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The News for July 14th, 2017

Greg Kachadurian July 14, 2017 The News! 49 Comments

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. There’s also just a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:

  • Honda reveals all-new Accord, rebuilt from ground up

  • Hyundai finally shows i30 N, their first serious performance car

  • Jaguar E-Pace debuts with a barrel roll for some reason

  • Ford brings back the Pony Package to 2018 EcoBoost Mustang

  • JAS Motorsport will take the Civic Type-R touring car racing

  • Gran Turismo Sport will probably maybe launch this October, possibly

  • With Dodge Viper production ending, its assembly plant will close

  • What’s your automotive news?

2018 Honda Accord

Today Honda debuted the all-new, completely redesigned and reimagined 2018 Accord that launches this fall. The 10th-generation Accord is new from the ground up to feature a lighter and more rigid body structure, a new chassis design, two new engines, new hybrid tech, and loads of new in-car safety and convenience features. That’s all wrapped in a sleek new design, the first all-new design for an Accord in a long time.

Designers and engineers sought to give it sporting characteristics from the very get go. The car has a sportier stance thanks to a longer wheelbase (+2.16″) yet shorter overall length (-0.39″), lower overall height (-0.59″), and slightly wider body (+0.39″). With shorter overhangs and a sweeping greenhouse positioned further back in the body, it’s got Sports Car Design 101 aced.

Taking full advantage of the sportier proportions, Honda designers aimed for a more dynamic design with a “bold” and upright front fascia highlighted by Honda’s chrome wing positioned above a larger air intake. It also has a more chiseled hood with a raised central section, deeply sculpted body sides, and a “dramatically” arched roof. But the sportiness goes much deeper than that, as its whole body structure is lighter and more rigid thanks to 54.2% high strength steel body construction. Depending on trim, the Accord is up to 176 pounds lighter and up to 32% stiffer.

The Accord also boats a larger and more premium interior packed with tech and driver-centric features. Drivers will appreciate a panoramic forward view made possible by a lower cowl and thinner A-pillars moved further back. Tactile and visual quality of interior materials and decorations was under increased scrutiny and upgraded to create a sort of soft-spoken elegance throughout the cabin. The seats are all repositioned for greater freedom of movement and have extra bolstering and padding. The longer wheelbase also means more legroom for back seat passengers. The driver’s seat now has 12-way power adjustments plus heating and cooling – even the back seats have heating now too.

An increased focus on in-car tech brings a new 7-inch TFT driver’s meter, a full color HUD on Touring models, and a new 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen interface with physical volume and scrolling knobs and a smartphone-like home screen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported and it’ll also offer the latest Hondalink telematics with emergency roadside assistance, remote lock/unlock and engine start, stolen vehicle tracking, remote diagnostics, and more.

Passengers can benefit from wireless device charging, automatic Bluetooth pairing through NFC (just tap your phone to the chip and it’s paired), a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, various USB charging ports, and a range of audio system options.

Two of the latest direct-injected and turbocharged four-cylinder engines and Honda’s newest two-motor hybrid powertrain technology make up the three powertrain options buyers are presented with. The standard 1.5-liter unit produces 192 hp/192 lb.-ft. and is paired with a CVT or a six-speed manual on the sport trim. The bigger 2.0-liter i-VTEC unit, which shares much of its design with the new Civic Type-R engine, produces 252 hp/273 lb.-ft. paired with a ten-speed automatic or six-speed manual. No more V6 Accords, but a Type-R-like engine will do.

The Accord Hybrid uses a new 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle engine with greater than 40% thermal efficiency (a Honda record) paired with Honda’s own electric motors, which are the first in the world to use magnets containing no rare earth metals. Thanks to smarter packaging of all the hybrid systems under the rear floor, trunk space and back seat folding flexibility are not impacted at all compared to pure gas models.

An all-new suspension setup featuring MacPherson struts up front, L-shaped aluminum control arms mounted to an all-aluminum front subframe, multilink rear suspension, and an Accord-first Active Damper System translates to a better ride and more enjoyable handling characteristics.

So there you have it. It’s a completely redone Accord with significant improvements made just about everywhere. It’ll go on sale this fall and by then we’ll have official EPA estimates and pricing. It’s also worth noting that all 2018 Accord variants, including the Hybrid, will be built in Marysville, Ohio. The Accord at Marysville was the first Japanese car built in America and they’re responsible for 11,000,000 units since. Engines will be built in Anna, Ohio and the transmissions will be built in Russells Point, Ohio and Tallapoosa, Georgia.

[Source: Honda]

Hyundai i30 N

It’s been a few years in the making, but Hyundai has finally revealed the first of their high performance “N” models, the i30 N. Designed from the ground up to be a well-rounded performance car while retaining all its hatchback practicality, the i30 N is entering an arena that’s filled with veterans like the Golf GTI/R, Focus ST/RS, and others. As of now, it’s only confirmed to go on sale in Europe, a region that knows a thing or two about fast hatchbacks. Let’s see how it’ll stack up.

