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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

Don Adair: Dodge Durango, RWD outlier in a world of FWD crossovers

Consider the Dodge Durango, a rear-wheel outlier in a world of front-wheel crossovers. Like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, whose platform it shares, the Durango uses a crossover-style unibody rather than a truck’s heavier body-on-frame platform. Both rigs shun the crossover’s front-wheel-drive convention, employing rear-wheel-drive instead…. Read more

Dashcam consideratiions

Driver use of dashcams (dashboard cameras) is rising worldwide, including popularity gains in the United States. They were first widely employed in Russia as a defense against police corruption and insurance fraud. Mounted via suction cup, adhesive or Velcro to the dashboard or windshield, they… Read more

Don Adair: Mazda CX-9 faces down winter’s worst

Bad weather in the mountains forced a schedule change, bringing us a Mazda CX-9 for review and not the Genesis G90 we’d expected. The Seattle vendor that delivers our test vehicles thought better of driving a 420-horsepower, rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan over snow-hammered Snoqualmie Pass. It… Read more

Do cars still matter?

Yesterday, I conducted an informal survey, noting the vehicles that were passing through my residential neighborhood for about 20 minutes. The traffic consisted of fathers, mothers and others who were picking up picking up kids from school. Maybe the survey results are skewed with this… Read more

Don Adair: Chevy’s compact Cruze joins growing hatchback fray

Reversing years of resistance, Americans are finally buying into hatchbacks. They have good reason. Hatchbacks offer more utility than the sedans they’re based on, and they’re more economical to own and operate than crossovers. Hatchbacks account for a small fraction of US sales, but their… Read more

Mixed bag of EV predictions

Last year, I wrote about a recent EV (electric vehicle) development resurgence. After the first wave of marginally successful EV marketing, Google, Apple, General Motors, Volkswagen, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Nissan, Toyota, Tesla and others are at it again. Limited range, high cost and difficulty finding… Read more

Don Adair: Acura MDX tackles winter with world-class AWD system

I first experienced Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH-AWD) system piloting an MDX across Snoqualmie Pass in a blinding snowstorm. The torque-vectoring system transformed a white-knuckle drive into a revelation. As snow deepened and other drivers slowed, I fought the urge to speed up. The faster… Read more