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Autos archive for Jan. 1, 2013

MONDAY, DEC. 30, 2013

Resolve to improve

We often make plans to better our lives at the start of each succeeding year. Since that time is upon us for 2014, let’s all give better driving a top spot on our list of resolutions. After all, vehicular crashes are the number one cause…

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SATURDAY, DEC. 28, 2013


Honda Odyssey: The modern minivan 

Minivans may have been last century’s big news, but you wouldn’t know it from behind the wheel of the 2014 Honda Odyssey. A mid-cycle refresh has the Odyssey feeling as fresh and contemporary as any of the crossovers that have displaced vans in the public’s…

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MONDAY, DEC. 23, 2013

Readers' pet peeves

I’m regularly a “sounding board” for readers’ pet driving peeves. A couple good examples of these irksome driving deeds made it to my email inbox last week. Reader B.L. griped, “Last evening as I drove home, a huge pickup truck with those new flashlight-sized headlights…

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SATURDAY, DEC. 21, 2013


Buick LaCrosse: Affordable American luxury

Sandwiched between volume-minded Chevrolet and performance-focused Cadillac in General Motor’s post-bankruptcy landscape, Buick takes the middle way. It aims to satisfy the middle-class need for affordable luxury. Since the bankruptcy, the company’s persistent focus on comfort, reliability and affordability has produced cars of the quality…

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FRIDAY, DEC. 20, 2013

This Lego Car runs on air, and dreams!

Every so often, clever ( and slightly off-camber) visionaries remind us what a magical business tool the Internet can be. Australian entrepreneur Steve Sammartino and Romanian “self-taught technology genius” Raul Oaida are two examples. With the financial backing of 40 crowd-sourced patrons, Sammartino’s brainchild, dubbed…

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WEDNESDAY, DEC. 18, 2013

TUESDAY, DEC. 17, 2013


Nissan Versa Note: Agreeable reality check

In the weeks before the redesigned 2014 Nissan Versa Note landed in my driveway, I’d driven a succession of not-inexpensive vehicles. The Note (from $14,800, including destination) is on the near end of the cost continuum and I admit to approaching it with a certain…

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MONDAY, DEC. 16, 2013

 (Tred / Tred)

Tred brings car test drives to your door

Traditionally car dealerships have been taxed with overcoming a major schism in their business plan: Most people don’t like to shop at car dealerships, yet most people are sold on a car only after having a chance to test drive it. That’s where Seattle startup…

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Driving by wire

“By-wire” technology, as it applies to automotive engineering, is a concept in which a vehicle’s traditional mechanical functions are electronically linked and controlled by use of sensors, computers and other components. The principle has quietly been making its way into our cars and trucks for…

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SATURDAY, DEC. 14, 2013

The right way to handle a car rollover

Outside of performing daredevil work or insurance fraud, rolling a car rarely has a positive outcome. Along with being terrifying and potentially lethal, a car rollover usually comes with a large side of embarrassment. That’s what makes the stone-cold lady in this dash-cam rollover video…

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FRIDAY, DEC. 13, 2013

 (Ward's Auto  / Ward's Auto )

Ward’s 10 Best Engines of 2014

The core of automaker attempts to meet skyrocketing fuel economy requirements in 2016 are under the hoods of their cars. In the 20th year of Ward’s 10 Best Engines competition, only two winners are carryovers from last year. By the looks of the fresh top…

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MONDAY, DEC. 9, 2013

School busses and crosswalks

Many drivers seem uncertain of the laws regarding school bus interaction. Reader H.P. has given the matter some serious thought, writing and wondering, “I have a question about school buses and 4 lane roads. On 2 lane roads there is no problem. When a bus…

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SATURDAY, DEC. 7, 2013


Jeep Grand Cherokee: Diesel revisited

Among many updates to the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, none is more important than the return of diesel. Jeep deleted the diesel option in 2009 but restores it this year with a powerful new turbodiesel. The 3.0-liter V-6 can tow up to 7,200 pounds and,…

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MONDAY, DEC. 2, 2013

Readers relay thoughts and questions

Reader input regularly “steers” this column — a condition exemplified by the following responses. B.M. reported some good luck with truckers by writing, “My wife and I recently completed a 4,000 mile road trip to Illinois and back home. All except maybe 100 miles were…

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The 2014 Jetta receives a new engine, a modified suspension, new telematics and improved cabin materials. (Volkswagen)

VW Jetta, Reinvigorated

You’d never know by looking at it, but Volkswagen’s compact Jetta receives a batch of updates that make it the most desirable Jetta in recent years. For 2014: a new direct-injected turbocharged four replaces the five-cylinder engine that has powered the majority of Jettas sold;…

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MONDAY, NOV. 25, 2013

Use lights to be seen

While driving northward on Highway 195 just before sunset last week, I noted varying driver behavior. Besides the typical driver speed variance — some fast, some slow, and some all over the place — there was a wide distinction of timing for use of headlights.…

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SATURDAY, NOV. 23, 2013

MONDAY, NOV. 18, 2013

Lane closure ahead

When a lane ahead “disappears,” requiring traffic to merge to adjacent lanes, it’s often anything but orderly. I’ve discussed here how the process regularly turns into one of conflict and anger, occasionally “regulated” by self-appointed referees who attempt to create order via traffic direction and…

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 (Volvo  / Volvo )

Jean-Claude Van Damme does the Volvo splits

This month creative genius surfaced in Volvo’s advertising department. The team's task was simple: Devise a commercial that demonstrates the precision and stability of Volvo Dynamic Steering that is now available in the automaker’s FM commercial truck. It appears that after several days of fasting…

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SATURDAY, NOV. 16, 2013

The 2014 Forte can be had in sedan and hatchback body styles. (Kia)

Kia Forte: Raising expectations

I was prepared for a letdown the first time I drove the 2014 Kia Forte. It was not my fault. I’d been set up, first by an afternoon in the $285,000 Rolls-Royce Wraith and then a week in the Cadillac CTS ($39,990 base/$66,000 as-tested). Forget…

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TUESDAY, NOV. 12, 2013

Heed the Chief's advice

This year, our daytime temperatures fell from 90 degrees to 60 degrees seemingly overnight. With similar suddenness, we are now experiencing temperatures below freezing and facing the threat of accompanying snowfall. It’s assured that slick driving conditions will arrive and that many motorists will have…

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MONDAY, NOV. 11, 2013


CTS: Caddy alive!

Now that it has picked a fight with BMW, Cadillac has to put up or shut up. As a taxpaying GM shareholder, I’m pleased to report it’s putting up. Cadillac recently debuted the third-generation of its CTS midsize luxury sport sedan. It debuted in 2002…

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SUNDAY, NOV. 10, 2013

Rolls-Royce wheel caps are self-righting. Come to a stop and they automatically align right-side up. (Rolls-Royce)

Rolls-Royce Wraith redefines value

Unbelievably, four days passed before someone asked the question. Halloween day, I flew to Arizona to drive the newest Rolls-Royce, the $295,000, 624-horsepower, two-door Wraith. Not until the following Tuesday did a friend ask the inevitable: “Is it worth it?” Of course, a thing is…

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