The biggest roar of engines you will ever hear!
And one of the few places you will hear them is where I was this week, AirVenture 2016 in Oshkosh, WI. I’m sure I’m not alone where I say that I get excited hearing a car like a new Corvette jump on the throttle as it comes out of a turn. Well take that feeling and multiply it by, let’s say 10! And if you think a Hellcat Charger at 700 hp is a lot, multiply that by about four and you have the horsepower of many of the engines in the warbirds up here, even more for the jets. In case you’re not familiar with the event it is the largest gathering of aviation enthusiasts in the world, held every year in Oshkosh, and hosted by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). The event, which began on July 24th and runs through July 31st, spans the entire spectrum of aviation. It attracts 10,000 airplanes and more than 500,000 aviation enthusiasts from all over the world. If you haven’t I would highly encourage you to come to this event just once. It is a hoot. Read more
Chevrolet’s 1967 Chevelle SS is a straightforward muscle car with equally straight, lean lines that reflect fine mid-‘60s styling.
AutoWorld has re-created a variety of Chevelles through the years, including a convertible version of the ’67 in 1/18 scale. Now comes the 1/24 scale model that easily fits into plastic modelers’ collections. Plus it takes up a little less shelf space than the larger scale.
Most car guys know Chevelles and GTOs of this era as well as they know their favorite baseball player’s career stats. First-gen Chevelles debuted in 1964 and by 1967 the mid-size Chevy was among the most popular cars in the bowtie brigade’s lineup. About 63,000 were built in 1967, and the SS was top-of-the-heap. Today an SS can go in the neighborhood of $40,000 to $60 grand at better vintage auto auctions. Read more
Kia has upgraded and enlarged its Sportage small sport-ute to keep it competitive with the likes of Subaru’s Forester, Honda’s CR-V, Ford’s Escape and Toyota’s RAV4.
This is an extremely competitive market with many good products, but Kia maintains its strong styling edge and then lengthens Sportage’s wheelbase from 103.9 inches to 105.1 to give it an even better ride than before. It’s right up there with the top small utes now for comfort.
I tested a beautiful “Burnished Copper” Sportage SX AWD, the top-level model. The color reminds me of my family’s handsome 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass S that was decked out in “Aztec Gold.” Great to see some gold tones return to automotive color lineups.
Ride and power are Sportage’s strengths. While the longer wheelbase and re-tuned suspension give it a well-controlled ride with no harsh moments, the power is impressive. The SX model features a high-revving turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 with an impressive 241 horsepower and 260 ft.-lbs. of torque. Same engine is used in Hyundai’s Santa Fe Sport. Read more
We were pinned in by a jerk
It happened one winter when we were in Downtown Milwaukee at an event. Parking is not easy there especially if you add in a recent snowfall. We were driving an ’87 Jeep Wagoneer (XJ) that I had bought from my dad similar to this one. We snuggle into a spot on the street and go have fun. When we came back we saw another car had parked us in. The car was actually not in a spot and at the end of the block near the intersection. My wife tried first with no luck. It was my turn. I put our Jeep in 4wd and pushed the car out ahead of us and it just happened to roll into the intersection. Ooops.
Jeep people don’t mess a round
In a parking lot you wait your turn to move into a spot where a car is leaving. But then every once in a while some jerk decides they’re going to take that spot. We’ve all had that happen. Not sure any of you came to this creative solution.
Reminders are needed, from time to time, of the pure joy of driving, and Volkswagen’s Jetta is just the thing to pleasantly jog one’s memory.
The conservatively styled Jetta’s exterior has been slightly smoothed and refined for 2016, but its mechanical workings needed no tweaks. The Jetta feels much like the small nimble BMW’s of years past, before they became power hungry heavier brutes as they grew ever larger.
Jetta is a near perfect blend of compact family sedan and sports sedan and lucky for most of us, continues at a modest price compared to that of today’s SUV-laden market. But even at a slightly higher price tag the Jetta would be a bargain, if, and it’s a big if, today’s drivers knew what they were missing by driving crossovers and SUVs.
In short, Jetta is quick with lively handling made all the more fun by VW’s fine 6-speed manual transmission. Call it sporty, call it a blast, but also call it practical because as a compact sedan it will easily seat four average sized adults and carry their luggage too with its generously sized trunk.
Another bonus, Jetta also delivers excellent fuel economy. I got 28.6 miles per gallon in about 60% city driving. The EPA rates the car at 23 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. Read more
And not the traditional way
Mark and I love slot car racing because it’s fun and you get to drive smaller versions of race cars you would never have a shot to drive. See my blog entry about it. How’d you like to see how Grand Prix racers see a track? No, not the traditional way where there’s a in-car camera. Here’s a fun video where Daniel Riccairdo takes you on a tour of the Canadian F1 track, the slot car version of it.
I quickly feel in love with driving the new Acura RLX Hybrid, a sport sedan that does everything right from a performance standpoint.
One could argue that its looks are pedestrian, and they are mid-pack at best. But driving the RLX is like flying under the radar of our beloved highway patrol simply because it does NOT stand out visually. It simply kicks booty when it comes to manhandling the roads.
First, the Crystal Black RLX Sport Hybrid I tested was the top-end model with the Advance package and clicked the cost turnstiles at $66,870 including delivery. There were no options left to add.
The Advance package hybrid comes with the standard RLX engine, a strong 310-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 with variable valve timing. To that it adds a hybrid system consisting of three electric motors, two working directly to power the rear wheels. That electric power extends gas mileage and boosts power by 67 horsepower for a total of 377 ponies.
