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Saturday, 30 November 2019


...the vehicle that scored number 1 overall, across all brands and models, was the Lexus IS, pictured above, which scored 99 out of 100 points.

I'd award it 1000 out of 100 points for ugliness. A characteristic Lexus has imbued its products with up and down the line in recent years. Sad.

[Yes, Lexus smacks its cars smartly upside the head with the Ugly Stick. No offense to anyone who drives one, because they ARE great cars in many other ways. As for looks, that Toyota Corolla is questionable, too. I long for more conservative styling, but now that it's not expensive to to make swoops and folds and creases and peaks and points, everybody seems to do it as a way to add value cheaply. --Mike]

In the "it's a small world" category, one of the three-dozen owners of a 2014 ILX 2.4 equipped with a manual transmission lives next door to me.

The couple who rent the house recently bought a clean, used one for their college-age daughter and so far, she's very happy with it.

Now that my curiosity has been aroused, I just may have to cadge a test-drive in it one of these days!

And how did the IS rate in styling? Is there such a poll? I think it could use two little fog lights at the lower corners of that grill... and when you start the car, a voice would come on saying, ” Luke, I am your father”... get it in black. Ha!

For tuly low sales volume, I recall from earlier this year a post on Jalopnik that said a particular model (I think it was a Mitsubishi hatch) had sold -3 the previous month. Which I interpreted to mean no completed sales at all, just 3 unwound deals from the prior month.

It may not have been a Mitsubishi, but on the other hand, a Mitsu makes sense as potentially negative sales.


Since 1983, all but 1 of my cars has been a Honda. An Accord hatchback, an Accord Sedan, and the current Fit. There was a few years with a Caravan and what a disaster that was. I loved the Accords. They suited my needs exactly, were cheap to buy and run, and they were reliable. That's the important word. The Fit is ok. It suits our current needs, but I sure wish there was another couple inches of leg room. I probably would not buy another Honda. I can't stand the infotainment system, and all the models seem to be short on leg room. A Mazda? Maybe. I have neighbours that love theirs.
Apple is another brand going downhill. When my current phone dies (iPhone SE) dies I will certainly not buy another. I'm grossed out by the current models, pun intended.
And more relevant for a photography blog, I currently shoot a Canon, and like it, and the Canon mount glass may make me buy the next one, but I'm not liking where digital cameras are going. They're trying to give us a box that will do everything, and bury it all in a menu so it's done badly. I want to see a variety of boxes that do different things superbly so I can pick the one that suits my needs.

Consumer reports once said (1960s) that the Nikon F was the worst camera you could buy. How could this be? The answer is GIGO (garbage-in-garbage-out). They polled camera repair shops in NYC, and were told they worked on more Nikon Fs than any other camera—of course they did, professional photographers maintain there tools.

Have the mighty really fallen? Were Cadillacs ever reliable? I'm sure Americans like to look to the glorious past of their car (automobile) industry in the same way British people like to dream about the glorious past of the British motorbike industry, but I know for a fact that the far-eastern bikes destroyed Britain's motorbike industry because they were better bikes, and I suspect that the same might be true for the US car industry too.

(Note: by 'better' I don't mean 'prettier' or 'more interesting' , I mean 'less likely to dump all the oil out of the engine and more likely to start in less-than-optimal weather'.)

Something seems to be missing. Where are the Teslas?
(I do not own a Tesla)

I love the Mazda approach of good looks, reliability and road feel but I’m leery of their use of direct injection on SkyActiv engines. Other manufacturers (Ford, Toyota, etc.) use dual systems of both port and direct injection to solve the problem of carbon build-up in the intake port and on the intake valves. While these dual injection systems add both complexity and cost they do seem to be the best solution for this carbon build-up issue that can cause poor performance, cold start misfire, etc.

As I understand it, the PCV system scavenges blow-by and oil mist from the crankcase and routes it back into the intake manifold to be burned and this gunk then collects in the intake port and on the intake valves because there is no longer fuel flowing over the back of the intake valves from the old school standard port injection. Some people (Spec Miata) put an oil catch can in the PCV system to capture these solids before they reach the intake manifold but this requires driver intervention every 10k or so and failing to empty the catch can be rather bad so this is not a good solution for most folks. The standard solution for the carbon build-up issue on direct injection only engines seems to be a good cleaning every 20K to 50K miles. I imagine the cleaning approach (Chemical clean / Remove intake & blast) varies by manufacturer.

I have no direct experience with this issue and all I know comes from the Internet…which as we all know can be less that accurate at times. I’m curious about this because my 19 year old Tacoma is due for replacement. Are there any Mazda owners out there who can chime in and say this is nothing, don’t worry about it, the top-end cleaning is part of the warrantee, or…all you have to do is drive it like ya stole it and the carbon is removed via a lead foot?

Time for a Mazda 3 in the new AWD

A car called an "ILX" is appropriate for you, Mike, as the legendary Pentax LX camera is frequently misidentified by non-photographers as the "Pentax ILX" due to the typography of the model designation on its top plate.

