Thursday, July 27, 2006

Is This Your Next Honda?


Kevin at Westpundit says this is "the Honda Civic of the air." I don't know about that, but Connors has more details and a link to HondaJet specs. Go here. Or should I say "fly here" instead?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

CARNIVAL OF CARS: A Drive Around The Auto Blog Block for Friday, July 21, 2006

Quick, who said this?

"I will go on record right now by saying that the resurrection of the MG brand by the Nanjing Automotive Group will be the new quintessential definition of notgonnahappen.com. And I'll throw a "not now" and a "not ever" in for good measure just to be clear."

Speaking as a native Okie, I can assure the Chinese that only two things really count in Oklahoma - beating OU if you are an OSU graduate and beating UT if you are an OU graduate. Not much room in there for MG. (There used to be a third - awl - but that's pretty much pumped out).

The Chinese might want to have a quiet conversation with GM about the reliability of promises by the Oklahoma legislature when the decision was made to build the Oklahoma City plant. The state has long voted GOP nationally but the Dems still pretty much run things at the state and local level.

Oh, right. It was, of course, Peter DeLorenzo, ranting about how the auto industry has just gone stark raving bonkers this past week. Go here at Auto Extremist.

And we have much more to talk about, so let's put this thang in gear and git'er goin'!

Erica thought she wanted a Prius. Then she encountered the Acura TSX. AskPatty has the rest of this story, which also has a moral.

And if you are in a situation like Erica was - i.e. getting a new vehicle - Chuck at Car Buying Tips says make the time to do it right. It will save money and mental energy. Chuck has other things to worry about, too, like how to explain the $3,000 price difference between the Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia when they are sitting on the same dealer lot.

Brian at Racedriven.com headed north to Loudoun last Saturday and hoped to see a great modified race that evening. It was a great race till the very end when the yellow came out unexpectedly. Is it just my imagination or does this kind of thing seem to be happening more often in racing these days?

Speaking of Loudoun, over at 8racingfan.com blog at Fox Sports, folks wonder why they were directed to parking spaces by a raft of track workers before the race, but not one track worker was to be found directing traffic after the race.

It's time for a new car and TG Tran at 9Development is thinking Mazda Miata - ok, MX-5 - with a hard top. As for me, I wonder what the MX-6 would be like now if it had been kept in production and development.

Before making a final decision, Tran, you might want to check out The Garage Blog's review of a rather special RX-8, with lots of Mazdaspeed stuff. I didn't care for the RX-8's looks but when I drove the thing for a week, I rather liked the way it moves.

Is Forbes.com just beating up on the U.S. auto industry or do the editors there have a point about the worst products from Detroit? Autoblog would like to know. Go here.

Carpundit explains the catch behind one of Chrysler's latest marketing incentives. Dr. Z should be ashamed.

Cripes! Did you know you get worse mileage on ethanol than with gasoline? Cars! Cars! Cars! has the criping facts.

What do you say about a 640 horsepower Mini? Besides "how'd they do that?" Carscoop lays it out here. Here's a hint: It's got four motors. Bet you had no idea there was so much room in a Mini!

The District of Columbia and 13 states have variations on the tax-free weekend that politicians in those jurisdictions have used to make themselves look good with gullible tax-payers. Don't Mess With Taxes explains everything there is to know about these holidays. It's not immediately evident but there is a car connection in this story.

If you are going to be in Indy around Aug. 4., they have a fender-banger race there that weekend that might interest you. Fast Machines provides some interesting background on the Chevy Day at IMS in connection with the Brickyard 400.

There were 2,200 journalists from 37 nations covering LeMans this year. I'm not sure that qualifies the 24 Hour as THE big one of road racing - F1 probably gets the nod - but Ed Peper, Chevrolet's General Manager is justifiably proud of Corvette's fifth GT1 class win at LeMans. GM's Fastlane blog has Peper's view on the Detroit celebration of the win.

General Watch is not impressed with the combining of brands in single dealerships as is increasingly being done by GM and Chrysler. Here's why:

"You have a store that sells 1,000 Chryslers. Another sells 1,000 Dodges. A third sells 500 Jeeps. You put them together. What's the volume potential? Maybe 2,000 unit sales total. There is a limit to how many customers and vehicles one showroom can handle. Maybe this is the only way to save or promote these six lines at GM and Chrysler. But it seems like they are giving up on themselves. Every truly successful brand fights to get exclusive showrooms."

Responses?

