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1970 Porsche 911: Understanding the Love Affair

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I didn’t completely understand the unadulterated love plied upon the Porsche 911. I know that it’s a supposed to be a pure driving machine. I know that it’s a precise instrument for a skilled enthusiast. I know that I still didn’t fully “get it”.

Now it’s time for me to understand, and I’m not getting my Porsche 911 education by way of the latest and greatest that Stuttgart has to offer. Instead, we’re taking the harder route with a 1970 Porsche 911.

This harder route takes us to the always wonderful Angeles Crest Highway, and to a place where Porsche discovery can happen.

It turns out the harder route is actually the quickest way to make me understand why everyone loves the Porsche 911.

[Many thanks to John the owner for supplying us with the car, and also for snagging the oh-so-sweet drone shots.]

Q70 Hybrid: A Review for Infiniti Naysayers

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So I realised that I, at 34 years of age, had never driven an Infiniti. Like hangliding and menage-a-trois this was in danger of becoming another life box destined to be left unticked. No way was I going to let this happen.

The very helpful Infiniti representative was rather proud of their independence from Nissan, though It’s still hard to countenance this as fact. The car I was standing next to actually wears Nissan Fuga badges in Japan, where both cars are built in one factory. A Nissan factory. But who cares? What’s wrong with it being a Nissan? They’ve built some lovely cars over the years. And the Sunny. Truth is the fickle British public, though familiar by now with the 370Z and, of course, GT-R, still finds it hard to place the concept of a “Luxury” Nissan. Historically Nissan has never really bothered with UK imports of big, spangly sedans. The Laurel, 280c and 300c were only ever of minority interest over here, the Maxima never really caught on and the QX sold more on the value-for-money front than on desirability.

I was taken aback, then, when I visited the Tokyo Motor Show in 2007 to find a whole ‘nother world of swanky Nissans. America has known the Infiniti brand since 1991 and so “Nissan’s Lexus” is old news. But jumping into the cockpit of a Fuga in 2007 was a revelation to me when my view of Nissan broadly consisted a spectrum of shades of beige from Micra thru Primera. “This is awesome!” I thought, and “I want one” before necking another can of Pocari Sweat and moving onto the next show stand.

And here I am again with a Fuga, except this time it’s the current model and I have the keys.

… Continue Reading

Our Cars: Suzuki Kizashi
Welcome The Town Cow’s Successor

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From the time I formally introduced myself to the Hooniversalist faithful, my main ride has been a ’91 Lincoln affectionately dubbed the “Town Cow.” And along the way, I’ve chronicled its long, sad decline into beater-dom. I’ve also on several occasions expressed my unabashed affection for the underrated, star-crossed Suzuki Kizashi. Well, eleven days ago, I became the owner of a 2011 Kizashi GTS Sport, and my motoring world has pretty much been turned inside-out — in the best way possible. … Continue Reading

Mmm-Mmm Good? The BMW M4

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BMW has been on an… interesting path the last few years. They still occasionally toss out that “Ultimate Driving Machine” but their lineup suggests they should consider going with something else.

Still, there are a few models that pop up and seem poised to stir the soul. The M4 is such a car. Is it really a bit of classic BMW shining through or are we staring at the overweight former high-school athlete who went off to college and gained ALL OF THE POUNDS.

Hit play and find out…

Review: 2015 Hyundai Genesis AWD 3.8

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I do some of my best thinking while driving. Not city or spirited driving, but long wide highway at night type of driving, where there is sure to be a speed trap. With the cruise control set to fourteen over the limit, my mind starts wandering. Sometimes it’s about life, past and present, people that inspired me, lost loves, missed opportunities, and choices made. Other times it’s about the car I am driving, and sometimes, when the conditions are just right, it’s all of the above.

The latter was the case when I was driving this 2015 Hyundai Genesis. Its smooth and quiet ride was quite conducive to my mind running amok. Deep thoughts commenced – in college, did Kathy know that I was in love with her? Should I continue at my current job or look for more interesting opportunities? Big projects? Government work? Automotive industry? Wow, these seats are really soft – soft yet supportive! How am I going to pay for Gabby’s college? Should she go to a private school? These pretzels are making me thirsty. Why is a V8 even an option on this car? It’s not like it’s short on power.

