Author - John Kucek

Rearview Mirror: Reflections From A Once-Upon-A-Time Honda Enthusiast

 

Way, way back at the turn of the 21st century, Honda ruled the roost. At least in the eyes of myself and my cohorts, the company could do no wrong. We dreamed of the day we’d be able to call an NSX or S2000 our own, although even being able to afford the various baubles and bolt-ons from Japan we all yearned for seemed like a distant dream at the time.

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Great expectations, part 2: 2012 Ford Focus SE Sedan

Ford’s been on a crusade lately to win the hearts and minds of the small car buyer with its new Focus, and so far it seems to be working. The Focus has risen to the top of the heap in most comparison test results for its ability to blend functionality and driving dynamics. But how does it match up to its competitors when the two biggest industry buzzwords – fuel economy – are dropped? In search of the almighty MPG, we decided to borrow a 2012 Focus SE sedan for some driving impressions.

 

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Great expectations, part 1: 2011 Hyundai Elantra GLS

Hyundai’s made good on a slew of promises over the past few years, from improving the build quality of its products to releasing more interesting, appealing and competitive vehicles. But last year, the company set perhaps its most audacious goal yet: hit a Corporate Average Fuel Economy rating of 50 mpg across its entire range by 2025. Hyundai has already made strides in improving the fuel consumption of its vehicles in recent years. Cars like the redesigned 2011 Elantra, which is rated at 29 mpg city and 40 highway, play an important role in helping the company meet its lofty goals. It’s also helping Hyundai build a lot of brand cache, whose ads are already touting the four models they build that achieve 40 mpg highway.

 

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SSL on the road: 2011 Mustang GT Coupe

It was just outside Route 411’s ‘Last Chance Beer & Fireworks’ at the Tennessee border that the Mustang I was driving nearly died on me. Not in the literal sense, mind you. Internet-fueled worries aside, the Getrag gearbox on this particular example did not lunch itself. The failure my car experienced was more of the existential variety, and it came to a head while cruising the byways of one of small-town America’s last great hamlets.

Any car enthusiast worth their salt knows all the particulars of the newest Mustang GT by now. A 4951 cc, 412 horsepower DOHC brute under the hood, 0-60 in 4.something and a $30 grand base. Among the best performance buys of the decade, and all that jazz. Some reviews have even suggested an almost Germanic quality that places it in the rarefied air of other 4-seaters costing nearly twice as much. But that’s a bunch of BS. Because more than anything, today’s Mustang GT is still every bit the American muscle car. And it’s also probably the last.

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