December 28, 2012: We’re off this week, and will be back in the New Year. However, we want to send a shout out to Jack Yan, publisher of the fashion magazine Lucire and the automotive encyclopedia Autocade, and Keith Adams, publisher/founder of AROnline. It seems Keith posted a comment on, and link to, Editor Sawyer’s Lincoln story on his Facebook page, and Mr. Yan decided to take a look. That resulted in this e-mail to The Virtual Driver: “I haven’t bookmarked an automotive site for some time. You’ve just broken the drought. Keep up the great work.” Talk about an unexpected Christmas present!
December 21, 2012: We’re just a few days short of Christmas, and a week off, but loaded for bear. First up, Chris Sawyer tests the 2013 Buick Regal GS, a vehicle that rekindles the relationship between Buick and Opel. Next, he gets the inside story on Ford’s Transit van. Al Vinikour drives the Toyota Venza, a high-top Camry with a unique style. Infiniti rethinks its naming strategy, comes up with—surprise!—letters and numbers, and announces a new model to be built in Britain. Speaking of the English, McLaren launches a line of clothing and accessories for MP4-12C owners, all in basic black. Chris Sawyer buys a book (!) about a different kind of horsepower, and reviews it. And Al Vinikour takes on people who hog parking spots.
December 14, 2012: It didn’t start out as a Mercedes week, but it sure turned into one. First, Chris Sawyer came across photographs of old Mercedes concepts and styling models on its media web site. He downloaded a few to share, with commentary. While he was there, he found Mercedes’ explanation of the new CLA-Class 4Matic system; a first for the company in that it is used on a transverse front-drive platform. Finally, there is the update of the E-Class for the 2014 model year. Still on the luxury car track, Sawyer shares his memories of his encounters with Lincoln. See why he isn’t filled with confidence in the Lincoln Motor Company. And while all that was happening, GM introduced its new light-duty pickups. Darwinian in their adherence to evolution, are they enough to stem the sales tide? Finally, Al Vinikour combines Talk Radio, infotainment systems and the Civil War in a single column.
December 7, 2012: Though this may be the 71st anniversary of the event behind FDR’s most famous speech, there’ll be no sneak attack in this week’s issue. First up is Al Vinikour’s First Run review of the 2013 VW Beetle Convertible. Al was pleased with the drop top, but not the weather he encountered on the trip. Next, Chris Sawyer drives the Chevy Sonic, and discovers that GM can build a decent small car. Speaking of surprises, he also finds a press release that is the automotive equivalent of junk food; worthless but oh-so tasty. Finally, Al Vinikour asks when a safety feature actually becomes a liability.