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If you’re over a certain age – say 30, or 35 for sure – you remember the large sedans of the ‘90s. Comfortable, quiet, and roomy, those LeSabres and Park Avenues weren’t fun for enthusiasts, but they moved five or six people across town with relaxed ease.
That’s now the purpose of lots of crossovers, including the Dodge Durango pictured here. They’re built to haul families and cargo in comfort, and if they’re even a little bit fun to drive, well, that’s gravy.
That means, on balance, I tend to look askew at this category of vehicles, no matter how well they’re built or how well they do their assigned job. I like cars that are fun to drive, and I prefer sedans, wagons, and hatchbacks. Which means I am not the average consumer.
For the average buyer – the one that counts for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – the priorities are different, and not so different from that of the large, front-wheel-drive sedans that once roamed suburbia before demands for utility and a higher seating position collided with the proliferation of unibody architecture, causing demand for crossovers of all sizes to explode.
All this rambling means that there’s more than one way to judge vehicles. Do you judge them based on how fun they are to drive and how they resonate with your enthusiast tendencies, or do you judge them based on how well they do their intended job, or some combination of both?
Honda Reveals the Baby NSX, but It s Not What You Think
Honda has been on a bit of a teasing streak lately, showing us a brace of great concepts unveiled by Honda at the Frankfurt and Tokyo Motor Shows – concepts which may or may not evolve into anything we can buy on this side of the pond. Rumors also floated around about a little brother being created for the NSX. Adding fuel to that particular fire, patents were discovered for the latter.
As it turns out, those patents were absolutely real and a baby NSX is on its way as a driveable machine in the Gran Turismo video game.
Rare Rides: The 1990 Nissan Autech Stelvio Zagato AZ1 You ve Never Heard Of
A car styled by the Italians and built by the Japanese — the combination everyone says they want. It s rear-drive, a coupe, and has luxury trappings in the finest Italian tradition. It was so expensive when it was new that most people couldn t afford to look at it. All these qualities make this a Rare Ride you are required to like. Required, do you hear me?
It s the Nissan Autech Stelvio Zagato AZ1, and you re going to look at it.
Seriously, How Much More Abuse Can Faraday Future Take?
It s been a while since we ve discussed the ongoing plight of Faraday Future. While most of this year — and all of the last — was riddled with missteps from the automotive startup, we ve taken a break from reporting on it. That wasn t because its situation had improved, however. Oh boy, is that ever not the case.
Earlier this month, details emerged that the business was preparing to file for bankruptcy, followed immediately by the firm denying the validity of those claims. Then, news broke that Faraday s chief financial officer, Stefan Krause, had quietly resigned in October — despite having been hired specifically to solve the company s financial troubles back in March.
This got us wondering as to exactly how much more can go wrong before Faraday Future finally throws in the towel. Read More >
Any New Beetle Will Be Rear-wheel-drive, Says Volkswagen Chairman
We ve been talking about the next Volkswagen Beetle — well, a few of us have — ever since the restyled two-door dropped the New moniker and flatted out its roofline a tad.
While the 2012 reshaping gave the model a new lease on life, it also seemed to be the plucky coupe s end point, stylistically speaking. Where do you take a model from there, without erasing the retro charm that wooed buyers in the late 1990s? Maybe it was time for the model to die. Not surprisingly, reports arose last year claiming the Beetle had a date with the chopping block.
And yet, that rumor never really went anywhere. The model remains, its official future still in limbo. However, it seems Volkswagen brass is coming around to the idea that the Beetle deserves a permanent place in the company s lineup, though not in the layout we ve grown accustomed to.
Any new New Beetle will be rear-wheel drive, says VW chairman Herbert Diess. Read More >