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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Autos archive for Jan. 1, 2014

MONDAY, MARCH 24, 2014

Crunching the numbers

As far as I know, all states have statutes requiring collision reports for vehicular incidents involving fatalities, injuries, or property damage of a certain threshold amount. Additionally, it’s required that these reports are compiled in annual summaries. Evidently, that compilation is tedious, as the 2012…

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SUNDAY, MARCH 23, 2014

A heavyweight among compact crossovers, the all-new 2014 Cherokee has a stable, big-car feel on the road. (Jeep)

Jeep Cherokee: Old name, new crossover

Jeep goes retro this year, dusting off the fabled Cherokee nameplate and affixing it to an all-new compact crossover. The recipient, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee (from $23,990, including destination), doesn’t possess its namesake’s off-road cred, but a properly equipped Cherokee goes places most other compact…

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MONDAY, MARCH 17, 2014

As winter wanes

As winter wanes, I am glad for many things. My apologies to those who love winter, but I am markedly joyous when we register the first 50-degree-plus temperatures around this juncture of winter. While it may be the only time of year that 50 degrees…

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SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014

The Best Car Movies of All Time

Despite what The Fast and Furious Franchise might lead us to believe, great car movies are few and far between nowadays. The genre is one that allows itself uncommon cinematic privileges. Some of the best car movies of all time were complete pieces of crap…

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For 2014, Toyota squared off the Tundra’s rounded edges, elevated its hood line and fitted a larger, brighter grille.


Toyota Tundra: Work ready. Or not.

Toyota’s redesigned 2014 Tundra pickup family adds a premium trim called the 1794 Edition. It is, says Toyota, a “tribute to the ranch, founded in 1794, on which the Tundra plant is located in San Antonio.” With its embossed “saddle-brown” leather upholstery, ultra-suede cabin trim…

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MONDAY, MARCH 10, 2014

The dreaded short chute

Many readers have expressed concern over the entrance ramp to I-90 eastbound from U.S. 195 northbound. A nanosecond after drivers have negotiated the curve on the ramp there, they are in the right-hand lane of I-90, usually in the midst of freeway traffic. It’s a…

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For 2014, Equus's exterior styling is updated and the instrument panel and controls are all-new. The suspension has been modified and the standard-features list grows. (Hyundai)

Hyundai Equus: Aiming for the top

Quickly, now: Name the first five luxury sedans that spring to mind. Done? Good. I’m guessing the Hyundai Equus was not among them. I’ll also guess that in five year’s time, it could well be. The Equus is a $62,000, full-size, rear-drive sedan, with its…

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Another take on distraction

A decade ago, driving distraction involved ill-advised behavior like rubbernecking at roadside happenings, reading, shaving or applying makeup. While those and many other driver “don’ts” are undoubtedly still in play, distracted driving has now become synonymous with talking, texting and fooling with distracting vehicle technology.…

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The Rogue loses an inch in overall length, but its wheelbase grows by a half-inch and height is up by 1.2 inches. By reducing the front and rear overhangs, Nissan increases overall cabin space and boosts behind-the-seats cargo capacity by 10 cubic feet, from 29 to 39 cf. (Nissan)

Nissan Rogue: Smart choice

There is no shortage of choice in the compact crossover segment. Virtually every maker of any size fields a small crossover, ranging from the barebones to the ultra-luxurious, each with its own unique value proposition. For its part, the fully made-over 2014 Nissan Rogue hangs…

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MONDAY, FEB. 24, 2014

Two-lane havoc

A recent column concerning crossroads on a portion of U.S. Highway 395 north of Spokane elicited a wealth of reader feedback. Some thanked me for clarifying rules of the road, but many spoke of general safety concerns there. Those safety concerns are a result of…

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SATURDAY, FEB. 22, 2014

From behind the wheel, the Q7 feels exactly like the large, powerful rig it is. It’s a road-going machine, designed to cover large distances and rugged conditions. Because it’s an Audi, ride and handling is a sizable cut above the norm.  (Audi)

Audi Q7 a rare combination 

Audi’s Q7 is a big, meaty slice of German engineering, a seven-passenger crossover with a lust for the open road. Though it hasn’t had a significant makeover in its seven-year existence, the Q7 offers fully modern levels of comfort, safety and luxury. Three engine choices…

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TUESDAY, FEB. 18, 2014

Not everyone wants or needs a rig as durable, sturdy and rugged as Toyota’s venerable midsize SUV. For those who do, there are precious few alternatives.  (Toyota)