One thing they’ve already gotten right is their test track of choice, the infamous Nürburgring. Hyundai set up shop nearby and logged over 6,000 miles on the Green Hell between normal testing and competing in two ADAC 24 Hours of Nürburgring races. No lap times have been posted, but don’t expect it to be slow – or boring. When developing the i30 N, it was on the basis of this strange concept known as “fun to drive”. In particular, it’ll be a “corner rascal”, a true everyday sports car, and it’ll have real race track capabilities.

Hyundai really are prioritizing the fun factor here by emphasizing driving pleasure and the car’s emotional impact rather than pure numbers. Things like a standard short-throw six-speed manual with [defeatable] rev matching, overboost for a temporary torque increase, and a sonorous variable valve exhaust system promise to make this car a real joy to drive.

Even though they don’t focus on the numbers as much, they’re still pretty impressive. It’s powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine with 271 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. Keeping to their word about feels above numbers, they didn’t disclose any acceleration or top speed data but promised a responsive engine with linear power development through an early responding turbo. All power goes exclusively to the front wheels where an electronic limited-slip differential helps sort things out. It also has launch control and configurable stability control.

Helping it attain “corner rascal” status is direct and precise steering, a new rear stiffness bar behind the back seats, a lower center of gravity, and Michelin or Pirelli high-performance tires. A new Electronic Controlled Suspension system allows the driver to control damper settings between stiffer track-oriented settings with reduced body roll or softer settings for commuting.

The sporty aero kit on the i30 N does have real benefits in addition to looking cool. It includes Hyundai’s cascading grille plus more aggressive front and rear bumpers and a rear spoiler. It benefits track enthusiasts by reducing lift, thus improving high speed stability, and also helping to provide additional cooling to the brakes. 18 or 19-inch wheels are available.

As mentioned earlier, this car competed under wraps in the last two 24-hour endurance races at the Nürburgring and everything has been evaluated to ensure its overall track capability and reliability. It survived 24 hours on the Green Hell, so it can probably survive your next track day session.

Yeah, Hyundai N isn’t fooling around. Pricing info wasn’t released and it hasn’t been confirmed for availability outside of Europe. The i30 is sold in America as the Elantra GT, so maybe someday it can be ported over… possibly. Probably not.

[Source: Hyundai]

Jaguar E-Pace

As promised, Jaguar revealed the all-new E-Pace compact luxury SUV following the teaser released a few weeks ago, which I think somehow already told us everything we needed to know. As with every other compact luxury SUV or crossover, the predictability is real. Maybe that’s why Jaguar felt the need to capture our attention by having it do a barrel roll during its debut.

Its “sports car design” includes short front and rear overhangs, an “assertive” face, teardrop side windows inspired by the F-Type, a fast swept roofline, and muscular rear haunches.

Inside, the interior design and layout seeks to amplify the driving experience while enveloping passengers in a high quality cabin. This is Jaguar we’re talking about, so of course it’ll be nice. Because SUV, there’s plenty of storage throughout the cabin, including a center console compartment large enough to store four large water bottles plus generous space in the glove box and rear door pockets. It offers 24.2-cu.ft. of trunk space with the 60:40 folding rear seats in place and a wide 41.6-inch load compartment between wheel wells.

A standard 10-inch touch screen infotainment system reduces the number of hard switches and an optional 12.3-inch HD virtual Interactive Driver Display and full color Head-Up Display give the driver easy access to everything that matters. A 15-speaker Meridian premium sound system is available, a 4G W-Fi hotspot is standard on most models, connected navigation with real-time traffic is standard on most, there’s plenty of device charging options, and of course plenty more in-car tech to choose from.

Depending on the trim level, the E-Pace is powered by all-aluminum 2.0-liter turbocharged four-bangers with 246 hp/269 lb.-ft. or 296 hp/295 lb.-ft. In America, AWD and a nine-speed automatic is the mandated equipment. It’ll have a decent amount of power and good traction from AWD, but the stiff and relatively lightweight chassis and compliant suspension will supposedly make this a true driver’s compact SUV… we’ll see about that.

With prices starting at $38,600 or $41,500 for the S model with most of the good features, it’s a well-equipped and somewhat attractive offering in a market that’s become saturated by too many well-equipped and less attractive offerings. Maybe Jaguar can stand out with the E-Pace and become the compact SUV of choice for drivers who were forced to give up their better car, or maybe it’ll be just another compact SUV we can all ignore. We’ll find out closer to its early 2018 launch date.