This continued for a while and eventually developed into a conversation about the car. This review of this 2015 Hyundai Genesis is a transcript of this conversation that I had with myself. In reality, if this was an interview or a podcast with Jeff, it wouldn’t have sounded any different.

… Continue Reading

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid & PHEV: Can Green Be Normal?

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What do you expect out of a mid-sized family sedan? More and more, you hear “fuel economy” as one of the top factors in buying a new car. I mean, sure it’s important. We all like our sports cars and German super sedans until we have to fill them up with premium unleaded, yeah? Fuel prices are back down to an acceptable level, enough that truck and SUV sales are back through the roof, but we all know that won’t last right? When it hits the fan again, and we’re fringing on 5 dollars a gallon, hybrids will be all the rage again. So which one do you buy? Do you need a plug-in hybrid?

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First Drive: 2016 Honda HR-V

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Believe it or not, the sub-compact crossover is pretty much a new class of vehicle here in the States. The luxury or premium versions hit the market first, and now the standard machines are ready to flood the streets… and flood the streets they will.

Which will be crowned king? Well, with our first taste of this segment being the 2016 Honda HR-V, we might have just met his majesty.

We love wagons, but we live in a crossover world… and this will surely be one of the best ones out there.

[Disclaimer: Honda wanted us to check out the new HR-V so they flew us to Miami. I tried a hand-rolled cigar after dinner, and yep… I still don’t love cigars. Also, they had a selfie contest during the trip and I won. You can think less of me now if you’d like.] 

Review: 2015 Toyota Prius C

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[Editor’s note: Toyota lent us the key fob to this little city car for a week with a full tank of gas. We returned it with a full tank and without having attempted to flog it on a racetrack, though we wish we had done so like Jack Baruth did.]

There it is. Look at it, the filthy Internet Car Guy villain: Toyota Prius. Look at how its eye-searing orange paint calls for attention to its driver’s smugness and casual left-lane-blocking indifference. Look at how it wants to save us all by ruining us all.

Look at how I took the key (fob) to this Prius C and drove it to 150 miles from suburban Chicago to Michigan for a 24 Hours of LeMons race because it’s easy to render Internet judgment on a car’s premise; it’s more meaningful to know meet your villain.

So I did. For you. For the Internet. For us all.

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2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Bang for the buck… redefined

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Remember when the rest of the world used to make fun of the Corvette? It wasn’t completely warranted, yet there were some criticisms that both stuck and stung. Those days were officially pushed into the past when the new C7 Corvette arrived.

The 2015 Corvette Z06, however, takes those old notions, douses them in high-octane fuel, and sets them ablaze. That’s because it just might be the best bang for the buck performance machine on the planet.

Hell it might be one of the best performance machines on the planet *period*

[DisclaimerChevrolet threw us the keys to the Z06 and let us borrow it for a weekend. Fuel was used to generate noise, tire smoke, and a burning desire to own a new Z06.]

Going Back In Time with the Nissan Juke

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I only had a short period in the company of Nissan’s high-riding mechanised toad, the Juke, so the following can’t really be called a review. Well, it is and it isn’t, if you see what I mean.

I was certainly able to get an impression of the car. I was able to determine that, give or take, I actually quite like the look of it. If the Juke was a person you were meeting for the first time you would find conversation difficult. His nose would be on his forehead, his eyes would be in his cheeks and he would have several little mouths dotted around his chin- which is in the wrong place in itself. Yet, for all his challenging visage you would probably get on with him all right. He speaks sense and is reasonably witty.

On the face of it he seems reasonably up to date, too. His CV bristles with all today’s De Riguer acronyms, his location is satellite pinpointed and his innards are climatically controlled. Furthermore, his breath is fresh and his stamina is long, thanks to Nissan’s PureDrive Diesel technology. Yes, it’s fair to say that my ugly-handsome new acquaintance can stand shoulder-to shoulder with his peers without being too embarassed.

In private, though, he exhibited one or two character traits that I thought had gone the way of empire building and casual racism. Yes, the Nissan Juke does things that I thought we had moved away from years ago.

… Continue Reading

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