Automotive, Car Reviews

WhatFinger

Armor All collection can help keep cars fresh with no sweat

Armor All collection
I’ve just washed my car from top to bottom without using water, a pail, or a hose. Or by using someone else’s efforts on my behalf, or someone else’s washing facility.  It was really cool!

By Jim Bray - Monday, August 13, 2018 - Full Story

Long Lexus RX lets you add passengers

Long Lexus RX lets you add passengers
Lexus’ top selling SUV, the RX series, has received a boost for the 2018 model year in a move that instantly makes it competitive with three row luxury people haulers.

It, as you probably guessed, is the RX 350 L, the L indicating that the vehicle has been stretched a few inches (about four, in fact) to allow for the installation of a third-row bench. It isn’t a third row like you’ll find in a minivan, but it’s in line with some of the competitors whose Steerage class seating is more of the “emergency-public-transit-alternative-type” of vehicle.

By Jim Bray - Tuesday, August 7, 2018 - Full Story

Synthetic suede gives high-end cars that luxury feel

Synthetic suede gives high-end cars that luxury feel
Leather car seats were once synonymous with luxury, but these days, synthetic suede is becoming the material of choice for high-end automobiles. With increased affluence worldwide, and the growing popularity of car-sharing and luxury-driving services, business is booming for manufacturers of synthetic suede. Among these companies, Japanese firms sit snugly in the driver’s seat, reports an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society.

By American Chemical Society - Wednesday, August 1, 2018 - Full Story

Harleycans—(on the vroom side)

Harleycans

In my (much) younger years and on another continent, I was interested in motorbikes, like any other young male then. I even got my biking-license, requiring an actual “field test” (in the city) with all kinds of turns, etc. Of course, that was entirely separate from getting my car-driving license.

By Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser - Monday, July 30, 2018 - Full Story

Mazda CX-3 AWD: an entry level SUV that’s fun

Mazda CX-3 AWDCompact SUV’s are a dime a dozen, but if you’re looking for one that’s not only capable, roomy and efficient, but is fun to drive as well,  the list gets decidedly shorter.

Small and fun SUV’s are available, but most of the lower end ones I’ve driven – the mainstream stuff from mainstream companies such as Toyota, Honda, Kia, Hyundai and the like – seem to focus more on the “UV” (Utility Vehicle) than the “S” (Sport), which is perhaps why the term “crossover” has become so popular.


Acura’s 2019 RDX an interesting and fun compact luxury SUV

Acura's 2019 RDX an interesting and fun compact luxury SUV
It’s being touted as Acura’s new direction and, as such, it’s an interesting case study in how a company responds to the ever-evolving competition.

I was on Acura’s junket to San Francisco when the original RDX came out. It was Acura’s first turbo four, and it was a wonderful SUV that featured what at the time was probably the best audio system I’d experienced in a vehicle.


When the heck is the flying car going to get here?

When the heck is the flying car going to get here?
We’ve been promised them for years, and periodically we get to see an interesting new supposed prototype appear in the media, or as a “character” on TV or in movies. But the real, consumer-friendly flying family car never seems to actually come to market. Why is that?

By Jim Bray - Saturday, June 30, 2018 - Full Story

Missing the Matrix? The Corolla iM might fit the bill

Missing the Matrix? The Corolla iM might fit the bill
What do you do if you loved your little Toyota Matrix hatchback and want to get a new one, only to sally forth to your local Toyota store and find that, like the Pontiac Vibe with which it shared its DNA, it’s no longer available?


Toyota’s Sequoia may have been treemendous once – but it’s time for an upgrade

Toyota's Sequoia may have been treemendous once – but it's time for an upgrade
Maybe it’s Toyota’s way of ensuring the long-term viability of “old growth” forests, but the Tundra-based Sequoia SUV seems more like a blast from the past than a state-of-the-art “people and stuff hauler.”

That doesn’t mean it isn’t a great vehicle – it’s a Toyota, after all, and so if nothing else the thing’ll probably serve its owners forever – but it’s a vehicle that, to make a Sequoia analogy, seems to have a few more rings in its trunk than some of the “new growth” gigantic SUV’s with which it competes.


Up-engined Mazda 6 sports even more ‘Zoom-Zoom’

Up-engined Mazda 6 sports even more 'Zoom-Zoom'
Truth in advertising gets even more truthful for Mazda with the release of the 2018 6 sedan and its optional choice of a turbocharged engine.

