2015 Ram Concept?

Is this an unknown Ram Concept destined for a certain Motown International Autoshow?

I spotted this during a commercial break on cable…several minutes of advancing frame by frame got us these 2 screen grabs. I was unable to find this commercial online to produce better screens.

We think Ram will be releasing a small pickup concept to combat the upcoming Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. Possibly reviving the Dakota moniker? Either way, you heard it here first.

UPDATE: Video embedded below.



The Mazda CX5 is what you buy when you want a reliable Tiguan

The 2014 Mazda CX5 is kinda like a Volkswagen Tiguan, but better. It’s better because it’s bound to be more reliable, and it’s actually a joy to drive.

The Tiguan is merely okay, even with more power. And this year, the CX5 gets a new 2.5 liter engine that whips up more horsepower, so it’s not breathing so hard just to keep up.

In Touring trim, it’s got leather, navigation, Bose stereo, all for about $30,000.

Pretty great. And 27.5 miles per gallon.


Why I drive a 10 year old car

CelebritynoonzSo the average age of the average car of the average American is now ten-plus years old. That describes my personal fleet of automobiles to a T. There are several reasons for this, but the main reason? I’m f*king poor.

Cars aren’t the pieces of garbage they once were, which helps. Engines easily make it past 150,000 miles and are incredibly tolerant of neglect. Body structures are strong, and you’re surrounded by airbags, your bacon is saved by ABS and stability control, and rust is nowhere near as common as it once was.

Great, but our flabby ‘Murkin backsides still squash the life out of seat foam, cretins in parking lots still assault unblemished bodywork with door dings (even when you’ve parked at the very farthest reaches of the lot), and every car has its own set of reliability foibles and wear items.

So while the age of our fleet can be taken to mean that cars have gotten significantly better, it may just mean that fewer people can cough up the monthlies for a new car. Hell, I bought my cars used, and I’m still paying one of them off. I’ll be done soon, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be turning around and replacing both my paid-for cars. It’d be nice, I’m tired of stuff wearing out, or just going completely haywire (a hidden dark side of increasingly sophisticated networked electronics), and generally, a change would be welcome. But the extra money I’d sink into a four-wheeled depreciation and liability machine would give me a little breathing room paying down my credit card, which gets used as an occasional high-interest bridge loan between paychecks. And even though it’s frustrating when things break, it’s more economical to keep fixing the old clunker.

Enough pity for me. Well, a little more would be okay, I’ll wallow for a while. My point is that while the fact that our cars are generally older than they’ve ever been, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we love the cars of 2002 the best. It just means that we’re still working for 2002 money, while expenses have been shot out of a funhouse cannon at the horizon of complete ridiculousness.

2012 Hyundai Elantra Review

The symptoms of Wallet Sciatica include: back pain and an ache that extends down the leg. The cause is uneven pressure placed on a sitter’s posterior by an item in the back pocket, like a wallet, though it may be entirely psychosomatic.

The price of the 2012 Hyundai Elantra is guaranteed to not chafe your arse, but the way it leaves your wallet fat is  going to upset your sciatic nerve. It’s a good kind of pain, every twinge a reminder of the value Hyundai puts into its automobiles. There are other ways to flatten out your billfold, anyway. Saving on an automobile leaves spending money free for cigarillos, single malt and slot machines.

There is, however, an acute pain caused by the 2012 Elantra. It sets in slowly, and it doesn’t afflict everyone, but to a car enthusiast, it might as well be a giant purple bruise on the face. This is the pain of surrender. Picking the Elantra as your daily driver says that you’ve given up trying to find a car that’s entertaining, choosing the soul-crushing appliance, instead.

It’s not that the Elantra does anything wrong, but it’s just the type of car you’d expect to find on the shelf at the big-box store next to Mr. Coffees and cut-rate electronics. While a ten-dollar automatic drip coffeemaker might satisfy the masses, some real-deal aficionados opt for the labor of a French Press, and so it is with cars.

World’s Only Turbine Powered Batmobile Hits eBay

What do you do when a V8 powered Batmobile replica isn’t enough? Why put a helicopter turbine motor in it, of course. Aside from being mind-boggling, it might actually be one of the only movie replica cars that actually is true to the idea of the movie – as you can bet when they may the Michael Keaton movies – the screen cars weren’t turbine powered.

After spending quite some time building and engineering the only turbine powered Batmobile in existence, owner Casey Putsch has put the car up for auction. Which means some lucky person will be able to play Batman for $620K. If that sounds too rich for your blood, you could consider that between a Bugatti Veyron and this, the Batmobile will draw the crowd – and if that’s not enough, there still is only one of these. Plus, it’s a 2-fer, it’s sorta like buying a helicopter, right? How many excuses can you come up with to make this seem like a rational purchase to your friends or significant other?

Batmobile Specs:

  • Fully independent, cockpit adjustable suspension with disc brakes
  • Steel tubular space/monocoque chassis
  • 4 forward speed semi-automatic, sequentially shifted transmission with reverse
  • 365 horsepower Boeing turboshaft engine
  • Fiberglass and aluminum coachwork
  • Digital avionics and centrally mounted touch-screen iPad with 3G
  • Fuel cell and racing approved on-board halon fire extinguishing system
  • Approx. 2800 lbs.
  • DOT approved turn-signals, tail, and headlights
  • On-board air-compressor
  • Stereo
  • Air horn
  • Runs on Jet A, Kerosene, or Diesel fuel

[nggallery id=turbinepoweredbatemobile]
Source: eBay

2011 Ford Edge SEL AWD Review

We dunnit again. Motofinity bought another car just to review it.

