New Vehicle Reviews
Station wagons are suddenly hip again (or at least car manufacturers think so). They're a sensible alternative to thirsty crossover and sport utility vehicles. Plus, vehicles like the Acura TSX Wagon are the right size for the nuclear family.
Some companies, like Toyota, are trying to position minivans as the vehicle of choice, even calling the family haulers like the Sienna a "swagger wagon" in the hopes of appealing to younger buyers and latching onto that station wagon vibe.
It took all of two minutes for the 2011 Volvo S60 to grow on me. Hopping on the highway, I was impressed by the quick acceleration offered by the standard 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine that delivers 300 horsepower and 325 lb.-ft. of torque. According to published reports, it can hit 0-60 in six seconds, which is more than fast enough in real world driving situations.
That’s thanks to a raked, understated B-pillar that blends into the interior from many angles. Then there’s the clean lines, side vents, wheels that appear to be spoked, the sexy, slanted eyes with LED lashes and the toothy, vaguely menacing smile.
Inside the 2011 Aston Martin Rapide it’s just as beautiful as it is comfortable – blue haze and cream truffle leather with contrasting stitching. Wood accents and seats that cradle you snugly as you anticipate launching this V12 rocketship.
A funny thing about industrial or technological ages is they usually begin well before we notice. It was on January 29, 1886 when Carl Benz filed for a patent on his three-wheeled combustion engine motorcar. At the same time Gottlieb Daimler was creating the first four-wheeled automobile fueled with petrol.
Today we recognize those efforts as the dawn of the Age of the Combustion Engine Auto, but actually at that time electric motorcars were somewhat more common.
Electric cars had been around since the 1830’s and remarkably ran initially on non-rechargeable electric cells.
The Lexus IS350 has two much needed improvements for 2011: a redesigned exterior and, just in time for a horrific New England winter I have been experiencing, optional all-wheel drive.
This past summer I had the opportunity to drive the 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI at its press introduction in Aspen, Colo. It was fun playing with the impossibly fast and well-handling sports sedan in the summer playground that is Aspen.
At the time, part of me really wished I could flog this car through a heavy snowstorm. After all, the beauty of this car is it’s a Subaru. It’s meant to be driven through all kinds of inclement weather with nary a concern.
Rather, consider near-green technology that uses natural gas.
Toyota (NYSE: TM) has been trading above its 50-day moving average since early November, but in a sideways channel. The weekly chart shows a breakout movement from late October that’s still in place. However, it’s the monthly chart that goes back to 2009, when the industry unraveled, that tells the overall story.
Ask any investor who believes in technical analysis. Stocks that breakout to the upside or to the downside need to be accompanied by high volume. GM has yet to exceed any of the post-IPO high volume days, even on the breakout of December 30. At best, the GM stock price on Jan. 3 made a new high, with volume of 32 million shares registering #4 on the volume hit parade.
Good news is, peace has been restored between GM and the Montana mining company that provides precious metals for emission-reducing catalytic converters.