By Brendan Moore
For those of you that have never heard of him, Dan Neil is a great auto journalist. He’s also, by all accounts, a pretty good guy, and I’ve had a couple of brief exchanges with him over the years, and he does seem like a pretty good guy. He also won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2004 (yeah, an automotive writer- cool, huh?), presented annually to a newspaper writer who has demonstrated “distinguished criticism”. The distinguished criticism the Pulitzer Committee had in mind when they handed him that award was his “Rumble Seat” column for The Los Angeles Times, his then-employer. He reviewed passenger vehicles in that column.
He now writes for The Wall Street Journal. published in the Journal on October 22, the header on the review was, “Honda’s Sporty New Civic, Heavy on the ‘Ick’.”
I would have given him the Pulitzer just for that alone. That’s some good writing, there.
By Kevin Miller
A study recently was published revealing that people who identify with the image of their car (people who think of their cars as image enhancers rather than basic transportation) tend to be more aggressive drivers. That didn’t seem particularly revealing to me, but then as I thought about it I realized that the cars I’ve owned that I really identified with- and that I felt really identified me- did tend to have me driving more aggressively. Both my Saab 900 coupe and my Volvo V70R were big parts of my identity when I owned them, and both brought out the aggressive driver in me.
That being said, I could totally see Range Rover Evoque as just such an image car for me. I’m partial to two-door hatchbacks, especially well-proportioned ones that taper subtly at the rear (Yes, I did own two different Saab 900s…). The Evoque’s appearance, especially with its tapering roofline and long, low rear windows and aggressive, good-looking wheels really pushed all the right buttons for me. To me the Evoque was really an “image car”… and yes, it did make me drive more aggressively.
By Chris Haak
By and large, men are typically not complicated creatures. Most of us don’t keep our feelings bottled up, we don’t gravitate toward sophisticated, high-brow entertainment (that reminds me, what night do the new Beavis and Butthead episodes air?), and we typically don’t take care of ourselves as well as our female companions do. I don’t even know when I last went to the doctor, while my wife is very proactive about her medical care.
By Kevin Miller
I can’t find the car I want anywhere. At least, not anywhere here in the US. I’ve long been a driver of useful, involving cars – the kind of cars with which I felt a bond, as owning each of them made life somehow more enjoyable. My two black Saab 900 hatchbacks (a 1995 for 8 years/160k miles, and a 1992 project car) both were a lot more fun to drive than they should have been as naturally-aspirated, front-wheel-drive three-doors; both had that certain Saab style that I somehow identified with. Too, my 2004 Volvo V70R was a useful family hauler, with all-wheel drive and a manual transmission to get me most anywhere and have fun doing it. I truly bonded with each of those stylish Swedes. Only when the monthly repairs on the Volvo approached the amount of my home mortgage did begrudgingly decide that it was time for the Volvo to go.
By: Carl Malek
Earlier this week, Ford Motor company finally took the wraps off the Fiesta ST five-door concept ahead of its official debut at the 2011 LA Auto show. This concept is Ford’s second iteration of the Fiesta ST concept. The car first made its debut in 3-door form at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show earlier this year. Other than the addition of the two additional doors, the Fiesta ST five-door is more or less identical to the three-door version when it comes to exterior styling which includes the use of a large trapezoidal shaped grille, a Fiesta ST exclusive body-kit, 17 inch alloy wheels, and a twin exhaust system. Ford also mentions that the styling for both concepts was inspired by the Fiesta RS WRC Rally car, which is a star out in the world rally circuit.
By Brendan Moore
As you may have read, Saab’s slow death rattle was halted last Friday. Two small Chinese firms, and Youngman, offered again to purchase Saab from the floundering Swedish Automobile, a company born from the ashes of the GM abandonment, Spyker’s purchase of Saab, and then, the subsequent divesture of the Spyker supercar part of the business.
The time, Swedish Automobile said yes to the acquisition, staving off what would have been certain liquidation of Saab. So, it now looks like Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. will probably be the proud new owners of Saab, and all for the laughably low price of $142 million USD.
By Carl Malek
A report on InsideLine suggests that BMW’s M division wants to develop an exclusive model of its own to take on the likes of the AMG SLS and Audi’s equally potent RS line. Albert Biermann, head of product development for BMW’s Motorsport division, claims that the division is ready to develop a model of its own. “From an engineering perspective we have the skills and we’d love to do it,” he said. “We’ve discussed it several times but we’ve never been able to make the business case. Everything we do has to make money.” Biermann also claims that the M division is ready to switch to power-trains powered by alternative sources of energy. “Our job is to sell emotion and fun, using the technology that’s socially acceptable at the time. Whether that’s a combustion engine or an electric motor, we don’t care.”
By Brendan Moore
Yes, I know, the 2012 models are already out. But we hadn’t reviewed this car yet, and with a full dance card of 2012 models already in queue, it may be quite some time before a Kia Forte 5-Door works its way into the rotation again, so I decided to take the opportunity to review this hatchback.
So, I told Kia to bring it over to Techshake Plaza, and here we are – I’m writing and you’re reading. There certainly is a certain symmetry to the universe, don’t you think?