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Don Adair: Toyota 4Runner conquers winter like no other

It’s tempting to call Toyota’s 4Runner the last of a dying breed. In fact, it’s more like an extinct breed. You only need one hand to count the midsize, truck-based SUVs for sale in the US. The SUV’s decline makes sense. Crossovers, which are built… Read more

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Give left foot a rest

For decades, cars with manual transmissions were the norm. Whether it was with a three-on-the-tree, four-on-the floor, or a five-speed gearbox popularized in Japanese imports, mastering the friction point of a clutch and selecting an appropriate gear was every driver’s past quest. During the manual… Read more

Risky reality for young drivers

For youthful drivers, especially teens, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death. Admittedly, part of that reality is that the older driving populace succumbs to an ever-growing list of maladies (heart disease and cancer among them) as they age. Those causes of death… Read more

Spring’s annual onslaught

Marking spring, every year, an onslaught of bicycles, motorcycles, children and other pedestrians begin mixing with traffic. An “onslaught” implies an event of overwhelming nature, so maybe it’s more of an emergence, since dealing with these entities should not be that daunting. The annual emergence… Read more

Hacking back in news

I’ve previously reported of a “vehicle takeover” performed by a couple of expert computer hackers with a laptop and a Jeep. In 2015, Charlie Miller and Chris Valacek took partial control of a 2014 Jeep Cherokee (could have been any modern vehicle), messing with its… Read more

Don Adair: Jeep’s Cherokee offers buyers a profusion of choice

Should you wander into a Jeep showroom in search of a compact crossover, Jeep wants to make sure you won’t walk out for a lack of choice. The crossover boom has been very good for Jeep, whose sales have exploded since the recession ended. In… Read more

Unintended consequences

Sometimes, policies in placed do not achieve their intended goals. Instead of simply having no effect, a policy intended to make things better might make things even worse. For example, late Dutch traffic engineer, Hans Monderman, famously maintained that many of our road regulations, designs… Read more

Don Adair: Toyota’s full-size Avalon wins hearts and minds

Can a car and its owner be soulmates? I don’t mean that in the way some people name their cars. I mean it like the reader who called to tell me how much he loves his Toyota Avalon. This fellow’s love affair with his Avalon… Read more

Safety checks unpopular with locals

After my recent column exploring vehicle safety inspections, many readers “voiced” opinions on the topic via email. The tally of those comments revealed 70% of the responders saying “no” to mandatory checks, 20% thinking “maybe” and only 10% in favor of them. In support of… Read more

Don Adair: New engine choice, other updates keep ‘17 Explorer fresh

To grasp the impact of crossovers on sedan sales, we need look no further than Ford. As it has for years, Ford’s full-size F-150 pickup easily tops brand sales. It’s been the country’s, best-selling vehicle for 36 years. But the No. 2 vehicle in Ford’s… Read more

Worsening driver distraction

Other than individual reform, there is no way to substantially end driver distraction caused by behavior like roadside rubbernecking, fiddling with vehicle controls, or daydreaming. We’ve been doing those things for years, along with disciplining children, grooming, changing CDs, et cetera. Drivers may have even… Read more

Don Adair: Mazda CX-3: A youthful crossover even a grandmother could love

If you’d asked me last month to describe the typical Mazda CX-3 driver, school teachers would have made the cut. Grandmothers probably not. The CX-3 is Mazda’s subcompact crossover. It’s small, sporty and exuberantly designed. Its $20,000 price tag targets first-time buyers — young professionals… Read more

Don Adair: Made-over Honda CR-V so good it feels inevitable

A whiff of inevitability attends today’s column. There is for starters the inevitability — or at least the ubiquity — of its subject. In 1995, Honda’s CR-V pioneered the compact crossover segment and, since, nearly four million copies have been sold in the US alone…. Read more

Do we want inspections?

Where do you stand on mandatory, periodic safety inspections for vehicles registered to operate on pubic roadways? It’s yet another level of government involvement and increased regulation, but given the operating condition of certain automobiles, inspections might have merit. As for one concerned driver, reader… Read more

Don Adair: Toyota Tundra gets the job done in tough conditions

For weeks, the winding, downhill dirt road between our house and the highway was an ice sheet. It was treacherous enough that leaving home invoked a three-step ritual: 1) engage the lowest gear available in whatever rig we were driving; 2) take a deep breath;… Read more

A noteworthy trend

Automobiles were barely invented when the death toll resulting from vehicle crashes was tallied for 1899. 26 individuals lost their life that year in a trend that would move markedly upward. For each successive year, U.S. fatalities increased to the point where nearly 100 motorists… Read more

When to use the left lane

Periodically, the topic of left-lane louts arises. Those are drivers who perpetually occupy the left lane of multi-lane roadways without due cause. This time it came up when a young driver told me that he has a right to drive in that lane if he… Read more