January: Car dealers still begging
Well, the first month is off topic here. Because I’d rather post a picture of a sweet Camaro than a picture of Subaru Outback her Wilderness trying in vain to connect to her server in her cloud and diagnose an electronic illness. I didn’t because I was stranded back in the wilderness with absolutely no cell service. Furthermore, I am writing this in international waters where the rules do not apply. (International Waters is the name of my local bar, so it’s capitalized.)
Anyway, the used car market in January was so wacky that when I went to my local Jeep dealership to stalk a Gladiator, they had a bunch of 1990s Camaros. A type of trade-in that goes straight to a dealer auction and ends up at Lenny’s Used Kars and Small Engine Repair on Highway 57, 10 miles out of town, but as of January there was still no supply of cars. It was so tight that new car dealers took whatever they could get their hands on. Including the Camaro built in an entirely different millennium. I am not judging. It was an evil Camaro. It sold quickly.
February: 37 Raptor Unobtainium Tracks
Sometimes I write reviews for limited edition cars that have already sold out. That’s because they’re interesting and you, the reader, might buy a used car in a few years, but these days it covers vehicles that are constrained by supply he chain problems I had to deal with the problem.
For example, my friend Steve ordered a Ford F-150 Raptor with a 37-inch tire package right around the time I drove in early February. Then he waited. and he waited. Ford sent him a series of letters telling him that he really wanted to build 37 Raptors, but couldn’t. (Notice here was sent in late October.) But if he wants 35-inch tires, no problem! So he finally went to the 35s. Unfortunately for Ford, they were bolted to the Ram TRX.
March: I realized my Kia EV6 had a bad self-image
Some cars go to great lengths to be accurate on their in-vehicle displays, and may even represent the correct paint color of the actual car. Not a Kia EV6! Calling out the EV6’s battery indicator, Kia looks like his circa-2002 Daewoo/Chinese government joint venture. “Don’t forget to make that shabby hatchback look like a real car with its sturdy featureless wheels and 6-inch-wide tires before production.”
April: Mazda is honest about premium fuel
All turbocharged engines love premium fuel, whether you ask for it or not (the 2015 Lightning Lap accidentally turned the EcoBoost Mustang into a regular unleaded fuel tank). But Mazda is one of the outliers who actually offers individual horsepower ratings according to octane rating: in the CX-50 Turbo he gets 227 horsepower when filling 87 octane. At 93 octane, it makes 256 horsepower. Torque also increases from 310 lb-ft to 320 lb-ft. That’s the difference you can feel. So if someone asks you if premium fuel really matters, the first thing you should answer is “Do you have a Mazda?”
May: Kona N only knows 5 tracks
While I wasn’t using the Kona N on the Cellohalla Skyway, I fiddled with the infotainment performance page submenu. There I discovered that N offers track maps for various road courses. I think this adds his VBox flavor to the wrapping session, assuming the real him doesn’t have a VBox. However, Kona only has five tracks: Atlanta Motorsports Park, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Lime Rock, Road America, and Watkins Glen. This is a great feature if you live near these trucks. In this regard, the Genesis G90’s sound system can emulate the acoustics of any concert hall in the world, as long as it’s the Boston Symphony Hall.
June: The Lucid Air requires you to sign a disclaimer to unlock all powers
My first and so far only encounter with Lucid Air was at last summer’s EV of the Year test. This wasn’t her 1111 hp Dream Edition Performance he was an 819 hp Grand Touring but still she was blisteringly quick reaching 60 mph in 3.0 seconds. However, I think the disclaimer screen for exiting sprint mode was a little too much. It was the EV equivalent of a Kearney that had a waiver signed before riding the Matterhorn. Calm down, Lucid Air. He’s 60 seconds faster than the F-150 over there. But I understood what it meant to be a ‘skilled advanced driver’.
July: BMW iX leads me to Drifter Dave
Under the long list of things that might happen at the gas pump, I put “Make New Friends” at number 10,534. But it can happen at an EV charger, where everyone has time to kill and they have at least one thing in common And that’s how I met Wanderer Dave, who is now labeled in my contacts.When I stopped to charge with my BMW iX, there was a Ford Mach E on the charger next to me. Dave was there with his wife (her car) and started talking about BMW, then he told me he was into drifting and showed me a picture of an E36 drift car. A month or two later, I called him up when he was at Charlotte Motor Speedway to drive a Mach E 1400, and eventually in an Elminator concept truck, Vaughn Gittin Jr.
Again, this is the kind of thing that never happened to me with a gas pump. I once let my wife play a prank on me while driving. But I don’t have George’s number. That’s what makes the charging station different. Anyway, a few days after I met Dave, a squirrel plucked a large, juicy pine cone from a tree and smashed the windshield of my BMW. I said I would play by my own rules, not by the rules of
August: Genesis G90 features elaborate window shades.
Among the G90’s motorized luxury features (remote parking, power doors, interior fragrance dispenser), I was particularly impressed with the motorized side window shades. Many cars have blinds, most of which are manually pulled up and hung on hooks. Really fancy rides have motorized shades.But the G90 comes in two shades per side. In addition to the vertically extending main window shades, hidden in the pillars is a horizontal shade for the small rear quarter window. It’s the attention to detail. I’m sorry, Paps. I can’t be seen unless I design it to allow it.
September: Acura MDX Type-S doesn’t want to let in the cold
I love to peek under the hood of my test cars, especially those with newer engines like the Acura MDX Type S and its 355-horsepower turbocharged V-6. And the Acura V-6 intake plumbing emphasized that the car company has a lot of work to do to reach the finish line in a particular area of development. Look at this intake pipe. Air is sucked up from under the edge of the hood and drawn into this device that looks like a Dr. Seuss instrument, complete with some sort of appendix-like resonator before reaching the airbox. You’ll hear the hissing of the turbo intake, but you’ll be able to splash through some serious water without fear of drowning. If you want to bolt on a big K&N cone filter and call him a day, be my guest.
October: C8 still a Corvette when it comes to panel gaps
As I’ve documented many times, the C8 Corvette takes Chevrolet supercars to new levels of refinement and performance. But check the placement of this panel. The fender should not cast a shadow on the door. Somewhere out there, the C3 owner is deliberately nodding.
November: Infiniti QX60 says we should expect massage seats now
When my 12-year-old climbed into the Infiniti QX60 Autograph, he immediately declared, “This is like a car with massage seats.” After a while he found a button, confirming his suspicions. Also, at the top he knows the QX60 isn’t a cheap machine, but with the base price he’s over $60,000, I was surprised to find a massage seat. This was the moment I realized that front seat massage is to be expected in certain classes of vehicles, even in luxury versions of mainstream crossovers. We have a lot. If you see quilted leather, it would be nice if it had a massage seat. This isn’t what the QX60 feels, even if it’s what they feel is kidney-kneeling by the cretin sitting behind you in the red-eyed house from Vegas. That system makes the seat feel like it’s alive, writhing and trying to explore the world outside the car. But now it’s everywhere, so get used to it!
December: GM doesn’t mind adding new features to Super Cruise
I was driving my 2023 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate down a back road when I tried to engage cruise control and noticed a gray steering wheel icon on the instrument cluster. if you want Super cruise on a road with oncoming traffic? I didn’t think it would work, but when I pushed the button, the top of the steering wheel lit up green and the truck quietly centered in the lane and took over (monitored) control. Which was my reaction: Huh? When did this become possible? I had driven a Sierra with Super Cruise earlier that year, and although I was able to negotiate a highway interchange, they never offered Super Cruise on the back roads. Was this Yukon some kind of sneaky beta test vehicle? So I emailed GM and asked and they said yes and put out a press release about it.
It was true, but not that they made a big deal about it. They didn’t produce an ad promoting this new ability. Over half of his two-hour trip in the Yukon was Super Cruise Road. So did you know about this? Well, you do. So you may still be wondering what was going on in the photo with the monster truck and Bronco-his Raptor on top. And you will find But not this year.
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