Monday, November 26, 2012

There, all caught up!

From now on It will be a weekend Review post, and hopefully a weekly "column" of this or that I've been thinking about while driving all these cars.


Week of November 19th


  • 2001 Honda Ridgeline: Stunning execution, I thought I would hate this thing.  Feels lower than it actually is, drives great, and why is this engine not in everything?
  • 2007 Honda Fit 5spd: Great little car. Good steering feel. Drives just like it does in Gran Turismo 5, SO FUN, and HUGE storage area.
  • 2002 Ford Ranger: It's like the little Donkey of trucks. 


  • 2009 Nissan Murano: This would be a fantastic minivan.


  • 1998 BMW 528i: Pure Driving Joy! This E39 generation of the 5 series is probably the near perfect sedan. You miss none of the added gadgets BMW puts in their cars now when you drive this!
  • 2006 Lexus RX 400h: Good electric power boost. As usual, hybrid batteries balance the car out fantastic.
  • 2008 Toyota FJ-Cruser (modified):WOW, lift kit and crazy big tires just make this MORE fun!


Gobble-Gobble Yo.

Week of November 12th


  • 2012 Subaru Legacy: Great center of gravity feel, good turn in, new boxer engine is fantastically smooth. The interior however should decide if it wants to be luxury or sporty.
  • 2010 Nissan Rouge S Krōm: Yes Krōm, I dono...Great drivetrain and steering, but it's clear you can cut the most corners in the CUV "we swear it's not a minivan" segment. But nice use of NON soft-touch plastic.
  • 2013 Mercedes-Benz ML350: Beautiful interior, miserably top heavy coupled with numb over-boosted steering. If you have no idea what a parking brake is, this may be the CUV for you.
  • 2004 Chevy Silverado: Just like a TrailBlazer with a light rear end.


  • 2001 Chevy Silverado 1500: It's a truck.


  • 2000 Pontiac Firebird V6: T-TOPS! Flip Up Head Lights! Retracting Antenna! Fuels your inner mullet! Great blast from the past!
Business in the front, Party in the back!

  • 2002 Saturn L200: Spartan but not chintzy, nicer than a Chevy but not crappy.
  • 2002 Saturn SL2: Low, Low car, feels like they were shooting to copy the Honda Civic, they sorta missed.


  • 2007 Cadillac CTS:  Tight and Responsive. Interior is a bit low rent compared to a German premium, but Nice!
  • 2006 Lexus IS 250: Feels like its in the CTS category, but not the 3 Series. Hard surfaces in uncomfortable places. 

Week of November 5th


  • 2002 Ford Explorer: This is really the Big Mac of vehicles. Nothing offensive, nothing interesting.
  • 2004 Lexus RX330: Not so hot, more sort of a Toyota+
  • 2010 Lexus RX350: Much nicer than the 04, interior is way better, as is the gearing.
  • 2003 Dodge Ram 2500HD SLT 4x4: BIG TRUCK!
  • 2002 Ford Taurus SES: The Airbag cover and steering wheel are one piece, meaning when the airbag goes off the whole steering wheel must be replaced. Reprehensible.


  • 2007 Nissan 350Z: Comfortanble even for long trips like the one this went on over 200 miles. Great engine response!
  • 2004 BMW 760i Sport: The bones of this car are amazing! Smooth V-12, Tight Sport suspension, but the interior and trim seems to be very sensitive to abusive owners.
Power like getting a shove by the hand of god.


  • 2008 Porsche Cyanne Turbo: Gobs of power, but why not just get the Touareg?
  • 2006 BMW M6 Convertable: I think it's MORE fun as a convertable! BIG OPEN AIR POWER!


  • 2000 Lexus RX300: Nice for 2000, didn't age very well.
  • 2005 BMW 545i Sport: This really does drive better than a non-sport 545. Good tight turn in, Firmer ride.


  • 2004 Toyota Corolla S: Well built, but not powerful enough to deserve an "S".
  • 2004 Ford Escape Limited: Nice unibody CUV, not as "delicate" as the japanese CUVs.
  • 2000 Volvo S80: Big and solid, Swedish cars have a very common feel. Just Solid.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Week of October 29th


  • 2004 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 SLT HD: Great power and HUGE towing Brakes!
  • 2004 Ford Taurus SE: BLAH?
  • 2003 Acura MDX: This is a LUXURY SUV?
  • 2005 Chevy Impala: It doesn't even have a DOME LIGHT!?


