News & Features
Like many people who are into cars and have a talent for art, Seattle's Rob Evans loves to draw far-out, futuristic automobiles.
For Monika Zych and Sandy McGill, becoming car designers for BMW started with Matchbox toy cars, racing the tiny replicas around the living room as little girls.
The Jeep Cherokee is back, though no one recognizes the 2014 model — with sleek, modern styling, a long list of safety features, pleasant handling and comfortable on-road ride — as a Cherokee.
Mitsubishi has given the 2014 Outlander a redesign from the ground up. The gaping trapezoidal grille, which still adorns the Outlander Sport five-seater, is gone. More important: The Outlander has earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and it's clear that Mitsubishi — in both its marketing and in the SUV's available options — is making safety the big selling point.
In the not-so-distant past, you'd be lucky to get complimentary floor mats, a full tank of gas and a cup of coffee to go with your new-car purchase. Nowadays, you can drive off with not only the floor mats, but also other freebies such as roadside assistance, car washes, scheduled maintenance, made-to-order lattes and even a pair of skis.
Automakers trying to reach young buyers face a conundrum: How do they sell a car to people who stay away from a showroom?
Since debuting as a new, third-generation model, the 2014 Mazda3 has been racking up the accolades -- and with good reason.
Whether the car lovers on your holiday list like rides big or small, are the practical type or are more adventurous, these gifts are sure to rev some holiday engines.
The Los Angeles Auto Show opens to the public today. Here are some of the most buzz-worthy vehicles being introduced at this year's show.
The Nissan Versa's name is Versa Note for 2014 models. (Nissan) Nissan's small Versa hatchback, renamed the Versa Note for 2014, is a low-priced, high-utility car with an attractive, fresh...
The 2014 Toyota Tundra starts at $25,920. (Toyota) Toyota has long been trying to lure buyers with macho images of its Tundra: There's the truck climbing a flame-engulfed ramp in...
Tall is highly regarded in America. It's part of the beverage sizes on Starbucks' menu. Women tend to like their men tall, dark and handsome. Few people aspire to be shorter -- unless they're tall people buying a car.
On a recent morning at Manheim Riverside, a wholesale auto auction in Riverside, Calif., more than a thousand used-car dealers gathered. Over a collective din that drowned out the auctioneers, the dealers winked, nodded or, for the less stealthy, raised a hand to indicate their bid.
Pleasantly styled inside and out and offering fuel-savvy, turbocharged power, the Ford Escape sport utility vehicle is threatening to dethrone the Honda CR-V as America's top-selling compact SUV.
The 2014 Jaguar F-Type starts at $92,895. (Jaguar) Firesand Orange is what Jaguar calls the paint that flashed from the F-Type sports car that I recently drove. The crowd-pleasing shade...
Ten years after Ford planted vegetation atop a massive truck-assembly plant, the largest living roof in the U.S. is flourishing and others have followed the automaker's lead.
Road hogs are getting high-tech. Harley-Davidson's newest models feature a voice-activated and touch-screen GPS system, the first on a production motorcycle. When the bike is getting low on fuel, the system finds the nearest filling station and maps out directions on a 6.5-inch screen the rider can control by voice, touch or joystick.
When Craig Hoi Pong darts around in his car, fellow motorists stop and stare. They check out his 17-inch rims, lowered suspension, LED blue-hued lights and yellow rear spoiler. His isn't a muscle car, classic car or hot rod. It's a two-seat Smart car -- on steroids.
With the new name of QX80 for 2014, Infiniti's largest sport utility vehicle packs some of the softest-feeling leather, shiniest burl wood and a host of other luxury items into a big, nicely crafted interior.
The Mitsubishi Lancer starts at $17,195. (Mitsubishi) The Lancer has long been a mainstay in Mitsubishi's dwindling U.S. lineup, from its no-frills economy model to the coveted high-performance Evolution. Even...
Taxi driver Abbas Ayoubi uses a 1971 Paykan for work in Tehran, Iran. (Kaveh Kazemi / The New York Times) On a recent Friday afternoon, in the upscale Shahrak-e Gharb...
The Pacific Northwest is a harsh environment for auto interiors. Mud gets tracked onto carpets, mold and mildew grow under floor mats, dogs slobber on windows and shed on seats. Then there's the spilled coffee, the fast-food remnants and all the weird things that kids leave behind: gum wads, crushed cereal and Lord knows what else.
The big SUV rolls on. Five years ago, when gas hit $4 per gallon, auto industry analysts boldly predicted that enormous SUVs would vanish like the automobile tail fin.
Don't let appearances fool you. While Chevrolet's 2014 Silverado looks a lot like its predecessor on the outside, major changes give the new Silverado better ride and handling, improved safety and a more luxurious, quiet interior with features that rival some offices.
It has always seemed to us as if Lexus' IS models were aimed at the buyer for whom comfort trumped style and, especially, performance. So for 2014, Lexus has redesigned its entry-level luxury sedans. Would more performance follow? We were eager to drive the redesigned IS 250 to find out.
Don't be fooled by the building's homely exterior of brown tile and glass, or by its location in a nondescript industrial area some 20 miles northwest of Bologna, Italy. Inside is the two-story workshop of Pagani Automobili, maker of some of the world's most advanced — and most expensive — cars.
My wife, Mariko, is 5 feet tall. No, the editor did not lop off the inches part. Mariko is as petite as she is intelligent and beautiful. I hope she's reading this.
When Jennifer Williams walked into the Nalley Lexus dealership in Georgia recently, all she needed was a salesperson to provide her a good deal on her trade-in, the keys to her RX 350 SUV and a happy wave goodbye.
The best-selling Buick in America, the Enclave, is a roomy, smooth-riding, sizable family SUV with top safety scores and a novel center air bag that deploys between the front seats in certain side crashes.
So Cadillac disposes of the Grandpa-like STS and DTS and arrives with a smart, more youthful and athletic idea: the XTS.
Ken Gross is the curator for the show "Porsche by Design: Seducing Speed." (Gerry Broome / The Associated Press) Curator Ken Gross had his first encounter with Porsches in college,...
It's 8:10 a.m., first period at King's High School in Shoreline, and the subject of the day's drivers' education class is the brain.
The Seattle Auto Show runs through Sunday at CenturyLink Field Event Center
The diesel Audi Q5 TDI gets better mileage than the gasoline-electric hybrid version. (Audi) Audi's best-selling sport utility vehicle, the Q5, gets even better in 2014 with the addition of...
Hyundai offers two models of its redesigned flagship crossover SUV for 2013: the long-wheelbase Santa Fe and the smaller Santa Fe Sport. The Sport is a five-seater. The slightly bigger Santa Fe can seat up to seven, and replaces the three-row Veracruz. Our tester was the Santa Fe configured for six passengers.
So your winning bid at the Lambrecht auction in Pierce, Neb., put a treasure on your trailer, and you've brought it home. Now what?
Whether you're in the market for a new vehicle or you just love to witness the future of the automotive world, there's only one place for you this week.
Drivers can expect to see some common threads among 2014 vehicles: soft-touch armrests and dashboards replacing hard plastic, larger touch screens and more ways to access smartphones. Here are the 2014 highlights, by brand.
The Fiat 500L gets 33 mpg in highway driving. (Chrysler) It doesn't sound like much: An extra 27.7 inches of length, nearly 6 more inches of height, two additional doors...
The Mercedes-Benz E350 Cabriolet is a car that can impress even the most jaded valet. It's elegant but understated. Classic yet modern. And did we mention it's a convertible? For 2014, Mercedes has given the midsize E-Class sleeker styling and significant technology upgrades. It adds up to luxury further refined.
The tiny Chevrolet Spark from General Motors is about as bare bones as cars come these days, with hand-crank windows, no floor mats and one of the smallest engines of any car. Air-conditioning is optional. But to the surprise of even GM itself, which has traditionally struggled to sell small cars, the Spark has become an unlikely hit as many American buyers warm to a car that is cheap to buy and to operate.
Search tools and build-your-own-vehicle options online make it seem as if the car-buying process should be as easy as browse, click and buy. Some buyers relish the thrill of an online search or going through a dealership.
Dozens of U.S. car models will be introduced or refreshed in the 2014 model year. Here are the 2014 highlights, by brand.
The 2014 Kia Cadenza starts below $36,000. (Kia) Kia reportedly has high aspirations — luxury car aspirations. So for 2014, the Korean automaker has rolled out a full-size sedan, the...
Let's make one thing clear: McLaren, the British maker of race cars and supercars like the new P1, is not the same company as Maclaren, the British manufacturer of premium baby strollers, known for its 1965 innovation of the folding umbrella model.
When automakers rolled out their electric cars three years ago, they had big plans. Even President Barack Obama, in his State of the Union address in 2011, predicted there would be as many as a million of them on the nation's roads by the middle of the decade.
Dozens of U.S. car models will be introduced or refreshed in the 2014 model year, from big-selling mainstream cars such as the Toyota Corolla to rarefied supercars such as Ferrari's $1.3 million LaFerrari.
In its first year, the Mazda CX-5 crossover sport utility vehicle won over auto critics with its driver-pleasing handling, comfortable interior and sporty looks.
Allow us to extol the joy of rear-wheel-drive sports cars, which long have been the favorites of enthusiasts for sheer driving fun and their propensity for oversteer (the rear end stepping out). Here are three we've driven recently.
A 1958 Chevrolet Biscayne is lined up with other vintage cars and trucks at a field near the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. (Nati Harnick / The...
I drive a 1991 Nissan Sentra SER that carries a few scars earned in two decades and 160,000 miles of trustworthy service. It's white ... but is it green?
Scott Greenberg could have handled a bigger car payment. But with a baby on the way and the dealership offering a rock-bottom interest rate, Greenberg stretched the loan to 72 months, or six years — about as long as the average American keeps a new car. At 2.64 percent interest, the long term cut about $100 from his monthly payment on the Volkswagen Touareg SUV.
The re-engineered 2014 Chevrolet Impala isn't just new, attractively styled and comfortable to ride in.
Maybe you've seen Acura's conceptual "Made for Mankind" commercial that claims its quest was to build the "world's smartest luxury SUV for mankind." Wow, that's a lot of baggage for a midsize SUV to carry. We found this new-generation MDX's many strengths to be a little more down to earth.
Wayne Irving's daughter was 15 when she asked to get her driver's permit. "I was already frustrated at how addicted to texting my daughter was," says the San Clemente, Calif., father of four, who at the time had just learned a grim statistic: More than 7,000 Americans had died from texting and driving the previous year.
Pull up a chair and let's talk about automotive seating. Of all the things people take for granted in a car, seats are probably the least appreciated. More than just a comfy place to park your backside, seats can improve safety, help drivers perform better, increase fuel efficiency and even help to sell the vehicle. There are ways to tell if a seat is right for you.
An accident reconstructionist removes the air bag control module from a test-crash training session for New York State Police investigators. (Heather Ainsworth / The New York Times) When Timothy...
Technology, handling, styling and quiet ride are all noteworthy in the Lexus GS 450h hybrid, the top model of the GS line in both horsepower and price.
It seems there's always a new "minivan alternative" on the market, so it's easy to overlook the venerable family hauler. We drove two updated vans, which reinforced our view of them as the practical choice for many families.
The drivers' education simulator lab in Des Plaines, Ill., seems straight from the 1970s: A dozen teenagers tucked into low-slung black vinyl drivers' seats, their steering wheels creaking in unison as a grainy movie plays and a narrator's grandfatherly voice gently asks, "Are you identifying the potential signs of conflict?"
There's a growing sense of team spirit in Sodo, but it's not coming just from the Mariners, Sounders and Seahawks. The neighborhood is evolving into an auto dealership destination: Mercedes-Benz of Seattle joined BMW there last month, and Tesla, Honda and Toyota dealers also are planning to move to Sodo.
Seeing one of Google's experimental, driverless cars zipping down Silicon Valley's Highway 101 or parking itself on a San Francisco street is not all that unusual. As automakers such as Audi, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz make plans for self-driving vehicles, it is only a matter of time before these cars become a big part of the great American traffic jam.
Move over, Toyota Camry. It's time for Toyota's other sizable sedan, the Avalon, to get some well-deserved attention.
The WRX has long been on our bucket list. That's because the performance version of Subaru's Impreza has been a favorite of enthusiasts and on the pro rally circuit. For 2013, the WRX is unchanged. Maybe that's why fans were so excited when Subaru showed off a striking WRX concept at the New York auto show. Well, we can all dream.
Some of the most exceptional vehicles in automotive history are coming to a car show in Tacoma next weekend. But it's not just any car show — the annual Kirkland Concours d' Elegance has a reputation for drawing some of the most obscure and valuable autos from private collections in North America.
It's time to head back to school. For some students (or their parents), this means more than buying a laptop — it means buying a new set of wheels. Before deciding on a car, here are some things to consider.
Agile and poised, the new-for-2014 Mazda6 mid-size sedan is a major leap over its predecessor in styling, features and fuel economy.
You have to give Nissan credit — the carmaker isn't afraid to think outside the box when it comes to design. To wit: the Seussian-looking Cube and the Murano CrossCabriolet SUV convertible. The most recent addition to that mix is the Juke crossover, which was introduced as a 2011 model. We finally got our chance to try one with the new Juke Nismo.
The math seems so straightforward: As engines get smaller and fuel economy improves, the cost of driving will fall, right?
General Motors is the pioneer, Ford the innovator and Chrysler the sleeper in the battle for the best infotainment system among domestic automakers.
For 2014, Kia's top-selling Sorento sport utility vehicle is all about "more." The restyled Sorento with attractive new face has a more upscale interior, a more powerful V-6, a more comfortable ride and more available features and safety equipment than its predecessor.
Today's full-size truck market offers an abundance of feature-laden models, so making a decision isn't an easy one for buyers. And the truck wars among the Detroit automakers are only heating up. General Motors has upped the ante with the GMC Sierra 1500 (and its cousin Chevrolet Silverado), the last of the three domestic trucks to get an overhaul.
"Everyone on the road hates you and wants to kill you." That was a warning I heard repeatedly as I began motorcycle training this spring. It made me pause and wonder: What was I doing?
The birth of this country's classic-car Olympics took place at Pebble Beach, Calif., on the scenic Monterey Peninsula, in the simpler, quieter time of November 1950.
There are many ways to measure Tesla Motors' remarkable progress in the three years since the electric-car maker launched its initial public offering: The first-ever profitable quarter this past spring. The 99 out of 100 score in Consumer Reports' review of the Model S sedan. The stock price, up more than 500 percent since June 2010.
The 2013 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon — the only V-8-powered station wagon factory built in the United States — is a rare blend of awesome acceleration, luxury accoutrements, sporty handling and station-wagon functionality.
It's the screwiest name on any new car, a name that seems swiped from the mid-1970s heyday of the Ford Gran Torino Brougham, the Dodge Royal Monaco Brougham and the Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Brougham.
Are drivers of electric and hybrid cars saints who reduce fuel use, emissions and global warming? Or are they freeloaders who aren't doing their part to pay for the roads and bridges they use?
The modern luxury automobile is an astonishing piece of engineering and design. Bells and whistles can include radar-assisted cruise control, Michelangelo-grade sheet metal, Starship Enterprise-grade interfaces, even pedestrian-detection systems that apply the brakes automatically.
A Ford Transit van slams its way over concrete obstacles in a test of durability at the automaker's proving grounds in Romeo, Mich., some 40 miles north of Detroit. The continuous on-road torture is punishing and could wreak havoc on both chassis components and a driver's spine, but the test driver doesn't mind.
Restyled for a new, upscale look, Nissan's Sentra small sedan for 2013 is more fuel efficient than ever and so roomy inside the government no longer ranks it as a compact sedan.
The 2013 Nissan Altima starts at $27,600. (Nissan) Competition is steep in the midsize sedan segment. So it's no surprise that Nissan has completely overhauled the Altima for 2013. With...
Dashboard technology that lets drivers text and email with voice commands -- marketed as a safer alternative -- actually is more distracting than simply talking on a cellphone, says a AAA study.
America's most iconic sports car — the Chevrolet Corvette — is having a major birthday this year, and enthusiasts are celebrating the car's milestone in a big way this summer.
Imagine shutting off your engine at every red light or stop sign, then turning on the ignition when the light turns green. Chevrolet is betting on a fuel-saving system that does that automatically.
With three rows of seats, a comfortably functional interior and pleasant looks, Toyota's 2013 Highlander is a right-sized, no-fuss vehicle for families.
The S4 is the performance version of Audi's A4. As such, the midsize sedan is more stealthy than flashy; at first glance there appears to be little to distinguish it from it's more staid cousin. But once behind the wheel, it quickly becomes apparent that this isn't a normal A4 when you step on the gas.
Ford Motor Co. figures that Atlas — a titan standing for strength and endurance — is just the right code name for the effort to create the next-generation F-150, the country's best-selling pickup truck.
Call me crazy, but here's a thought: What if people actually used their rugged SUVs and crossovers to do rugged things?
The engineers working on Honda's new Acura MDX luxury SUV were obsessed with giving customers more — more space in the rear seat, more fuel economy from a high-tech engine and, above all, more apps, maps and connectivity. But there was one feature they wanted less of: buttons.
The smooth and powerful Hyundai Sonata is a four-cylinder car that feels like it's really a V-6. (Hyundai) Family sedan buyers are moving upscale, and they're doing it by buying...
You won't get altitude sickness in Sacramento, where 20 feet of elevation is considered high ground. Drive 100 miles east, though, and you'll be in Truckee, a Wild West-flavored ski town perched in the Sierra Nevada at about 6,000 feet. Sacramento-to-Truckee is the kind of drive that can strain cooling systems and test the nerves of truckers once Interstate 80 starts heading back downhill. Over this route, with its mile-plus of sheer vertical ascent, the 2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel averaged 26 miles per gallon. If you're wondering why Porsche now makes a diesel, that number probably answers your question.
The steady flow of reminders to keep tires at the automaker's suggested inflation levels — even President Barack Obama chimed in — demonstrates just how far the demands of auto maintenance have diminished. With spark plugs that seem to last forever and oil-change intervals stretching to 10,000 miles and more, many owners continue to slack off when it comes to looking after tire pressure.
All summer long, a green-and-black Dodge Challenger will sit in the atrium of the Museum of History & Industry. It's eye candy for car lovers, worth more than half a million dollars. More important, it's a piece of the region's racing history.
My stiflingly hot hell on wheels started in the summer of 2011. The air conditioning in my 14-year-old Saturn was dead. It was too expensive to fix. So I decided to suffer the consequences.
The best-selling Lexus car, the ES entry-luxury sedan, now comes as a gasoline-electric hybrid, and what a fine hybrid it is.
Automakers are sometimes pilloried, even in this space, for being too cautious with their designs. But a conservative design can suggest confidence. Perennial favorites from the Honda Accord to the Chevrolet Silverado are evidence that long-term value isn't about the flashiest body or the latest trend. The Kia Cadenza demonstrates the point.
Hyundai rolled out the first 15 of its hydrogen-powered ix35 sport utility vehicles headed to Copenhagen recently. But part of the news for U.S. drivers interested in the technology was the fact that the event was in Europe and not here.
If you're shopping for a used vehicle, there's a major item you need to check for besides price, color, make and model. It's something you don't want: evidence of water damage from a flood.
Even with low interest rates that make buying a car more affordable, many consumers are leasing a new car or truck instead. Here are six tips to get a good deal when leasing a new car or truck.
It's easy to look down on Toyota Prius drivers — if you're driving the newest and most special Mercedes-Benz G-Class sport utility vehicle.
It sometimes can seem that there are as many variants of Porsche's 911 as there are Crayola crayons. But for 2013, Porsche has winnowed down the seventh-generation model, which it introduced last year, to six versions. We drove the Carrera 4S Cabriolet — convertible — that is the new-for-'13 all-wheel-drive version.
Not everyone aspires to own a shiny new car. For some, allure is found in a '67 Corvette, a '49 Merc, a rocking '32 deuce coupe. For them, a car is as much testimony as transportation. Their mechanics understand that.
Crowds braved temperatures in the 80s to attend the Greenwood Auto Show on June 29.
It's hard to imagine, but most items on the long list of safety features offered on modern cars were developed only in the past 50 years.
American Audi fans finally can get their hands on a few — just a few — Audi RS 5 Coupes and Cabriolets.
At first glance, it doesn't look like the 2014 Kia Sorento has changed much since last year. But under the sheet metal, it is new, with changes to the chassis and suspension that have smoothed out the ride and improved handling. Our tester was the mid-level EX trim with all-wheel drive.
"We'll turn you into a monkey," Seattleite Steven Austin tells me as we chat on the phone about his new Ural motorcycle.
Let the driver beware: Not all gasoline is created equal. As the summer-vacation driving season begins, paying attention at the pump can add miles per gallon to your fuel economy, and protect your engine.
Introduced this year in time for warm weather stateside, the 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio is a fun little car for hard-charging drivers.
Mazda has refreshed its large crossover, the CX-9, for 2013, essentially giving the family hauler a new front end that carries the "Kodo" design philosophy seen in the rest of the automaker's lineup, especially the all-new Mazda 6 sedan.
As the summer driving season gets underway, it's a good time to look at car-seat, booster-seat and seat-belt safety for all road trips — from cross-country sightseeing to a trip to the grocery store.
Any parent knows that license plates aren't just a way for the state to keep track of cars. They provide hours of amusement for families on long road trips. Consider these license-plate games.
Stacy Zoern, the co-owner of Community Cars, poses with a Kenguru car in April. (Ben Sklar / The New York Times) For years, Stacey Zoern, a Texas lawyer who lives...
The bold, boxy exterior of the Ford Flex is such a forceful statement, it can distract from the other notable features of this generously sized, six- to seven-passenger crossover vehicle.
The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT has 470 horsepower and a luxurious interior. (Chrysler) There's a new Jeep Grand Cherokee from Street and Racing Technology (SRT), which has become Chrysler's...
The engineers who create gallon-squeezing cars like the Toyota Prius use every available method to comply with the ever-tightening fuel-economy standards they must meet. Those solutions may include the use of hybrid powertrains, adopting lightweight materials, cutting aerodynamic drag and minimizing the friction losses of moving parts.
I've been fortunate to have traveled the world: Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia. Exotic islands, too. Wherever I go, I'm struck by one undeniable truth — Americans love their full-size pickup trucks like no other country on planet Earth.
This year brings an unprecedented proliferation of diesel engines, a technology traditionally offered by German automakers.
The 2013 midsize sedan with the lowest starting price in the United States isn't a Kia or Hyundai. It's the Dodge Avenger, which has seats for five, a good-sized trunk and distinctive Dodge front styling — all for $20,390 including destination charge.
Honda rolled out the ninth-generation Civic for 2012, and it met with a lukewarm reception. Critics found fault with its interior quality and its new 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. (We detected some cost-cutting in cabin materials, but still thought it a solid sport compact.) As a result of the criticism, Honda quickly refreshed the Civic for 2013. Our tester was the performance Si Coupe. Having driven previous Si models, we were eager to try it.
Shinya Fujimoto bought his Nissan Leaf during heady times for electric-vehicle fans.
Clockwise from top left: Firebird T-Shirt, $38; Silverlit Bluetooth Porsche, $80; Craftsman Socket Organizer Set, $12.50; Griot's Garage Starter Car Care Kit, $65; Authentic European License Plate, $30 (center). Dads...
So long as their car moves when the pedal is pressed, there is little reason for drivers of newer cars to care whether electronics have replaced the physical connection between the accelerator and the engine.
If you're weary of Mini Coopers described as "cute," the new-for-2013 Mini Cooper Paceman is for you.
The Lexus GS450h, redesigned for the 2013 model year, demonstrates how far Toyota has come in the two decades it has spent trying to electrify the automobile.
Mash the gas pedal the moment the light changes, race to the next signal and hit the brakes. That's a typical commute for some drivers. How different could drag racing be? I found out recently during a one-day session with Doug Foley's Drag Racing Experience at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.
