Try as I might, I just can't bring myself to stick to a routine of drinking diet soda. Nevermind the fact that I'm trying to cut soda out of my life altogether - every now and then, I just want the high-octane stuff, and diet simply won't do. If I'm already going to subject myself to the sweeteners and caffeine, I'm going to take the calories that go along with it.
Some people feel the same way about cars (go big or go home!), but I'm not one of them - I often see the merit in less-potent machines that automakers offer. For example, while I simply adored the Mini John Cooper Works GP that I recently tested, I still said I'd rather have a Cooper S Hardtop every day. And while the Ford Focus ST may have been crowned the winner in my hot hatch comparison test from last year, my experience in the Fiesta ST a couple of months ago reminded me yet again that less can indeed be more.
So when Fiat introduced this 500 Turbo - a sort of Diet Abarth - I was prepared for the possibility of similar conclusions. But with the range-topping Abarth proving to be an incredibly delicious concoction, would this tall glass of diet quench my thirst just the same?Permalink | Email this | Comments
As BMW prepares to introduce its first-ever front-wheel drive car, the upcoming 1 Series GT, it looks like there will be at least two versions of the car. A conventional-looking hatchback was spotted testing late last year, but now we see an extended-length version in order to accommodate a third row of seats.
Judging by these spy shots, this 1 Series GT prototype has received an extended wheelbase, larger rear doors and more upright D-pillars compared to our previous spy shots (show in the gallery below) all with the aim of creating additional passenger and cargo space. Like the smaller 1 Series GT, this longer model would likely carry over the same powertrain options, which are expected to consist of three- and four-cylinder engines, a hybrid system and the choice of front- or all-wheel drive. The 1 Series GT could make its debut this fall at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but we might have to wait until next year to see the people mover.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Our tiniest Toyota (Scion iQ notwithstanding) is about to get a little French flair. The Japanese automaker announced Thursday that its Toyota Motor Manufacturing France facility would begin building Yaris models destined for North America - specifically, the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. This will mark the first time in history that Toyota has exported vehicles to North America from Europe.
Initially, Toyota will export roughly 25,000 Yaris models to North American markets from France each year. In order to handle this additional production, Toyota Motor Manufacturing France has invested 10 million euro into its French facility.
Despite being somewhat of a snooze-fest (it's a car!), the Yaris carries on in North America with a 106-horsepower 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, with prices starting at $14,370 for the three-door and $15,395 for the five-door, not including $795 for destination.Permalink | Email this | Comments
For the second time in my life, I'm staring at an engine in the back of a truck with no concept of how to get it safely into the garage by my lonesome. The first time this happened, I dragged home a $300 International 345 V8 in the back of my Scout Terra only to discover that the bounds of my manliness terminated well before my ability to muscle that 800-pound cast iron block out of the pickup bed.
There's an EcoBoost 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder in there somewhere, and it's headed straight for Ugly Horse.
Now you know the story of how and why I bought my first engine puller.
Some six years later I'm playing out the same dance, though a Ford F-250 has stolen the Scout's starring role, and there's a towering pallet of thick cardboard boxes in place of the old International mill. It's not that the boxes are particularly heavy. They're just stacked too high to get in the garage. Each one is emblazoned with a massive Ford Racing Performance Parts logo and wrapped in enough plastic to keep both prying fingers and the persistent rain at bay. Good thing, too. There's an EcoBoost 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine in there somewhere, and it's headed straight for Ugly Horse.
Project Ugly Horse is an ongoing series. Need to catch up? You can find the previous articles here.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Look at the 2013 Nissan Leaf - even one parked next to a 2012 model - and you'll be hard-pressed to spot the differences. Changes and updates have been made, but you have to know the details to tell. It's sort of like listening to a hipster tell you why Interpol and The National have completely different sounds.
Nissan says it didn't reinvent the Leaf because what the company has created is working. Over 25,000 Leafs have been sold in the US - 62,000 around the world - since the car went on sale in late 2010. That may not sound like a lot, but it's heads and shoulders above any other all-electric car available anywhere. The car has its detractors - boy, does it ever - but Nissan knows it's hard to argue with real-world success.
We recently spent a few hours driving the new Leaf - an SL-trim version, optioned out to $36,910 - around the hills of central Tennessee after a visit to Nissan's new 475,000 square-foot battery plant. What we learned there provided a lot of hints about the company's electric future. Nissan may be leading today, but company head Carlos Ghosn has made huge, multi-billion-dollar bets on zero-emission technology and the rest of the world has been very slow to prove him right.Permalink | Email this | Comments
For some reason, having unlikely rappers - like minivan-driving suburbanites or British mothers - spit about their rides is still a catchy advertising hook, even in other cultures. Far more so, we're guessing, than having P. Diddy sing about his dog and his pickup truck or a Brazilian street gang doing a Celtic dirge, for example.
And that's how you get three grandmothers ridin'