Test Drive: 2017 Ford F150 Crew Cab XLT FX4 4X4

So many letters in what is ostensibly just an F150.

As noted in the Honda Ridgeline review, we’re testing a few things, and it’s been suggested to us that for a similar price to a midsize truck, or SUV, you can pretty much have a fullsize.

That’s sort of true, and sort of not.

The model we drove had an MSRP of $55,000 +/-. This is well out of our ballpark, but it was what they had on the lot – it’s a standard dealer thing, you always get to test drive the best, as people will often miraculously find features they didn’t know they couldn’t live without. And trucks are notoriously profitable on a per unit basis. That said, the sales guy was fantastic, very knowledgeable from the back seat, and extremely confident in the product he was selling (he found us an “off road” segment to play on, which was cute, even though it would have been manageable in a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria).

So, exterior first.

It’s fucking big. It just really, really is. We decided the best way not to waste the sales guys time was to go straight home, and make sure it fit in the driveway, lengthwise. It did, but only with a foot or two to spare.

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As equipped, I don’t know what the total length was[1] but “long” would be the fair statement. Four doors and a standard bed will do that. It’s actually a pretty good looking truck, too – I’m a big fan of the drop in the front window/sill. It breaks up what is a staggering amount of sheet metal, and gives it some character. Otherwise, yeah, it’s a big truck. The grill is massive, as is the tailgate, and the 20″ wheels look positively diminutive, with 65 series off-road M/S tires on them. It rides tall, it rides high, and you sit up on it. That said, it drives smaller than the visual clues imply.

Nice Segue, eh?

So, in traffic, it’s not bad. It’s big. There’s no getting around that. I got honked at taking the inside turn on a two-lane at a light, simply because the other driver assumed I was going to run wide. And I got awful close to doing so, but I got away with it, and didn’t clip the median. But it took work to do so. Did I mention it’s big? And that size is bound up in length, when you’re maneuvering it. It fills most of a lane, and when I say “fills” I mean it. You pay attention, or you wander out of the lane, there’s not a ton of margin for error in a standard lane.

Big.

It’s also tall – and I can see the attraction. There was pretty literally nothing that I couldn’t see over in traffic, it dwarfs most vehicles. Again, it’s not bad, but you gotta pay attention, especially with the extra ride-height for the FX4/4×4 package, and big wheels/tires. With all that said, it doesn’t wallow through corners the way I’d have expected. It’s not exactly car like, but it does a reasonable approximation of a car going around a corner, or an on-ramp at speed. In other words, you never feel like it’s going to fall over. And those on ramps? Super easy. The 2.7L twin-turbo V6 is a pretty killer little engine. A lot of guys will only buy the V8s in a truck this size, but unless you’re seriously working hard with your truck (and if you are, you’re probably moving up to the F250 or F350 anyway) you really don’t need it. The 2.7TT has gobs of torque down low, and plenty of power in the mid-range. I didn’t wring it out in the high end, but…. that’s not the kind of vehicle this is. Realistically though, this is a better engine for this truck than a V8 would have been ten years ago. The transmission, same thing – it’s a well-tested 6spd automatic, rather than one of the newer 8,9, or 10 speeds that are becoming available, and it felt.. fine. You could feel shifts if you were into the throttle, but it wasn’t harsh. And it was butter smooth in traffic at low throttle too. The brakes seem adequate, but I’m willing to bet they’re a wear item you replace regularly, given the weight of this behemoth.

Back inside, and the driving position is good – like I said, you sit up on it, not in it. Sight lines are remarkably good, and that’s in part because of that dip in the front doors – you can see DOWN into traffic much more easily. IN terms of looking around you, the mirrors are huge, and so are the back door windows. It’s a full size, the headroom means a lot of glass, and that glass all round makes you feel confident in seeing everything you need to. The backup camera picks up the slack just fine, as well.
Sidenote: This, I think, is more why people are gravitating from cars to trucks & SUV’s. All that glass is like the cars we used to have, that you could actually see out of. Trucks haven’t (yet) been struck by the super-high belt lines, and high-arse of the typical sedan of any size now, that you just… can’t see out of awfully well. I mean, you can, but it does take effort. A modern compact sedan has similar sight lines and blind spots to my 2-door coupe, which is ridiculous.
As with most of what we looked at, there’s blind spot warnings as well, and they’re mostly unobtrusive.
Due to those sight lines, the BSWS is probably unnecessary, too, but it’s becoming expected. But so not necessary when you can see so damn much out of the truck, in all directions.
The Sync3 system for the stereo is great, I had my phone paired in seconds. No Android Auto at the time we drove it, but it was apparently coming. The interior seemed well put together (better than the Colorado you’ll read about next), and the storage is, unsurprisingly, ridiculous. You can hide a laptop in the center console. There’s outlets for everything. For our purposes, the back seat is actually kind of amazing: it’s so big back there that we could, I think, put the seats up against the back wall of the truck, and have the dog in his crate, for safety. It’s huge back there. The only thing I can think of that has more back seat passenger space is a modern minivan.

All in all, I liked it. We even got reasonable fuel economy, given it was brand new, with less than 70km on the clock, and a lot of that idling. We left with the gauge showing 19.7L/100km, and a romp up the highway and half an hour in city (Saturday) traffic had me down to 14.5L/100km. that says to me I was probably getting somewhere closer to 10L/100km in real time numbers. If you drive it sedately, it seems it’ll look after you at the pumps. Abuse it, and you’ll have some fun, but you will definitely pay for it. Or tow, for that matter. I can see anything approaching the ( lbs) tow limit seriously destroying your fuel economy. But it is a full size truck, so, no surprise there.

I can only imagine what it’s like with the 3.5L twin turbo/ecoboost under the hood. I really don’t see the point of the V8, these days. Unless that’s turbo’d too (it’s not).

SO, back to where we started – what can you get it for? Is it cheaper to buy a fullsize than it is to buy a mid-size?

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Not on paper, at least. There MIGHT be money on the hood, but again, Canada’s a bit different than the USA when it comes to pricing and discounts. If we waited for a sale, and took what was on the lot, yeah, we could probably get it down to equal, but I think it’s doubtful we could get this particular set-up for less than $40,000. So, best case scenario would be “same price as the Ridgeline”.

It’s not for us though. It’s just TOO BIG and TOO MUCH. It is 100% ‘murica. Bigger is better, and biggest is best, and that’s really not what we’re looking for. If we were though, I’d rather have this than the Chevy Silverado, or Dodge Ram. It’s… more adult feeling than those two (especially the RAM). Ford has really hit the “mobile office” nail on the head. And, yes, we could get into it in a spec we like, for about $10k less on the MSRP, and then whatever Ford has on the hood, plus financing. It would be workable, and yes, it would be about the same price, for about twenty-five percent more truck. I like it an awful lot more than I expected to, though. I can see how people end up commuting in them.

