Friday, December 10, 2004

Genuine Car Reviews

The Truth About Cars is just that, the truth about cars. It's a great website that spares no quarter when reviewing cars. It's really about time that someone on the Internet, who has the ability to test drive new cars, gets to do this. The mainstream press that reviews cars is so biased, or so non-critical. Even Car and Driver, lacks any substantive force to their reviews. Their latest issue rates the Pontiac GTO as merely one point worse than the Ford Mustang. Please. The Truth About Cars isn't concerned with pleasing their advertisers, since it doesn't have any. So it is honest. I just hope these reviewers don't get boycotted by automakers in revenge for true opinions.

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Thursday, December 09, 2004

Witness to a Prototype

You may have seen the following: A car with black cladding over the front and back ends, perhaps a zebra pattern on the doors, the entire car looking like something not yet completed. Perhaps you've only seen them in pictures on the Internet, with conjecture of what future model they might be, if you're lucky, you've seen them in person.

I saw one today. It was the second one I've seen so far in my life, both times I was in Downtown LA. This car had Michigan manufacturer's plates, and was a sedan. It was driven by a woman, with a man in the back seat behind her. I followed the car onto the freeway, until it went off to the 10 exit, and I continued onto the 110.

The car had a rod in the cabin that seemed to be holding up the roof. It had twin exhausts, and a wire ran from the center of the left back wheel into the back of the car. Another wire was connected to a hollow pod on the roof. Weird.

So what car was it? I have no idea. If I had a digital camera, I would have snapped a photo. I think it may have been a performance version of an upcoming sedan, from one of the Big 3. I don't believe the Japanese manufacturers have prototypes with Michigan manufacturer's plates, but I may be wrong. Is Michigan the only state that will give those types of plates? The man in the back seat of the car was asian, and I'd rather not become the ethnicologist and conjecture that he was Japanese. I'm still inclined to think it was a domestic manufacturer.

I think that it was a car made specifically for the American market. It was a big four door sedan. I think it may have been a Ford Fusion, since it wasn't as tall as the 500. It may have been the AWD version of the 500, but that seems less likely. It also may have been the replacement to the Dodge Stratus. Who knows? The guessing though is a little fun...

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Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Suing for the Right to Pollute

The AP is reporting that a couple auto manufacturers are suing California over planned carbon dioxide limiting laws. These laws would stand out as the first of their kind in the world. Since it would be, I believe, unconstitutional to set higher than federal laws concerning fuel economy because of the commerce clause, California is trying to limit carbon dioxide output. The automakers are saying that is directly tied to fuel economy.

Of course it's not. A diesel car makes more carbon dioxide than a hybrid and it has great fuel economy. The VW Golf diesel gets higher gas mileage than a Toyota Echo, and makes more carbon dioxide, for the 2005 model year.

Fuel economy sells, at least in some states, like California. The least polluting companies tend to do well here, better than their more polluting competitors. If the country keeps urbanizing, and gas prices keep going up, we'll see more people buying into less polluting cars, just because they pollute less, not because they save money necessarily.

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Monday, December 06, 2004

Cop Cars

I'm pretty sure it's the case all over America, but it certainly is the case in California: All cops drive Crown Victorias. I don't know if one model of vehicle has ever so dominated police forces around America.

That may change. There is a new RWD v8, cheap car, and that is the Dodge Magnum. Allpar.com, the definitive fan and news website for the Chrysler Group has a little tidbit on police testing of the Crown Vic and Magnum. As old as the Crown Victoria is it still handles slightly better than the brand new Magnum. Of course the Magnum is a station wagon, but still. The Crown Vic is based on a platform at least 20 years old!

My prediction--there's no way cops want to be caught dead driving station wagons. Expect the Crown Vic to continue dominating. At least until gas prices catch up with police stations' budgets.

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