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Quick Spin: 2017 Kia Soul EV+

There is a dirty little problem with electric vehicles that is going unaddressed. The ability to charge EVs for primary target buyers is very limited. Specifically, people living in urban areas with short commutes. I live in a downtown Boston condominium and I park my car in a common garage. Those garages do not have automotive charging stations and an attempt to plug one’s vehicles into a wall socket would result in an immediate outrage from the neighbors and a scalding letter from building management.

That was my biggest issue with the 2017 Kia Soul EV. I had nowhere to charge it – not at home and not at work. There are street chargers within half a mile from my home but I did not want to park someone else’s vehicle on the street. There are garages with charging stations within a mile, but the parking fees were around $50 for a 24-hour period. I wouldn’t use either with my own car just because they are inconvenient.

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Video: /DRIVE on NBC Sports, Season 4 starts tonight

Kamil Kaluski October 19, 2017 All Things Hoon

It’s unimaginatively called /DRIVE on NBC Sports, and starts its fourth season tonight. The show is hosted by three guys you may have heard of before – Chris Harris, Matt Farah, and Mike Spinelli. Alex Roy makes an appearance on the show, too. And guess what, it’s a show about about cars, hosted by three guys who like cars. If that seems familiar, it’s because it is. Shows like that have been coming and going for years. But many of those shows failed not because of budgets or bad ideas – they failed because the cast was all wrong and everything was scripted and poorly acted. 

What makes the /DRIVE on NBC Sports different is that Chris, Matt, and Mike have known each other for years. They have worked together, hangout together, and drank together. There is no chemistry to be made here because it’s already there. Combine that with some cool cars and good ideas and you have a TV show that can finally rival that one British show.

Checkout the season preview video above. The season starts tonight at 10:00pm EST with a two-episode special, “What Makes Fast” and “Miami Vices”. There are seven episodes in total and the last one is a one-hour special. Looks like good entertainment. 

 

VIDEO: Development of the Lada Niva

Kamil Kaluski October 17, 2017 All Things Hoon

The Lada Niva has been around for more than forty years, kind of like the Mercedes-Benz G-class. You can still buy a brand new Niva today and it isn’t much different from the original model. Again, kind of like the Mercedes G-class, except the Niva has more class, better ride, and is more reliable. 

Except for most things on it, the Niva was an original Soviet design. To pat themselves on the back, in the late 1970’s Soviets released a documentary/propaganda video on how the Niva was developed. The small size of this vehicle, good ground clearance, narrow tires, and locking differentials made the Niva a genuinely capable off-road vehicle.

Looking back at the video now, it’s heartening to see that the primary design point of this SUV was off-road ability and not third-row access or wind-noise at 90mph. The mechanical engineers in the video also seem to be people of great social and commanding importance, unlike the unappreciated and underpaid worker-bees that engineers have become today. The narration is in Russian but you don’t need to understand Russian to understand this short video. Enjoy.

BMW Spy Shots! 2019 3-series and Z4

Kamil Kaluski October 16, 2017 All Things Hoon

In the olden days there was a standard procedure: redo the 7-series, then redo the 5-series, then redo the 3-series, and then start the procedure all over again. But the BMW world is more complex today. There is the 2-series and the 4-series. Parts of the world have the 1-series. 6-series is dead but the 8-series is making a comeback. Then there is the X1, X3, X4, X5, X6, and soon, X2 and X7. I’d bet good money that some day we will see an X8. And let us not forget the cute i3 and the great looking i8. 

Despite the many models, some basic things don’t change. Two years ago the new 7-series came on the market. That was followed by the 5-series a year ago. And soon we will see the new 3-series. If the new 3-series is anything like the 7-series and 5-series, expect classic BMW greatness and a significant update and redesign over what we have seen in the last two, rather bland, generations. Spied here, along with the 3-series on which it is, or at least used to be based, is the Z4 sports car. 

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2017 Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas: Many Wants, Some Oddballs

Kamil Kaluski October 11, 2017 All Things Hoon

The 2017 Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas auction will run from October 19th to the 21st. As with any Barrett-Jackson auction, there will hundreds of very interesting cars going to the auction block. There will be three Ford GTs and a 918 Spyder in Brad’s favorite (sarcasm) Martini livery. Add to that the standard Lambos, Ferraris, and Aston supercars. But there is more, a lot more. 

