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Dodge Challenger 392 Hemi Scat Pack Shaker: Long name… lots of fun

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You can’t afford the Hellcat. You want more than the 5.7-liter R/T has to offer. Say hello to the Dodge Challenger 392 Hemi Scat Pack Shaker… if you can remember all of that.

It’s a long name, but it’s a car with lots of fun to pack up all those letters. There’s 485 horsepower on tap, and it’s more than enough to meter out punishment to those rear tires that are just aching for it.

There’s a hole in the hood, and yes it’s supposed to be there. That’s where the shaker scoop pokes through in order to feed some more air into the engine. It’s bolted directly to that 6.4-liter V8, and when you dip into the throttle it starts to dance a bit.

This is a toy for adults.
Adults who enjoy acting like children…

[Disclaimer: Dodge tossed us the keys to this Challenger and we had the car for a week. A tank of gas was included. Not included: fuzzy dice, a black t-shirt and plain jeans, and an iPod with classic rock. We supplied that ourselves… minus the dice.]

Hooniverse Ride Along: Polaris RZR 900 EPS

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The ethos of Hooniverse is the love for all things with wheels and an engine (or motor for the electric-powered offerings). When the opportunity arises to drive some stellar trails in ATV’s and Side-By-Sides we would be foolish to turn down the opportunity.

At this years Motor Press Guild Droptops & Dirt event in beautiful Malibu, Polaris brought out a few of their newest products. Todays focus is on the RZR 900 EPS and the high amounts of giggling fun that ensued.

Because I’m clumsy I went for the more enclosed option between a Side-By-Side and an ATV. Its 75 horsepower is more than enough to scoot this along. For those who thrive on numbers, 0-40mph is over in 3.76 seconds, and it’s enough to get the “throttle happy” into a bit of trouble on the trails. But it’s by no means scary. The capabilities and ease of use means the most novice driver can enjoy it.

Please disregard all my hooting and hollering (yes I’m Texan), it was an absolute blast to drive.

Quick Spin: 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S
…Fast Meter Redefined

Go ahead and think back to when you first started driving cars. Think to when you first felt something truly fast, if you rode in it, drove it or saw it blast pass you on a highway or local drag strip. For me it was a 1995 Chevrolet Camaro Z28. To 16 year old me this was a rocket ship and was like nothing I had driven up to that point… “allegedly.”

Since then I’ve driven some fairly fast cars, be they from the factory or heavily modified. Regardless of any power I’ve felt before, a strange and wonderful thing happened to me today.

My “fast meter” just got reset and I welcomed with open arms the brutal acceleration of the 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S.

… Continue Reading

Jaguar XJL: Long, Luxurious, and Lightweight

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If you’re shopping in the full-size luxury sedan segment, things are going well in your life. This is an expensive place to party, but you’re going to wind up going home with a winner.

This is a space dominated by Germany and Japan. We have the BMW 7-Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8, and the Lexus LS. There are others, of course. Some a bit less expensive and others costing as much as a condo or a house.

Somewhere in between all of that lies the Jaguar XJL. It’s a long-wheelbase sedan from the kitty company that’s now known for its rip-roaring V8s. How can the automaker’s full-size four-door get away then, with packing a 3.0-liter V6 under the hood here?

Well you add a supercharger to push power to 340-horsepower. You also build the body panels from aluminum to keep the weight down.

To take things even further, you create a seriously lux interior space, add way more style, and then price the thing better than the rest of the competition…

[Disclaimer: Jaguar tossed us the keys to the XJL, loaned us the car for a week, and included a tank of gas. During that time I founded a new hedge fund and bought a Hatteras because if felt like I could… the hedge fund is bankrupt and, if the insurance company asks, the boat was sunk off Catalina island by “pirates”.]

Rotten Rental Car Review: 2015 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T

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Sometimes the best option is to rent a car when you travel. I knew that for this trip I wouldn’t have time to properly review a car, so I didn’t even bother trying to ask for a press mobile. I wouldn’t have been able to do it the justice of a proper review. Yes, rental is the best option for this trip, this time. This was a two day turnaround trip to go see my mother for a surprise birthday visit. My step-father and I had made the plans and I’d be flying in for the weekend to surprise her. Flying out of Reno on Friday morning, landing in O’hare a few hours later, and flying back on Sunday in time for work on Monday. It’s an exhausting trip, but it was worth it to see the surprise on my mother’s face when I greeted her to her celebration.