Toyota 4Runner: One of a kind

My traveling companion wasn’t sure what to make of the 2014 Toyota 4Runner. “It’s not quite as comfortable as some of the other cars you drive,” she offered. “Of course, not,” I said, trying to scrub any hint of condescension from my reply. “It’s not…

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MONDAY, FEB. 17, 2014

Thoughts on winter

Even though this winter has been mild when historically considered, it’s presented plenty of challenges for area drivers. And while wintry conditions are waning, they will continue to affect us for awhile. Maybe drivers would get more accustomed to snow and ice if we had…

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MONDAY, FEB. 10, 2014

Who goes first?

Certain driving situations create quandaries, and resolution often entails driver confusion and/or self-appointed traffic direction. B.M. described an example near Loon Lake that frustrates him, writing, “With State Road 292 approaching US 395 from the West and Garden Spot Road approaching US 395 from the…

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SATURDAY, FEB. 8, 2014

Jeep’s 2014 Compass crossover earns my nod as the year’s most improved car. (Jeep)

Jeep Compass: Transmission transformation

Jeep’s 2014 Compass crossover earns my nod as the year’s most improved car. Achieving this crowning standard didn’t cost Jeep much; mainly, it meant adding a conventional six-speed automatic to the transmission mix, where in most instances it replaces last year’s continuously variable transmission (CVT).…

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MONDAY, FEB. 3, 2014

Lane rights and fights

There has been much discussion here over roadway conflicts between vehicles of varying types, sizes and speeds, and how aggravation can result. Bicycles, motorcycles, automobiles, small trucks and large trucks must all share the same roads despite their differing configuration, mass and maneuverability. Without some…

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The ILX wraps Acura’s core values -- affordability, quality and low-key, tech-laced luxury -- in an attractive and well-equipped package. 

Acura ILX: Affordable, tech-laced luxury 

Two years ago, Acura introduced the compact ILX sedan in hopes of easing young buyers into the near-luxury classes. Its ILX (from $27,795, including destination) wraps Acura’s core values -- affordability, quality and low-key, tech-laced luxury -- in an attractive and well-equipped package. Though it’s…

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MONDAY, JAN. 27, 2014

Revisiting Maple at Francis

After several emails challenged my advice, I checked out the northbound left turn lanes on Maple Street leading to westbound Francis Avenue in person. For starters, my advice to make left turns “into the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the same…

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Turns and street markings

Following a column that addressed two adjacent turn lanes, I received a reader response that exemplifies why there is sometimes confusion and conflict at such locations. C.K. wrote, “This morning your column ended with a paragraph exhorting us to stay in our lanes in double…

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SATURDAY, JAN. 25, 2014

Honda is back in the midsize sedan hybrid game, with the 2014 Accord Hybrid ($29,945, including destination). It’s based on a four-cylinder powertrain and marries sterling EPA numbers -- 50 mpg city/45 mpg highway/47 mpg combined -- with convincing performance (Honda)

2014 Accord Hybrid: Second-chance sensation

I once hailed the Honda Accord Hybrid as the car that would bring hybrid technology into the mainstream. He shoots. He misses. That car, the original Accord Hybrid, circa 2005-07, had everything going for the one that mattered -- fuel efficiency. Apparently wanting it both…

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MONDAY, JAN. 20, 2014

Looking for errors

The majority of vehicles I encounter are piloted by good drivers. Mostly, other drivers will see me and know when I have the right of way for example. Usually, drivers will stop at stop signs and not put their vehicles in places I already occupy.…

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SATURDAY, JAN. 18, 2014

Bearing a clear European imprint, its sweeping roofline caps a shape that manages to be both aggressive and mature.  (Kia)

2014 Cadenza: Kia growth strategy shapes up

Kia walked away from the full-size segment in 2009, when it discontinued production of the Amanti sedan. The late Amanti mirrored the then-current state of affairs at Kia. Its design was confused and derivative, ride and handling were soft and lazy. Still, build quality was…

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SATURDAY, JAN. 11, 2014

Built on a new platform and featuring a new powertrain, updated cabin tech and more, the MDX is as fresh as the day it debuted in 2001 -- and far more modern.

Acura MDX: Hitting its stride

This should be a very good year for Acura’s MDX. Fully made over, the 7-passenger crossover went on sale last year and enters 2014 already smashing its own sales records. Built on a new platform and featuring a new powertrain, updated cabin tech and more,…

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