This is the best a VAZ-2103 has ever looked

Built between 1972 and 1984, the VAZ-2103 Zhiguli is best know to us western devils as the Lada 1500. A “luxury” compact sedan, the 2103 is built on the bones of the Fiat 124 and featured parts from the newer Fiat 125 as well. However, due to its far thicker steel, the VAZ is heavier. It also features worse braking technology.

Despite that, it’s remained a symbolic workhorse that shrugs off the harsh cold arriving with a Siberian winter. Eventually, the 2103 was phased out so that VAZ could bring in the less decadent 2106. Seriously. VAZ used too much chrome on the 2103, and that needed to be scaled way back for cost reasons.

And, you know, chrome is for capitalist pigs.

This specific car looks to be beautifully maintained. And after it’s received the Petrolicious video treatment, it’s likely that this could be the prettiest video ever to feature a VAZ-2103. 

Driving the Kia Stinger GT AWD on Snow and Ice

This is the third time we’ve gotten our hands on the Kia Stinger GT, but this time we’re driving it in a place you might not expect. In Crested Butte, Colorado you’ll find a course that’s covered in snow and ice.

A fleet of Stinger GT sedans with AWD are on hand and shod in Michelin Alpin winter tires. Our goal for the day then? To see how much fun we can have with this 365-horsepower hatch/sedan. Since the AWD system is rear biased, it seems we’re able to able to find quite a bit of fun on the snow and ice.

Truck Central: Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport

Jeff Glucker March 15, 2018 Hoonivercinema

I was hoping to find the keys to a Tacoma TRD Pro in my hand. Instead, the key fob read TRD Sport. The difference there is rather massive when it comes to soaking up some bumps away from the pavement. Regardless, I wanted to see what the TRD Sport could do so I ventured off road anyway.

What I found in the Tacoma TRD Sport is a solid truck with a few flaws, one of which isn’t necessarily the fault of the truck itself. First off, the seats are oddly uncomfortable. Not the material, as I love a good cloth seat. But rather the actual position of the seat feels a bit too high. Second, unless you have ECT-Power pressed then the transmission is in full Eco-Warrior mode with no concerns about your request for power. Finally, the as-tested price is $38k. That’s the one that I don’t feel falls directly on the shoulders of Toyota, as all new vehicles are expensive. Still, that number feels about $8k-$10k too high to me.

It’s still a Tacoma though, which means it’s built to last forever. The 3.5-liter V6 makes over 270 horsepower, and the cabin space finds a nice balance between truck style and updated amenities without going too far in one direction or the other.

It’s a good truck. With fresh competition from an inbound Ford Ranger, I hope it becomes a great truck once again.

Podcast: Episode 241 – Wranglin’

Spoiler alert: the new Jeep Wrangler is good! The 2018 Chevy Silverado, however, isn’t so great. What’s also good is a Kia Stinger GT AWD that wears snow tires and is let loose on a winter driving course. Those are the main topics this week, but we also tackle your podcast questions.

Finally, we dip into some upcoming vehicles and then also try out a new segment at the end of the podcast. It’s a talk about some photo/video/travel gear. This time around we cover the Wandrd Access duffel, Mavic Air, and some upgraded ear pads for the Audio-Technica ATH M50x headphones. 

Hooniverse – Wranglin’

First Drive: 2018 Audi RS 5

Audi Sport is cranking out some modern classics. We’ve got the five-cylinder-powered RS3 and TT-RS making great noise, and now a new RS 5 is ready to join the party. This is the 2018 Audi RS 5 and it’s got enough juice to make it a quicker (and maybe more affordable) combatant in the Germany luxury sports coupe market.

Under the hood is a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 engine that’s good for 444 horsepower. It’s also good for moving the RS 5 from 0-60 mph in just 3.7 seconds, per Audi. For the record, that’s quicker than a BMW M4 with the Competition Packaged and the Mercedes-AMG C63 and C63S. The car is a blast to drive and blurs the lines between potent sports coupe and proper grand touring machine.

But the line becomes less blurred once you go over a few bumps. The suspension, when in full dynamic mode, is extremely stiff. Like, save it for the race track stiff. But when you want to best the BMW and Benz offerings, you better bring your best… and Audi has done just that.

There’s no softness found in this latest RS variant. It’s an ass-kicking machine that looks resplendent in its available Sonoma Green paintwork. If you were thinking about buying an M4 or C63… maybe you should think again, and take a look at the RS 5.

[Disclaimer: Audi flew me Scottsdale and put me up in a nice hotel. There was food and booze as well.]

Podcast: Episode 240 – TRD Sweatbox

Hooniverse – TRD Sweatbox

I’m sitting in a Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport, and it’s getting hotter. Regardless, I have things to say and a recorder to capture it all. Topics this week include the Tahoe RST, Tacoma TRD Sport, a trip to Colorado to drive a Kia, and some potential news on a bigger trip coming up in May.

Also, we touch on a bit of the news out of Geneva. Specifically, the reveals of the Rimac C_Two and the Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro.

Finally, I’m excited to try out a new camera bag and I touch on that towards the end of the episode.


