Fri, 28 Jan 2011 09:41:00 ESTIhad five hours to think. That's how long it took to drive seven miles from downtown Washington to my home in Northern Virginia.
Sun, 23 Jan 2011 09:00:00 ESTDETROIT Comebacks can announce themselves in subtle ways. Witness the transport trailers parked at Chrysler Group's Jefferson Avenue North Plant here. The Daimler name is missing - obviously erased from what had been the DaimlerChrysler logo. Chrysler's name stands alone, proudly. It matters not ...
Sun, 16 Jan 2011 09:00:00 ESTDETROIT The traditional global automobile industry has two three-letter threats. One is Kia. The other is BYD. Kia, the other half of South Korea's Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, poses an immediate threat. BYD, a China-based energy company aspiring to produce the world's most efficient and afforda...
Sat, 15 Jan 2011 21:55:00 ESTDETROIT The traditional global automobile industry has two three-letter threats. One is Kia. The other is BYD. Kia, the other half of South Korea's Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, poses an immediate threat. BYD, a China-based energy company aspiring to produce the world's most efficient and afforda...
Sun, 09 Jan 2011 04:00:00 ESTThe 2011 Ford Explorer is more of a wagon and less of a truck than its predecessors. But it's a fully capable sport-utility vehicle - one of the best-engineered, best-equipped, and arguably safest and most environmentally friendly midsize SUVs made by Ford or by any other vehicle manufacturer.
Sun, 02 Jan 2011 00:40:00 ESTCORNWALL, N.Y. by The post-Christmas snow descended with militant urgency, wind-blown at 37 mph. By the time it ended, our travel plans were redrawn. The 2011 rear-wheel-drive Dodge Durango Crew sport-utility vehicle, with its 290-horsepower V-6 engine and commodious, comfortable cabin, would r...
Mon, 27 Dec 2010 14:10:00 ESTThe outside temperature was 27 degrees Fahrenheit. The air on this clear, moonlit night looked ice blue. It was the tail end of the Christmas shopping season. The stores were open late.
Fri, 17 Dec 2010 09:13:01 ESTSomething happened on my way to Earth, the intended destination of this week's column in terms of reviewing a vehicle affordable for most of us.
Fri, 10 Dec 2010 10:25:00 ESTLuxury is non-democratic. It is attractive precisely because it is exclusive.
Fri, 03 Dec 2010 09:30:00 ESTCORNWALL, N.Y. Democracy runs amok when we try to democratize everything, including luxury. That's especially true in the global automobile industry, which is fond of slipping its products into narrowly hewn slots to justify price differentials. We have, for example, this week's subject automobil...
Mon, 29 Nov 2010 13:08:02 ESTThe policeman was right. I was speeding. I have an explanation, which is not the same as an acceptable excuse. Nor is it meant to be. But it is the truth. I had slipped into the Joy Zone.
Fri, 19 Nov 2010 10:16:00 ESTLOS ANGELES The Toyota Venza has been called many things, including wagon, crossover and compact sport-utility vehicle. But Toyota insists that it's a car. So I'll roll with that. The problem is more a matter of market perception than it is one of manufacturer nomenclature. The Venza is a vehicle...
Fri, 12 Nov 2010 16:10:00 ESTCORNWALL, N.Y. Such mixed feelings: Driving a vehicle that has more of everything while being keenly aware that you and the vehicle in question would be better off with substantially less. It is the Denali Effect, evident in the 2011 GMC Acadia Denali crossover utility mobile, which also masquera...
Fri, 05 Nov 2010 10:17:00 EDTWashington Post Staff Writer Minivan style is an oxymoron. But with the 2011 Honda Odyssey, it is appropriate, which is not a universally pleasing thing. Some people hate the design. The front end slopes rakishly. The rear end, an appendage seemingly designed by a rap star, breaks away from the r...
Fri, 29 Oct 2010 09:50:00 EDT
Fri, 22 Oct 2010 11:47:01 EDTby Warren Brown Special to The Washington Post You don't understand the meaning of "Ford tough" until you've spent a week climbing in and out of a Ford F-350 Super Duty XLT pickup truck. That's climbing as in "climbing." My height is 5 feet 6 inches. My wife, Mary Anne, barely rises 5 feet. The 2...
Mon, 11 Oct 2010 09:02:00 EDTPARIS--We Americans are not seen as sensible people by global car companies, including those based in the United States. That's my conclusion after 12 hours of wandering around this year's installment of the Paris Auto Show, Europe's largest biennial display of automotive hardware and innovation.
Sat, 02 Oct 2010 18:32:00 EDTIt was delivered via fancy automobile carrier, one of those super-protective carriages for cars of such expense or importance they are best transported within the body and atop the wheels of another vehicle.
Fri, 24 Sep 2010 13:37:00 EDTMy dirges were sung too early. The formerly moribund Mercedes-Benz R-Class, the world's most luxurious minivan, lives.
Sat, 18 Sep 2010 18:21:00 EDTMitsubishi is more than Mitsubishi Motors. It is a massive multinational conglomerate with businesses in nearly every aspect of human life, including elderly care.
Sun, 05 Sep 2010 00:00:00 EDTThe theory of "temperate pragmatism," in vogue with some futurists, says we will no longer pursue luxury without portfolio. Hard times have chastened us, including those with money, or those left with less of it after Wall Street scams and bank failures, the theory says.
Sun, 29 Aug 2010 00:00:00 EDTCORNWALL, N.Y. It was motorized epiphany, the sudden realization that the seemingly impossible is possible. We can have power, fun in driving and fuel efficiency. All we need is money -- in a rounded sum, at least $44,000. But it's worth it, the 2011 BMW 335d sedan.
Sun, 15 Aug 2010 00:00:00 EDTThe automobile industry is a numbers game that sometimes works against common sense. Consider the matter of heavy-duty pickup trucks.
Sun, 08 Aug 2010 00:00:00 EDTLeadership inherently is at odds with the notion of "good enough." Leadership believes it can do better. It works to become the best. "Good enough" makes peace with mediocrity and settles comfortably into oblivion, which is where General Motors has been for the past two decades in the small-car...
Sun, 01 Aug 2010 00:00:00 EDTCORNWALL, N.Y. What was remarkably ordinary and even pleasant in its normalcy became miserable midway up Mine Hill Road, which rises nearly 1,500 feet above sea level.
Sun, 25 Jul 2010 00:00:00 EDTCORNWALL, N.Y. The hardest part was northbound on the New York State Thruway, especially near the Sloatsburg Service Area, where state troopers are especially active. I dropped the Mustang's six-speed manual transmission into fourth gear and prayed the car wouldn't stray past the posted 65-mph li...
Sun, 18 Jul 2010 00:00:00 EDTIndia's Tata Motors is keenly aware that no one needs an $80,000 sport-utility vehicle that gets 14 miles per gallon and requires premium gasoline, which is why Tata has gone out of its way to make prospective buyers want it.
Sun, 11 Jul 2010 00:00:00 EDTCORNWALL, N.Y. Luxury has a conscience. It can be found in the 2011 BMW ActiveHybrid7 -- a gas-and-electric version of the BMW 750i sedan.
Sun, 04 Jul 2010 00:00:00 EDTIt is the motorized equivalent of a good pair of jeans -- well sewn, good fit, comfortable, durable and affordable. That's why Ford has sold more than 12 million Fiestas worldwide since 1976. It is the first car many people want to slip into when they have to go somewhere.
Sun, 27 Jun 2010 00:00:00 EDTI should have set aside a day to celebrate its being, the goodness and specialness of it. But it was too easy to take it for granted, to expect that it would always be there fulfilling my will.
Sun, 20 Jun 2010 00:00:00 EDTThe automobile industry is amoral in accommodation. It goes where invited and stays as long as it is profitable to do so.
Sun, 13 Jun 2010 00:00:00 EDTOne of the little trucks, in wide use in Western Europe, is the Ford Transit Connect. It has an appearance reminiscent of the Colorado River basin's humpback chub, a small fish with a long snout and a pronounced hump behind its head.
Sun, 06 Jun 2010 00:00:00 EDTCORNWALL, N.Y. Perfection can be improved. The proof is the 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited crossover utility vehicle.
Sun, 30 May 2010 00:00:00 EDTThings once annoying become valued with age. Consider the blind-side warning systems on many of today's automobiles. The BSW's primary job is to warn drivers when an unseen vehicle is approaching in an adjacent lane.
Sun, 23 May 2010 00:00:00 EDTPEARSALL, TEX. Plans often fail in the execution -- sometimes because they were bad ideas in the first place, other times because they were trumped by something better.
Sun, 16 May 2010 00:00:00 EDTIt is a $4,500 options package that adds nothing to the car's driving ability. But it yields the most beautiful automobile in the 50-year history of the Mini Cooper, and that's pretty much the point.
Sun, 09 May 2010 00:00:00 EDTMONTEREY, CALIF. Much of the automobile industry's recovery in the United States will be driven by sales of smartly appointed, mileage-sensible, fun-to-drive family cars with base prices of $25,000 or less.
Sun, 02 May 2010 00:00:00 EDTPHILADELPHIA Let us speak of things often unspoken -- and, when spoken, carefully whispered -- in the politically correct world of automobiles.
Sun, 25 Apr 2010 00:00:00 EDTSAN FRANCISCO Global automobile manufacturers are betting that an America whipped by recession, upset by unpredictable fuel prices and humbled by the costly collapse of things too big to fail is ready, at long last, to accept high-quality, fuel-efficient small cars at prices that redefine "economy."
Sun, 18 Apr 2010 00:00:00 EDTMy intention was to fete the 2010 Audi TTS, another fun-to-drive coupe with big power, smart handling and two useless rear seats. But that was before the 2010 Infiniti G37x sport sedan, the anniversary edition with all of the spiffs, rolled into my driveway.
Sun, 11 Apr 2010 00:00:00 EDTWhen a company drops nearly $4 billion and sees that loss as a sign of a brighter future, you know it's been traveling a rough road.
Sun, 04 Apr 2010 00:00:00 EDTCORNWALL, N.Y. I should've taken the six-cylinder version of the 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited crossover utility vehicle.
Sun, 28 Mar 2010 00:00:00 EDTTruck season began the first weekend of spring with dozens of commercial haulers and privately owned pickups rolling along Furnace Road and easing to a stop at the weigh-and-pay station of the I-95 Resource Recovery Facility in Lorton.
Sun, 21 Mar 2010 00:00:00 EDTIt was an easy decision. I could take a train to New York from Union Station in the District, or I could drive there from my home in Northern Virginia.
Sun, 14 Mar 2010 00:00:00 ESTSpring arrived in the form of the 2010 Porsche Boxster S, a car that is its own excuse for driving.
Sun, 07 Mar 2010 00:00:00 ESTSome siblings fare better than others. Consider the 2010 Acura MDX and Honda Pilot, mid-size sport-utility offspring of the same corporate parent, Honda, sharing the same "light-truck" platform.
Sun, 28 Feb 2010 00:00:00 ESTThe 2010 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon is no excuses. The 2010 Cadillac SRX4 2.8 T "crossover utility vehicle" is a symphony of compromises. At base prices of up to $40,000, I'll take no excuses.
Sun, 21 Feb 2010 00:00:00 ESTElectricity and other alternative fuels will play a big role in the automobile industry by 2025. But "big" does not mean anything resembling dominance.
Sun, 14 Feb 2010 00:00:00 ESTFoul winter weather is a good life coach, as evidenced by lessons learned from the East Coast snowstorms of February 2010. For example, consider age and residence:
Sun, 07 Feb 2010 00:00:00 ESTCORNWALL, N.Y. The drive turned nasty on northbound Interstate 87, where strong crosswinds, sleet and light snow joined in ridicule of Mitsubishi's advertising claims.
Sun, 31 Jan 2010 00:00:00 ESTThe 2010 Volkswagen Golf 2.5L hatchback is practical made perfect. That means, in the compact-car segment in which it competes, it's also expensive.
Sun, 24 Jan 2010 00:00:00 ESTCORNWALL, N.Y. Sometimes you just want reliability -- a simple vehicle that does what it does well and does it repeatedly. You want the fossil-fueled version of the Timex. The watch is seldom fancy or pretty. It can be bought for a reasonable price at the local drugstore. But it will last as long...
Sun, 17 Jan 2010 00:00:00 ESTDETROIT They are strange conveyances -- part beasts, part beauties, vehicles that in the process of becoming, from one perspective, became the wrong thing. From another view, they are works of genius, blending function and design into a rendering of the modern American psyche -- a mind-set that ...
Sun, 10 Jan 2010 00:00:00 ESTCORNWALL, N.Y. Fiat came to America to exploit Dodge's truck business, not to bury it.
Sun, 03 Jan 2010 00:00:00 ESTCORNWALL, N.Y. Old-school automotive journalism emphasizes speed, handling and something called "fun-to-drive." It treats every vehicle, be it family sedan or crossover utility model, as if it were a high-performance sports car whose best use is found on a racetrack . . . or Germany's Autobahn. A...
Sun, 27 Dec 2009 00:00:00 ESTThis week's column was to feature the 2010 Hyundai Tucson, a vastly improved compact crossover utility vehicle driven earlier this month in California.
Sun, 20 Dec 2009 00:00:00 ESTConventional wisdom congratulates Ford for forgoing last year's feast of federal bailouts, as if Ford's absence from that table of taxpayers' money signaled extraordinary competence and virtue in a time of corporate recklessness and greed.
Sun, 13 Dec 2009 00:00:00 ESTBEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. There is a pecking order among automobiles in this citadel of affluence. Exotics rule. And exotics are not to be confused with ordinary luxury.
Sun, 06 Dec 2009 00:00:00 ESTCORNWALL, N.Y. The road was clogged with cars, trucks and law enforcement vehicles winding in and out of the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets mall near here. It was a miserable end to an otherwise pleasant drive up the Palisades Interstate Parkway to the New York State Thruway to Interstate 87 Nor...
Sun, 29 Nov 2009 00:00:00 ESTIt is autobiography as fantasy. As such, it makes little sense.
Sun, 22 Nov 2009 00:00:00 ESTMOSCOW Commercial globalism thrives on the idea that consumers everywhere want the same things -- quality, affordability, safety and convenience.
Sun, 15 Nov 2009 00:00:00 EST"Fuel efficiency" and "fuel economy" are relative terms. One speaks to the amount of work done per unit of fuel consumed. The other considers the amount and cost of fuel used per mile traveled.
Sun, 08 Nov 2009 00:00:00 ESTI'd buy it chrome-free. The chrome wheels and gas cap, the chrome rails on the cargo bed and the chrome-edged running boards were pretty. But they made little sense in the dust and mud and along the rocky paths where I drove the 2010 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT Z71, a four-wheel-drive pickup engi...
Sun, 01 Nov 2009 00:00:00 EDTIt's a tough sell. Even its name, Wheego Whip LSV, is a marketing obstacle. "It sounds like a toy," said Ria Manglapus, my Washington Post associate for vehicle evaluations. It looks like a toy, too, reminiscent of the Mercedes-Benz-sponsored Smart Fortwo city car. But the Smart Fortwo, running o...
Sun, 25 Oct 2009 00:00:00 EDTI wanted it too much. It was bound to disappoint. It did.
Sun, 18 Oct 2009 00:00:00 EDTBeauty takes on new meaning at the Fairfax County Landfill in Lorton, where refuse from home and shop compete with nature for attention. It is a place where strength and brawn are honored, where practicality trumps gadgetry, where wheels that can't haul or pull, or that do a lousy job of complyin...
Sun, 11 Oct 2009 00:00:00 EDTMILFORD, Pa. -- The Bentley Continental Supersports coupe is more "us" than "we." But it's substantially more adult than "me."
Sun, 04 Oct 2009 00:00:00 EDTTo be young again, to thrill to the "me" of the moment -- the Nissan 370Z is good for that. Like most sports cars, it makes no practical sense. It is what disappears when "me" becomes "we," unless "we" are rich and can afford toys.
Sun, 27 Sep 2009 00:00:00 EDTCORNWALL, N.Y. -- Rosa Parks Brown, our chocolate Labrador, prefers subcompact cars. We think it's because subcompacts force humans to sit next to her.
Sun, 20 Sep 2009 00:00:00 EDTThe 2010 Buick LaCrosse is a genuine contender in the market for mid-size to large premium family sedans. Shoppers in those segments are well-advised to put this one on their list. People who have not lately looked at GM or Buick will be pleasantly surprised.
Sun, 13 Sep 2009 00:00:00 EDTIt doesn't surprise me that Hyundai's August sales topped those of its rivals. Nor should it surprise anyone who lately has driven a Hyundai.
Sun, 06 Sep 2009 00:00:00 EDTCORNWALL, N.Y. -- Choices need not be onerous. The penalty for saving fuel should not be permanent consignment to the right lanes of the nation's highways, reckless endangerment in emergency maneuvers or incompetence in the matter of transporting luggage.
Sun, 30 Aug 2009 00:00:00 EDTNEW YORK -- Fantasy is a holistic thing. It requires serendipitously cooperative elements to be believed, enjoyed and remembered. Consider the matter of driving convertibles.
Sun, 23 Aug 2009 00:00:00 EDTIt helps to be behind the wheel of a car you believe in, one that feels solid, safe, comfortable and substantially more than competent.
Sun, 16 Aug 2009 00:00:00 EDTThe plug-in electric Chevrolet Volt is fascinating. But it isn't the product that will revive General Motors. That task will fall to substantially more affordable and accessible models, such as this week's subject vehicle, the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox LT.
Sun, 09 Aug 2009 00:00:00 EDTRev. Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter, famously known as "Rev. Ike," was anathema in our staunchly Roman Catholic New Orleans home. I remembered Rev. Ike last week while tooling about in a platinum bronze metallic 2009 BMW 328i convertible.
Sun, 02 Aug 2009 00:00:00 EDTCORNWALL, N.Y. -- The trouble with love at first sight is that it seldom reveals everything. What is missed in early, tingling moments of infatuation could prove upsetting later when the real work of love becomes . . . work.
Sun, 26 Jul 2009 00:00:00 EDTCORNWALL, N.Y. -- Heavy fog settled along Mine Hill Road, a treacherous blacktop path made more dangerous by inclement weather.
Sun, 19 Jul 2009 00:00:00 EDTCORNWALL, N.Y. -- It can fit into the tiniest of legal parking spots -- and do so with minimum maneuvering.
Sun, 12 Jul 2009 00:00:00 EDTWe laughed and scratched our heads. The 2009 Nissan Cube was another case of ugly chasing cute. It was hard to tell which one was winning.
Sun, 05 Jul 2009 00:00:00 EDTTo understand the future of the automobile industry, you must understand the success of Wal-Mart, the world's largest retail organization.
Sun, 28 Jun 2009 00:00:00 EDTMarketing 101 speaks to brand message. It must be consistent. If you confuse the message, you undermine the brand. Enough confusion will destroy the brand -- perhaps even render it incapable of revival.
Sun, 21 Jun 2009 00:00:00 EDTArtifice has value, particularly in automotive journalism. I, for example, will use any excuse to get behind the wheel of a new automobile, especially one as beautiful as the 2010 Jaguar XF Premium sedan driven for this week's column.
Sun, 14 Jun 2009 00:00:00 EDTAutomobile manufacturers and card-carrying members of the Nuts and Bolts Club are sticklers for accuracy. They insist on comparing cars and trucks using identical platforms, such as those with rear-wheel drive with other real-wheel-drive models of in-kind layout and dimension.
Sun, 07 Jun 2009 00:00:00 EDTFew things are more frustrating than being stuck in traffic in a car as fine and fast as this week's subject automobile, the 2009 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG high-performance sedan.
Sun, 31 May 2009 00:00:00 EDTCORNWALL, N.Y. -- It is the only Chrysler minivan in North America with a Volkswagen badge -- the 2009 Volkswagen Routan.
Sun, 24 May 2009 00:00:00 EDTIt is difficult to wax ecstatic about a vehicle that wanes in enjoyment with each mile behind its wheel. It is no wonder, then, that the muses are on strike in our evaluation of this week's test model, the 2009 Kia Borrego LX with V-8 engine and four-wheel drive.
Sun, 17 May 2009 00:00:00 EDTThe environmental route has been a road most often taken by the rich because only the rich could afford to go that way -- until now.
Sun, 10 May 2009 00:00:00 EDTI missed the entrance to the Ohio Turnpike and stayed on Interstate 75 South for too long a stretch -- a 200-mile error realized only when I entered Kentucky.
Sun, 03 May 2009 00:00:00 EDTWARREN, Mich. -- Should it survive its current flirtation with bankruptcy, I offer this short wish list for Chrysler:
Sun, 26 Apr 2009 00:00:00 EDTA decade ago, I wrote several columns urging readers to take seriously Hyundai Motor, Korea's largest automobile manufacturer.
Sun, 19 Apr 2009 00:00:00 EDTCORNWALL, N.Y. -- Bad times are best enjoyed in the rearview mirror. So mostly for the heck of it, I got in the 2009 BMW 135i coupe and drove here nearly 300 miles from my home in Northern Virginia.
Sun, 12 Apr 2009 00:00:00 EDTCORNWALL, N.Y. -- It pulled nicely up Mountain Brook Road in second gear, which was no small feat. Mountain Brook is steep.
Sun, 05 Apr 2009 00:00:00 EDTSometimes, you have to escape -- or at least give it a darned good try.
Sun, 29 Mar 2009 00:00:00 EDTNEW YORK -- This city is a traffic nightmare painted yellow -- the hue of aggressively driven taxicabs that dominate its many ruined streets.
Sun, 22 Mar 2009 00:00:00 EDTWe requested it for two weeks, one week longer than we normally keep most test cars. The idea was to live with this one long enough to see if we developed any strong feelings for or against it. We knew it would take time.
Sun, 15 Mar 2009 00:00:00 EDTThe traditional concept of luxury is being reworked under Land Rover's new owner, Tata Motors Limited, India's biggest manufacturer of trucks and passenger cars.
Sun, 08 Mar 2009 00:00:00 ESTThe trouble with Capitol Hill is hypocrisy. That might not be surprising to cynics who believe politicians are, by definition, hypocrites. But it becomes more than a little disturbing when those politicians base their policy objectives on their hypocrisy.
Sun, 01 Mar 2009 00:00:00 ESTGeneral Motors should stop trying to please everybody. It's a strategy that embraces the lowest common denominator. It's hard to make a favorable impression when your primary objective is to avoid offending as many people as possible.
Sun, 22 Feb 2009 00:00:00 ESTCORNWALL, N.Y. I've driven poor. I've driven rich. It doesn't matter the season, bad times or good, I much prefer rich.