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Nicky Hayden: The Passing Of A True Champion

Nicky Hayden 2006 MotoGP Champion

Happiness is the exercise of vital powers, along lines of excellence, in a life affording them scope.  The test of a persons character is not how they act to others when things are going well, but when they aren’t.

In the outpouring of messages on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram yesterday with the news of Nicky Hayden’s passing one theme kept repeating, as great of a race that Nicky was, he was a better person and sportsman.

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2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI: The Gray Man’s Hot Hatch

2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI Sport

What is a “gray man”? Urban Dictionary says, “A man who can blend in to any scene or situation without standing out, hiding his skills and qualities  OK, the red GTI that I had in for the week isn’t exactly subtle, but take off the minimal badging ( badges, we don’t need no stinkin’ badges) and it looks like any other Golf five-door, and therein lies the beauty.

Today’s landscape of hot hatches in the U.S. is two, the Focus ST and the Golf GTI.  The forthcoming Civic Type R is more in line with the Golf R and Focus RS, toss the WRX STI in even though it’s a sedan.  Even in Golf R form, in a world where everyone else tacks on body kit parts like there is a 70% off sale at J.C. Whitney, The GTI, and the R, keep a low profile.

Now, perhaps your personality is one where you do like to shout “look at me”, and that’s cool, this hobby takes all kinds, but there are some who like to have all of the fun, and fly below the radar.  It’s this slot where the GTI shines.  Like the grey man, the GTI just blends in with it’s very conservative, though still handsome shape.  On the inside of our Sport edition it has one fashion statement, the heated tartan cloth seats, other than that one item, the interior is the well appointed and well done Golf.  If you want leather you can get that in the SE and Autobahn models.

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False Neutral #53 : David Emmett of motomatters.com

This week Eric rides solo and chats with David Emmett of motomatters.com.  They talk about pre-season testing in MotoGP, a rundown of the riders and the machines they will pilot in 2017, and a look ahead to the 2017 season and what to expect.  Further along in the show they also look ahead to what we can expect in Moto2 and Moto3.


False Neutral – David Emmitt of motomatters.com

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Subaru Forester XT Overland: It’s A Subaru Thing You Wouldn’t Understand

Eric Trytko March 22, 2017 Wagon Wednesday

One of the cool coming trends in the automotive world is people taking Subaru Outbacks and Foresters and turning them into true off-road vehicles capable of going well into the backcountry.  As you might guess, this trend started in the wilds and expanse of Austrailia, though to be fair, some Subaru enthusiasts have been doing this here in the States for decades.

This particular example is one of the more hardcore versions we’ve seen.  The owner, Harley, has spent some a good amount of time and money crafting his rig, which each step well thought out.  Built with the team at Leadfoot Offroad in La Verne, CA, who fabricated the front steel bumper with recovery points and a 9,500-pound winch up front, and a rear swing out bumper, also with Anderson Design and Fabrication who developed the lift kit.

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First Drive Toyota C-HR: Like Gomer Pyle Said, “Surprise Surprise Surprise”

2018 Toyota C-HR Greetings From Autin

When Toyota killed off the Scion brand you wondered, a bit, what they were going to do with the C-HR they had been showing off for eighteen months or so.  Since they sell the car in the rest of the world as a Toyota, they decided to do the same in North America as well.

The C-HR (Coupé-High Riding) is a “B” segment crossover that is set to go up against the likes of the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V, Chevy Trax, Jeep Renegade, and Nissan Juke.  In Toyota’s presentation for the C-HR, they talked about just how important this segment is for them, sighting that by 2020 they project 1-million sales a year of small crossovers in the U.S.

So what is the C-HR, why should you care, who is Gomer Pyle and what should be we surprised about when it comes to Toyota?

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Kia Stinger Makes Debut At Sunday Night Detroit Auto Show Event

 

kia-stinger-1

Kia brought members of the international media to the Russell Industrial Complex just a couple miles from Cobo Hall where the North American International (nee Detroit) Auto Show kicks off in the morning.

