That the Chevy Volt exists at all is something of a miracle. The project, which was announced at the Detroit Auto Show nearly four years ago and goes into production next month, has survived two CEO shakeups, major bankruptcy, and an unprecedented rescue by the Federal government. For every wave of goodwill, the Volt has endured a backlash of bile and skepticism. By now, the car has become a political football, a proxy for anger over the bailout of GM and Chrysler and a symbol of the future of the American auto industry. That's a lot of baggage for a compact car to carry. And it's a remarkable amount of baggage to accumulate before anyone even knew how the finished car would drive.
Now, after several hours and nearly 200 miles driving and riding in saleable Volts, we know how the finished product drives. And the news is very good.
Cokeley pilots the Multistrada through mountains of volcanic rock -- see the video
By Matthew CokeleyPosted 03.16.2010 at 3:02 pm 6 Comments
Motorcycles are an expensive hobby for most. Now, adventurous bargain-seeking riders can own four different bikes for the price of one. The 2010 Multistrada 1200 is infused with Ducati's major superbike technologies -- traction control, electronic suspension, and ride-by-wire throttle -- as well as many extravagant amenities such as GPS and keyless ignition, all of which result in a luxurious machine capable of flawlessly handling all manner of topography.
By Jon Alain GuzikPosted 12.08.2009 at 5:14 pm 5 Comments
With Porsche, you sometimes can't parse the new from the old. It's a company known for evolutionary design changes—sticking with tradition, making small yet significant changes where they matter. This is certainly the case with the new top-of-the-range 911, the 2010 Turbo. Its evolution can be seen most drastically not in the exterior—where each subtle redesign takes the work of professionals and Porschephiles to identify—but in the rear of the car, directly over the rear axle.
By Alison LakinPosted 11.09.2009 at 5:33 pm 8 Comments
Two years ago, when BMW first unveiled the X6, its high-performance, high-end crossover SUV, it announced a hybrid version as well. Now that hybrid has arrived, and if turning a 5,688-lb luxury SUV with a twin-turbo V-8 into a hybrid seems like a bit of a contradiction, well, the 2010 BMW ActiveHybrid X6 certainly is.
With not quite 50 horsepower at the wheels, the original Volkswagen Rabbit diesel couldn't hit 125 miles per hour from the barrel of a circus cannon. Yet here we are in the 2010 Golf TDI, outgunning the locals (at least some of them) on a stretch of autobahn near the company's Wolfsburg headquarters. Not since I found my stash of Kiss solo albums in the attic has 1978 felt so long ago.
Volkswagen's on-again-off-again production of diesels for the US in the ensuing three decades entered a new "on" phase in 2008 with the reintroduction of the Jetta TDI. This year, the company is returning the diesel Golf TDI (formerly Rabbit, formerly Golf, formerly...) to the US after a four-year absence.
If you're of the mind that consuming natural resources for anything but the basic needs of civilization – sustenance and the like – is irredeemably decadent, log off now and go aerate a compost heap or dig a well for a needy village. The Bentley Continental GT Supersports is definitely not your bag of soy.
On the other hand, if you think it possible – by way of octane-rich biofuel – to reconcile massive, brain-pan-sloshing displays of horsepower and torque with a reduction in carbon emissions while keeping a straight face, then by all means read on.
It's not every day you get to saddle up on a $15,000 watercraft with 255 horses, a top speed of 70+ mph and the world's first braking system for jet skis. It's also not every day you get to point said beast into a 30mph wind and floor it, doing zero to sixty faster than an Italian supercar while said wind has its way with your face.
Even as hype and excitement has built around what seems like a 21st century green-car revolution, pure electric cars—as in, totally zero-emission vehicles with no gas engine, no tailpipe—have been very, very far from going mainstream. And the impressive but small-batch class of current contenders won't change that.
Keep this in mind when you consider what Nissan unveiled Sunday morning at the opening ceremony for its new headquarters in Yokohama, Japan. The Leaf--a cute, slightly odd hatchback--looks poised to become the first truly mass-market electric car.
It's not easy to be a runner-up in the midsize sedan market especially, as sober-voiced commentators say, in "these economic times." Cue thunder. Inevitably, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord suck up all the market share, while the up-and-coming Chevrolet Malibu -- and the company that builds it -- steal headlines, offer discounts and win sympathy cash. What's a backfield player like Mazda supposed to do?
The latest contender in the burgeoning zero-emissions all-electric motorcycle field is here--how does it stack up against the competition?
By Matthew CokeleyPosted 07.06.2009 at 12:52 pm 6 Comments
It's shaping up to be the summer of the electric moto--in addition to Brammo's Enertia, which we drove last month, Zero Motorcycles has just begun shipping their Zero S all-electric bike. How does the latest battery-powered ride compare? We took one for a spin to find out.