Larry Printz Archive
It happens every year: a fresh batch of cars turns 25 years old, making them eligible for antique status under state law and the bylaws of the Antique Automobile Club of America. This year, that means 1989 model-year cars and trucks are considered antiques. Here are some of the significant new models from that year.
Fuel economy is driving automobile design in ways that you would never expect. Some of them you can see when you look at a new vehicle, such as when automakers replace a larger engine with a smaller one, or add more gears to a transmission. But there are other, less obvious ways engineers are squeezing more miles per gallon out of the cars and trucks that you buy.
While car enthusiasts want their vehicles to drive fast, handle with precision and deliver exuberant performance, most drivers consider their cars to be little more than a major household appliance with four tires – one that consumes gas, devours oil and requires a vast amount of money each month for financing, insurance and maintenance.
One call to Dave Pericak, chief engineer for the 2015 Ford Mustang, significantly affected the 50th anniversary model of Ford’s legendary pony car.
Like landline phones, fax machines and VCRs, the station wagon is an endangered species that’s disappearing from the automotive landscape thanks to the popularity, and superior functionality, of the crossover sport utility vehicle. Compare today’s test drive, the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon, to its sibling, the BMW X3 crossover.
There was a time when it was easy to tell the difference between a luxury car and an ordinary one. Usually, the luxury car had features you couldn’t get in a lesser car. But that might seem like ancient history when you consider the 2014 Nissan Altima.
You might think that gas-electric hybrids like the Toyota Prius are the future of automobiles. But some automakers think they are merely a bridge to a future in which all cars will run on electricity.
Given the recent attention that electric automaker Tesla has garnered, a bit of automotive history might help give some perspective.
Having previously driven the new Volkswagen Jetta as part of a three-month test drive, I am acutely aware of its virtues (perfect size, roomy interior, expansive trunk, conservative styling, attractive pricing, decent Fender audio system) and its vices (ancient engine and suspension, hard plastic interior, minor electrical issues, lousy navigation system).
Suppose you’re shopping for a men’s dress shirt at a department store. There seem to be a number of brands from which to choose: Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfinger, Van Heusen, Eagle, Izod, Arrow, Chaps, DKNY, Donald J. Trump, Geoffrey Beene, Joseph Abboud, Michael Kors, Sean John, Ike Behar, Valentino, Ted Baker and Kenneth Cole.
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