2014 Nissan Altima

Death Song For the Manual Transmission

2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Untergang for GM?

2014 Nissan Altima

You may have heard this story: Back in the mid ’60s, that wild and crazy guy John Z. DeLorean –…

2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Does the Camry hybrid – vs. the regular Camry – make economic sense? Or is it an emotional (and political)…

Untergang for GM?

Picture that scene in the bunker. The Fuhrer railing at his generals, spittle-spewing maledictions about their treachery and lies. Cue…

New Car Reviews

2014 Nissan Altima

'14 Altima lead

You may have heard this story: Back in the mid ’60s, that wild and crazy guy John Z. DeLorean – father of the GTO – almost fathered a Pontiac rival to Chevy’s Corvette. It was a slick two-seater called Banshee (internally, XP-833) that got disappeared as soon…

2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid

'14 Camry hybrid lead

Does the Camry hybrid – vs. the regular Camry – make economic sense? Or is it an emotional (and political) thing primarily – as in: Hey, look how much I care about the environment? Hmmmm . . . On the one hand, the Camry hybrid will cost…

2014 Audi A8

'14 A8 lead

Two things about the Audi A8. First, it’s a relative bargain. $75,100 to start – and that’s with Quattro all-wheel-drive. To put that in some perspective, Mercedes wants $92,900 for the least expensive Mercedes S-Class . . . without AWD. Now, the Benz does come standard with…

2014 Jeep Cherokee

'14 Cherokee lead

Here’s what didn’t work: Liberty (2002-2012). Commander (2006-2010). Which probably accounts for the new Cherokee . . . and what it’s not. It isn’t a traditional SUV. Reason? They’re a hard sell these days. At least, as mass-market vehicles. Despite Jeep’s boulder-hopping rep, the truth is most…

2014 BMW 328d

'14 "328d" badge

Downsizing is hitting diesels too. I wrote a week or so ago about the 2014 BMW 320i – a new, economy-minded (for a BMW) and smaller-engined/lower-powered version of the 3 sedan. This week, I’m writing about the 328d – “d” for diesel. BMW has sold a diesel-powered…

2014 Honda Insight

'14 Insight lead pic

There are two hybrid models on the market that address what’s arguably the most persuasive argument against buying a new hybrid: They cost too much. Or, to put a finer point on it: Their cost to buy is too high relative to what you’ll save on fuel. …

Politics

Untergang for GM?

Utergang 1

Picture that scene in the bunker. The Fuhrer railing at his generals, spittle-spewing maledictions about their treachery and lies. Cue GM CEO Mary Barra – poor woman – inside the tube towers, ashen-faced subordinates sitting around the big table… . How could this have happened? And (probably) Why must I be surrounded by idiots? Actually, they were pretty smart. I mean, the people responsible for what will likely prove to be GM’s untergang.…

What Might Cars Cost If We Had a Free Market?

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It’s a common gripe that new cars cost too much – and, they do. As of last year, the average transaction price paid for a new car exceeded $30,000 for the first time. Of course, it’s still very possible to buy a new car for less than $30,000. But even the least expensive new cars start around $15,000 – and that’s a lot of money for many people. Too much money for many…

Another “Option” Now Mandatory

back-up 1

Rearview cameras are now mandatory – or soon will be, starting with model year 2018 vehicles (see here for more). The government takes the position that you and I cannot back into a parking spot or out of a driveway without driving over a small child . . . unless we have the assistance of a closed-circuit camera system built into the car. Ironically, it is because of the government that people have…

Do Away With Dealers?

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Did you know it’s illegal to buy a new car from the manufacturer? That’s right. In most states (48 states) so-called direct-buys are unlawful by statute. It is a crime to not go through a dealership. Or rather, it’s a crime for you – if you decided to manufacturer a car – to try to sell it without going through a middleman. The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has seen to it –…

Should New GM Be Liable for The Misdeeds of Old GM?

GM recall pic

The unfolding fiasco over GM’s apparent shoving-under-the-rug of a potentially life-ending defect with the ignition switches in millions of its vehicles brings up the interesting issue of moral hazard and how it applies to corporations. Or, doesn’t. The defect – which has resulted in a tsunami recall of 1.6 million GM vehicles – could (and did) result in total shutdown of the engine (and with it, all power accessories, such as power steering…