But at the end of the day, it’s a quarter truck we don’t need, want, or have anywhere to park.

Onto the next one!

[1]I’ll find out

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Test Drive : 2017 Honda Ridgeline

So, this is a thing I’m gonna play with – Test Drives. We’re currently shopping for a replacement for the Lil’ Beast, a 2005 Subaru Forester 2.5XS. We bought it cheap from my folks, and it was only supposed to last a year or two. But, it’s been just shy of five years now, and it’s still kicking. But only barely. At this point, it needs rear (drum) brakes (ugh, my most loathed of brake jobs), endlinks, shocks, springs, emissions work (a regular P0457 – major evaporative leak keeps popping the check engine light) which could mean a new gas tank, charcoal canister, and/or vacuum lines. Probably needs new plugs & wires, too, and the engine has recently developed a mild knock, and oil leak.

That’s more than is worth fixing, on an 11 year old car, with 120,000 miles/200,000km + on it. The parts alone are more than the car is worth at this point, and that’s without any labour I can’t do myself.

So, test driving.

The spectrum is pretty wide – primarily because, no one will sell me what I really want: A midsize or fullsize wagon. Don’t really care for SUV’s additional ride-height, I don’t generally find it necessary. I’d rather have the space of an SUV, and the handling of a car.

But that’s a complaint for another time.

First on the list is… a truck?

I guess I should go over the list: I’ve kept it broad (for features and use) and tried not to exclude anything based on preconceptions. At the same time, I’m also trying to keep the cars interesting as well as utilitarian. Hey, I’m a car guy, and some kind of character to the vehicle is important.

So, the list is:

  • 2017 Honda Ridgeline
  • 2017 Ford F150 4×4 Crew XLT
  • 2016 Chevrolet Colorado 4×4
  • 2017 Subaru Forester
  • 2017 Toyota Rav4 hybrid eAWD

    For the moment, that’s it, but it’s subject to change/addition. Might throw the Ford Explorer in, and maybe the Subaru Outback, as well.

    So, back to the first on the list. A truck. A unibody, car-based truck at that.

    Thing is, @pingoderp (who this will also be partly/largely for) hates the Ridgeline. No, not kidding. She’s not a car person at all – she’s a home design person, I’m the car guy. But something about the 2006-2015 Ridgeline makes her literally apoplectic with rage when she sees one. It seems to be the flying buttress behind the cab – there’s something about the proportions that are thrown off in the design, well, look for yourself:

    So, when the generation two Ridgeline started making the show/review circuit, it was tough to bring it forward to her as an option. I mean, she REALLY hated the old one.

    But it really pushes all the utility buttons, so, we went to look.

    First off, a message to dealers. Telling me to pay a $500 deposit to bring a model in for me to test drive in a few weeks? Yeah, no. It may not be illegal, but it’s seriously immoral. And, it guarantees that I’m not going to do business with you. Civic Motors, Ottawa, I’m looking at you.

    So, second Honda dealership was much more accommodating. Walked in, asked about the truck, and was immediately offered a test drive.

    From this review out, I think I took pictures of the vehicles as we drove them, but I forgot for the Ridgeline.

    First off, the exterior is much less… controversial. It’s obviously a truck, but it’s a truck based on the same platform as the Honda Pilot – basically, from the B pillar forward, it IS a Honda Pilot.

    I’ve only got two complaints about the exterior. First, visually, it still does look very slightly “off” – the bed is slightly too short and it throws the visual balance off, for me. It’s not bad at all, though, just something I’ve noticed seeing a few “in the wild”. Second, however, is corporate bullshittery: You can’t get a color choice (ie. something other than black, white, or grey) until you spend up to the 2nd highest trim level, $10k over base price. That’s fucking bullshit. Color should never be trapped to trim level, and I’m truly tired of parking lots that are a sea of black and white. It’s boring as hell, and they can do better. This doesn’t help. That said, it can always be wrapped, but yeah. Full paint choices, from base on up.

    Ok, so, it looks good. Hows the interior?

    It’s very open. It is, in fact, big. For all intents and purposes, the “mid size” trucks of today are the fullsize trucks of yesterday. Well, about fifteen years ago. What that means is, with modern packaging as well, you can get a lot of space inside. With the Ridgeline, you get the added bonus of the base frame being an SUV. Technically, the Pilot (and Ridgeline) are front wheel drive (although the Ridgeline only comes as AWD in Canada) This really improves the interior packaging in a way that only a FWD base can do. There’s a ton of storage inside, and a good feature set, if you’re willing to spend the money. One of the big things for us is the ability to have a flat storage space inside. THere’s a 90lb Labrador retriever who currently lives in the back of the Subaru:

    Who needs somewhere comfortable. With a flat floor like the Ridgeline has, we can fold half the seat up, and give him a good spot to crash out, and again, with it being FWD/unibody, not body-on-frame, the entry point is lower for him too.

    I’m also pretty impressed with the seats. It’s tough to tell with only twenty minutes behind the wheel, but they feel good, and Honda has always done seats well (reference – 2003 RSX, and 1997 Integra) in my experience. Controls are logical and well organized, again, a Honda standard, and the infotainment seems good too – it was easy to pair my phone with it, and I was able to play music immediately. I don’t think it was Android Auto / Apple Car Play, at the time, but I believe that was an upgrade that was coming. It’ll be something we check on when we go back for a second test drive.

    I still have real problems with backup cameras. They’re helpful, there’s no doubt about it, and the Ridgeline’s is set up so that you can use it to align yourself with a trailer hitch (there’s an additional camera pointing downwards). Everything turns and twists with the vehicle, too, so it gives you a really, really good idea of where you are. It’s just really disconcerting to stare at that dash while you back up, instead of over your shoulder.

    At speed, wind noise is minimal, and that’s on the FWD/car/SUV based aero, rather than truck. And I think that’s part of the slightly off look of the vehicle – the droop on the nose makes it look less truck-like, and you get proportions you don’t expect from a truck. It’s not ugly, to my mind, but it’s “not truck” and that throws some people.

    There’s a ton of power. Honestly, a lot of guys swear that a truck isn’t a truck without a V8, but especially in this class, a nearly-300hp v6 is more than enough. It hammers down on ramps and merges seamlessly. The blind-spot warning is visible, but not intrusive – I actually quite liked it, and if it’s on, just hammer that go-pedal, and you’ll be clear in no time. Cruising on the highway at 115-120km/h, and it’s effectively silent in the cab. You can have a proper conversation with someone in the back seat without yelling at them. It’s really nice. Again, that’s that SUV/car DNA at work. There are real advantages to it. Getting back to the power, the tow rating is 5000lbs, and somewhere around a 1600lb bed load rating. Again, I don’t see this engine and (6 speed automatic) transmission combination having any trouble at all with those numbers. As you can imagine, it cuts the difference between SUV and truck in terms of (on paper) mileage. It’s a Honda, mileage will be good, but limited by the sheer mass of the vehicle. Throttle is progressive and does what it’s told (something that’s becoming rarer, thanks to throttle-by-wire). The steering has a remarkable amount of road feel, as well, despite being electrically boosted, not hydraulic.

