New Car Review: 2012 BMW 328i

White BMW 328i 3/4 view parked in country setting
The 2012 BMW 328i.

Automotive history is littered with small cars that packed on the inches and pounds until they were no longer small. In a sense, it's already happened with the 3-Series BMW, or else we wouldn't have had a 1-Series going on five years now.

So further enlargement of the 3 in its latest generation might not seem like such a good thing on paper. But this is not The Ultimate Reading Machine. So we drive.


TireKicker Time Machine: 1986-1992 Volvo 240 GL

Blue 1986-1992 Volvo 240 GL sitting in parking lot after rainstorm
The 1986-1992 Volvo 240 GL.
Boxy, slow and Spartan.

Still, I (almost) kick myself for not having bought one new and I'd love to find a solid one for the right price today...but the Volvo 240 is finally approaching an age where the true survivors are becoming few in number.


New Car Review: 2013 Kia Sorento

Front 3/4 view of dark grey Kia Sorento parked
The 2013 Kia Sorento.

Meet the all-American midsize crossover.

Yep, it's a Kia.

I'll spare you all the roaring up in the rearview mirror analogies that seem so unavoidable when writing about Kia's huge and so far unfailing strides from punch line to today's version of what Honda was in the 80s. Short version is this is now and so is the Kia Sorento. It's a right-sized crossover SUV, made in America for Americans and it hits the bulls-eye dead center.


TireKicker Time Machine: The Half-Million Mile Acura Retires (Sort Of)

1994 Acura Legend odometer reading 514,200 miles
Most recent odometer reading of Tyson Hugie's 1994 Acura Legend 6-speed Coupe.

Last August, we did a piece on Tyson Hugie, a young man whose virtually flawless 1994 Acura Legend 6-speed Coupe was nearing the half-million mile mark on the odometer.

Well, as you can see, he and it got there...but there's more to the story...including a well-deserved rest for the 18-year old big Coupe...and a new Acura in Tyson's life.

Acura hands Tyson the keys to a new ILX.

Acura, thrilled with the publicity from Tyson's 500,000 mile Legend, has rewarded him with the use of a new 2013 Acura ILX for the next year, after which it's his (he'll be responsible for the tax implications).  It's an arrangement that lets Tyson rack up the miles in a way no press fleet vehicle would be allowed, and he's already making the most of it. You can follow along on his blog.


New Car Review: 2012 Mini John Cooper Works Cooper Coupe

Front 3/4 view of blue 2012 Mini John Cooper Works Cooper Coupe with silver top parked in country setting
The 2012 Mini John Cooper Works Cooper Coupe.

What do you do when you're a decade or so along selling a not terribly practical (as in daily use by a family of four) car?

Well, after making some more practical variants (Clubman, Countryman), you can always make one that's even less practical. Of course, it helps if it's also even more fun than the original. And any time you see the name "John Cooper Works" attached to a Mini, you know the fun quotient has been attended to.

Rear view of blue 2012 Mini John Cooper Works Cooper Coupe with silver top in country setting
Rear view of the 2012 Mini John Cooper Works Cooper Coupe.
The Cooper Coupe dispenses with the back seat, giving the Mini a trunk instead of a hatch, a seriously racy roofline, and an ability to start conversations in parking lots. Even though you can get a Cooper Coupe three different ways (base, S and John Cooper Works), they're still rare enough that most people think you've had your Mini customized.


News: Click and Clack to Retire: 25 and Done for Car Talk

Tom and Ray Magliozzi of NPR's Car Talk appear to be singing
With apologies to Spanky and Our Gang, Saturday will never be the same.
Tom and Ray Magliozzi, aka Click and Clack, The Tappet Brothers, are ceasing production of new episodes of NPR's Car Talk at the end of September.

As both a car guy and a former radio guy, I can tell you...Car Talk was the best of both, while pretending to be the worst (part of the charm). Damn, I'm gonna miss this. The show goes on with material culled from 25 years of archives, but that's gonna get old in about...26 years.

Read the full NPR statement.