11.30.2018

Good Companies Doing Good: The Turn 5 Scholarship Winners

Turn 5 Logo

One of the proudest associations we have here at TireKicker is with Turn5.  That name may not ring a bell, but Turn5 owns American Muscle and Extreme Terrain, which have been advertisers on TireKicker since 2012 and American Trucks, which joined the party at the beginning of this year.

Advertising on TireKicker doesn't buy a company editorial coverage, but Turn5 does a lot of good.  We've told you about their Positive Payload Program, which gives money to charities that use American pickups in their service to the community twice a year.  

The news this time around is a twice-yearly scholarship program---actually, three scholarship programs---one each for American Muscle, Extreme Terrain and American Trucks. 

American Muscle's scholarship is an essay-based program.  Entrants write about how they plan to use their automotive education to drive change in the custom car industry.  Four winners are selected, two per semester. The scholarship is $2,000 each.  It's been going on since 2013, with 20 winners so far---the two newest just this month---Jade Perreira of the University of Hawaii and Sheikh Ahamed of Iowa State University's PhD Mechanical Engineering program.

American Trucks started its own scholarship program last year, focusing on students striving to contribute to the construction and building trades.  Each year, four winners were awarded $2,000 each and this semester's winners are Tommy Moncur of Utah Valley University and Kolby Lusk of the College of Eastern Idaho.

Extreme Terrain's program awards $3,000 once per semester.  This month's winner is Natalie Murphy of Reed College.  The money helps in the pursuit of degrees in Environmental Studies.

All told, Turn5 has awarded $88,000 in scholarships to deserving students in the past five years, beginning the year the company was founded---giving back right out of the gate.  That's not only newsworthy, it's noteworthy and admirable.  Again, we're proud of our association with Turn 5.


11.09.2018

Conversation Starter: The 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody

Rear 3/4 view of 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody
2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody.
I was in the parking lot of a motel in my wife's hometown of Ukiah.  It was the Sunday morning after a big family gathering and Mrs. TireKicker was in the room putting the finishing touches on her hair and makeup while I was loading the trunk of the 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody.  Suddenly, there was a voice.

"Ow's yer car?"---in a thick Irish brogue.

I looked to see a man, I suppose in his 50s, slender build, a bit shorter than I, walking toward me.

"Fine.  Fast.", I said.  It was early-ish and I hadn't had coffee yet.

He pointed to the five silver letters on the black panel between the taillights that read "DODGE".

"'Harry Chapin wrote a song about a Dodge, y'know.  "Learned about love in the back of a Dodge", he sang" (the song "Taxi", from 1972,  the late Chapin's first hit and perhaps his best-known after "Cat's in the Cradle", contains that lyric).

Further conversation revealed that my newfound friend was named John, that he was on his first visit to the States, just off the plane the day before after landing in San Francisco.  Given the brand's non-existent profile in Ireland, he may have thought a Dodge was a Dodge and that Harry and Sue in the song had learned about love in the back of something close to what he was examining, with great fascination, in this parking lot.

I gave him my business card, which has TireKicker's web address on it.  John, lad, if you're reading, the Dodge Harry was singing about probably looked something like this (click the link).

Still, the 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody manages to provoke cases of mistaken identity even among U.S. natives and especially car buffs.

11.08.2018

The Upside of Upsizing: The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas V6 SEL with 4Motion

Front 3/4 view of 2018 Volkswgen Atlas SEL
The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SEL.
Volkswagen, once a purveyor of a line of cars that were very different from each other (Beetle, Squareback, Hatchback, Bus, Thing and Karmann Ghia) is now doing what most manufacturers do---offering the same sausage in different lengths.  That's certainly the case in its SUVs, where the shape and styling of the Tiguan can be found in a larger size known as the Atlas.

11.07.2018

More of What Makes a Subaru a Subaru: The 2019 Subaru Ascent Limited

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Subaru Ascent
The 2019 Subaru Ascent.
Imagine being Subaru.  You pretty much started the whole smaller SUV game 40 years ago with a series of useful full-time four-wheel drive vehicles.  The problem is you've never been able to play above the midsize.  Your attempt at a larger SUV, the 2006-2014 B9 Tribeca, didn't cut it.   Not quite large enough and cursed at birth with a goofy design that took Subaru's march to a different drummer too far.

No, what you need is a bigger version of what you currently deliver in three smaller sizes, the Crosstrek, the Forester and the Outback.  And that's the 2019 Subaru Ascent.