Selling a Car Through CarMax


There’s a crossroads in every car relationship to part ways. Whether it’s because the car is in the shop too much, or there’s a new baby on the way, or you’re just plain bored and shopping for something better. When that cross arrives, there’s always the problem of selling your car. You have several options to get rid of your car, and today I’m going to cover the fastest and most convenient way of selling your car. Follow the jump to find out.

Continue reading

Review: 2011 Toyota Yaris

2012-01-07 16.57.42

Toyota has built an automotive empire on reliability, and value for the money. But with midsize sedans cresting north of $20,000, and even Toyota’s own Corolla retailing for more than $15,000, where can one find an affordable entry-level car that will safely move 5 people from point A to point B? The masterminds at Toyota have crunched the numbers and believe the little Yaris is the answer.

Continue reading

Review: 2012 Chevrolet Malibu


When I think of Malibu, I think of the wealthy and pristine stretch of beachfront in northwest LA. Warm beaches are bordered by twisty canyon roads frequented by some of the world’s most exotic Italian machinery. Ferrari’s and Ducati’s look more at home here than they do in Maranello.

So it’s no surprise Chevrolet hoped some of Malibu’s beautiful imagery would rub off on the 2012 Chevy Malibu. Can a sensibly priced family sedan be in the same sentence as perfectly tanned beach bodies? Follow the jump to find out.

Continue reading

Review: 2012 Ford Focus SE


It’s a muggy and overcast day after a week of beautiful Southern California sunshine – awful beach weather, but perfect weather for taking a new 2012 Ford Focus SE hatchback through the twisty backroads near Malibu. Follow the jump to find out how the Focus fares against the hotly contested compact segment.

Continue reading

2007 Honda Fit, Wrecked!


As a car enthusiast, I love the idea of a lightweight and nimble vehicle. While not sporty, nor powerful, my own xB weighs in at a svelte 2,400 lbs. While car enthusiasts pine for lightweight hot hatches like the original GTI (1,742 lbs), I’m glad that my friend Gordon was surrounded by an additional thousand pounds of steel and side airbags when he was T-boned in an intersection by a reckless driver. While his Fit was still under 2,500 lbs, it’s clear from the photos of the wreck that it did a good job of keeping structural integrity during the crash. He was also fortunate enough to have been hit on the passenger side while he was the only one in the car.  Gordon was shaken from the accident, and very sore for the following week. Even though we’re sad to see this Fit in such mess, we’re glad it was the car rather than the driver. With 150,000 miles on the clock, it was too soon for the Fit to die, but at least it lived a long and well cared for life.

Continue reading

Review: 2012 Kia Optima


Kia wants you to forget its bland past portfolio and cross shop its new Optima with perenial best-sellers like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. On paper, the new 2012 Optima stays true to the Korean brand’s mantra of big bang for the buck. The stunning exterior looks is guaranteed to make passerbys do a double take. But are good looks, high value, and a ten year powertrain warranty enough to get past the stigma of owning a Kia? Click past the jump for a road trip road test.

Continue reading

The Concept Car Dilemma: If They Build It, Will They Come?

The Homer

Concept cars stun, shock, bore, delight, enrage, or any combination of the above. But even though the list of triggerable emotions goes on and on, all concepts fall into one of three genres. The first is the stuff of dreams. These cars deserve to be hung up on the wall of an 8 year old’s bedroom. Jaw droppingly gorgeous, concepts in this genre are farfetched and unlikely to see limited production, let alone sitting in a dealer lot. The Saab Aero X and the Jaguar C-X75 fall in this category.  While I love these whacky things, no amount of wishing can will these machines into being.

On the other end of the spectrum are fake concept cars – production ready cars of the next season dressed up in big shiny wheels with glued on plastic frills. Honda fooled no one when it released its 2012 Honda CR-V Concept that it was a gussied up model of the next CR-V. Note to Honda: showing off next year’s model technically counts as showing off the “future” of your design, but there are some fat air-quotes attached. Color me unimpressed.

This wide spectrum leaves consumers with two unhappy choices. Either a concept is painfully gorgeous and equally painful to attain, or a concept is easily attainable but no different than the Toyonda appliance that’s coming next fall.