Have you done your RIU yet? It stands for "Rev It Up!" and is Chevy's travelling road show pitting drivers of varying skill levels in an autocross-type competition. Yes, it's a little hokey but it's probably a lot of fun and GM's FYI Blog says somebody will win a Cobalt SS when all the brake dust has blown away.

It's blurry and grainy but Jalopnik has a spy shot of the 08 Ford Focus tooling around Dearborn. Looks like a Pixar cop car.

David Leggett says "electric and fun" sounds exactly right. Go here to Just-Auto.com to find out why.

It's a Tiguan. From VW. It's coming in 08. Left Lane News explains. Actually, I don't there is any way to explain giving a car a name that sounds like something you'd find under a rock in the desert.

Rick and Carlos aren't the only rumored new couple in the auto industry. Joe at MyFordDreams has some thoughts on Bill Jr. and Fill. You know, Fill-in-the-Blank.

The "Check Engine" light has been coming on for a month but your mechanic says it's nothing to worry about. My Honest Mechanic says maybe a new mechanic isn't all you need.

Hmmm. Paul Tan gives me reason to perhaps re-think my lack of enthusiasm for a car name that sounds like something you'd find under a rock in the desert.

Remember the Firestone-Explorer tire debacle? It's back as people who replaced their Firestones have problems and discover they forgot to also replace the spare. Straightline has more.

"Zero Shift" isn't an automatic tranny but it does eliminate a lot of tranny pieces. The Auto Prophet thinks it's cool.

Driving a truck or SUV is not a hopeless endeavour in an era of $3 per gallon gas. Joel at The Car Blog has nine suggestions for making the gallon go further.

Joanne at The Driving Woman says there are always recalls in force and it's always a good idea to check the listing to see if your vehicle is involved.

Mark Hasty separates the facts from the political obfuscation about E85 in an important post at The Truth About Cars. Farago's back, too.

Apparently it's true, Hyundai really does want to take Jaguar off Ford's hands. Makes sense, considering Dearborn hasn't been able to make any money on the marque in the 15 years since the purchase. Joe Sherlock sees a good deal for Hyundai at the right price. He also sees lots of important details in Jag's woes. Go here for The View Through the Windshield.

And that's the last word for this week.

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Three Bucks a Gallon and a Hyundai Accent Looks Pretty Good


What can be said about an automobile that has about as much personality as a can opener? With petrol selling for three bucks a gallon, quite a bit, actually. So what about the Hyundai Accent?

By the normal standards of automotive criticism, the Accent is just another faceless, boring little econocar sought only by first-time buyers on a tight budget who view their daily driver as nothing more than a way to get from point A to point B.

But the normal standards don’t always apply, especially when you are dealing with the most expensive per-gallon fuel costs of the modern era, so the Accent bears special attention.

So let’s get the negatives out of the way first, beginning with the fact the Accent is not a performer. Its 1.6 liter 110 horsepower four cylinder just doesn’t have sufficient torque to make things happen except in a deliberate manner, particularly when it is hooked to the four-speed automatic transmission, as was my Dark Sapphire Blue tester.

The 12.40 second 0-60 mph time reflects the lack of power. Thus, driving the automatic transmissioned Accent requires being comfortable with life in the slow lane. Getting up significant grades always means a downshift or two and lots of noise as the little four does its best to keep things moving.

But there are a lot of good things here. The exterior styling is not exactly inspiring but it’s decent enough. And the interior is spacious for the econocar class and tastefully outfitted with an appealing two-tone color scheme. Instrumentation is straight forward and easy to use. An unexpected plus is the driver’s armrest – ala minivan practice – that comes in handy if your daily commute includes lots of bumper-to-bumper crawl.

Where the Accent shines is on the value side of the equation, thanks to the standard equipment list that includes six air bags, anti-lock brakes, tilt steering and rear-seat armrests. My loaded GLS tester came in at $14,870, which under prices a similarly equipped Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla.

On the fuel economy side, my tester compiled a 27.5 mpg overall figure during its week in the test fleet. Considering the official EPA figures are 28 city and 36 highway, the 27.5 figure might seem like a let-down. But it’s not uncommon for actual mileage to vary by a noticeable amount from the official government figures, mainly due to the unrealistic driving cycle used by the EPA.

In any case, the Accent is pleasant enough, offers lots of room and versatility and never feels like a penalty box on wheels. It’s still an automotive appliance, but let’s not sneer at efficiency and value. At least not until the price of gas comes down.