Past few cars have been:
Subaru Outback: Reliable and just always ran great.
Audi Q5: Amazing in the snow. Repairs and regular maintenance costs through the roof.
Acura RDX (present car): Touch pad just love. Service costs are absolutely minimal.
But whenever the sun comes out and the temps above 65 degrees, use my red 1979 VW Beetle (convertible). Manual windows. Standard shift. Doors shut with a unique tin like sound (wife's opinion). Drum brakes take me a bit of time to adapt to them every time I take the Beetle out. But.... People smile and wave to me all the time, thumbs up from custom Rabbit drivers, lots of peace signs thrown my way, rarely play the radio which kills out the engine noise, I can go on and on. Never drove a "vintage" Miata, but surely would be my second choice for a "more modern, dare I say vintage car".

Was my 2006 Dodge Dakota on that list? 105k and an amazing track record of not breaking.

Agree on Caddy. If I were in the market for such a class of car I would actually like to buy something manufactured in my own country. GM can do better.

I beg to differ. That Lexus is in no way related to Darth Vader. It is quite clearly a Cylon.

I'm talking the Lorne Greene-era "by-your-command" chrome-domes, not the more recent fashion models.


I like the Miata I really do.


If I ever can buy a new car, it will be a Lotus Evora :) Sport. Luxury. Make it lighter ;)

Ah... yes...

While Mazda was not my first car, that was a 1968 Mercury Cougar, I did buy a new 1986 Mazda 626. Great car and consequently based on my opinion my girlfriend bought an 86 626 and my mother an 89 626. Mine lasted to 2007 and 375,000 miles.

I missed it but a grad school classmate decided he didn't want his 91 626 5dr. hatchback anymore and gave it to me. Splits time with my 2004 Focus and it is at 200,000 miles and runs great. When my wife's 1990 626 was stolen I went down to Mazda to buy a 2018 Mazda 3 and got a extra discount because I was a loyal Mazda customer. Incredibly most of those at the dealer had never seen an 86-92 626.

The 10 Best Cars that Nobody Buys
Car and Driver Apr 10, 2015

"...those who commute wearing Simpson racing shoes will have to wait for the utterly insane 640-horse CTS-V due later this year. That one, the supercharged, Nürburgring-devouring Caddy that’s basically a four-door Corvette Z06, is the best argument against buying German: ...Why do otherwise-smart people still choose the roundel over the (now wreath-less) crest? Damned if we know."

Here in my neck-of-the-beach we have dealers for all the exotics from Aston Martin to Rolls
Royce, plus all the more common brands like Porsche and Mercedes. But the two cars I see the most are Cadillac and Tesla, plus the occasional flamed BMW Isetta.

People seem to be so emotionally invested in brands, often ones they've never owned or even driven. Why is vehicle worship is so important? All of them do the same job, it's a box to get you from A to B. They suck far too much of your money, including when parked up (which is the majority of the time). That's the power of marketing.

We have two Mazdas, a 2014 CX5 Touring with the 2.5L engine and a 2017 3 Grand Touring with the 2.5L. The CX5 has just under 60K miles and the 3 has 36K. Neither has developed engine problems due to carbon buildup, although I did put chemical cleaner in the tank at around 40K on the CX5. I’m not sure if this would help anyway given it misses the valves.

Both of them are great cars. The 3 is fun and balanced with just the right combination of power and handling. I’m not into overpowered cars. And I also had an older gentleman, who was driving an ancient Dodge Shadow, stop me in a parking lot and ask me about the 3. He said it caught his eye. It’s Titanium Flash by the way.

I should have looked this up before my previous post, but here is an explanation of what Mazda does to prevent carbon buildup in their direct injection engines. And doing your part is fun.


I was more or less given a 2001 Miata about 5 years ago. Many New England winters had taken their toll and the undercarriage rust did it in this summer. I'd never been a sports car guy but I couldn't deal with the idea of no longer enjoying this pleasure and was delighted to locate a lovely 2003, stored away winters (as I do), just a month ago. I had a couple of top-down days, put it away today and can't wait until April.

Actually the bodies of all the new Lexus models are quite nicely sculpted. It's that fackin grille that destroys it. Even if they just downsized the grill by 30% it would make an improvement. As is? Puke.

About a decade ago, I bought a Lexus IS Convertible. Love the car. It looks great. (The ugly stick was used just a couple of years later.) Remarkably reliable. With just over 110,000 miles, I've had only one unscheduled maintenance issue.

@Greg Edwards:
Tesla is in the bottom third of Consumer Reports ratings. There has been a love/hate thing between them. CR loves the technology, performance, handling. But there have been a continuing series of quality-control issues that have resulted in Tesla being dropped from the Recommended list several times, only to o re-recommended after some fixes from the factory.

Remember that CR is not objective- and that they recently called the Tesla a perfect car while ignoring its many build-quality problems. Apart from that glaring failure, CR has avery limited view of the automobile's place in people's lives.
It's rather as if in food, they read only the nutritional values on the side of the box and assess the food accordingly; plain oatmeal takes the prize every time. "It'll keep you alive and it doesn't cost much!" But people buy cars for many more reasons than their mere utility value or cost of ownership, as we all know. The people who eat only to stay alive, and drive a car only because they need to get to work, are (thankfully for the rest of us) only a small part of the market. What kind of dull, joyless camera would CR recommend- if they didn't just suggest that you use your phone, if you really must take pictures?

[Well, in this article they were just talking about reliability, which seems a suitable topic for CR. --Mike]

i don't have a beard and rarely wear a hat as they tend to blow off but otherwise i'm that elderly white guy mentioned above.

Why the CVT scare-mongering?

[Because Scotty Kilmer hates them? --Mike]

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