Sort of.

Actually, my wife and I replaced a higher-mileage Jeep Commander that suckled fuel pumps more forcefully than a starving newborn. It’s what you’d expect from a Hemi, but it was killing us.

We benefitted from incentives and the brain-bashing price war dealers and auto brands are locked in, and decided on a Mediterranean Blue 2011 Ford Edge SEL AWD. We were excited to finally have a safe, reliable SUV crossover to transport our young family around town, but the sweetness and light soon turned rocky…

Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: Book Review

We wont lie. Motofinity has a man-crush on Bob Lutz.

How can you help it? The guy helped bring to life the Dodge Viper, BMW 6-series and Pontiac GTO, and that’s just recently.

So what’s this book, Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business, or in our case, Kindle Book about? Essentially, it’s about what led to the downfall of General Motors. I’ve personally been very critical of GM, after reading the book, perhaps some of that is unfair – but certainly not all of it.

General Motors began its slide 1970s. In the book, Bob explains how GM, flush with cash, started from scratch on its entire product line to meet the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirements. CAFE legislation hurt domestic manufacturers more than imports because global vehicles were already efficient enough or took less effort to meet the standards. In the process of redesigning the entire fleet, quality was flushed.

Lutz points out that CAFE is a joke (and hey, we’re doing it to ourselves again!) because domestic manufacturers make the best large trucks out there. Other brands try, and lately they’ve tried harder than ever, but they just aren’t as good as domestics and get worse gas mileage. Hello Nissan Titan. The Lutz alternative to CAFE is raising the gas tax.

Hold up Bob.

Pushing the burden onto the consumer for manufacturers lack of foresight into meeting future requirements is what got you into trouble in the first place. You postulate that if we had higher taxes on gas then people would be more motivated to make “wise” car buying choices like putting us all in Fiestas or Aveos.

Mr. Lutz, you’re sucking out our car souls.

We motorheads like our V8s and rear-wheel drive. Unless you have some plan to give us $20K 400 HP Camaros so that we can afford a second car, we reject your plan. Even a modest 25 cent increase that will gradually bring us even to Europe’s $7 a gallon prices it seems ridiculous to pay more in taxes for a gallon of fuel than for the actual gallon of gas. But we digress, we could write a book about how ass-backward energy policies are worldwide.

The crux of the book is really how Vehicle Line Executives (VLEs) and MBA eggheads justified horrible cars with festeringly-bad interiors by meeting internal goals. Yup, some group of bean counters with MBA sheepskins thought the Pontiac Aztek was a great car because it looked profitable on paper.

While Car Guys vs. Bean Counters focuses on how GM got in such an awful place, the larger question it raises is how America has changed from a manufacturing powerhouse to tottering on the edge of massive failure. The answer is greed. Our success led us to believe we deserved things that we didn’t. Lutz recounts asking GM executives how they could justify accepting outrageous UAW contracts. The answer was that the business guys had projected record sales coming and it was cheaper than a strike. We know where that got us.

Ultimately, this book leaves the impression that it’s time to call bullshit on the idea of “too big to fail.” Bailing out companies leaves the nation in fiscal mess. We feared that by letting companies go bankrupt we would lose too many jobs, but the 9-plus percent unemployment we’ve got in the wake of GM and Chrysler bailouts and $14 trillion in debt don’t exactly look like gains. Both points aren’t solely because of automaker bailouts, but the mentality that we deserve more than we have, and more than we can afford, persists.

Bob Lutz suggests that the position the United States is in forces everyone to readjust our sights, and that’s a good thing. Not everybody is going to have a six figure salary, you can’t afford a house on a fast-food pay check, and, of course, when executives make million dollar bonuses and then layoff thousands, they deserve taxpayer money even less than usual.

If you’re wondering how GM and the domestic auto industry got to the point of insolvency and why it was like watching a train wreck in slow motion over 3 decades – read this book. If you’re wondering why businesses fail left and right, why the country that used to be the best struggles to stay relevant, read this book. Change is the only constant, and big change appears to be afoot. If you’re maintaining a mentality that things will go back to the way they were and you’ll be able to make $100,000 a year with a job that has a “shift,” or if you think you deserve millions for being an executive of a company that’s hemorrhaging money, you’ll find that reality is a bitch.

More info about the 2012 Toyota Camry

To follow up on my cryptic rumor-mongering yesterday about the 2012 Toyota Camry, here’s the scoop:

Journalists are looking at the car right now at Toyota’s dog-and-pony show for the new car, which is happening in the Seattle, WA area.

That means you should grab your camera and bazooka-sized zoom lens and go see if you can snap 2012 Toyota Camry pictures. Then send them in to us. Autoblog has just posted some spy shots of the 2012 Camry, as well, so you can get vertigo trying to see through the camo.

In the meantime, we’re scouring the web looking for fissures in the wall of silence ahead of it dropping in late-August.

For now, check out this happy feel-good 2012 Camry Video that focuses on the Georgetown, KY production facility and its people.

More to follow.