Lexus Redefines IS With 250 AWD


There has been talk around Lexus about challenging BMW for years but the product has been mostly oriented to luxury. Things are clearly changing with the redesign of the Toyota luxury channel’s IS series of sedans.

The IS series is the second portion of the Lexus lineup to be redesigned with much more emphasis on performance, with the GS series having been redone last year. The resulting vehicle is harder edged and distinctly more likely to appeal to the serious driver in search of a sports sedan deserving of the label.

My Mystic Gold Metallic tester was equipped with all-wheel-drive and Lexus’ six-speed paddle-shifting automatic hooked to the 2.5 liter V-6 behind the IS250 designation. The engine produces 204 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque.

Acceleration is good, but not stunning, showing a 7.07 second 0-60 mph time. The transmission does its thing with typical Toyota/Lexus efficiency, moving up and down the shift range smoothly and without drama.

By the way, no matter how hard I try, I still dislike paddle shifters. Yes, yes, they’re “just like F1,” they simply aren’t as enjoyable to use as a traditional manual shift with properly placed pedals.

Moving right along, the IS250’s full-time all-wheel-drive is essentially transparent in every respect except the added weight it brings, which is reflected somewhat in the straight-line performance.

Wet-road grip is superb, of course, and dry pavement cornering is crisp and utterly predictable, with soft understeer following quick turn-in. If you are getting the impression that the redesigned IS is much more rewarding to move down a twisting piece of macadam, you are absolutely right.

The interior is marked by highly legible gauging that is set-off with illuminated rings. There is also a flowing instrument panel that gives the IS250’s passenger cabin a bit of a modernistic atmosphere. The seating is quite comfortable but grips in the right places, at least on my average-sized frame.

Notable among the safety features of the new IS are what Lexus calls “Twin Chamber” advanced air bags that create an indentation in the middle that the automaker claims eases the shock of impact with the body.

Overall, the IS250 is a definite move up from the previous generation. Is it something to go Bimmer hunting with yet? Not the IS250, but I have a hunch the more powerful IS350 might be just the thing.


Would This New Holden Commodore Sell in the States?


I think so, but then there is the depressing experience of Pontiac in bringing over a Holden from Down Under as the basis of the soon-to-be-no-more GTO. Autoblog's John Neff has loads of details and a bunch of official photos of the redesigned Commodore.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Toyota Looking at Proposal to Link With GM

That's the word this afternoon from Business Week, via Automotive News. Details are sketchy but predictable. When word spread through the world automotive industry that a Renault-Nissan-GM alliance might be in the works on some basis, wheels started turning in a bunch of executives' heads, including those at mighty Toyota.

An unnamed Toyota executive is quoted saying "Toyota has no interest in seeing an alliance like this [involving Renault, Nissan and GM] take place."

Makes sense because Toyota has its hands full with existing competition, so why sit idly by while the wily Carlos Ghosyn, who has already recusitated Nissan and created lots of headaches for Toyota in the process, gets a deal with GM?

Prediction: This is the opening round in a very high stakes bidding war that may or may not result in the salvation of the once-mighty GM. And it won't be long before similar bidding breaks out for a deal with Ford.

You heard it here first, friends and neighbors.









CARNIVAL OF CARS: A Drive Around The Auto Blog Block for Friday, July 14, 2006


So Rick, Kirk and Carlos are going to give it a 90-day trial study to see if an alliance will work. Didn't Renault try to sell an Alliance to the U.S. once before? For three years? Should Rick Wagoner and the GM board remember this fact?

Well, whatever .... let's jump in our cyber rag top and head down the road for our weekly drive around the Auto Blog Block and see what we see, shall we?

Can you imagine life without owning a car? Probably not if you are a regular reader of this blog. Me neither, but Joe Kissell at Interesting Thing of the Day describes how he went from owning a vehicle and living in San Francisco to living there and depending upon a car sharing program. But what would he think if all the vehicles in the fleet were Renault Alliances?

Tony Stewart has a hearse. Not just any old hearse, though. Looks like it might have about 500 horses under the hood. You know, just in case Smoke is in a hurry to get planted. Oh, and don't miss the Chrysler SRT8 rag top that Brian at Racedriven.com also found.

Somehow, it puzzles me that a race car driver would want to be anywhere near a hearse ....

Chuck at Car Buying Tips explains it all, including the latest Chrysler promos here, donating your car to a good cause for a tax credit here, how to avoid swirls in your dark colored car's paint here and the agony of cartradeitis, a condition that can wreak havoc with your credit rating if you aren't careful here. Betcha didn't know that, did you?