While I was taxiing the runway, my wife was making arrangements with Enterprise for me to have a “Jetta or similar” waiting for me when I arrived at the rental counter. When I arrived, I presented my reservation number and they walked me out to the lot to select a car. They said “All we have in the midsize class right now is a Kia Soul and a VW Bug”. I’m sorry, but are either of those actually considered midsize? I look over a few spots and see a Jetta, so I point it out to the nice young lady helping me and say “What about that one?” She swiftly replies that this Jetta is a “Premium midsize”. Um… If my reservation says Jetta or similar, shouldn’t I get a Jetta if there’s one available? She wanted to upcharge me another 10 bucks a day for the privilege of driving the car I’d had on my reservation. I don’t understand rental companies or their stupid rules. She acquiesced and I got my Jetta at the reserved rate. Here we go, Chicago to Southwest Michigan and back in two days. Join me, will you?

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Hooniverse Reviews: Assetto Corsa

Greg Kachadurian August 6, 2015 Reviews

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There’s no shortage of racing games available to those who want them. The gaming industry has pumped out incredible titles over the last few decades and games are constantly evolving to meet the ever changing demands of bedroom racers. There’s a good racing game available on nearly every platform that can fulfill the needs of every kind of player, from the “I just want to have fun” gamers to the “I turn the house heat all the way up to simulate actual cockpit temperatures during a race” enthusiasts.

Guess which kind of player I am?

The kinds of racing games I’ve come to appreciate the most are the ones that strive to be as accurate and immersive as the real thing without any unnecessary fluff thrown in. In a world where games are expected to do everything well, I put a premium on games that do fewer things perfectly.

That’s why I’m excited to finally give Kunos Simulazioni’s Assetto Corsa for PC a full review on Hooniverse. I’ve been playing it for eight months now so it’s not necessarily a new game, but even among all of the newer offerings of 2015, it’s a wonderful racing simulator that does fewer things, damn near perfectly. … Continue Reading

First (Track) Drive: 2016 Cadillac ATS-V

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Cadillac has been cooking up some sweet V-Series machines for a few years now. Every new iteration brings about a more refined and compelling package. Such is the case with the all-new 2016 Cadillac ATS-V.

With its available manual gearbox, magnetic ride control, and 464-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 engine, it should prove to be quite the potent performer.

We trekked to Willow Springs Raceway to find out if that’s the case. Here’s a spoiler for you: The car’s awesome.

Having Your Cake vs. Eating it. Driving the AE86 Corolla GT TwinCam

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I don’t have a bucket list. If I was ever to compile one I fear there would be such an inconquerably tall pile of ambitions to remain unfulfilled that my resultant spiral into depression would only accelerate my progress towards the grave. I do have a to-do list though, and driving this car has been on it for ages.

The AE86 Corolla has turned into something of an improbable hero. It is worshipped by legions of loyal supporters and I was never entirely sure they all know what they’re talking about. It was high time I tried to work it out for myself. So, thanks to Toyota UK, I did.

… Continue Reading

Nissan GT-R Nismo: Do you love the latest & greatest?

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The Nissan GT-R has been a bit of a polarizing machine since it’s arrived years ago. Some love it while others feel it can be a bit soulless.

Regardless, there’s no denying its potent performance. Additionally, the car has only gotten faster, better, and more potent year after year. The latest and greatest version has spent time with the capable hands from the Nissan Motorsports division; otherwise known as NISMO.

The GT-R Nismo ups the crazy speed. It ups the crazy levels of grip, acceleration, stopping performance, and overall track-focused insanity.

Maybe it finally ups the number of people who love it for the absolutely focused machine that it is…

[Disclaimer: Nissan tossed us the keys to the GT-R Nismo for a few days. Our heart and brain thank them… our back has different feelings.]

Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen Wagon(wagen)

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You want a vehicle that can do 99% of everything that you think you need it to do? I have the perfect vehicle for you. It’s called a “wagon”, and it utilizes plenty of cargo room mixed with great driving dynamics and solid styling.

Oh you don’t like that idea? YOU’RE WRONG!

Say hello to the Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen, and say hello to a vehicle that will handle nearly all of your daily needs. It has loads of cargo space, returns tremendous fuel economy with the TDI motor, and is available rather nicely equipped for right around $30,000.

Stop buying crossovers. Start buying wagons… this one is a good one to start with.

[Disclaimer: Volkswagen tossed us the keys to this Golf Sportwagen and included a tank of the oil burning fuel. We barely dipped into it, despite putting a fair amount of miles on the car. Even with my fat foot, it has massive range per tank.]

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