By Charles Krome
Here’s an example of a beautiful car that was, unfortunately, Jinx-ed almost from the very start. Which is only funny if you remember that “Jinx” was the name of the character played by Halle Berry in “Die Another Day”—and perhaps not even then. Regardless, the Pierce Brosnan-era James Bond film co-starred a number of PAG-era Ford products, including an Aston Martin Vanquish for Mr. Bond, a Jaguar XKR for one of the chief bad guys and a T-bird for Jinx—and it’s that last choice that caused the problem.
By Roger Boylan
I was curious when a 2011 “Spruce Mica” (pine-green) Toyota Matrix tester rolled into my driveway. Not that it was unexpected; it had been on my testing schedule for weeks. It was just that the Matrix, as a model, had pretty much fallen off my radar at around the same time its cousin, the Pontiac Vibe, ceased to exist. The highways aren’t exactly teeming with Matrices, and Toyota hasn’t seemed to know precisely how to market the car. Is it a sporty hatchback? A sports wagon? A station wagon? A cute ute? Opinions are divided, as opinions tend to be. “A very sensible choice,” opines one distinguished reviewer. “Enthusiasts should look elsewhere,” sniffs another.
By Chris Haak
When my wife and I decided almost four years ago that we had outgrown our midsize SUV and needed to get a bigger family hauler, I didn’t really know where to start looking. At the time, I was somewhat against the image of a minivan; having borrowed older ones from time to time, it seemed that I’d never been cut off by other motorists as often as on those occasions behind the wheel of an old Town & Country. To solve the problem, I embarked on a series of “family hauler” reviews, published on Autosavant, where I laid out my thoughts on three of the four contenders.
By Charles Krome
If asked to pick the vehicle most responsible for GM’s current run of success, I imagine that most people would end up choosing between a pair of Chevrolet products, the Volt or the Cruze. The former would probably get the nod from voters focusing on the future, while the latter—the second-best-selling car in the country in July—would score points for doing the heavy lifting today. And while those two are fine choices, I think I’d have to go with the Chevrolet Equinox.
By Roger Boylan
One of the main raps against Japanese cars over the years has been their blandness. This is less true now. Granted, many still have all the personality of a bowl of ramen noodles, but a strain of quirkiness has crept into the line-up; after all, Japan is the country that gave us Kabuki and Noh theatre, not to mention Pokemon. Those influences are apparent in some contemporary Japanese vehicles, such as the Nissan Cube and Honda Fit, as well as the Scion xB– the original xB, the oh-so-hip one that looked like an angry refrigerator. As far as its present-day descendant is concerned, however, the image that comes to my mind is that of Hector, the Looney Tunes cartoon bulldog. Actually, a squared-off version of Hector. Put it this way: if Hector mated with a shoebox, you’d have a 2011 Scion xB.
On the odd chance anyone missed it, Toyota has now unveiled the 2012 Camry, which is obviously a rather big deal for the automaker—and the U.S. market, of course. Toyota’s mid-size sedan has been the best-selling car in the U.S. for nine straight years, and 13 of the last 14; what’s even more amazing is that it also was back at the top of the heap in July, despite the production challenges poised by this spring’s disasters in Japan and any lingering effects of the Great Toyota Recallathon.
By: Carl Malek
After many months of teasing – not to mention several spy photos, including our own – Porsche has finally dropped the curtains on the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera (991) ahead of its impending debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September.
One of the biggest changes that careful observers will notice on the 2012 Carrera is that it has been stretched in overall wheelbase, which makes the new car about 3.9 inches longer than the old 911 it replaces along with a roof that has been lowered to help create a more aggressive appearance. In addition to the increased length, the 2012 Carrera also benefits from a body that is made from an aluminum and steel composite which not only reduces the car’s weight, but also enhances the aerodynamics of the car as well. Other than the lighter body and a slight repositioning of the side mirrors to the tops of the doors. The 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera manages to retain many of the same styling and basic visual elements that have been around since the car’s first generation almost a half century ago.
By Chris Haak
I could hardly wait for the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro to finally reach production. Growing up as a fan of the bowtie brand, it was fun to watch all of the excitement that took us from the Camaro concept in 2007 to the final production car in mid-2009. Then, when I finally had a chance to get behind the wheel of a new Camaro, I was left slightly underwhelmed. Sure, it was fast, but it had a pretty cheap interior, it was heavy, it was hard to see out of, and it was almost too large to call a “pony car” with a straight face, thanks to its full-size sedan-derived underpinnings.