A Cool Gadget

The Mindset of Heroes

The Bank Run

Particulate Filters for ... Everyone!

A Cool Gadget

If you wrench – or even just tinker – you may already have a portable jump-starter rig. They are super handy…

The Mindset of Heroes

This video was taken by a couple of guys filming outside a federal courthouse in Houston, TX: It’s interesting chiefly…

The Bank Run

If you own a VW diesel guilty of “cheating” Uncle, you’d better scuttle on down to your local VW store.…

New Car Reviews

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…

2016 BMW X5 eDrive

'16 X5 curb lead

BMW is going electric in a big way. The company honchos say so, openly. They see the IC engine as doomed – not because of scarce gas but omnipresent Uncle. Emissions and fuel-efficiency fatwas are becoming literally impossible to comply with. Think I’m exaggerating? Consider: In Europe, they consider (and regulate) carbon dioxide as an “emission.” It is not possible to eliminate this “emission” without eliminating internal combustion – and the…

2017 Chevy Volt

'17 Volt lead

Only Nixon could go to China, they said. Maybe they will say the same about me – and my (ducking now) endorsement of the Chevy Volt… . Ok. I just popped my head up from behind the dumpster, having dodged the rocks and rotten apples thrown my way by probably disappointed readers. But give me a minute? If you still think I’ve drunk the Kool Aid after I say my…

2016 BMW 330 eDrive

'16 330e curb 1

Here – for once – is a hybrid that does not suck. Gas – or otherwise. The BMW 330 eDrive. You can drive the thing 80 MPH(or faster) on just the batteries. And as far as 15-20 miles. Without gimping along like a Vespa scooter, dragging a conga line of infuriated sufferers behind you. Punch it – and leave them all behind you. Except maybe for the guy in the Mustang GT back…

2016 Buick Cascada

'16 Cascada road 3

Impractical convertibles seem to do ok. The practical ones not so much. Ask Toyota. Or Chrysler. Or Volvo. Or VW. The Camry Solara, 200 convertible and C70 withered away for lack of interest, like unwanted timeshares – notwithstanding back seats that were both present and adult-usable as well as  trunks large enough to hold more than a bag of M&Ms and a bottle of water. Meanwhile, Miatas without back seats at all do…

Politics

The Bank Run

VW lead

If you own a VW diesel guilty of “cheating” Uncle, you’d better scuttle on down to your local VW store. Not to “fix” it (they’re not broken) but to get your money before there’s none left. On Tuesday, Uncle announced the most draconian punishment ever meted out to a car company over the TDI “cheating” scandal: $15 billion in forced buyback/loan forgiveness offers and funding for “environmental programs” and the promotion of electric/hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. On top of this, VW has agreed – been forced – to pay out another $600 million…

Particulate Filters for … Everyone!

particulate filter

VW – desperate to appear chastened over its “cheating” sins – has just announced it is going to fit particulate filters to its 2017 model year cars in anticipation of the next round of Uncle’s emissions fatwas. No surprise, right? Diesel-powered cars have had particulate filters for years. They’re used to catch… particulates, which are small particles of soot that – while not a factor in smog or even an alleged contributor to (equally alleged) “climate change” – are a potential health issue for some people with asthma. Soot/particulate emissions are – were – a…

The Government Made Me a Litterbug

beer bottles

Uncle has turned me into a litterbug. I’ve chucked empty beer bottles out the window. I do not like doing this. I feel guilty about doing this. I never used to do this. So why do I do it now? Because having an “open container” – or an empty one – in one’s car invites severe (and for me, a car journalist, life-altering) consequences. If one happens to be pulled over by a cop for any random reason (seatbelt “violation,” “speeding,” an out-of-date sticker) and he sees an “open” or “empty” in the car, you are in serious trouble. Better call…

The Anti-Tesla Gets No Love

Elio lead

It’s interesting that the car That Makes Sense – economically and functionally – gets almost no press while cars that don’t (like the Tesla and other electric cars) do. Elio Motors (company web site here) had a near-production-ready car on on display at the New York Auto Show last week. Company founder Paul Elio gave a presentation to reporters and took questions. Bet you didn’t hear a thing about it. This is downright Weird. You’d think the media would be champing at the bit to let the public know that there is a…

Measuring the Cost of the VW “Cheating” Scandal… So Far

VW lead

The VW emissions “cheating” scandal has been below the fold for a couple months now, but the repercussions are beginning to hit home. Literally. At home. If you are among those who own a diesel-powered VW – whether “affected” of not – its resale value has dropped by about 20 percent, according to data compiled by Kelley Blue Book. The average auction price paid for a used VW diesel last month was down to $10,674 vs. $13,196 last August. That’s a big hit – especially for cars that (pre-scandal) were known for holding their value…

Annual Irony Day

4th lead

We’re just weeks away from the Annual Irony – the day devoted to celebrating a revolt against the authority of a red, white and blue bully (George III) while living under the thumb of … a red, white and blue bully (Uncle). We’re supposed to celebrate the former  – because it benefitted the latter. The American colonists were not unsaddled. They simply got a new rider. Why celebrate this? Does it make any sense to you? The colonists, we were all told as schoolchildren, objected to being taxed by a far-away king and…