If you think the only thing about hybrids that’s advanced in the past decade or so is technology, think again. No longer the ugly stepchild of the automotive world, many hybrids have also arrived in the department of style and even take the kind of risks manufacturers wouldn’t dare impute to their gas-powered children. We’ve helmed three stylish hybrids that run the range of prices and designs. They’re all pleasing to the eye as well as to the environment and give us hope for the future: one without hybrids that look like lozenges on wheels.
No Compromise, Plenty of Style
The Prius and Future King
Today, hybrids have become a very real alternative to conventional gas-powered combustion engine cars. But it’s not all flowers, Pikachu, and future decades of booming hybrid sales. The auto industry seems to have a different, more nuanced version of what the future of environmentally minded cars actually looks like. We examine.
Captain Planet approved. Sort of.
From the Archives: The Porsche 918, the McLaren P1 and the Ferrari LaFerrari are still all about superlatives — fastest, best handling, most exotic. But they also repurpose the latest technology to maximize the “dear lord” factor. They’re redefining excess, not stamping it out.
Goodwood, 3:30 p.m
Standing here in a small crowd of automotive devotees at the top of the Hill Climb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, it’s a privilege to breathe in the fumes of motoring past and present as historic cars and motorcycles whiz past in all their glory.
Affordable Ways to Your Fuel-Lovin' Heart
Your buddy’s Rosso Corsa Red Ferrari makes your blood boil with envy. Unfortunately, your better half won’t let you mortgage the house so you can buy one yourself. Though they may not have the prancing horse on the grille or elicit gazes from the bold and the beautiful, these 10 affordable driver’s cars still delight with great driving dynamics and the kind of motoring spirit that makes you feel like a kid again.
A German grand tourer requires grand style
You’re the guy who gets respect the subtle way. You don’t demand it; you’re not the showy type. It’s also how you choose your cars, which is why you’ll drive the 280 SL “Pagoda”. It’s elegant and beautiful without barking for attention — an under-the-radar grand tourer that looks just as good parked at the hunting club as it does at the finest restaurant in town. Our kit for this gentleman’s car will keep you stylish, comfortable and classic…just like the vehicle you’ve chosen for your stable.
Lincoln’s new MKC crossover is a stunning success — and the brand couldn’t have needed it more.
Two if by land, two if by sea
You’re the kind of guy who hates two things: wasting time and not getting enough attention. You also have a passion for both watersports and getting hugged from behind by a gleefully screaming passenger. The brand new Gibbs Quadski XL is the morphing amphibious vehicle for you, changing from watercraft to rear-wheel-drive ATV with the push of a button. We break down its features.
Elbow grease optional
Winter has the propensity to put a hurtin’ on your car, but those cold memories can easily be replaced with the right kind of DIY TLC. You don’t have to be the third member of Car Talk to find success in the confines of your own home garage — you just need the right tools and gear. (OK, and maybe a few tips from Tom and Ray won’t hurt.) The Home Depot is the place to get prepped for your home-mechanic needs.
The second time's the charm
It’s a fact: Bentley plans to release an SUV in the near future. Here’s everything we currently know about the car, its effect on the brand and what it needs to be successful.
Big tires, big ambitions
It used to be a well-known truth: getting an SUV that conquered the rough-and-tumble of off-roading and had good driving dynamics on the road was a holy grail, like marrying a woman with the physique of Lolo Jones and the brains of Marie Curie. Nowadays, that vehicular combination is no longer as elusive as you think. What you get in both the 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport and the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk are excellent on-road manners and the kind of off-road chops that will have herds of mountain goats bowing in respect. You just have to decide how much you plan on doling out.
Glory days on the road
If you’re fortunate enough to possess a Mustang Fastback — one of the grandaddies of the American muscle car — you know the respect and admiration it garners from car lovers to kids. It’s Americana on four wheels. That sort of red, white and blue clout requires a driver to pull off an homage to American style without resorting to a pair of Ol’ Glory lined cutoff jeans. Here, we line up the right kit (light on the actual stars and stripes pattern) you need to get it right.
From the Archives: After twelve generations of model updates, the Ford SVT Raptor is arguably the most tenacious version of the Blue oval’s numerous F-150 iterations. Truly testing this machine called for something more than a few days piddling around Los Angeles, so when when we were invited to go attend the one-day Raptor Assault School at Miller Motorsports Park in the wide open Utah countryside we moved quicker than a rattle snake on the floor of a country line dance.
The unkindest cut
After the journey from single man to husband and father, choosing a new car involves more than just driving passions. Life has become more pragmatic. How does one choose?