[Source: Jaguar]

BLIPS

Ford is bringing back the Pony Package with the 2018 Mustang EcoBoost. The appearance package that’s always been available on V6 Mustangs since 2005 or so is now an EcoBoost-exclusive with retro styling touches that date back to the 60’s. The Pony Package adds the famous pony-in-corral grille badge, 19-inch polished aluminum wheels, bright beltline and window trim for the fastback model, premium carpeted floor mats with the Mustang logo, side stripes, and the tri-bar pony badge on the rear decklid. The 2018 Mustang is due in showrooms this October. Pricing for this package is not yet available.

[Source: Ford]

The Honda Civic Type R is going racing next year, as teased by JAS Motorsport. They will soon debut the Type R in TCR (touring car) spec with an all-new aero package, new multilink rear suspension, new anti-roll bars, a new ECU, and full roll cage. They’re also planning to release an endurance version as well. Deliveries to race teams will start this December and it’ll be coming to a touring car race near you in 2018.

[Source: JAS Motorsport]

Gran Turismo Sport finally has its first release date to miss. Currently scheduled to release in North America and most of Asia on October 17th, Europe on the 18th, and Japan on the 19th, it’ll be the first GT title on the Playstation 4, which is already probably halfway through its life cycle. That’s how Polyphony Digital rolls. That said, it looks promising. Check out the launch trailer and start placing bets on when it’ll be delayed till.

[Source: GTPlanet]

With the Dodge Viper going out of production, possibly forever this time, the Conner Assembly Plant is closing down for good. Doors will shut on August 31st, the same day that the last Viper is scheduled to be finished. The plant employs a little over 80 people who build the V10 monster by hand and have been for the last 25 years, more or less. Sales have been slow pretty much since the latest Viper debuted and they only sold 630 last year, so this was a long time coming. Fortunately, FCA believes they can find somewhere else for the affected workers to go. Until then, cherish this last month-and-a-half in a world where the Viper is still in production.

[Source: Automotive News]

What’s your automotive news?

That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.

Have a good weekend.

[Image © 2017 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

  • Greg Kachadurian

    Welp, old Ford rubber strikes again. My truck is now leaking inside the back window that overlooks the bed. Out of desperation, I put duct tape over the small gap between the plastic window surround and the back of the cab up top and that’s stopped it, so it’s not the 3rd brake light (plus the headliner is dry). Whatever seal is in there has gone bad and I’m not looking forward to replacing that… anything that involves removing glass gets me nervous. Some forums are saying you could just put some silicone in that gap I’ve taped over, but not sure if that would really work in the long run… or look good. Thoughts?

    • The windshield gasket on my ’68 SAAB 96 had split apart near the top center of the windshield and the two ends had pulled away from each other by about a centimeter at some point before I got the car. This, unsurprisingly, leaked.

      I bought a tube of Permatex Windshield and Glass Sealant (yes, I know, silicone is allegedly pure evil for this, but I just didn’t care), taped over the hole on the inside, then poured a surprising amount of the stuff into the gap from the outside before it finally filled the void space to however far it could reach. This was several years ago and I’ve kept the car outside ever since. It still doesn’t leak. The patched section looks bad but, in this case, not as bad as the rest of the car.

      There are various urethane and polyurethane sealants out there that are supposed to be better for such leaks but I’ve never tried them.

    • Harry Callahan

      Replacing that rubber isn’t a big deal. Just order the rubber and get a tube of this goop: https://www.amazon.com/3M-08509-Bedding-Compound-Cartridge/dp/B000PF13JW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500069243&sr=8-1&keywords=3m+bedding+and+glazing+compound

      Procedure is similar to Mustang shown here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pebswdHR2ts

      Two hours and you are done.

    • Get a brand material for automotive applications, maybe a primer for better UV protection (I don’t know the exact location, so this may be a moot point), and go ahead.
      If you still don’t like the looks after your repair, you can still put some duct tape on it…
      I see our dirty Harry says the original seal is easy to replace with a little help of lube, so you might prefer that.

      • Greg Kachadurian

        I ended up finding what may have been the real problem. That black plastic trim piece has a band of weatherstripping around it, and it was all too loose and not forming any kind of seal anymore. I found some adhesive meant for the stuff and tried to glue it back in place. I’ll find out in the next rainstorm if it actually worked.

        • Getting things done, very good!

    • I would get the duct tape off before the sun melts it and you have sticky goo everywhere. Silicone will work well (just like in house windows). If you want a cleaner look, Put masking tape on both sides of your bead of silicone, then smooth it out and pull the tape. nice clean lines and surface.

      • Greg Kachadurian

        I had goo-gone with me so getting the tape and its residue off was no problem. Ended up not needing silicon methinks. Real culprit was likely a plastic trim piece with weatherstripping that was too loose somehow. Got some adhesive meant for rubber/weatherstripping and hopefully glued it back in place for good. Sad part is it was a pretty thin area of contact and the shit was messy, so it doesn’t look super great up close but it’s hardly noticeable (and it’s color matched). When it stops raining for more than a couple hours here I’ll go back and try to make it pretty as you suggested.

