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Podcast: Episode 68 – Electricity, Hydrogen, and Atomic Betty

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This week Jeff is out of town and leaves Blake and Chris to their own devices. They deliver a number of tangents cleverly disguised as segments including…

  • Live TV Audiences
  • So You Think You Can Dance
  • Blake reviews the new Cadillac Escalade
  • Android Auto & Apple Carplay
  • Drunk Drivers vs. Texting Drivers
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cells vs. Batteries
  • Elon Musks plans to rule the automotive industry
  • Chevy SS now with 100% more manual transmission
  • Monster Miatas

Hop the jump for the hot ear medicine…

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Video Review: Dinan S3-R BMW 1M
The Real Ultimate Driving Machine

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I harp on BMW a lot. Too much, in fact. The automaker still builds machines that provide a truly engaging driving experience. The problem is though, that the lineup has less and less of that. Still, cars like the new M3 and M4 prove that BMW can still create ultimate driving machines.

Back in 2011, however, they may have created their own modern-day masterpiece. It’s called the BMW 1 Series M Coupe, or 1M for short. This 335-horsepower mighty mobile proved that BMW had not in fact lost its mojo.

Did they leave a bit on the table with the 1M? I wouldn’t have said so back then, but after spending a week with the Dinan S3-R 1M I’m singing a different tune. What Dinan has done is take a great car… and made it into one of the best true driver’s cars that I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

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Shipping Cars to Central Asia and Beyond

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Used cars are shipped to other countries. We hold this truth to be self-evident. We all know this happens on a daily basis, but what are the cars being exported, where are they going, and what is the process like? The good people at West Coast Shipping near the Port of Oakland opened their doors and let me take a fascinating peek inside their busy operation. If you are a fan of cars, geopolitics, or freight logistics, then you are in for a treat. Make the jump to see what I saw and learned.

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Drive Report – The 2014 Ram C/V; A surprising and versatile small cargo van…

 

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The small van category is a growing one, at least here in the States. Ford took a gamble, and introduced the Ford Transit Connect during the 2010 model year, and it was a rousing success. Here was a product, introduced at the right time to an eager buying public, and sales haven’t cooled since. In fact, the Transit Connect was just redesigned, built at a different location, and spawned a couple of new competitors in the form of the Nissan NV-200, and the soon to be introduced Ram Promaster City.

However, there has been a competitor to the small Transit almost from the beginning, and it is a very capable bargain if you can get past its looks, and I just spent some time behind the wheel of one. Introducing the Ram C/V…

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Podcast: Episode 67 – The boys are back in town

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For the first time in a long time, the whole crew is back together. Hosts Jeff Glucker and Blake Z. Rong are joined by both producers, Chris Hayes and Zack Klapman. This means they dive right into what everyone has been up to, which means a wide range of car adventures. Blake recently returned from the same Nashville-based Nissan event that Jeff spoke about last week, Zack was driving all over the country for a few different things includeing an IMSA race and a country-wide Rally, and Jeff’s prepping for a few more adventures.

The talk changes to what we’ve been driving, which includes the 2015 Cadillac Escalade, and a few other machines old and new.

Hit the jump to listen in, while taking in the rest of our Project Car State of the Union Day on Hooniverse.

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Review: 2014 Ford Fiesta EcoBoost 1.0 Powershift. Fun… if you insist.

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I like my cars to be visceral, possibly brutal. I like to feel the car fighting back as I wrestle it around my favourite backroads route. I like to feel as if I’m working as part of a team, the car and myself acting in unison to cover ground as entertainingly as possible. The car doesn’t have to be totally reliant on muscle and it doesn’t have to have racetrack credentials to provide fun, a grunty lightweight like a Z4M or a heavy old horse like a Bentley Turbo R are equally adept at making me grin.

On the face of it, a low-powered Ford Fiesta with an automatic gearbox should be pretty much the opposite of what I love in a car. Take the jump to see whether this really is as miserable  a combination as it sounds.

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Podcast: Episode 66 – On the road again (special episode)

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So we’re trying something new today. I’m reporting in from the road, as I’ve traveled to Nashville, TN to sample the entire Nissan lineup. After a day of driving, I am sitting down to let you know how the cars were, about a few special gems that were available to drive, and what I’ve got coming up when I gets back home.

Also, I’m apparently easily distracted by the chick in the AT&T commercial…

Make the jump for Episode 66.

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Review: 2014 Dacia Sandero Access 1.2 75

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Last year I was overcome by waves of delirious excitement when the opportunity arose to test the entry level Dacia Duster, the cheapest quasi-SUV available on the UK market. It lived up to every one of my expectations and my verdict fizzed with superlatives.

And you know what, this time I’m even more excited. I’ve just driven the Dacia Sandero. Good news! And even better; the one I spent time in was the 1.2 litre “Access” model. In other words, the cheapest new car British money can buy. Take the jump to ascertain the ratio of cheap and / or cheerful.

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First Drive: 2015 Lexus NX
Dynamically, a step in the right direction

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[Editor's Note: We have a First Drive coming soon too. The initial footage is not yet finished though, so GET EXCITED because you have more Lexus NX coming your way.]

It also happens to be damned perfect for its target market. The RX is comfortable, offers up an appropriate level of luxury, looks fancy enough without standing out, and is priced in line with the rest of its segment. If you’re afraid to test the diesel waters, the Lexus RX Hybrid is a perfectly fine vehicle for you.

Still, there are some who desire some engagement from their machines. Toyota President Akio Toyoda himself even said recently that he desires to see more a more sporting attitude and nature throughout the Toyota lineup. To that end, we’ve begun to see the initial results of his push. The Avalon no longer looka like the last car you’ll ever buy your grandmother, the Lexus IS and GS are truly entertaining machines both on the street and the track, and the Toyota/Scion GT-86/FR-S are rhythm car blasts from enthusiast heaven.

It should stand then, that a compact crossover from Lexus should be enjoyable to drive as well. This is one of the hottest segments out there, so Lexus needs to offer something unique. Enter the 2015 Lexus NX… and even if you hate how it looks, prepare to love how it drives.

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Podcast: Episode 65 – Bavsound Brings The Noise

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We may occasionally rant against all-things BMW on this podcast, but deep in our dark hearts there lies a soft spot for the Bavarian beasts. This seems to be the case for Jeremy Whittle and Jason Seaver, because the pair are part of a company called Bavsound. Essentially, Bavsound is an audiophile haven aimed at making BMW vehicles a better place to listen to music.

Myself and Blake Z. Rong dive right into the chatter with the Bavsound crew to get the low down on all things automotive audio. We learn that Pink Floyd can make you cry under the right circumstances, paper speakers aren’t terrible, and factory systems can always be improved upon.

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