Bad Karma

Changing of Our Guards

2015 Nissan Pathfinder

The Chicken Tax

Bad Karma

What if you build it – and they don’t come? Send the bill to the taxpayers! Twice. This is how…

Changing of Our Guards

This weekend we celebrate the changing of our guard. Which, when you stop to think about it, is more than…

2015 Nissan Pathfinder

One of the few holes left in the current car market is the one for a full-sized/three-row people-carrier that’s available…

The Chicken Tax

Ever wonder why the biggest market for pick-up trucks (that’s us, the U.S.) has so few trucks available? Yes, yes,…

New Car Reviews

2015 Nissan Pathfinder

'15 Pathfinder lead

One of the few holes left in the current car market is the one for a full-sized/three-row people-carrier that’s available with all-wheel-drive but which is neither a minivan nor an SUV … and which you can buy for just under (or maybe a little over) $30k. It’s a hole the Nissan Pathfinder is trying to fill. WHAT IT IS The Pathfinder is a full-size crossover SUV. It’ll take seven people in three rows, like…

2015 Chevy Trax

'15 Trax road 3

Remember the Chevy Tracker? The pocket-sized SUV sold (in the U.S.) from 1998 through 2004? It was very popular – and would probably still be around today were it not for the fact that it got outpaced by federal crashworthiness standards that made it effectively illegal to sell the thing. (The same fate befell another successful car that the market still wanted but government outlawed … the original VW Beetle.) Indeed,…

2015 Jeep Renegade

2015 Jeep Renegade Latitude and Trailhawk Models

People seem to really like small SUVs … er, crossover SUVs. New ones keep popping up like dandelions after a spring shower. This new Jeep Renegade, for instance. But for once, it’s not just another… uh… pretty face. It’s one of the very few vehicles of this type that can – when properly equipped – actually take you places a Jeep should be able to go. And get back from. Without…

2015 Buick Regal GS

'15 GS lead

In 2012, when the current Regal sedan came out, you could order it in GS trim. Remember GS? In Buick’s better days, the Gran Sport badge meant something good under the hood. Specifically, it meant … this car hauls ass. In a gentlemanly manner, of course. And the ’12 Regal GS revived this tradition. It had a high-boost, 270 hp turbocharged engine (a reboot of turbo’d ’80s-era Regals, which at the time…

2015 Dodge Charger Hellcat

'15 Hellcat lead

I have been waiting for you… It took 45 years, but the moment has finally arrived. A real muscle car is once again available. Scary. Dangerous – in the hands of a fool or a novice. A car that’s got more engine than traction and you’d damned well better respect that. 707 supercharged horsepower through just two wheels (the rear wheels). Mid-high 11 second quarter-miles on tap. A Saturn V pointed horizontally – with…

2015 Toyota Sienna

'15 Sienna lead

The Minivan World has changed a lot since the first batch of them came out in the early ’80s. They actually were “mini” vans, for openers. Not much bigger than a car – being based on small cars, like the Chrysler K-cars. Today’s vans – like this Toyota Sienna – are as far from being “mini” as Shaquille O’Neill is from being skinny. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.…

Politics

Bad Karma

fisker lead

What if you build it – and they don’t come? Send the bill to the taxpayers! Twice. This is how you make money in the New America. Well, the green America. Don’t earn it. Steal it. The “business model” is simple enough: Glom on to a politically high-fashion issue – electric cars, for instance. Then obtain government (meaning, taxpayer) “help” to fund their design and manufacture. When no one – or not enough – people buy your electric wunderwagen, simple declare bankruptcy and walk away. With your pockets full of other people’s money.…

Changing of Our Guards

4th art lead

This weekend we celebrate the changing of our guard. Which, when you stop to think about it, is more than a little odd. Do the inmates of Rikers Island throw a party when they get a new warden? To celebrate the changing of the color of the uniforms worn by their cagers? And yet, we do. This coming weekend, Americans will celebrate not being free to – among other things: Buy and display fireworks themselves. Choose whether to wear a seat belt. Say “no thanks” to the health insurance mafia. Travel without permission…

The Chicken Tax

chicken tax lead

Ever wonder why the biggest market for pick-up trucks (that’s us, the U.S.) has so few trucks available? Yes, yes, there are the big ones – mostly made by the Big Three. But how come the others – smaller brands, smaller trucks – have been so reticent about cashing in on this most lucrative (highest profit margin per vehicle) segment? Could it be the “chicken tax”? Never heard of it? It’s the tax – the tariff – that makes it much more expensive to bring a truck to market in the U.S. that…

Mandatory In-Car Breathalyzers by 2020?

DADDS 2

Drunk driving checkpoints presume you’re drunk until you demonstrate otherwise to the satisfaction of a cop. In about five years – maybe sooner – your car may take over that job. NHTSA – the federal agency that brought you shrapnel-spewing airbags you’re not allowed to say no to – has revealed its next decision-made-for-you in the name of “safety”: In-car Breathalyzers… for everyone. Not just people actually convicted of drunk driving, as is sometimes ordered by the court as a precondition for getting behind the wheel again. You know… as a consequence of their…

State Permission Slips

license 1

Licenses are chicken and egg. To qualify for, say, a road racing or heavy truck (commercial) license, one must already have attained the necessary skill. The license is a kind of after-the-fact “yep, he can do that.” But the fact is he could already do that. Was he any less able as a road racer or heavy-truck driver the moment prior to the state’s conferring of its seal (and permission slip)? Does possession of the permission slip make him more able? Of course not. Learning – and acquiring additional skills – that’s great.…