Uh oh, AskPatty was interviewed by Robert Farago, who apparently started the conversation by explaining why he doesn't believe there is such a thing as a female automotive perspective. I don't know about that, but I guarantee you they drive totally different kinds of cars on Mars and Venus!

The IRS giveth to its own employees, and the IRS taketh away from its own employees, too! Don't Mess With Taxes has the scoop on how the Tax Man treateth his own serfs, er, employees who take advantage of the cash incentive to buy a hybrd.

The Tax Man better watch it, that kind of stuff could spark a real green revolution!

Want to see the ultimate chick car? 9D's TG will show ya here. You can see TG's chick car there, too. Hint: It's got a roll bar.

Man, I hope Danica doesn't try to go NASCAR racin' cauz open wheelers need her and Marco. Course, it would help if she could win a race real soon. You know Marco will, probably before the season is over, too.

OK, I'll shut up on that angle, but it's 9D's fault for getting me started.

You say you've never heard of the Hyanide Snow Bike? The Garage Blog will tell you all about it. Hey, it's an investment opportunity. Don't these Germans have real day jobs?

Now, moving right along ....

Lots of shots from the Nurburing 24 Hour at Top Speed.

The Car Connection has everything you can possibly know - for now - about the all-new GMC Acadia cross-over. Is it just me or does the Acadia really look like a cross of a Ford Freestyle and a Chevy Tahoe?

Am I not supposed to ask things like that?

Joe Sherlock takes apart Autoweek's Kevin Wilson on the "unintended consequences" of creation of the interstates - a PC paean about the decline of rail and public transit passenger traffic - in this week's best installment of The View Through the Windshield. Way to go, Joe!

We don't need no stinkin' ----------------. Johnny Lieberman at The Truth About Cars wants to know how you would fill in that blank. Send the Mad Man - Farago - a get-well note, too.

Lots of interesting details at The Driving Woman about Ford's new program to develop a winning female driver for NASCAR.

Joel at The Car Blog explains why he finds peace of mind in extended warranties. It's a demographic/sociological sort of thing.

That is one incredible artillery shot at The Auto Prophet.

Time will tell if it's good news or just another bad Italian joke but Straight Line reports authoritatively that Alfa will be selling three models in the U.S. in 2009.

Those who are into frequently changing wall paper and the latest body styling exercise for Mercedes Benz should head straight over to Serious Wheels. I'll bet "AMG" translates to English as "Vee haf show und go."

Maybe I'm not supposed to say things like that! Bet Farago would!! He's like Mikey, he'll say anything!!!

Would somebody please get me back on the topic?

Thanks.

Sounds like another Fish carb to me, but Qt Auto News says it is possible to make your car pay you. It's from Auto News.

Could this be Rick Wagoner's secret strategy to counter Carlos Ghosyn? Paul Tan reports on some corporate sneaky-sneak involving DRB-HICOM. I know, you've never heard of it, but that's the whole point.

Austin Davis at My Honest Mechanic lays out the case for the Ford Escape Hybrid in four succinct paragraphs. I'll bet Billy Ford himself couldn't do that!

MyFordDreams2 points out some, uh, problems with Bloomberg.com reporting on Ford's current ills and its need for outside help. What's even more interesting about this post, however, is the lengthy case Big Ford Fan makes for salvation being just around the corner, if only American consumers will give Ford of Europe products a serious look.

So who made this pithy observation?

"Anyone watching Kerkorian buy GM shares had to know that he wasn't investing because he wanted a discount on his next Cadillac."

Why, none other than Motor Alley's David Wassmann. He has more to say on the topic, too.

Looks like its curtains for the Lexus LX, according to Left Lane News.

Just-Auto.com's David Leggett remembers that British Leyland actually did fairly well here in the states with the MGB until they goofed it up by raising ride height to satisfy U.S. bumper requirements. So can MG make a comback here now? Leggett explains it all here.

If Jalopnik is right that Wagoner took Ghosyn to dinner at the only place the market-share strapped GM head could afford - the RenCen Food Court - things really are bad at the General. Jalopnik offers thoughts about other possibilities, however. On where the two ate, that is. An interesting new angle on the story, I'd say.

Hot Wheels Blog is talking Chickasaws, MGs and Okies. Bet you never thought you'd see those three words in the same sentence!

Just pointin' and shootin' is how Shouting Thomas spends his morning commute up in Joizey. You gotta check out his site, Harleys, Cars , Girls and Guitars. It's very .... eeekleckteeec, as Ron "Tater Salad" White would say.