After two years, a project to restore the first Studebaker Avanti ever sold is nearing completion. Volunteers and staff working on the car for the LeMay auto museum say that it has been fun — and a challenge.
For nearly two decades, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord have ruled the midsize car market. But now, cars such as the Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima and Kia Optima are cutting into sales of the Camry and Accord by offering combinations of sleeker designs, luxury-car features and better gas mileage.
The Subaru Forester gets up to 32 mpg in highway driving. (Subaru) The Subaru Forester, well known as a durable and eminently functional compact sport utility vehicle, adds more power,...
Perhaps it's telling that Mitsubishi's all-electric acronym, the city car known as the i-MiEV (Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle), was trucked to us from Miami.
Stop me if you've heard this one before: There's this famous car brand whose average driver is more familiar with Social Security than social media.
Passionate car collectors — and those who appreciate and enjoy looking at their hard work — will fill local auto shows this spring and summer. Here are some highlights.
The newest Chevrolet Sonic is a peppy, stylish, versatile and good handling RS hatchback with standard turbo engine, leather-trimmed seats and smartphone infotainment link — all for a starting price tag of less $21,000.
"Iron Man 3" kicks off a summer blockbuster season that will see hundreds of speeding, squealing, exploding, airborne, rolling and smoking vehicles in dozens of high-adrenaline films.
Subaru has created a new Forester for 2014 that offers more room, new features and better fuel economy, all based on the underpinnings of the redesigned Impreza introduced in 2011.
Two new factors are increasingly influencing buyers' auto choice: The kind of wireless connection a car has, and the kinds of mobile applications it runs.Noting the popularity of smartphones and the apps that run on them, carmakers are moving to make their vehicles "smarter" and more connected.
The high mark for sales of big sport utility vehicles came years ago, but don't tell that to Mercedes-Benz customers.
As if playing musical chairs, ultraluxury carmakers have scampered to find a safe perch within the global automaking giants.
Most people stare blankly when Bret Chandler starts talking about using propane as an alternate vehicle fuel. But most people haven't spent the past three years working with companies that convert cars and trucks to run on propane and setting up networks of filling stations all over California, Texas and Colorado.
Northwesterners are definitely fun hogs. Our vehicles get us to ski slopes, coastlines, mountain-bike trails and wine-country getaways. We're blessed with more recreation per square mile than nearly anyplace on the planet, and the roads that get us there are truly spectacular.
A vacuum cleaner is built into the trunk of the 2014 Honda Odyssey minivan. (Mary Altaffer / The Associated Press) Stray Cheerios, beware. The new Honda Odyssey minivan is here...
The Ford C-Max Energi can travel up to 21 miles in all-electric mode. (Ford) Ford's newest C-Max is the ultimate plug-in gasoline-electric hatchback for fuel- and environmentally conscious drivers yearning...
Mitsubishi's Outlander Sport is neither an Outlander, like its bigger SUV sibling of the same name, nor sporty. But the Outlander Sport, which has been updated for 2013, is a compact SUV that can be had for slightly less than $20,000 in its base trim.
The notion of making vehicles turn better by steering all four of their wheels has inspired engineers for decades. The U.S. Army experimented with all-wheel-steering jeeps during World War II, and the benefits to maneuverability of rear steering have long been known to firefighters assigned to hook-and-ladder trucks.
When Ferrari's biggest and baddest supercar is a hybrid, you know the world has changed. Once considered the province of techies and the eco-friendly, hybrids are catching on in almost every vehicle segment.
There are nine new cars with prices starting at less than $15,000. They come with unexpected standard equipment, and all of them possess an impressive safety list.
Buyers with a small-car budget don't have to settle for a small car when they would rather drive a sport utility vehicle. In fact, they can get a new Jeep for less than the retail price of a 2013 Toyota Corolla sedan.
This is the golden age of the midsize sedan. The family car is the most competitive class in the auto industry, and consumers reap the benefits of this one-upmanship. The latest proof of this is the stylish all-new Mazda6.
Global and Chinese automakers showcased family-friendly sedans and SUVs targeting coveted urban buyers at China's biggest auto show recently as competition intensifies in this huge but crowded market.
The members of the Pacific Northwest Metropolitan Owners Club are out to prove that collector cars don't always come in big packages — or with expensive price tags.
Winter can do a number on your car. Slush, salt and cold temperatures take a toll on everything from the tires to the wiper blades. As spring approaches, it's a good idea to give your car a thorough once-over to undo winter's damage.
The 2013 Chevrolet Volt has a lot going for it. It can travel up to 50 miles on all-electric power and has a backup gasoline engine for longer trips, is a recommended buy of Consumer Reports magazine and adds new features, including a new Hold mode that lets drivers set the Volt for gasoline-engine operation only, thereby saving the electric range for later in the trip, if needed.
Forget what you know about diesels. Forget the arguments about whether Porsche should be making SUVs. The Cayenne Diesel, especially if you can ante up for the pricey options, will change any preconceived notions.
With the luxury-vehicle market booming, automakers are rushing to fill their showrooms with expensive new models found at the New York auto show in March.
It's a no-brainer that electric vehicles get great mileage compared with cars powered by internal-combustion engines. Even so, many drivers of EVs and plug-in hybrids tweak their driving habits to achieve longer ranges on a single charge.
(Thinkstock) A common theme when trying to save money is "do it yourself," but many car owners are hesitant to take that advice and attempt basic maintenance and repairs on...
Sometimes, we get as excited over a modestly priced car as we do over the latest exotic. We're serious. An economy car has to provide more bang for the buck in areas that matter to busy families. So we appreciate when a car delivers. Kia's all-new 2014 Forte sedan does this surprisingly well. It should hit dealerships any day now.
If you find yourself in need of a new set of tires and don't know what all of those letters and numbers on the sides of tires mean, here's...
The spotlight of popularity can also divert attention away from other things that deserve it. Take convertibles. Ask people to name three, and nearly everyone answers Mustang, Miata and "the Chrysler you rent on vacation in Hawaii." You already know about the top three in top-down motoring; it's time to shed some sunshine on some lesser-known drop-tops.
What's that car that just breezed past? It's a Hybrid Air — an experimental vehicle that French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen has been trumpeting as an exemplar of energy efficiency. While some skeptics wonder whether the Hybrid Air is truly a breakthrough technology, the Peugeot and Citroen research cars powered by it were some of the more intriguing models on display at the Geneva auto show in March.
Finally, American car shoppers can get a small crossover sport utility vehicle from BMW that has a starting retail price of less than $32,000. In fact, the new-for-2013 BMW X1 five door has the lowest starting retail price of any BMW car or SUV — $31,695. The well-proportioned X1 looks pricier on the outside than it is and has great cargo- and people-hauling functionality.
In 2006, I drove a Saab 9-3 diesel convertible in Italy. Aside from an unfortunate incident when a bird guano-bombed my head near Lake Como, the top-down experience was remarkably pleasant.
As the newly installed pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis will often be seen greeting the world from the back of a rather peculiar vehicle. It's taken many shapes over the past three decades, but the classification is one we've become pretty accustomed to: the popemobile.
Local companies, such as NorthWest Auto Salon in Lynnwood, are taking vinyl wraps to protect and transform luxury vehicles and sports cars such as Ferraris and Lamborghinis.
Can a small car be a luxury car? It might sound like an oxymoron, but high-end manufacturers don't think so. In an effort to meet future federal fuel economy requirements, premium automakers are creating some of their smallest vehicles ever.
The 2013 Buick Verano Turbo is a stealth car. It looks pretty and rides comfortably. But stomp on the accelerator and this newest Verano sedan takes off.
The Hyundai Genesis Coupe has more horsepower and a sportier look than previous versions. (Hyundai) Hyundai introduced its Genesis coupe in 2010 as a traditional rear-wheel-drive performance car for the...
In this age of mass production and global distribution, have we seen the last taillights of cars with personality?
The speedometer on the Toyota Yaris says the tiny car can go 140 miles per hour. In reality, the subcompact's 106-horsepower engine and automatic transmission can't push it any faster than 109.
Nearly a year after race car driver and car designer Carroll Shelby died, his spirit lives on in a 2013 Ford Mustang with the most powerful series production V-8 in the world and unmistakable Shelby Mustang styling.
Buick's image is so ingrained in the national consciousness that the name has become shorthand for a U.S. road barge with ample proportions. That moose, someone might say, "is as big as a Buick."
As someone who grew up in a series of Lincoln automobiles, I am heartened at Ford Motor Company's belated attempt to revive this legendary luxury brand, even if it's odd that they use the former U.S. president in its advertising. And while there have been some remarkable Lincoln automobiles, you can't say the same for Washington, a name one associates with character and strength, but not for memorable cars.
Megan Ellingson, who had never won a divisional race, last year took first in the Sportsman's Class at the National Hot Rod Association's Northwest Nationals drag races. With that win, she became a part of racing history: part of a three-woman sweep of a national NHRA event.
During a frustrating rush-hour jam, drivers of an experimental car from Audi will be able to take their hands off the wheel, lift their feet from the pedals and focus on things other than the road, such as a movie or a newspaper. The car will take care of the driving.
The 2013 Buick Enclave is a V-6 with more than 115 cubic feet of cargo space. (General Motors) The Buick Enclave, the best-selling, seven-seat, premium- or luxury-branded sport utility vehicle...
The 2013 Volvo XC60 has a high stance, elegant roofline and a curvy rear end. (Volvo) The stylish XC60 puts Volvo's Scandinavian style into a small luxury crossover SUV. The...
Japanese automakers are building North American assembly plants at a breakneck pace to regain lost U.S. market share and reduce their dependence on a homeland that's become prohibitively costly.
As more electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids hit the streets — and with at least a dozen new models poised to enter showrooms this year — the competition to "fill up" at the more than 300 public charging stations in Washington state could send sparks flying and tempers flaring.
I, like many owners of the country's 260 million registered vehicles, rarely drive. Yet the bills keep on coming. I lease my car for about $200 a month. Add in the costs of fuel (electricity in my case), insurance and AAA coverage in case I crash, and the monthly bill is closer to $450.
The 2013 ATS is Cadillac's smallest and lightest-weight car. (The Associated Press) The smallest and lightest-weight car from Cadillac, the ATS, is a sharp-looking, smart-handling, rear- or all-wheel drive sedan...
The Toyota Yaris now comes as a two- or four-door hatchback, starting at $15,165. (Toyota) Considering Toyota's expertise in democratic, affordable transportation — Corolla, Camry, Prius — you'd think it...
While mass-market automakers are struggling in Europe with bloated inventories, falling sales and red ink, many luxury brands are reporting record sales and profits. Hence an unprecedented number of ultraexpensive new cars are mixed among the 130 or so premieres at the 83rd International Motor Show in Geneva.
If it's been a few years since you last shopped for a new car or truck, there are technologies that have changed the way a car operates, sounds and feels. Misunderstand them and you could make a buying mistake.
While electric vehicles continue to grab the green-car spotlight, an older technology has quietly emerged as a player in the fuel-economy wars: turbocharging.
The 2013 Toyota Avalon's base retail price is some $2,200 less than the starting retail price for last year's Avalon. (Toyota) Toyota's flagship sedan, the Avalon, is stylishly elegant for...
The 2013 Honda Civic looks more like its bigger sibling, the Accord. (Honda) The 2012 Honda Civic was a goof: a dull all-new car that wasn't better, in any significant...
Mark Reuss, president of General Motors Co.'s North American operations, and Mark Fields, the newly appointed chief operating officer of Ford Motor Co., address key issues facing the industry, including the future of in-dash technology, fuel economy, electric cars and the prospects for the industry at large.
The future has arrived for innovative safety technology, making cars smarter and safer.
OWNER: Karen and Eugene Penix, Quincy OCCUPATION: Retired CAR'S MAKE AND MODEL: 1960 Triumph TR3A "I LOVE MY CAR BECAUSE ... I love the old-school sports-car feel, the sound...
Production for the Porsche 918 Spyder is expected to start in September. The hybrid, which offers nearly 800 horsepower, will cost $845,000. (Porsche) An $845,000 Porsche. A McLaren supercar likely...
For 2013, Ford's full-size and attractively restyled Taurus includes an optional, turbocharged, EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. (Ford) Don't expect to find a four-cylinder engine in a big, roomy, 17-foot-long sedan? You're...
The 2013 Ford Focus ST shown here features a roof spoiler, 18-inch wheels and a paint color called Tangerine Scream. (Ford) About a decade after sparking up its fondly recalled...
Aimed at young buyers, the Dodge Dart Registry allows potential Dart owners to solicit donations toward the purchase of a new car. That's right, you can get other people to buy the car for you.
When it comes to pickups, loyalty runs deep. There is no model more important or more zealously defended by Detroit.
Drivers in the U.S. are discovering what Europeans have known for years: Diesel engines are powerful and still get eye-popping fuel economy, especially at highway speeds.
The 2014 RLX luxury sedan replaces Acura's flagship RL sedan this year. (Honda) The 2014 RLX luxury sedan is the most sophisticated Acura production car in history, topping even the...
The 2013 Ram 1500 offers an efficient new V-6 engine and other significant refinements. (Chrysler Group) Some latter-day puritans contend that excess is a moral abomination and just plain wrong....
The year 2012 is over, but one last vestige of it will linger deep into 2013 -- the "best of" automotive lists. Winners of the more prestigious titles will brag for months, if not the entire year. Modesty is not a virtue in the automotive world.
Engineers from General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and other companies have been working together to develop advanced crash-test dummies that can more accurately gauge vehicle safety. Their efforts are close to producing smarter dummies.
The 2013 Honda Civic EX-L Sedan has been redesigned after last year's updated version was criticized by reviewers and consumers. (Honda) The Honda Civic is back as a smart-to-buy compact...
Now 275 pounds lighter, the new SL-Class has the first mass-produced aluminum structure on a Mercedes-Benz production car. (Mercedes-Benz USA) Mercedes-Benz couldn't have known it at the time. But from...
(New York Times News Service) Irecently installed a small wireless gadget under my car's dashboard that would monitor my driving. I wanted to see how it felt to have my...
I have here on my computer unbiased, definitive data about how to enhance your love life. It comes to me compliments of a company called YourTango, which bills itself as "the digital leader in love and relationships." I know, not exactly Masters and Johnson, but better than Click and Clack. Maybe.
Automakers are racing to ramp up their digital offerings, linking in-dash systems to smartphones and services such as traffic monitors faster than you can say Pandora.
After decades of top reliability ratings, the Lexus LS 460 remains the quintessential serene, no-fuss, pampering, large, luxury sedan.
The 2013 Fiat Abarth is colorful and stylish. (Chrysler) We've driven a few different models of the Fiat 500 since its U.S. debut in 2011 and enjoyed the little Italian...
The TrailerTail is designed to reduce the aerodynamic drag generated at the rear of trailers. The reduction in turbulence can raise gas mileage. (ATDynamics) Perhaps you've recently been surprised to...
Offering summer-fun inspiration, the upcoming Seattle RV Show promises to be a respite from the damp Northwest winter.
This year, automakers will return to the Super Bowl in full force, hoping to make big impressions with their cars. Here's a rundown of who's selling what during the big game.
The 2013 Nissan Altima is slightly larger and has more power than its predecessor and is restyled inside and out for a more upscale appearance.
The Ford C-Max comes in two flavors: a plug-in version, called the C-Max Energi, and a standard gas-electric C-Max Hybrid. (Ford) For many Americans, the basic compact car stands as...
The Tesla Model X was among the new electric options at the recent North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (The Associated Press) The greenest cars on the market --...
Despite having no experience, one father ordered a British roadster kit, purchased an engine hoist plus a few basic tools, and, with his teenage son, spent 160 hours during the next six months figuring out the instructions.
The cost of fueling a new car should be a major consideration while shopping for a new car. These tips can save you hundreds of dollars a year.
Volkswagen's newest Jetta has the highest mileage rating ever -- a combined 45 miles per gallon in city and highway travel. But, it doesn't use diesel fuel, as previous high-mileage Jettas have.
Cobo Center in Detroit has 723,000 square feet of exhibition space, enough to spotlight hundreds of new cars. Mysteriously, as journalists gathered there last week for press previews of the North American International Auto Show, it seemed as if there was room for only one vehicle: the 2014 Corvette.
The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray was revealed at the Detroit auto show last week. (Paul Sancya / The Associated Press) As automotive events go, the arrival of a new Corvette...
The North American International Auto Show began last week in Detroit. Here are some of the exciting new cars and experimental concept vehicles unveiled at the show.
Mini-crossovers — small SUV-styled vehicles that share parts and systems with compact and subcompact cars — could be the auto industry's next boom.
For 2013, the Nissan Pathfinder sport utility vehicle is longer, wider and has a roomier interior than its predecessor. At the same time, this new Pathfinder is 500 pounds lighter. And with a 30 percent boost in fuel economy, it tops all other mid-size crosso
"Put it in low range," says the guy at the starting line of the off-road racecourse. "It doesn't have low range," I reply, gesturing vaguely toward the console of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL350 Bluetec.
In a scene that could have come from the television series "Mad Men" — except Don Draper didn't have the large flat-screen monitor — Olivier Francois is puffing on a cigarette and reaching for a mouse to unleash a blitz of images.
Since the apocalypse didn't happen last month, perhaps you're planning to celebrate humanity's survival by buying a new car. Being 2013, it seems appropriate to look at a baker's dozen of the most significant models arriving this year. Some are in showrooms, some will be out soon. Be patient — it's not the end of the world.
Lighting is the stuff of drama, in cars as well as on stage. More and more, dramatic lighting seeps from under dashboards and seats or gives a glow to the door sills. The 2013 Cadillac XTS has illuminated exterior door handles. A glowing ring surrounds the recharging port of the Ford Focus Electric.
Don't be surprised if some people assume the 2013 Chevrolet Spark is another newfangled electric car. Just 12 feet long and with an aerodynamic front end and abruptly chopped-off rear, the South Korean-built Spark could pass for an electric car.
My, my, late for the morning commute. Just a quick slurp of coffee; don't spill it on the tie again, and darn it, where did I leave those car keys? Oh, that's right: I don't actually have an office to go to. But with a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu waiting at the curb — Detroit's gray-flannel, workaday answer to the Toyota Camry — you'll forgive me for overlooking that fact.
Automobiles occupy an outsized chunk of my time. When you drive as many as three new cars a week, every week, slamming doors, pinching leather, evaluating gas mileage and figuring out how the radio works, the small stuff matters. I love the smart, outrageous and practical, and am exasperated by the wrongheaded, timid and abstruse.
Six big automakers are ready to slug it out over the next year or two in what is shaping up to be a heated competition for a prime slice of the American car market — the midsize family sedan.
The Honda Pilot remains the most fuel-efficient eight-passenger sport utility vehicle for 2013, is rated above average in predicted reliability and offers a comfortable ride and versatile cargo hauling.
When we drove the new Hyundai Veloster last year, we immediately took to the little hatchback with the odd number of doors and even odder name. We liked its funky design, but were disappointed with the "sporty" coupe's obvious lack of power. Now comes a turbo model, and all is right in the Veloster's world.
General Motors is giving its big pickups a much-needed makeover. The company unveiled new versions of its top-selling Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra recently, aiming to get them to showrooms by late spring or early summer.
Thanks to tough new federal fuel-efficiency rules, automakers must meet a fleet average of 54.5 mpg by 2025. More efficient engines and electric powertrains can't carry the whole load, so carmakers and the federal government are pouring resources into "lightweighting" cars to meet the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards.
The love affair with the automobile has nearly been matched by consumers' passion for smartphones. So what could be better than joining the two? Automakers are introducing connected in-car systems that bring apps to the dashboard.
Wow, the Ford Explorer sure has changed. No longer a truck-based sport utility vehicle, the Explorer rides comfortably and is generously sized, with noticeable roominess.
In a year full of comebacks (and a few setbacks), memorable anecdotes were plentiful. Here are some automotive highlights of 2012.
An auction of World War II-era vehicles from the collection of the National Military History Center drew a surprisingly wide spectrum of auto enthusiasts.
For 2013, more than a dozen nameplates will not be returning, and two automotive brands have expired. Here are some of the more notable vehicles that are disappearing after the 2012 model year.
Here's a handful of new and upcoming cars and trucks that stand out for being the most important and intriguing vehicles in showrooms now and into the new year.
Often overshadowed by its showier Lancer Evolution rally car sibling, the Mitsubishi Lancer sedan is a nimble-handling, decently powered and competitive compact four door in its own right.
The BMW X1 is based on the solid 1 Series, and it may easily outstrip the popularity of that small but costly coupe. And the X1 is much more practical.
In his nearly 50 years as an avid motorcyclist, Grady Howard has roared down the tobacco roads of North Carolina and through the mountains of old Kentucky, all with his wife, Barbara, tucked behind him. But with a balky left leg and myriad other maladies, he knew the only way to stay wild was to add a wheel.
While auto manufacturers are itching to drive into the future, let's look back at this year's major themes to help understand where they're headed.
It looks like a minivan. It has sliding doors like a minivan. So why isn't Ford calling its new seven-seater -- the Transit Connect Wagon -- a minivan?
With the smaller, turbocharged engine, the Ford Taurus is now the country's most fuel-efficient large traditional sedan, even with a curb weight of almost two tons.
A legion of aging bikers -- suffering from aching joints and slowing reflexes -- have abandoned their traditional two-wheel motorcycles in favor of three-wheelers, the super-steady and seemingly safer machines commonly known as trikes.
Hailed as a game-changing vehicle that erases the drawbacks of previous electric cars, the Tesla Model S has been highly anticipated by local electric car buffs, environmentalists and techno-geeks.
As the sun sets earlier and temperatures fall, it's time to think about preparing your car for winter driving. Make sure your vehicle is ready for the onslaught that may come.
Don't let the words "large, luxury sedan" fool you. The largest sedan in Cadillac's lineup, the 2013 XTS, handles with the poise and competence of a smaller car and with a smoothness not typically found in high-end, sporty sedans.
Hyundai's Azera may not come to mind when you think of a full-size sedan, but it would be a shame to overlook it, especially because it has been stylishly redesigned for 2012. (The '13 has no major changes.)
A 2013 Ozark 250 quad is among the products that Suzuki dealers will continue to sell in the U.S. (Suzuki) To Thomas Joynt Sr., who opened his first used-car...
John Nelson of Shoreline didn't just restore an old car. He restored a piece of racing history -- the 1955 Zink Championship Race Car.
The Los Angeles Auto Show opens to the public today. Here are some of the most talked-about vehicles that will be making their world debuts at the event.
The secret is out: You don't have to be a fanatical driving enthusiast to love Scion's new-for-2013 FR-S sport coupe.
For 2013, the FX37 replaces the F35 as Infiniti's midsize sport-luxury crossover, bringing a slightly bigger engine to its already carlike performance. It's a stylish way to set yourself apart from the SUV pack in the school car line or the company parking lot.
Tanks at the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation museum in Portola Valley, Calif. (Peter DaSilva / The New York Times) A tank museum anywhere is a strange spectacle. It documents humanity's...
Treat the car lovers or power commuters in your life to a holiday gift that caters to their passion, whether it's classic cars, planning the ultimate road trip or finding ways to make the journey a little easier.
A car's attaining collector status often has less to do with its monetary value than with mojo. If a machine can make hearts sing, then there will always be a devoted following, regardless of the depreciation curve. The fact that there are still pristine Corvairs on the road speaks to the power of charisma. So which of today's cars will defy the call of the salvage yard?
While it may not be apparent from pictures, the new Chevrolet Malibu Eco has significantly new styling, including a taller hood, wider track and a 4.5-inch shorter wheelbase from the 2012 model. The styling and platform changes sweep through the entire 2013 lineup, marking the launch of the eighth-generation.
It's a word that nowadays seems to appear only in reviews of Broadway shows followed by four to eight exclamation points. It's the sort of word that, if you hear it spoken at all, is often uttered with resigned sarcasm. Maybe it's hokey and a bit archaic, but the word terrific perfectly describes the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S, twin sports cars only recently delivered and then sent to live with separate families.
