Pataky's picks for best cars on the road

There are plenty of technical things I could write about, but this month I decided to instead just focus on cars I like and like to work on.

Because I have been immersed in the automobile industry for most of my life, I look at cars differently than most people. I look at reliability first, then safety and finally comfort. I’ve learned over the years that comfort and reliability do not always go hand in hand.

Review: New Cadillac SUV, BMW sedan make the grade


Mike Hagerty/Special to the Town Crier
The Cadillac XT6, above, and BMW M340i, below, include plenty of high-end features and offer an array of options.

Cadillac XT6 Sport AWD offers power & elegance

Cadillac buyers who wanted a three-row SUV but didn’t want the super-sized Escalade have had to look elsewhere. There was a big gap in size and perceived prestige between the Escalade and the XT5.

That’s over now.

Latest BMW X2 might be right for you


Mike Hagerty/Special to the Town Crier
The 2019 BMW X2 M35i features a twin-turbo 2-liter four-cylinder engine with 302 horsepower.

Small crossover SUVs are a thing right now – and most of them lean to the “utility” part of “sport utility vehicle.” There’s a cure for that, and it’s the 2019 BMW X2 M35i.

Letting off some steam

A few weeks before giving a presentation on transportation to my son’s first-grade class, I asked him if he had any questions about cars.

The 7-year-old said he wanted to know “what the gas was in the rear pipe.” I asked him to clarify his question: “Do you mean the liquid gas fill-up pipe or the exhaust gas pipe?” He responded, “The pipe in the back that steam comes out of.”

How do kids learn to ride safely on the street?

I think that if you ask most adult cyclists how they learned to ride a bike as a kid, they would answer as I do: “I don’t know.” My only related memory before fifth grade is my younger brother crashing on a steep hill, and I had to somehow get both his bike and mine home two blocks away.

We wouldn’t allow our kids to drive a car without some instruction, and because nearly every adult in this area knows how to drive, it is natural to teach your kids about safety as they ride along with you. Even if they have professional instruction before getting a license, it’s a safe bet that you and the instructor agree on most of the basics.

Highlander reaches new heights


Photos by Mike Hagerty/Special to the Town Crier
The 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited Platinum, above, comes with a 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine. Standard equipment includes navigation and multiple USB ports, below.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – you don’t really know if you love a car until you’ve lived with a car for a bit.

Hours and miles are the best way to know just how good the machine to which you entrust your life and your family’s lives really is. Five minutes in a test-drive around the block with a salesperson at your side doesn’t cut it. And even the typical car reviewer week around town isn’t the same as getting out on the open road for an extended period of time.


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