June 19, 2014 by Gary Grant Leave a Comment Last year the folks at Mazda Canada decided to begin hosting an annual event that was unlike the usual car launch. Called the Mazda Adventure Rally, the event pitted journalist teams against each other in an attempt to win $10,000 for the charity of their choice. I was fortunate to be selected as part of the Toronto Star Wheels team, aptly named Team Star Wars along with my fellow Wheels scribe, Peter Bleakney. Of course our ride wore the most Canadian of all numbers, #27. The event took us through Colorado and Utah, across gold rush era mountain paths and through desert canyons. You can read about our incredible experience here and here. For this year’s event, Team Star Wars was again invited to compete in the event, which would have much much greater secrecy leading up to the event to ensure that none of the competitors had a leg up on the other teams. That meant that we were boarded onto a chartered flight without any idea where we … [Read more...] about Second Annual Mazda Adventure Rally wrap-up
Miata see through hard top
One reason shoppers choose a truck-based full-size SUV over a crossover or minivan is the ability to tow heavier loads while still carrying three rows of passengers. During Cars.com's 2018 Full-Size SUV Challenge, judges towed with the four competitors: the Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia. Judges Mark Williams, editor of PickupTrucks.com; Aaron Bragman, Cars.com Detroit bureau chief; and myself towed from Chandler, Ariz., through the Tonto National Forest, up twisting mountain roads to Globe, Ariz., and back. One route was completed with the trucks unloaded and the other towing a 3,500-pound camper trailer. The 2018 Full-Size SUV ChallengeResults | Towing | Video Drivelines and Powertrains Three of the SUVs had V-8 engines, while the Ford used a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. While on paper it looks like the Ford is at a disadvantage with fewer cylinders and horsepower, that simply wasn't the case with the trailer hitched to the back … [Read more...] about Which 2018 Full-Size SUV Is the Best Tow Rig?
Full Car Details More Reviews An empty-nester and former Infiniti owner, my brother is looking for a new car. “I want something sporty, upscale, and fun-to-drive. I’m thinking coupe,” he told me, asking for recommendations. Naturally, the 2018 Infiniti Q60 was one of the vehicles I mentioned to him. He loved his first-generation G35 (which he traded for a Ford Fusion Energi and carpool lane access when his employer transferred him to California), and he really likes the look of the latest Q60. Besides, there aren’t many cars to choose from in the Q60’s segment. It competes against the Audi A5 and S5, Cadillac ATS, BMW 4 Series, Lexus RC, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Trade refinement for outright performance, and you can toss the Chevrolet Camaro SS, Dodge Challenger SRT, and Ford Mustang GT into the mix. Prices for the Infiniti Q60 start at $39,945. That outlay provides a Q60 2.0t in Pure trim, equipped with a turbocharged 4-cylinder … [Read more...] about Ratings and Review: Style and substance eclipse driving dynamics in the 2018 Infiniti Q60 3.0t
Like stories like this? You’ll see every article as soon as it’s published by reading the print edition of Grassroots Motorsports. Subscribe now. Story By J.G. Pasterjak • Photos by Mark Langello Whether or not you’re a fan of his music, you have to recognize Trent Reznor—the creative force behind Nine Inch Nails—as a bit of a pioneer in the music industry. Sure, he took inspiration from the many bands who paved the way before him, but he did something particularly creative when he released “Year Zero” in 2007: He made several of the album’s songs available via Apple’s GarageBand software. Listeners could then take an active approach to the music, remixing, tweaking and rearranging tracks within the software and creating something wholly their own from the pieces Reznor gave them. So, what’s this have to do with a Porsche 962 and a Miata at Roebling Road? Bear with us; we’re getting there. See, … [Read more...] about Fair Fight? Spec Miata vs. Porsche 962
I had a 2018 Subaru BRZ Limited with a six-speed manual and half a day to play on wet, windy roads hemmed by pine trees in the foothills of a massive mountain range. But Michigan was on my mind. Some cars work everywhere. Michigan's the perfect place to find those that do: The roads are flat and pockmarked, and the seasonal extremes are brutal. It's easy to love a car on one of those bucket-list Alpine passes, but on Michigan roads the car has to work hard to win you over. For example, the MX-5 Miata works in Michigan just fine. It's fun in all conditions in which you can get the rear tires to hook up, and some that you can't. It cheerfully entertains in traffic, on city streets, undulating but uninteresting country roads. Some grand tourers work perfectly well there, too, soaking up enough punishment from the atrocious roadways without battering the occupants. The more voluptuous Aston Martins are particularly good at this trick, and they're plenty entertaining to cruise around in … [Read more...] about 2018 Subaru BRZ Quick Spin Review