When a troupe of Porsche engineers arrived in Las Vegas last month, their cars — prototypes of the 918 Spyder, a supercar that is more than a year from its market debut — barely distracted tourists from their preoccupations. Instead of stopping the show, the two otherworldly supercars slipped unobtrusively into a hotel driveway.
You'll probably use a computer, washing machine, copier or smartphone today. But nothing is more complex and amazing than the modern automobile. It's easy to take its brilliance and durability for granted. They're so reliable these days, they seldom call attention to themselves.
The Seattle Auto Show runs through Sunday at CenturyLink Field Event Center.
Honda's 2013 Accord sedan is handsomely restyled and re-engineered to be more fuel efficient and refined than its predecessor, and it offers more technology, including a standard rearview camera that's an option on major competing sedans.
After my first, shall we say, spirited ride in Nissan's top performance animal, the GT-R, I sat in the driveway for a moment waiting for that nasty grin on my face to disappear. Shutting down this twin-turbo beast sounded like a jet engine as it whirs slowly to a halt.
Fifty years ago, General Motors cast off the overchromed, tailfinned excesses of its postwar auto designs and shocked the Paris auto salon by slipping into a clean, crisply tailored new suit. The 1963 Buick Riviera made its world debut, winning rave reviews even from Europeans who had been scornful of Detroit's irrational exuberance in the 1950s.
Each year, the Seattle Auto Show displays cars that are rarely seen in person. Lamborghinis, Porsches and Ferraris can be found in the same venue as the latest fuel-efficient family cars. This mix is a main draw of the show, organizers say, because people can shop and dream at the same time.
Although sales of electric cars have remained slow since they came to the U.S. mass market in late 2010, early buyers tend to be true believers and quite likely to give their new vehicles the benefit of the doubt. For many, the honeymoon period is still on.
Who says that fuel-thrifty gasoline-electric hybrid cars have to be snub-nosed, rounded and ho-hum to look at? Not designers at Ford Motor Co., whose 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid is arguably the prettiest hybrid car in the U.S. market.
Lincoln's MKX is essentially the luxury version of Ford's Edge, a midsized crossover that we like. There's no doubt that Ford is seeking to carve out a new identity for its Lincoln brand and to remain relevant in the luxury-car marketplace. The question here: Is the MKX distinguished enough to stand out from its luxury competition?
Among the rows of gleaming classics at collector-car exhibitions like the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, a few clusters of vehicles seem decidedly out of place. These cars are not white-glove spotless, and they lack the perfect paint, flawless upholstery and brilliant chrome seen on almost every other vehicle awaiting the judges' inspection.
You've probably heard ads for free brake inspections, and you may be wondering what the companies check for and how to know if you're being sold the correct services once they make a diagnosis. Here's a primer on brakes so you can make an informed decision.
Having a hard time parallel parking? Press a button on a touch screen and let the car park itself.
The new-for-2013 Hyundai Elantra GT hatchback is a stylish, fuel-sipping, nimble car with surprisingly quiet interior and luxury touches that include a huge panoramic sunroof and a sliding center armrest.
The last time I drove a Touareg TDI, it was the muscle-bound 10-cylinder version that VW slipped into the country for a few months at the end of 2006. A rhinoceros with a saddle, that Touareg had a twin-turbo diesel that was perhaps overqualified for the duties of a luxury SUV in contemporary America.
The drive to become the world's top electric motorcycle maker has led Craig Bramscher around the globe -- up twisting roads, off-road and face-to-face with corporate heads who share belief in the future of Brammo Motorsports' Enertia and Empulse.
There's much in the automotive world for buyers to get excited about in 2013. A quick industry review: Quality and fuel efficiency are at all-time highs across the board. Technology is delivering new levels of safety, comfort and entertainment. White-hot competition makes us all winners.
After a blitz of new models hit the United States last year, automakers have slowed down this year, at least on the surface. But the new models for 2013 are in key parts of the auto market and will have a bigger impact on car buyers. Here's a rundown of what's new for the 2013 model year.
Fitted with a raised suspension, unique wheels and some bold paint colors, Subaru's new XV Crosstrek five-door hatchback gets attention.
I recently drove the Model S, a full-size sedan just introduced by Tesla, the California electric-car startup, from Lake Tahoe to Los Angeles. I covered 531 miles and the drive took 11.5 hours, during which the car consumed zero gasoline and produced no tailpipe emissions.
Toyota's return to the affordable-performance realm has arrived in the form of the all-new, rear-wheel-drive 2013 Scion FR-S sports car.
Chances are, it's been a few years (or decades) since you last cracked a driver's manual or took driver's ed. Are you keeping up with the latest laws and rules of the road?
The new models for 2013 are in key parts of the auto market and will have a bigger impact on car buyers. Here's a rundown of what's new for the 2013 model year.
Volkswagen's upscale CC compact sedan is nicely put together with a coupe silhouette, pretty lines, a taut, refined ride, well-crafted interior and for 2013, seats for five.
Recently, Automobile magazine included the Ford Flex on its list of the ''best cars that nobody buys.'' We've been fans of the crossover since we drove one for our first Daily Drivers review, and we certainly understand how its boxy styling -- not to mention its sticker price -- can limit its audience. For 2013, the Flex gets cosmetic changes.
There are so many cool features on new cars that listing them all would take too long, but here are some that could benefit from an explanation.
Northwest Fleet Lease Vice President Ron Carlsen poses with vehicles available for lease. (Jeff Layton / Special to NWautos) When local businessman Steve Brown needs a replacement pickup truck for...
The new models for 2013 are in key parts of the auto market and will have a bigger impact on car buyers. Here's a rundown of what's new for the 2013 model year.
Ford's newest gasoline-electric vehicle, the C-Max Hybrid, is so roomy, stylish and smart, it's likely to attract buyers before they see the noteworthy 47 miles-per-gallon fuel rating on the window sticker.
No, the 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer SE sedan is not the fun-to-drive Ralliart we've driven in the past, or the uber-sporty Evolution. This compact sedan is more pedestrian than performance, but the rally background helps.
Driving a 1951 Allard K2 roadster is an exciting test of a driver's skill. (Allard Motor Works) If you're not the sort of person who enjoys old cars, you might...
Even if your new-car budget is small — say, $20,000 or less — you can still drive a vehicle that meets your needs and makes you smile every time you climb behind the wheel. Consider this sampling of (relatively) cheap fun.
Yet there are still some simple ways to get a great car at a relatively low price. It's all supply and demand. First, figure out what size and type of car you want, then find the cars in that segment that aren't selling.
The full-size Ram pickup truck, revamped for 2013, still has its Hemi V-8. But a new and impressively powered V-6, with best-in-class fuel economy plus towing might, is getting all the attention.
The 2012 Model S, a versatile sedan that succeeds the company's two-seat Roadster, is simultaneously stylish, efficient, roomy, crazy fast, high-tech and all electric. It defies the notion that electric cars are range-limited conveyances.
After a three-year absence, motocross has a home again in King County. In August, Pacific Raceways in Kent opened its newly revamped dirt-bike track.
Cars have gotten a lot more advanced in the past few decades, but at least one part — the humble car horn — has remained virtually untouched. Until now.
Some seven years after it left American shores, the Audi allroad returns as a more fuel efficient and quicker wagon with proper German road manners and toned-down off-road capability.
There is no vehicle more important to Mazda right now than the CX-5. The five-seat crossover wagon, which went on sale in February, has been the main beneficiary of the company's research and development efforts over the past three years, making it something of a showcase for Mazda's strategy and intentions.
Kia Motors America is finding it harder to operate under the radar these days. This year, the company, known as the other Korean carmaker, likely will sell more than 500,000 cars and crossovers in the United States for the first time since entering the market in 1994.
In the 15 years since Toyota introduced the Prius hybrid in Japan, the public's understanding of how these automotive wonders work their magic has generally ranked right alongside its comprehension of DNA sequencing.
It is a rite of American teendom, celebrated in popular culture by "American Graffiti" and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High": a teenager with a driver's license piling as many friends as will fit into the car for a ride. But increasingly, states are legislating away that carefree cruise, passing laws that restrict when, how and with whom teenagers can get behind the wheel.
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 roadster is faster, more fuel efficient, bigger and yet significantly lighter than its predecessor and aggressively styled on the outside to evoke SLs of the 1950s. But the high-tech and luxury features of this new, sixth-generation SL could bring buyers to showrooms, too.
Since 1976, the Honda Accord has been the car for people who don't want their car to say anything about them. It doesn't boast or gossip or tell lies. It's not glamorous, showy or racy. It's a stalwart car that does everything well except call attention to itself.
Any number of racetracks hold claim to colorful back stories, their heritage of championships battled fiercely to the finish. But it is doubtful that any racecourse has a history to match that of the Bonneville Salt Flats.
On a glowing August afternoon, the rumbles and sputters of vintage motorcycles blast down Elliott Avenue in regular intervals. Commuters eye the bikers, unencumbered by stuffy interiors, as they cruise to the corner of 17th and Leary avenues in Ballard.
The ability to map out the intricate machinery and processes of a powertrain plant in 3-D is saving Chrysler money and development time while improving quality, says Brian Harlow, company vice president and head of its NAFTA powertrain operations and global powertrain manufacturing engineering.
The new-for-2013 Infiniti JX35 is a nicely sized, well-appointed, luxury crossover sport utility vehicle with impressive room for seven people and combined government fuel economy rating that equals or is better than that of some five-passenger luxury SUVs.
At the 2001 Detroit auto show, before he was pulled back into the family business like the movie mobster Michael Corleone, General Motors' godfather-for-hire, Robert A. Lutz, gravely assessed the design studies on display: "A whole family of angry kitchen appliances, demented toasters, furious bread machines and vengeful trash compactors."
Toyota Motor Corp. is scheduled to launch production this month of locally assembled small vehicles at a new factory in Brazil as part of its quest to unseat rival Volkswagen, the top manufacturer in the Latin American country.
The question automotive writers get asked most by car buyers is "What do you drive?" To which I answer, "It doesn't matter."
Volkswagen is planning to step up its presence in the crossover-SUV market in a big way as the automaker attempts to elbow its way into the mainstream of the U.S. car market.
Redesigned for 2013, the Acura RDX compact sport utility vehicle is slightly larger, with a more compliant ride, than its predecessor and has more power than ever while beating the popular Lexus RX 350 in fuel-economy ratings.
As the original owner of a fuel-frugal 2007 Honda Fit that has largely justified my faith in it, I've long wanted to get behind the wheel of its even more environmentally friendly electric sibling, the 2013 Fit EV.
One reason electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles have hit the market with a thud is that there are strings attached: Drivers of models such as the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf must plug in to recharge the battery.
A breakthrough design introduced 50 years ago in a last-ditch attempt to salvage a gasping automaker, the Studebaker Avanti has been called the car that never dies.
For a long time, travel trailers came in two basic varieties: the big white shoebox or the Chiclet-shape pop-up. Airstream's iconic aluminum bubble was a notable exception.
The Ford Fiesta is a versatile, budget-conscious small car with a stylish interior and upscale car options such as heated leather seats and voice-recognition controls. The Fiesta also has higher U.S. government fuel-economy ratings than does a gasoline-powered Honda Fit.
It will be the black car waiting to pick you up at the airport. It's the Cadillac upon which hearses and limousines will be based. When Hertz runs out of midsize cars, it is the luxury sedan into which you'll upgrade.
Where have all the car names gone? I looked into my driveway recently and saw a Cadillac XTS, Scion FR-S and Jaguar XKR-S.
What has a frog's face and a shark's body, and can move with ease across land and sea? It's the Amphicar — perhaps the best way to cruise on summer's more pleasant days.
Chrysler and Ford are testing the limits of truck buyers' appetite for pickups loaded with leather, chrome and heated seats at price tags that can top $50,000.
Auto enthusiasts lusting for something new, exotic and fun to drive but relatively inexpensive have a new choice this year.
Porsche doesn't like to be rushed. But while it took the company's lab-coated obsessives 16 years to fully redesign the Boxster, the two-seat convertible has steadily evolved into one of the world's best sports cars.
Ford CEO Alan Mulally, who orchestrated a financial, cultural and product-led turnaround at Ford, turned 67 this month. Mulally -- the former CEO of Boeing -- is not expected to retire for at least 18 months, and Executive Chairman Bill Ford jokes that the architect of Ford's turnaround can continue to work as long as he likes.
Picture it: You've just bought the electric car of your dreams, but you lost track of your charge and are now stranded miles away from home or an electrical outlet. This concern is called "range anxiety," and it's the No. 1 reason consumers give for not wanting to purchase an electric vehicle.
If you're thinking about purchasing a new vehicle, an electric car might be worthy of consideration for the first time since the Turkey Trot was a national craze. While the thought of never visiting a gas station again holds appeal, there are things to consider before you take the plunge.
The 2012 Land Rover Range Rover, which is the quintessential, large British sport utility vehicle that has chauffeured Queen Elizabeth on occasion, remains a proper and luxurious expression of British transport.
I'm driving along a residential street in a Boston suburb when a woman steps off the sidewalk and beckons for me to stop. "What is that car?" she asks. I tell her it's a McLaren, the new MP4-12C.
The 300-foot sand drag strip at the Oregon Dunes Raceway in North Bend has been packed with competitors this year, growing in popularity since its opening race on New Year's Eve.
Good things come to those who wait: That's sage advice for car shoppers. Many of the most anticipated new and redesigned 2013 model-year cars are arriving now or in the next six months.
There have been the sexy horsepower wars and dull best-in-class fuel-efficiency battles. Now automakers are fighting an undeclared, escalating war over in-dash apps, worrying regulators about even more distracted driving.
Buyers of Chrysler's 200 Convertible get a lot of room and style for the money.
How deep is Lotus's obsession with handling? Well, the Evora S media materials note that relative to the nonsupercharged Evora, this car uses a larger-diameter rear antiroll bar -- a whole half-millimeter larger.
It is entirely possible that young shoppers poking around Dodge showrooms for a view of the brand's just-arriving 2013 compact sedans will have no idea of the half-century history behind the car's nameplate.
Everybody complains about the traffic, like the weather, but hardly anyone does anything about it. That may finally be changing as new technology to track cars becomes more widely used.
Cris Baldwin was 7 when she commandeered her brother's minibike on their Wisconsin dairy farm and first felt the wind in her face. More than 250,000 miles and 42 years later, it's still two wheels and a gas tank for the school administrator.
Acura's newest sedan, the 2013 ILX, looks good, is fuel-conscious and has a controlled, comfortable ride.
It is far too easy to underappreciate the Suzuki V-Strom 650 Adventure.
Reporter Susan Carpenter takes the C-1 out for a slow spin in San Francisco, flanked by a designer and engineer from Lit Motors. (Don Kelson / Los Angeles Times) Lit...
Joe Maxwell, owner of Maxwell's Metal Works, has been quietly pumping out some of the nation's finest hot rods and vintage vehicles for more than 20 years.
Life is different driving 200 miles an hour. The magnitude of what you're doing -- traveling fast enough to lift a loaded Boeing 747 off the ground -- is belied by a surprisingly calm environment. Yet at the risk of stating the obvious, a 200-mph car needs things the family sedan does not.
Not counting plug-in cars, the 2012 Toyota Prius c is the most gasoline-stingy auto on the U.S. market, with a combined city/highway rating of 50 miles a gallon, according to the federal government.
Dodge engineers and designers seem to have retained the best of the Alfa, including precise steering and driving dynamics, while improving on features that may matter most to Americans, like comfort, roominess and utility.
Nationwide, 125 youngsters have died of vehicular heat stroke since 2009, including 10 this summer, according to KidsAndCars.org, a child advocacy group. More than half were inadvertently left in the car and a third got into the vehicle by themselves.
Top: The Volkswagen Eos' hardtop convertible top also contains a sunroof. Above, left: The Hyundai Veloster features panoramic glass. Right, the Mazda Miata comes in hard or soft tops. Northwest...
Air conditioning would not become a big player in automobiles until 1953, when GM, Chrysler and Packard introduced new air-conditioning systems.
The Impreza's standout quality is its handling. The car took to curves with confidence and managed turns securely.
It appeared from nowhere, as if a wand had been waved: a steel-gray Mercedes-Benz E550 Cabriolet, practically glowing among the dusty airport vans and rental-car shuttles. We stood by our suitcases, gaping like two rubes at a state fair.
Millions of Americans have found that it's becoming surprisingly easy to borrow money to buy a car.
When I sat down in the driver's seat of the Wheego Whip that Seattle's MC Electric Vehicles loaned me for a week, I thought this little game would be fun. I could enjoy a short reprieve from ballooning summer gas prices and give myself a pat on the back for spewing fewer emissions — and then go back to my perfectly satisfied life as a Subaru Outback owner.
Summer road-trip time is upon us. Here are some tips to help ensure that your next outing is one you'll always remember, rather than one you'll want to forget.
The five-door Mitsubishi i-MiEV has an eye-popping, 126 miles-per-gallon-equivalent rating from the federal government in city driving.
Most people aren't aware of this, but since the late 1990s the Chevrolet Malibu's success has roughly tracked the career of Robert Downey Jr.
A Stanford professor is betting there's more than one way to get drivers to change their behavior. Congestion charges are sticks; why not try a carrot?
Lately, I've been thinking about how to make summer driving even better. Here are some tips for navigating the twists and turns the season brings.
While everyone loves the destination — whether it's the Grand Canyon or the beach a few hours from home — not many people relish the time spent in the car. But the type of car you choose can help ease that discomfort.
Buyers will find the 2012 Grand Cherokee is an American-built, handsome and comfortable five-seater that offers a surprisingly refined and free-of-wind-noise ride on pavement while retaining its off-road chops.
The all-electric Coda sedan carries an official range rating of 88 miles on a charge and proves sufficient for highway needs. But the ride is harsh and, inside, positions and proportions are out of whack.
Driving annoyances didn't happen overnight. In fact, it's taken centuries. So, as you sit in traffic, remember that your misfortune is far from unique. Your ancestors suffered too.
Travis and Tyler Groth, identical twins from Gig Harbor, have always wanted to race monster trucks. Now, the brothers — better known as the drivers of Captain USA (Travis) and Double Trouble (Tyler) — are living their boyhood dreams at shows around the country.
A safety demonstration at a recent transportation conference was a peek into the future of automotive safety: cars that talk to each other and warn drivers of impending collisions. This summer, the government is launching a yearlong, real-world test involving nearly 3,000 cars, trucks and buses using volunteer drivers in Ann Arbor, Mich.
To SUV purists, the five-door Nissan Xterra can be a refreshing vehicle that provides an old-school ride along with a new-car warranty.
The new XKR-S is the fastest series production car in Jaguar's history. It's another model certain to lift Jaguar's esteem, if not its bottom line.
Early adopters of electric vehicles have to dig deep into their wallets to make the purchase, but some are reaping unexpected savings on their insurance bills.
The Greenwood Car Show, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Saturday, June 30, is a 1.5-mile stretch of collector cars and hot rods along Greenwood Avenue North in Seattle. It draws thousands of spectators and is the biggest one-day car show in the state.
Almost 30 years after the minivan was introduced, after attacks from all sides, Chrysler remains on top. Now, CEO Sergio Marchionne will have to decide how best to sustain the success.
The 2012 BMW X3 is a handsome, compact crossover sport utility vehicle that stands out from the pack because of its honest-to-goodness, sports car-like handling, strong turbo power and premium interior.
To see what we're missing, I tested Volkswagen's Up, fresh from having been named the World Car of the Year at the New York auto show. And this cute-as-a-bug VW proceeded to charm me: buzzing through traffic, topping 50 mpg on the highway and delivering improbable four-passenger space in a car seven inches shorter than a Mini Cooper.
Everyone makes quality cars in the low- to mid-price range. Fuel economy is soaring across the board. Even affordable brands have designer sheet metal. So how do manufacturers attract new buyers? Many have begun to think about interiors.
Your next car might be able to read your text messages, adjust the suspension on a windy day or recharge itself wirelessly. Here are some of the high-tech options you'll find on upcoming cars and trucks.
For those of us who spent the boom years mostly in a car, in traffic, going nowhere memorable, news that Tom and Ray Magliozzi would retire from the airwaves in September comes as less a disappointment than a kind of reckoning.
Honda's sportiest and most fun-to-drive Civic, the 2012 Si, has freshened interior and exterior, more power than ever and higher fuel economy ratings than its predecessor.
The JX35 is a rare seven-passenger hauler that's not a minivan. (Infiniti) Infiniti's advertising tagline is "Inspired Performance." And the mission statement of the Nissan luxury brand has long been...
Chris Collins is among a group of enthusiasts who covet Japanese cars configured just as they would be in a Tokyo showroom. His Corolla is equipped as only the home-market models were, down to the steering wheel on the right side. He estimates that there are fewer than two dozen such cars in the U.S.
Father's Day is fast approaching. Don't get caught in the slow lane without a fun — or at least practical — gift to show how much you love him. These auto-related items will get him on his way to becoming king of the road.
"Car Talk" hosts Tom and Ray Magliozzi said Friday they will stop making new episodes of their comic auto advice show at the end of September. Their print column will continue.
When Honda Motor in 1980 announced its then-radical decision to build cars in the U.S., the industry collectively said, "What?" While auto buyers now take for granted that many European- or Asian-brand vehicles are made in the heart of the U.S., 30 years ago, it was a stunning notion.
Summer may be the usual time for convertibles, but the stylish, capable Volvo C70 is a car for all seasons.
The Ferrari FF's mandate is to meld the performance of a Ferrari supercar with the four-season utility of an all-wheel-drive luxury wagon. Thus the hatchback body, which identifies the FF with a once-popular class of sporting wagon known as the shooting brake.
Compact cars are on track to outsell midsize ones this year, says J.D. Power and Associates, a marketing information firm. That hasn't happened in at least two decades.
Although still optional on some midsize models, the V-6 engine is becoming scarce on smaller cars. So if you prefer a V-6, you may have to opt for a large car. Several automakers have revealed newly revamped large cars that add a needed dose of style, technology and fuel economy in an effort to woo younger buyers.
Buyers are opting for more expensive options and trim levels, driving up average car costs. (Associated Press file photo) Vehicles are fetching record average prices of $30,748, up 6.9 percent...
It may be hard to believe, but Buick sold more sport utility vehicles last year than it did Regal, LaCross or Lucerne sedans. All the SUVs were Enclaves — a high-riding, upscale family vehicle with seating for at least seven, a quiet interior, pleasant ride and decent power.
When I first heard rumors that Chevrolet was going to produce the 2012 Camaro ZL1, I thought, "Fine, GM is building a Camaro with a supercharger and more horsepower. Big deal." Now I've driven it and I know better.
Just as apps have transformed smartphones and tablets, car console screens are the next frontier. The number of apps available in vehicles is expected to multiply to dozens or perhaps hundreds over the next few years, just as they proliferated for smartphones.
Car shoppers today are less likely to end up with a lemon. In the past five years, global competition has forced automakers to improve the quality and reliability of their vehicles — everything from inexpensive mini-cars to decked-out luxury SUVs.
The new LeMay auto museum, a $60 million, 165,000-square-foot structure that sits next to the Tacoma Dome, opens to the public on June 2.
The Rogue is Nissan's top-selling SUV. (Nissan) Americans still love riding high above the ground in their vehicles, but have been opting for smaller SUVs to save on gasoline costs....
The 2012 Prius c, the newest, smallest and — with a base price of $19,710 — least expensive member of Toyota's expanding Prius family of hybrids is aimed at young, budget-wary city dwellers. This more petite Prius (the c is for city) deploys Toyota's gas-electric drivetrain in a sporty-looking four-door hatchback.
In their day, the jaw-dropping looks of concept cars merited rock-star treatment at auto shows. Today, in a more cynical age of downsized dreams and tight development budgets, the wild concept car — auto show eye candy — is becoming rarer.
Some misinformation, such as the idea that the Ford Mustang is named for the horse, is unlikely to affect you. Other myths, however, can cost you money or invite injury. Here are some common myths debunked.
