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SHORT DRIVES...

December 12, 2016

SHORT DRIVES...

SHORT DRIVES —
       WEEK OF 12-12-16…

by Jim Corbran, Automotive Columnist



When I was a young lad spending my paper route money on car magazines and Heath bars, around this time of year Motor Trend magazine would tout what was called by many (mostly MT editors and the award winners, I guess) their “coveted” Car of the Year Award. They’re still giving the COTY award out on an annual basis, but it’s been years since I’ve heard it described as coveted (in their press release, Chevrolet, this year’s winner, called it renowned).
But, it sure can’t hurt to win. The 2017 COTY is going to the new Bolt EV (you can read why here). As you might gather from the name, the Bolt (above) is Chevy’s newest entry into the electric car market, this one being a compact with an EPA-estimated range of 238 miles on a charge. Its $37,495 MSRP could possibly be offset by an available tax credit of $7,500 — see your accountant for details…


I didn’t even know this was a thing, but Subaru has just announced that it is returning as the title sponsor for the 2017 Mt. Washington Hillclimb. If you’ve been driving anywhere in the northeastern United States during the past 40 years or so, you’ve probably seen the bumper stickers. I even have one, plastered on the side of my vintage Coleman cooler which actually climbed Mt. Washington twice (I didn’t put the sticker on my car because I knew the car was temporary, while the cooler might outlive me). The first time it was so foggy we didn’t even know there was a building at the top, even though we spent half-an-hour in the parking lot. The second climb two years later was a revelation! Next year’s Hillclimb will take place from July 6-9. It was first run in 1904 — seven years before the first Indy 500 and 12 years prior to the first Pikes Peak Hillclimb. It’s a 7.4 mile course, and the current record-holder is David Higgins, who in 2014 drove his 2014 Subaru WRX STI VT14r (above left) to the top in 6:09:09. Having driven up there, all I can say to that is “Whoa!” Read more about the Hillclimb here


And finally, BMW has announced that the new 5 Series Sedan (left and bottom right) will hit markets around the world this coming February. This seventh-generation 5 Series will follow in the footsteps of 7.9 million previous 5 Series models, beginning with the 520 introduced in 1972, which slotted between the smaller 2002 and the full-size (by German standards) E3 series (2500/2800, 3.0/3.3 models, some also known as Bavaria in North America) seen at right. The new 5 Series’ styling is evolutionary, and the car takes a step towards automated driving with extended functions for both the optional Active Cruise Control, and the Steering and Lane Assistant. Depending on market, you’ll find either a four or six under the hood, gas or diesel — and in March (in some markets) a plug-in hybrid will be offered. Read more here

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