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How to Drive. What to Drive. Where to Drive. Miscellany.

What to Drive


Six Succinctly, June 2011.

Swift, succinct reviews of: 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, 2011 Jaguar Xj, 2011 Kia Sportage SX AWD, 2011 Mini Cooper Countryman S All4, 2011 Audi A7 Quattro, 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.

2011 Jaguar Xj
My first impression of the Jaguar Xj, as my upward-sliding garage door revealed its gleaming mass in my driveway, was a simple ‘Wow!’ I was in the presence of a Presence.  I smiled. I had a week to explore its promised wonders. Since ‚‘succinctly’ is in the name of this space let me get to my conclusion instantly: the more time I spent with the car the less ‘wow’ I was about it. The less endearing I found it to be and thus the more little annoyances gained importance.


Six Succinctly.

Swift, succinct reviews of: 2011 Toyota Avalon, 2011 Mazda2, 2011 Kia Optima, Lexus CT200h, 2011 BMW 335d, Bugatti Veyron.

2011 TOYOTA AVALON
If you expect the Toyota Avalon to be just a larger Camry prepare to be pleasantly surprised. For one thing there’s an understated elegance about it. No “wow” factor but none intended. Clean-lined and pleasing it pulled my eye back toward it when I left it parked. Aha, there’s a there there. On the road it is responsive to demands. It performs well with emphasis on smooth and accomplished.


Do YOU Need Four-Wheel Drive?

Subaru conducted a survey a few years ago trying to discover the public perception of four-wheel drive. They found that most people thought 4WD was a good idea but that they didn’t need it themselves. Who needed it? Those who lived 100 miles farther north.

This was the response whether the survey was taken in Dallas, Chicago or Alaska. Said an Anchorage driver: “We don’t need it here but boy do they in Nome!”


The Story of “Dog”, my Land Rover.

As a rally driver for the Rover factory in the early 60s (3-liter Rover sedan) I met the man who created the first Land Rover. At dinner one night he told the story of how they took some GI Jeep discards, lengthened the wheel base and built the prototype.


Four Wheel Steering, Real and Pretend.

Perhaps you’ve noticed: cars are very like canister vacuum cleaners the way they take turns. Say you are leading your vacuum cleaner into the next room and you turn too sharply; the trailing canister gets hung up on the doorjamb now doesn’t it?

And what happens to your car if you make a turn too tight in it? Your rear wheels strike the curb. The dreaded ‘Vacuum Cleaner Effect.’


Buy Or Lease?

No question seems to polarize financial experts more. But beware: some of the experts are less expert about the car market than they think.

Even the fantastically successful Suze Orman who cranks out best-sellers about pathways to wealth and happiness though rich advises her readers to definitely buy a car rather than lease. She says you wouldn’t want to lease your life; you’d want to own it. A head-shaking non sequiter.


Contents

How To Drive, Part II.

The subject today, dear drivers, is merging. Drivers on freeways or limited access highways do it many times a day. Merge, merge, merge. Given that fact the wonderment is why are so many drivers intimidated by the process and why are so many doing it ineptly?

Merging cars into an already moving stream of traffic keeps traffic moving more quickly and more safely than the take-turns routine enforced by stop signals. That’s why limited access highways were invented — to smooth the general fl ... Read more >>

Driving To Save Fuel

Gas prices we won't see again.The enemies:

IDLING: if your engine is running and you’re not moving you’re getting ZERO mpg.

Ergo: Do not idle an engine to warm it up or to cool down the interior. Move. Appropriate speeds warm an engine quicker than idling. 

When stopping while a passenger “runs in” to buy a paper or a latte to go, turn the engine off. (A minute was once the break-even time for fuel to be saved but with new engines it’s ... Read more >>

Modena: Automobiles Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette!Aceto balsamico. All the rage now. Everything but ice cream has balsamic vinegar in it. (Actually on ice cream it is ... Read more >>

How To Drive, Part I.

I’m going to invent a new steering wheel.

The top segment of the wheel will be computer controlled so that when the car is headed straight that part of the wheel will be too h ... Read more >>

Do YOU Need Four-Wheel Drive?

Subaru conducted a survey a few years ago trying to discover the public perception of four-wheel drive. They found that most people thought 4WD was a good idea but that they didn’t need it themselves. Who needed it? Those who lived 100 miles farther north.

This was the response whether the survey was taken in Dallas, Chicago or Alaska. Said an Anchorage driver: “We don’t need it here but boy do they ... Read more >>

Rear View Mirror

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