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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

 

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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

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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

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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

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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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The Time I Drove A Car On A Hockey Rink With Michelin And Tire Rack

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If you are reading this post, chances are, you already know the benefits of winter tires in cold and or snowy areas of the country.  After all, the readers of Hooniverse are a sharp bunch.  However, while everyone might know about the benefits, how many people, living in those climates where they could benefit for winter tires, actually put their money where their mouth is?

South Bend, Indiana, is home to yes, the University of Notre Dame but it’s home to Tire Rack.  I attended an event put on by Michelin and Tire Rack to show off just how much of a difference the correct tires can make, or, just how bad all-season tires are on the cold or icy pavement. … Continue Reading

VLF Automotive – State Of The Art In Boutique Manufacturing

Eric Trytko September 23, 2016 All Things Hoon, Featured

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Thirty Miles north of Detroit in a generic suburban industrial office park lies the headquarters and production facilities for the latest boutique automotive brand, VLF.  The name comes from the first letters of the three founders last names, Industrialist Gilbert Villarreal, automotive legend “Maximum Bob” Lutz and designer Henrik Fisker.  This triumvirate believes they have cracked the code for the leanest of lean manufacturing in the automotive world, which will allow a boutique brand to sell under 2,000 cars a year, yet be very profitable.

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First Drive: The 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack – The Non Cynical SportWagen

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We’ve gone with this headline for a reason.  It wasn’t just when the Alltrack was revealed that the automotive press said almost in unison, “ahh one of these.”  Yes, it’s a station wagon with a bit more ride height, body cladding, and all wheel drive.  We’ve seen this script before, Subaru Legacy Wagon became the Outback, the Volvo V70 became the V70 Cross Country and most recently the Audi A4 Avant became the allroad.

What is it about the American psyche that won’t let all us as a collective to just enjoy a wagon for what it is?  Why must we pretend to make these have offroad credibility just to sell in any kind of numbers?  The Crossover/SUV is as ubiquitous as the station wagon was 30+ years ago, but for now, those are still cool.

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