Truck Central: Do you need a Chevy Tahoe with a 6.2L V8?
The RST Performance package says you might

Since the dawn of time, the Chevy Tahoe has trekked along with a 5.3-liter V8 engine betwixt its fenders. Now though, if you’re itching for a Tahoe with more GO, you can get just that. This is the Tahoe RST optioned up with the Performance Package. RST stands for Rally Sport Truck. The Performance Package means you’ve pulled the 355-horsepower 5.3-liter out in favor of a 6.2-liter V8, and you now have a Tahoe with 420 horsepower and a ten-speed automatic gearbox.

There are a handful of other upgrades that come along for the ride as well. Switching to the larger mill also means a move to magnetic ride suspension. There’s also another upgrade package that adds in massive front brakes and a Borla exhaust. The front clampers see a move from 13-inch rotors to a six-piston Brembo setup squeezing down on a 16.1-inch rotor. Those are larger than the wheels on my ’74 Benz. By more than two inches.

This one certainly isn’t cheap, of course. As-tested this Tahoe clocks in with a price tag of $78k. That’s basically Yukon Denali money and nearly Cadillac Escalade money. It’s also about $8k more than a Durango SRT, which makes quite a bit more power.

So with the Tahoe RST Performance we have a full-size SUV that can scoot from 0-60 in under six seconds… but it can’t outrun the issues I have with its suspension setup (too stiff) and the price tag relative to competition (too high).

Hooniverse Asks: What do you want out of an automotive TV show?

As far as automotive shows go these days, it seems networks just take any shop, add a deadline and drama, some poor hair choices, and they’ve got a hit on their hands. Manufactured build shows are seemingly in endless supply, and I’ve yet to find one that captures my attention. There’s more to our shared passion than these shows provide, and someone has to be able to tap into an underserved segment of our community.

Recently, a producer friend asked me to take a look at an episode of a new show he has coming out. It’s all about trucks, and I expected to… not like it, based on the trailer above (Moved to this link, so it won’t autoplay).

However, I watched one episode and I’ll share my exact notes from that experience (minus anything that gives away the outcome of the episode):

  • Wish you didn’t call the course the [REDACTED… that’s the [OTHER COURSE WITH THAT NAME
  • Cool jump footage
  • Lovely aerial shots, Nice titles, feels cinematic
  • Names of the trucks are funny – could help create a following from fans
  • Gloss over the fact that the nose is from a WWI-era Bugatti?!?!
  • Honestly expected to not be that into it… but it’s not a straight build show and it was pretty funny. I was legit interested to see who could fling the [REDACTED] the farthest.
  • Don’t care for the trivia bits.
  • The build bit passed on knowledge though, try to avoid the deadline aspect though – which you did a good job. Just reminded of a time limit but didn’t overly stress on it.
  • Good driving shots in the trees during that portion of the course
  • Didn’t like the 360 shot. If you started and did maybe a 180-degree swivel or a less, that shot would work?
  • Even though I don’t like the name, that’s a hell of a course…
  • Come-Along part was awesome.
  • Very pretty static shots in the swamp
  • 2nd 360-cam shot was better
  • Genuinely nervous dude was about to break that [REDACTED]…
  • Aw man… he [REDACTED]
  • That poor [REDACTED]
  • Some good drama here!

I started slow. But by the end I was legitimately rooting for two of the drivers. This show is called Truck Night in America and runs on History starting later this week.

So I went in to the first episode knowing what I didn’t want to see. I wasn’t ready for the fact that this show contained things I didn’t know I’d care about. So maybe I don’t actually know what I want in an automotive TV show.

But you probably do… so let me hear it in the comments below. Well, read it… you know what I mean. What do you want to see in an automotive tv show? 

Hooniverse Asks: What’s the best car color?

Recently, I spent a day behind the wheel of the new Audi RS 5. I’ll be cutting the video of that First Drive together soon (and you can read my written thoughts on the car over at Jalopnik right now). Audi brought out a Nardo Gray example, which isn’t much of a surprise. What was a surprise, however, was the absolutely gorgeous Sonoma Green version that was also on hand.

Automakers are offering a bit more pop in their colors these days, and this Audi is a great example of that. There wasn’t a version with a dark tan interior, but through Audi’s Exclusive options you could order that up… at a cost I’d not like to know.

Regardless, the Sonoma Green RS 5 is here and it’s lovely. But I want to know if there are other colors out there that have caught your eye as of late. I just drove a Kinetic Blue Colorado ZR2 at which I also enjoyed pointing my eye holes.

What colors on which cars? What are your favorite colors out there on the market? Sound off below.

Podcast: Episode 239 – The Armada

We’re back in the studio! Joining Chris Hayes and myself is friend of Hooniverse Manuel Carillo III. You can find his work at his website MC3films. The three of us sit down to talk about a few cars before we’re interrupted by; tangents, not cars, and more gunfire. Good times!

Topics covered include: Chris’ cars, a brief note on Manuel’s #ProjectStork Porsche, the Chevy Colorado ZR2, and the Audi RS 5.

Hooniverse – The Armada