    There’s a ton of trinkets and doodads we’re also not going to bother with – if you step up to the 2nd highest trim, the box doubles as a speaker for your tailgate parties. It’s a neat party trick, but that’s about all it is. It’s a shame you can’t get the auxiliary power outlets in the bed without this feature. The upside is, you get the super-hard bedliner and trunk at all trim levels.

    And that’s a major sell for us, as urban users. Lets face it, most of the “truck” use for us will be buying/moving furniture, and the home depot run. And the Ridgeline is the only truck with a trunk. At the back of the bed, under neath it, is a huge, lockable, weather proof storage area – a trunk. That is incredibly useful, and I can see other manufacturers copying it. It’s brilliant. Access to it is easy as well, as the gate on the bed opens to the side, and drops down traditionally, so easy to reach into.

    So, that’s first thoughts and a literal test-drive review. I’m going to do this for everything we drive/have driven. It helps me organize my thoughts, and it might even be interesting for you. They should be shorter from here out, too, as I’ve dealt with the preamble already.

    Of note. When we test drove, the price for the Sport was $39,999 CDN. According to Honda.ca, it’s now $41,488. Honda, what are you playing at? Oh, I see, Ok. Good job, Honda. They’re including freight/PDI in the MSRP, rather than hiding that $1500. That’s actually appreciated. I still think the freight/PDI costs Canadians pay are exorbitant, but that’s a different post.

    If any owners happen to read this? Let me know what your thoughts on ownership are! I’m interested if you’ve discovered any quirks and foibles with the truck.

  • Totally Awesome Thing About Car Culture

    There’s a reason I refer to myself and my fellow car nerds as nerds. We are. Seriously. Bordering on car hipsters, to be honest. I’m not going to get into what I drive: If you’ve read here before, you already know, ad neauseum, about my car. And, honestly, I’m a little run down. THere’s a “parts going in” update coming… eventually. In the meantime, I’ve been avoiding events, especially “offical” events, because, yeah, I just don’t have the energy, and my car’s not in the shape I’d like it to be for those events, and I don’t have the energy to get it there, right now.

    Onwards!

    So, Thursday night, there was a show. The Ottawa area has a lot of these weekly shows: there’s a Tuesday night in Kanata, there’s a couple of different Friday night ones, there’s Wednesday night at the Casino. They all have something in common: they are nearly universally classic, hotrod, and muscle shows. I like these shows: they tend not to have the sheer idiocy that comes with eighteen year-olds in civics (I know whereof I speak: I was that kid. But I didn’t have a civic, I had an ’88 Ford Tempo).

    The Thursday night show, no different, just at Fallingbrook shopping center, in Orleans.

    16 - Pontiac Laurentian at Dusk//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

    02 - Pink sedan//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

    09 - Mustang//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

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    So, what you see there is a sea of gleaming muscle, painstakingly restored classics, expensive modern insanity (2015 C7 Corvette, I’m looking at you), waxed and polished so hard the chrome almost comes off. I love all this: I love seeing the restorations, the resto-mods, and the cars of yester-year. And as usual, all the owners are milling around, looking at the same cars they see every week, talking to their buddies, and wondering what seven KDM, one Honda, and one VW are doing there.

    And then.

    And then this guy rolls in.

    11 - 1939 Morgan//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

    And I wouldn’t say the record scratched as the lot went quiet. Hell, it didn’t REALLY go quiet. But he rolled in, backed into a parking spot, and got out.

    The valves (open to the world) were smoking. The exhaust was clattering. The lights were… ineffective.

    But all of a sudden, there was a crowd: the biggest crowd of the night. And EVERYONE wanted a word, an explanation, and a picture.

    13 - 1939 Morgan//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

    Two minutes later?

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    What you can’t see is ’em standing three-deep behind me, as I took that (and some other) pictures. Basically lining up to take a good, clean picture from the front.

    The vehicle in question isn’t even a car. It’s a reverse-trike: specifically, a 1939 Morgan Three-Wheeler. It’s also, according to the owner, a bit of a bastard: it’s an “SS” model, which in this case doesn’t mean “Super Sport”, but rather, “Stainless Steel”. The frame is steel, not wood, so, you only have to worry about rust and British electrical systems, not termites and wood rot. Which is nice.

    And yeah, everyone wanted to to know about it. There were the few regulars who had “opinions” and “knowledge” (Spoiler: they didn’t know much about it, but talked a lot like they did). The guy who owned it was saying that he’d actually just got it on the road: 2.1Km from home to the show was its maiden voyage, after he got it: turns out, his Uncle had had it in a barn in BC and kinda said “If you’re going to drive it, it’s yours, free. If you’re not going to, i’ll sell it to someone who will” So the new owner is going to drive it, everywhere he can.

    It really was the coolest thing there. And that brings me back to the car-nerd thing. All the guys, and girls there were, well, classic North ‘Murican car-types: big, V8, detroit iron (which you can see in the pics above) but everyone went ga-ga over this little British three-wheeler. Because it’s different and weird, and they want to know. Not only that, they want to know the guy who’s doing something different, who’s being something different. I never did get the spec on the engine, but according to wikipedia, it’s the last year of the V-twin three-wheelers, and this was definitely an air-cooled model. Finding specs on these things is crazy tough, too.

    All in all, just a very cool, very cramped little thing. And apparently, the brake- and turn-signal lights don’t work. So, it’s hand-signals all the way (the lights are aftermarket add-ons, and maybe aren’t as good as they could be). And it’s classed as a motorcycle. So, helmet and goggles? Yeah, I’m all over that! I’ll admit it. I kinda want one. I’d totally commute in that in the summer.

    And totally not… normal. And, for all you hang out with your own crew? When that “not normal” rolls through? You gotta check it out.

    Wherein I Rant About a Lack of Real Wagons

    I would happily drive any of these WAGONS. Sadly, we won’t see any of them in Canada (maaaaaybe the Focus Wagon, and Mazda6 Wagon, but no confirmation on either of those from their respective manufacturers). Ok, so we do get a couple of these (the BMW, and Mercedes are technically for sale here, but in very specific (read: boring) trim packages). But really, what I want?