The Ford Focus Electric blends in. A century ago, when electric cars were popular, they looked discernibly different from gasoline-powered automobiles. They looked more like carriages than "horseless carriages." Those...
The new-generation, 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera has the familiar, sexy shape of its forebears. But it's tastefully redone with a wider front track, a body that's a bit longer and lighter, a holistically designed interior and modern touches like light-emitting diode tail lamps.
More important than its looks, the fourth-generation Lexus GS is the most entertaining midrange Lexus sedan in memory. It defies the current midrange trend in which carmakers are prioritizing luxury over performance.
In 2008, when gas prices first reached $4 a gallon, Americans could not trade in their hulking trucks and SUVs fast enough. But today, dealers and analysts say demand for the vehicles is steady and inventories are low, causing their values to stabilize or even increase.
Carriage-house doors have been the leading style choice in garage doors for the past few years. (Clopay) It's often the first thing you notice as you pull into a driveway:...
Thinkstock Molly Helm didn't want to give her oldest son a brand-new car when he started driving. So the Enid, Okla., mom spent $500 on a 1990 Chevrolet Suburban. "We...
After 36 years, the Dodge Dart is back, and it's no retro model. The 2013 Dart five-seat sedan is modern and stylish, with European handling and heritage, fun features, 10 air bags and fuel-thrifty engines, including two turbos.
The Focus Electric looks nearly identical to the gas version, a small "Electric" badge the only clue that internal combustion has been supplanted by swift and silent electric propulsion. Sit in the low-slung, well-conforming seats and you feel oh-so normal. There are no circuit-board motifs, techno start-up sounds, weird shifter knobs or special Eco modes.
It's been a bumpy ride for the custom motorcycle business as sales of pricey, blinged-out bikes skidded with the economy. But one bike scene is thriving, and that's been a boon for Ryca Motors in Whittier, Calif.
Whether it's replacing a headlight, a battery or something more serious, asking the right questions before choosing a repair shop is essential. Here are some basic tips to help ensure that the mechanic jacks up your car and not your bill.
Chuck Saul is one of about 200 vendors that gather three times a year for The Greater Seattle Toy Show at Kent Commons Community Center. The show, which has been operating around the area for more than two decades, is a marketplace for collectible toys made before 1975, focusing on toy cars.
With European-style handling, luxury looks, surprising refinement and new features for 2013, Ford's compact sport utility vehicle, the Escape, doesn't seem like an Escape anymore.
As a car-buying choice, the Toyota Camry is like the "ask the audience" lifeline on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" The Camry, the best-selling car in America for 13 of the last 14 years, represents the wisdom of the crowd, a safe harbor for those who just aren't that interested in cars.
As the 40th anniversary of the Kitsap Destruction Derby approaches, Patrick Duncan, Robert Kirkland and Dan Harthorn are busy turning 1970s Chryslers into ramming machines.
Get ready for a new generation of cars equipped with surprisingly powerful three-cylinder engines that, according to early reviews out of Europe, have both the zip and zoom Americans expect in the four-cylinder compact sedans they buy today.
The re-engineered-for-2013 Lexus GS 350 shows that a Lexus sedan can have an overtly sporty ride, a snarly-looking front end and a noticeable exhaust note, all while hewing to the brand's high fit-and-finish reputation.
But take it from someone who has owned several underdog Volkswagens: The Golf R is the most exciting, capable VW hatch ever; a stealth fighter that will strafe many highfalutin' cars.
Ford's SUVs, from left, the Edge, the EcoSport, the Kuga and the Explorer are introduced at the Beijing auto show on April 22. (Alexander F. Yuan/The Associated Press) BEIJING —...
Assigning a name to a new vehicle is a behind-the-scenes process, often aided by outside branding agencies, that starts as much as two years before the car hits showroom floors. It must tell the story of the car, jibe with the design and styling, and sound pleasant to the ear, marketing experts say.
Sobriety, not showiness, prevailed in the aisles of the 2012 New York International Auto Show. The vehicles that typically attract less attention — sedans and crossovers — were the real news at the last of this season's major auto shows.
Hop in the new Fiat 500 Abarth, start the engine, stab the throttle and revel in the burbling growl of its exhaust. That subversively flatulent tailpipe emanation is an attention-getter, as bracing as a slap in the face, and proof that Abarth engineers have worked their mischief on the otherwise mild-mannered little Fiat.
A bare-knuckles fight is about to begin for low-end luxury-car buyers. Most of the cars will be smaller, to boost mileage, and lower-priced, in an attempt to draw a new crowd of younger buyers who'll stay with the brands long-term.
Chevrolet's Malibu mid-size sedan is a welcoming family car — revamped for 2013 with handsome styling, a quieter, refined interior and a pleasant ride.
Hyundai's redesigned subcompact, the 2012 Accent, is a simple, inexpensive sedan that works well, actually communicates with its driver and doesn't flaunt its compromises.
For many, the only thing more thrilling than the concept cars at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair was catching a glimpse of Elvis. Production automobiles already had modern monikers such as Futura, Starfire, Nova and Galaxie. But with the concepts, automakers promised that true space-age innovation was in our future.
The price of regular unleaded gasoline stays just under $4 a gallon at a gas station in Breezewood, Pa., Monday. (Gene J. Puskar/The Associated Press) Ahh, spring. The days get...
Left column, top to bottom: Tesla Model S, Mitsubishi i, Cadillac ELR. Right column, top to bottom: Fisker Karma, Honda Fit EV, Audi R8 e-tron. Less than a year ago,...
The 2012 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist gets 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. (General Motors) Finally, there's a Buick LaCrosse sedan that puts many of...
The Infiniti FX35 is a fundamentally strange beast, a crossover that shares its rear-wheel-drive platform with Nissan and Infiniti sports cars. After nine years, the styling is familiar, but let's not forget that Infiniti once described the FX as a "bionic cheetah." I think it looks like a jacked-up extraterrestrial insect, and I mean that as a compliment.
As spring break approaches, plan to give your kids the thrill of the (semi-)open road with a trip to an area go-kart track.
(Illustration by Sara Kennedy / NWautos staff) When it comes to ordering new cars, buyers are finding you can't always get what you want. But that may not be a...
The New York auto show opened to the public Friday with spring in the air — and not just because of the weather. The North American automobile market is experiencing a springlike rebirth this year, and the optimism is evident at the show: More high-profile vehicles are being introduced in New York than in recent memory.
With a starting retail price of $68,505, the 2012 Lexus LS sedan is bargain-priced compared to European competitors.
The Fiat 500C is the drop-top version of the 500 hatchback, a small and exceptionally cute car that's big on style and economy, though rather short on rear legroom.
The Ford Focus comes in a hatchback version. (Ford) The Hyundai Accent hatchback. (Hyundai) Hatchbacks are back. The hatchback — a car with a top-hinged rear door, or hatch, instead...
Clockwise from top: The 2013 Dodge Dart, the 2012 Ford Focus and the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. Gas prices are spiking. But this time, Detroit is ready. When prices soared in...
It's obvious that some cars skew female or male, in terms of both audience and overall aesthetic. Most of us can easily identify in which camp a car sits.
The new-for-2012 INfiniti M35 Hybrid pairs a gasoline V-6 to an electric motor and lithium ion battery pack and manages the power through a seven-speed automatic transmission. There's no continuously variable transmission here.
With this third-generation M-Class, Mercedes' confidence that its SUV values are the right ones has never been clearer. This is a subtle but enormously skilled contender in the midsize luxury class.
Most parents aren't using child seats correctly, says the nonprofit group Safe Kids USA. Only 30 percent are using the tether straps that keep the tops of child seats — and children's heads — secured in crashes, and many are not using the safest seats for their children's ages.
SSC North America is gearing up for production of the 1,350-horsepower Tuatara, a futuristic-looking machine with a luxury interior, priced at $1.3 million. SSC in January broke ground on its new world headquarters, a 36,000-square-foot facility in West Richland that will open to the public this summer.
The 2013 Beetle TDI goes on sale this summer. (Volkswagen) After hyping hybrids and electrics as fuel savers, automakers are about to kick off a wave of new fuel-saving diesel...
The new Hyunday Azera also has so many standard luxury features, including 293-horsepower V-6, light-emitting diode headlight accents, navigation system and rearview camera with large, 7-inch, in-dashboard screen display, that it might be confused with a high-tech, luxury sedan.
Tacking $6,600 onto the price of any new car — let alone a Korean family sedan — doesn't usually enhance its prospects. But a move to the $33,000 neighborhood seems to suit the Hyundai Azera just fine.
Three small crossover SUVs unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November point to the future of the family hauler. The Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V are all strong players for their respective brands.
Twenty-five years ago, purchasing a safe car meant buying a land yacht. But it's time to rethink what makes a vehicle safe. Huge vehicles aren't necessary for protection anymore, as sophisticated electronics, warning systems and multiple airbags are becoming commonplace.
The 2012 Edge gets 21 mpg city, 30 mpg highway. (Ford) Talk about perfect timing. For 2012, Ford added a fuel-thrifty, EcoBoost four-cylinder engine to its mid-size Edge sport utility...
With the Murano, Nissan has struck a nice balance between a smooth ride and responsive handling, a crucial compromise that has tripped up many an automaker.
View image « previous | next » « previous | next » Flashy new models are vying for attention at the Geneva auto show this week. Europe's automakers are holding...
View image « previous | next » « previous | next » GENEVA — Some people go to auto shows because they're looking to buy a new car. Others want...
Queen City Plating owner Richard Frisch (in red) and head plater Dean Peterson show a chrome bumper at the Mukilteo shop. (Jeff Layton) Here's a sampling of what you'll find...
Shoppers looking for family passenger cars could be the winners of a war breaking out in the auto industry. Over the next year, rival automakers are planning to roll out at least four revamped midsize sedans packed with new features and boasting better fuel economy.
It's no surprise that another Volvo, the 2012 S60 sedan, earned top safety ratings in U.S. government crash testing. The big surprise is the newest, high-performance version of the car has an exhilarating ride.
The new Zero DS, one of five models in Zero Motorcycles' revamped 2012 lineup of battery-powered bikes, is 95 percent new. It's immediately apparent: The 2012 DS feels like a genuine production motorcycle, while the earlier version felt as if it had been built in your neighbor's garage.
Richard Petty Driving Experience is expanding its offering with the new Exotic Driving Experience at the Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, Fla. The new attraction puts you behind the wheel of a performance car for a fraction of the cost of ownership.
If the surge in gas prices has you hyperventilating, well, you're not alone. And the experts are predicting it won't be over for a while, what with the price...
When it comes to their autos, members of Generation Y want hybrid cars stuffed with technology.
Today's top-of-the-line Regal GS is a 270-horsepower, turbocharged four door with a fine manual transmission, European-style handling, noteworthy road manners, pretty exterior and a heritage of Buick performance.
In an era of expensive gasoline and a threadbare economy, fewer young people are getting driver's licenses and more older people are holding on to them as long as possible.
At first sight, the Karma seems a concept car come to life — and, in fact, it is. Little of the design has changed since it was unveiled at the 2008 Detroit auto show.
You've seen it in the movies: A car flies down a gravel road, hits a patch of mud and slides sideways through a tight corner. Wheels spin. Pebbles spray. The driver pulls out of the turn and roars away. What you might not know is that it's possible to drive like that on a professional course only minutes from Seattle.
I'm not mechanically inclined. While I still go to the dealer for major repairs, here I am, willing to roll up my sleeves and do my own work if it will save a couple of hundred dollars. Here are tips for others who want to do their own repairs.
Forget about retro, nostalgia stuff. The 2012 Dodge Charger is an impressive, large, rear-wheel drive sedan for today's buyers who want to stand out from the crowd.
The BMW ActiveE, even in full sprint, has absolutely no exhaust noise. That's because the car doesn't have a tailpipe — or an engine, for that matter. It's the first 100-percent electric Bimmer, offered to 700 Americans who will help BMW evaluate its electric technology.
The Dodge Challenger SRT 392, left, and Dodge Charger SRT8 for 2012. (Chrysler) America is flexing its muscle. Sales of modern-day muscle cars are surprisingly strong despite gas price spikes...
Maybe a minivan is too big for you, or you need all-wheel drive (though the Toyota Sienna has it). Or maybe boxy just isn't the fashion statement you're aiming for. Fortunately, there are plenty of non-van family vehicles to choose from.
The Super Bowl is over, but there's still time on the clock for the auto ads that ran during the game. They can all still be viewed online.
The Corvette Centennial Special Edition comes in one color: black on black. (Chevrolet) The Corvette wasn't around 100 years ago when Chevrolet was born. But for 2012, the iconic two-seater...
In the midst of the creeping price inflation that seems to afflict all cars, the Dodge Charger stands out as a notable bargain, the lone rear-wheel-drive sedan (along with its cousin, the Chrysler 300) that's priced comfortably below $30,000.
The Los Angeles Times asked the editors at auto information company Edmunds.com, senior director of Consumer Reports' automotive test center and readers to put together a list of the 10 worst cars ever sold in America.
Workers train to demonstrate a battery-switching platform at the China Southern Power Grid center in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China. (Forbes Conrad / The New York Times) Three years ago, as...
A handful of cars and SUVs hitting the road this year could shake up the competitive balance among the world's top automakers.
The Veloster's looks and starting price are intended to draw younger buyers. (Hyundai) With sporty styling and standard high-tech features, the Hyundai Veloster — the automaker's fourth new car that...
The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle abandons the iconic arched silhouette of its predecessor and in the process shifts its style and personality. It is also more macho. "More power, less flower" is the slogan.
A safety standard issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Jan. 13 is intended to prevent occupants from being ejected through the side windows in accidents. The rule requires automakers to incorporate technology designed to protect both belted and unbelted passengers.
(Thinkstock and NWautos staff) For commuters, sometimes getting from Point A to Point B is easier said than done. Seattle's rush-hour traffic has been ranked between second- and fourth-worst in...
Under the shapely sheet metal and ultraglossy finishes of the vehicles introduced at the Detroit auto show last month were technical details just as captivating as the visual attractions. The advances ranged from minor interior convenience features to entirely new approaches in structural design.
Mazda, the car company known for its "zoom-zoom" marketing campaign, is selling fuel efficiency now, too. The company is applying SkyActiv, its package of fuel-saving equipment and upgrades, to the Mazda3 sedan and five-door hatchback.
Honda is meeting new competition in the compact crossover market with a carefully graduated step forward rather than a shoot-for-the-moon upgrade of its top-selling CR-V.
"Vintage Vehicle Show" host Lance Lambert's garage is a reflection of his love for collector cars. (Linda Hughes/Special to NWautos) Even after almost 20 years of hosting "The Vintage Vehicle...
The suburban Detroit museum founded by auto pioneer Henry Ford is revamping its automotive displays, offering a fresh look at its rich collection and showcasing the enormous influence of the automobile on culture and daily life in the United States.
In a world where technologies quickly come and go, automakers are pressed to keep pace. To ensure that the growing array of electronics do not become obsolete before the car's first oil change, engineers are creating vehicles that can adapt to new technologies and are flexible enough to accommodate future developments.
Nissan's Quest is a nice minivan that many people may not know about. (Nissan) Do buyers know there is a minivan again at Nissan? The Nissan Quest, which had been...
The Eos has a sunroof within its convertible top — an industry first. (Volkswagen) The 2012 Volkswagen Eos has an 8-cylinder. Not under the hood, but beneath the luggage compartment, behind...
A roundup of the most-lauded autos for 2012.
The relief and sense of accomplishment among automakers was palpable at this year's North American International Auto Show, which opened to the public Jan. 14, as automakers rolled out an impressive wave of spit-shined recruits for showrooms.
Hybrids and electric cars are hot, but what if you, well, haven't really been paying attention? Here's a primer on where we stand, so you can figure out where you're headed.
Young male drivers lock onto the 2012 Scion tC like heat-seeking missiles. Judging from the attention the test tC attracted, these guys love getting 180 horsepower at a starting retail price of less than $20,000.
Shop wisely, and you can find a small car that offers a lot of bang for the buck. Even better news for those on a budget but who still consider themselves automotive appreciators: It's possible to find such a car that offers a degree of fun. The Hyundai Accent is just that.
Didn't make a New Year's resolution? Here's one for car shoppers: Do some deep research.
Here are three trends to look for when the North American International Auto Show in Detroit opens to the public Jan. 14.
The Toyota NS4 plug-in hybrid concept was unveiled at the Detroit auto show Jan. 9. (The Associated Press) Automakers aren't easing off the throttle in unveiling new electric vehicles and...
There are three thrifty reasons why the best-selling car in the United States for the past 10 years, the Toyota Camry, is likely to stay on top.
In keeping with the Porsche tradition, the Panamera Turbo S is like a Panamera Turbo that's having a really good day. The S is a little bit brighter, a little bit sharper and a lot more expensive.
Ford is hoping high-tech features married with elegant designs will soon give its Lincoln brand an identity for which consumers will pay a premium.
They tell your garage door to go up and down; not too complicated. But garage-door openers have seen innovations lately that make up and down downright high-tech.
Examining your car insurance makes a lot of sense. Prices vary widely and, on average, car insurance cost Americans $789 per vehicle annually in 2008. Here are some ways to save.
Boldly forsaking a history of boxy, gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles, England's Land Rover now sells a compact SUV that's so stylish former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham is consulting on a special edition model.
The refreshed Mazda5 minivan has a friendly face on its smaller-than-average body. (Mazda) When Chrysler created the market for minivans back in 1983, the Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager and Chrysler...
Perhaps you never have texted or talked on a cellphone while operating a motor vehicle. But there are plenty of other activities that can make you just as guilty of distracted driving.
The goal of some automakers is make it easy for drivers to seamlessly access movies, music and other content always available via the Internet from central servers -- the so-called digital cloud -- instead of storing it on board or having to bring it with them on a personal device.
The turn of the automotive model year usually brings a host of discontinued cars, and this go-round is no exception. As 2011 winds down, some 17 models have gotten the ax, from market weaklings to long-running strong sellers.
The Chrysler 300 flagship sedan offers style on a grand scale and a roomy interior reminiscent of the big American sedans of yesteryear. But the V-8-powered SRT8 version of the 300 provides another, less nostalgic blast from the past: It guzzles gas.
Kaid Jaret Olson-Weston can barely see over the steering wheel, but at 8 years old, he is the youngest monster-truck driver.
The type of car embodied by the BMW 6 Series once commanded the highest levels of respect. Provocatively styled and emitting satisfied burps from a V-8, the classic two-plus-two luxury liner proclaimed its owner to be a lover of the good life and the fast lane.
At a time when consumers have become accustomed to buying flat-screen televisions from Amazon without seeing the picture quality and ordering shoes from Zappos without trying them on, is it any wonder that some would buy a vehicle without ever taking a test drive?
The automotive world finds itself awash in the kind of extreme two-seaters that are so quick, light and expensive that they are called supercars. More than a dozen choices, some costing upwards of $2 million, are here and more are on the way.
For 2012, the youthful Kia Soul is restyled for a more high-tech look, has more powerful, yet more fuel-efficient engines, new six-speed transmissions and more features, including an infotainment system with voice recognition.
There are signs that Buick is on the upswing, and the Verano luxury compact is the latest indication that corporate confidence is back, along with a new willingness to take a gamble.
An ill-prepared vehicle can not only jeopardize your holiday trip, but also the safety of you and your passengers. And on-the-road repairs are seldom cheap or convenient. A pre-trip check-up will ensure safe travels.
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Internal-combustion engines are by nature high-friction devices. Friction nibbles away at engine power, producing heat that is lost to the atmosphere. Limiting those losses is a goal of every automaker, with huge efforts directed toward tiny returns.
Toyota's biggest Prius, the 2012 Prius v, has arrived as a minivan-styled vehicle with 58 percent more cargo space than the current Prius and more room for passengers.
The new Subaru Impreza sedan with an automatic transmission is rated at 36 miles per gallon on the highway, a whopping 38 percent increase from last year's figure of 26 mpg.
"Green" cars and futuristic concepts rolled into the spotlight at the Tokyo auto show as Japan's automakers look to technological innovation to reinvigorate growth after tough times.
The Pacific Northwest's classic-car clubs and meetups aren't just populated by adults; kids and teens have a similar passion for antique autos. And when all the age groups come together, it can be a learning and bonding experience for everyone.
This year, more than 14 percent of new models on sale in the United States came with liquid tire sealant and a portable electric air pump instead of a spare, a trend that is growing as automakers try to shed pounds and boost gas mileage.
The 2012 Verano is a decidedly nice car with pleasing styling, quiet interior, decent fuel mileage and noteworthy ride and handling.
The redesigned, U.S.-built 2012 Volkswagen Passat has arrived — and appears to be a solid entry in the midsize-sedan segment, ready to challenge the dominance of the longtime leaders in the class, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
Vortech Engineering has built a business helping drivers satisfy their need for speed. The Oxnard, Calif., company manufactures superchargers that force more air into an automotive engine, providing a boost of additional horsepower.
This year may go down as one of the most exciting and unpredictable in automotive history.
Despite ads showing a brand-new car (complete with big red bow) in the driveway on Christmas morning, one of the biggest sales periods of the year actually comes after Santa has headed back to the North Pole.
Thirteen years after launching its natural gas-powered Civic as a low-emission, low-fuel-price vehicle for public utilities and other business fleets, Honda is expanding availability to more consumers than ever.
Easing along the New York State Thruway in a Buick LaCrosse, I am enjoying the hushed cabin and technological amenities of an entry-level luxury car as I keep an eye out for diminutive gas hogs like the Honda Fit and the Mazda 2.
Americans have repeatedly indulged in big views: picture windows in the ranch house, CinemaScope at the drive-in, wide-screen television in the media room.
Jim Leath has driven pickup trucks since the 1960s, always powered by V-8 engines beefy enough to tow a boat or carry a load of concrete blocks.
Taming America's sport utility vehicles and turning them into new-day minivans for mainstream buyers took a toll on most classic SUVs. But the iconic Jeep Wrangler escaped the trend.
Barricaded against the financial storms, Americans aren't exactly whistling "Here Comes the Sun."
Brighten the holidays for the car nut on your list with gifts that show you've been paying attention.
The Willys-Overland Jeep had a fast start. It was invented as the U.S. prepared to enter World War II, and nearly 650,000 were used by the time the war ended.
After 42 years, the Mustang Boss 302 is back, channeling race car driver Parnelli Jones and his exhilarating 1970 Trans Am series win at Laguna Seca raceway in California.
Whether it's due to improved vehicle quality or the lousy economy, the U.S. Department of Transportation says we're keeping our rides longer than ever. These days, the average car lasts about 13 years and 145,000 miles.
Is your car ready for the cold? Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Thank goodness you don't need one of the 100 special-edition Neiman Marcus Chevrolet Camaro Convertibles to enjoy a special open-top Camaro ride.
The new Audi A6 has arrived. And from its debut on the luxury stage until the end of its days, this sedan will be the William Mapother of the Audi lineup.
Automobiles seem to want to lose their old-fashioned door handles.
--> « previous | next » « previous | next » The 2012 Seattle Auto Show runs Nov. 2-6 at Century Link Field Event Center. To learn more, read...
It's still called the Kia Rio. But the five-door hatchback for 2012 is a notable new model with sporty appearance, well-laid-out interior, a more refined and quiet ride and a government fuel economy rating of 40 miles a gallon on the highway.
Plain, ordinary and uninteresting were core competencies of the old Chrysler Corp. From Harry Truman's 1941 Chrysler Windsor, through four decades of the nearly indestructible Slant Six engine and on to, yes, the boring front-drive K-Cars of the 1980s, Chrysler delivered plain, affordable transportation for plain, budget-conscious people who saw that as a virtue. The Chrysler 200 sedan is in keeping with that tradition.
The vehicles at the 2012 Seattle Auto Show are a reflection of the times. Almost every automaker will be showing fuel-sipping hybrids, super-efficient compacts and zero-emission electrics.
Chevrolet doesn't just build cars and trucks. It creates archetypes. Close your eyes and think of a type of car or truck. It's amazing how often the vehicle in your mind's eye will be a Chevrolet.
