum of our time. But to give PT his due, he was an honest con man. He never used the government to make his marks hand over their money. People stepped right up without a bayonet in their backs. Elon, on the other hand, depends entirely on the coercive power of government to line his pockets. Take that away and Musk goes away. Unfortunately, he’s not going away. He’s going deeper. Automotive News reports that Musk is not only fleecing taxpayers via multi-tiered subsidies for his electric…