  • 2004 Volkswagen Jetta: Like putting on a well worn pair of boots. The MkIV aged real well, except for that "soft touch" plastic. That stuff should be banned.
  • 2005 Mitsubishi Endeavor: CUV, it sits like a chair, rides like a box.
  • 1979 Honda Trail 90: It's like a scooter meets a mountain goat. Can't wait to ride it to work in the spring. 100 MPG!
It does however need a bit of work to be road legal again.


  • 2005 Subaru Baja: Feels lighter and more responsivethan the Outback. I want this turbo engine in my Outback. "Metal" trim instead of "wood" so you know it's "tougher".
  • 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse SE: Too much form over function. Like an "idea" of the old Eclipse, but only visually. Quick initial turn in, but then washes out, back end does nothing, it's just allong for the ride.
  • 2007 Nissan 350Z: Very track oriented car. Stiff and well planted; good power anywhere in the rev range.
It's like a car version of Mega Man.
  • 2005 Ford Explorer XLT 4x4: Meh...


  • 2006 Saturn Ion: Tight, much more euro than the old Saturns.
  • 2005 Ford Explorer: Bleh, so middle of the road. When it's not flipping off it.
  • 2011 Volvo C70 T5: Incredibly solid for a hard top convertible. Good power and good auto transmission
  • 2009 Volkswagen CC: Too tiny inside. Ok Headroom, but the door entry is way too low, I hit my head EVERY TIME.

Week of October 22nd


  • 2005 Chevy Monte Carlo LT: Overall Ok ride, but every sense says late 90's car, not 2005.
  • 2005 Cadillac SRX: It's ok for a tall wagon CUV, but a CTS Wagon would do as good a job or better.
  • 2006 Lexus GX470: The 4-Runner is the perfect covered light truck, But this one needs new rear shocks.
  • 2002 Honda Accord EX 4dr. Comfortable and nice, but steering is way too light.


  • 2003 Honda Accord V6: This drives GREAT! Smooth competent power, V6 Steering feels really good!
  • 2002 BMW X5 3.0i: Too tall, too upright.
  • 2010 Ford Explorer Sport Trac Limited: I really kinda like Sync. Truck is Ok, but CG is in a weird spot, somewhere midway between an SUVs and a crew cab pickup.
  • 2010 Subaru Impreza WRX STi: Good low CG, but feels bigger and less powerful than the EvoX by a significant margin. Nicer interior though.
Evo wins this round.


  • 2007 Hummer H3: Surprisingly it does ride different than a TrailBlazer. Like riding in a TONKA TRUCK, but visibility is pillbox poor.


  • 2007 Acura RDX Turbo: Great pickup, fun turbo noise, comfortable and responsive, great primary and secondary controls. Bit too darty on the freeway, not much on center feel.
  • 2010 Lexus GX460: Man I love Toyota Trucks. Fantastic new interior, but I'd rather this truck Un-Luxed and ready for the dirt.
  • 2008 Ford Mustang V6: GREAT! Very American car. Drives like my old 90's T-bird did. Perfect for the beautiful sunny warm day!
  • 2009 Cadillac Escalade ESV: 4 Gallons doesn't even make the gas gauge move!
  • 2004 Saab 9-3 Turbo 2.0: Fun Driving, very European feel for a "GM".


  • 2003 Ford Windstar: You can defiantly feel it is biased around the Taurus.
  • 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab: Big Truck.
  • 2012 Ford Focus SE: Fantastic total execution! Great Power, great maneuverability, Fantastic!

Week of October 15th


  • 2008 Acura MDX: Why is this car so tall?
  • 2010 Lexus RX350: Why is this truck so cushy inside?
  • 2010 Nissan Versa 4dr.: Great "Zippy" car. Good Feel. Great throttle and steering.


  • 2002 Buick LeSabre Limited: Still just a cool highway mile eater.
  • 2004 Ford Escape 4x4: Feels light and responsive. Very well sorted. Much less top heavy feeling than the CR-V or RAV4.
  • 2010 Cadillac Escalade: Exhaust not as awesome in this one, the other one must have been aftermarket.
  • 2009 Lexus RX350: Still a truck in a dress.


