Years ago, right around the time I got my license, I fortunate enough to be given a car by my parents. We bought a simple, 99 Honda Accord EX (5 years old at the time), with over 100K miles. It was a bland as bland gets: 4-cylinder, gold exterior, beige interior, no modifications. Despite all that, the price was right, it was in great shape, and it was mine. I thought it would be mine until it crumbled into dust – which might have taken a long time, given that I never had any issues with it. Well, that was certainly a pipe dream. I now have a good paying job and an aging 07 Accord nearing the 130K mark. Although it’s really not that old and hasn’t shown signs of giving up, I don’t have any illusions about keeping it forever. The newer generation of family sedans have really caught my eye, literally and figuratively. The obvious solution was to drive some, and see if I was missing much – so that’s exactly what I did. A 2013 Ford Fusion SE with the 1.6 EcoBoost was my primary interest, with the 2013 Honda Accord LX being tested immediately afterwards for comparison purposes.
When Honda introduced the new 2013 Accord, it quietly introduced a luxury technology to mainstream car buyers. That technology is called Adaptive Cruise Control, and the 2013 is the first time that a bread-and-butter family sedan will offer this technology. However, don’t go looking on Honda’s website for any information on Adaptive Cruise Control, because they barely even mention it or what it does, and they won’t even offer it in Canada. Essentially, the driver can set cruise control at a particular speed – let’s say 70MPH. Sensors (usually radar or laser) on the front of the car then looks for any obstructions, like slower moving vehicle. The sensor automatically communicates with the drivetrain to slow down if necessary, then speed back up when the driver changes lanes. Why wouldn’t a carmaker promote this technology if they’re the only ones to have it in a particular segment – especially in the hotly contested, low profit segment that the Accord competes in?
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.
One of the first things that car owners ignore when gas prices start to climb are maintenance items that they don’t often hear about. Besides for oil and brakes, what else is there to do on a car that still runs great, right? Well, here is a little wake-up call for car owners of all kinds: the brake fluid and power steering fluid in your car is totally filthy, and if you don’t change them, they could cost you thousands down the road. I have no idea how this even happens, considering that the brake and power steering systems should be sealed with limited moving parts, so there shouldn’t be a whole ton of wear. But, if you still are not a believer, take a look after the jump to see exactly what I found in my all-highway-miles 2007 Accord.
Honda engineers have been working overtime lately as a punishment for slacking off in the last few years. Lackluster reviews of the new 2012 Honda Civic brought them a much deserved black eye. The entire bash-fest was capped off by Consumer Reports pulling the Recommended rating from the Civic, due to it no longer keeping pace with the segment leaders. Yet, as recently as August 2012, the new Civic was selling like hot cakes, with 60% more sold year-to-date than the hot Hyundai Elantra. How bad could the car really be? Could they really fool that many consumers? There was only one way to find out – get behind the wheel of a 2012 EX-L Coupe with the 5-speed auto.
Another year passes as the world carries on, forgetting about that fateful day in 2001 when thousands lost their lives and the United States was changed forever. As folks in The Big Apple and other cities in the USA hustle to make money and progress, it’s good to know that someone in the heartland still remembers and honors the people who died that day. We’re talking about John Holmgren of Shafer, MN, who put together the beautiful Rolling Memorial you see above. One day, while listening to the radio, Darryl Worley’s “Have You Forgotten?” came on. The song urges the listener to remember what they felt on 9/11, and how we vowed to stand up and bring justice to those who perpetrated these attacks. John Holgren thought, “wouldn’t it be cool to do a 9/11 truck?” The rest is history. The name of every person who died in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 is present on the truck, along with a mural of the World Trade Center towers and the Statue of Liberty.
John and his wife Amy wanted to drive the truck to Ground Zero and around the NY/DC/PA area to show the big-city folks that small-town America still cares and will always remember. We don’t know if that ever happened, but recently, Road Scholar America picked up the Rolling Memorial as a way to bring awareness to 9/11 charities. The tractor was replaced and given a facelift, and the trailer continues to carry freight around the USA. We wish John and Amy well in their travels, and salute them for spending over $40,000 of their own hard-earned money to honor those who died that day.
See more at Road Scholar Charities (there is music on the site, so you might want to turn your speakers down).
A big thank you to those who have fought and died for this great nation. We will never forget the sacrifices you’ve made.
Since the beginning of this blog, we’ve always been advocates of the Korean automakers. Regular readers may have noticed though, that our reviews seldom include Korean products. We hope to remedy that, starting with this stunning 2012 Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T. This particular example was actually purchased by a good friend who had previously owned and loved a string of Honda products. When their quality started going downhill, he started looking to other manufacturers. Did he make a good choice?
After dropping a good amount of money on maintenance and fixing up little problems, my bank account and I both were ready for a break. It was time to stop nurturing Dixie (my truck), and start enjoying the ride. Despite skyrocketing diesel prices, I threw my normally frugal nature to the wind and stretched the PowerStroke’s legs on a few road trips. The first was a mundane drive up to San Francisco for Chinese New Year. The trip revealed a lot of things on the truck that really could use improving, most of them coming from behind the cab. For one, I found that the fifth wheel hitch was really hogging way too much space. I had a 6′ 9″ bed that couldn’t haul much more than my Accord could. Adding insult to injury was the fact that the bed light was rendered useless by the tonneau cover, not that it helped much in the first place.
My dad and I are suckers for family vehicles. We love the practicality of vans and large sedans alike. For years now, I’ve begged him to buy a Civic or a Prius. Even now as an empty nester, he refuses to budge, citing the fact that these vehicles are simply too small and uncomfortable. So we both eagerly awaited the new 2012 Camry, only to be bitterly disappointed by the odd looking taillights and lackluster overall design. Similar sadness ensued when Honda released official pictures of the 2013 Accord. That’s when we decided to journey the 5 minutes over to our local Nissan dealer, hoping the Altima would do something for us. Julio Ng at Serramonte Nissan was glad to show us the demo model they had – a decently loaded 2.5SL, albeit without navigation built-in.
The complexity of modern cars is becoming a conundrum for manufacturers. Often, the factory support team sees recurring problems that are hard to diagnose but easy to fix. Dealer technicians hate this because they only get paid a fixed rate for performing a repair. Both the dealership and the technician are paid nothing by headquarters for diagnosing warranty repairs. How, then, does a corporation like Ford ensure that their warranties are being honored by their dealers, when nobody is paid to diagnose a problem?