I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with BMW right now. I’m going to start by saying that everything they have always done well they continue to do at the highest level. The basic M cars, 1, 3, 5, 6, and 7 series cars are all pretty much where they should be, the SUVs as well with the exception of the X6. My problems lie with their attempting to over-segment the market, and how so many of the culprits being just awful cars with little or no purpose. Continue reading BMW, great at many things, but not everything
Just in the past two or three years, Honda has lost its mojo. The S2000, once a respected, yet affordable roadster, suffered from the axe after the 2010 model year. Since then, the last non-Civic ‘sporty’ Honda has hit the skids. All we have now is the much-maligned CR-Z—a car that has as much compromises as it does electrons running around in its engine compartment. Continue reading On the Subject of Hypocrisy: Honda.
So VW have decided the Golf R should come to the US market. The R is basically an up market GTI with AWD and more power, around 265hp on the European models. It is being marketed in the same league as the Subaru STi and the Mitsubishi Evo but offers much more luxury and quality but slacks on performance by comparison. Those of you who play Forza Motorsort 3 may already know about the R and what it brings to the table. Continue reading Thoughts on the VW Golf R
It’s hard for me to really say when I got into cars, since I’ve been into them for as long as I can remember. I know it’s cliché, but some say I was born with a set of car keys in my hand. Continue reading How I got into cars: A bit about “Al.”
Many folks out there gripe about front wheel drive, and the truth is, there is good reason for it. Take away all the mindless bashing that occurs on forums and look at the physics of it compared to rear and all wheel drive. Simply put, you do not have ANY control over the rear of the car. Both steering and throttle inputs go to the front of the car. This means that if rear of the car becomes seriously loose on ice or in some big maneuver the car will be almost completely uncontrollable. While you can fishtail a little and get away with it, the level of controllability is nowhere near that of a rear wheel or all wheel drive car. Continue reading Front Wheel Drive, My Thoughts On This Love-Hate Relationship
The Mazda MX5 Miata is one of the most widely loved cars in the world, and it is loved by the masses. Chris Harris, a journalist from the UK whom I greatly respect, wrote his thoughts on the Miata in a recent article (link at bottom). In it he deeply criticizes the car and even goes so far as to say it is not a real sports car. Now, having myself recently just bought an old ’93 Miata off of a friend, I can relate to what Mr. Harris is talking about in some regards, but in others I have to disagree. Continue reading Mazda MX5, Response to Chris Harris
Hey look, a Passat diesel. Good idea. The diesel Jetta has been a huge success here in America—dealers can’t seem to hold onto them for long at all (This might explain the high sales of the Jetta despite its unfavorable reviews). The Passat diesel will launch this engine even further into the mainstream, as those who look at hybrids will finally have an alternative to carting an enormous battery in the trunk. Kudos, VW. Keep up the good work. The fact that it will have the DCT transmission as standard will make believers out of those who aren’t (I’m looking at you, Mr. Hybrid Driver). That said, when I need a daily driver, this car looks like a mighty good idea. Plenty of room, no hybrid battery to make me worry about extra costs, and diesel gas mileage? Great plan.
It looks excellent as well. Unlike a lot of other midsize sedans on the market, it doesn’t call negative attention to itself (Camry, pop that blister. Avenger, that nosejob was a failure). It’s understated and easy on the eyes, but still carries a look of discernment and good taste; this is exactly what Volkswagen needs for the Passat. Some will most definitely scoff at the idea of Volkswagen trying to compete in the mainstream in this segment, but they’re misplacing their criticism. Those who bought the old one for its differences will still feel at home here. I sat in one in Philly at the auto show last winter, and the car didn’t feel cheap (despite my fears that this would suffer the fate of the Jetta). My only gripe? It’s still not on sale just yet. With the currently hot-selling Jetta, attractive new Passat, upcoming Golf R, and the intriguing new Beetle on the way, Volkswagen is once again a large blip on my radar screen.
Images courtesy of Motortrend.com. See their full road test and gallery here: