Another Car We're Not Allowed to Buy

2016 Lexus ES350

It's Not Just VW's Problem Now

The Self-Driving Car is Already Here

2016 Lexus ES350

Why does Lexus sell so many ES350s? Probably for the same reasons Toyota sells so many Camrys. Oops! The cat…

New Car Reviews

2016 Lexus ES350

'16 ES350 lead

Why does Lexus sell so many ES350s? Probably for the same reasons Toyota sells so many Camrys. Oops! The cat just jetted out of the bag… . Yes. It’s true. The ES350 and the Camry are related … in the same way that Eric and Julia Roberts are related. One’s just a bit prettier than the other.    But the two cars share the same qualities that make them both stars…

2016 Kia Sorento

'16 Sorento lead

Remember Harvey Dent – aka, Two Face – from the Batman comics? Half good – half evil. Split personality. Conflicted, confused. I had such thoughts while test driving the Kia Sorento minivan. Well, ok, it’s technically a crossover SUV. But except for the absence of sliding doors, this is a minivan. A sporty minivan. Quick. Wants to run. And a sporty minivan is kind of like Harvey Dent/Two Face. An interesting…

2016 Ford Edge

'16 Edge orange and red

How to make (sigh) a crossover SUV interesting?  Well, horsepower helps. The Ford Edge can be ordered with lots of it. 315 in the Sport model – which is powered by a version of Ford’s new twin-turbo 2.7 liter “EcoBoost” V6 (also used in the F-150 pickup). She’s a runner and a gunner. High sixxes to 60. And not a bad deal, either. At least, compared with similar vehicles similarly engined. The Lexus…

2016 Hyundai Tucson

'16 Tucson curb 1

Why make another of what everyone else is making – and hope it’ll sell? Wouldn’t it be smarter to offer something no one else is making instead? That would probably sell. This new Hyundai Tucson is another crossover SUV – but it’s not “just another” crossover SUV. What they’ve done is bridge the Size Gap between the emerging class of subcompact crossovers like the Honda HR-V and the Mazda CX-3 –…

2015 Lexus RX450h

'15 RX450h lead

Hybrids are in a weird spot right now. They’ve gotten very good – so good that many of them are now a nearly no-compromises (functionally) alternative to their conventional (gas engine-only) counterparts. They’re quick, the don’t make weird noises – and (excepting the Prius) they don’t look weird, either. But then, gas is cheap again. Under $2 a gallon in my area. Meanwhile, hybrids are still expensive. This 2015 Lexus RX450h,…

2016 Mazda CX-5

'16 CX-5 lead

Crossover SUVs are like M&Ms in a bowl. Lots of different colors, but they’re all pretty much the same. With a few exceptions. There is this Mazda CX-5, for instance. It is one of the almost-nil vehicles of this type that you can still buy with a manual transmission. The other major players – models like the Honda CR-V, the Toyota RAV4, the Ford Escape and the Hyundai Sante Fe…


Another Car We’re Not Allowed to Buy

Kwid road 1

Would you be interested in a brand-new, fully warranted, five-door crossover SUV built by a major, name-brand automaker that gave you 50-plus MPG with a gas (not diesel or hybrid) engine, that has a top speed around 125 mph, is capable of getting to 60 in 12 seconds (about the same as a Prius hybrid) that stickered for less than $5,000? Yeah, me too. It’s called the Renault Kwid (see here) and it looks kinda-sorta like a Nissan Juke or Kia Soul and is about the same size as those units. It isn’t a latter-day Yugo either. The…

It’s Not Just VW’s Problem Now

tailpipe test pic

It’s not just VW’s problem now. The company may go the way of the Dodo because of brutal fines and crippling lawsuits and media demagoguery that’s turning the VW brand into the automotive equivalent of NAMBLA. But if you think it’ll stop there… . So, where will it stop? How about real-time monitoring of the emissions output of all cars, all the time? This would certainly put the kibosh on “cheating” – by owners as well as car manufacturers. And it’s already in the works. Has been, for some time. This VW debacle…

Pay No Attention To That Man Behind The Curtain

oz lead

Most of us have at one time or another received what amounts to a ransom note demanding money, which we must “stand and deliver” (under duress) else various nasty things will happen to us. These ransom notes are called traffic tickets – and we’ve been habituated to accept them as legitimate. Or at least to not think about it too much. Let’s think about it. First, who is the aggrieved party? It is (in my state) the “Commonwealth of Virginia.” Says so, right there on the paper. If I go to court to…

The VW “Scandal”

atlas shrugged 2

This could kill VW – until recently (until last week) the world’s largest car company. But unlike say the exploding Pinto fiasco this is not a story about defective cars. It is a story about defective public policy. None of the VW cars now in the crosshairs are unreliable, dangerous or shoddily built. They were simply programmed to give their owners best-case fuel economy and performance. Software embedded within each vehicle’s computer – which monitors and controls the operation of the engine – would furtively adjust those parameters slightly to sneak by emissions…

“Representation” … and “Consent”

long con lead

Democracy is an incredibly successful long con. It works because of the illusion of consent. People actually believe they are “represented.” And so, they accept impositions that would otherwise be intolerable, if imposed on them by a king or a fuhrer or generalissimo. But when the “people” have decided… . Except of course, they’ve done no such thing. It is all an illusion, a rhetorical sleight-of-hand that deftly hides the reality that it is not the “people” who decide anything but rather a small handful of individuals who wield vast – almost unlimited –…