The engine, which comes from the company’s big SUV/Crossover CX-9, ups the 6’s entertainment/engagement ante substantially, which I imagine is the entire point behind Mazda’s move.


New Accord offers plenty of reasons to like Hondas again!

New Accord offers plenty of reasons to like Hondas again!
The Honda Accord, all-new for 2018, provides substantial evidence that the Japanese carmaker does indeed listen to its customers (and maybe critics, too!). That’s because, after a few years of making vehicles that are nearly as annoying as they are pleasant, the new Accord is a lovely breath of fresh air.


Lexus NX hybrid a winner despite a couple of annoyances

Lexus NX hybrid
The good news is that my favourite Lexus has received some tweaking for 2018, and the Japanese luxury brand has wisely refrained from messing too much with the successful NX SUV/crossover.


Reborn VW Jetta is a terrific small sedan

Reborn VW Jetta is a terrific small sedan
It may be German inside and out, but VW’s new small sedan makes me think in French.

French, as in “Je t’adore” because (putting it into pun-dit English) “Jetta adore” is how I came away from my week with the new, 2019 Volkswagen Jetta. This probably surprises no one who reads my columns regularly, because you know that I’m a big fan of VW’s, just about any VW – and that includes Audi and Porsche as well (and would probably include such other VW brands as Lamborghini, Bugatti and Bentley, if I were ever lucky enough to get seat time in them).


Big Navigator a cushy and plush drive

Big Navigator a cushy and plush drive
This was certainly the nicest bus I’ve ever driven!

Lincoln’s new Navigator, redesigned for the 2018 model year, is a really nice vehicle for those looking for a motorhome-sized SUV that coddles with the best of ‘em.

It isn’t a motorhome, of course, just a reasonably conventional LARGE three row SUV for the luxury-minded buyer.


Ford’s biggest and (until recently) littlest SUV’s offer a lot to like

 Ford Escape
Ford continues to expand and update its line of SUV/Crossovers for 2018, with a minor refresh of the Escape but also with a brand new Expedition.

The two units bookend the Edge and Explorer, ensuring there’s a model for every person’s size preference, from small to absolutely humongous. And they’re pretty nice vehicles as well. There’s one smaller, the just-out Ecosport, but that isn’t covered here..


Toyota Prius a surprisingly driveable hybrid

Toyota Prius a surprisingly driveable hybrid
Who’d have thought a Toyota Prius could be an engaging vehicle to drive?

I never did, until this current generation came along a year or so ago, and after having a second kick at the car a couple of weeks ago I came away liking the Prius even more. Heck, if it didn’t have a loud and obnoxious continuously variable transmission, and such a strange-looking exterior, I might even think about putting one in my garage.


Motoring: Subaru Outback

Subaru Outback 2.0D SE Premium Lineartronic AWD
“It’s too big, I can’t drive it,” says my wife when she tries to drive the Subaru Outback. True, it is a large vehicle. But if given the chance it exceeds expectations. Because here we have an estate that boasts a massive boot, large enough (once the retractable cover is removed) for all the stuff that the Saunders family regularly travels with: two pushchairs, travel cot, luggage and lots of food. And there’s still room to change my young son’s nappy. But the great thing is that when behind the wheel the driver forgets that it’s an estate car.

By Tim Saunders - Friday, April 6, 2018 - Full Story

Honda brings Clarity to the plug-in hybrid market

Honda brings Clarity to the plug-in hybrid market
It’s loud. It’s whiny. Its interfaces are incoherent. But it’ll help you save the world, and you might be able to make other people help you pay for it!
It’s Honda’s new Clarity, in this case a plug-in hybrid model. Honda calls it the newest member of their “completely redesigned lineup,” even though it sports exactly the same dashboard abomination – as in no knobs for tuning the stereo or tuning the volume up or down - that the company is finally moving away from with its new Accord and other models.


Mustang Bullitt looks like more than just a fun movie tie in

Mustang Bullitt looks like more than just a fun movie tie in
It’s green and powerful, and it isn’t the Incredible Hulk. Instead, it’s the new Bullitt edition of Ford’s legendary pony car, the Mustang. And it looks like it’ll be a heckuva ride!

By Jim Bray - Tuesday, March 27, 2018 - Full Story

Electric Vehicles Beware: Customers Prefer SUVs and Pick-Ups

Electric Vehicles Beware: Customers Prefer SUVs and Pick-UpsSUVs and crossovers made up more than one in three cars sold globally last year—almost tripling their share from just a decade ago.

By Institute for Energy Research - Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - Full Story