    Hyundai i40 wagon, Mazda6 Wagon, Honda Civic WAGON (this is seriously sexy as hell, I’d consider a Civic, if I could have this). Primarily, the Mazda6 Wagon. I really liked them back in ’02 to 06 (in fact, I almost bought one, but the dealership refused to find me one with a manual, even going so far as to lie to me and tell me they weren’t available with a stick). I loved the RSX I bought back then, but had that Mazda6 Wagon been available to me with a manual, I’d never have gotten as far as the RSX.

    http://driving.ca/audi/auto-news/news/10-wagons-we-saw-in-paris-that-we-really-want-but-cant-buy

    The closest we get to wagons now, are the venerable (and slightly wonderful) VW Golf/Jetta SportWagen. The smart choice is actually the 2.0 Turbo-diesel, with the tiptronic DCT transmission; the Subaru Outback. Still not quite a wagon, as it’s too tall, but the Legacy, uhhh… legacy is there. And really, nothing a set of lowering springs and Bilstein shocks couldn’t fix; And the discontinued Acura TSX Wagon, which is really nice, but… yeah. Discontinued. Everything else that can be readily identified as a “wagon” has a base price of $45,000+.

    I continue to lament the loss of the (affordable) wagon. There are some (and it pains me to admit it) excellent CUV’s out there now: the Tucson/Sportage, Santa Fe/Sorento, Subaru Forester, Mazda CX-5, Toyota Venza (also a candidate for lowering to “camry wagon” profile), but I still want that car-ride-height, handling and fuel-eoconomy that goes with it: and I want it wider than it is tall: I want a WAGON.

    Rumours continue to abound about Hyundai i40/sonata diesel wagons, Mazda6 Wagon (also, potentially diesel), and Focus ST wagon (om, nom, nom: fast wagon). Sadly though, no one is going to proffer one to me. Maybe they’ll get around to it in a couple of years, when I really start looking again. A manual, turbo-diesel Sonata wagon would be… that’d be just great. And it’s not like it’s not out there already.

    I may be biased.

    I used to drive this:

    In that color, even.

    Talkin’ about Cars: The Acura Edition

    First things first, wheeeew, it’s been a bit of time. I keep writing things, then not finishing the links, etc, so they never got posted. This? I WROTE THIS IN FEBRUARY.

    Better late than never, right?

    Ok, so out of the way, I still love my Hyundai Genesis 2.0T. It still hits all my buttons.

    But, some days, I miss my Acura (of course, some days, I miss my old ’80 Pontiac Parisienne, too). The Acura was pretty sweet. Actually, it was very sweet.

    2003 Acura RSX front three-quarter

    Yup, my RSX was stock, (almost)

    And it’s a pretty accurate representation of what’s wrong with Acura right now. The Acura RSX (2002-2006) was the last car Acura made that was designed for not-buick-owners. And, as pretty much anyone knows, it platform shared with the Civic. It came with two very sweet little engines (160hp/139lb.ft, 200hp/141lb/ft) that were a blast to thrash, and got you good mileage (even better with a short-ram intake). Much like the Genesis, the RSX was about being quick, if not fast, and never having to slow down for corners. Yeah, it was basically a Civic, but it was different enough (significant differences in the head and tail lights, interior, and most dramatically, hatchback vs coupe) to BE DIFFERENT. The hatch was super useful, and made the RSX a much more useful car than the Civic was.

    Seriously, I loved that little car. The only thing it didn’t have going for it was rear wheel drive. When I got rid of it, it was time to do major work (wheels/tires, shocks, springs, and timing belt) if I was going to keep it. I felt that money was better spent on something with a warranty. But still, some days…

    But I’ve wondered for a while what the point of Acura was. Pretty much since 2006, in fact. The Acura EL (which is Canada only) was a rebadged Civic. Literally. Unlike the RSX, there were NO changes to the exterior, it was the same damn car, and you could tell. Yeah, you could option it up with leather and shit, but… why pay the premium?

    The modern Acuras (TL, RL, TSX, etc) are for the most part, gussied up Honda’s, with a premium attached, and a terrible, terrible beak on them.

    Seriously, WTF is that?

    So, why am I talking about this? Well, it came up on TTAC today six months ago. And the article is the usual stuff: Acura, blah blah, repositioning the brand, blah blah, rebuild the identity blah blah no one gives a shit.

    FractureCritical
    February 26th, 2014 at 7:59 am
    Read this and understand:
    Luxury means NOTHING. It used to mean extra features. Now it’s something old people shop for in terms of soft seats to cushion replaced hips and s supple ride that won’t aggitate the Ensure in their stomachs that had for lunch. That’s over. I can go out and literally get more features in a Hyundai or Ford than a BMW or an Audi. I can get that Hyundai or Ford for less than just the cost of the features on the BMW. Pretty much anything these days has a sweet ride, unless you opt for the factory donk package.

    Acura needs to be premium, not luxury. They need some rough edges. Don’t sell Acura reliability based on common middle class fears of a broken windshield wiper. People who buy German metal don’t outwardly want to look like they care about that (but they do). Sell the Acura reliability like it’s a cockroach. Like it’s Rocky, like it’s friggin Galvatron built from the bones of Megatron’s body in the Transformers movie (the good one from the 80’s, not anything done by Michale Bay). Sell that kind of reliability. Then, make the cars AWD. all of them. Sell them as unstoppable. No one wants to be stuck in the snow.

    That’s for poor people driving festivas. Premium means that mommy doesn’t have to bail on yoga class due to flurries. Then make the cars powerful. Every_friggin_German_brand (plus Lexus) forces the customer to pay dearly for power. That may have been jsut dandy even 20 years ago, but those days are gone. Power is cheap. My Audi would get smoked by my secretary’s 6 banger mustang. This is completely unacceptable. Every car Acura sells should at least be available with a gonzon motor at a reasonable cost. You want to get a younger audience in the showrooms? give them a reason to look at Acura when the car seat doesn’t fit in teh GTI or the WRX anymore. I promise you these people are looking at 328 ix’s and A4’s and CLA’s becuase they have nowhere else to go for a good car that doesn’t imply you live in mom’s basement and keep all your hat bills flat.

    Make the cars beautiful. This is such a no-brainer, and Acura’s greatest single sin. If I can afford an Acura, I can afford something that doesn’t look like an Acura, and Acuras are ugly. finally, and for F’s sake, take some quirky chances with options. There used to be a time when you could walk into an Audi dealer and order an A6 Allroad wagon with a stick, twin turbo V6, and kermit green leather seats. you want me to eat my words? Then do real Luxury, with a big “L” and let people custom spec the crap out of their cars. Bespoke cars are real luxury. made just for you and no one else. OFFER A DISCOUNT FOR SPECIAL ORDERS. Special orders don’t sit on the lots, and are great profit makers. Even if people come to look but still buy off the lot, then at least they camee in.

