Season Recap: Car We Want in Our Driveway


Now that we’ve tackled the best economy cars, hybrids, SUVs and concept cars, it’s time to decide which car we want in our own driveways. This post is kind of like asking us what we’d do if we won the lottery, but considering we’re a fickle bunch when it comes to cars, there’s a bit more to consider than pure fantasy.

Kelsey Mays:
2009 Cadillac CTS-V
Energy independence notwithstanding, I’d gladly shell out $4 a gallon for a CTS-V. The regular CTS is one of Lutz & Co.’s finest achievements yet, and the thought of 550 hp underfoot is stupefying enough to make me crave one. Reality bites, but this Caddy bites back: It still has a full backseat, commute-friendly amenities and a trunk that can fit a weekend’s baggage. Naturally, if I had one, most of my weekends would be spent at the track.

By David Thomas | March 28, 2008 | Comments (15)

Season Recap: Concept We'd Like To See in Production


We’ve already recapped our favorite economy cars, hybrids and SUVs. Now it’s time for the concept cars to take center stage. This auto-show season carmakers were remarkably frugal in debuting new concepts. A stagnant economy and rocky financial situations for many of the major players might have had something to do wtih that, but we don’t like excuses. Those that brought the goods get our praise. Here are the concepts we’d most like to see go into production. 

David Thomas:
Land Rover LRX
While I’d really like to see more interesting hybrids on the market, like the Toyota A-BAT, Honda CR-Z and GMC Denali XT, the only concept that floored me with how cool it and had a possible segment to conquer was the diminutive Land Rover. If Land Rover could come out with a miniature all-wheel-drive hatchback before Mini, I think it could bring in a lot of folks looking to downsize while retaining functionality and capability in their car.

By David Thomas | March 28, 2008 | Comments (5)

Season Recap: The Best SUVs


We’ve already recapped our favorite efficient cars and hybrids, but what about the SUVs? Even with sky-high gas prices, new SUVs of all sizes are coming to market. This year brought some of the best interiors and fuel efficiency yet in this segment, but what glorified station wagon took our staff’s hearts?

Joe Wiesenfelder:
2009 Volvo XC60
Put simply, there were some impressive redesigns this year, but I have to go with an all-new entry — especially when it's a smaller alternative to an existing SUV: The XC60 is a handsome vehicle with a high-quality interior and all the safety features you could possibly want. It isn't too small in practical terms compared to the XC90, but it is smaller. These days, smaller is better.

By David Thomas | March 28, 2008 | Comments (4)

Season Recap: Efficient Cars


As the last major show of the season wraps up in New York City this weekend, it’s time to choose the best of the best. After trips to Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago and New York, the staff reflects on which vehicles we think will make the biggest impact this year and beyond. We’ll start the review with each of our picks for the Best Fuel-Efficient Car from the four shows.

Best Fuel-Efficient Car

David Thomas:
2009 Ford Fiesta
This wasn’t so tough: It came down to the new Honda Fit or the Ford Fiesta. I picked the Fiesta — in spite of the fact that it didn’t show up at any of the stateside shows as a finished production car — because I think it will be a game-changer for Ford. It’s good-looking, has a wild interior and will hopefully bring an affordable entry-level car to a domestic automaker that needs it.

By David Thomas | March 28, 2008 | Comments (13)

Video: Suburban Dad vs. Chief Mom

Chief Mom vs. Suburban Dad

KickingTires collides with Mother Proof at the Chicago Auto Show, as Chief Mom Kristin Varela takes on Suburban Dad Patrick Olsen in a test of wits, cunning and parenting skill. The contest pits the two parenting heavyweights in an epic race to quickly and safely load a Hyundai Veracruz with a kid and a day’s worth of shopping. Sure, Kristin’s children are closer to the “loading” age, but Patrick has years of seniority and experience on her. Who takes the top prize in this battle of Goliath vs. Goliath? Check out today’s video to find out.

By David Thomas | February 20, 2008 | Comments (5)

Boutique Sports Cars Offer New Choices for High-End Car Buyers

Fisker Karma

Porsche and Ferrari are household names even if the cars they build don’t sit in many U.S. garages. The world of exclusive, high-end sports cars is poised to gain some less-familiar brand names, though, as Fisker, Yes! and Tesla plan new models for the U.S.

Because these cars are so unusual, they should appeal to a number of customers, but competition in the exotic sports car segment is already fierce and challengers face additional hurdles, like establishing a dealer network and building a brand reputation.

It's also far from a foregone conclusion that all three of these sports cars will make it to a road near you, as any number of factors could force their makers to abandon previously announced plans.

By Mike Hanley | February 20, 2008 | Comments (5)

Ford Technology Lets Workers, Bosses Keep Track

Ford Work Trucks Video

If you're a contractor, there’s likely nothing more annoying than arriving at a job without a tool you need. If you're a boss, there’s likely nothing more annoying than not knowing where your employees are. To help remedy that, Ford is rolling out new technologies, called Ford Work Solutions, that are designed for business owners who use their trucks or vans as important tools in their own right. Work Solutions will be available in fall 2008 on the 2009 F-150, F-Series Super Duty trucks and E-series vans. We recently got a hands-on demonstration of the new offerings at the Chicago Auto Show (see video), and also talked with a local construction company to see whether these features would work in the real world.

By Joe Bruzek | February 19, 2008 | Comments (2)

Video: A Car Geek Loose at the Auto Show

Big Trucks Video

Auto shows are great for car shoppers and people who want to get into as many cars as possible to make an important buying decision. For the car geek, however, they're our opportunity to drool over the hot rods, muscle cars and sports cars we’ve been obsessing about since the first jumbo-size images were posted on our computer desktops. With camera crew in hand, I took a brief look at the show-stoppers — some new, some old — at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show.

Share this video via YouTube

Muscle Cars Mount Comeback, Can Market Sustain Them? 

By Joe Bruzek | February 18, 2008 | Comments (0)

Video: Mega Trucks on Display

Big Trucks Video

With 1.3 million square feet of floor space, the Chicago Auto Show is a massive exhibition of cars and trucks. It seems fitting, then, that the show plays host to a number of mega-sized trucks, including a new semi from International: the Lonestar. Check out this video to see these behemoths up close and you can share the video via YouTube.

By David Thomas | February 18, 2008 | Comments (0)

New Cars Showcase Clean Diesel Options


The diesels are coming! The diesels are coming!

The first auto shows of the year offered hints of the diesel invasion to come. Among the green technologies announced at Detroit were almost 10 diesel engine options, most of them in models going on sale this year. Concept cars highlighted five more. What's exceptional, apart from the number, is that all the vehicles listed below are either cars or SUVs, not heavy-duty pickup trucks, which is where diesels have been offered all along and will continue to be, in growing numbers. Some are sports cars, which illustrates that diesels can be quick, too.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | February 14, 2008 | Comments (15)

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