  • Kiefmo

    Perspective: 22 years ago, Honda first released the original V6 Accord, borrowing the 90-degree C27 from its platform-mate Acura Legend, itself a smaller displacement, fewer-cammed version of the mill that powered the legendary original NSX.

    That engine made all of 170hp/tq, or ~22hp/tq less than the current *base* engine in the Accord. They weighed 150-200lb less than this new Accord (it’s hard to find a source for exact model/engine/trim weights), and were substantially smaller, being closer in size to the current Civic.

    As I recall at the time, it was all for marketing. Every other midsizer offered a V6. In day-to-day driving, the non-VTEC 2.7L V6’s additional weight over the VTEC 2.2L four negated any performance advantage below triple-digit speeds, where weight becomes less of a factor than drag and peak power when determining acceleration and top speed.

    As a part of this marketing, Honda ran a series of ads around the theme “what do you need to get away from so quickly?” At least one of them featured a V6 Accord tearing ass around a racetrack at top speed. Anyone else remember those ads? Youtube lookup has failed me, but I swear I’m not making it up.

    Honda’s now offering an engine that makes, according (heh) to Honda, 80hp more than that original V6 in a package that’s much roomier while weighing 1 average American male more than that car. I estimate it’ll do mid-5s to 60 under the best of circumstances, limited more by the traction afforded by an open diff and all seasons than power. Passing acceleration numbers and the 1/4 mile trap speed will tell more about its power as a DD.

    Just to note — my folks have been incredibly surprised by the power in their new, heavier-than-Accord, AWD 1.5T CR-V. Honda underrates these days. It started with latter versions of the J35 and is becoming more known.

    Regardless — look at the comments on the websites for the glossy rags, and you’d think the end is nigh for the Accord because it has traded in its V6 for a turbo 4 making less peak power (though I’ll be interested to see the area under the curve on a dyno sheet — THAT TORQUE). Firstly, the V6 has always had a low take rate. Ma and Pa Accord buyer weren’t going for the V6 for the most part. The higher costs of fuel, maintenance, and so on were plenty dissuading. Second, HONDA IS GOING TO OFFER A 6M WITH THE BIG ENGINE. They only did this previously for a brief blip on the post-refresh V6 in 2006-2007 in the sedan (though availability has been a little better if you can make due with 2 doors in your sedan — yes, it’s a 2 door sedan, have you seen the size of the rear seat?).

    /rant

    • peugeotdude505

      I’d totally rock a 2.0l turbo Honda 4 with a 6 speed. Plus it’s a honda so there will be lots of go-fast parts available.

    • Maymar

      I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but a couple years ago, I got plenty of seat time in what were then-new V6 Impalas (still current generation) and Malibu Turbos (last gen). On paper, the Impala had the better power to weight ratio, and was realistically fractionally quicker (although they’re pretty closely matched). That said, the V6 always felt lethargic and peaky unless you were able to keep it on the boil, you were perpetually waiting for it to kick down a gear before anything would happen (not helped by GM’s lazy shifter-top toggle switch manual shifter), while the Malibus just felt legitimately quick. Granted, the J35 is a great motor, and V6 sounds are superior to anodyne four-cylinder noises (which is why we need to start leaning into the ridiculous whooshing turbo sounds).

      Not only that, much of the harping about the switch to turbo fours is maintenance and reliability-related, but like you say, if that’s a concern, you weren’t buying the V6 anyhow. I find my city’s cabbies a nuisance, but it’s telling that their ride of choice is a base Camry.

      Although, honestly, the Accord’s a behemoth at this point, and I’d just like to see the slightly nicer styling scaled down to the Civic hatch (which is big in its own right, but the cutoff for bigness I need).

    • kogashiwa

      I drove a Civic with the 1.5T and that’s a real sweetheart of an engine. Even despite the best efforts of the CVT.

      This new Accord could well be my next car, I’m just slightly in love-at-first-sight here.

      But yes it is hyooge. More or less the same as the current Accord, which is taller, significantly wider, and only seven inches shorter than my old ’97 Infiniti Q45. Which was about the biggest plushest car you could get from Japan at the time, and had a 4.1 litre V8. (This Accord with the 1.5 will still be quicker.) But then new cars all are. Parking my IS300 beside my cousin’s new Fusion, the contrast is hilarious. And they’re both supposedly mid-size.

    • Rover 1

      I’m interested in seeing if Honda’s own 10 stage auto has better calibration and useability than Chrysler/ZF has had with their 9 stage in their FWD models. I’d just about put money on Honda doing a better job than Jeep because… well, Honda tech vs Chrysler tech but maybe I’m wrong?

