Ever wondered how us auto writer types do it? You know, how do we drive a different car every week (or several a week) and continue to spew out reviews every week (or once a month for those print guys)? The good folks at Car and Driver have busted out the truth.
Its always fun when someone new comes to hang out in The Garage, swap stories and bench race. This weekend, fellow Canadian auto writer Michael Banovsky dropped by and has decided to tell a few tales.
Michael is a bit of a new thing in automotive media: a young guy who has worked in traditional print. While he has been published in the Toronto Star’s Wheels section, he has been far more prolific online. Banovsky has been published at AutoGuide.com and is currently a contributor at vLane. As an early participant on Twitter, @michaelbanovsky has become one of the most influential auto peeps on Twitter which led to a guest spot on AutoBlog’s Autoline.
Like most auto writers, Michael’s personal set of wheels is a little bit offbeat. I have a feeling that his old Volvo 740 is probably almost as old as him!
Oh yeah, Michael takes photos of cars too and you can see them at his Flickr page. Man, this guy pops up in more places online than I do!
Blues Brothers. Panned by critics, loved by millions. So who is right? What makes the critics opinion more valid than the consumer? Veteran Canadian auto writer, new to auto blogging, Jil McIntosh warns consumers that it is good to be critical of the critics. In other words, trust your butt over theirs.
So what gives? Why is this warrior of the press fleets telling readers to take our writings with a grain of salt? Because unlike many of our counterparts in the industry, Jil is very accessible to the public and still remembers that consumers actually buy cars based on so called journalists recommendations. I’ll take this one step further and say that many of todays motoring writers are journalism school grads who have little or no expertise in the automotive world. In other words, they don’t have a clue in hell what they are talking about, nor do they have any business advising people on the 2nd most expensive item they will purchase in their lifetime. The problem is even worse in my domain, the online world, where anyone can claim to be an expert.
Fighting words those!
Saab has always attracted a slightly eclectic and literate fan base, so naturally we at OutDrive have felt the draw. The official stamp of brand quirkiness, the late Kurt Vonnegut, was the owner and manager of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Saab Cape CodÃ¢â‚¬Â. Saab has come a long way from the oil-gas mix, two-stroke, two-door sedans Vonnegut blames for robbing him of a Nobel Prize for Literature in, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Have I Got a Car For YouÃ¢â‚¬Â. Luckily for us, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not in a temporally twisted parallel universe where Vonnegut sold the equivalent of a 2008 9-3 Sport Sedan 2.0T, otherwise his excellent non-Nobel literature may never have been penned. [Read more…]
So the Ford Edge looks great and has interior appointments that are so good that many onlookers felt it’s more representative of Japan than Detroit, but how does it perform on the road? Well, more exciting than a Highlander, less truck like than the Pilot, slower than an FX-35 and about the same as a Murano.
More and more consumers are realizing that they want to drive something with a bit more pizazz than a minivan these days. While we might all want to drive a sports car, for most of us reality dictates that we need something with a bit more utility. These opposing needs are what has fueled the growing CUV market. Smaller than a full size SUV, less seating than a minivan, this niche offers good looking, sporty vehicles that can haul some gear. The newest player is the attractive 2007 Ford Edge which combines a sporty look and feel with a healthy dose of utility. In fact, the Edge offers more utility than the FX-35 that we spent time with earlier this year.
Over the years, it has become apparent that car industry types and automotive journalists have something in common. A certain negativity towards car manufacturers that translates into a level of bitchiness when talking about cars. Why this concerns me is that I’m not only a car industry guy, but I like to think that I’m part of a new wave of writers.
Over the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time in some world class sports cars. I’ve been really lucky in that I’ve spent a lot of time driving the Nissan 350Z, a car so good for it’s price range that cars worth twice as much are often compared to it.
So what does this have to do with my first drive in the 2006 Eclipse GT? Well, unfortunately I’ve become pretty jaded and my expectations have been set pretty high. This isn’t a good thing for any sports car that doesn’t keep up with the class. So does the Eclipse GT measure up? Well, yes & no.
Drift king Taro Koki and his team have just launched GT Channel, which is sort of like an automotive version of Youtube. Visitors can watch and upload their videos to share. Maybe even better is the fact that they are planning to share a bit of the wealth from their advertising with anyone who posts their videos on their site.
Most of the vids posted so far are drifitng related, along with some road test content. Expect this content to grow drastically over the next few months. This will be fun to watch.
A few weeks ago, Ed over at The Car Blog wrote a piece on Why Wagons Rock, detailing why the practicality of wagons has won him over. Well, here in The Garage, we couldn’t agree more. In fact I’m a little surprised that it’s taken so long for so many folks to come to the realization that wagons (or some SUVs by extension) are indeed cool. As one who spent years working for Volvo, with all their boxy, turbo monster wagons I figured this out way back in the early Eighties. There is no reason why a wagon can’t be practical and a blast to drive at the same time.
Enter the Mazda 6 Sport Wagon. Over the past couple of months we’ve racked up about 9,000 km on a pair of these haulers. The first was equipped with the 3.0 l V6 and a 5 speed manual transmission, while the second utilized the same engine coupled to the optional 6 speed automatic. The automatic is tuned for the sporting driver and has a manual shift option. Personally, I’ve never been excited by manumatics so this feature didn’t get much use but it did seem to work smoothly. Just not my thing.
This engine is rated for 212 hp and 197 ft/lb of torque which was more than enough to turn the front tires to smoke off the line when the driver’s inner hooligan is released and sometimes when you’ve got your jacket and tie on too. Everyone who drove the car while in our stable commented that the front tires will squeel when leaving a light, even under moderate throttle. Odd, considering the big sticky boots the Sport Wagon wears.