    This is actually how to either kill Acura, or put them back on the platform they used to be on. The Integra, the Legend, the Vigor. Come up with some names for the manaditory SUV’s (I don’t like SUV/CUV’s, especially at the premium/luxury level, but I understand the world at large does. But the comment from FractureCritical makes a really important point: AWD. I’d love to see RWD Acura’s, but the population in general doesn’t care. And Honda doesn’t have a history with RWD either (NSX excluded). What they do have is a spectacularly good AWD system SH-AWD with a terrible name, that was embedded in their top level sedans. At a time when Subaru is basically ditching the niche/AWD sedan market in favour of beige! GET ON THAT SHIT, ACURA. There is an opening there to make enthusiast sedans (and maybe coupes) that have real appeal, and real performance. Acura still can’t compete with BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and even Lexus in terms of caché, but, they can run with the big boys in terms of performance. No reason why they can’t make that their raison d’etre.

    Know what Acura’s slogan was in the 80’s, when they first emerged?

    “Precision Crafted Performance”.

    Yeah, they were platform engineered, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Where it goes wrong is basic re-badging. Especially, as Fracture points out: there’s no POINT to buying an Acura now: you can buy the same or more in terms of features, power, and style from Hyundai, or Honda, or Toyota, at a lower price. Which means there has to be a less-tangible reason to buy an Acura. It’s got to be desirable. And they used to be. Even the TL (the beginning of the alphabet soup naming structure, which itself was to bring Acura to the “luxury” level) was known as a hi-po Honda sport sedan. Lets go back there.

    Killing the TSX and TL is a good plan (and replacing them with one car, the new TLX), but it’s only a start. First, give it a name, not an ID string. It’s midsize. Call it “Legend”.

    The new NSX, by the way, is apparently still coming. It’d make a fantastic flagship/HALO car.

    But at the cost (and lets face it, relative impracticality) it’s going to sell a few units, as it’ll be a super car. But they’re good to bring bodies to the marquee, and get people interested. What do you have when they get there though?

    Well, lets start at the bottom.

    1] A hot hatch. Even in the USA, where hatchbacks have been maligned for years, the hatch is making a comeback. Make it a real slant-back hatch (like the ’86-2000 Integra was, and the ’02 to ’06 RSX was). Chassis share with the Civic, for sure: it’s a great platform. Do Acura-centric styling (lose the beak), offer base, premium, and Type-R. Base gets FWD, 200hp Vtec, manual or auto. Premium gets that, plus some of the tech toys, Type-R gets manual only, and a turbo (something Honda has barely played with, with occasional exceptions) which should probably hit about 260hp/245lb.ft. With a decent curb weight (under 3000lbs) that’ll rip 0-60mph/0-100km/h in about five and a half to six seconds. Make SH-AWD optional on all trim levels, and with stick or automatic. Non-turbo models should be around current Civic SI levels. The proposed Civic SI-R concept would be a hell of a place to start. This is an ACURA INTEGRA.

    2] A Compact/mid-size sedan. Base it on the Euro Accord, which is slightly smaller than the North American version. Give it the SH-AWD treatment, and Type-R treatment, make a manual available on all trim levels. Type-R, specifically? 3.5L V6, manual-only, SH-AWD, improved suspension. This is an ACURA VIGOR. Bring that Type-R in under $50k? I’ll go look. Bring it in under $40k with a Type-R wagon variant? I WILL BULLDOZE THE DEALERSHIP DOOR TO GET AT IT.

    3] A Midsize/Full-size sedan. The Current TL or even the RL should provide the base, but give it again, three trim levels, with manual and SH-AWD available as options (and not package limited) on all trim levels. Aggressive sedan styling is required, and at this size, the V6 is a requirement. As Honda is never gonna put a V8 in a car again, a turbo V6 would make for a fantastic Type-R. This is an ACURA LEGEND. I’m pretty sure my dad would roll $55k for a 3.5L, Turbo, V6, manual-transmission, 380hp/350lb.ft all-wheel-drive sport sedan. Hell, as of this year, Hyundai is gonna be offering something very similar on the Canadian Market. If Hyundai can do it with the Genesis, why can’t you do it with Acura, Honda?

    4] The HALO Car. That’s the NSX. It can stay the NSX. It was always the NSX. Everyone knows what an NSX is. They won’t sell many, but they’ll sell one every once in a while, just like the Nissan GTR. It’s worth having around, because aspirational cars count. Hell, I’ve never seen a Lexus LFA in person, but it’s a great car for Toyota to have out there.

    They’ll need names for the existing SUV’s. I can’t say anything about ’em, I just can’t get excited about SUV’s, I’m sorry. The only thing I would say is, it might be worth while taking the MDX, and applying SH-AWD to it, lowering it a couple of inches, and calling it the LEGEND ESTATE or somethin’. Bill it as a performance wagon slash off-roader/soft-roader. Make it handle. The smaller one (RDX, right? I forget) … I don’t even know. I don’t like SUV’s.

    Names though. The cars need names. And they need the performance variant. And, like I said up there, I mean, PERFORMANCE. Type-R, the last few years? Got you … stickers. People who’re buying new Acura’s aren’t looking for stickers. They are, or should be, looking for something different: something that isn’t a Honda tuner car, but a factory Q-car. The Type-R was always that: a sleeper, unless you knew what you were looking for. And now… just stickers.

    BMW, Mercedes, they get away with numbers and letters, because those things have always been there for them. For Acura, it always felt like they were trying to justify their place in the Luxo market. And they never needed that justification: the vehicles are as good as anything Cadillac or Lincoln puts out (ok, way better than Lincoln) and definitely in the same ballpark at Lexus and Infiniti. At least, they were, when they weren’t just glorified Hondas, when they had their own personalities.

    Acura is by no means a dead brand. But setting your sights on the “Luxury Market” doesn’t actually SAY anything. Pick a demographic, pick a lifestyle, pick… pick something. Stop trying to be all things for all markets, with the big THIS IS LUXURY tag stuck to it.

    I miss both my dad’s 1997 Integra (which is, to this day, one of the prettiest compact hatches ever made) and my 2003 RSX. They’re both phenomenal, fun, well-appointed cars with a purpose. And that’s what’s missing at Acura these days: Purpose.

    Car Guy Recap: 2010 Genesis Coupe

    So, I ordered my car on April 9th, 2009. After spending a lot of time going back to the dealership, and asking “where’s my car?” and recieving the response “No idea. It’s on a boat.” I took delivery of a 2010 2.0T 6MT Premium Genesis Coupe, on June 11th 2009. It was awesome.

    Which, obviously, is the reason for this post. My car turns five today (Yes, it’s Friday the 13th. I picked the car up on Friday the 11th), so… time for a look back.

    The second night I owned it, I did a cruise’n’shoot with @thirtyyearhouse. This would OBVIOUSLY set the tone for me owning the car.

