April 11, 1997 |
The boomers are getting older and wider, and their kids are getting older and taller. Consequently, Mr. and Mrs. Boomley have been buying sedans instead of coupes. As is the case whenever the Boomleys burp or stub their toes, cataclysmic socioeconomic changes follow. This time around, their shifting driving preferences have left sedan sales booming - and coupe sales dying. Someone has already pulled a sheet over the stiffening body of the Toyota Camry coupe. The Ford Thunderbird and Mercury Cougar coupes will be interred at the end of the model year.
May 25, 1986 |
Remember when you could walk into a new-car showroom and order an automobile with precisely the optional equipment you wanted? Well, you still can, but chances are you won't. Because as soon as you tell the salesman exactly what you want, he is going to show you how insane it would be to get just what you want. Let's say, for example, that you walk into a Lincoln/Mercury dealer and tell the salesman you would like a Mercury Lynx with nothing but automatic transmission. He is going to look at you as if you've spent the last several years in a cave near the Arctic Circle and then patiently explain that you really don't want a mere automatic transmission.
March 21, 1986 |
Until recently, no one has ever accused Fuji Heavy Industries of building a sexy Subaru. That changed late in 1984, with the debut of the sporty XT. It changed even more this January, when Subaru introduced the Three-Door Hatchback. The aerodynamic Three-Door Hatchback is what good, clean automotive styling is all about. From this motorist's vantage point, it is the most aesthetic Subaru ever made. If there is one design nit to be picked with this handsome coupe, it is that its 13-inch wheels and tires are a tad too small to be precisely proportionate to its body.
May 23, 2016 |
Question: I'm writing to you hoping you can resolve an argument I have with my mother. When stopped at a stoplight, I shift my automatic transmission into neutral so I don't slip the transmission bands. My mom says I shouldn't shift out of drive. Am I doing the transmission a favor by shifting into neutral, or does it matter? Who is correct? Answer: Moms are inherently correct no matter the issue, right? And your mom is correct in this case as well. First off, when your vehicle is standing still with the engine running in drive, it is not "slipping the bands.
February 8, 1991 |
The BMW 525i that I tested was black to the fifth power. Black body, black tires, black door panels, black dashboard and black leather upholstery. When you couple this ebony monotony with BMW's considerable and congenital design restraint, you have something that sounds awfully funereal. But it wasn't. Rather, it was the automotive equivalent of women who wear simple, black knit dresses, little jewelry and even less makeup. You can argue, of course, that the 525i's $34,500 starting price makes it the cheapest of the midsize 5-series cars.
May 14, 2001 |
Finding paths has never been a problem for Nissan's big sport-utility vehicle, but finding horses is another story. The Pathfinder, a real truck that can handle longs, boulders and streams with the best of them, has been around for nearly 15 years. But its available power has never been its forte. "Carlike" SUVs that were designed mostly for handling snowy or wet asphalt and not the backwoods have been able to show their heels to the Pathfinder, despite its occasional minor power boosts.
April 6, 1990 |
The key development with the 1990 Toyota 4Runner is certainly the advent of a four-door model. Like the other builders of compact four-wheel-drive sport utility vehicles, the Japanese manufacturer had to have a four-door to compete. Until recently, there were only a few four-doors on the market, notably the Jeep Cherokee. The rest of the players, like the Ford Bronco II and Chevy S-10 Blazer, were available only as two-doors. Because more and more people are buying these rugged off-roaders for use as high-traction, on-road station wagons, the sales growth in the sport-utility segment has been in four-doors.
September 20, 1991 |
Is it possible to buy a roomy, well-equipped high-performance sedan with a list price of less than $18,000? The answer is yes, and the car is the base Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme equipped with the performance package and several key luxury options. Thus fitted, this automobile is a remarkable mixture of comfort, practicality, fun and value. Here's the arithmetic: Start with a base Cutlass Supreme sedan, a spacious, comfortable, five-passenger midsize car with a base price of $15,095, and a standard equipment list that includes a three-speed automatic transmission, air conditioning, power four-wheel disc brakes, power steering, a fully independent suspension and a stereo.
February 21, 1986 |
It's true that Nissan's wedgy, sporty-looking Pulsar NX is not as fast as it looks. But that's OK. The Japanese car maker wasn't trying to create competition for its $21,000 300ZX Turbo when it designed this $9,000 coupe. Rather, it was attempting to build a small, comfortable, economical car that would be fun to drive and have enough styling pizazz to deserve a second glance. In that, it has succeeded admirably. The car engenders none of the econobox boredom you might expect in this price range.
December 30, 2012 |
The BMW 3-Series has been king of the compact sport sedans since shortly after our ancestors became bipedal. Cars that present their drivers with that kind of grace and athleticism tend to get the keys to the automotive throne room. And those kinds of cars also beg imitation. When Lexus set out to design its own compact sport sedan, it could have fitted that IS model with a number of engines from its arsenal, but chose a 2.8-liter in-line six - which is exactly what the 3 Car was using at the time.