  • 2005 BMW X3 2.5i: The most BMW of the BMW trucks. No Cruse Control standard in 2005!?
  • 2006 Chevy Equinox: This could have been a really nice wagon in another life.
Hey look at that, the call offs have started, No worries, I'll just pay my mortgage with good intentions and fairy dust.

24 Hours of LeMons American Irony 2012

When I'm not driving to pay the bills, I spend my money driving.
Hooked up with my Pi-Nuts team mates and rolled out to the Autobahn Country Club just south of Chicago.
Cheatonium detectors.
  • 1994 Infinity J30: Fitted with a Nissan 300ZX manual transmission, and with no interior the car is light and responsive, although it's a touch tail happy. 
Enjoy the sun while it lasts, the weather only goes down hill from here.

Who Needs a Steering wheel when you have purple pedals and a cheaty shifter?
I invented a new sandwich while I was at the track: 
Start with a hamburger patty covered in cheese and bacon, place between two Brown Sugar Pop-Tarts. 
I call it the Heart-Popper.
LeMons, like all good things men do, involves lots of saturated fat.
The car ran well the whole weekend and in spite of the high winds, torrential rain, and Cold, A good time was had by all.
See it does actually roll
In the end we ended up in 44th place in a field of 102 cars. We did 289 laps over the weekend and used more 93 unleaded than you want to think about.
Also Mud, did I mention Mud?
You can watch as our ringer lays down some of the fastest laps of the weekend in the slop. 

Week of October 8th


  • 2008 Toyota Prius: Uncomfortable seating position, Space ship interior, Poor rear visibility. Battery gives great balance though.
  • 1997 Ford F-150 Laredo: Good Comfortable seat, Newer generation however is better overall.
  • 2003 Chevy Trailblazer: Basic SUV Truck.
  • 2006 Saturn VUE V6: Why isn't this just a trim level of the Equinox?


  • 2004 Chevy Colorado Z-74 4x4: Seats are too wide, and that's coming from a Fat Guy!
  • 2004 Pontiac Gran Prix GT: Why did they kill Pontiac? It just feels better and is more enjoyable inside than a Chevy.
  • 2004 Volkswagen: Touareg V8: Smooth ride. Rides smaller than it actually is.

Off work to go to the Races!

Yes that is a racecar made to look like Mr. T's head.

Week of October 1st


  • 2008 Ford Taurus SEL: Overall great car, great engine, but why does it have an SUV sitting position?
  • 2005 Honda Element: HUGE INSIDE! Good ride. Better than the CR-V!
  • 2007 Toyota Highlander: Good solid SUV without trying to be a "Truck".
  • 2002 BMW 330Xi: the E46 is the perfect BMW. Great even at 100,000 miles!
  • 2006 Cadillac CTS: Soft ride, but defiantly a Cadillac.


  • 2002 Toyota Hilux 4dr. SE5: Fantastic near the floor seating position. Comfortable for 200 Miles! Smooth and stable.


  • 2006 Chevy Impala LTZ: Poor design, piss poor build quality, wont keep a lane. OK design and build ethic for a small pickup truck, NOT for a family sedan at its price.
  • 2006 Chevy Cobalt: Great economy car. Seems like it was built with the same budget as the Impala. Good for something in the economy car segment, not so much for something the size of the Impala.
  • 2005 Ford F-150 4x4 Crew Cab: Essential Truck, but trying to be too big.


  • 1998 Ford Taurus V6: It's old, but it's not bad.
  • 2003 Chevy TrailBlazer: truck.
Something seem ODD to you?

  • 2006 Ford Fivehundred AWD: A pretty nice car ruined by a terrible seating position.
  • 2007 Chevy Malibu LS: It's a car. No frills, no panache, but it's a car and it's good at being a car.


  • 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer EvoX SE: Long trip out to Butler, PA. Totally worth the risk of a triple digit ticket. Bit thirsty at a highway mileage of 18 MPG. Truly more racecar than road car, but still comfortable driving at high speeds on regular roads.

