Preview-review: /DRIVE on NBCSN

Ross Ballot October 31, 2017 TV Shows

The bar has been set exceptionally high for automotive programming with shows like Top Gear having brought us into a world in which car shows can be more than simply informative but rather genuine entertainment. This alongside the blossoming of web-based films finally gave us a new view into the realm of cars being used for enjoyment, and in doing so a wide number of ways to watch this new-found enthusiasm for cars-on-camera has taken form.

Among these is /DRIVE. Now in its fourth season, high praise is to be sung for the show for which the creators once had to fight to keep alive. The effort invested is evident, and /DRIVE presents itself as exceptionally well-produced, well-shot, and damn-enjoyable entertainment. Having been in attendance at the Season Four premiere party and also having viewed /DRIVE in its past iterations, I had high expectations upon sitting down to watch a few preview episodes of this season– and I’m happy to report that the show fully satisfies.

What more can be said of the latest season of /DRIVE, at least that of which I have seen? Click past the jump to find out.

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Jeep JL Wrangler: Owner’s and User’s Manuals leaked, ton of info surfaces

Ross Ballot October 18, 2017 All Things Hoon

In what seems like the longest, slowest unveiling ever, intentional or not, we are now finally seeing actual internal Jeep documents about the upcoming, still-yet-to-be-officially-released JL Wrangler. It appears that a massive amount of information about has been brought to life by JLWranglerForums, among them the ever-crucial User’s and Owner’s Manuals.

It is also immediately evident that the images we’ve been seeing have been extremely close to the production body, and we now know the 2.0L Hurricane turbo and V6 Pentastar will be the only engines available upon launch. As expected, the drivetrain receives a thorough overhaul and upgrade, and the vehicle will showcase a slew of tech that will, finally, make the open-roof Jeep a truly modern, current vehicle.

For more on what new JL information has come to light, click past the jump.

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In photos: Greenwich Cars & Coffee, Aug. 2017 edition

If you follow our Instagram account you know that a few months back I attended one of the more affluent car gatherings– at least in my area– at a meetup that consumes the whole of Greenwich Avenue in the quaint, ultra-wealthy town bearing the same name as that of the street on which the show takes place.

With carbon-fiber body panels, re-imagined German sports cars, an absolute plethora of vehicles exhibiting their owners’ wealth and, much to our content, their willingness to have other car enthusiasts swooning up close and personal over their respective rides, it was impossible to not have an enjoyable morning. Greenwich Cars & Coffee is one of the rare opportunities to closely inspect and take in the real-life, in-person drama and aura of many of the cars we regularly discuss and fantasize over on the internet. From Singer Porsches to carbon-fiber Hellcats, Greenwich C&C is, unquestionably, a show worth going to.

Click past the jump to take in some of the sights and highlights from this past summer’s event.

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H.O.T. Damn, Round Two: M5 vs CTS-V vs E63 AMG S

Ross Ballot October 6, 2017 All Things Hoon

Round Two: Luxury super-sedans

Welcome back to H.O.T. Damn, the still terribly-titled game in which your automotive fantasies are played out online for you to continue to fantasize over. It’s the vehicular “what-if?” theoretical scenario that daunts your wishes and taunts your dreams, turned into a game. It’s self-explanatory: pick one to Hoon, pick one to Own, and pick one to Total.

For Round Two we’re straying from the sports-meets-muscle cars of Round One for another trio of overpowered cars, this time a selection of four-door super-sedans that match overt luxury with extreme levels of power and sophistication. In a sub-segment of ever-increasing popularity due to the participants’ practicality-meets-capability mojos, these three have struck a chord with those who can drool over them and likewise with those who can actually afford them. Super-sedans are the car you can scare the crap out of your friends in, cart your kids around in, and scare the crap out of your kids in. They repeatedly make a case for themselves when “you can only have one car,” should you be able to swing the roughly hundred-thousand-dollar bill.

So let’s pit three of the best against each other, shall we? Three of the best, in my opinion (at least of those available in the ‘States): the BMW M5, Cadillac CTS-V, and Mercedes E63 AMG. You know the rules: Hoon, Own, Total. Pick a car, pick a fate for it in your hands. Now hit the jump to read the choices of your fellow Hoons, and be sure to voice your opinions on these leather-laden, fire-breathing cars in the comments.

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Stormtrooper 4Runner trip report: Return to AOAA

Ross Ballot September 28, 2017 All Things Hoon, Featured

To enthusiasts of the off-roading sub-culture, myself included, there truly is nothing quite as psychologically refreshing as a day in the woods. A day separated from the burdens of reality, a day free from the stresses of the work-fueled monotony, a day isolated from basically everything except you, your truck, your buddies, and the trails on which you’re wheeling. It’s an absorbing experience, one that allows the brain a a much needed break to refresh itself. Off-roading is, to me at least, the absolute best kind of mind cleanser.