The concept car dilemna illustrated

But what if a company showed a concept that leans toward the desirable end of the spectrum, but also demonstrates a hint of possible production? Follow the jump to see a surprise entry from the 2012 Chicago Auto Show.

Continue reading

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT and Coupe


Hot off the heels of the North American Auto Show, Hyundai unveils two new Elantra variants, the Coupe and the GT hatchback.  The coupe is the less exciting of the two, looking identical to the sedan unless lined up side by side.  Nonetheless, it will join the Kia Forte Koupe in the fight to win over Civic loyalists.  The hatchback GT replaces the old Elantra Touring model with a svelte looking hatchback.  Follow the jump for some first impressions.

Continue reading

6 Best Vacation Cars


Baseball, hot dogs, and light beer.  America may not have a long history compared to other cultures, but we’ve certainly figured out how to relax with our favorite pastimes.  The love of cars and road trips is certainly among the beloved pastimes of America, but what makes a good road trip car?  Here’s our take on it!

Jerry’s Picks

Lincoln TownCar

One of the last quintessential American luxobarges, the TownCar is heavy, not particularly powerful, and reeks of octogenarians.  But it’s massive trunk, unstrained V8 power, and limo quality interior and ride will coddle it’s passengers from coast to coast without breaking a sweat.  If it’s good enough for fleet duty as a limo, it’s good enough for a road trip.

VW MicroBus

The 60+ year old VW Type 2, fondly remembered as just the VW Bus, doesn’t have much going for it in the specs department. The air cooled engine makes more noise than actual thrust.  After half a century, those original 30 horses have either died or gone senile.  Thankfully, road trip memories aren’t measured in raw power, and a classic icon like the Bus guarantees the trip of a lifetime.

HBTV: Depth of Speed – Simple Soul from HBTV on Vimeo.

Porsche Panamera

When I first saw a Panamera in photos, I thought it was hideous and an abomination to the Porsche brand – much more so than even the Cayenne.  Unlike other cars that turn out better in person, the elongated 911 looked even worse in person.  But, just like the TownCar, the Panamera excels at eating up the miles in absolute comfort.  Four individual bucket seats are all trimmed in rich alcantara leather. Who cares how ugly the outside of the car is when you’re sitting in it?
yes it really is that ugly.

Ben’s Picks

2008-2011 Ford Excursion

The perfect vacation car depends upon where you’re going.  Traveling to Death Valley or Pismo Beach requires different rides than snaking up the PCH.  That’s why the Excursion is a perfect vacation vehicle – it can travel anywhere, on road or off, and bring lots of stuff with it.  These custom built 2008-2011 Excursions are even better than their factory-made predecessors because they include a modern frame and engines with much more power, not to mention the 6-door option.  So why go through the trouble of custom building an SUV instead of just buying the new pickups that they’re based on?  Simple – traveling requires bringing lots of important stuff, like luggage and passports.  It’s harder to steal if its enclosed by dark tinted windows, instead of just sitting in an open pickup bed.

Maserati GranTurismo MC

If finding the world’s most exotic locales is the goal, then this is the car for the job.  Sure, the Mercedes SL is more comfy and Ferrari’s are faster, but what’s the rush?  This car’s engine tells the world you’ve brought sexy back – in case the gorgeous body hadn’t already made that obvious.  The available electronically adjustable suspension keeps the car stable on the scenic byways while coddling occupants on the highways.  The small rear seats discourage friends from tagging along, while providing space for a pet.  A truly great vacation car if the destination is in the mountains or on the coast, along a tiny little scribble on the map.

Toyota Camry Hybrid

Ok, this is pure blasphemy and we will have exactly zero readers after this suggestion – but it’s a good one!  Sometimes, vacation destinations aren’t always the safest places.  That’s where the Camry comes in, helping an obvious traveler to blend in with everybody else.  That way, prying eyes won’t be looking to steal all that expensive luggage, or rob a naive tourist overflowing with cash.  The Hybrid model will net better fuel economy and slightly more power, while still delivering the Camry’s trademark – a quiet, cushy ride.