    Genesis - front 15 16ths desat+blue

    2010 Genesis Coupe rear quarter

    I had a really big plan for the car. Some of it was accomplished, some of it is still pending. It’s funny how life is like that, eh?

    I drove the car basically stock for the first year. Tint got done (22%) via a group buy through Goldwing Automotive. Tint is required. Damn. Is it ever. I got a set of Pirelli SottoZero 240 winter tires in stock sizes (225/45R18, 245/45R18) from 1010tires.com and put ’em on the stock wheels.

    Genesis in the Snow

    Come the spring of 2010, then, I needed wheels and tires. It’s a pretty good plan, you know: get your winter tires on your stock wheels, then you HAVE to buy new ones for summer! CONVENIENT. I spent a lot of time researching. This is the first time I ever considered widening the wheels (I knew you could widen tires on cars, but I never considered widening the wheels in conjunction with that. Seems obvious, but there you are.

    What I settled on was Petrol Vengeance wheels, and Hankook Ventus V12 EVO tires. Specifically:

    19″ x 8″ wide wheels in the front with a +20mm offset, with 245/35R19 tire (stock is 18×7 +36mm, 225/45R18)
    19″ x 9.5″ wide wheels in the back, with 275/35R19 tire (stock is 18×7.5, +36mm, 245/45R18)

    So, a significant change in style, and size (and grip. The stock tires are all-season on the 18″ wheels, and while they’re adequate all-seasons, they’re not good by any means).

    There's no Gas Here.

    The wheels and tires are good. For me, the offset is perfect, pushed out to the fender, and pretty nearly the definition of flush (the word. As I would come to understand, “flush” can have very different connotations depending on which tuner lifestyle you prefer and subscribe to). Very good. BUT, they’ve accentuated the wheel gap. This, I would come to know, is known as “4×4 status”. Now, in all honesty, it’s not terrible. And a multitude would be thoroughly happy. But….

    (you see where this is going, right?)

    Yup. Lowering.

    Again, this was my first time venturing into the world of lowering. I’d thought about it before, with other cars, but I’d never actually done it. My weapon of choice was, in deference to affordability, springs, rather than coilovers. What I bought was Eibach’s ProKit, which would give me about 1.5″ of drop, just enough to close up those wheel gaps.

    And it did:

    GenCoupe Profile

    GenCoupe rear quarter

    That’s pretty much how my car stands to this day, too (although not for long): it looks a lot lower in the front, however, due to some cosmetic changes there. We’ll get to that.

    I wanted to do something under the hood, at this point. And, the most simple ones are, well, a cold-air intake, and blow-off valve. When I was done researching (it’s a thing I do, you may have noticed), I ended up with an HKS SSQV III and AEM CAI from G&M Performance. The BOV took some fiddling with, and I ended up running it off the stock solenoid, and letting the computer control it, rather than the preferred method of lining it into the vacuum line. On top of that, pulling the front off the car to do the intake (it means replacing the washer fluid bottle, AND the filter sits behind the bumper cover, rather than in the engine bay) was terrifying the first time. I was certain I was going to break it in half, because there comes a point where you just gotta pull on it REALLY HARD.

    Still, all went well.

    Sometime in the fall of 2010, I pulled into my parking spot forwards (which I never do) and scraped the hell out of the bumper cover. Some pissed off I was. I ran it like that through the winter, and come the Cambridge meet in the summer of 2011, I’d made arrangements with Uniq Performance to pick up a Prodigy poly urethene lip, pre-painted. that should cover the scrape nicely, and, I hoped, make the front look more aggressive, and interesting. About the same time, I was fighting with Korean Auto Imports (Aka KAI) about an IXION Grill (small digression here. IF you go to the link for the Ixion grill, click on the image of the blue car. That’s my car. I’ve never granted ImportShark permission to use that image, nor have I ever received a response as to why they’re using it without permission. So, I’d suggest not doing business with ’em. THey’re notoriously douchebaggy as vendors, and this is a good example). I’ll never do business with KAI again, after that fiasco. I did finally get the grill though, and I got it, and the lip, installed once I had a chance to borrow a driveway:

    Before

    During

    After-2

    04 - ixion grill

    I also got, courtesy of Aadam‘s experimentations a new shift knob.

    Totally awesome.

    16 - New Shift Knob

    More reading, and more basics. I started building myself a dual catch-can set-up. There’s a lot of reasons for this, and if you feel like it, you can read ’em here. What I ended up with was this:

    Again, much like the BOV, and CAI, nothing in terms of actual performance gains, but one more step towards increased reliability and efficiency. About the same time, I got a set of modified fog light bezels from one of the guys on the site. I still wasn’t sure that’s what I wanted the car to look like, but I was intrigued. Basically,t he standard plastic bezels, cut to allow airflow, and painted to match the car. I put some mesh behind the cuts, and voila, a functional pair of intakes, one of which fed cold, clean air directly to the CAI.

    And they’ve definitely grown on me. I’m still not 100%, I might end up going for some black/carbon ones, eventually, but they’re definitely good for now, and a pretty good match for the lip.

    Breathing Deeply

    At the same time, I got a smokin’ deal from another of the guys’ locally: an ARK downpipe and testpipe to straighten out the kinked stock exhaust, and remove the secondary catalytic converter. This got done up at Jay’s cottage. It’s only a 2.5″ piece, but again, gave me a ton of confidence with regards to working on the exhaust, which I’d not done before.

    We got that dealt with in an afternoon, after running the car without any exhaust for kicks, briefly. No point with a picture here, nothing really to see, but here’s what the car sounds like sans-exhaust:

    So, that opened up that avenue for me. What I really wanted was a proper exhaust. I’ve had my eye on the exhaust that TurboXS makes for a while: I’d followed a guy with one of them on during a cruise, and it sounded spectacular. So, in the spring of 2013 (see, we’re getting there now) I ordered it. That was a fun afternoon’s work, for sure! And, I’ve already documented that installation, so go read it here, if you want. It’s a sexy exhaust.

    Which brings me to 2014!

    I was still not loving the way the ARK pipe and TurboXS cat-back mate together. So, sometime during 2013 (and I forget when) I picked up a used TurboXS RacePipe: basically, it’d bolt to the stock primary catalytic converter, and replace all the ARK 2.5″ with a single 3″ pipe, to the TurboXS cat-back. Perfect. Except… we tried to install it (again, at Jay’s cottage) and it wouldn’t go over the bolts on the catalytic. It was CLOSE. It’d go on, but it wouldn’t go on far enough to seal, even with the nice, thick, TurboXS gasket. We tried reaming out the bolt holes with a drill, and that was going nowhere fast. So, I put it aside for after selling the house, and buying the new one, under the anticipation I’d have a garage that I could work in, and if the car was on blocks for two days while I worked on widening and re-re-re-checking the fit, that’d be ok. And sure enough, it was. With a hardcore bore/ream bit specifically for that kind of work, I finally got it opened up enough this spring that I could install it. And I’m MUCH happier now. I still have a mild leak, and I think that’ll be easily taken care of with a new gasket between the racepipe and the catalytic. It’s not enough you get exhaust in the cabin, you can just hear it wheezing a little through the exhaust, behind the front wheels. Not too shabby.

