"Keep Austin Weird." That's the mantra that has maintained this bastion of free thinking in a state that's home to "thinkers" like President Bush. And this month, as musicians, movie makers, and techno-geeks descend upon Austin for the South By Southwest Conferences and Festival (March 7 through 16), the weirdness continues. If you plan on checking out SXSW—and I recommend you do—here are just a few ways for you to spend your time.
Elsewhere in the world, hatchbacks are ubiquitous. From Tokyo to Wolfsburg, they gamely fulfill their utilitarian purposes as people, uh, do whatever it is people do in other countries. Here in America, however, drivers have typically shunned small, fuel-efficient cars. That, of course, is quickly changing—but it doesn’t mean we’ve lost the very American need for speed. Luckily, carmakers have provided us with practical hatchbacks that also happen to go very fast.
As the SUV craze sputters to a halt, automotive designers are learning to provide space and ? exibility in cool box-shaped vehicles, all without, um, cutting corners. Honda led the way with the Element (said to be fashioned after a Malibu Beach lifeguard station), and Toyota followed with the hugely successful Scion xB. Now the Ford Flex and the Kia Soul have created their own versions of the cool cube. Here’s a look at all four sides of the story.
The immense changes in the economy (we're all broke!) and the environment (we're all doomed!) have shifted what we want in a car. Translation: It's time to get over our passion for large, spacious SUVs and embrace the more practical Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV). Here are a few of the most promising new crossover vehicles.
We're all starting to do the right thing by dumping gas-chugging SUV s, but is it for all the wrong reasons? Sure, making the switch helps the environment, but these days, driving an overpowered little monster is as fashionable as it is noble. And to make sure we never forsake them again, carmakers are serving up a lineup of mighty little growlers. They've stiffened the chassis, tuned the suspension, and turbofied the little four-cylinder scamps so they're doing the quarter-mile like a supercar and we're feeling every dimple in the pavement. Here's a look at some of today's big-performing little brutes and why they're so hot.
You couldn't have fit more muscle on the original Yamaha V-MAX. With its massive V4 engine crammed into the frame, the V-MAX was one of the most muscular bikes on the streets back in 1985. And with the exception of a few tweaks and cosmetic touches along the way, the model remained largely unchanged until it was pulled from the Yamaha lineup last year. Now, when the first of the 2009 versions hits showrooms this fall, the MAX will be back—bigger, badder, and more boisterous than ever before.
Steve McQueen nailed the concept of cool in the 1968 film Bullitt with his portrayal of Frank Bullitt, a San Francisco police lieutenant who floors a souped-up Ford Mustang through one of the most exciting cinematic chase scenes in history (and makes turtlenecks with sport coats cool in the process).
The most prolific era of the American muscle car started in 1970, when growling engines, screeching tires, and acrid blue smoke were lit in the night by the glow of a thousand red taillights. 1970 was also the year the original Dodge Challenger was introduced. And while its place in muscle car history could be argued ad nauseam over a sea of Pabst Blue Ribbon cans, the Dodge Challenger made its rep exactly as its name suggests—by bullying its way through a pack dominated by Mustang, GTO, Camaro, Chevelle SS, and even its own big brother, the Dodge Charger.