Like its famous bowtie badge, Chevrolet's past and present intersect at several ironic points.
In the 100 years that Chevrolets have roamed U.S. roads and byways, the car has been portrayed in movies, TV and music as the modest, everyman vehicle that anyone could afford, as well as a signifier of reckless speed, eternal youth and a persistent raffishness.
If you like both kinds of music -- songs about Chevrolets and songs about Chevys -- Pandora has the playlist for you.
Where is the rest of the car? Just about everyone asked this question when they saw Scion's newest car, the iQ.
Some vehicles defy rhyme or reason. Carmakers count on that.
Rick Mack has owned woodie station wagons since the 1960s. Now he restores them. (Jeff Layton) Rick Mack shows the complicated cuts needed to replicate an original woodie exterior. He...
Revamped versions of some of America's best-known cars are out this year, along with new fuel-sippers, electrics and high-powered performance machines.
Nissan's American-built mid-size car, the Altima, is catching on with car buyers this year.
The Scion iQ stretches out just a tenth of an inch beyond 10 feet long, but it packs some slick engineering into that short space. Maybe too much slick engineering.
Two years ago, George Patterson found himself faced with a routine car-maintenance problem that came with a big price tag. The high cost of labor in the repair shop's quote got him thinking that there must be a way to make the fix for less.
Revamped versions of some of America's best-known cars are out this year, along with new fuel-sippers, electrics and high-powered performance machines. Here's a rundown of the 2012 cars on the market through next fall (all prices include shipping).
The SRX, the Cadillac of crossover sport utility vehicles, gets smart improvements for 2012 -- notably, a better engine and an "eco" mode to try to maximize fuel efficiency.
Everybody, it sometimes seems, complains about the minivan, or at least the bland, conservative image of the minivan. But despite the best efforts of marketing departments -- from Toyota's "Swagger Wagon" videos to Honda Odyssey ads pulsing with rock-concert fantasies -- tampering with the basic van formula is a dangerous business.
One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Miss -- boom! Congratulations, you've just hit 60 miles an hour. Or would have if you were piloting a Bugatti Veyron.
Everything old is new again. Revamped versions of some of America's best-known cars -- the Toyota Camry, the Chevrolet Malibu, the Ford Taurus, the Volkswagen Beetle, the BMW 3 Series -- are all going on sale in the 2012 model year. The industry hopes that as buyers return after the economic slump, they'll be delighted by new styling, significantly better fuel economy and, in some cases, lower prices.
Chevrolet improves its lineup substantially with the new-for-2012 Sonic compact sedan and five-door hatchback.
The Bentley Mulsanne, it turns out, is a pleasant car to drive. I can hear the snorts already: "Excuse me? Bentley's flagship costs $330,000. I should hope it's pleasing."
It's easy to get excited about the launch of an all-new car. Fresh sheet metal is like a newborn baby -- it commands attention while the older sibling gets ignored.
The government's tougher new fuel-economy standards are going to force automakers to go to new lengths to increase gas mileage, and many are already looking at fine details such as aerodynamics.
Luxury brand Infiniti finally joins the gasoline-electric hybrid car market with the 2012 M35h that's rated 38 percent more fuel efficient overall than its non-hybrid, V-6-powered M35 sibling.
BETHLEHEM, N.H. -- The goal in designing the 2012 Civic Hybrid, Honda executives say, was to incorporate the hybrid virtue of superior fuel economy in a vehicle that drives like a conventional car. For the most part, Honda has accomplished that.
Electric-vehicle charging stations continue to pop up like mushrooms in the Seattle area, enabling drivers to extend their driving range as they catch a football game in Sodo, enjoy a latte in South Lake Union or see a movie at the Bellevue Collection.
When Carol Grubb bought her new car, the salesman told her that the "BA" on the invoice stood for brake assist. He wasn't able to tell her much more about what brake assist actually does, or why she needed it, though. The Kissimmee, Fla., resident didn't even ask about "BFD."
The Volkswagen Beetle is back as a new, larger car with a flatter roofline, wider track, shorter windshield, better fuel economy and no bud vase on the dashboard.
When Alan Titus' car broke down, he thought about having it towed to a shop, as he usually did. But he was intrigued by a mobile mechanic's advertisement and called him instead.
As Hyundai celebrates its 25th anniversary selling cars in the United States, the brand that started out as a low-priced joke has become the fastest-growing automaker in the world.
In tough economic times, large premium cars aren't big sellers. But Hyundai is undeterred. The South Korea-based company is upgrading its 3-year-old, rear-wheel drive Genesis sedan with a new model that has Hyundai's most powerful engine -- a 5-liter, direct-injection V-8 generating 429 horsepower.
All it took was one camping trip in a borrowed trailer for Melanie and Lee Power to know that they wanted to get their own. And it took only about half a second for Melanie to know which kind she wanted.
Not noticing the usual convoy of motor homes headed for vacation spots this summer? That may be because RVs are getting smaller.
Chevrolet's best-selling sport utility vehicle, the Equinox, is comfortable, attractive inside and out, and roomy without being oversized.
When it comes to birthdays, you may have heard that 40 is the new 30. That applies to automotive fuel efficiency, too. Every manufacturer is now gunning for the big 4-0.
Those twinkling lights on the fronts of luxury cars are starting to find their way into the mainstream.
Not even major league hockey's shiny, big, Stanley Cup trophy dims the glitzy looks of the 2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV.
Tony Miller sits in a 1957 Ford Fairlane he is restoring at his shop Stitches in Poulsbo. (Amanda Layton / Special to NWautos) When Tony Miller was in high school,...
Clockwise from top left: The Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Elantra. It's the best summer in years for Detroit carmakers. New 2011 models are flying out of dealer showrooms,...
The newest Kia Forte is second-best in government fuel economy ratings among 2011 mid-size hatchbacks. Only the Toyota Prius, with hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain, does better.
Websites for individual dealerships (like Renton Kia's, top left), Costco Auto (right) and eBay Motors are giving consumers a new entry-point for buying a vehicle. Beth Volk had done all...
Priced at $10,990, the 2012 Nissan Versa is the epitome of the new value car. (Nissan) It would have been easy to overlook amid the shiny cars, fashion models and...
It's easy to get people staring at the newly restyled, 2012 Volkwagen Eos -- particularly when the convertible hardtop is down and a nearly 4-foot-tall, bright yellow M&M's character is strapped into the back seat.
Clockwise from top left: The Kia Optima, Chevrolet Malibu, Hyundai Tuscon and Toyota Venza are Insurance Institute for Highway Safety top safety picks. Ford If your back-to-school shopping list includes...
(Thinkstock) In about two months my son will begin driving lessons, and I've realized that I have no idea how to choose a driving school. When I was a teen,...
Hyundai's smallest auto, the Accent, is no longer the cheapest new car in America. Instead, it's a stylish compact with class-leading fuel mileage, notable features and an interior so quiet at stoplights you might think the engine has turned off.
(Sara Kennedy / NWautos staff) "Have you seen the price of gas? It's almost five bucks a gallon!" OK, maybe it's only four bucks. Or $3.92. But whatever. If I...
The stage is set for a relatively simple and inexpensive fuel-saving technology to proliferate on vehicles in North America.
The 2012 Mazda5 is a pleasant bargain -- a nimble minivan that's smaller than others, yet has seats for six, best fuel mileage of any van, a value price and even an available manual transmission.
(Thinkstock) When your car squeaks, squeals or groans, it's asking for help. Ignoring those noises can cost big bucks later, so it's best to check them now and fix any...
Clockwise from top left: Audi A5; Chrysler 200; Mercedes-Benz SLK350; Volkswagen Eos. I'd argue that the Pacific Northwest is the best place in America to own a convertible. Don't wait...
(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) Acura's best-selling car, the mid-size TL sedan, is revised for 2012 with a new, modern transmission, interior upgrades and a toned-down grille design and rear end...
An ever-growing number of road-trip-related apps, websites and gadgets help make plotting a summer adventure almost as fun as the journey itself. Whether you're bound for the ocean, mountains or desert, here are some high-tech ways to ease your expedition.
(Thinkstock) The Baby Bee Cool car seat cover, left, uses ice packs to keep the seat cool. A folding window shade, right, is convenient and effective. On a hot summer...
The attractive 2011 Hyundai Elantra sedan is arguably the best-looking smallish sedan in the country.
Custom auto-painter Josh Jones practices free-hand pinstriping (Photos by Jeff Layton) When Josh Jones was in school, there were only two things that appealed to him: cars and art. At...
James Jensen checks out a Toyota Prius while car shopping in Braintree, Mass. Some Toyota models are in short supply this summer. (Jonathan Wiggs / New York Times News Service)...
(AP Photo/Honda) The new, ninth-generation Honda Civic sedan isn't the sexiest small car. But it's surprisingly roomy for a compact, has a quieter interior and a more compliant ride than...
Summer will be prime time for these rest areas, and for every visitor there's a story.
Leah Nash / New York Times News Service A 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante waits in the Portland Art Museum's sculpture garden after being unloaded for the "Allure of the...
With stubbornly high gasoline prices, station wagons are suddenly appealing — and Acura's new-for-2011 TSX Sport Wagon should be especially so.
This photo of the "Sunset Highway" over Snoqualmie Pass is estimated to be from 1917. (Washington State DOT) If you're heading over the Cascades for warm weather or mountain majesty...
(Thinkstock) Drive, drag, dash, motor, start, run, race, roll, travel, cruise, crawl, fire it up, lean on it, step on it, on your mark, get set, go! The summer road-trip...
The Payette River Scenic Byway in Idaho (Peg Owens). Rugged mountains and crashing falls, towering forests and photo-worthy small towns are just some of the highlights on America's roads and...
The only thing missing from the 2011 Hyundai Equus luxury sedan is a traditional luxury brand badge like a Mercedes star or a Jaguar leaping cat.
A full-blown art car isn't for everyone, but anyone can add fun and personality to their ride with just a little creativity and a whole lotta hot glue. Here are some tips from participants in the Fremont Fair Art Car Blowout, held June 18-19, on how to add a piece of art to any car.
Nissan's Juke has been on the market only since October, but it's started something: a new category of mini-crossover vehicles that are a sporty blend of subcompact cars and SUVs.
(AP Photo/Lexus) Are you tired of the look of the Toyota Prius and other sensibly styled gasoline-electric hybrid cars? With a sporty exterior and arguably the most attractive styling for...
The 1960s were a golden age for automobiles. Designs became dramatic. Horsepower wars raged. Americans were introduced to oddly named companies like Toyota and Datsun. Volvo proved that safety...
It's the best time in years to sell your car. People are holding on to cars and trucks for about a year longer than they did before the recession, which has created a tight supply of used vehicles. So few are on the market that prices have risen to their highest in at least 16 years.
(Honda) The five-seat Honda CR-V sport utility vehicle is well-mannered and easy to drive, comfortable to get into and attractive without being flashy. Best of all, it keeps earning awards....
(NWautos staff) Whether he's a sports fanatic or a road-tripper, a classic-car enthusiast or a neatnik, let your dad know you're glad he's in the driver's seat this Father's Day...
Drivers tend to get nervous whenever the "check engine" light illuminates on their dashboard.
German automaker Volkswagen is making its mid-size Passat sedan affordable and accommodating for more American car buyers.
For many people, scooter experiences are limited to anemic vacation rentals.
Two pedals, inches apart, one for gas and the other for brakes. For years, a Japanese inventor has argued that this most basic of car designs is dangerously flawed.
The 2011 IS F is a Lexus, but it feels more like a sports car than a luxury car.
Whether or not gas prices are throwing a monkey wrench into your road-trip plans, it's still time to get your car ready for summer driving -- below the chassis, under the hood, in the trunk and on the dashboard.
The first modern mass-market electric cars -- the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf -- are causing a sensation, especially as gas prices top $4 a gallon. However, a quiet revolution in engines and transmissions promises to save vast amounts of oil in the decades before electric vehicles rule the road.
The Toyota Tacoma, America's best-selling compact pickup truck, continues to garner praise -- and sales.
Last May, Vicki Sutton inherited her great-grandfather's 1957 Chevy 150. She knew she wanted to restore it, but she didn't know anything about classic cars or where to learn about them. After a search online, she discovered a local organization called the Northwest Classic Chevy Club (NWCCC), a group devoted to Tri-5s -- Chevys built from 1955-57.
A form of insurance that requires electronic verification of miles driven, in return for a discount, is gaining popularity. These so-called pay-as-you-drive policies -- miles are often tracked through a GPS system in the car -- are now offered in more than half of the states and are spreading, albeit slowly, despite privacy concerns.
German automaker Audi keeps turning out elegant-looking cars, and the newest -- the 2012 A7 -- is no exception.
Save on gas. Spend more time outside. Meet a whole new community. Whatever the goal, Lisa Micone of Seattle Cycle Center has three words for would-be scooter and motorcycle riders: Get your endorsement.
Based on the advertisements, it would seem that technology has made it impossible to steal a car. Tracking systems with GPS can pinpoint any vehicle and direct the authorities straight to the crooks.
Maybe it was the bright Torch Red paint on the 2011 Ford Transit Connect van that attracted attention, or maybe it was how the very tall, yet small van moved nimbly into parking spaces labeled for compact cars.
There are high-mileage clubs for virtually every make of car, with members boasting from 200,000 to 1 million miles. Even though the average life span of a car is 145,000 miles, local auto mechanics say proper maintenance can extend that indefinitely.
Bobby Rahal and partners Peter Stoneberg and Zak Brown hope to boost interest in auto racing's past even more through Legends of Motorsports, a vintage racing series that started last year. The second season begins May 20 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.
The 2012 Fiat 500 hatchback is the newest and arguably the cutest small car in the United States, with federal government fuel mileage ratings that are at the top of the subcompact class.
Seattle's a great driving city -- just watch out for the belligerent bikers. It's also a great place to bike -- except for all the deranged drivers. ... This is Seattle's version of the Middle East conflict.
Think it can't happen to you? Dealers and locksmiths say people frequently lose one or even two of their keys. It can cost more than $1,000 to replace both on some models. So it's a good idea to get a third as soon as you buy a new car.
Cadillac's most powerful two-door model for 2011, the CTS-V Coupe, is a hard-charging gas guzzler that looks like a futuristic concept car that escaped from its auto show turntable.
Need proof that fine art exists outside museum walls? Check out a Jaguar. Sadly, like a Rodin sculpture, these cars are out of reach for the average Joe and Jane. There's good news for the paycheck-challenged, though -- refined automotive design is becoming democratized.
Imagine a world where all it took to power a car was sunshine and tap water. That isn't a pipe dream but, rather, the reality of emerging technology that someday could turn your house into a personal, zero-emission gas station.
Nissan retained the best attributes of the five-passenger, five-door Rogue. At just over 15 feet long, it handles nimbly, has high seat positions for good views out the front, is nicely sized for city driving and parking and is comfortable to drive and ride in.
John Walker's Seattle shop is filled with Porsches he fixes for clients, plus cars he modifies. (Jeff Layton) "That's the pickup they should have made," says John Walker, who has...
When it came time for Ray Hancart to choose the engine he wanted in a new Honda Accord, he decided there was no need for the bigger V-6. He picked one with four cylinders. The marketing and public relations executive from Columbus, Ohio, joined a growing trend in U.S. auto sales toward smaller engines. The trend is starting to erase what once was conventional wisdom: that a four is too small to power a midsize car, especially when it's carrying a family. Fours, boosted by turbochargers, are starting to show up even in larger vehicles such as the new Ford Explorer SUV.
I didn't build my own 2011 BMW X3 via the automaker's new custom order process, and television cameras didn't herald its arrival as they did when home maven Martha Stewart received her new X3. But the second-generation of BMW's smallish X3 crossover sport utility vehicle impressed just the same with its strong turbo power, standout road composure and quiet and upscale interior.
Drifting is a driving technique that requires controlling a car in a sideways angle at high speeds around a marked course. It's often called "drift racing," but insiders don't like the term because drifting isn't a race. Spectators often compare it to skateboarding, motocross and freestyle skating.
Performance cars have undergone stunning gains in horsepower. But the trend also raises a question: How much is too much in horses under the hood?
Chevrolet's new small car, the 2011 Cruze, is a pleasantly styled, good-handling sedan with an inviting interior and impressive government crash test results.
Whether you're a fan of vintage fire trucks, muscle cars, Model T's or DeLoreans, if it has wheels, there's probably a local show honoring it. More than just an opportunity for gearheads and collectors to show off their rides, many auto shows also offer food, music and plenty of other entertainment. Here are a few of the biggest and most interesting shows in the coming months, all of which promise a good time.
Mileage-equivalent ratings, meant to help potential buyers compare electric cars with others in their class, are befuddling to some consumers who see them as an automotive example of comparing apples and oranges.
The Subaru Forester, a trailblazer in the car-sport utility crossover segment at its U.S. debut more than a dozen years ago, still garners praise for its durability, comfortable ride and sure-footed all-wheel drive character.
While it's the sheet metal that draws us to vehicles, the interiors are fast becoming as exciting as the exteriors. Few of us spend an afternoon gazing at an automobile's fender, but the dashboard can catch our eyes for hours during a long drive.
Car washes while you shop. Car washes that come to your home or business. Greener washes. Softer cloths. Better computer technology. These are among the latest developments in the long, sudsy history of the car wash.
Gasoline-electric hybrid versions of BMW's big, 2011 BMW 7-Series sedans come with the federal government's lowest fuel economy rating of all regular-production hybrids. But the 750i and 750iL ActiveHybrids are the quickest hybrid luxury sedans in showrooms, jetting from 0 to 60 miles an hour in a sports car-like 4.7 seconds.
Take a look in your garage and you might find any number of things: the lawnmower, boxes filled with high school yearbooks, a hobby shop, your son's rock 'n' roll band -- maybe even your mother-in-law living there. But the one thing that seems to be conspicuously absent from many Seattle garages, oddly enough, is an actual car.
For more than 30 years, Formula One racecars have benefited from powerful brakes that vastly outperform the systems available on any showroom model. The gap may be narrowing, though: High-tech materials similar to those on the racetrack began showing up in exotic sports cars about 10 years ago, and some luxury models now offer them as well.
The biggest Mini in new-car showrooms isn't so mini in size and price. The new-for-2011 Mini Cooper Countryman is some 15 inches longer, from bumper to bumper, than the diminutive, 12-foot-long 2011 Mini Cooper hatchback. The five-door Countryman also is 6 inches taller and 4 inches wider than the three-door Mini Cooper hatchback.
When Andrew Putnam enrolled in a motorcycle-skills class with 2Fast Motorcycle Track Days & Instruction, he thought it would be a fun way to push his Yamaha R6 to the limit. What surprised him was that the techniques he learned might have helped save his life.
In addition to installing a charging station at home, like this one by ECOtality, buyers of electric cars should locate charging stations near work or around town. (ECOtality) Getting your...
Just in time for $4-a-gallon gasoline prices, the 2012 Ford Focus compact arrives as a handsome new model with head-turning fuel mileage, comfortable ride and luxury options not usually found in small cars.
Without oil to lubricate its many quick-moving metal parts, a car's engine eventually will wear down and literally grind to a halt. With more choices than ever on the market, here's a quick look at the benefits of the most common.
More than one in five licensed drivers will be 65 or older within 15 years, the National Transportation Safety Board says. Smarter cars and better-designed roads may help keep them stay behind the wheel longer and more safely.
With a newly styled front end for 2011, the six- to seven-passenger the Mercedes-Benz R-Class has more of a sport utility look than before. But from the side, it still looks like a minivan and station wagon.
Katie Miller / Special to NWautos In my experience, the three most beaten-to-death topics of conversation in Seattle are the weather, the traffic and the parking (or lack thereof). And...
Not long ago, I gave a ride to a kid in an old car with no air conditioning. It was a warm day, so I told him to roll down the window. He had no idea what that meant. Having grown up with power windows, he had never seen a crank handle and didn't know how to use one. It got me thinking about all the things today's kids take for granted that either didn't exist or were far less common when their parents were growing up. Here are five ways in which kids experience cars differently, starting with those windows.
(AP Photo/Volvo) Volvo's 2011 S60 T6 compact car is not cheap, and it's not the first or second car that shoppers think of when looking for a fun-to-drive sedan. But...
Coupes look great, but aging baby boomers dislike the gymnastic moves needed to crawl into the back, making two-doors less popular these days. Therefore, the best way to jump-start coupe sales is to add two more doors -- but that makes it a sedan, right? Not according to Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes invented the "four-door coupe" segment when it unveiled the CLS500 to envious eyes in 2004.
Look inside the 2011 Ford Fiesta and you will see dashboard controls that have been modeled after the keypad of a cellphone. The automaker, recognizing the challenge of keeping its vehicles' controls and instruments up to date, began in 2006 to establish a set of design principles for its automotive interfaces, aiming to improve what it called the cabin experience.
Just when you think you've seen every version of minivan possible, Nissan debuts its fourth-generation Quest with a few new ideas.
When I began shopping for a new car early in 2010, a European delivery was not in consideration. But during a visit to Habberstad BMW in Huntington, my salesman made the suggestion. Here was an excuse to travel, and it would be nifty to take possession of a new German car in its homeland, before it had been soiled by seawater and touched by strangers' hands at the port in Newark, N.J. Visions of autobahn motoring danced in my head.
The new-for-2011 Optima, featured in a multi-million dollar Super Bowl ad, is handsome and well-powered and longer and wider than its predecessor. It even has better fuel mileage ratings than the non-hybrid versions of Camry, Accord and Fusion.
In the center of the hangar lay a large tract of carpet with a maze-like course plotted out across its surface. For the rest of the night, that course would be abuzz with fast and agile radio-controlled (RC) model cars. Seattle has long been a hotbed of RC racing because of its wealth of Boeing engineering types, says Todd Mason, founder and president of the Seattle RC Racers.
Auto design has become a global profession, where Germans design Korean cars, Koreans design German cars and design studios look like U.N. lobbies. Now, with more women taking the primary role in auto purchases, auto companies are shining the spotlight on the women on their design staffs -- still a tiny percentage of the total -- and hiring new ones.
Honda's 2011 Civic retains the successful formula that has made the Civic a perennial top 10 seller in the United States -- a reputation for reliability, good fit and finish, a selection of engines and transmissions, interior comfort and good fuel economy.
Jon Hoekstra and his wife, Jennifer Steele, were among the first in the country to drive home a Leaf, the first mass-produced sedan powered entirely by electricity. Several hundred others in the region are still eagerly awaiting a Leaf of their own.
With the federal mandate that automakers' fleets average 35 mpg by 2020, many manufacturers are turning to electric and gas-electric hybrid cars as a solution. This may seem new and cutting edge, but, in reality, both ideas are as old as the automobile itself.
Chrysler's long-running Chrysler Sebring mid-size sedan is gone, sort of. The four-door, five-passenger, mid-size sedan is revamped for 2011 and given a new name -- Chrysler 200. New exterior styling gives the 200 the pleasing looks of other modern family cars. The interior is nicely upgraded, too, with better-looking plastics and other materials.
Finding used parts was once an epic adventure for do-it-yourself mechanics like Day. Buyers had to sift through printed ads, visit swap meets or spend hours on the phone tracking down rare components. But now, because many used-parts dealers in the Northwest list their wares online, searching can be done in seconds with the click of a mouse.
It wasn't long ago that American consumers were wondering whether Detroit's troubled auto companies would survive, much less prosper again. Now, with Ford leading the way, Detroit is recapturing the interest of many consumers who ditched domestic brands in favor of Asian and European models.
The 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart is a turbocharged, sporty hatchback that's tantalizingly close to a bad boy racer.
The station wagon is an automotive Rorschach test. Some people recall happy childhood memories of ricocheting around the cargo area while traveling to Grandma's house (no safety seats back then). Others remember the fake-wood cladding and cringe. Modern stations wagons have evolved from those 1960s and '70s styles, however, and should no longer be overlooked by car shoppers.