    Where does it go from here, though?

    Where it went was, in May, the whole Rigid Collars and stripped chassis bolt fiasco, and ATQ shifter bushings. I’ve also ordered (and has arrived in the city) the ATQ short shifter. That’s going in in short order, because I can’t wait.

    Well, primary on my list is the suspension. The stock struts and shocks are nearly done. So, it’s time to do the right thing, and replace it all with a good set of coilovers. The real advantage here is that I’ve learned, thanks to the Quartermaster and his files what I really need.

    I’m not a “slam it to the ground” guy. I understand the benefits of lowering the centre of gravity for handling’s sake, but, I’m not planning on running 4+ degrees of negative camber: I’m not going to be stretching my tires, and poking my wheels. What I want is for the damn car to go round corners REALLY FAST, and be able to soak up any bumps without making @thirtyyearhouse grind her teeth. What I need, then, is a set of adjustable, FULLY ADJUSTABLE coilovers. Not just ones that lower the car, but that I can adjust the damping on. I also want them to do the job right, so I’m moving up-market a little bit, to the most affordable set of inverted monotube. I’ve still never been to a track, but I do want to go occasionally. And I’ll be able to afford to, once the car is paid off next spring. So, affordable as possible, inverted monotube, adjustable damping and camber. Well, that’s the Stance SS series of coilovers. I could go more expensive, but I don’t have the need to. I definitely don’t want to go cheaper, because the ride quality IS important to me. So, there you have it. Stance SS Coilovers.

    That was all my research. Which I promptly threw out the window the first weekend of June, and bought a set of HSD Coilovers (again from Uniq performance). Eveything I’ve read so far is that these are a] far beyond “adequate” and b] able to stand up to Canadian winters. Customer service with HSD has been spotty, but the product is known to be good. So, I got a decent price, and dove in.

    Once that’s done, and that last payment is made, it’s time to FINALLY look at the engine.

    Oh, wait. It’s not. The CLUTCH, the damnable clutch. at 60,000km (maybe 40,000miles) the clutch is definitely going. I know some guys have lasted as long as 100,000km, and some as few as 19,000km. And, honestly, I got a new one at 6000km, because of a bad throwout bearing that came from factory. So, new clutch. And not the stock replacement, either. Most likely, I’ll roll with a Competition Clutch stage 2, which comes with a matching, lightened, flywheel. That should be more than enough for what I want to see in terms of power and durability. And I got that at the same time as the coilovers (it was originally what I approached Uniq about, Rob just talked me into more stuff). The question now is whether or not I (with assistance) attempt to do the clutch in the driveway, or pay someone to do it for me. Likely, I’ll approach Extreme Autocare here in Ottawa and see what they’d charge me, and if it’s good enough then I’ll let them do it in a shop, rather than Colton and I lyin’ on our backs under the car, in the driveway. Makes sense? Makes sense.

    Beyond that, I want an intercooler and the associated piping. Again, I’ve had three or four of these on my list for two years now, and the longer I’ve waited, the more I’ve learned about what I actually need from an FMIC (Front Mount InterCooler). And it appears, what I want and need is a Treadstone TR8 kit. That will provide enough cold air to any of the other upgrades I might want to do in the future, with this car. I don’t have 500hp dreams. I have 300hp dreams. And, yeah, maybe 350lb.ft sub-dreams. The TR8 is more than capable of helping to get me there.

    Along with that will be injectors. Probably 750cc, although I’ll have to look a little deeper and see if 550cc will do the job.

    So, that’s air, fuel, evacuation, and power transfer. And, honestly, once that’s tuned properly (likely with that BTRcc custom tune) there is every good chance that that will be enough for me. I can finish off the drivetrain (I still want a Limited Slip Differential in there, and maybe work on the paint. But I’m GUESSING, from what I’ve seen of other people, that all the stuff above, properly tuned, should be good for around 270hp to the wheels, and 300+lb.ft of torque. And that’s more than good. That’s enough to get into serious trouble. So, maybe, then, I save my pennies for tires, and track time.

    In the meantime, I’m gonna keep enjoying my now five year old car. Oh, I am tempted by the trade-in with the new engine (40% bump in power) and transmission (more smoother naow!) and the better put together interior. But, at the same time, I LIKE my car. It’s not at all perfect (as you saw from the fiasco with the chassis bolt): the sunroof and seat both squeak, and that’s never been adequately dealt with: the interior on the newer cars is markedly better, too. And, there’s already rumours of a major redesign of the ‘coupe in 2015/16 (rather than the refresh they just did), AND it looks like the 2.0T will be dropped. At the same time, it’s likely the 2015 Mustang will be available, with a 270-300hp turbo-4-cyclinder, and that the Subaru BRZ-STI will hopefully have hit, too. But at the same time, I’ve got blood, sweat, and history in this car. Yes, it was the cardinal sin: never buy a car in its first run-year. But things have been good. I’ve met a ton of great people I wouldn’t likely have done if I’d not bought it, or maybe even if I’d bought it later than I did. I still get looks, thumbs-up, questions, and necks-snappin’ when I drive it. It’s… me. It’s definitely me. So, I’ll keep making it me, and not fall to grass-is-greener syndrome.

    Once upon a time, I wrote about how damn spoiled we are that a multitude of sub-$30k platforms will run speeds that you couldn’t have had for less than the cost of a Corvette, fifteen years ago. I stand by that. I should maybe even repost it from the forum I wrote it for.

    What is awesome is that, in the next few weeks, the car will be paid off. It’s mine. That puts a bunch of money back in my pocket. Most of that is going towards the new house I mentioned somewhere up there, but some of it will always be earmarked for more upgrades. The FMIC, injectors, and tune are definitely a thing that’ll happen. I’m also considering new wheels: I like the ones I’ve got, but it’s been four years, and it’ll be five on ’em by the time I can even think of pulling the trigger. That’s a bunch of time. And my goals with the car have changed. I’d originally wanted to do shows and stuff, but, honestly, I’m never gonna win a trophy: I don’t have the time, or money, to build a show-winning car. More realistically, I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing, which is have the car for me. And what “for me” means is driving it. And that means, the track. Which means if I’m replacing the wheels, I may keep the width, but drop down to lighter weight 18″ wheels, something serious. Like I said, I’m not really about stance, but there’s still something about big fat wheels and tires, with bulging, obviously-functional sidewalls, that turns my crank. Maybe 18×9/18×10 GramLights, or Enkei, and shave some eight or nine pounds off per corner? If I get really into it, maybe it will be time for an internal rebuild, and a turbo upgrade. Maybe. No idea what the next five years are gonna bring for the beast. I complain about the seat-squeak, but a set of recaro’s would solve that problem right away.

