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2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Review

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If you think I do too many reviews of the fifth generation Mustang, you may be right. So far, I have done a 2012 Mustang V6, 2014 Mustang 5.0 GT, and a 2005 Mustang V6 (all manual transmission coupes of course.) Well, now I have an additional manual coupe to add to the list: the 2013 Mustang Boss 302. The history with the Mustang harks back to the 1960s, or more specifically 1964 when Lee Iocacca came up with the idea for a sporty and practical vehicle for the masses. Equipped in many body styles as well as numerous powertrain configurations to suit the American tastes, Mustang sales skyrocketed. In just 18 months after it debuted, the Mustang sold over a million units. For six generations, the Mustang has successfully cultivated its heritage while morphing into a household name. The Mustang also introduced several notable special editions such as the Shelby Mustangs, Bullitt, and the Boss 302. Due to the success of the first Mustang, Chevrolet scrambled to develop a worthy adversary which would become the Camaro. Boasting small and big box V8 engines, the Camaro proved its advantages over the Mustang which featured smaller engines. The original Boss 302 was Ford’s answer to the Camaro. The 302 name is derived from its 302 cubic inch engine. This car was developed in secret, so if anybody asked what car this was, the employees in charge of this car always referred to it as the “Boss’ car”, hence the Boss designation. It was also developed for a racing homologation series, hence the mechanical modifications. The first Boss 302 was sold in 1969-1970, and it was revived in 2012 with production ending in 2013. Think of the Boss 302 as a Mustang 5.0 liter V8 GT with mechanical and visual tweaks. If you want to go for a more extreme version, there was a Boss 302 Laguna Seca edition available. It featured more extreme suspension tweaks, the deletion of the rear seats for a brace to enhance structural rigidity, and it came in four colors with a red roof and red accents. With that said, as soon as the opportunity to review a Boss presented itself, I just knew I had to do it.  Continue reading

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1994 Acura Legend LS Coupe and GS Sedan Review

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Rewind to the 1980s when Honda was making inroads in the mainstream car market with its Accord and Civic models. Honda sought to provide a reliable and affordable alternative to the German luxury marques. In 1986, Honda launched its luxury division, Acura in North America. The first generation Legend was actually a joint effort of Honda and Austin Rover (a British car company). Rover had a reputation for making luxury cars in the UK, but wanted to sell luxury cars in North America whereas Honda sought to produce a luxury car that catered to the tastes of North American, European, and Japanese buyers. The partnership produced the Legend and the Sterling 800 Series (sold as a Rover in the UK). Even though the Acura Legend looked similar to a 1986 Honda Accord, it appealed to Honda buyers with its luxury features and prestige and reliability while it also appealed to buyers who wouldn’t consider a Honda as a luxury car. The combination of affordability, luxury, and reliability was a winner as the Acura Legend became the best selling luxury import in the U.S by 1988. The Legend’s success proved to Toyota and Nissan that there was a market for Japanese luxury brands in the U.S, which resulted in the creation of Lexus and Infiniti. The second generation Legend debuted in late 1990 as a 1991 model. With the arrival of the smaller Vigor sedan, the Legend increased in size and power as to position it in line with competing large luxury sedans. For 1994, Acura refreshed the Legend, and for the sedan, a top of the line GS version was added. The coupe was sold in L and LS trims, while the sedan was sold in Base (dropped in 1994), L, LS, SE (added in 1995), and the GS (added in 1994). Do you rememeber the Acura ILX and the NSX that I reviewed? These two Legends belong to the same person as the ILX and NSX. How often do I get to review two cars that are the same year, both top of the line versions, same color, and same engine and transmission? The only differences are in the number of doors and mileage. The Legend sedan has around 147,000 miles which isn’t too bad, but here’s the kicker. The Legend coupe has…over 530,000 miles, and on the original engine, transmission, and clutch. Unfortunately because the coupe is on its original clutch i.e. barely hanging on for life, I drove the sedan. Fortunately, the owner, Tyson tells me there is no difference in the sedan and coupe’s driving dynamics. So how does a 20 year old Acura measure up?

