EP On The VW "Scandal"

Agencies and Apparatchiks

Why The Hard-Sell For the "Self-Driving" Car?

Five Months In...

EP On The VW "Scandal"

Here’s the audio clip of Monday’s Tuesday’s guest appearance on the Bill Meyer radio show in Oregon: 2016_04_27_EpAutosKMED     

Agencies and Apparatchiks

Why is the government even involved in dictating “safety” standards for new cars? Did the EPA ever get put to…

Five Months In...

It is almost halfway through 2016 and – still – no (new) diesels for you. Not from VW, at any…

New Car Reviews

2016 Subaru WRX

'16 WRX Sti

Speed is indeed a question of money … and not only in terms of how fast do you want to go. Last week, I test-drove the 2016 BMW 340i (review here) which is a ripper in luxury sedan drag. Spool up the turbos and dump the clutch… the thing will leave twin ruts in the asphalt … and 4.6 seconds later, you’re doing 60. No one expects this. Which is a big  part…

2016 BMW 340i

'16 BMW burnout

I like a plain brown wrapper. Why advertise what you’re up to? I mean, if you plan to actually do it as opposed to just thinking about doing it…? Well, maybe a white wrapper… like this one. This innocent-looking all-white BMW 340i they sent me. Or silver. Blue’s ok, too. Who’d suspect? It’s an upmarket sedan, obviously. But that is nothing uncommon nowadays. What’s not obvious – what’s not made…

2016 Nissan Sentra

'16 Sentra side meat

Why buy a sedan? Aren’t crossovers the thing now? Yes, exactly. Hence the sedan’s appeal. They cost less as advertised – and you’re in a stronger position, haggle-wise, to knock that down. With crossovers – which are popular right now – your position is weaker, because if you don’t buy this afternoon, probably someone else will tomorrow morning. Well, fine – but why are sedans suddenly less popular vs. crossovers?…

2016 Mustang Ecoboost vs. Turbo 2016 Camaro

'16 Eco burnout

V8 muscle cars are all kinds of fun – but it’s not necessary to have a V8 to have a muscle car. Or at least, it’s not necessary to have a V8 to beat a muscle car. Two frames of reference will make the point – about what a four cylinder modern muscle car like the EcoBoosted 2016 Mustang can do to an old V8 muscle car. First frame of…

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage

'17 Mirage lead

The 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage costs no more than the 2014 Mirage – despite a horsepower infusion (not that it’s a lot, but still) excellent fuel economy (preliminary estimates are 44 maybe even 45 MPG on the highway) and a major wheels-up re-bop of the body/cosmetics/features (the latter of which now includes an available 300 watt audio rig, heated seats, LCD touchscreen and LED/HID lights, even). For the money – and otherwise…

2016 Toyota Avalon

'16 Avalon last

The Toyota Camry comes in two other forms – a slightly larger/much more luxurious version called the Avalon – and a much more expensive (and only slightly nicer) version called the Lexus ES350. All three spring from the same basic platform – car industry jargon for a common chassis – and share major components, including the 3.5 liter V6 that’s available in the Camry and standard equipment in the other…

Politics

Agencies and Apparatchiks

apparat lead

Why is the government even involved in dictating “safety” standards for new cars? Did the EPA ever get put to a vote? These are legitimate questions. But rarely asked – and forget about answered. The Constitution lists – enumerates – the specific powers the government is supposed to have. The Constitution also clearly states that the specific powers not enumerated are “reserved” to the people and the states. Well, where does it say in the Constitution that the federal government shall have the power to lay down bumper impact standards? Or require that…

Why The Hard-Sell For the “Self-Driving” Car?

google car lead

Why the hard-sell for self-driving cars? Yesterday, Ford and Volvo announced they are forming a “coaliton” – along with Google – to push not only for the development of self-driving cars, but for federal “action” (their term) to force-feed them to us. Why? The reasons are obvious: There’s money – and control – in it. To understand what’s going on, to grok the tub-thumping for these things, it is first of all necessary to deconstruct the terminology. The cars are not “self-driving.” This implies independence. And “self-driving” cars are all about dependence. The…

Five Months In…

VW lead

It is almost halfway through 2016 and – still – no (new) diesels for you. Not from VW, at any rate. Uncle has still not given his permission for the sale of any 2016 model year TDI (diesel) powered VW cars. The entire inventory sits and waits. Perhaps forever. But another couple of months will be enough. Then it will be summer – with fall in sight, new model year-wise. The 2017s will begin to appear. At which point, the 2016s become like yogurt approaching its sell-by date. Good for buyers, perhaps –…

People as Poultry

poultry

We live in a lunatic asylum … the lunatics being us. For believing we ever lived in a “free” country. As long ago as the reign of His Rotundity – the second president of the United (at bayonet-point) States – people were being dragooned off the street and roughly thrown into cages for having annoyed the powers-that-be. Or who were deemed “dangerous” by the powers-that-be. This was more than 200 years before The Chimp came along with his squinty-eyed pronouncements about “the enemies of freedom” and being either “with us” or “against us.”  …

And Now Mercedes…

BlueTec image

Looks like Mercedes is in Uncle’s gunsights now. With VW shot full of holes and sinking fast over the diesel emissions “cheating” scandal, the heavy artillery has been retrained, azimuth and altitude calculated, the breech closed. The next salvo’s ready to fire. At the three pointed star. At its line of BlueTec diesel engines. Which are alleged to be “cheating” Uncle’s emissions tests, the same accusation that’s rocked VW and which may, ultimately, end VW (via potential liabilities/fines in excess of $50 billion). Automotive News reported the other day that “independent” testing discovered “evidence…

A Tale Of Two Car Companies

hurray Cronyism!

Here’s a tale of two start-up car companies: Elio Motors and … Tesla. One execrable, the other admirable. Elio is developing a low-cost ($6,800 to start) very high mileage (80-plus MPG) commuter car. Tesla builds expensive toys. This – the building of toys – is not of itself an execrable activity. Lamborghinis and Porsches are toys, too. They are expensive, impractical things. As is the Tesla – including the new Model 3. It’s expensive ($35k to start; probably closer to $40k once all is said and done) and impractical. Not a car for…