Take a minute at the GM FYI Blog and check out the Photo of the Day post. Look for the powerline shot. Is that awesome or what?! Oh yeah, who knows the make and model of the car? I'd say about a 47 Pontiac, but not real confident of that answer.

General Watch likes this on the Kirk and Rick and Carlos Show.

Things may start getting much more interesting at the Peoples' Car company, according to Gear6. Dr. Porsche is no doubt grinning from ear to ear as he looks on from auto heaven. If there is such a place, that is.

Lutz has some candid comments for long-time GM loyalist Dan Cadigan. If Fastlane Blog featured more such candor from Lutz and other GM executives, I'll bet lots of good things would follow. How about you?

You knew this was coming the instant Juan Pablo uttered the word "NASCAR." Fast Machines reports reaction of McLaren's Ron Dennis to the fender racing future being planned by the Columbian.

Carscoop has the full text of the joint statement from Rick and Carlos.

Those who want to know what is really going on inside Ford these days will immediately go to Cars! Cars! Cars! for this scoop.

What do over-priced popcorn and pretzel bites have to do with selling Dodge Calibers? John Neff at Autoblog offers some thoughts.

The bloom may be off the rose for alternative fuel vehicles and hybrids, at least according to the first installment of Auto Extremist's milestone survey of 1,200 industry types and enthusiasts. This is important, folks.

Alternative Fuel Universe links to Sen. Joe Lieberman's New York Post piece on energy issues and offers a lengthy rant of his own on the topic.

Freedom of Speech is wonderful, isn't it! That's it for this week, folks, we have arrived back home. See ya next week.

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Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.





Saturday, July 08, 2006

Speed Limits Up, Highway Carnage Down, Hillary Says Restore 55 MPH to Save Fuel

Remember the Double Nickel? Remember how the highways and byways of America would become red rivers of blood if ever the speed limits were raised? So what happened? The Wall Street Journal offers a history lesson:

"This may seem non-controversial now, but at the time the debate was shrill and filled with predictions of doom. Ralph Nader claimed that 'history will never forgive Congress for this assault on the sanctity of human life.' Judith Stone, president of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, predicted to Katie Couric on NBC's 'Today Show' that there would be '6,400 added highway fatalities a year and millions of more injuries.' Federico Pena, the Clinton Administration's Secretary of Transportation, declared: 'Allowing speed limits to rise above 55 simply means that more Americans will die and be injured on our highways.'"

So what really occurred when Congress repealed the Double Nickel?

"We now have 10 years of evidence proving that the only 'assault' was on the sanctity of the truth. The nearby table shows that the death, injury and crash rates have fallen sharply since 1995. Per mile traveled, there were about 5,000 fewer deaths and almost one million fewer injuries in 2005 than in the mid-1990s. This is all the more remarkable given that a dozen years ago Americans lacked today's distraction of driving while also talking on their cell phones.

"Of the 31 states that have raised their speed limits to more than 70 mph, 29 saw a decline in the death and injury rate and only two - the Dakotas - have seen fatalities increase. Two studies, by the National Motorists Association and by the Cato Institute, have compared crash data in states that raised their speed limits with those that didn't and found no increase in deaths in the higher speed states."


But, being ever so resistant to facts, the Nanny Staters have already changed tactics and called for restoring the Double Nickel as a "fuel-saving measure." They never give up, folks.

HT: Instapundit








Friday, July 07, 2006

CARNIVAL OF CARS: A Drive Around the Auto Blog Block for Friday, July 7, 2006



Is Kirk or Carlos the man of the week in the automotive world this week? I dunno, but let's hit the road and see if we can find out on our weekly tour of the automotive blogs:

Lots of car insurance advertising in the media these days, but there actually a number of ways to save on this expense. Don't Mess With Taxes has a first installment of what is promised to be a useful collection of such tips. And speaking of auto insurance, Chuck at Car Buying Tips has a list of the 10 cheapest models to insure.

Did you know Toyota is raising prices on its U.S. products in an effort to sell fewer cars and trucks and thereby help GM and Ford? The Business of America is Business has some challenging thoughts on this little-noticed development in international and corporate diplomacy.

Automatic trannies for bicycles? Believe it or not, there is such a thing. Interesting Thing of the Day has the rest of the story.

In case you are wondering how much you could be saving on a particular Chrysler product as a result of the latest employee pricing promotion, Kicking Tires has done the heavy work for you and has a list for each model.