    Finally, the greatest thing I’ve gotten out of the car, is a community. I’m part of the Durham Basterds, and Chapter 11:Section 62, I’ve become active in the more general KDM community (so, all Hyundai and Kia) as well as the Genesis Coupe specific ones. I’ve been making friends in the Scion FRS/Subaru BRZ communities, too. But the friends I’ve made through the Genesis specifically? They’re the same friends, all over again, that I made in high-school, and again in University. It’s startling, in fact.

    I’ve been to 150+ car meets pretty much every year. Do I get along with everyone? no, but the vast majority, totally. And the ottawa crew spends an awful lot of time in my driveway, now that I have one. My place has become a defacto headquarters for the Ottawa KDM community, and I’m ok with that. In fact, I want it to get bigger. So it looks like this more often:

    Untitled

    Ok, I’ve said entirely enough. That’s five years with the car, it’s not going anywhere. Why?

    Because it’s just this sexy.

    Sunset on the High Road III

    Car Guys, Environmentalism, and Carbon Taxes.

    This has weighed on me for a while. I’m a car guy (obviously). When I’m “in the mood” I can see mileage in my car in the 20-30L/100km range (and worse, even) in a car that is ostensibly rated at 6.6L/100km highway/10.4L/100km city. When does it happen?

    WOT.

    Wide. Open. Throttle.

    Why? Because it’s fun, that’s why. I bought a sports car, and once in a while, I drive it like one. I plan (once the clutch and suspension is done) on taking it to the track. I may do some autocross this summer. All of these are desperately bad for the environment, because. WOT. I’m also at least a medium-intelligence, critically-thinking human being. I understand the science (some of it, at least) and trust scientists rather than bible-wielding politicians and preachers, about just what we continue to do to our environment. And have no doubt, we ARE negatively affecting our environment.

    So, how do I balance that damage, that, lets face it, I’m part of, with my love of cars, driving fast, and pissing off the neighbours with a nearly completely open exhaust?

    Well, lets see. I walk to work… most of the winter. I admit, since we got the Subaru, I’ve woken up, rolled over, and gone back to sleep for forty-five minutes mroe than I should have, because I can drive the Subie to work in a storm. That’ll change next winter, because honestly, parking is ridiculous.

    Realistically though, I walk 6km to work, and 6km home, call it four days a week, in the winter. Come spring, I bike. Again, 6km to work, and 6km home. In my prime (which, really, over 6km is always) I can cover that 6km in approximately twelve minutes. Obeying the traffic laws, before anyone says anything about cyclists. In fact, historically, I can do my commute by bike FASTER than I can drive it in the car. Think about that.

    And every day I walk, or ride, I keep 12km off the car. Even at optimal fuel economy (call it 10L/100km, for ease of use) that means I’m not using approximately 7L (1.75 US gallon, approx) of gas a week, commuting.

    7 litres you say? Well, big deal, right? who gives a fuck about 7 litres of gas?

    I said the same thing about coffee, too. Coffee costs about a buck fifty a cup at Tim Hortons. Who cares about a buck-fifty for a coffee, that’s nothing.

    Ok, do the math though. I’ve done it before. $1.50 x 10/week = $15/week. $15/week x 26 weeks = $390. And that’s on the cheap side. But it’s “just pocket change. Like the gas.

    So, lets look at the gas.

    7L a week, at (for regular, at today’s price of $1.30.9) is $9.163/week. Times 26 weeks, is just about $240/year. On top of that, though, is PARKING. Parking at work is about $90 a month now. So, $240 in gas, plus $1080 in parking for the year. Oh, plus the extra your insurance company charges you for driving to work/commuting, too, that’s about $100/year.

    My commuter bike cost me about $600.

    So, in one year, ostensibly, by NOT driving, actually, by simply NOT DRIVING MY COMMUTE, I’ve saved approximately $1500. But, I’ve also kept the emissions from about 200L of gas out of the atmosphere, as well. How much? Burning 1 gallon of gasoline (3.73L) with 10% ethanol, creates approximately 17.68lbs of CO2. Basically, not commuting saved about thirty-four pounds of CO2 a week, for me. Which comes out to around 1768lbs a year. That’s pretty damn good.

    In my case, “being a tree-hugging hippie socialist” saved the environment 805lbs of carbon dioxide, and my pocketbook about $1500. So, that’s negatively affecting the economy, how, exactly?

    Which brings us to back to carbon tax. It turns out that the Carbon Tax in BC turned more people into, you know, me. The change isn’t made by extremes, on either side. It’s made by average people who do the math and modify their lifestyles accordingly.

    http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/03/british-columbia-carbon-tax-sanity

    I remember the palaver when BC’s Carbon Tax was instituted in 2008. It was a SERIOUSLY big deal. But here we are, five, six years later, and… look at that. It appears to have worked without a] destroying the economy and b] ruining the lives of lower- and middle-class incomes. In fact, it’s actually (apparently) HELPED. The article here (beginning of the paragraph) is worth a read. I’ll wait.

    So, again, it’s not turned BC into a province of tree-hugging hippies who hate cars, and anyone who drives one. It`s made them think about how being environmentally conscious can help their own bottom line. And it`s proved that it can be done. In fact, it can even be incentivized. And you don`t have to give up a lot, beyond, you know, getting in the car to drive three blocks to buy a bag of Snickers. Which, really, you should quit doing anyway.

    Look, for all the joking, I’m seriously not the poster-child for the anti-car/enviro movement. But my feelings on the matter are simple. We either are (likely, well supported by science) damaging the environment or we are not. We can either do something to create efficiencies and cleanliness, or we can not bother, because it’s easier not to. The outcome is either we’re right, and by doing something, we avert a larger problem. Or, we’re wrong, and we save some money long-term, and create a cleaner environment while doing it. It’s actually win/win, not, as the various conservative factions would have you believe, lose/lose. I mean, being eco-friendly is KILLING Tesla, right?

    At the end of the day, from a purely selfish stand-point, I drive for fun. I do. I use it to get around, and get things done, but I love to drive. So, why would I do it, spend the money to do it, in my commute? That hellish, stop’n’go, mind-numbing idiocy of a commute? Not only can I commute faster by bike, but I can also save my gas money for when it counts. On the track, and going on cruises, with the windows down, the stereo up, and that marvelous exhaust noise getting me right down in my cockles.

    **My math was off dramatically. Corrected, and actually, saving the same amount of money saves a shit-ton more carbon (7L/US Gallon? WTF? I know better than that! 3.73L/US Gallon