Bye Evo! 
  • 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid: Battery gives this car great balance. Drivetrain is fantastic and smooth. Cool to go 35 MPH on just electric, but needs some kind of pedal feedback so you know when it will go into engine mode.
  • 2007 Honda Accord: This is a much better car when it's not trying to be "Sporty". Avoid the V6.

Week of September 24th


  • 2006 Pontiac G6: Interior is more enjoyable and driver oriented than the Chevy. Why did they kill Pontiac?
  • 2008 BMW 328i: Aged very well.


  • 2008 Ford F-350 Turbo Diesel: Big MotherF&*^ng truck! Like the truck version of the Dash-8. Fun to make it burp black smoke!
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta Wagon 2.5S: Love me some Wagon. Light steering though.
  • 2005 Mercedes-Benz ML350: More minivan than "SUV". Long unpleasant brake throw. Not Impressive.


  • 2008 Pontiac G6 V6: I could recommend this over a bone stock 328i, but bad MPG!
  • 2007 Toyota Camry: Can you say bland?
  • 2007 Infinity G35X: Excellent fit and finish, comfortable, powerfull, great balance, Just loose the silly clock.


  • 2001 Chevy Impala LS V6: It has a wing on it from the factory. "Sporty" HAH!
  • 2001 BMW 740iL: Still a great engine, but does not take well to owner abuse.
  • 2004 Nissan Xtera: GREAT! Japanese light trucks ROCK!


  • 2003 Chevy S-10: Beautifully utilitarian, but low on power.
  • 2009 Land Rover Range Rover Sport: So big and cushy , But is it an off-road vehicle or what?
  • 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer EvoX SE: F-ing WOW!! It may be boy racer crude, but it has stunning sharp turn in. More race car than street car!
With Double Clutch Gearbox too!

Week of September 17th


  • 2007 Buick LaCrosse: Senility, your car is ready.
  • 2001 Ford Ranger 4x2: Truck version of the Escort.
  • 2004 Nissan Altima 2.5S: Steering a bit light, starting to really like Nissans.
  • 2002 Buick Lucern: *See LaCrosse*
  • 2011 BMW X6 5.0 Twin Turbo: So much power, so much WHY?


  • 2000 Nissan Quest GXE: Great interior styling, excelent power and feel.
  • 2007 Cadillac Escalade: Still love its sound; I want one for towing racers.
  • 2011 Chevy Colorado Z-71 4x4: Sloppy and Meh, the Ranger feels better.
  • 2000 Chevy Impala: Not even an appliance, more a utensil.


  • 2001 Mazda MPV: Kinda fun and engaging for a minivan!


  • 2011 Hyundai Elantra Touring: Just like my old 2002 Golf. Good Stuff for the money!


  • 2008 BMW X5 3.0: Tall and Trucky. ie. not great.
  • 2007 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SE: Tight and responsive, but feels like it's 9/10th full size. I don't fit in it!
  • 2010 Ford Mustang V6: Great Ride. I could have really liked this, but I'm happy with what I cross shopped.
So begins the skinny days. Folks buy some used cars!

Week of September 10th


  • 2001 Toyota Camry LE: Bland, but not sloppy.
  • 2006 Buick Terraza: Lower rent Minivan, Blah....
  • 2009 BMW X6 5.0 Twin-Turbo: POWAH!!!! I still don't get it though?
  • Mercedes-Benz C240: Very Meh...may as well get a Camry.


  • 2006 Acura TSX: Tight, Responsive, Low drivetrain inertia. Like, but TINY.
  • 2004 AUDI A4 Quattro 1.8T: Great drive. I really like the solid 'CLICK' of the buttons.
  • 2006 Lincoln Mark LT: WHY? Total Shit for it's price.


  • 2005 Chevy Equinox: I suppose it is at least unoffensive, but competent.
  • 2007 Cadillac Escalade: Intoxicating Exhaust sound. The Perfect long haul towing machine. Everything I hated about the Lincoln Mark LT I love in this.
  • 2010 Lexus RX350: Toyota makes an Ok unibody truck. So save your money.


  • 2001 Nissan Altima SE: Great turn in, good dynamics. Mazda isn't the only game in town it seems.
  • 2004 Volvo V40 Wagon: Built like one big machined piece of billet steel! Solid, positive feel, super stiff and confident brakes. -LOVE-
  • 2009 Lexus ES350: Still just an Avalon with a nicer interior.
  • 2003 Chevy Avalanche: Great tow vehicle for the price, But THIRSTY!


