Civic comes in 3 shapes, a big player in small car market …
Honda’s Civic is a mainstay in the small car market. Why? It has been around for years, remains affordable and comes in three body styles, sedan, coupe and hatchback.
All of those traits make it unusual. And for the past few years Honda designers have been trying to create a bit more visual excitement with Civics that feature sharp creases and angles that frankly, always make me think of a kid’s Transformer toy. Some love it, others, not so much. I find the nose appealing, the profile acceptable and the rear end rather garish. Continue reading 2019 Honda Civic 1.5T Touring
VW Beetle Dune a cute bug that will scoot …
Volkswagen’s latest Beetle, the Dune edition, is colorful and simply cute as a … OK, cute as a Bug!
There, I’ve said it. But honestly I got a lot of looks in this metallic dark yellow mustard colored Beetle with its blacked out wheel wells and rear spoiler. It looked racy and fun, and it was. Continue reading 2018 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0T Dune
Honda’s Civic Si returns and it’s still an economical sportster! …
If you can get beyond the new Honda Civic Si’s odd Transformer-ish rear-end you’ll find one of the finest, and most economical, sporty coupes on the market.
There’s a lot to like here, even if eye candy is not one of them.
The souped-up Si model has been missing from the Civic lineup for a couple years, so its return is welcomed by entry-level sporty car buyers whose options have been limited since the Si’s demise.
The Si links performance and economy unlike most other cars. It starts at a highly affordable $24,100 while boasting a turbocharged 1.5-liter I4 engine that creates a peppy 205 horsepower.
For a coupe weighing less than 3,000 lbs., that turbo will jack it up to highway speeds quite smartly. Firing up, or down, freeway entry ramps is fun and quick. There’s not much turbo lag with the Civic and its smooth shifting 6-speed manual allows the driver to put as much muscle into acceleration as needed, or desired.
A Sport mode button may help that a little, although I didn’t feel it was needed or provided much extra boost. Mainly the Sport mode firms up the steering wheel, or more to the point, makes steering effort much heavier than when that mode isn’t engaged. I found the normal driving mode just fine and steering response fairly precise without the added steering weight of Sport mode. Continue reading 2017 Honda Civic Si
Aston Martin Vanquish = automotive art …
Some cars are rolling art right from the get go. Such is Aston Martin’s Vanquish, which was introduced in 2013 to coincide with the British luxury car maker’s 100th anniversary.
As with all Astons, the goal was to combine beauty and performance on four wheels.
Likewise Autoart has recreated that beauty in 1/18 scale with its composite-bodied Vanquish, in sparkling black for the review model. Other colors are available, but bathed in black this baby looks long, lean, and sexy, just like the real beast.
Vanquish, like most high-priced luxury makes, was aimed at the uncompromising buyer. But not the one who demands only luxury, or beauty.
Vanquish, as its name suggests, wants to smite its automotive foes that are competing for the high-end coin of the realm.
A 2017 Vanquish lists at $287,650 for the coupe (like the review car) and $305,650 for the convertible. Under its long carbon fiber hood is a throbbing V12 that makes 568 horsepower, the most of any power plant in Aston Martin’s history. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart’s Aston Martin Vanquish
1957 Buick Roadmaster Hardtop a two-tone beauty
Fins were fun and gave the 1950s cars both personality and a hint of aerodynamics that merged the streamlined models of the 1930s with the aerospace world of the 1960s to come.
Buick may not be the first brand you think of when it comes to ‘fin’ish styling, but in 1957 it was tastefully incorporating fins into its sleek designs. Witness the 1957 Buick Roadmaster Hardtop Coupe with is four ventiports and straight tailfins with round projected taillights hinting at being afterburners in those beautifully sculpted chrome rear light surrounds.
NEO does another fine job of re-creating the look of a 1950s chrome-laden model in 1/43 scale resin with the Roadmaster, and for a still modest $74.95. Some 1/43 models are now creeping over the $100 mark.
All Buick hardtops were considered Riviera models in 1957 and 4-door sedans were eliminated. The clean, sexier look of the hardtop with no B-pillar was setting the styling and sales trends. Two-tone paint was being enhanced by chrome sweeps on the hardtop’s sides and around the windows. Continue reading Die-cast: NEO’s 1957 Buick Roadmaster Hardtop Coupe
Audi’s latest TT is slick, squatty, luxurious, sporty
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. Continue reading 2016 Audi TT 2.0T Quattro
TSM nails Chevrolet Impala with crisply executed body
Growing up in Indianapolis our neighbors across the street bought a new Chevy every two years, and yes, there was a bit of “bowtie” envy on our side of the street.
We had a green 1955 Chevy 210, a plain Jane Chevy. The neighbors always had Impalas, including a white 1967 with its sloping rear window that blended beautifully into the long trunk, sort of a fastback look. The car had excellent lines, especially for a big car, but in subsequent years Chevy ruined its looks.
A lot of other folks liked the Impala Coupe’s looks at the time, and now TSM mines that market with its crisply executed Impala Coupe, this one in “Marina Blue,” a medium metallic blue, and 1:43 scale, so a perfect fit for your display shelf.
Chevy redesigned its long lean Impala for 1967 to enhance what was then called Coke-bottle styling. I never saw it that way, but there was a certain streamlining to the sport coupe’s profile, something that made it more than just another big car, and not as boxy as the Fords of the era. Continue reading Die-cast: TSM 1:43 1967 Chevrolet Impala Coupe