The biggest domestic auto show kicked off Monday, Jan. 10, in Detroit, with automakers displaying more cars and new models than in the past few years. Here are some visual highlights from the show.
Some of the findings were no-brainers: Drinking and driving is the deadliest combination for teen drivers. Others were more surprising, and even conflict with conventional wisdom about what's dangerous for teens.
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) The innovative Chevrolet Volt is getting lots of attention. But in my home garage, the car that can travel up to 50 miles on a full...
It's smaller than a bicycle, it motors you from point A to point B without gasoline and it would cost less than a new scooter. Chris Hoffmann, a laid-off machine designer turned inventor, thinks that his electric-powered "micro-cycle" could become the new urban commuter.
Justin Williamson checks oil at Valvoline Oil Change in Albuquerque, N.M. (Rick Scibelli Jr. / New York Times News Service) I still remember learning from my father how to carefully...
Even in troubled economic times, the long-running Honda Accord remains the second best-selling car in the United States. And no wonder it stays popular. The Accord sedan is a recommended buy of Consumer Reports magazine and earned top scores recently in newly revised, tougher crash testing by the federal government. With refreshed styling, the 2011 Accord gets better gasoline mileage than its 2010 predecessor, too.
Every year brings further technological advancement, and 2011 is shaping up to be among the most innovative ever. Here are some highlights.
More automakers are offering free scheduled maintenance as an incentive for customers to choose their brand, and to encourage existing owners to remain loyal when they're ready for their next vehicle.
The name isn't the only thing that's different about Nissan's new, small, tall Juke hatchback. The only engine in the relatively lightweight Juke is Nissan's first-in-the-United-States direct-injection, turbocharged four cylinder that generates an impressive 188 horsepower and uses premium gasoline.
But eco-conscious drivers will soon turn to the matter of a final resting place for their worn-out batteries. A bulky 500-pound lithium-ion battery pack will never be a candidate for curbside recycling. And improper disposal would undo the good accrued through years of zero-emissions motoring. This situation is years away, but battery suppliers and electric utilities are already working to establish a recycling stream.
'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the lot, not a model was moving -- sales were not hot. The keys were all hung in ignitions with care, in hopes that a customer soon would be there.
(AP Photo / Jaguar) The 2011 Jaguar XJ Supersport sedans are powerful, decadent -- and get the kind of gasoline mileage expected from a pickup truck. A very big...
Ford has sold more of its 2011 Fiestas as hatchbacks than sedans. (Ford) Americans, for the most part, love European stuff. We covet their cuisine, swoon over their accents, follow...
One of 29 Chrysler Imperials used as The Black Beauty in the new movie "The Green Hornet" was displayed at Comic-Con in San Diego in July. (Mick Mayhew / New...
For the first time in its 20-year history, the Ford Explorer sport utility vehicle is changing into a softer SUV with an underlying platform that's used by a car for a smoother ride.
Everyone from cancer researchers to arts organizations -- especially at this time of year -- seems to be looking for vehicle donations. Vehicle-donation programs are an important source of revenue for many nonprofits. They also provide an easy way to get rid of a car, RV, boat or other vehicle and get a year-end tax break to boot.
It was once a huge red flag: When a car's odometer would hit 100,000 miles, "it was almost a magic threshold that meant the car was probably worn out," says Kay Wynter, who runs an auto service center in Fort Myers, Fla., with her husband, Terry. But thanks to improvements in car design and maintenance, that milestone now means something very different.
The redesigned-for-2011 Honda Odyssey is longer and wider than other major minivans, but it's still tops in fuel economy. With sleeker styling and lighter weight than its predecessor, the roomy, V-6-powered 2011 Odyssey with six-speed automatic transmission is rated at 19 miles per gallon in city driving and 28 mpg on the highway by the federal government.
Behind the wheel, my son Kevin was on one of his first outings after obtaining his instruction (or learner's) permit. At 15 years old, he was soon to begin his driver's education class, and I was giving him a crash course -- er, initial overview -- in the finer points of driving.
Your teen is turning 16 and can't wait to get behind the wheel. For parents, though, it's time for a tough decision: What car should your child drive to be safe?
The first all-electric car offered in the United States by a mainstream auto manufacturer since the early days of the automobile, the new-for-2011 Leaf has seats for five, a roomy, straightforward interior and a surprisingly solid, stable feel.
Whether you're shopping for a general car enthusiast, a design wonk or a motorsports fan, auto-related gifts abound this holiday season. Here's some inspiration for all ages, from the practical to the whimsical to the extraordinary.
In the highly competitive auto industry, no detail can be overlooked. That includes odors. Ford, Toyota, General Motors and other companies have trained teams of sniffers who evaluate scents and reject or reformulate any unpleasant materials. It's a daunting task. Car interiors are made of dozens of odorous materials -- plastics, foams, rubbers, carpet, fabric, leather.
(AP Photo/Audi) High-brow luxury sedan buyers who don't want to be stodgy or predictable have a newly updated choice, the 2011 Audi A8. Audi's flagship four door isn't just longer,...
When five Seattle-area couples set out to drive Route 66 last month, they expected it to be a fun -- and maybe weird -- road trip. What they got, they say, was the trip of a lifetime, in which they found an Americana they thought was long lost.
As the days get shorter and the temperature drops, it's time to check your vehicle's emergency kit and make sure it has all the tools you need to get out of a winter roadside jam. If you're starting from scratch, you can put together a complete kit for about $60. Here are 10 basic items you should include.
Luxury car buyers don't have to pay a premium to get a hybrid anymore. The first gasoline-electric-powered hybrid at Lincoln dealerships, the 2011 MKZ Hybrid, has the same sticker price as the gasoline-only, 2011 MKZ -- $35,180. But it's the hybrid version of MKZ that can deliver more miles from every gallon of gas. The newest MKZ, which is a sibling of the Ford Fusion Hybrid, also ranks as the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in America, even topping longtime hybrid seller Lexus.
Highlights of the Seattle Auto Show, which runs through tonight at the Qwest Field Event Center.
Photographing cars looks easy. It isn't. The challenge can be even more pronounced in a cavernous hall like Qwest Field Event Center -- where the Seattle Auto Show continues through this weekend, and where conditions are beyond the control of the photographer. Ask professionals for some guidelines to documenting an auto show and you'll get a diversity of opinions.
The 2011 Regal -- the first Regal in U.S. showrooms since 2004 -- is attractive and modern, powered by four-cylinder engines, and it rides and handles with composure not traditionally expected of a Buick.
The Puget Sound region has been a leader in embracing hybrid and electric vehicles, and this year's Seattle Auto Show will reward "green" technology fans with five cutting-edge electric cars. The show, opening Wednesday at the Qwest Field Event Center, will feature the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, Smart ForTwo Passion ED and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Seattle company Wheego also will be showing the Whip LSV.
How does it feel to go flat out into a turn at Indy with all four tires fighting for grip, or to pick your way through the traffic at Daytona with Dale Earnhardt Jr. inches off your rear bumper? In the world of virtual racing, aspiring champions -- few of whom have ever been behind the wheel of a real racecar -- are coming closer than ever to finding out.
The new-for-2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolets are stylish cruisers -- but a bit old-fashioned.
while many SUVs and crossovers can also hold seven or eight passengers, none of them are as supremely functional as the minivan. Fashion forward? Maybe not. But they're as comfortable as well-worn jeans. Six models will be available for 2011; three of the freshest are featured here.
The man behind the wheel of a minivan stuffed with children is probably doing more to announce his virility to the world than his Porsche-driving brethren. But the sliding doors, extra cup holders and all that room for child-safety seats have made the minivan a tough sell when the goal is manly cool. Sara Pines, spokeswoman for American Honda Motor Co., considers the main hurdle to be the misperception that "anything that offers so much function may not be as much fun. We think you can have both," Pines says. "I think most of our competitors in the market agree."
Known for its fine, diesel-powered vehicles with noteworthy fuel economy, Germany's Volkswagen AG is adding a gasoline-electric hybrid sport utility model for 2011.
There are probably oodles of things you'd rather do during the holidays than circle the block in search of an elusive downtown Seattle parking spot. Buy yourself some time (and save money) by heading out with a plan. Interactive maps, new electronic signs and other improvements make it easier than ever.
As the 2011 vehicles begin to roll out, we take a look at the model year's offerings. Part 1 covered Acura through Ford, and Part 2 covered GMC to Mercedes-Benz. This final installment covers Mini to Volvo.
Jeep's flagship Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicle is so improved for 2011, passengers might think they're riding in a luxury vehicle. The interior of the new Grand Cherokee is impressively quiet, with supportive seats and well-arranged controls. Exterior styling is more rounded and modern than before, and the new V-6 engine is more robust than its predecessor. Best of all, the vehicle rides in a nearly refined manner on pavement, while still capably handling rugged off-road duty when needed.
By the time Chris Jeanneret finishes customizing his '97 Nissan 240SX, roughly a year and a half of his life will have passed. But for Jeanneret, a tuner enthusiast, customizing the car's engine, suspension, brakes and more is worth the time and labor.
As the 2011 vehicles begin to roll out, we take a look at what the new model year offers. Last week, we introduced Part 1, covering Acura through Ford. Part 3 will run Oct. 22.
(AP Photo/BMW) If you envy folks who can enjoy autumn's scenery with the top down, you'll be positively jealous of anyone behind the wheel of BMW's 2011 top-level Z4 roadster....
Teensurance, a vehicle-tracking device offered in partnership with Safeco Insurance, allows Denise Johnson and her husband to be notified by text message if their son, Chris, goes over a certain speed limit or stays out past midnight. The GPS function also allows them to see his whereabouts and know whether he really went where he said he was going.
(AP Photo/Mazda Motor Co.) The bright, neon-green exterior ensured no one missed my 2011 Mazda2 test car. But it was the hatchback's maneuverable small size and fuel economy that really...
It's electric! The 2011 model year brings some revolutionary electric cars to the U.S. market, as well as more hybrids from more companies than ever. Here's a roundup, in alphabetical order, of the big changes for the 2011 model year.
We're skiers, hikers and boaters in the Pacific Northwest, so our lifestyles are very active. To haul all that gear, we need vehicles with some size. But we also want fuel efficiency. Those dueling interests haven't gone unnoticed by auto manufacturers.
We already harvest the power of the sun and the wind. Soon we may also harvest the power of potholes. A type of shock absorber under development by the Levant Power Corporation converts the bumps and jolts of vehicles on rough roads into usable electricity.
The Volvo C30 three-door, small hatchback sure isn't a "me-too" car. Three years after it came to the United States as Volvo's smallest vehicle here, the not-quite-14-foot-long C30 with distinctive, large rear liftgate glass and four seats has sold in such low volumes that it's still a rarity on most roads. And now that Volvo of Sweden has been sold to Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. of China, little is changing near term for the C30, except the price, a slight styling update and stiffer suspension for an uplevel model.
South End Ryderz car club is a tight-knit group of locals who live and breathe lowriders -- cars with shortened suspensions that ride close to the ground.
The new-for-2010 S400 Hybrid is the first mass-production car to use a lithium ion battery to store and supply electric power. The 120-volt battery is more compact and adds less weight to the car than do nickel metal hydride batteries and has high energy density for its size.
Most of us start the car-buying journey expecting a lot of choices. When it comes to some types of cars, though, you might be surprised by the lack of choices. Want a midsize station wagon that starts at less than $30,000? There are two. Want a car with a bench seat? There are five, but soon only three will be available. And for an affordable two-seat roadster, you'll find just the Mazda MX-5 Miata. With that in mind, here's a look at some rare makes and styles.
Drivers who want to get creative with up to seven characters -- and who are willing to answer a lot of questions from fellow motorists -- are likely candidates for personalized plates. As of the end of August, Washington state has 81,993 cars registered with personalized plates, up from 81,143 last year.
Get ready to retrieve your jaw from the floor. The 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty pickup trucks generate a jaw-dropping 735 foot-pounds of torque -- enough to tow more than 20,000 pounds of trailers, heavy-duty equipment and the biggest, most impressive fifth-wheel campers around.
On a list of today's best-built vehicles, you might expect to find a sleek Mercedes sedan or an iconic Porsche convertible. Even a fuel-sipping minivan from Toyota. But a pickup? Probably not. Yet these workhorses are now among the highest-quality vehicles on the road, earning better marks in key quality studies than many cars, including some luxury models.
This fall, 10 drivers from the area will caravan to Chicago, where they will begin driving the entire length of historic Route 66, ending in Santa Monica, Calif. They'll travel in four restored 1957 Ford Thunderbird convertibles and one 1956 hardtop Thunderbird.
Customers shopping for midsize cars generally have families and need space for children, yet they are budget-conscious. So to improve gas mileage, automakers are tweaking cars and trucks between model years -- especially in their midsize sedans.
The Avalon is, as Kelley Blue Book reports, eminently comfortable. At the same time, it's not ostentatious or overwhelming, the way some luxury-branded sedans are.
Clockwise from top left: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, 2011 Buick Regal, 2012 Ford Focus, 2011 Kia Optima. In the past, fall was the time when automakers theatrically unveiled their new models....
The 2011 Hyundai Sonata sedan is selling at a record pace, and why not? With styling that makes the new, sixth-generation Sonata look richer than its under-$20,000 base price, the Sonata is arguably the most stylish of America's mainstream family sedans.
Top row: Charles Stewart Rolls, Frederick Henry Royce, Louis Chevrolet, Wilhelm Maybach, Karl Maybach, John and Horace Dodge. Center: David Dunbar Buick. Bottom row: Henry Ford, Ransom E. Olds, Kiichiro...
Pete Larsen has shipped hundreds of his hand-built motorcycle sidecars as far away as Indonesia. Billy Joel owns two of them. One even made an appearance in the 2007 film "Wild Hogs." Larsen, 62, has been building his retro-styled sidecars for nearly two decades, and still does most of the work himself inside his historic, 8,000-square-foot workshop on Rainier Avenue.
A team of Italian engineers have launched what has been billed as the longest-ever test-drive of driverless vehicles: an 8,000-mile, three-month road trip from Italy to China, not in search of silk, but to test the limits of automotive technology.
Perhaps more than any previous VW Jetta, the redesigned-for-2011 five-passenger sedan is built for American tastes. It's a bigger car with a bigger back seat for the kind of legroom that Americans demand, new sheet metal that makes the car look more upscale than before, and a lower starting retail price that puts the Jetta closer to top-selling compact sedans like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.
Next weekend's LeMay Car Show and Auction in Spanaway is expected to draw more than 6,000 car enthusiasts and collectors -- people who are looking for fixer-uppers and parts cars from the auto museum's extensive collection.
Efforts to burnish the eco-friendliness of tires are growing, with an emphasis on reducing the use of raw materials -- particularly the five to 10 gallons of petroleum ingredients needed to manufacture a tire.
(AP Photo/Toyota, David Dewhurst) Toyota's top-quality reputation is tarnished these days because of a rash of safety recalls. But that's not stopping the Toyota Camry from outselling all other cars...
Twenty-one Western Washington University undergrads who built the Viking 45, a sporty and aerodynamic plug-in hybrid, surprised their competition and themselves by making it to the final round of the Progressive Automotive X Prize -- the only U.S. student team to do so. The team was eliminated from the contest on July 26, when it failed to make it through safety trials. But as the students returned from Detroit's Michigan International Speedway to a welcome-home celebration on campus the first week of August, they were anything but disappointed.
If you have five kids, a big dog and a limited budget, even the most charismatic car salesperson probably won't persuade you to buy a Porsche. Especially now, when it's possible to go online and research every aspect of a vehicle -- from the manufacturer's suggested retail price to its safety record -- before you set foot in a dealer's showroom. But while many consumers spend hours searching for a vehicle that fits their lifestyle, they devote little thought to how they'll pay for it.
(Kia) This concept, which debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March, is the same size as the gasoline-powered Venga available in Europe, but it runs on an electric powertrain....
(AP Photo/Kia Motors) The 2011 Kia Sportage is the ritziest Sportage sport utility vehicle ever, and yet it only comes with a four-cylinder engine. It's not as odd a...
Jaguar built its brand by offering a vehicle with a mouthwatering aesthetic that looked far more expensive that it really was. The company celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, and Jaguars on the Green, the local Jaguar club's big bash on Aug. 14, will bring some 50 cars, as well as hundreds more classic and collector automobiles, from hot rods to Army tanks.
Keeping your kids buckled up is the law. But so far, only a handful of states require pets to be tethered when they're in the back of a pickup truck, and no states require them to be restrained in cars. Here are some accessories to help your pet travel securely and comfortably, whether you're in a hatchback or a Land, um, Rover.
The Scion xD is a thrifty, nimble, small hatchback made by Toyota. It has more horsepower than its major competitors, and for 2010, it's a Consumer Reports recommended car with a strong reliability record. But sales are down 25.5 percent through the first seven months of 2010, and the xD is the slowest-selling of all non-luxury Toyota cars.
Dogs are people, too -- according to some people. But when it comes time to hit the road, we hardly treat them with the care we give our children or take for ourselves.
Winter driving, with its icy roads and salt buildup, can be tough on cars. But summer has its hazards, too. The heat stresses the engine, wears down the tires and makes the car work harder to keep everything cool. Here are five steps to help your car make it through any late-summer road trips.
Leave it to Germany's performance car maker, BMW, to challenge small car stereotypes. BMW's entry model, the 1-Series, is a 14.3-foot-long, two-door, four-passenger subcompact car that's smaller than a Toyota Camry. But it's the 2010 1-Series -- not the bigger, five-passenger Camry sedan -- that comes only with six-cylinder engines rather than a fuel-thrifty four banger.
No one knows the Pacific Northwest's best-kept touring secrets like the road warriors of our local car clubs. Three clubs -- the Horseless Carriage Club of America (Seattle-Tacoma region), the Puget Sound Region of the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America and the Puget Sound Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America -- have agreed to share their favorite routes with anyone looking for a satisfying summer drive.
It's a good summer to take the family on a road trip. Domestic airfares are expected to rise an average of 22 percent compared with last summer, but gas prices have stabilized -- and even dropped in some areas -- heading into the summer travel season. At the same time, an incentive war is still in full swing, holding down prices on new road-trip-ready cars and trucks. Whether you're hauling the family to Mount Rushmore or heading to the nearest lake for a picnic, here are some vehicles to consider.
It's time to stop calling the Toyota Sienna a minivan. There's nothing "mini" about the comfortable and roomy interior of this nearly 17-foot-long vehicle.
When John Rice gets an incoming call, the music on his new Kenwood stereo mutes and his hands-free Bluetooth works directly through his stereo. Car stereos are no longer about just the radio, explains Kyle Brehm, commercial district manager at Car Toys of Seattle. The new-generation stereos hitting stores this summer are loaded with some exciting technology. Here are some of the latest trends.
Rather than being shackled to the same old hits from local radio stations, drivers can more readily -- and more safely -- customize their music with new Internet-based technologies.
Porsche's grand experiment -- a first-ever Porsche sedan styled in an elongated, yet familiar, sports car-looking body -- is doing well, even in a U.S. economy that's struggling to recover. Only about 4,700 of these rare cars have been sold in the United States so far, and the drive in a Panamera is special.
If you're planning to hit the road for a long drive this summer, consider these tips from experienced drivers.
Some of what you know about fuel economy may be wrong -- and it could cost you money every time you get behind the wheel. To set the record straight in time for summer driving season, the Environmental Protection Agency came up with the top 10 misconceptions about fuel economy. Here are some of the myths.
The 2011 Kia Sorento is the most stylish looking Sorento sport utility vehicle ever. It's also the first Sorento built in a U.S. factory, the first Sorento with unibody construction like that used for cars and it's the first offered in this country with a four-cylinder engine. But even shoppers who don't know or care about the big changes South Korea's Kia made for its 2011 mid-size Sorento sport utility vehicle are likely to be impressed.
To most of us, "car camping" means driving to a destination rather than hiking in. It also means we get to listen to the stereo and, best of all, we get to bring more stuff. But are you really making the most out of having your vehicle within arm's reach? These products are designed to maximize the use you can get out of your vehicle when out in the wild.
If touring by motorcycle is on your to-do list this summer, but your destination is too far from home to take your bike, a rental may be the perfect alternative.
Germany's BMW car company is known for its sporty cars and not for fuel efficiency. But buyers of the 2010 BMW 335d get sporty performance and the best fuel mileage of any mainstream BMW vehicle.
« previous | next » « previous | next » Build your own For more information on the Seattle art car community, go to seattleartcars.org Video: Art-car enthusiasts gather at...
Tired of spinning that steering wheel? Try this: German researchers have developed a new technology that lets drivers steer cars using only their eyes.
With a starting retail price of $19,950, the new-for-2011 Honda CR-Z, coming to showrooms in August, is slated to have the lowest starting price for a hybrid in the United States from a major automaker.
Next month marks the 25th anniversary of the release of "Back to the Future" -- a star vehicle for Michael J. Fox as the time-traveling teenager Marty McFly. But it was a literal vehicle that really stole the show: the gull-winged DeLorean DMC-12, which transported Marty from one decade to another with the help of a flux capacitor and 1.21 gigawatts of power.
Auto-leasing deals are back in a big way. How about a well-equipped Honda Accord for $250 a month with no down payment or any other drive-off fees? What's the catch? There isn't any if you know what you're getting into. To get the best deal, you need to learn the art of the lease transaction. Here are some steps to take and things to consider.
Before you shop for an auto lease, familiarize yourself with these terms so that you understand what's being negotiated.
There's value aplenty in the 2011 Ford Mustang. For a starting retail price of just $22,995, buyers get more than 300 horsepower, a six-speed transmission and the unmistakable sporty looks of one of America's favorite icons. The newest Mustang even has the best six-cylinder fuel economy rating ever in the car's 47-year history -- 19 miles per gallon in city driving and 31 mpg on the highway, according to the federal government.
Dad may be the hardest person in the family to buy for, but if he loves cars and driving, Father's Day gift giving will be a cinch this year. Here are a few ideas for all types of dads.
"Green" vehicles may be stealing the spotlight these days, but fans of performance cars are reaping rewards like never before. Consider the 2011 Ford Mustang. It has a new 3.7-liter V6 that produces 305 horsepower, only 10 less than the V8 in the 2010 Mustang GT. A step up, the 2011 GT's V8 generates 412 hp. For the ultimate in performance, there's the Shelby GT500, which also gets a new mill: an aluminum-block, 5.4-liter supercharged V8 rated at 550 hp.
Officials at luxury carmaker Acura aren't expecting shoppers to flock to the 2010 mid-size TL sedan because it has a new, six-speed manual. Maybe 5 percent of TL buyers will opt for the manual, they said. But the sporty transmission, combined with higher-power V-6 and retuned suspension for 2010, makes the TL a more compelling vehicle for drivers who need four-door room but want sporty, spirited driving.
An automotive swap meet is a garage sale on steroids, featuring tables full of hubcaps, chrome bumpers, old steering wheels, eight-track tapes -- even fishing poles and harmonicas. While there are usually some automotive companies at swap meets, the majority of buyers and sellers are individuals or mom-and-pop businesses.
In the past few months, GM and Ford have been handed a once-in-a-generation chance to make their case to an American buying public that is listening as never before. But are GM and Ford ready to answer? Absolutely, the companies say, and analysts and consumer surveys suggest that both automakers have made substantial strides in the last three years in improving vehicle reliability.
In July, the Nissan GT-R supercar starts its third year for sale in the United States. But many Americans still haven't seen one on the road. The reason: The limited number of sleek, twin-turbocharged GT-Rs available for sale. Only about 3,600 have been delivered from the Japanese factory to eager U.S. customers since sales started in July 2008. Even if Nissan isn't ramping up shipments, it is ramping up prices and continuing to upgrade its most exclusive model.
General Motors' announcement last year that it was shuttering the Pontiac brand has united local enthusiasts who have banded together to preserve the Pontiac legacy. Their drive comes from personal histories with the brand and a passion to keep those memories alive.
