First They Came for the V8s...

2016 VW Jetta

Quack Addendum

Fixing The Problem

2016 VW Jetta

Since VW can no longer sell a diesel-powered Jetta (or any other diesel-powered car) it looks like hybrids – and…

Quack Addendum

Well, I finally saw the Quack. Actually, his PA. Nice guy. I told him about the indifferent response I got the day…

Fixing The Problem

And yes, it is a problem. Whether you are a “law and order” type or otherwise. In fact, especially if…

New Car Reviews

2016 VW Jetta

'16 Jetta lead

Since VW can no longer sell a diesel-powered Jetta (or any other diesel-powered car) it looks like hybrids – and high cost – are in our future. The TDI engine is gone – for good, it looks like. The Feds have yet to rescind the fatwa prohibiting VW from selling any 2016 model VWs equipped with the high-mileage but Uncle-offending diesel engine. As it is now almost August – with…

2016 Mini Convertible… vs. Fiat 500 Convertible

'16 Mini vs. Fiat 500

Really small convertibles are really rare. There are just two. They are the Mini Cooper convertible and the even smaller Fiat 500 convertible. Both are retro-cute, very fun and not (if you’re careful about options)  unaffordable. But which of them to pick – and why? The relative pros – and cons – may surprise you. WHAT IT IS The Mini convertible and Fiat 500 convertible are… the convertible versions of the…

2016 Lexus NX200t

'16 NX curb 1

The original Lexus RX was an automotive rogue wave when it appeared way back in ’98. At that time, there was nothing else like it: A luxury crossover SUV. Not a pick-up truck converted into an SUV. Today, everyone – almost literally – sells something like the RX. Even Porsche. So, selling the RX today is not as slam-dunk easy a sell as it was back in ’98. Which is…

2017 Beetle Dune

'17 Beetle w:old

Beetles – the original ones – were great in the snow. This was decades before all-wheel-drive cars became common, when most cars were still rear-drive (and not great in the snow). The original Beetle was also rear-wheel-drive, of course – but it had something else the others didn’t: The weight of its engine over the rear wheels. And really skinny (tall and thin) wheels they were. Like pizza cutters, they…

2016 Nissan Titan XD

'16 Titan lead

Straddling the middle is no easy thing – but that’s what Nissan hopes to do with its new Titan XD. It is tougher – in terms of the beefiness of its frame, the grunt of its engines (including a standard gas V8, with a turbodiesel V8 available optionally) and its ability to pull and push more than a light-duty 1500 series pick-up (like the previous Titan) but not quite as much…

2016 VW Golf R

'16 Golf R lead

Here’s an irony for you: When VW launched the hot hatch Golf R last year, it came only only with an automatic transmission. This year, Ford has launched the even hotter hatch Focus RS –  which comes only with a manual transmission. Ships passing in the night… . Now VW has decided to make a manual transmission standard equipment in the Golf R – and lowered the MSRP vs. last…

Politics

First They Came for the V8s…

could have had a V8!

First they came for the V8s. They were common, once. Most cars – ordinary family cars – usually had one under the hood. High school kids drove V8-powered used cars. Anyone Gen X or older will remember. And then they were gone. Well, not entirely. V8s are still around –  but they’re no longer common. They are found under the hoods of expensive luxury cars, mostly. GM’s Chevrolet division – which once included or at least offered a V8 in almost every car it sold – today offers one in just three models,…

Fixing The Problem

reforming cops lead

And yes, it is a problem. Whether you are a “law and order” type or otherwise. In fact, especially if you are a “law and order” type. Because, simply put, cops are not subject to the same law and order as the rest of us – and that is a problem. For them as much as us. For them, because it has created an arrogance – a recklessness – that encourages the extra-legal excesses that we’re seeing on video almost every day (these videos probably capturing only a small slice of what actually goes on…

The EPA and the IRS… it’s the Same “Business”

VW crucified

This VW business is a lot like the income tax business. And “business” is exactly the right word. It’s a business (albeit a perverted one) in both instances. The victim is compelled to fund his own persecution. Yes, VW “cheated.” It is like me using a radar detector to “cheat” a cop out of his quota. In both cases, the underlying law is ridiculous; the “cheating” nothing more than an attempt to evade the ridiculous. No one is harmed by “speeding” unless the car strikes another car or another person, which happens only rarely.…

When Uncle “Cheats,” it’s OK

dirty pool 2

Apparently, it’s ok for Uncle to “cheat.” Not on emissions tests, as VW is being stoned to death for doing, but on federal fuel efficiency requirements (CAFE, in Uncle-speak). Would you believe he is not only going to triple the “gas guzzler” fines applied to any automaker that doesn’t make the CAFE cut – the mandatory minimum “fleet average” MPG, which is currently 35.5 MPG – but also that these fines will be applied retroactively – to the 2015 and 2016 model year – as well as to future model years? That’s two full model…

Is The Fix in?

Hillary

Trump is no dummy. Because he did not pick Newtie. Had he done so, he might as well have put Romney at the head of the ticket and retired to Mira Lago. The selection of Pence shows that while Trump is no Libertarian, he’s not another “bipartisan” – and so Born to Lose  – Republican. With Pence, Trump makes his victory in November more rather than less likely – as would not have been the case with someone like Newtie as his Better Half. This is smart politics, regardless of our (as Libertarians) approval of his…

Sexual Assault is a Crime … Except Sometimes

sexual assault 1

Sexual assault is a crime… except when it’s done by an armed government worker (that is, a law enforcer). How else to describe the horror visited on a South Dakota man named Dirk Sparks? He was suspected of having ingested a “drug” arbitrarily decreed to be illegal by the same government that just as arbitrarily decrees other “drugs” to be legal – and when he declined to assist in his own incrimination by providing evidence that could and would be used against him in a court of law, was forcibly restrained, had his…