      • Kiefmo

        That 9 speed has also been troublesome in the Honda Pilot, where it has lost the SUV credit in any comparison.

        The only review I’ve seen of the 10 speed so far is in the new Odyssey, in which it seemed to behave well. Here’s hoping it also proves durable.

      • caltemus

        ZF is not so much chrysler tech, as it is chrysler warmed-over ZF tech

  • Kiefmo

    This weekend:

    I have been avoiding it for a long time, but I have no choice this weekend but to finally locate the source of the left-turn-only, slow-speed rattle that the old Merc is producing. I desperately need tires, and I am afraid of getting new meats and having them quickly deformed by what might very well be a bum suspension part.

    The sound is like a jackhammer, and is only heard while coasting and turning — throttle input silences it immediately. For that reason, my first place to look is at the condition of the driver’s side engine mount to see if it’s been flattened because I cheaped out and bought a RockAuto part when I replaced it less than 10k ago. There’s possible metal-metal contact when it’s fully compressed and the engine is being a 5cyl, industrial-born turbodiesel. Why does it go away with throttle? I think that the mount is being decompressed when the engine torque tweaks the whole mess to the right side of the engine bay, elminating potential metal-metal contact between the mount bits.

    There are other things to tap with a rubber mallet experimentally, such as all the ball joints, tie rods, sway bar links, drag link, and those weird fore/aft support links that I’ve never seen on any other car because this silly thing is at the same time simple and weirdly complex.

    • Harry Callahan

      It is important to understand if the sound is road-speed dependent. If so, you have a bearing issue.

      • Kiefmo

        Bearings already done. This is a different sound from what those made when on the way out.

    • My guess: when throttle changes it, it’s probably drive train (mounts sounds reasonable, clutch, diff, drive shafts, bearings, gearbox). When it’s turn-left only, it’s suspension, bushings, and bearings.
      The overlap between the two areas is suspension/bushings affected by drive train, such as rear suspension bushings which see a different load under throttle.
      Would the noise go under breaking, too? If yes, I’d eliminate the engine mount as a cause.
      Good luck!

      • Kiefmo

        What I found:

        Mounts are a bit flat, but the rubber is good, and they don’t allow much wiggle at idle, revving, or under load at all.

        Upper and lower ball joints have no play and the rubber boots are supple. PO did a lot of work on this car, but only told me about a replacement engine (he got the car as a non-runner) and rear diff/CV service.

        Tie rods, center link, and steering damper are all wasted. That’s six floppy ball joints and two denatured rubber bushings, and could definitely be the source of racket. So those parts are on order so I can get tires and an alignment.

        I’m not ruling out that motor mounts need replacing, but that is not critical to tire replacement like wobbly steering bits are, and the parts are only $22 shipped.

        Thank the gods the parts are cheap, because the missus is losing patience with this car. Does anyone else have a never-ending project DD? My car costs us less money in maintenance than even a cheap used car would, but damned if the missus doesn’t see it that way.

        • Make a spreadsheet or something to reveal actual costs, and compare to depreciation and perhaps down payments of a lesser but newer car. Ask whether she wants the extra spending for reliability or not. If she’s willing, put in the condition that you want to keep the hobby Benz,arguing that the maintenance costs will spread out over more years due to less use.
          I don’t know your partner, ymmv.

          • kogashiwa

            I make spreadsheets for cars too. Two things happen: 1. they lie 2. after a while, they get complex enough i can’t even understand them myself.

            Note that these two characteristics can be either good or bad depending on your objectives.

        • wunno sev

          my Volvo has been a money pit over the last two years. probably spent $1500-2000 in parts. a lot of that was preventive and way beyond what was necessary, but a Honda would definitely be a lot easier to work on.

          we tell ourselves that buying a durable car saves us money, but i don’t think that’s true. i think we work on these cars because we like them.

          • Kiefmo

            Three years into this cars ownership, and I’m maybe a shade over $1k deep in parts.

          • I don’t think that 1kUSD is a lot for a year, especially if the car was in a rather poor condition to begin with. The big service with dealer oil and belt job will eat that amount for a newish car, plus depreciation.

          • caltemus

            What kind of Vo? I’m going through the front and rear ends of the suspension on my 850 and the bill just keeps getting longer.

        • Rover 1

          It’s worse when you have more than one, mitigated by your ability to keep at least one going.

  • Harry Callahan

    I betcha finding the 2.0L turbo Accord with manual will be nearly impossible to find.

    • Kiefmo

      It might be better than you think. Honda’s got a market to cater to for anyone who was looking forward to replacing their Accord Coups V6 manual. Since they’ve gotten rid of the coupe, they’d be wise to attempt to keep those potential buyers by not making the 2.0L manual too scarce, or limiting it to just one trim line.