The Garage Blog is starting a new series on how to get good service for you car.

Is Smoke gonna smoke'em all this summer? Brian at Racedriven.com wants to know.

Do you want a Jeep? I Want a Jeep did and now the deal is done.

Frankly, I don't and never have because - compared to, oh, racing an open-wheeler in the rain at 150 mph - off-roading strikes me as one of the all-time most boring activities under the automotive sun. But whatever floats your boat, as they say.

Chuck at Car Buying Tips rather likes the prototype Honda Civic, but he wishes GM had taken a more retro approach to the soon-to-be-no-more GTO, like Chrysler did with the new Challenger.

Now, moving right along ...

Can you guess who said this?

"Make no mistake - this isn't about creating a new global automotive powerhouse well-equipped to do battle deep into this century, one that will keep Toyota from taking over the world. And this certainly isn't about doing what's best for General Motors and the people who have so much invested in the fortunes of the company.

"And this in no way, shape or form has anything to do with solidifying America's manufacturing base or shoring up the economy. No, this is about flat-out greed, pure and simple. "

If you said Peter DeLorenzo at Auto Extremist, you are exactly right. Go read the rest of his pungent observations about Kerkorian, GM, Ghosyn, et. al.

Autoblog has some fresh evidence of a Lacrosse Super headed to market.

Can you name that car? Carpundit has the answer.

Cars! Cars! Cars! thinks maybe it's time for Mr. Ford to admit he got it wrong on hybrids.

Looking for a very fast internship? Fast Machines notes that Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianpolis have agreed with the IRL's Panther Racing to accept interns for work with the team's Infiniti Pro Series entry in 2007.

GM's FastLane Blog has a link to a superb video documenting the Corvette team's successful campaign to win the LeMans 24 Hour GT1 class this year. Mr. Duntov would love it, I am certain.

They're killing snakes over at General Watch.

OK, what year Olds is that in the Yell Ow photo album featured at GM's FYI Blog? I think it's a 56, but ....

How much does Grant's Auto Rants like the Lotus Elise? Well, judge for yourself:

"The Lotus is so successful and narrow-minded in its task that many amenities are deemed superfluous and left out of the equation altogether."

Actually, Grant had much, much more to say and it's worth reading.

Shouting Thomas at Harleys, Cars, Girls and Guitars is serving "rolling cheesecake." Definitely the wildest Gold Wing I've ever seen.

You are there! At Lime Rock for the ALMS race!! Well, actually, Jalopnik was there.

Can it be true that GM's board is actually going to consider Tracinda's suggestion? Left Lane News says it is.

MyFordDreams2 links to Auto Express's review of a diesel edition of the Mazda3 and wonders why the UK pub says the Ford Focus sold over there is a sharper handler than the Zoom-Zoom smoker.

My Honest Mechanic - the inimitable Austin Davis - has some excellent tips on car wax and polish.

There's going to be a new Lexus sports car bowing for 2009, says Straightline, which offers details and an artist sketch.

They are walking the walk, literally, over at The Driving Women. Makes me tired just reading about it. Why can't we just jump in a big ol SUV and drive?

Folks, I've been writing automotive reviews since 1985, but I've yet to pen a graph like this:

"If you’ve never sampled a Cayman S (or a Boxster S), here’s what happens. You start off thinking it’s far too easy to drive for a “real” sports car. The suspension is good enough for government work. All the controls are weighted for delicacy and precision, rather than heft. The helm turns a tad too quickly. Clutch action is lighter than a pedal-operated trash can, while the biting point is stubbornly elusive (it works like a slide trombone rather than a trumpet). Taken as a whole, the Cayman S feels like an adrenalin-crazed hunting dog, bouncing on its toes, waiting for that blissful moment when it can live up to its genetic imperative."

Regular readers (and seekers) of The Truth About Cars instantly recognized that as the work of Robert Farago. Words are things of beauty in the hands of a master. Kind of like the perfect double-clutched heel-and-toe.

Hyundai sales are outpacing Mazda for the first six months of 2006. That's according to calculations by Joe Sherlock at The View Through the Windshield who applied a bit of the statistical analysis expertise he employed in a different industry. Hyundai outselling Mazda isn't the only thing he found that might interest you.

Is the racing success gene heritable? Louis Albornoz at Top Speed offers some thoughts, some of which are, shall we say, gingerly put.

Can it be, we have reached the end of the road for this week? There's always next week.

Don't forget!

Submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of cars using our carnival submission form.

Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.