Jul 18

Test Drive: 2015 Chrysler 200 Raises The Bar With All-New Midsize Sedan

The Chrysler 200S is the sport version of the all-new midsize sedan. (Photo: Chrysler)

The 200S is the sport version of the all-new midsize sedan. (Photo: )

The 2011 Super Bowl commercial that introduced the new Chrysler 200 was remarkable, with exquisitely photographed scenes of Detroit and rap superstar Eminem boasting, “This is the Motor City and this is what we do.”

But the Chrysler 200 turned to be a lot less than remarkable, basically a warmed-over Sebring that was far behind the curve in the high-stakes midsize-car segment, which made the meaningful ad about Chrysler’s rebirth seem like so much hype.

This time, they got it right. The completely redesigned 2015 Chrysler 200 is everything that the previous model was supposed to be, and it finally gives the renamed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles something to compete with the Camrys, Accords and Fusions of the world.

Tags: ,
May 22

Test Drive: 2015 Volkswagen Golf, GTI Debut

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI gets expressive new styling (Photo: Volkswagen)

The 2015 Golf GTI gets expressive new styling (Photo: )

Worldwide, Volkswagen Golf is by far the biggest selling car in Europe and gaining fast in Asian and South American markets. In the U.S., not so much. Here, most drivers hold a grudging dislike for compact hatchbacks, equating them with the late and unlamented econoboxes of past decades.

Which explains why the U.S. launch of the impressive new seventh-generation Golf and performance GTI models comes a full year later than their introduction overseas, where they have succeeded in boosting sales amid critical acclaim. The U.S. intro is important to VW, though, because it wants to raise the profile of what the automaker calls “the heart of the brand.”

Tags: ,
Apr 16

Cars: Take A Ride In The Infiniti Q60S 6MT Convertible

The Infiniti Q60S 6MT convertible features crisp shifting and close-ratio gearing provided the sensations of a proper little sports car. (Photo: Bob Golfen)

The Infiniti Q60S 6MT convertible features crisp shifting and close-ratio gearing that provide the sensations of a proper little sports car. (Photo: Larry Edsall)

Stickshift should be listed as an endangered species, along with African rhinos and black-footed ferrets. With modern automatic transmissions become so much more sophisticated and fuel efficient, and enhanced with such things as paddle shifters, manual transmissions are rapidly going the way of ignition points.

Call me old school, but I fundamentally prefer with three pedals, especially those with sporty ambitions. But it’s so rare that a premium car comes to me for testing with anything other than some kind of high-tech automatic.

Tags:
Mar 31

Cars: 2014 Tundra honors Lone Star State with 1794 edition

The 2014 Toyota Tundra CrewMax celebrates its Texas connection with the 1794 Edition. (Photo: Toyota)

The 2014 Tundra CrewMax celebrates its connection with the 1794 Edition. (Photo: )

Texas looms large in the pickup truck universe, and the domestic big-truck makers each have their own homage to Texas and its history, such as the Ford F-Series King Ranch. Chevy Silverado buyers in the Lone Star State can even get a special Texas Edition package.

Now Toyota, eager to move up in the big leagues of big , has its own top-drawer Tundra model that honors a piece of Texas: the 1794 Edition. Loads of leather, a plethora of features and a mighty dose of Western flair, plus “1794” badging everywhere you look.

Tags: , , ,
Jan 18

Cars: Barrett-Jackson Salon Collection — The Snake And The Mongoose

Anyone with even the least interest in motor sports knows the story of the Snake and the Mongoose. (Photo: Tom Jensen)

Anyone with any interest in motorsports knows the story of the Snake and the Mongoose. (Photo: Tom Jensen)

Nitro-fueled funny car drag racers roared into the consciousness of mainstream America in the early 1970s when two of the sport’s biggest competitors, Don Prudhomme and Tom McEwen, squared off against each other in match races as the Snake vs. the Mongoose, respectively, in what’s considered the greatest rivalry in drag racing history and perhaps the most famous match-up in American motor sports.

Tags: ,