In standard mode the car has generous power from a stop, but punch the Sport button on the console and the car is noticeably faster off the line, delivering a punch you might not expect from a car of such nonchalant looks. Sort of like discovering your class valedictorian also is a professional stunt double. Read more
When is the last time you heard that?
If you’re a boomer like me, you heard that around the time you were in high school, but hardly at all now because car/truck windows are powered. Well most of them anyway. One of my many gigs is doing the marketing for a local golf course The Preserve at Deer Creek. I also help out in the golf shop.
Recently on a morning I was opening and one of our grounds’ guys, Bill, came in to tell me he saw a customer’s Toyota Tundra with the driving lights were left on and the driver’s side window partially open. Rain was on the way. I told him what group that golfer might be in and he headed out on the golf course to find him. We are HUGE on customer love here! The customer gave Bill the keys and on his way to the truck grabbed me. Read more
When does a MINI become so big that it’s not, well, mini?
There’s a fine line to be sure, but the new MINI Cooper Clubman seems to straddle it pretty well. Visually the Clubman is still cute with the round headlights and profile of a MINI, but there’s no doubt it’s longer and, to be honest, more useful than its predecessor.
The new Clubman is roughly 12 inches longer than the former model with a wheelbase that’s five inches longer. The upshot is more rear seat room, decent cargo space with the rear seats folded down, and a smoother ride. There are four doors too, making it easier for folks to slide into the rear seat. The former model had just one rear-open back side door, making seat access a bit clumsy.
Like before, the Clubman keeps its rear panel truck-style doors, which allows for easier loading and unloading. Plus it means wider loads will slide out easily.
All that increases usefulness.
I’d read some early reviews of the Audi Q7 full-size sport-utility and thought them suspiciously glowing, like a parent telling how great their kid’s violin concert had been.
Well, count me among the converted.
Big sport-utes are generally luxurious land barges that’ll pull a load and haul a load of people. Audi’s new 2017 Q7 will do all that, but in addition to power it delivers ride and handling.
The back story is that Audi didn’t make a 2016 model, skipping that model year because it intended this model to be an early 2017 release. It was planning a big upgrade, as in the use of a lot more aluminum in the body and overall structure, cutting 474 lbs. from the 2015 model. Audi also upgraded to a 5-link suspension front and rear and managed to lower the truck’s center of gravity by 1.7 inches. No small feat.
Power still comes from a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that creates a solid 333 horsepower and 325 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s sufficient to pull 7,700 lbs. of trailer too.
The V6 is linked to an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission that shifts smoothly and delivers enough power to the Quattro 4-wheel-drive system that in the Dynamic drive mode the Q7 actually feels quick. There are four other Drive Select modes, Winter, Automatic, Comfort and Individual. Each can impact the steering effort, acceleration and ride, but Dynamic is the most fun. Read more
I think I’ve seen them all …
By Paul Daniel
… and went through them in a blog entry I did a while back on drivers that really annoy me. If you have been under a rock and never heard of Dude Perfect, these guys do some really funny stuff on YouTube. You name it and they’ve most likely tried some stunt like sinking a basketball from a Piper Cub. Really. In this video they team up with Dale Jr. See if you are, or know somebody, who might fit one of these stereotypes.
Say TVR to any sports car fan and their eyes will light up as they think of the M Series of sports cars the British automaker cranked out from 1972 through 1979, sporty two-seaters with plenty of oomph.
TVR was founded after World War II by Trevor Wilkinson, but sold to Martin Lilley in 1965 and he turned his attention to creating the M Series that includes the hatchback Taimar that Automodello has so beautifully produced in resin in 1/43 scale.
This continues Automodello’s fine series of unique and small production run cars in a size that fits on anybody’s shelf or bookcase. This one will be offered in seven color schemes, while the similar TVR 3000M will come in three colors. All will be extremely limited runs, the most for the Taimar is 79 units in white with blue stripe and black interior. The review model is black with a red stripe, with only 19 being made. Just 19 models in each of the remaining five colors will be made. Talk about exclusive!
The 3000M started as a high-performance alternative to the 1600M and 2500M and debuted in October 1972, costing 2,278 pounds, a little more than it weighed, about 2,100 lbs. A tiny fixed fastback sports car powered by a V6, the M Series quickly gained popularity with racers. Read more
Sports cars seem an endangered species and nearly as hard to find as polite political discourse. So my recent landing of a new Audi TT coupe seemed quite a coup.
I hadn’t driven a TT for nine years. That’s how rare they are in the automotive test fleets. But this new third generation coupe was worth the near epochal wait.
The TT still features a slick rounded roofline and low-slung squatty appearance that made it so darned appealing when it first launched in 1998. Yet this one looks more modern, what with its LED headlights and more aggressive nose.
Looks make any sports car and the TT remains a head-turner.
But luxury performance at a reasonable price has been its hallmark and Audi doesn’t stray from that formula. A sports car, for the uninformed, isn’t a supercar. Sports cars are light and lively, the sort of car you can toss around corners and zip away from stoplights without squealing your tires and without a growling V8 sucking down another gallon of gas.
TT, for instance, features a turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 that gets 220 horsepower and delivers 258 lb.-ft. of torque. Turbos are always heavy on torque, that’s the fun part, zipping away from a stop while the “sport” utes lumber along behind you. Read more