Trying to understand pump prices is enough to make almost any driver's head spin -- from the guy who just watched prices leap 20 cents a gallon between the time he got to work and lunch, to the person looking for the best place to fill up for a weekend drive. What exactly determines the price of a gallon of gasoline, anyway? Some questions and answers about gas prices.
AMG is the sports/racing brand of Mercedes, and its vehicles hold special status around the world because of the attention to performance and exclusivity. Basically, if you have a Mercedes AMG vehicle in your garage, you're part of a small club.
While fanatics of mid-century cars are easy enough to spot on the road, collectors of early automobiles from the 1910s and '20s are a rarer breed. They don't have a need for speed. What they do have is a lot of resourcefulness and patience.
To celebrate the arrival of spring and get in tune with the season, it's time to look at cars that will raise your spirits when their tops go down.
The 2011 Ford Fiesta is a small car with big-car features and technology and a top mileage rating of 40 miles per gallon on the highway. Best of all, the Fiesta gets the most out of every sip of gasoline without forcing buyers to pay a premium price for a hybrid powerplant or fuss with the inconvenience of finding diesel fuel in town.
Every car owner should know how to perform basic auto repairs and diagnostics, including changing a tire, jump-starting a battery, monitoring oil and fluid levels, and checking tire pressure, says Janet Ray, a spokeswoman for AAA Washington.
Life can throw anyone a curve ball, but when faced with diminishing faculties or a physical disability, retaining or regaining the independence afforded by driving is a priority. Chris Dailey knows. "I was stabbed three times and then I was shot," says the Virginia resident, now a paraplegic who drives a vehicle with modifications. Some fixes for modifying a vehicle are simple -- for example, for elderly drivers and passengers or for those with arthritis -- while others are extensive and involve cooperation with a doctor.
Sales of large pickup trucks were hard hit as the U.S. economy slowed. Regardless, auto manufacturers are introducing new heavy-duty trucks this year with many improvements. The first out are the 2010 heavy-duty Rams from Chrysler Group LLC, and for the first time, Ram 2500 and 3500 models are offered as crew cabs. With four regular doors and two rows of seats, crew cabs account for nearly half the truck market.
So you've given your car a nice spring bath and vacuum -- but how about a little face-lift to get it back to its old familiar glory? Getting rid of scratches and dents doesn't have to cost a lot and, in some cases, can be done in the driveway with common household items.
April saw a flurry of new-vehicle launches at the Beijing auto show, as manufacturers from around the globe scramble for China's fast-growing market. In a reflection of China's new importance -- the country became the world's biggest auto market in 2009 -- global automakers showed 14 new vehicles at the event, while Chinese automakers displayed 75 new sedans, SUVs, experimental "green" cars and other vehicles.
Chrysler's Sebring convertible, with rear seats that can accommodate two adults and a generous trunk, languished in recent years as its manufacturer went bankrupt and was sold. But the Sebring is still around, with nicer front styling for 2010 and other minor revisions such as a new instrument cluster and anti-whiplash front-seat head restraints.
The recent buzz around Alfa Romeo has focused mostly on parent company Fiat's assertions that it will keep backing the struggling sports-car line, and that a return to the U.S. is imminent. But for a few elite Northwesterners, the Italian car company has been back in the States for years -- and the cars they're driving are more Ferrari or Maserati than the Alfas you might remember from the '70s and '80s.
A fresh batch of vehicles turns 25 years old this year, making them antiques in the eyes of regulators and eligible to participate in an Antique Automobile Club of America car show. Here, then, is the Class of 1985. Get ready -- you're about to feel a little older.
Bumper to bumper, the BMW 7-Series cars are as long as sport utility vehicles. They weigh as much as SUVs, too. In the first quarter of this year, 7-Series sales in the United States tripled from the year-earlier period to total nearly 3,000. The 7-Series' U.S. sales surpassed those of major competitors -- the Mercedes S-Class and Lexus LS sedans.
If you happened to notice Dalton Fetsch's 1991 Geo Metro, you would see the peeling blue paint and a red hood that doesn't match the rest of the car. If he happened to be stopped with the back hatch open, you might notice he needs a pair of pliers to keep it open. But what you wouldn't notice was the motor. It doesn't make a sound. Fetsch has turned this car, which he bought for $150 after someone he knew blew out the engine, into a completely electric vehicle. He will be submitting it as his senior culminating project Thursday.
Michael Hall is one of a shrinking group of people skilled at fixing legacy cars such as the Skyliner. Beginning in 1957, Skyliners became the first retractable hardtops ever mass-produced. Hall draws his clientele by specializing in a single feature: He has a reputation for being the guy in the Northwest -- perhaps the West Coast -- who fixes rare retractable roofs.
The Ford Transit Connect has been a big seller as an urban business vehicle. (Ford) The Transit Connect, Ford's award-winning delivery van, is typically used to haul goods such as...
The Chevrolet Traverse is helping people forget about minivans. The seven- to eight-passenger Traverse crossover sport utility vehicle with a car-like ride, SUV styling and high ride height offers the seating capacity and cargo-hauling capability of a minivan. But it looks more attractive than a boxy van and can tow up to 5,200 pounds -- way more than a typical minivan can.
Spring marks the return of car-show season, and for many who show and attend, the shows offer a chance to remember a different time, when the world was a simpler place, says Brian Canfield. He's the director of the Greenwood Car Show, held each June in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood.
It wasn't a particular look or style that dominated the conversations of designers at the 2010 Detroit auto show this January, and it wasn't a buzzword like retro or kinetic or flame-surfaced. It was the shadow of a number: 35.5. In miles per gallon, that's the required fleet average fuel economy that automakers must achieve in 2016 under the Obama administration's rules. It's a mandate that not just engineers, but designers as well, must deal with.
2010 Nissan Frontier (AP Photo/Nissan, Mike Ditz) The Nissan Frontier Crew Cab can make even car lovers appreciate a pickup truck. Not too big and not too small, the mid-size...
Fans hang out in the grandstands or along the course during drag races at Pacific Raceways. (Jeff Layton) Entertaining the family can get expensive. Consider this: a family of four...
The images on the Flickr slide show serve up a comforting slice of mid-20th-century Americana: the local banker's slinky '56 Lincoln Premiere reflects the summer sun outside the hardware store on Main Street. A spit-shined Divco truck delivers fresh milk from the Borden dairy. The memories, and the images on the Flickr photo-sharing site, belong to Michael Paul Smith. They've made his fictional town of Elgin Park a virtual tourist destination, attracting about 20 million views since January.
AP Photos / Suzuki The 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara looks like a mainstream, compact sport utility vehicle designed for paved roads. But it's a capable off-roader, too. Adding to the...
Vintage Volvos -- those sturdy Swedish cars that residents of Seattle's Ballard neighborhood still drive in droves -- are getting a 21st-century makeover.
When the Boeing 787 Dreamliner goes into commercial service this year, travelers will be transported on wings and fuselages made of advanced composite plastics This raises a logical question: If modern plastics are sturdy enough for 600-mph airplanes, why are car engines still made by pouring molten metal into molds, a 6,000-year-old process?
Guess which pickup truck has the top reliability rating of any consumer truck sold in the United States. The answer: The Honda Ridgeline. Introduced in spring 2005 as Honda's first pickup, the Ridgeline isn't a brawny brute capable of towing 8,500 pounds and climbing over sizable rocks off road. Rather, the Ridgeline is a four-door, five-passenger, four-wheel drive, mid-size truck that's agile for everyday driving and comfortable for outdoor getaways on less-aggressive off-road terrain.
If you think of travel trailers as mobile motels for the retired set, think again. Their popularity is surging among families and adventurers wanting to make the most of the road-trip destinations available in our vast and beautiful backyard. This new generation of trailers is hipper, lighter and more agile than ever before. Here are four models to check out.
Back in the 1950s, automotive stylists referred to the projectile shapes bulging from car bumpers as "dagmars" after a busty actress of the time. These days, the names car designers give to parts of the cars aren't always as imaginative and, in many cases, are rather obscure. Here are the terms used by car designers in styling studios around the world. Use a couple at auto shows this spring and you'll sound like a car maven.
The compact GLK appeals with a starting retail price that's $11,800 lower than the previous lowest-priced and smallest Mercedes SUV, the M-Class. The five-seat GLK also is a recommended buy of Consumer Reports magazine and offers the status of a Mercedes, plentiful standard safety equipment and a comfortable ride without all the heft of the bigger Mercedes SUVs.
Statistics and anecdotal evidence show that for today's teenagers, a driver's license may not be the coveted milestone of independence it was for their parents. Statewide, 39 percent of 16-year-olds received their driver's license last year compared with 48 percent in 2003, which is as far back as state Department of Licensing statistics go.
From charging the Chevrolet Volt's revolutionary power system to washing the car, everything about the extended-range electric vehicle is new. But Volt owners also must find it familiar and easy to use. Racing to meet those twin goals on an unprecedentedly tight schedule, the engineering team working on the Volt has 25 to 30 of the cars on the road at all times. The deadline is the Volt's on-sale date in less than a year.
Already bargain priced for the handling, power and iconic status it delivers, the Chevrolet Corvette ratchets up its value-for-the-dollar appeal this year with a new Grand Sport model.
Roman Brent is one of a growing number of drivers pushing their cars and skills to the limit, learning racing techniques without having to invest the time and money to become actual racecar drivers.
Anne Epperson thought little of it when she flipped her daughter's convertible car seat around so she could face forward after her first birthday. But if car seat advocates get their way, parents like Epperson will be delaying the switch, possibly for years.
Station wagons have been passe in the United States for years, but this didn't stop Cadillac from launching its first U.S.-built wagon. The 2010 CTS Wagon is a nicely sized, comfortable, five-passenger car with cargo space that's easier to reach than that of a sport utility vehicle.
An unwelcome envelope recently landed on my desk. Inside were incriminating, time-lapse photos of what appeared to be me committing a crime. There I was -- my car, anyway -- running a red light, caught red-handed. I felt dirty. I felt spied upon. I felt like a teenager caught in a lie by my parents.
It could be a Ferrari, but it's nearly silent. It could be a Tesla, but it's juiced by a jet engine. It could even be a GM Volt, but it has double the range and speed. The CMT-380 is the world's first hybrid-electric sports car powered by a microturbine. Co-created by a video game designer, the wicked matte-black machine debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show in December.
Fuel-thrifty, smaller cars aren't always plain, utilitarian and boring. Audi's entry-level car, the A3, proves it. For the first time since its U.S. introduction in 2005, the five-door A3 adds a diesel-powered engine and now boasts a federal government fuel mileage rating of 30 miles per gallon in city driving and 42 mpg on the highway.
Ever since high school, you've driven a practical, utilitarian car that gets you from A to B without too much fuss. But now you'd like to own a car that gets your blood running a little faster, maybe one of those defining vehicles of its era -- a so-called classic or collectible.
Arthur McCoy didn't let the amputation of a leg because of cancer stop him from riding motorcycles. The solution to his disability came in the form of a third wheel. McCoy is among a growing group of aging motorcyclists taking up trikes: three-wheeled motorcycles that provide the stability and nearly all the comforts of a car while still allowing riders to feel the wind in their face.
A roomy, attractive sedan with a four-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor, the 2010 Milan Hybrid is rated by the federal government at an impressive 41 miles per gallon in city driving and 36 mpg on the highway.
The drag-racing world is getting a serious wake-up call from what, on the surface, seems like an unlikely source: gas-free vehicles powered by batteries and electric motors. A new crop of grassroots racers are stretching traditional notions of the best automotive technology for racing by building electric cars and motorcycles at home on shoestring budgets.
Automakers and high-tech companies have found a new place to put sophisticated Internet-connected computers: the front seat. Last month at the Consumer Electronics Show, technology giants like Intel and Google demonstrated innovations such as 10-inch screens above the gearshift displaying high-definition videos, 3-D maps and Web pages.
Suzuki's SX4, known as the all-wheel drive car with the lowest starting retail price in America, adds a new, flashier model for 2010, and it doesn't come with all-wheel drive.
(Associated Press) There are three things you don't discuss over the dinner table: Religion, politics, and how long a car should warm up before driving in the cold. In December,...
There's a new name on the mid-size Land Rover sport utility vehicle that looks like it just drove out of the Serengeti. The new-for-2010 LR4 also comes with improved ride and handling, prettier front styling and more power and luxury appointments than its predecessor.
Since 2005, the number of cars stolen in Seattle has plummeted by nearly 60 percent, due primarily to the creation of the Car Theft Initiative (CTI) Unit, a partnership between the King County Prosecutor's Office and area police departments that targets the most prolific car thieves.
A group of companies -- including ZoomSafer, Aegis Mobility and obdEdge -- assumes that some people know they can't help themselves and therefore want a service to automatically disable their cellphone when it is in a moving car.
Cadillac's smaller sport utility vehicle, the SRX, is finally downsized enough to warrant the "smaller" label, and for 2010 seats just five people. The SRX's V-8 and rear-wheel drive platform are also gone.
It might not seem like a good time to start a car company. But the people at Arcimoto disagree. The Eugene, Ore.-based startup is one of several boutique automakers defying conventional wisdom and attempting to design revolutionary electric cars quickly and profitably.
It sounded like a garbage truck and smelled like one, too. Aside from the giant pastoral scene on its side, it even looked like a standard-issue New York City garbage truck. But the 36-ton refuse collector that rumbled out of the Department of Sanitation's Central Repair Shop in Queens in November was equipped with a diesel-electric powertrain, one of just a handful of hybrid garbage trucks being tested around the country.
Go figure. Even in a bad economic year like 2009, Honda surpassed its original sales projections for its compact Fit hatchback.
Characters in children's movies are wising up about personal safety -- increasingly using seat belts, bike helmets and crosswalks -- but many still aren't ideal role models, a government study says.
Volvo is testing a feature called the Pedestrian Safety system, which identifies pedestrians (and bike riders) in front of a vehicle using a video camera similar to those of lane-departure-warning systems. Volvo says the system can prevent a pedestrian collision at speeds of up to 15.5 mph.
It's a Mercedes-Benz tradition to use letter and number combinations for car names. But somewhere along the line there came to be too many models starting with the letter "C." So, the Mercedes CLK coupe disappears for 2010 and is now the refined and comfortable E-Class Coupe, with new styling and features that tie it to the long-popular Mercedes E-Class sedans.
This year promises to be a fun one to watch the evolution of the automobile, with manufacturers making big strides in technology, design and "green" innovation. Here are five trends to watch for as the 2010 models start rolling into town.
Got a scratch? You wouldn't put salt in that wound. And if your car gets a ding, you'd be wise to follow the same advice. Here are some simple, cost-effective ways to prevent corrosion during the season of road salt.
Honda is well known for its fuel-efficient cars. But the Japan-based automaker also sells America's second most popular sport utility vehicle that can accommodate at least seven people.
Most people probably will never want to know which upholstery colors were available for the 1964 Studebaker Avanti, or what types of lubricants the factory recommended for a 1960 Dodge Dart. But for those who do care about such matters, a lively cottage industry of auto-literature dealers has them covered.
Detroit's automakers are finding new uses for worn-out jeans, discarded plastic bottles and manufacturing rubbish -- they're recycling them for use in new vehicle parts.
With exterior styling that is similar to a Volkswagen sedan, an unexpectedly upscale interior for a Suzuki, five-passenger seating and thrifty, four-cylinder fuel mileage, the mid-size 2010 Kizashi is Suzuki's competitor to America's long favorite Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
I'll admit I'm critical behind the wheel. I'm sure you're doing the best you can, and I'm going to do better in 2010, too. My first resolution is to be less critical of your "not like me" driving. And because we all know that most resolutions are doomed to fail, I'm going to ask you for a little help, a little reciprocity, a little quid pro quo.
These eight cars will disappear with the new model year, but they merit more than a footnote for what they say about the auto industry and its buyers.
The new Ford Transit Connect has a strange name, a compact European delivery van appearance and a ceiling that's so tall, someone sitting in the driver's seat might only reach it with fingertips. But these oddities are nearly endearing in one of the smartest and most practical vehicles for anyone -- including a small business owner, camping enthusiast or trend-eschewing individualist -- looking for something different to drive.
Other than bumper cars at the state fair, getting behind the wheel of the new Nissan Leaf was my first experience driving an electric vehicle. I'm not sure what I expected, but it wasn't silence.
Chetan Kumar Maini, the vice chairman and chief technology officer of Reva Electric Car Company, looks over his company's cars in Bangalore, India. (Photo by Kuni Takahashi / Associated Press)...
Buyers looking for a luxurious new crossover sport utility vehicle that can seat up to seven people won't have to look beyond the 2010 Lincoln MKT. Bottom line: They love the look or hate it, but either way, the MKT makes a memorable impression.
We've all seen those car commercials where some unsuspecting person opens the front door on Christmas morning to find a shiny new car sitting in the driveway with a monstrous red bow on top. It's an image burned into our fantasies by powerfully suggestive ad campaigns. But to whom does this actually happen?
Sometimes, color preferences are logical. Seattleites like the colors of the Northwest -- green and blue.
If only we all could age as well as the Ford Mustang has. Now 45 years old and revamped for 2010 with new styling and more powerful V-8, the "pony car" that debuted in 1964 is strikingly muscular, more energetic than before and thoroughly cool for a modern buyer.
A clean car runs smoother, goes faster, handles better and gets better mileage. And there's just something cathartic about washing away the road grime to reveal your car's shiny metallic finish.
The 2010 Bentley Continental Supersports coupe is a car that embraces extremes -- maximum power and speed with a minimized contribution to global warming. Bentley's parent company, Volkswagen, wants to reduce the environmental burden of Bentley cars without harming the line's reputation for speed and handling.
What's more important -- looks or practicality? It's a natural question for shoppers considering Acura's newest sport utility vehicle, the ZDX, whose sleek styling generates a few functional tradeoffs.
It's not a stretch to say the course of Robert Durff's life has largely been directed by his love of Porsches. This type of passion is common among high-end car owners. Their cars are more than mere showpieces; they become extensions of themselves.
The crossover -- a type of vehicle that's built like a car but looks like a downsized SUV -- is a good fit for families who need both space and fuel efficiency. it is also now among the fastest-growing segments in the auto industry, with U.S. market share nearly tripling since 2002.
An attractive, premium-looking sedan pulled up, and for a moment I thought I had been given the wrong car -- a Lexus. But no, it was the 2010 Buick LaCrosse, with Lexus-like styling, that caused the confusion. Buick's newly revamped, mid-size sedan is surprisingly different from stereotypical Buicks. Styling is modern, and the interior in the top-of-the-line CXS has upscale appeal.
Looking for the perfect gift for the car lover in your family? Here are a few ideas for various ages and interests.
The high-tech safety features long available on luxury vehicles are becoming more affordable, and automakers see a wide use for them across their lineups.
Large sport utility vehicles aren't as fashionable as they once were. So today's buyers of big SUVs are apt to be the people who really need them -- for towing horse trailers, boats and motorhomes and for carrying large groups of people. The 2010 Nissan Armada handles all these tasks capably yet drives like a smaller vehicle than it is.
Local riders say they've seen a surge in scooter interest in recent years, mostly from people wanting another commuting option. Seattle now ranks as one of the top U.S. cities for scooter sales, and when compared with other metro areas, it offers riders a safe, enjoyable experience.
If you're cutting corners by canceling cable or clipping coupons, it might seem natural to skip replacing your tires, too. Don't. Worn treads can be dangerous, especially when they lose their grip as you're trying to brake or steer around danger. Here are some tips on how to get the most for your money when shopping for replacements.
The model year on the BMW 650i is 2010, but this lengthy, smooth-riding, luxury coupe and convertible feel a bit like yesteryear.
Rich Costello works in Carkeek Park with one of the city's Neighborhood Electric Vehicles. (Photo by Barry Gibbons) For electric vehicle proponents, Seattle is a great place to be. The...
Even with all the bad news that has pounded the auto industry, carmakers are trying to put on happy faces. Literally: They are incorporating smiles and other cheerful characteristics into their designs, with hope that consumers will warm to vehicles that might reflect their own personalities and feelings.
Chevrolet's sport utility vehicle named for the first day of spring had a rebirth this year, and the resulting 2010 Equinox is the best ever. A crossover SUV that's based on a car-like chassis, the Equinox has stylish new looks, a refined ride, handsome interior and new, more fuel efficient engines.
This year's Seattle Auto Show, which opens Wednesday at Qwest Field Event Center, will feature a wide variety of "green" innovations appearing for the first time.
Missed out on the "cash for clunkers" program? Uncle Sam still has a few bones to throw your way if you buy a car before the end of the year. Tax credits and deductions are available on new-car purchases made before Dec. 31.
You don't see this very often: a car company dropping a V-8 engine from a performance car and replacing it with a V-6. But German automaker Audi does it in its 2010 S4 compact sedan. The move creates a more fuel-efficient vehicle during these times of concern for the environment and oil supplies, and it brings the price to an attractive midway point for buyers of compact, luxury sedans who want a sporty edge.
For longtime car junkies or collectors with an appreciation for older cars, restoring one yourself can be a rewarding endeavor. Those experienced in the process recommend taking time to research the car you want to purchase, then learning the process and planning your budget. If you decide to go for it, the project and finished car can be cherished for years.
Even as automakers fast-track battery-powered electric and hybrid vehicles, a quiet push for hydrogen power continues. Supporters see the fuel cell becoming a mainstream, eco-friendly alternative to petroleum-powered cars within the next decade.
The sixth-generation Volkswagen Golf, heralded by European automotive media as World Car of the Year, finally comes to U.S. showrooms this fall and instantly is the most fuel-efficient, non-hybrid compact car for 2010.
Seattle track-driving instructor Steve Schaeffer finds himself riding shotgun in a whirlwind seven-day rally race covering nearly 1,800 miles from southern Mexico to the U.S. border.
The 2010 Lexus RX sport utility vehicle is a bit bigger and heavier than its predecessor, quieter, a tad more fuel efficient and has more features. But the things people see first, such as exterior and interior styling, stay true to the popular, previous-generation model. The refined ride is still there, too.
Many Seattleites were caught off-guard by last December's storms. This year, don't let winter get the best of your vehicle. Here are five areas to focus on when preparing your car for the onset of harsh conditions.
With new exterior styling, a turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that puts out as much horsepower as some V-6s, a "hot hatch" body shape and sport-tuned suspension, the 2010 Mazdaspeed3 is a fun-to-drive, youthful, five-passenger auto.
When it comes to riding a motorcycle in inclement weather, the right equipment is critical, but good judgment and safe riding skills are just as important. Dave Wendell, who has been teaching motorcycle safety classes for 22 years, offers a few tips for fall and winter riding.
Peruse a roundup of the details of the 2010 model year, carmaker by carmaker.
The new-for-2010 Lexus IS 250C and IS 350C are convertibles and the first open-top models in the IS line. With styling reminiscent of the IS sedans, a power-operated hardtop roof that opens or closes in a scant 20 seconds, seats for four, V-6 engines and lots of features, the new convertibles are easy transporters that provide a bonus -- a suntan.
Zach McIntosh, 14, and Krystian Portmann, 13, of Maple Valley, are typical of teenage adrenaline junkies. That's why a recent Saturday afternoon found them suiting up at Pacific Grand Prix (PGP) at Pacific Raceways, anxious to test out Kent's newest outdoor karting track.
When General Motors' top executives were choosing this year which brands to keep and which to ditch, the iconic Cadillac was unquestionably deemed a valuable asset that should be part of the new GM.
There's a little something extra for car buyers who have their hearts set on top fuel mileage in the Toyota Prius. But they'd better not get tired of the car's wedge shape.
Heidi Hough is so good at buying cars that she does it for a living. Also known as the Amazing Autowoman, she is a buyer's agent: the person people go to when they would rather have someone else buy their car for them. Buyer's agents are licensed as dealers and can cover almost any aspect of auto buying, including new and used vehicles, leasing and financing options.
Want to see if that 2010 model you have your eye on could race in Le Mans? The next installment of Microsoft's flagship racing franchise could give you a clue.
