There is a wonderful array of legitimately fun cars available for under $30k these days. Ford has had the Mustang available for for those who like high horsepower and rear wheel drive, but now they have added a different flavor to their pallet. Meet the Focus ST, a turbocharged hot hatch from the European market now hitting US shores for the first time. Over in Europe the Ford Focus has been a benchmark setter for some time now, acclaimed by everyone as a fantastic car. Here in America we have always had a different, much more mediocre version… until now. Knowing this, and having recently driven many of the ST’s competitors, I went to go see how it stacked up from behind the wheel. Read the rest of this entry »
The Stance Movement has become quite a big thing in recent years. For those unfamiliar with the trend it is sort of like a neo-lowrider thing. People have been taking cars of all sorts and dropping them down as low as they can go, all in the name of “Stance”. Nowhere is this fad bigger than in the Volkswagen crowd, as can be seen at a host of water themed events that take place all over the country. My friend Justin spent months scouring the forums to find a slammed VW of his own, and he finally found the clean ’98 GTI you see here. He was nice enough to let me take it out recently so I could see what a slammed car is all about from the driver seat. What followed was a very interesting experience. Read the rest of this entry »
C&D goes to Sweden to test the daddy of all Koenigseggs, and see how it goes both on a tight road course and on an open runway.
Tesla’s Model S gets tested properly… as a car. They ask the question of, “Is it fun?”, and they compare it to the Mercedes E63 as a rival. Oh, and before you scoff at the 416hp figure, just know that the motors are hooked up directly to the wheels so there is no drivetrain loss. This means this car is comparable to petrol cars in the 500hp range. Have an open mind, this may be the future.
Volkswagen’s Jetta is one of the old reliable pals of the automotive world, a solid everyday package for everyday people. In America Jettas have always been seen as a slightly nicer, better built alternative to Japanese and American compact cars. Volkswagen means “people’s car” in German, and the Jetta continues to be an exemplary specimen of those ideals. The Jetta you see here is not just any Jetta though, this is the GLI, the hot version. In the VW lineup GLI is to Jetta as GTI is to Golf, and they are basically the same car other than the body style. I liked the GTI when I drove it against the Beetle Turbo last year, but I wanted to see how the package transferred to the larger Jetta platform. Read the rest of this entry »
Sunlight falls gently on the forest floor, a slight breeze rustles leaves on the trees, birds chirp, bees buzz, and the temperature can only be described as perfect. This serenity of nature was disturbed while the echo of mechanical torment emanated from the exhausts of my Jag as I flew past. The beauty of the setting was but a blur as I was catapulted forward by a stampede of 500 angry mares. Rapid acceleration, then all the opposite as I get on the brakes for an upcoming bend. I click the left paddle for an aggressive downshift into 2nd, and as the engine roars up near redline, a series of crackling explosions erupt from the exhaust. It is a symphony that could shake the strongest foundations, and it was so moving from the driver’s seat that I burst out laughing like a giddy little girl. This was my favorite moment during my recent drive in this XKR convertible; one that I feel exemplifies the car’s specific appeal. Read the rest of this entry »
Cadillac hasn’t really been the “Cadillac of cars” since the mid 1960s. Even though their tag line is “The Standard Of The World”, anyone who’s been paying attention knows that they are really going through a renaissance after around 30 years of terrible products. The triumphant V16 cruisers, which made Cadillac’s name, are distant memories of the past, and even the classic finned cars are now over half a century old. The 2013 XTS is Cadillac’s new flagship model, replacing both the STS and DTS in the lineup. There has obviously been lots of talk about Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system because the XTS is the first to feature it, but my purposes going into this drive were focused on one thing: has Cadillac made a world-class luxury car, or is the XTS more of the same?
The new Dart is the first car to market that is truly a joint effort between Fiat and Chrysler. The chassis and mechanicals come straight from the European Alfa Romeo Giulietta, while the exterior, interior, and Tigershark engines are all American. This is a critical product for Chrysler, one that will serve as a first impression for their alliance with Fiat, and the things to come. I went in to find out for myself if this new car marked a positive beginning for “Second Half America”, or a fumbled, Frankenstein-like creation from two companies caught in their own financial struggles. In many ways I felt a lot was riding on this drive when I stepped into this hot blue Dart. Read the rest of this entry »
This is my Mom’s Volvo S80, and it seems very boring. It is beige, one of a few selectable shades of beige, and it looks just like every other Volvo on the road. Volvos are known for very solid build quality as well as their huge emphasis on safety; they are great cars but they generally aren’t synonymous with the term “exciting”. Looking at this S80 you can see the design is very conservative, and while it does have clean lines it is still basically the same exact car Volvo has been making for years. It would seem then that this S80 is just a continuation of mundane motoring from Volvo, and hardly worth a second look. However, after 9 years with this car, I can tell you that is definitely worth a second look because this beige Volvo has some extra tricks up its sleeve. Read the rest of this entry »
This is a genuine R34 Skyline GTR spotted on US soil. I saw it drive by while I was in Birmingham, and then I was able to find it later on Woodward Ave. It has a legitimate US registration and was imported legally through Motorex while they were still in operation. It has remained a US legal car because it was used as a test car for updating Skylines to OBD2 specifications. This may well be the cleanest R34 Skyline in the United States, certainly the cleanest one I have seen in person. The owner was very cool and happily showed me around the car. It also has only Nismo modifications on it, so this R34 is the equivalent of a numbers matching muscle car for Skylines; very special these days when everyone wants too much horsepower at the expense of all else. It attracted a decent amount of attention, but not as much as I would have figured because most folks around here are all about muscle cars. I was fortunate enough to have some unobstructed photo time with this beautiful R34, so I got some great shots (the fact that it was sunset helped too). Enjoy the pics.
Ten years ago if someone had told me that Hyundai would soon be making sports and luxury cars I would have laughed in their face. Hyundai was basically the poster child for offensively cheap cars that people would only buy because they couldn’t afford a Honda or Toyota. Over the next decade though, Hyundai would make one hell of an effort toward improvement, becoming one of the best real values on the market. I have been a huge fan of Hyundai in recent years, applauding their innovation and commitment to quality in their drive up market. The Genesis Coupe you see here is one of the cars that helped vastly step their game up, a fast sports car from a company with little racing history. It couldn’t possibly be that good, could it? Read the rest of this entry »