Mon12222014

On The Road

Tony has definitely fixed this Fiat


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The 2015 Fiat 500x – unveiled at last month’s Los Angeles Auto Show – goes a long way in repairing the brand’s bad reputation in the United States. The crossover was among the hits of the show.

Back in the old days – that is, the late 1960s when Genie drove a Pontiac Le Mans and Gary had an MGB – the standard insult to any friend driving a Fiat 124 was that the letters in the sports car’s name stood for “Fix it again, Tony.”

That phrase may have been one of the final nails in the shipping crate used to remove Fiat from the American marketplace until it returned from across the ocean in 2009 to rescue Chrysler from oblivion.

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Best family car? Most practical? Favorite sports car? Matt weighs in

As my column deadline approached, I thought of the most common question I’m asked: What type of car would I buy?

This is a question I have been asked nearly every week I have been in business. I have had the opportunity to drive many different cars in my life, which helps me answer the question.

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Hurray for Hatchbacks


Courtesy of Hyundai
The Hyundai Elantra ($25,485 as tested) has solid stability.

Annual auto shows – such as the one in San Francisco over Thanksgiving weekend and the Los Angeles event the week before – offer plenty of excitement for those who love cars. They’re filled with sports cars, super cars, driverless cars and cars powered with alternative fuels.

Recently, however, we’ve been most impressed by the practical end of the market – the growing number of really good multipurpose automobiles selling for prices that younger buyers and people on budgets can afford.

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Fiesta fun


Courtesy of FOrd
The sporty 2014 Ford Fiesta ST boasts more than enough power to teach new drivers the techniques of efficient driving without risk that the car will get out of control without warning.

Once in a great while, we drive a car that we agree is the very best in its category. Not just one of the best, but the absolute best. The buyer, in this case, is one who wants a car that’s fun to drive – even on a race track – and makes him or her smile every time the door is opened but is affordable and practical enough to meet all normal transportation needs. The car is the subcompact 2014 Ford Fiesta ST, and it’s no ordinary economy compact or even run-of-the-mill hot hatch.

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How to get personalized plates

Q: I want to order a personalized license plate for my sister. How do I know if the sequence of letters and words that I want is available?

A: The California DMV website makes this easier than ever. By visiting dmv.ca.gov and clicking the “Special Interest and Personalized Plate” link, you’ll be able to enter the configuration of numbers and/or letters that you want and know immediately if it is available.

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Easy strategies for countering 'hard starts'

In the past couple of weeks, I have had a few of my VW and Audi customers complain about “hard starts” from their vehicles in the morning. As the weather turns colder, there are things we can look for and check to try to prevent this from happening.

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For your consideration: Chrysler 300S, Nissan Leaf


Courtesy of ChrYsler
The Chrysler 300S rules in size, quality and equipment for the price.

We recently drove a pair of new models – the Chrysler 300S and the Nissan Leaf SL. Following is our quick take on each of them.

Chrysler 300S

What is it? Full-size near-luxury four-door, five-passenger family sedan.

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