Subaru's Legacy mid-size sedan grew for 2010, but its price tag didn't. In fact, the newly styled and enlarged five-passenger Legacy ranks as the lowest-priced, mid-size, all-wheel drive sedan on the U.S. market, and is also noteworthy for its fuel mileage rating.
If you're a Seattle sports fan, then there's a good chance that your vehicle is wearing a bumper sticker, decal, flag or antenna ball. To a certain class of local folks, however, that level of devotion is, well, minor league.
Trying to stimulate demand and return to profitability, Detroit automakers are rushing to get new models into dealerships. Developing new vehicles can take several years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars, a process that adds more costs at a time when all three Detroit carmakers have dwindling cash reserves. Yet with so many brands to choose from, and with technology rapidly changing, analysts say that automakers cannot afford to let vehicles go stale.
The 2010 Jaguar XFR is what a Jaguar should be -- sleek, fast and handsome. It's also seductive, with a 510-horsepower, supercharged and intercooled V-8 and constantly adjustable chassis serving up a ride that's both smooth and thrilling.
The small car has made a comeback, and there's no sign of consumers or automakers turning from the trend.
Automakers are working full-throttle to get electric vehicles on the market. But there are differences in the technology that's available. The systems, or powertrains, that drive hybrid and plug-in vehicles use electricity generated by batteries and electric motors to either supplement or largely take the place of internal-combustion engines. Here's a look at how the most common systems compare.
What can be wrong with a car that's a Consumer Reports' recommended buy, earns top crash test ratings, delivers commendable fuel economy and is competitively priced? If the car is in the compact luxury sedan class, it better offer a six-cylinder engine in order to be considered a real contender. This is a key reason why Honda's luxury brand, Acura, adds a V-6 to its TSX for the first time in history.
Light rail, the streetcar and good old Joe Metro: Public transportation is hotter than this summer's heat wave, and Seattle is leading the country in ridership growth. This all looks great on paper, but the view from where many of us are sitting -- in our cars, stuck in traffic, yielding to everything not on four wheels -- is increasingly complicated. Here are some tips for sharing the road.
There's one rule that all car owners learn, usually the hard way: Cheap gas doesn't stay cheap. So if you're counting on your next car to save you money on gas, there are some shopping strategies and new technologies that can help you reach that goal. Here are three tips to keep in mind.
Just about everything that a car buyer can see, touch and feel is changed for the 2010 Ford Taurus, and it's a good thing. From the new styling lines outside to the sizable center stack of controls in the middle of the dashboard inside, the new Taurus is tastefully upgraded as a near-premium large sedan. Even better, it offers so many safety features usually reserved for luxury cars, it sets a new safety benchmark for mainstream family size sedans.
Dirty and loud, smelly and unreliable: That's how many Americans remember diesel-powered cars from the 1970s, when oil shortages prompted automakers to produce a bevy of the more fuel-efficient vehicles. The bad rap that diesel engines received caused them to virtually disappear from the U.S. car market by 1980, aside from some trucks and Volkswagen models. That, however, may be about to change.
Posterity will probably not be so kind to the mass-market vehicles of the 1980s and early '90s. But do any hold the potential to become keepsakes, or is it just as well that pretty soon more than a million will have been crushed and shredded under the "cash for clunkers" program?
In the search for fuel efficiency, Americans today are scrutinizing even smaller sport utility vehicles that have four-cylinder engines. So it's no wonder that Acura adds a two-wheel drive version of its RDX compact SUV for 2010.
Drag racing highs and lows happened en masse Aug. 15 at Pacific Raceways in Kent during the filming of a Pacific Northwest edition of the Speed Channel's hit TV show "Pinks All Out." More than 450 amateur drivers took part in the races, getting a chance to burn rubber in front of a national television audience and win $18,000 in cash and tools.
In an unusual marketing move, Ford has given 100 Fiestas to young drivers nationwide -- including three in Seattle -- for six months, counting on them to blog about the small, distinctively shaped sedans and take them places where they can be seen.
The top gasoline-electric hybrid sedans for fuel mileage aren't Hondas or Toyotas. That honor goes to the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and its sibling 2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid. The federal government rates the newly revamped, five-passenger Fusion and Milan Hybrids at 41 miles per gallon in city driving and 36 mpg on the highway, leading to an average city/highway mileage of 39 mpg.
If you've met someone whose car, at first glance, seems like a mismatch, don't laugh too hard. Once you get to know such a person, you may find more of a connection than you originally thought.
Two trademarks of 1950s America, classic cars and the old-fashioned soda joint, will be on display Aug. 16 in Issaquah for the world's largest Tri-5 Chevy Show. at the XXX Root Beer Drive-in.
With Danica Patrick's Indy Racing League contract with team Andretti Green expiring after this season, the question so often on the lips of motor racing fans is: Where will she be a year from now?
Hope you're not tired of retro-styled cars just yet because one of the best just arrived in showrooms. The 2010 Chevrolet Camaro is a visual rendition of the 1969 Camaro but with a sinister flair provided by bulging fenders and large wheels. A windshield and side windows give passengers the feel of being behind gun slits in a military vehicle.
Zac Cain, a 25-year-old from Port Angeles, is putting the final touches on his restored 1983 Camaro Z28 in preparation for what will be the climax of his amateur drag racing career: an appearance on the Speed Channel TV show "Pinks All Out." He will join more than 450 area drivers Aug. 14-15 at Pacific Raceways in Kent to compete for $18,000 in prize money and tools.
A multimillion-dollar contest to create fuel-efficient cars is not just a lark for inventors -- it could reveal the future of an industry moving toward "green" thinking. More than 100 teams are vying to win the $10 million Progressive Automotive X Prize for environmentally friendly, production-ready vehicles that finish a long-distance stage race and get the equivalent of at least 100 mpg. An unlikely top prospect is a team of inner-city students from West Philadelphia.
The Honda CR-V hasn't done it. The Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4 and Hyundai Tucson also have been unable to boost sales this year over last year's levels. But the Subaru Forester crossover sport utility vehicle, which debuted months ago as an early 2010 model, is setting sales records. The reason for its appeal? The Forester is a practical, rational purchase in a time of economic uncertainty. Shoppers who want value find the five-door, five-passenger SUV is right-sized -- not too big and not too small.
Baby boomers may recall seeing Fiats buzzing around local streets back in the '60s and '70s. But in the mid-'80s, Fiat abruptly pulled out of the U.S. market. Now, having acquired a 35 percent stake in Chrysler, Fiat will be returning to the States within a year or two. What was it that compelled Americans to buy Fiats back in the company's heyday? And will those same traits -- if they're still evident -- lure a new cadre of buyers?
When Frank M. Rinderknecht was 18, he wanted nothing more than a car that nobody else had. So he fixed one up himself. Soon he gave up his college studies and made a full-time job out of souping up inexpensive but bland European brands by founding a car-customization company, Rinspeed. More than 30 years later, the firm is turning out outlandish concepts each year.
Kia's newest car, the 2010 Forte, is a convincing alternative for small sedan shoppers who feel the Toyota Corolla has gotten too pricey and the Honda Civic is too ordinary.
The Cream Puff. (Sean O'Connor) The truth is, I was on the rebound when I fell in love with the Cream Puff -- a butter-yellow 1974 Jaguar XJ6L whose chrome...
This photo provided by General Motors shows the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid pickup truck. (AP Photo/General Motors) Maybe there should be a movie called "Honey, I Grew the Hybrid." While...
Nostalgic car lovers may hanker for a Concours-winning Bugatti or a Gatsby-era Packard, but the pleasures of owning a special car can be attained for a much smaller investment than those precious classics would require. In fact, there are many vehicles in the lower price brackets -- less than the average new family sedan -- worth considering.
A BMW Z-4 is just one of the high-end cars you can rent from Aero Rent-A-Car in Redmond. (Cody Ellerd) It serves its purpose of getting you from point A...
You know you've always wanted to do this. Instead of struggling with the back and forth of parallel parking, you just skid into the space nose first, sliding perfectly between the cars on either side. Then you, Mr. Bond, brush off your tux and coolly walk away. It's possible. At least it is on a closed course in a specially outfitted car with a stunt-driving instructor riding shotgun.
This undated photo provided by Nissan shows the 2009 Nissan Versa 1.6. (AP Photo/Nissan) Give carmaker Nissan credit for offering shoppers a deal. Just as the U.S. economy was taking...
Katie Miller Whether you're into iPods and GPS devices or atlases and radio surfing, we have the gear you need to outfit your rig for your next road trip If...
The good news is that there are plenty of great convertibles on the market now, some of them quite affordable. The even better news is that, even though convertible weather is upon us, several new models feature a fold-down hard top. When it's in the raised position, it creates a car that is just like a regular coupe -- sealed off from the elements so it's a practical vehicle for year-round use in any kind of weather.
This Oct. 1, 2008 photo, provided by Nissan Infinity, shows the 2009 Infiniti G37x Coupe on the road Napa, Calif. (AP Photo/Nissan Infinity) What's an auto company to do with...
The Valley in Auburn is one of only two drive-in theaters left in the area. (Photo by Cody Ellerd) Summer means road trips. And while our cars are, by definition,...
Even as gas prices and the economy fluctuate, automakers are not giving up just yet on what have been among their best-selling and most-profitable models -- full-size pickup trucks.
This 2007 photo, provided by Audi, shows the 2009 Audi Q5. (AP Photo/Audi) Luxury sport utility owners looking to downsize and reduce their gasoline bills will find the move appealing...
Ed and Tanya Johnson in their 4,000-square-foot garage near Poulsbo that's part showroom, part work shop. (Photo by Jeff Layton) Walking into Ed Johnson's 1950s-themed garage is like suddenly stepping...
Last week, Virginia resident Dennis Fleming embarked -- with his black 1913 Model T Ford, wife Martha, 46, and daughter Katie, 21 -- on a 30-day trek from New York City to Seattle. Fleming's vehicle will be one of 55 Model T's on the drive, which celebrates the 100th anniversary of the New York-to-Seattle Endurance Run, a Model T race in 1909 that lasted 22 days and covered 4,106 miles. This year's trek will take the procession through 12 states, ending July 12 on the University of Washington campus in Seattle.
This undated photo, provided by Volkswagen, shows the 2009 VW Touareg TDI. (AP Photo/VW) Volkswagen's 2009 Touareg V-6 TDI is a perfect example of why it can pay to wait...
The Piston Packin' Mamas (left to right): Fritz, Beverly Nelson, Monique Aranjo, Kim Kalliber, Melissa Reese, Majenta, prospective member Alicia Sigala and Ginger Rivera. (Photo by Cody Ellerd) Hot rods...
At January's North American International Auto Show in Detroit, nearly every major automaker, including General Motors, Ford and Toyota, announced plans to develop more electric vehicles. But amid all the chatter about charging times, range and 0-to-60 speeds, an essential business question is emerging. Many industry experts say it could utterly change the complexion of the auto business: Who makes the battery?
This photo, provided by BMW Group, shows the 2009 Mini Cooper convertible. (AP Photo/BMW Group) The 2009 Mini Cooper Convertible is fun to drive, efficiently packaged and cute. But more...
The Viking 32, built by students and faculty at Western Washington University, runs on biofuel. (Photo by Cody Ellerd) Dung, manure, cow pies, cow power, biogas, biomethane, "natural" gas --...
Exotic brands are trying to sell in higher volumes in order to meet the costly demands of developing new technology. To entice buyers away from more mainstream makes, the top-end automakers increasingly are providing more affordable and practical offerings.
This June 9, 2008 photo provided by Ford Motor Co. shows the 2009 Ford Flex vehicle overlooking the Pacific in southern California. (AP Photo/Ford Motor Co., Sam VarnHagen) People love...
Team Seattle's Ferrari 430 GT gets assembled in Milan, Italy, by Advanced Engineering. The team also has an identical practice version of the car. (Photo by Cold Track Days) Wearing...
While you probably don't spend much time under the hood (or under the car), one thing you likely do a lot is drive. So when shopping for a new car, give it a good test drive. But don't just drive around the block -- put it through all the paces you'd put your own car through. Here are several things to look for when you take that prospective new car out for a spin.
This undated photo, provided by Kia Motors, shows the 2010 Kia Soul. (AP Photo/Kia Motors If the name of Kia's new car -- the Soul -- isn't memorable enough, the...
Dale Clark, owner of Angle Lake Cyclery, says he can load 24 bikes into his Sprinter van. (Photo by Scott McCredie) The name Mercedes-Benz oozes refinement and exclusivity -- sumptuous...
Right after Sept. 11, 2001, Wayne Gerdes of Chicago went on a mission, deciding to do his part to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil by saving fuel. He coined the term "hypermiling" to describe the quest to exceed (in many cases by a wide margin) a vehicle's fuel-economy rating. Now, Gerdes routinely gets about double the Environmental Protection Agency's estimated rating in his Honda Accord and shares his techniques on his Web site, CleanMPG.com. "It's my passion," says Gerdes. "If it wasn't my passion, it wouldn't be worth it."
This undated photo, provided by Mercedes-Benz, shows the German automaker's 2009 GL320 SUV. (AP Photo/Mercedes-Benz) Finally, there's a large, seven-passenger sport utility vehicle that has a higher fuel mileage rating...
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (right) and Robert Bothfeld of General Motors stand with a Chevy Malibu Hybrid, as the Mayor's office announces the deployment of cleaner, greener vehicles...
EMC3 is a family affair for David Joner, daughter Marissa Joner, Linda Joner, son Cody Joner, and daughter Becky Marker. (Photo by Scott McCredie) Four years ago, Bellevue resident David...
The Tesla Roadster, in its first appearance in the area, zooms by a crowd in Bellevue last year. (Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times) After hitting a slick patch and nearly sliding...
In the 1974 James Bond film "The Man With the Golden Gun," the evil title character, Francisco Scaramanga, eludes Agent 007 by attaching a jet engine, wings and tail assembly to his AMC Matador Coupe and flying away. It's Hollywood, of course. But the idea of a flying car has long gripped the imagination of a gridlocked public. With the Terrafugia Transition's successful -- if brief -- test flight this spring, the dream may be getting closer to reality.
It's the newest gotta-have-it gadget. At least, that's the message Nissan hopes to send young buyers as it launches the Cube this month. The car is the latest example of a vehicle -- like the Mini Cooper and Kia Soul -- that aims to attract drivers with its design rather than traditional attributes such as mileage or safety ratings. And the main people Nissan is targeting with the Cube are "Millennials" -- people ages 18-24.
The Lincoln C concept is introduced at the Detroit auto show in January. (Carlos Osorio / Associated Press) LOS ANGELES -- The paint on the wheels wasn't dark enough. The...
This undated photo, provided by Nissan, shows the 2009 Nissan Cube. (AP Photo/Nissan) Finally, Americans can buy a car that looks like it was imported directly from the streets of...
This undated photo, provided by Audi, shows the 2009 Audi A3. (AP Photo/Audi) Audi's A3 entry-level car is small, but not too small. It's a premium European model but not...
You may have spotted one on the road: a micro-sized, slow-moving, nearly silent car, about as tall as a Mini Cooper, but shorter. It's an NEV -- a relatively...
The big trend in motorcycles this year is to go small, allowing more people to buy in a poor economy and saving riders plenty at the pump. Motorcycle makers showcased cheaper and more fuel-efficient models at the nation's premier motorcycle show -- the International Motorcycle Show, held in Manhattan in January -- and scooters stole the show.
The students now enrolling in automotive training programs are filling the Seattle area's community colleges and vocational schools beyond capacity, and the timing suggests that, yes, it's the economy. The median hourly wage of auto technicians and mechanics in Washington is $19.31, or around $37,000 annually, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department. And with consumers now keeping their old cars longer before buying new ones, these workers' services are in demand.
Illustration by Amber Tafoya For decades, drivers have used their bumpers as moving billboards. Bumper stickers show our political leanings, our religious affiliations, where we've vacationed and what type of...
This undated photo, provided by Mazda, shows the 2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata roadster. (AP Photo/Mazda, Guy Spangenberg) The cute little Mazda MX-5 Miata isn't the lowest-priced roadster in America anymore....
Frank Stubbs looks over a Thunderbird in his shop in Newcastle. (Photo by Jeff Layton) The dull, gray hunk of steel mounted on the lift at an awkward angle could...
Nissan's "aging suit" allows designers to better understand the needs of older drivers. (Photo by Junji Kurokawa / Associated Press) ATSUGI, Japan -- To understand what it's like for a...
This undated photo, provided by Hyundai, shows the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe. (AP Photo/Hyundai) Forget for a moment that the Hyundai Genesis is an affordable luxury sedan that won the...
Issaquah resident Mark Mullet was the first Washington state resident to get a Tesla Roadster. (Photo by Scott McCredie ) Mark Mullet says he was 12 years old when electric...
Photos: Dodge, Chevrolet, Ford Stoplights will get a lot more interesting this spring. For the first time in 26 years, the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger will face...
Travis Pastrana autographs a fan's Subaru at the 100 Acre Wood Rally last month. (Subaru) Subaru Rally Team USA drivers Travis Pastrana, Ken Block and Dave Mirra will hold an...
This undated photo provided by Volkswagen shows the 2009 Volkswagen Routan minivan. (AP Photo/VW) You can't blame Volkswagen officials and dealers for wanting to retain every buyer they can, including...
Vistors tour the LeMay in Tacoma. The extensive car museum is expanding this year. (Photo by Jeff Layton) Tucked away on the grounds of a former military academy in Tacoma...
Tanner Faust and his navigator Christine Beavis prior to the start of a rally race in February. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat / New York Times News Service) SALEM, Mo. --...
This undated photo provided by Honda shows the 2010 Honda Insight EX. (AP Photo/Honda) Watch out, Toyota Prius. Honda's new gasoline-electric hybrid car has aerodynamic styling like yours but carries...
Dave Cloud added 21 batteries to Jeff Finn's car to make it all electric. (Photo by Scott McCredie) Let's say you decide to buy the greenest car you can find....
Startup automakers such as California-based Tesla Motors and Fisker Automotive displayed cars at the North American International Auto Show in January, grabbing attention with sleek electric-drive vehicles that combine environmentally friendly chic with sports-car sex appeal. But these upstarts face an uphill road, with more and more challengers entering the green car race.
To drive Tata Motors Ltd.'s tiny new Nano is to consider all the things you thought you needed in life but really don't. The $2,200 car was built for frugality but it's no cheap drive.
The instrument panel on the 2010 Buick LaCrosse features ambient lighting on the gauges, radio and armrest in "Buick blue." (Photo by General Motors) DETROIT -- They're a main style...
Brown Bear Car Wash attendant Gerry Saulsman, 78, washes his wife's car for her at the self-service station where he works. (Photo by Cody Ellerd) Summer may be right around...
The Tesla Roadster electric car sits parked on a street in New York Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009. Whatever the future holds for Tesla, the Roadster offers a glimpse of what's...
PNWX member Charlie Sulcer climbs a rockface near Cliffdell, Wash. (Photo by Mike Vandewall) We who live in the Northwest are not the kind of folks who form friendships at...
Deciding on the perfect safety seat for your child can seem like a monumental task. The good news, experts say, is the perfect seat is probably the one you...
Illustration by Katie Miller DETROIT -- You could call them spoiled. Indulged. Pampered. Cosseted. Generation Y, that group of young people who are just starting to earn enough money to...
The Toyota Yaris' Absolutely Red, center, is one of the few bright-color favorites in a town more likely to gravitate toward the Subaru Impreza's Sunlight Gold Opal, left, or the...
My first ride in an Austin Mini Cooper, in the summer of 1971, was as memorable as a child's first trip to Disneyland. In fact, there was something Disneyesque...
The Fisker Karma's solar panel covers the roof of the luxury plug-in car. (Kiichiro Sato / Associated Press) Even as skies are gray this winter, automakers are looking to sunnier...
To this day, whenever I come upon an older model red Civic hatchback, I smile and wonder if it's Wanda. I also recall that sad, rainy day we parted ways -- and how I made those who witnessed my tears promise never to tell anyone that I cried over a car.
In 1999, Leith Zeutenhorst left her doctor's office reeling from a diagnosis of cancer. She drove her 1983 Ford Fairmont Futura to the car wash, where the paint peeled off in flakes and strips. Returning home, the Camas, Wash., resident found a way to repair the damage with spray paint -- and to express her will to live.
In a city where there are 45 percent more dogs than kids, the phrase "Dog is my co-pilot" is more than just a bumper-sticker slogan -- it's a way of life. Seattleites don't just transport their pets to the dog park or the vet; they load them into their cars for shopping trips and road trips, too.
It's not unusual to see paper, wood or glass used for painting. But wheel covers? Employees at Gentile Automotive Group dropped off 30 Scion hubcaps in early November to the art departments at six high schools in Racine, Wis. Students were asked to decorate the covers for a contest sponsored by Gentile and Scion.
Teen Jamie Walters had a dream car: a Mustang fastback, circa the 1970s. When he was still a year away from getting his driver's license, his mom tossed out an idea: "Find an old junky one and you can fix it up." Jamie and his dad, Jim, had taken on joint projects before, but there had been nothing like this, a father-son adventure that would test their patience - and cement their already strong bond.
(Illustration by Katie Miller) A funny thing happened on the way to our sputtering economy: Frugal became fabulous. For vehicle owners, that means it's suddenly savvy to pop your...
Here are the latest gas price trends and historical price charts for Seattle, Washington State and the USA. Latest Seattle gas price trends Seattle Gas Prices Provided by GasBuddy.com Historical gas price...
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Are you passionate about cars, saving fuel, going green or another topic related to the vehicles we drive? If you live in the Seattle or greater Puget Sound area...
2008 new models by body style Compact cars Midsize sedans Fullsize sedans Compact SUVs Midsize SUVs Fullsize SUVs Hybrids Coupes Sports cars Trucks Wagons/vans Looking for an all-new van...
2008 new models by body style Compact cars Midsize sedans Fullsize sedans Compact SUVs Midsize SUVs Fullsize SUVs Hybrids Coupes Sports cars Trucks Wagons/vans Looking for an all-new truck...
2008 new models by body style Compact cars Mid-size sedans Fullsize sedans Compact SUVs Midsize SUVs Fullsize SUVs Hybrids Coupes Sports cars Trucks Wagons/vans Looking for an all-new sports...
2008 new models by body style Compact cars Midsize sedans Fullsize sedans Compact SUVs Midsize SUVs Fullsize SUVs Hybrids Coupes Sports cars Trucks Wagons/vans Looking for an all-new coupe...
2008 new models by body style Compact cars Midsize sedans Fullsize sedans Compact SUVs Midsize SUVs Fullsize SUVs Hybrids Coupes Sports cars Trucks Wagons/vans Looking for an all-new hybrid...
2008 new models by body style Compact cars Midsize sedans Fullsize sedans Compact SUVs Midsize SUVs Fullsize SUVs Hybrids Coupes Sports cars Trucks Wagons/vans Looking for an all-new full-size...
2008 new models by body style Compact cars Midsize sedans Fullsize sedans Compact SUVs Midsize SUVs Fullsize SUVs Hybrids Coupes Sports cars Trucks Wagons/vans Looking for an all-new mid-size...
2008 new models by body style Compact cars Midsize sedans Fullsize sedans Compact SUVs Midsize SUVs Fullsize SUVs Hybrids Coupes Sports cars Trucks Wagons/vans Looking for an all-new compact...
2008 new models by body style Compact cars Midsize sedans Fullsize sedans Compact SUVs Midsize SUVs Fullsize SUVs Hybrids Coupes Sports cars Trucks Wagons/vans Looking for an all-new full-size...
2008 new models by body style Compact cars Midsize sedans Fullsize sedans Compact SUVs Midsize SUVs Fullsize SUVs Hybrids Coupes Sports cars Trucks Wagons/vans Looking for an all-new midsize...
2008 new models by body style Compact cars Midsize sedans Fullsize sedans Compact SUVs Midsize SUVs Fullsize SUVs Hybrids Coupes Sports cars Trucks Wagons/vans Looking for an all-new compact...
The Honda Accord was one of 34 cars awarded the Top Safety Pick for 2008. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named 34 vehicles winners of their Top...