There are a number of custom cars and rat-rods. The one that stood out the most to me was this ’72 Caddy “wagon” which has six wheels in a Tyrell P34-like configuration. There are several recreation vehicles, so such this really cool ’75 Airstream Argosy. Classic pickups are dime-a-dozen but there is only one fire truck, ’52 Pumper Engine. One vehicle that should look familiar is the Clarion-created Acura NSX, which you have seen here, here, here, and here

It’s important to note is that the entire sale price of a 2007 Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake will go to a special fund that supports Las Vegas first responders and those affected by the recent tragedy. See the full list of vehicles here and tell us your favorites. 

The Amazing Vehicles of 2017 Overland Expo East

Kamil Kaluski October 10, 2017 All Things Hoon

They meet twice per year, on the east and west side of the United States. They come from everywhere. They are outdoor lovers, vehicle enthusiasts, and explorers, all in one. Along come vendors of equipment, service providers, and vehicle manufacturers. They all meet to learn driving, survival, and camping skills. They checkout each others’ vehicles, campsites, and various setups. And then they go on mini expeditions, too. 

Last year my friend Leo attended the 2016 Overland Expo East and provided us with some pictures. This year is no different. Leo sent along dozens of pictures of various vehicles that were there. There were vehicles that are rare and obscure, interesting, and affordable, but likely not at the same time. They had various camping styles, too. Everything from a tarp over an old wagon to a million dollar Unimog designed to go anywhere. Check them out!

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Review: 2017 BMW M550i and 530i

A car review is supposed to be about the car being reviewed. But I am going to get personal now. I have owned three 5-series BMWs of three different generations. I have driven many 5s on various roads and tracks. My favorite overall is the E34 series, followed by E39, and a favorite for performance is the E60 M5 with its amazing V10 engine. I have a personal affair with the 5-series and therefore I had high expectations for the new G30 model.

I now had the opportunity to drive two G30s, a base 530i, and the top-dog M550i. There also exists a middle-child, the 540i, and soon there will be the big daddy, M5. How are they? How do they compare to previous 5-series?

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For Sale: “Beautiful Italian Paperweight!”

Kamil Kaluski September 29, 2017 For Sale, Terrible Ideas

Beautiful Italian cars. The look fantastic. They sound amazing. They are very fast. And they handle great. What else would a hoon want out of car?

Oh, right. A hoon would want a reasonable price, reasonable reliability, and a reasonable cost of ownership.

That is exactly what the owner, and now seller, of this Maserati wanted. Unfortunately he didn’t get it. So now he is selling the car. I haven’t owned an Italian car (but I have an Italian wife, so it’s kind of the same thing) but I assume that like in a boater’s life – the two best days are the day you buy it and the day you sell it. 

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Learn off-roading in a Land Rover Defender

Kamil Kaluski September 18, 2017 All Things Hoon

Drive around the city of Boston or Cape Cod, and most significantly Nantucket, and you will see them – Land Rover Defenders. They are of all ages and types. Some are the American market, some are old, some are questionably imported, and a few are restomoded. These iconic utility vehicles have a cult following and are all the rage among those who prefer to show their wealth in more subtle ways. 

Land Rover is currently in the process of designing the replacement for the Defender but they couldn’t help but notice the popularity of the older models. Because of this Land Rover has decided to put the classic Defenders into their Land Rover Experience Centers. Those centers allow current and potential Land Rover buyers to experience the capabilities of these off-roaders in a controlled and safe environment. We have visited one such center in Manchester, Vermont: part 1, part 2, part 3

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Land Rover Discovery SVX is expedition ready from the showroom floor

Kamil Kaluski September 12, 2017 The News!

We are nearing the SUV craze peak right now (I think). Every vehicle small and large is an SUV, but there is a new trend emerging. This trend is vehicles prepared for actual real off-roading, expeditions, or overland glamping. We have the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon with locking diffs and disconnecting sway bars, the Toyota Tacoma and 4Runner TRD PROs, and the RAM Power Wagon that comes with a freaking winch. Then there are a number of tuning companies that sell turnkey modified vehicles, such as AEV. And then there is the whole after-market that is overflowing with lift kits, winches, bumpers, racks, and roof-top tents.

Land Rover, who basically invented the luxury capable SUV market, was not about sit this one out. Introduced at the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show (stay tuned for our coverage and opinions), the Discovery SVX seem to do an excellent job of capturing what the world loves about Defenders and early modified Discoveries.

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