Kia are aiming for the Stinger to be the achievable five-door sports coupe.  While many many scoff at this, with good justification, KIA snapped up Albert Biermann from BMW’s M division a few years ago and have spent considerable time developing the Stinger at “The Ring”.

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#notthewombat – When Auto Journos Don’t Heed Their Own Damn Advice

2007-mercedes-benz-e350-wagon-4

My pain is self-chosen

At least, so the prophet says

I could either burn

Or cut off my pride and buy some time

A head full of lies is the weight, tied to my waist

So let’s start with a little backstory.  Here in Metro Detroit, if you have a “fun car” you also need a winter car.  In my case, the fun car is a 95 Mustang GT that makes 452 horsepower to the tires, and, as you would imagine it’s pretty useless when the snow flies, more so when you are rolling with 315/35ZR17’s on the back.

My planned winter car was the one I had last year, a 2005 Ford Escape that was my wife’s from new until she replaced last fall with a new Edge.  It’s been a good vehicle, V6, front drive and had 170,000 miles in it.  Well, the best-laid plans of mice and men and all of that.  On a day in late September when driving, there was a sudden banging noise coming from the right rear wheel well area.  Once home I investigated and found this:

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2017 Lexus RC200t – Personal Luxury Coupe, Hardcore Enthusiast Need Not Bother

2017-lexus-rc200t-1

Lexus call it “Molten Pearl”, I called it “Creamsicle”, my wife, “The Pumpkin Spice Car”, whatever you call it, RC200t F-Sport, may be the best attainable daily driver GT car you can buy today.

If I’m correct, you’ve had one of three reactions. Number one, “are you FU#$ING MAD!!! Number two, that car is hideous to look at, it doesn’t matter how good it is. Number three, “you’ve given away the whole plot at the beginning man!”

Let’s pull out Bob Ross’ four-inch brush and paint with some broad strokes, shall we? Enthusiasts discount anything that doesn’t come with a manual, unless it’s some exotic supercar, and then only reluctantly. The number of cars from Japan that they have time for can usually be counted on one, maybe two hands. With a Lexus nameplate, there is one, but it is no longer in production.

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2017 Honda Accord Hybrid: The Stealth Pursuit Of 50 MPG

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Two point one gallons of fuel per one hundred miles. In a five-passenger family sedan. With, enough room for those five people to be comfortable, for an extended range. All this comes from a company who’s proper name contains the words Motor Corporation, so, likely, this is something that will stick around for several hundred thousand miles.

Honda’s second generation Honda Accord is an interesting one, it takes everything that is good about the standard Accord, changes out the drivetrain, sacrifices a bit of trunk space, and promises you almost fifty to the gallon combined.

In fact, the previous generation was able to return fifty to the gallon as long as you drove it reasonably, and when you didn’t, it was still well north of forty. In the TL:DR version of this review, while this generation is more refined, the real-world fuel economy isn’t nearly as good. Our highway runs of sixty to seventy miles saw no more than low forty’s, driving carefully the best we saw combined was in the mid forty’s.

The 2017 Accord Hybrid has a more powerful 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine connected to two lighter, small and more powerful generators, along with a more compact lithium-ion battery back. Given Honda’s engineering prowess, the drop in the real world economy is pretty shocking. That’s not to say it drives poorly, because it doesn’t, to drive, for a hybrid, it’s pretty solid.

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2017 Toyota 86 First Drive: Don’t F&*K With A Good Thing

2017-toyota-86-12

Remember the 70’s Toyota tag line, “you asked for it, you got it, Toyota”.  Scion is dead. The enthusiast’s favorite car from that brand, however, lives on. It is now branded, like everywhere else in the world, as the Toyota 86.

In the process of rebranding the car, it also receives a number of mid-cycle updates to go along with the new branding.  So, the questions are, have the changes improved it, or, have Toyota mucked it up?

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