  • Manic_King

    I’m in Germany currently, bought myself 7 yo MB C-class diesel wagon from a place selling fixer-uppers. Lexus I have feels kinda sketchy after driving it nearly15k km. It was involved in a heavy accident before and there’s some small gremlins which I have to fix before selling it. I anyway wanted to have a wagon again so let’s see how it goes. MB has her teeth kicked in, needs new grille and maybe radiator which is currently damaged, but watertight. Otherwise, after 600 km, car seems fine.

    I also visited both Porsche and MB museums in Stuttgart and what awe inspiring places those are….basically cathedrals to brand loyalists filled with history and epic cars. MB palace was much bigger but both were interesting and def. worth the money (they run system where one museum’s ticket gives you 25% discount in other, I spent 20 euros total, parking incl.)

    • Manic_King

      PS. Please, Honda find some new design talent, new Accord is an overwrought mess.
      Somehow other manufacturers (Toyota & Nissan excl.) manage to create pleasant looking new cars, for evidence see photos above.

      • caltemus

        Would you agree that the new accord is much less of a mess, and a bit better looking, than the new Civic family? It definitely feels more restrained to me

        • Manic_King

          Well, yes, it’s a bit more restrained, but still too messy, rear end is quite ugly too.
          Same can be said about new Volvo S90’s rear too, so maybe it’s difficult area. Still, some co.’s manage, e.g. Jaguar.

  • ptschett

    I think I’m headed in a direction of changing my housing situation and the tipping point has partly been my vehicle situation.

    In the small town (population ~700) where I lived 2004-08 the apartment place that I was in had proper garages, at least 20 feet wide and about 21 feet deep inside. With the Dakota and T-bird I could have a workbench and storage in the front center space. I could keep the motorcycle on the car’s side, either in front of it (where it stayed in winter) or behind (if I wanted to in summer.) I could open any door on either side of either vehicle if there wasn’t stuff in the way like the 2-wheelers.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/afce51a50ee13d6e5db15ea4d68de227b068946715d4b188b8336db5cbc59aac.png

    Then I needed to move because my job was moving to ‘the big city’ pop. 100,000ish, 85 miles away, and the alternative of commuting was going to drive me insane. I pre-emptively took the motorcycle to my family’s farm to park for the winter, long before the snow flew. Once I’d found a place I really wanted to rent I got screwed out of it (they had neither the ability to work with me on getting the papers done when I was in town on Friday or the patience to let it wait till Monday… hah. screw ’em and their proverbial little dog too) so I went with my 2nd choice, opened the garage door sight unseen and promptly wondered what new level of tiny-garage hell I’d locked myself into for the next 6 plus x months. A good three feet narrower than my old garage, clocking in barely over 18 feet wide; a repeatably-usable inside length a few inches under 19 feet.

    The motorcycle stayed on the family farm from October through to Memorial Day, because I hadn’t figured out how to make room for it. After a few different ideas I settled on storage & workbench in front of the car, the bicycle lofted beside it, the Dakota backed into the left side and the Thunderbird driven into the right, because the only viable place for door-swinging would be the gap between the 4-wheelers.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/13a316be6eaf3c04b3fcfd59224c8e1f3bf903920f8c9460b97f53a7b667211c.png

    Gone was the option of shifting things around to make sure the 2-wheelers had unrestricted door access, the car had to move. (Or the motorcycle could get out with the pickup parked outside.) I went from often commuting with the motorcycle, to going to work with it a grand total of *once* in the 3 years it was here and functional. Gone also was the option of closed-garage-door work on either the car or the pickup, so I had to be strategic with oil change timing to not have to do one in the coldest part of winter. Also lost, for the most part, was the ability to start a car project without needing a guarantee that it was going to be done that night so the door could close and keep my tools safe. I griped and grumbled inwardly but I was able to make it work, kind of, with the Dakota/T-bird pairing and then later with the Dakota and the Challengers. I really lucked out that the Dakota’s brake problem a few years ago was the left front caliper, the only accessible corner of it; a number of other repairs that I could have done myself in another living situation ended up with me taking the vehicle to a shop.

    But, it was nice to always have a guaranteed parking place for both my regular use vehicles, since my apartment complex has 0.5 outdoor slots per apartment unit and the snow removal policy is apparently that there are too *many* outdoor slots (lolwut?) and the snow can just sit till it melts in the spring. I’m guessing neither the plow guy nor the Charger driver were happy with each other here…
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/11d7359a219c498bd42bc6ff91bd2118fe96662fe00ac8ace68e7749696ae3ba.png
    (Plates not blurred here because they’re all invalid now anyways)

    Then the fateful day came that the Dakota’s back end broke loose during a lane change on the interstate on one of those really cold days when the road can go from grippy to slippery with nothing apparent; it pirouetted into the ditch and would have been fine but for the front left wheel crunching into the concrete base of a light tower with about 20 MPH of speed still left to be scrubbed off. The tow truck driver told me I’d never drive my pickup again; he was right, $8900 damage on a pickup worth $9000 will do that. (I’m glad I hadn’t dropped comprehensive & collision yet.)

