Buick’s doing much better now than it was at the same time half a decade ago. They brought us the Regal, which is a rebadged Opel Insignia, and the Verano, a rebadged and re-engineered Chevrolet Cruze. Normally, this would make me want to tear my own hear out of my scalp, as GM’s track record with rebadged cars is just plain awful. The last time a European sedan was adapted for the USA market was in 1997 when Cadillac dumped the Catera on our shores, a reheated Opel Omega–with predictably lukewarm results. Buick’s last American compact, the Skylark, was an embarrassment to its name and was insulting to someone who wanted a premium small car. Luckily, I got the chance to sample Buick’s two best turbocharged options last month in the form of the Regal GS and Verano Turbo. Originally, I was going to keep the two separate, but after a long thought and two eye-opening drives, I’ve changed my mind, because these two cars should be looked at together. One of them is clearly better than the other–and one of the two doesn’t quite live up to its badge’s reputation.
The recession had a serious effect on the American automobile market. We all know what happened to the Big Three. However, there are a few small Japanese companies that are definitely worth mentioning because they seem to hang on either by a thread, or by a sizable rope, in the US domestic market. Subaru, Mazda, Suzuki, and Mitsubishi are the four non-major Japanese players in the US market. Well, they were. One of these four announced late on November 5, 2012 that they were pulling their automotive arm from the US market. So, allow me to say…and then there were three. But soon, I think there will be two. Read the rest of this entry »
Courtesy of one of my family members, Sheryl Paul, here is this 1948 Ford pickup truck custom, in possibly the most searing shade of orange I have ever seen. The custom job on this truck has turned it from mild to absolutely mean, with a stance that other duallies could only dream of. The front bumper is gone and gives the front end a new lease on life–it looks quite special for a truck. Genuinely, I wish we saw more trucks like this.
Spotted by: Sheryl Paul
-Albert S. Davis
Jaguar has quite a storied history with regard to sporting automobiles. The E-Type is still remembered and revered as one of the most beautiful cars ever made (even Enzo Ferrari admitted to this at one point). But, this story isn’t about the E-Type, or the XJ6, or the modern Jags that people lust after. This is about what I see as a potential diamond in the rough–the last generation of the venerable Jaguar XJS, a car that I think is a bit overlooked. Read the rest of this entry »
On this episode of Drive, Chris Harris shows all of us not only his spectacular driving skills behind the wheel of AMG’s newest monster, the SLS Black Series, but also the lengths that Mercedes-Benz went to lighten up the big supercar to make it more athletic and more fun on the track. Take ten minutes off and watch this video–it’s ten minutes well worth your time.
-Albert S. Davis
The Chevy Sonic is a car that finally proves that GM can actually make small cars. The Aveo was everyone’s favorite little four-wheeled punching bag, and its replacement smashed onto the scene with an ad campaign that seemed fitting more for an energy drink than for a small car. Still, no one can call the Sonic subtle–so I took this silver base sedan for a quick drive, and asked myself “Did Chevrolet finally make a B-segment car worth buying?”
The Mercedes R-Class is not the last word in anything. It’s probably a good example of a blue-chip company laying an egg at the worst possible time. Mercedes-Benz is a full-line automaker in most of Europe but in America, it’s better known for luxury cars. Of course, the top brass at M-B didn’t quite know what to expect when the R-Class came out. Made in Alabama and Mexico, it wasn’t a normal Mercedes. But, once AMG saw it, they couldn’t resist doing what they do best: shoehorn a ridiculous engine into it, put it on wide tires and lowered suspension, and sell it like sliced bread. Only this time, sliced bread sold like New Coke. Read the rest of this entry »
Someone who shot this video must be quite the music and car buff. For today, we have a Ferrari Enzo drifting around a bunch of dirt trails, set to the background music of Beethoven’s Symphony No.9, “Ode To Joy”. This is most definitely an ode to joy–it’s a drifting Enzo. I bet a lot of people are cringing at the sight of someone thrashing an Enzo, but this still some spectacular driving and camera work–even if one cameraman drops his camera at the very end. If you’ve got two minutes or three, watch this video–it’s a few minutes well-spent.
-Albert S. Davis
BMW has always held a special place in my list of carmakers. After the end of WWII, they were in tatters, like the other German car companies. But, in the 1960s and 1970s, their commitment to making cars that could make the driver grin endlessly (for a price) gave them a reputation of being a bit of an upper middle class car guy’s hero, in that for the price of a Cadillac or a Mercedes sedan, you could get a car that was capable of brightening your melancholy day with just a squeeze of the gas pedal and a turn of the wheel. But that was nearly 40 years ago, and based on what I’m seeing in the news (and what I’ve driven in the past year or two), I’m skeptical of their old motto. Read the rest of this entry »
Mercedes-Benz isn’t all what it seems. While some may mock it for expanding the E-Class range to a coupe and a convertible, and some may question it for offering AWD on the AMG products, no one will see me on that side of the line. In fact, I’m the one doing the slow clap. Mercedes is taking a lesson from its rivals, Audi and BMW, and using the best of what it’s learning. The German luxury market is changing, and Mercedes is keeping up with it in an exemplary way–but the new E63 is proof that they’ve got their ears to the streets and listening to the good word. Read the rest of this entry »
On Saturday afternoon, my brother, Matt Davis, took a few photos of a very out-of-place old Cadillac in the middle of Los Angeles. My brother happens to be a PhD. student in chemistry at Cal Tech in Pasadena (he, in fact, currently owns the Road Review Toyota Camry Hybrid) and saw this on Eagle Rock Boulevard near Chickasaw Avenue while out shopping. It’s an eggshell-white 1959 Series 62 coupe, which can be denoted by the lack of model script along the rear fenders and the large chrome spear along the middle of the bodyw0rk from the back of the front fender to the rear bumper. Great spot, Matt. Read the rest of this entry »
Cadillac’s changed. What was once a lineup filled with “luxury” cars more numerous than the “talent” in the Jets’ current roster has now become a brand obsessed with success. I’m not complaining, because at this point in the brand’s history, it has to evolve or die (the latter of which Lincoln, its immortal rival, seems obsessed with at this point). The Seville and the Deville formed the staple products of Cadillac’s offerings for more than 30 years when in 2011, Cadillac finally stopped building both of them. No, don’t light a candle for them. I asked myself this question after taking the wheel: Did Cadillac build a stopgap car, or a car with staying power that can carry the Wreath and Crest into the next few years with pride? I took the wheel of this bright red Premium AWD to find out the answer.