You Say You Want a Revolution?

2015 VW Passat TDI

Passing the Hat (And Next Radio Gig)

When You Can't Give 'Em Away...

You Say You Want a Revolution?

Looking back on the American Revolution, John Adams (in 1813) wrote: “But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do…

2015 VW Passat TDI

When you’re the only game in town, you’ve pretty much got the market cornered. But it helps when what you’re…

New Car Reviews

2015 VW Passat TDI

'15 Passat lead

When you’re the only game in town, you’ve pretty much got the market cornered. But it helps when what you’re selling is also what people want. People want Passats. It’s a very popular car, in part because it’s the only German car in its class – and in this price range. The rest are (cue the italics and the umlaut) uber expensive due to their prestige branding. Well, and the…

2015 Nissan Altima

'15 Altima last

I’ve written before about the fact that federal fuel-economy mandates are subtly but significantly eroding away the choices available to consumers – and increasing the cost of the diminishing choices that remain. The ’15 Altima being a case in point. At first glance, it’s what they call in the car biz a carryover – the same basic car as it was last year. With one big (and expensive) exception. If…

2015 Dodge Ram ProMaster “City”

'15 PM road 3

Minivans started off as inexpensive, economical, hugely versatile alternatives to both cars and things a lot bigger. But today’s minivans are not-so-mini and rarely economical – either to buy or to drive. Some cost over $40,000 (the 2015 Chrysler Town & Country starts at $29,995) and all of them drink gas like Sam Kinison drank Jack Daniels. Which may explain the growing popularity of little jitney bus things like the Ford…

2015 Mini Four-Door

'15 Mini lead

Mini has always had cute – and fun – on its side. Now it has four doors, too. Or at least, can be ordered with them. This makes it plausibly practical – which the original Mini coupe never was. It had back seats, but not doors to get to them. In a larger car, this would not be a huge problem but because the Mini itself is so tiny, having…

2015 Ford Edge

'15 Edge side by side

The Internet as a mass medium is less than 20 years old but because it’s literally everywhere now it feels as though it has always been thus. Same goes for crossover SUVs. They are – as a class – hugely popular now and as common as wood-paneled station wagons were back in the ’70s. But it was not always so – and as recently as the early 2000s. There were lots…

2015 Toyota Yaris

'15 Yaris lead

Toyota can get away with it. Kia couldn’t. Honda, neither. What high crime are we dealing with here? It’s more like a misdemeanor: Selling While Old. Or rather, selling a car that’s getting old, that has some pretty dated features (four-speed automatic, anyone? Drum rear brakes?) relative to what’s become common – expected – in the class. I refer to the Yaris. It’s in no way a bad car –…

Politics

You Say You Want a Revolution?

revolution pic

Looking back on the American Revolution, John Adams (in 1813) wrote: “But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations.” Those frustrated by the seemingly relentless advance of authoritarianism – especially those who’ve given up and are ready to “go down fighting” – might consider Adams’ words. I grant that it defensive force may become necessary at some point.…

When You Can’t Give ‘Em Away…

elr lead

When you have to resort to paying people to buy something, it ought to tell you something about the value of the thing you’re trying to “sell.” Such thoughts apparently haven’t occurred to GM, which continues to describe the Volt-based (and twice-as pricey) Cadillac ELR electric car as a “combination of leading technology with stunningly attractive design” that is “is unlike any other coupe in the luxury segment.” So says Cadillac jefe Johan de Nysschen. Poor dude. He has to put on a brave face. It’s his job, after all. Like the captain of…

Bicycle Licenses…

bikes 1

How come they don’t require bicyclists to have licenses – and carry insurance? Put another way – in the language of Cloverism (authoritarian collectivism; see here for a fuller explanation) how come they’re allowed to ride free of such conditions and controls? After all, drivers are not. Shouldn’t consistency apply? Operating a car is considered a conditional privilege – something you’re allowed to do, but only under certain terms and conditions. The government (a rhetorical sleight of hand; really, “government” is just other people who have various titles and have given themselves authority over you…

The End of AM/FM Radio?

FM dial pic

A new car without a radio? It sounds as unthinkable as a new car without floor mats or a heater. But there is a real danger that your next new car might come without an AM/FM receiver. Or, might cost you extra. Seriously. As unthinkable as it sounds – and as undesirable as it would be (based on known consumer preferences; more on that in a minute) there is chatter in Detroit that the car industry is giving thought to retiring the AM/FM receiver in favor of music piped into the car via…

The Insurance Agenda?

luca brasi

Without all this insurance, most of us would be pretty rich. Or at least, not poor. But that (us being poor, or at least struggling) may be exactly what’s wanted. It is very hard to acquire capital assets, avoid debt and build up savings when one is forced to spend a large and growing percentage of one’s income on various – on multiple – insurance policies. Many of us understand this – which is why they have to force us to buy insurance. Self-interest would prompt us to “cover” our cars, our health…