    I’d have liked to go with a midsize again, but I wasn’t enthused about anything on the market in that segment right now. I’d turned down the Nissan once already when it was brand new, now it was the oldest offering; the Tacoma got only to the sitting-inside step; the GM twins got up to the test-drive step but they didn’t win me over either. Meanwhile I’ve always liked my dad’s ’09 Ram 1500, I have apartment neighbors who apparently somehow are making the current generation of Ram work in their presumably-identical-to-mine garages if they have the 140″ wheelbase, so how bad can it be?

    The answer: not good. It fits in the garage backed-in *if* the rear bumper is rubbing on the wall *and* if you’re OK with the chance that the door still grazes the license plate mount on its way down. While it’s not much wider than the Dakota, it’s enough wider that the door-swing space would be super super iffy and require millimetric precision in parking. (Yeah, I know, I could have rented one and found that out.)

    So I’ve been parking the Ram outside. It’s worked so far, but I’m getting irrationally irritated at things… like management putting their snow-pusher truck in the spot I’d been using from April to June while I was gone over the Independence Day weekend, so I won’t get to use that spot again till they rotate it out of there in 3-4 months. Meanwhile, I’m getting to be as far through my 30’s as I was through my 20’s when I moved in here, the rent I’ve paid over the last 8.5 years would have made a really nice dent in a mortgage, I’m making a lot more $$ than I was making in my 20’s, and I would dearly like to be able to stand outside yelling “get off my lawn” and be able to make it stick…

    TLDR massive rant; if you read this far, congratulations; don’t be like me in settling for a tiny garage, it’ll suck at some point later

    • As soon as I get a divorce I have plans for the garage situation…. Unfortunately (?) we’re a happy family, so I might as well be wrenching in a garage that is well proportioned for a Beetle. “Daily” (more twice a week) driver is a van, so gargling that one will be costly.

      • ptschett

        If I’m honest with myself I’ve been wanting to get out of this apartment for awhile. Things were just so uncertain for me career-wise in the first 18 months I was here that I got used to it and tried to make it work; now it simply isn’t able to meet my need of having guaranteed parking for my chosen two vehicles anymore.

        • GTXcellent

          Sounds to me like you need to call a realtor…

    • Scoutdude

      Disclaimer, I am in the Real Estate business and I hate the size of most of the garages that are out there and I’ve seen a lot of them. So many garages have just 1′ of space between the edge of the door and the wall and if they are two separate doors only 1′ between them. Only in the narrowest of cars can you open the door very far. Here is how I would design a 2 car garage. I’d do the two separate doors and the gap between them would be 3-4′ and I’d do similar between the outer edges of the door and the side of the garage wall. That way you could really open up the door w/o bashing it into the wall or the other car. Then it needs to be deep, deep enough to have a nice bench and storage cabinets and still have 3′ or more between the bench and the front of a long car and leave room to be able to walk behind it. I did get much of that in the house I bought last year, and because it is so wide the county records call it a 2 1/2 car garage. It doesn’t have the depth I’d like but it does make up for it somewhat by having 6′ between the edge of the door and the end of the building. Oh and it has another thing that I think is a must a man door directly to outside, I don’t like having to go through the house to get outside w/o opening the garage door. Often times the garage is warmer, or cooler than the outdoors and it is nice to keep it that way and just open a small door which is also quicker.

      As far as buying a place goes, the sooner off you do it the better you will be in the long run, provided that you are going to stay there for more than a couple of years. Not only can you shake your fist and yell “get off my lawn you” you reap many other benefits.

      • ptschett

        Agreed… my benchmark 100%-perfect garage would be something like what’s on my parents’ house, 30′ square with 2x 9′-wide 8′-tall doors, but with the walk-out door they don’t have. Almost 3 times the square footage of the miserable thing I have (which should really be a 1.5-car garage.)
        Suddenly I’m reminded of a 2nd-floor condo-for-rent that I would have loved to rent, but had to pass up because of the garage… the one bay was fine at 22′, but the other bay had the stairs and the stairs were 4′ wide. It was working for the landlady to stash her car on that side, but she drove a Toyota Tercel.

    • For 17 years I had a similar garage for my 1960 Thunderbird and the family truckster (Grand Caravan, then Odyssey, then Saturn Outlook). My daily sat outside.

      The Thunderbird got backed in, against the wall and tail to the back leaving 18″ or so in front with the door down. A parking stop would position the van/SUV so the door would barely close behind. Any daily driver wrenching was done in the van/SUV space.

      I just moved to a place where I have probably 4-5 feet of additional depth and at least that much additional width. Man is it nice. It’ll be even nicer once I get it organized.

