By Carl Malek
When Toyota unveiled the GT86 (AKA the Scion FR-S and the Subaru BRZ) it was plainly obvious that the Japanese car firm had ambitious plans for its newest sports car project, which is the first product of the company’s partnership with Subaru. Now Toyota and Subaru have written the next chapter in the GT 86/BRZ story with the official unveiling of the Toyota GT86 RC and Subaru BRZ RA models.
By Chris Haak
By now you’ve surely heard the story of Heather Peters, a disappointed Honda Civic Hybrid owner who took Honda to small-claims court in California and won a $9,800 judgment against the company. In California’s small-claims court, neither side may use a lawyer. Ms. Peters sued Honda because her Civic Hybrid didn’t get anywhere near the numbers posted on her car’s window label (which, for pre-2008 Civic Hybrids, was a whopping 49 MPG city/51 MPG highway/50 MPG combined. She won her case, but Honda has vowed to appeal, if for no other reason than to stem a tide of copycats who also want a pound of flesh from Honda.
By Roger Boylan
Do you like American compact cars? Have you ever desired an Escort, or yearned for a Chevette? I thought not. Many, if not most, of our homegrown compacts have been duds. I still shudder when I think of the Dodge Neon I once briefly owned. Not that there haven’t been some bright spots here and there: The Ford Focus has always been a pretty good car, and the Chevrolet Corvair made automotive history—the wrong kind, but hey. These days, the Cruze and Sonic look promising, as do the Fiesta and revamped Focus. Still, by and large, the best part of the compact-car market in this country has been dominated by imports, whose dimensions are dictated by the price of fuel and the exigencies of urban geography in their home countries, and engineered accordingly. My guess is that most American compacts have been bought for want of anything better, by college kids and the chronically hard-up (I fell into the latter category when I signed on the dotted line for my Neon).
By Kevin Miller
Over the years, Subaru has carved an interesting niche for itself in the new-car marketplace. Its vehicles all come with standard all wheel drive (aside from the upcoming BRZ sport coupe codeveloped with Toyota). They also tend to cater more to the function-over-form school of design. Subarus aren’t typically noted for the beauty of their designs, but many of the company’s models have a “small on the outside, big on the inside” feel. Aside from subjective design issues, the knock against many Subarus has been that their all wheel drive hardware makes them somewhat thirsty, and their interior materials are a bit polymer-heavy. I was anxious to try out the all-new Impreza, which promises to address some of those issues, and hopefully – for Subaru – broaden its appeal beyond its traditionally strong markets in the Pacific Northwest and cold-weather states.
By Charles Krome
I was reviewing some of last year’s pictures recently, and came across this Thing, which I had shot over the summer during a road trip to the wild and wacky Dixieland Flea Market in Waterford Hills, Mich. It wasn’t for sale, but it did bring back some fond memories from my childhood days, when seeing life-sized toys like this helped bridge the gap between Hot Wheels and my first real set of wheels.