As I prepare to start my 10th year (really) working with NASA Mid-Atlantic, and seventh year behind the wheel on track, it only feels appropriate to give a little nod to the equally-little car that set me down the path of autocross, Hyperdrive, HPDE, Time Trial, and eventually, racing. My freshman year at James Madison University saw me step onto the football field as a member of the Marching Royal Dukes. I was a total “fine arts nerd” in high school and figured that after four years of (very fun) marching band in high school, the logical step was to continue in college. Spoiler: it wasn’t. I had an okay time but my heart wasn’t in it. Thankfully, I found Madison Motorsports at my freshman “clubs fair” and dove right in. The MM crowd was incredibly welcoming, even for the freshmen who couldn’t bring cars to school (“Freshmen may have cars as sophomores,” as JMU says). But, after securing a summer job working for the Apple Store back … [Read more...] about Winning the HPDE: Five Years in a Mazda Miata
A Long-term Relationship Ed. Note: Clean Fleet Report, like Steve, focuses on green machines, but we don’t assume that any technology (like battery or fuel cell electrics, is the solution. We like to assume consumers make rational choices and those choices lead to them buying a variety of different vehicles, including two-passenger sports cars like the Miata/MX-5. We view the Miata as one of the more fuel efficient vehicles in this class. It’s great for your health to eat lean chicken and sautéed vegetables every day. But sometimes you want a big, juicy hamburger. The MX-5 Miata is an automotive treat that I’ve loved for 26 years. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been focusing my automotive attention on cars that are easier on the environment—hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and particularly, all-electric vehicles. I even ordered my own Chevrolet Bolt EV, which has been my personal car for more than 14 months. I believe that … [Read more...] about Personal: Mazda MX-5/Miata–My Indulgence
THE OLD BLACK FIREBIRD was blocking our exit from the gas station. As the passenger door opened, I saw the look on the face of the immense, camouflage-clad good ol' boy who sprang out like he'd just spotted a new form of game on his personal hunting grounds. Throwing the Cadillac ATS-V coupe into neutral, I jumped out to greet the man before he reached our group. I spotted a sun-worn but freshly polished badge on the Pontiac's front fender. No way. Could it be? Advertisement - Continue Reading Below "Eighty-eight GTA, am I right?"The driver, also wearing full hunting camo but half the size of his friend, laughed behind his wraparound sunglasses."Yeah! Been working on her for a while. Lot of specific parts to this model, you know? Everything from steering wheel to spoiler. Hard to get. What you boys doing down here? Some kind of test? That's the new Ferrari, right?""488 GTB," the hulking passenger clarified. "Which makes this," and I paused for effect, "GTA meets GTB." In the space of … [Read more...] about The 2016 Road & Track Performance Car of the Year
2018 Subaru BRZ Limited with a six-speed manual and half a day to play on wet, windy roads hemmed by pine trees in the foothills of a massive mountain range. But Michigan was on my mind.Some cars work everywhere. Michigan's the perfect place to find those that do: The roads are flat and pockmarked, and the seasonal extremes are brutal. It's easy to love a car on one of those bucket-list Alpine passes, but on Michigan roads the car has to work hard to win you over. For example, the MX-5 Miata works in Michigan just fine. It's fun in all conditions in which you can get the rear tires to hook up, and some that you can't. It cheerfully entertains in traffic, on city streets, undulating but uninteresting country roads.Some grand tourers work perfectly well there, too, soaking up enough punishment from the atrocious roadways without battering the occupants. The more voluptuous Aston Martins are particularly good at this trick, and they're plenty entertaining to cruise around in — or … [Read more...] about 2018 Subaru BRZ Quick Spin Review | Curves required
Earlier this year, we got wind of a new tire from General called the G-Max RS, which seemed to have some spectacular claims attached to it. General claimed for its new Ultra High Performance (UHP) tire that its dry handling would be light years ahead of its B-segment competitors, have up to 35 percent better tread life, a class-leading 50,000-mile warranty, a segment-busting 360 UTGQ treadwear rating, and an unprecedented 45-day free trial period.What’s more, the G-Max RS just looks the part. Arguably, it’s the best-looking UHP tire in the hotly contested B-market UHP segment, with an aggressive tread pattern, a rounded shoulder, and a smooth, unadorned sidewall. When it hits dealerships in late February of 2018, it will be available in 50 SKUs, many of them in late-model domestic rear-drive performance sizes, such as those for Mustang, Camaro, Challenger, and Charger. Moreover, because of its high grip, owners of pro touring, auto cross, and road-course track rats will be … [Read more...] about General’s G-Max RS May Change The Way UHP Tires Are Made!