And that’s exactly where the Stromtrooper 4Runner comes into play. In its off-road shakedown run the ‘ol ‘Toy performed admirably and, though some bugs still need to be worked out, by the time September rolled around I was due for a much needed early-autumn return trip to Pennsylvania’s Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area to see how the truck did on some tougher trails. It was a day of crawling over rocks, dragging vehicles out of the mud, and pushing the limits of our trucks and ourselves alike.

As wheeling always is, it was a great time; and, as is always the case post-trip, I’m already looking forward to going back. Hit the jump to read the Trip Report from my mind-cleansing day of off-roading out at AOAA a couple weeks back.

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Power, performance, and the used market

Ross Ballot September 21, 2017 All Things Hoon, Featured

Source: AutoEvolution

The facts are the facts: the amount of car you can buy on the cheap today is simply outstanding.

And it’s not just amount of power you can get for very little money, but it’s the caliber of car you can acquire for so little. The cars available on the used market for a fraction of their original price is unlike it ever has been before. Most of us are intimately familiar with this, but it’s still perpetually shocking to see high-power, high-performance cars plummeting to the bottom of their depreciation curve.

I’m not the first one to say this, but it very well may be true that we’re living in the Golden Age. Power and performance are at a premium and used prices are, thankfully, comfortably palatable. Jump with me as I explore some of the cars out there that strike gold in the value-for-dollar quotient.

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H.O.T. Damn, Round One: ZL1 1LE vs Hellcat vs GT350R

Ross Ballot September 6, 2017 Featured, HOT Damn

Round One: American’s top-tier muscle/pony/sports-car trio 

Welcome to H.O.T. Damn, a new and terribly-titled segment in which your Hooniverse contributors shamelessly show their true vehicular preferences in picking which of three automotive options we would choose to Hoon, Own, and Total. Many of us are familiar with the extremely juvenile but equally amusing game of look-it-up-on-Urban-Dictionary F/M/K and more likely than not all of us have played a similar version, a much less creepy and murder-y version, in which cars take the place of people. This is that game, right before your very eyes.

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Jeep pickup “officially” named Scrambler; images revealed and details confirmed

Ross Ballot August 23, 2017 All Things Hoon

Expect the Scrambler to be proportionally similar to this, AEV’s JK Wrangler-based Brute

This will come as a surprise to almost nobody, but new reports are confirming that Jeep has decided to give the upcoming Wrangler-based pickup a nostalgic name from the company’s past: Scrambler.

Details of Jeep’s decision to use the heritage-embodying name have been leaked to JLWranglerForums, and deliver on the goods not just in nameplate but also in both engine and the future vehicle’s open-roof design. It appears that Jeep wholeheartedly plans to deliver on the idea of a bed-bearing JL Wrangler, and will introduce the model either alongside its off-road SUV counterpart or shortly after, in what will finally, after a long leave of absence, bring the Jeep brand into a market they haven’t truly occupied since the Comanche went out of production in the early ’90s. This will be a much welcomed addition to the lineup as well as to the field of small/midsize pickups available today, and is an exciting move for Jeep that fans have been clamoring for since the Scrambler concept graced our presence back in 2005.

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Project Car SOTU: Toyota MR2 “Someday” Race Car

It’s a situation that us car lovers fantasize over: a car somehow falls into your lap and you feel not only morally obligated, but genuinely excited, to accept it as your own. You welcome it with open arms, tell your friends of the new addition to your fleet, spend hours on the internet researching the model, and, for weeks on end, fail to think of much else aside from that new-to-you car that’s waiting for attention. But, alas, that’s not necessarily the way the cookie crumbles, so to speak.

A few years back my friend Dan and I were fortunate enough to take on joint ownership of a beaten-and-battered but still too free to pass up 1991 MR2 and we had big, broad plans for the racing series (yes, serieS in the plural) that we were going to enter with it. Texts and Facebook messages were exchanged at a record pace upon bringing the car home. Our hopes were high.

That initial Intro post was one of my first here at Hooniverse, and it went live well over a year ago. We drove the little sports car home from Jersey over two years ago. I’d love to report that a lot has been done on the MR2 front since then, so read on to find out (though the above image may serve as a hint).

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Project Car SOTU: Subaru WRX

I’ve been posting a lot test-drive reviews lately, and not without weight to them. It’s probably been easy to pick up on, but it’s time to spell it out: I’m shopping for a possible replacement for my WRX. Not yet entirely sold on getting rid of it, I’m simply driving cars that are on my short list and deciding if they would work for me or not.

Not that the WRX is much of a project car, and thus doesn’t totally fit the PCSOTU bill, but should it stay in my possession there will be some tinkering done to make it better suit my wants and needs. A great car it might be, but it is not without shortcomings.

Even though we checked in on the WRX just a few weeks ago, let’s take a quick look at where I’m at with the car and if that happens to be any closer to making a decision. Hit the jump to read more.

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