  • 2009 BMW 328i: Freude am Fahren!
  • 2011 Ford Ranger Sport 4x4: Good light truck.
  • 2008 Honda Accord 4dr: Better than Toyota, but still kinda dull.

Week of September 4th


  • 2010 Chevy Silverado: Bone Stock, True TRUCK.
  • 2009 Chrysler Town & Country Touring: This is a perfect Road Trip vehicle. DVD's Captain chairs, the works.
  • 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Crap. Floppy Tall Rubbish.


  • 2006 Cadillac SRX: Chevy in a cheap dress.
  • 200x Mazda CX-9: Mazda is #1 in price/value. Well made.
  • 2009 Volkswagen Rabbit: Perfect evolution from the Mk. IV Golf I used to own, but lots more power.
  • 2004 Ford Ranger XLT: Nice, but a bit small. Bonus for being a manual transmission!


  • 2008 GMC Acadia: Overwrought, wannabe Cadillac beast.


  • 2005 GMC Sierra 2500HD SLE: Tow MONSTER! Want!
  • 2008 Chevy Equinox: Still think they should have made a wagon instead.
  • 2001 Pontiac Sunfire: Butt Turrible seat, LeMony good chassis though!
  • 2003 Chevy Impala: A pull out light switch in 2003? To call it Vanilla would be too kind.

Week of August 27th


  • 2002 Ford Escort SE: Still like the old Escort.
  • 2004 Ford Explorer XLS: Can't decide if it should be a truck.


  • 2007 Volkswagen Passat Wagon: Nice but the new transverse engine layout still is noticeable.
  • 2008 Kia Spectra: Good ride, not sporty but not rough either.


  • 2009 Lexus ES350: Toyota Avalon with a nicer interior.
  • 2001 Honda Civic LX Coupe: Tight and Fun.
  • 2004 Cadillac SRX: Utter crap. Not luxurious, and not worth the money.
  • 2005 Hyundai Tucson: I don't even remember it, CUV's are that dull.
  • 2005 Chevy Equinox: Competent but seat is too high, why isn't it just a wagon?


  • 2008 Nissan Sentra SL: Strong Pull, good turn in dynamics.
  • 2006 Toyota Highlander V6 4WD: Fantastic execution of a unibody SUV.
  • 2011 Kia Soul: Good head room, but a bit gutless. Rather a Spectra.
  • 2004 Dodge Stratus SXT 2dr: Poor Gearing, but it's nice and low.
  • 2002 Buick LeSabre Limited: Lux everything, even a GM HUD! Feels a bit old for an '02, but nice on the highway. 
  • 200x Mini Cooper S Turbo: Pure tiny car FUN!
This was my first week at the job, I was still working out format and how much I wanted to say. Also found a cache of Hearing Aid batteries in the '02 LeSabre. Really says it all for Buick.

Beginning at the Beginning

So I got a job with an auto wholesaler this summer as a pickup/delivery driver. I decided then to log all of my runs with my impressions of the used cars I got to drive sometimes upwards of 200 miles at a time (and sometimes less than a block.)

I'd just like to re-iterate, I get paid to drive random cars around all day. I'm a former Airline Pilot and still this is the coolest job I have ever had!

Some words of warning:

  • I will not tell you where I work. They asked that I don't let on right now, insecurity thy name is car sales.
  • I will not tell you how much a car sold for. Wholesale prices don't reflect the total costs involved and you'd just get pissy when you tried to get that price on a comparable car.
  • I will not tell you where I picked up cars from, or where I dropped them off. If you see a car you like in a recent review, search some used car sites and perhaps you'll find the car I drove. 
  • I LOATHE CUV's, don't expect to see much love for those unibody AWD wannabees and minivans in disguise. (crossover wagons however are sweet.)

I have a bunch of backlog to truck through so hopefully we'll get up to speed soon. Bear with me and enjoy the ravings of a minimum wage lunatic who's actually in love with his job.

Also I have a B.S. in Aeronautics, NOT a B.A. in English. So you know, be glad most of the words I use are even in a dictionary somewhere.