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Review: 2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

Two years ago my sister-in-law decided that it was time to replace her 4-cylinder 5-speed Honda Accord coupe with something new. Like everyone else in the world these days, she wanted a small cross-over. She wanted one for the same reasons that everyone else wants one for – higher ride, bigger trunk, ease of egress and ingress, and the availability of AWD. But she wanted something else – she wanted a car with some kind of a soul, not just an appliance. 

I advised her that soul is something that develops over time and promptly suggested a Jeepster Commando. When that was vetoed, I told her to test drive the RAV4 and the CR-V first. Then I sent her to MINI and Mazda dealerships. Like most would, she wrote the Toyota and Honda off right away despite the amazing deal she was offered on the RAV4. The MINI she wanted priced itself out rather quickly. The CX-5 emerged as a clear winner in terms of price, functionality, driving, and personality.

For 2017 Mazda has revealed the new CX-5. It is emphasizing the previous model’s zoom-zoominess and borrowing heavily from the handsome looks of its bigger sibling, the CX-9. Where other makers offer functional appliances, could Mazda win over more buyers like my sister-in-law who want a good-looking, fun to drive vehicle?

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24 Hours of LeMons: The Real Hoopties of New Jersey 2017 Wrapup

Every time I look our hard earned Judge’s Choice trophy, I shed a tear. It’s because I really wanted to win our class and I got that instead. It’s quite depressing that after almost four years of Lemons racing that’s the piece of crap trophy we have to show for it. But we will keep racing because it’s fun and we’re dumb enough to really want another crappy trophy. 

Anyway, the idiots that organize these dumb races put out the wrapup video of that race. We’re in it, of course. 

24 Hours of Lemons: Boston Globe reports on our NJMP race

Our rookie teammate for last month’s 24 Hours of LeMons at New Jersey Motorsport Park was my friend George Kennedy. Despite the fact that he is a full-time automotive journalist, we reluctantly allowed George onto the team. Before the race he has proven himself to be handy and during the race he has proven himself to good-ish driver, which was more than we could ask for. 

Being a professional that he is, George wrote an article for the Boston Globe about his race weekend. It went to print on Memorial Day but just recently it showed up online. Click here to read his version of race events. And here, again, is mine

 

Project 4Runner: Four seasons with BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2

It all started about fourteen months ago when I got a flat tire on a busy New England highway, in the middle of the afternoon, with my whole family in the car. Something big and sharp punctured my five year old right rear BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A tire. The tire was beyond repair and needed to be replaced. While there was nothing really wrong withe rest of the tires but six years and 37,000 miles, I decided to replace them all. 

I did much research as to which tires to get. I wanted a light truck (LT) all-terrain tires because I knew at some point I would venture off the highway. I wanted a tire that would provide traction in all four seasons. A big requirement was that the tire was quiet on the highway. And in a totally poser way, I wanted a tire that look good, rugged. Oh, I did not want to spend a ton of money, either.

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Quick Spin: 2017 Subaru BRZ with Performance Package.

In my recent review I mentioned that you all should go and buy the Subaru BRZ because it is everything you all wanted – stick, rear-wheel-drive, fun, efficient, and affordable. I really think it is the best new car performance buy for the buck. In fact, I’m sure of it: GTI/Si/ST are wrong wheel drive, the American muscle cars are just too damn big and heavy, the Miata is too damn small for most of us, and most others are just priced out of reach for many. Those are all great cars, but the BRZ and its Toyota sibling simply give you more grins per dollar.

Now Subaru made the BRZ harder to resist thanks to the addition of the Performance Package.

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Review: 2017 Honda CR-V Touring AWD

This is the all-new fifth generation 2017 Honda CR-V. Yes, it is all-new, as per Honda, but you wouldn’t necessarily know this by looking at it. In my eyes it simply looks too similar to the 2016 model to be called all-new, but it is. One would know that this is an all-new vehicle by simply driving it. I would even go as far as to say that this is the most significant update to the CR-V since the original came out in 1997.

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2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon starts at $84,995

Kamil Kaluski May 23, 2017 The News!

The manufacturer suggested retail price for the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon $84,995. We should say only $84,995. That is the price for the highest horsepower V8 production car engine ever produced, a car that can do a damn wheelie and run the quarter mile in just over nine seconds. And the damn thing comes with a three-year/36,000-mile warranty and five-year/60,000-mile powertrain coverage. 

Think about that for a minute. It is almost unreal. The power, the performance, the price, and the warranty. 

The gas guzzler tax (shocking, I know) is included in that price but the $1095 destination fee is not. The Demon will have a several options, all of which are equally reasonably priced:

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LEGO Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS Crash Test

There is something about crash test videos that makes us watch them over and over again. It’s probably that whole watching-a-train-wreck thing that is oddly satisfying, somewhat saddening, and filled with anticipation. Some crash tests are scary and others show the incredible strength of the passenger cell and the energy absorbing properties of everything else. 

Chances are that if you are reading this you have probably played with Legos at some point in your life. If you ever played with Legos it is a safe bet that at some point you crashed your Lego cars. For instance, my brother and I would attempt to build a vehicle that would contain two mini figures, have operational doors and windows, and break apart the least upon being send down a flight of carpeted stairs. Good times. 

Apparently the crash experts from German ADAC are still kids at heart. They took the Lego Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS, a really cool 1:8 version of the real thing with many functional features, and crash tested it. They followed their own rules and utilized the standard EURO-NCAP, 40% offset crash test. The Porsche hit the barrier at 46km/h, which is almost 29 MPH, which is damn fast for anything Lego. 

The results are quite amazing. For our viewing pleasure, ADAC used some fancy cameras, capturing the crash in 1000 frames-per-second. Just watch the video. 

Cars from Smokey and the Bandit reimagined for 40th anniversary

It’s been forty years since the original Smokey and the Bandit premiered. That seems like a crazy long amount of time, longer than many of us have been around. This is why for so many of us Smokey and the Bandit, possibly Cannonball too, may just have been the movie that made kiddo us fall in love with cars. I know it was for me. 

Decades ago pundits assumed that after year 2000 we all would have a flying hydrogen-powered cars and that the world would be out of oil. Fortunately the world today has a Challenger SRT Demon with a supercharged V8 that screams Fuck Yea louder than any 1970s Pontiac ever could (sorry, fact). While Pontiac is no longer around, we still have an equally awesome Camaro and many police departments still drive big sedans with V8 engines that send their power to the rear wheels. 

Big rigs, despite the above image, have not changed much either. They still have 18 wheels and huge turbo-diesel engines with transmissions that many of us couldn’t shift. The biggest difference might be in the fact that the flat-nosed cab-over truck are just about gone from our roads. 

Carspring.co.uk reimagined what some of the character cars from the movie might look like today. Except for the rig, they seem pretty much spot-on. Check out their site for a few more Bandit options. We have asked before what the Bandit would drive today, but those comments were unfortunately lost. 

Most importantly, we can get Coors beer in just about every store. 

Quick Pic: a Naked Escort is Coming

Kamil Kaluski May 18, 2017 Quick Pics

This is a rather poor picture of a classic Ford Escort MKII. It is somewhat incomplete. It is slightly modified. And it is on it’s way over from the UK to our friends at Ace Performance Systems.  

Ace Performance has some very cool plans for this MKII. It will be a lot more than just a build and we will be a part of it. Stay tuned, it’s going to be great.