Petersen Museum: Automotive History Galore


The drab grey building housing the Petersen Museum in downtown Los Angeles isn’t very inviting, but once you get inside, you’ll be treated to a wide number of exhibits ranging from the earliest automobiles to futuristic concepts. I was lucky enough to go through a limited time tour of the Vault, a special collection of cars that are not typically on exhibit. The tours were supposed to end January 6th, but they’ve been extended to the end of January. If you’re looking for a family friendly outing this weekend, be sure to check it out! Follow the jump more info and some photos.

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Long-Term Test: 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX STi Sedan Introduction – Scooby-Blu, Where Are You?


This is the first post in a series of articles on the search and long-term ownership of a 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX STi Sedan.

Like that of many teenage boys, my (realistic) dream car of choice in high school was the Evo. The first time I laid eyes one in the flesh, I knew I had to own one. The Evo VIII’s vented hood, rocket ship performance, and trademark giant rear wing checked all the right boxes. Countless hours of my youth were spent/wasted lapping the Nurburgring and Laguna Seca with the Evo in Gran Turismo 3/4/5. So now, ten years later, why am I looking for an STi?

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How to decorate a man cave

Blow a motor? Reuse as a coffee table

Most men aren’t excited by interior design. But that’s all going to change after you see some of the crazy gearhead-approved decorations in this post. Follow the jump to see a collection of awesome and kooky home improvements that’ll leave any car nut drooling.

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Long-Term Update: 2012 Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T


Our buddy has been keeping the long term Sonata busy in the last 4 months. Since our last update, the car has received tinted windows to make the harsh desert sun more bearable. The only other shop time to report in the 5000 mostly commuter miles is a fresh oil change.  One thing our engineer friend noted was that not all Hyundai dealers are aware of the turbo engine’s maintenance requirements.  Some forum posts said dealers were using 5W-20 (Hyundai recommends 5W-40 for best performance, but 5W-30 is also noted as acceptable), others weren’t aware of the proper oil change interval.

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What’s the safest new car for 2013?


Car safety has come a long way since Henry Ford’s first mass market Model T. Thanks to crumple zones, 3 point seat belts, cabins filled with inflatable air bags, and dozens of forgettably named electronic nannies, most new cars are safer than your grandfather’s 19′ long Cadillac. But to keep car companies on their toes, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety released a new crash test. Even luxury models that previously had perfect crash scores like the Audi A4 pictured above failed this new test. The results may surprise you, follow the jump to see 2013 models with perfect scores.

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Obscure Maintenance: Spare Tires

Donut spares, like this one from my Accord, aren't reliable over long distances or in adverse weather

Spare tires are such a critical item, especially during road trip season, that it’s a wonder nobody ever talks about them.  Occasionally, a mechanic might ask you to replace a PCV valve, but I’ve never known even the best mechanic or car enthusiast to check the spare tire in a vehicle.  If you care about getting to your final destination in one piece, regardless of what vehicle you drive, you should read and understand this article carefully.

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Caveat Emptor: Vetting MPG claims


When BMW got caught, nobody thought anything of it.  When Hyundai was nailed, people really snapped to attention, mostly because it was on a much larger scale.  Now, Ford is facing the same issue: all three manufacturers have been or are being investigated by the EPA for inflated fuel economy claims.  The core of the problem is that the EPA’s National Vehicle Fuel Economy Laboratory is underfunded.  Low resources means that only 10-15% of fuel economy claims are rated or checked by the EPA itself.  The other 85-90% of vehicle fuel economy ratings are provided by the manufacturer on an honor system.  But lab testing is a touchy subject – even small variations can lead to huge discrepancies.  Hyundai claims a small difference in their test procedure caused their issues, but BMW has stuck by their numbers and will likely appeal for the 2014 model year (laws do not allow them to protest the ruling for the 2013 model).  So how can consumers assure themselves that they are going to get the mileage they expect?

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Review: 2011 Nissan Sentra SR


My family has been a Nissan family for a long time. At the end of high school, my parents bought a base late model 2003 Nissan Sentra. An automatic transmission was the only option they added (Mom refused to drive stick). Feel hot? Crank your own damn windows. Before the Sentra, our family ran a 1997 Nissan Quest GXE purchased at a police auction. The hood had a big notch in it where someone had tried to pry it open with a crowbar. Dad had no love for these machines. Maintenance included oil changes every 5,000 miles, and “car washes” whenever it rained.  His goal was to provide point to point transportation at minimal cost and attention. The Quest felt so unloved that it finally decided to commit suicide by spilling oil and warped metal shards all over the street. I didn’t cry over the Quest, but I had many good memories associated with it. It’s probably the source of my minivan love. The Sentra is still doing well mechanically, but if that car had a soul, it’d be a tormented one. Unlike the Quest, the Sentra didn’t even have good memories to redeem itself. I hated it, and projected that hatred on all future models of the Nissan lineup. It was an anti-halo car: Drive one, and you’d never want another Nissan. When Zipcar added a 2011 Sentra SR to my parking lot, I wanted to see if my memory was remembering things worse than they had been.

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2013 Hot Hatch Renaissance: Veloster, Fiesta, Fiat 500 Abarth, Sonic RS


Back when I was in high school, a hot hatch meant one of three used cars: MKIII VW GTI, Honda Civic Si, or if you’re really lucky, an Acura Integra GS-R. Mix one part fun, one part practicality, and two parts affordability. Voila! That’s a hot hatch. While the price of entry keeps going up with each generation, the basic formula is still intact. Follow the jump for a peek of the hot hatch contenders of 2013.

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