    • GTXcellent

      Speaking of garages – my news is that I’m getting an overhead door on my shed! I’ve griped here before about the slider doors. Well, since having to park the pickup out there last winter (the SS and Saab get to be in the heated garage), it’s become very apparent that sliders won’t work. Funny how excited a guy can get about an overhead door.

  • Sjalabais

    My news is no news, which is good news. We’re currently in Berlin (totally forgot about the environmental stickers, hello 80€ fine), and the Camry – still have to see another one after 1400km driving – holds up really well. The last time I took this ride, it was in a 40 year old Volvo with overheating issues. The Toyota AC struggles a bit in continental heat, and the welded exhaust has unwelded itself – again – but this car is really suited to highways. At 140kph, we’re only at 3000rpm, the Honda’s there already at 85kph. Lots of oomph even at 180kph, but I don’t really dare to go faster with my rain tires, and the perpetual speed warning in the passenger seat overheats incredibly quickly anyway. It’s also baffling how mom and pop in their Golf TDI come shooting past us while we feel we’re ready to take off.

    • Try soothing A14, a dozen of road works with single lane at 60kph… There goes your Autobahn romance. Cheers from Bavaria!

    • Manic_King

      Damn, I was in Berlin too, on Saturday, had full day for walking and driving around, over-ate at some American diner, checked out French-German cultural festival at Brandenburg gate…
      Driving on the autobahn and sitting in a 1 hour traffic jam I also got thinking about cars around me. There’s some small cars like Yaris, Lupo, Clio etc. with an 1-1,2 L engines, to run them at 140 kph on bahn, I’d shudder. High revs, no acceleration, all kinds of stress. But they do it.

      • It takes an incredibly low power output before a car is too slow for the highway and shifts to geological time. On the Insight, I’ve now driven around 3000 miles with only ~40hp. There was a period with the battery pack disconnected and a 4000RPM limit. Now it sometimes has 0 intake valves opening above 3800 RPM due to a dying VTEC solenoid. (Not just a lift-off power drop-off. It’s like instantaneously going from full power to full Jake braking with a compression release.) And the Insight will still cruise at 120km/h easily. I’m envious of the 70hp and RPM range to make full use of the gearing on a 1.2 Yaris/Lupo/Clio.

        Full disclosure: The envy is only on speed-limited roads. If there was an autobahn nearby, I would buy a much faster car. Not so it was easier to go 140km/h, but so that driving just as hard would mean 240+ km/h.

  • jeepjeff

    Parts for the Gremlin are rolling in. Just got to get them installed.

  • Scoutdude

    I’ve been busy in the garage lately and will be for several weeks to come. It all started off with a simple tire rotation on the wife’s car. Looked a the rear brakes and one of the slides had become sticky. The result was that the outer pad on the one side was down to about the thickness of a stack of 3-4 sheets of paper. Thankfully I caught it then and was able to get away with just new pads.

    Next on the list was our Mountaineer that my son took to college this winter to have the needed AWD. The diff seal had been leaking for some time and there was a vibration. Since you can’t really do the seal without dropping the diff and the vibration was load dependent I took a shot on a diff on a discount day at the local you pull wrecking yard. I grabbed one of axles too as I suspected it. Well go to tear it apart and I find that there is absolutly no sign of friction material on the R side parking brake shoes and the drum section didn’t look too hot. So in addition to the diff swap it was time for new calipers (they wouldn’t push back) pads (they were close enough that I wasn’t going to mess with having to do them in another year) since the drum portion of one of the rotums was bad and they both had 140K on them. So now I move to the front and find that one of the friction material on one of the pads had worn so thin that you could see the imprint done on the backing plate to improve retention. So another set of pads, calipers and rotors.

    Now my sons car when we did the front brakes on it last summer the rears were not that far behind. So that means you guessed it another set of pads, rotors and calipers since it got new fronts.

    In addition to that mice had figured out how to get into the Mountaineer and had been running around in various places. So I pulled out the entire interior except for the headliner and the actual HVAC Box. I doing so I found a number of places that they had mad nests in. EVERYTHING got wiped down with disinfectant or steam cleaned in the case of the carpet. I found a wire that runs to the air bag module that had the insulation chewed off for an inch or two. The reason the dash came out was to do the mouse exclusion The inlet “screen” had 1″ or so squares so very easy for them to enter through the fresh air intake. So I slipped a piece of 1/4″ hardware cloth between the firewall and the box. Everything also got sprayed down with pureayr the best smell remover there is. So all said and done there is no smell left inside the car and it looks better inside than it has in over a decade. So doing a proper detail of under the hood and the exterior is also on the list and that vibration is still on the list. I originally put it back together with the original axle and the vibration was still there. I just put the JY unit and while it seemed to have changed the vibration it did not fix it. So a pair of new axle shafts may be in the future for me.