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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Autos archive for June 2014


The Charger’s  waspish waist and muscular flanks carry more than a hint of the Viper’s menace. Its powerful and protuberant grill is as blatant as a Mac truck’s. (Dodge)

Dodge Charger: Exuberant, economical muscle 

Retiring types should not become auto writers. We drive too many cars that draw too much attention. Your basic Camry, Escape and Passat may go unnoticed, but the double-take cars — the ‘Vettes, the Bentleys, the Plasma Purple Mitsubishi Mirages — can drive a shy…

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The Fiesta ST rides 15 millimeters lower than standard trims and gets a sport-tuned suspension, a quicker steering ratio and more powerful brakes.  (Ford)

Ford Fiesta ST: Euro-flavored fun 

There’s no good reason to want Ford’s new Fiesta ST. Fun is its own good reason. The ST is a sharply focused, sport-tuned subcompact built by Ford in Spain. It debuted in Europe in 1976 and had a three-year US run, from 1978-80. In 2010,…

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MONDAY, JUNE 23, 2014

Anatomy of a road trip

I take a few road trips each year. To qualify as “road trips,” according to my own definition, those journeys must consist of distances greater than 500 miles. At modern freeway speeds, that typically translates to 7 or 8 hours behind the wheel. To me,…

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MONDAY, JUNE 16, 2014

Readers pass test

Two weeks ago, my column promoted the need for heightened seasonal driver awareness of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. Therein, I included a hidden pop quiz to test reader awareness of traffic laws. A few of you wrote in, passing the test. Within the previous column,…

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As it enters its twelfth generation, the plus-sized SUV has evolved into a well-rounded rig, with virtues that extend beyond its massive people- and load-carrying capacity. (Chevrolet)

Updated Suburban wears refinement well

For much of its 80-year lifespan, the Chevrolet Suburban was a blunt instrument. Heavy, inefficient and crude, it possessed a logging camp’s rustic charms. But as it enters its twelfth generation, the plus-sized SUV has evolved into a well-rounded rig, with virtues that extend beyond…

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MONDAY, JUNE 9, 2014

Making their cases

I like giving readers the opportunity to express their opinions and ideas whenever possible. Recent topics have generated some feedback containing some of their questions, thoughts and theories. R.T. wonders why 5 mile per hour variances are so necessary for speed limits around his (or…

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MONDAY, JUNE 2, 2014

Motorcycle awareness season

Motorcycle awareness month (May) is nearly over, but the sentiment is valid all year. In climates (like ours) with a winter that generally prohibits motorcycle riding, the pent-up demand creates a dense “motorcycle season” during spring, summer, and fall. Please keep in mind that motorcyclists…

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SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2014

BMW’s new diesel not only sports sterling efficiency numbers (32 mpg city/45 mpg city/37 mpg combined), but does so in lively fashion. The 0-60 mph sprint comes up in the low-7-second range, about average for the sport-sedan class and quicker than the base, 180-hp/200 lb-ft 320i ($33,675; 24/36/28). (BMW)

BMW 328d: Strong dose of diesel

The EPA reckons you can drive your new BMW 3 Series diesel 678 highway miles between fuel stops. According to my highly non-scientific reckoning, that’s probably about right. The 2014 BMW 328d ($38,225) runs a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine that compensates for its meager…

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