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The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica’s one problem.

by Roger Garbow... In a perfect world, we enthusiasts would exclusively drive our choice of British roadsters, German sport sedans, Italian exotics or American muscle cars. Unfortunately, back here on Planet Reality, we sometimes need more practical vehicles, especially for folks with families. If that’s you, read on. Chrysler reportedly spent $2 billion creating their all- new Pacifica and it shows. The body structure is nearly twice as stiff yet lighter in weight than the 2016 Town & Country minivan which it replaces in the lineup. The extra stiffness rewards the driver with car-like response, ride and handling. A large part of the improved handling prowess can be attributed to a stiffer front suspension and a new independent rear suspension. It may be hard to believe for a vehicle like this, but with the new platform rigidity and suspension design, the 2017 Pacifica is actually fun to drive. If driving excitement is not your thing, you’ll still be happy: the seats are seriously comfortable and the Active Noise Cancellation technology creates a very quiet cabin. The 287hp 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is responsive, making the Pacifica feel quick both off the line and in mid-range passing maneuvers. The engine’s Variable Valve Timing combined with the new 9-speed transmission is rated at 28mpg highway, but for a quick trip to Boston and back, I saw over 30mpg. For those seeking even better efficiency, the Hybrid version returns 80 MPGe, up to 30 miles on electric power alone and has a range of up to 530 miles. On the outside, the Pacifica make a bold statement with exterior styling that is fresh, fluid and much more attractive than anything else in its class. It is a fine [...]

By |2017-07-21T18:24:48+00:00March 19th, 2017|Blog post, Reviews|0 Comments


Last summer, we did what any 20-something music fans would do—piled behind the wheel and made tracks for Bonnaroo, the iconic four-day music festival in rural Tennessee. Except we’re not 20-somethings. We’re middle aged-men with wives, children and mortgages. One of us even has children with mortgages. And the wheel we piled behind was that of a Land Rover LR4. Which happened to be towing a gleaming, 19-foot Airstream Flying Cloud. (Both were generously provided by the manufacturers in return for us having a good time.) Also, we were documenting it all for Pulling out of Land Rover Nashville We flew into Nashville, where we picked up our rig. The Land Rover was up to the job. We can’t tell you how know we know this, but with the Silver Twinkie (as we came to call it) in tow, it was capable of a frisky 14.1-second 0-60. And even at 70 on the freeway, the trailer was as steady as a neurosurgeon’s hands. Jaws dropped as we swung through the festival gates. There were other RVs and trailers there, but we nestled among others like a swan among a flock of ugly ducklings. The Silver Twinkie was equipped with AC, hot water, fridge and microwave. All of which were useless for us until late the first night when a Bonnaroo technician dug up the electrical adapter we did not know we would need. But once it was humming—luxury. Clad in riveted aluminum, the Airstream is as solidly crafted as the jet fuselage it resembles. The interior materials wouldn’t be out of place in a Gulfstream G5: Wood floors and cabinets. Stainless steel sink and refrigerator. A Hilton-worthy mattress, tapered to fit the [...]

By |2017-07-21T18:24:48+00:00March 15th, 2014|Blog post, Uncategorized|0 Comments


By Roger Garbow For – September 17, 2013 / Photos by Al Vinjamur and Roger Garbow SLIDESHOW: PRAGA R1 The Praga R1 sat sideways at the entrance to Monticello Motor Club’s main straight, engine burbling, as I pushed buttons, pulled paddles, and regretted not paying attention to the instructions for selecting reverse. After a good (rather, not-so-good) 90 seconds of fumbling, I gave up, popped it into first and drove through the grass to get back under way. The spin occurred halfway though my first lap and was attributable (no, really) to cold slicks and wet curbing. Only slightly unnerved, I completed that lap and two more before pulling into the pits. Praga CEO Dušan Malý felt the front tire. “You need to go faster,” he said, “to get more heat in the tires.” “Sure thing,” I said, thinking of all those wet spots waiting to spin me. I headed back out, cautiously determined to push harder. Brand new to the U.S., the Praga R1 is the latest weapon in the track-machine wars. Looking like a scaled-down LMP1 endurance racer, the R1 features a gorgeous carbon fiber monocoque. The fully enclosed cockpit has been crush-tested to withstand 19,000 lbs of pressure, offering drivers of all levels a comforting degree of safety. To demonstrate the coupe’s strength, Dušan routinely stands on the roof. Open-top track rides, like those from Radical, Wolf and Caterham, might be more appealing to drivers who are claustrophobic or want a more visceral experience, but I prefer to be wrapped in a carbon fiber cocoon. Al Vinjamur The 1300-lb R1 is built in Slovakia and powered by a low-maintenance, 2.0-liter Formula Renault engine generating 210 hp and 220 lb-ft of torque. That's [...]

By |2017-07-21T18:24:48+00:00September 20th, 2013|Blog post, Uncategorized|0 Comments