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2007 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Review

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There are many things that I do not understand about the world: the existence of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, the difference between turtles and turquoises, and why everybody is obsessed with the Jeep Wrangler. Don’t get me wrong; the Wrangler’s cool factor is sky high, and there’s no manlier car than a Wrangler. But what perplexes me is why everybody has to have one. The Wrangler has a long history that dates back to the 1940s, but it wasn’t till the later generations that the Wrangler became popular. The 1997-2006 TJ generation (Wranglers’ generations are classified by code names) that I reviewed back in December was a fun and supremely capable off roading machine, but as a SUV overall, it was way too compromised to make me want one. The TJ was loved by only the diehard off roading enthusiasts and some individuals of the general population. But when the redesigned Wrangler debuted in 2007 (code named JK), all of a sudden everybody wanted one. The JK generation featured many new firsts that were not previously available with the previous generations. This generation offered a four door body style dubbed “Unlimited”,  its first ever navigation option, power windows, and remote locks. Despite its popularity in my hometown, I never got the chance to review this generation. The reason being is that if I am going to review a Wrangler, it better be a two door and a manual. Sadly, the increase in the Wrangler’s popularity also correlates to more consumers buying the Unlimited with an automatic transmission. But this summer, I finally got the chance to review a proper Wrangler in two door configuration with a stick.

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2012 Toyota Hilux 2.5 D-4D Review

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To tell you the truth, I never knew the Hilux existed until my first trip to England. I got an English car magazine, and there was a road test of the Toyota Hilux. I was confused, because it did not look like anything like the Tacoma we have in North America. I searched the Toyota Hilux online, and I was surprised to learn that the Hilux is another truck currently sold by Toyota everywhere except North America. The Hilux actually was sold in America from 1968-1994, but only the first generation (1968-1973) used the Hilux name. Starting in 1973, it was sold as the Toyota Truck (later called Pickup), and the fourth generation (1983-1988) introduced an SUV version of this truck that became the 4Runner which also was sold as the Hilux Surf in other countries. It was not until the fifth generation of this truck that Toyota would start producing two entirely different trucks for North America and the rest of the world. Toyota wanted to build a truck that catered to the tastes of the American market, while keeping the Hilux. Starting in 1995, the Tacoma was sold as Toyota’s compact truck, with the Hilux sold in other continents. The Hilux grew in size and fame, and became a legend in terms of reliability and off road performance. This summer, I visited Sri Lanka, and I had the opportunity to review a 2012 Hilux to see what we Americans were missing out on.  Continue reading

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2005 Infiniti G35 Review

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Infinti’s G Series started with the very first G20. Launched in 1990, the G20 was Infiniti’s effort at tapping into the entry luxury market dominated by the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz 190/C-Class. As a rebadged Nissan Primera, the G20 marketed itself as a sport sedan with the tagline, “Born in Japan. Educated in Europe. Now available in America”. Despite receiving critical acclaim for its sporting pretensions and overall competence, the G20 failed to make a dent in the entry luxury market. Infiniti temporarily discontinued the G20 after 1996. After a two year hiatus, Infiniti revived the G20 as a second generation model. This G20 also failed to garner the attention of luxury car buyers, and it was discontinued. In 2003, Infiniti’s owner, Nissan, was fustrated, and prompted Infiniti to get serious in making luxury cars. The G35 debuted in 2003, and it was based off Nissan’s FM platform which underpinned the Nissan Z sports car and the Infiniti FX SUV. The FM stood for front midship which meant that the engine was pushed all the way back as much as possible for better weight distribution. As a rebadged Nissan Skyline, the G35 was Infiniti’s first serious attempt at stealing buyers away from the perennial favorite, the BMW 3-Series. Continue reading

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1993 Ford Bronco Eddie Bauer Review

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Competing with the Jeep CJ-5 and International Harvester Scout SUVs, the first Bronco debuted in 1966. With no automatic transmission or power steering option, the Bronco was considered very spartan for its time, but proved durable and capable off road. It become a favorite for off roading enthusiasts, and it was used widely for off roading competitions. This generation lasted 11 years, before a new generation of Broncos debuted in 1978. Starting from 1978, the Broncos were divided in two categories: the Early Broncos and the Full-Size Broncos. The 1978 Bronco was based off the F100’s platform, and used the truck’s powertrain and other components. Three more generations followed, and they were all a derivative of the F-Series truck. The last generation (1992-1996) was the most well-known, mostly because it was OJ Simpson’s vehicle in a  highly publicized car chase. When I asked my mother if she knew what a Ford Bronco was, she said yes. I was shocked, and I asked her if it was because of the Bronco’s heritage or its coolness factor. She asked me, “Wasn’t that the car OJ Simpson was driving in that car chase?”. Go figure. Ford discontinued production of the Bronco in 1996.

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