Bic Lighters on Wheels

It Begins

2016 Dodge Ram ProMaster City

Life in The Slow Lane (In a Fast Car)

Bic Lighters on Wheels

You buy a disposable lighter, use it until the fluid inside is used up – then you throw it away…

It Begins

If you saw into the floor joists holding up your house, eventually, something bad is going to happen. This by…

2016 Dodge Ram ProMaster City

Minivans started off as inexpensive, economical, versatile alternatives to both cars and things a lot bigger (SUVs). But today’s minivans…

New Car Reviews

2016 Dodge Ram ProMaster City

'16 ProMaster city lead

Minivans started off as inexpensive, economical, versatile alternatives to both cars and things a lot bigger (SUVs). But today’s minivans are not-so-mini … and are rarely economical. Either to buy or to drive. Some cost over $40,000 (the Chrysler Town & Country starts at $29,995) and all of them have big V6 engines that drink gas like Sam Kinison drank Jack Daniels. Which may explain the growing popularity of little jitney…

2016 Acura ILX

'16 ILX lead

When you pay almost $30k for a luxury-sport sedan, you expect better performance than you’d get out of a $20k economy sedan. Acura’s ILX –  the upmarket cousin of the Honda Civic – didn’t deliver it when it was launched two years ago as an all-new 2013 model. Well, not with its standard engine, at any rate. Just 150 hp out of 2.0 liters. You did get very good gas…

2016 Kia Sedona

'16 Sedona lead 3

Minivans have become kind of like timeshares. Not many people seem to want to buy in. Part of the problem is image. Minivans are the automotive equivalent of middle-aged ED. Or at least, likely to be associated with it. A much bigger problem for minivans is the availability of crossovers – many of which have everything a traditional minivan has in the way of kid-carrying/stuff hauling functionality except the sliding doors. Along with other…

2016 Mercedes Sprinter Van

'16 Sprinter lux 2

Living in a van down by the river may not be such a bad thing. Especially if your van is a Mercedes Sprinter van. It’s in the same class (and useful for the same purposes) as the Nissan NV van (and the new Ram ProMaster van). But what sets it apart from those utilitarian appliances is that it’s also nice. It’s the difference between a plain white ‘fridge – and a…

2015 Nissan Sentra

'15 Sentra last

Sedans are becoming the red-headed stepchildren of the new car market. They’re losing ground to the rising tide of crossovers – which are the same basic thing except they ride higher and have hatchbacks rather than trunks – and so usually have much more room for stuff. People seem to really like crossovers. I was thinking these thoughts as I drove around in the ’15 Nissan Sentra – closing in on three…

2016 Honda HR-V

'16 HRV road 3

The new Honda HR-V is – technically – a subcompact. A notch down in size from the compact-sized CR-V (which Honda sells a bunch of). But the difference between the two is mostly footprint-wise. The newest littlest Honda crossover is about a foot shorter overall than the CR-V. Inside, though, the subcompact HR-V actually has more backseat legroom than its, er, bigger brother,. Almost identical space up front, too.   …

Politics

It Begins

joists pic

If you saw into the floor joists holding up your house, eventually, something bad is going to happen. This by way of analogy may help to explain the recent murders of a cop in Texas and then again in Illinois, the egging of a cop memorial plaque (here) and the refusal of an Arby’s worker in Florida to serve a cop (here). There is no justification for murdering a cop. But then, there is no justification for murdering anyone. Nor for assaulting anyone. Or bullying them. Taking their stuff. Treating them like a piece of…

Life in The Slow Lane (In a Fast Car)

slow lead

In the ’80s, when most cars were slow, you could drive fast and mostly get away with it. You might get a ticket. But going to jail – or even losing your license – was something you really had to work for. Today, cars are much more powerful – and far faster than they were back then – but we hardly dare use them for fear of extreme repercussions, legally and otherwise. In some states, for instance, it’s an automatic “reckless driving” cite to get caught driving faster than 20 mph over the posted limit.…

Tall Boys

'15 F-150 ladder pic

The other day, I rolled my 1976 Pontiac Trans-Am out of the garage for a drive. As I backed it out, I looked left at the brand-new Nissan Sentra “press car” (review here) that was parked on the pad. It made my antique muscle car seem small. In part because the Sentra – like almost all new cars – is very, very tall. We are not talking inches difference here, either. But feet. Well, almost. The Nissan – which is a nothing-special “compact” sedan (in air quotes because by the standards of 20…

Crippling Technology

'85 Civic

So much would be possible – if it weren’t for the government. Government, remember, is not composed of experts in much of anything – except control and manipulation. Politicians and bureaucrats are not people who do things. They force others to do things. In the car world, you have the ridiculous spectacle of non-engineer mechanical imbeciles dictating functional parameters of engine design to people who actually do know how a four-stroke engine works, the meaning of stoichiometry; who understand that there is an inherent conflict between fuel economy and “safety.” That the more a car is…

Good Men

good men lead

Can a good man spend his days doing bad things and remain a good man? What if he chooses to spend his days doing bad things and could at any time elect not to do the bad things? Could decide – I am not comfortable with this; this isn’t for me – and quit, without risking anything (other than the need to find honest work)? The German SA man of the 1930s was a very bad man – but he did, at least, have the defense of being under duress. In 1930s Germany, it was…