Utter Beauty and Supreme Brawn
The four fat rubber circles that attach both you and the Huracán to the road were chosen to be worked very, very hard. So were the 601 horses that shriek from its 5.2-liter V10 power plant. There’s an extra incentive behind each of these Italian supercar’s facets: it’s not enough for this car to move like Usain Bolt or look like Elisabetta Canalis. The Huracán is Sant’Agata’s replacement for the monumentally successful Gallardo (huge shoes to fill) and frankly, it makes its predecessor seem rough and antiquated — even a bit homely. The mechanical shaming of the Gallarod tells you just about everything you need to know about the Huracán. It’s next-generation Lamborghini.
Be the country gentleman
Driving the iconic, century-old Land Rover Series 1 warrants a look that is 100 percent country — so you’d be best suited for some rugged but still classy gear that’s ready for the great outdoors. We’ve put together a kit that will have you looking almost as safari-slick as Robert Redford in Out of Africa. Almost.
BMW's best driver's car
As good as BMWs typically are, they’ve lost some of their deft and agile performance in recent years. The 135i and the 1 M, released in 2008 and 2011, respectively, certainly did their share to make amends for past wrongs. But the new M235i does more than just try to make peace with the former BMW faithful. It’s a whole new step in the right direction.
It's a Type III for the Type B
The Karmann Ghia Type 34 is a rare car that oozes cool from its tall front windshield, simple greenhouse, gorgeous flat body and a wraparound crease that stretches all the way from the curved nose to the tail. This also places a burden on its driver, who needs to look like a distinguished gentleman to match his distinguished car. We’ve gathered the right kit for your outings in this crisp German coupe.
To drive or ogle? That is the question.
The beauty of classic automotive design is often in direct struggle with modern safety and fuel economy standards, not to mention the latest in technology. But there are still a number of shining examples around today, ones that echo the past and ones that break new ground but don’t break the rules of good taste. These ten prove that less is more and that automotive design is not on the rocks.
It's the little things that count
A car is certainly more than the sum of its parts, but sometimes it’s the little details that make an otherwise good car iconic. These details can be subtle as the Mona Lisa’s smile or bold as the LED spire on the new Freedom Tower, or, more often, somewhere in between. We’ve assembled a list of some of the best automotive features — both innovative and artistic, groundbreaking and evolutionary — to ever see the light of day.
Get just the right amount of attention
The Triumph TR6 is the affordable substitute for more rarified fare like the Austin Healey MkIII or the Jaguar XKE, and it’s no paltry replacement, with sophistication and masculine bravado to spare. Plus, its lighter price tag means you’ll have plenty of dough left over for a full kit of driving gear. Here’s what we recommend for comfort, style, and a touch of brashness — you’ve got to keep up with the pace the Triumph’s setting, after all.
When more is way too much
Nissan’s third generation Murano bowed at the New York Auto Show this spring. The reason you didn’t see it in our Ten Best list from the show is because I hate it the way my architect wife hates attached garages and vinyl siding. Car design is trending toward overbearing, thanks in no small part to the tastes of drivers. But there’s still hope out there.
The drive is the destination
Long holiday weekends aren’t just for sleeping in and backyard barbeques. Hop in the car, embrace the fresh air and hug the asphalt like you don’t have a care in the world. There are a ton of great roads out there, twisty, straight and some off the beaten path. We’ve listed some of the best (and some less-traveled) for your vacation enjoyment and paired them with the ideal vehicle to maximize the experience.
The right gear haulers make the difference between beach misery and beach revelry. We’ve assembled ten great summer carriers that will transport everything from an ATV to personal watercraft to the smaller (but still vital) bits for the shore. Just don’t forget the sunscreen.
Beach trips can be as much about getting there as what you do when you arrive. Mom’s minivan might be practical, but it might also eviscerate every ounce of road style you’ve ever had. If you’re at the beach on a regular basis (or you just dream of being there 24/7) it might make sense to upgrade your beach ride to one of these sandy shore, white wave seekers.
Stylish at any speed
The Corsa was a sophisticated and sporty coupe that looks even better today, with far more panache points than its ordinary Corsa brother. The Corsa was a gentleman’s car, for sure, but it was plenty sporty, too; the potent flat six engine, crisp sheet metal and luxurious interior meant that not just anyone would look right in the driver’s seat. You’ll need to look the part — neat and clean, 1960s business style — while you cruise around in yours, and we’ve got the perfect kit.
The gifts that keep on giving
Here are the cars we most covet for the new year, each one a standout in its segment by virtue of its quality, technology, design, driving experience or all of the above. In a stellar field, these are the ones that stir the petrol in our veins the most. As we embark on a new year, here’s a toast to what should be an incredible 2014 on the digital pages of Octane.
Get the gear, don't attempt the accent
If you’re in the market for a vintage roadster that adds a new dimension of style and sophistication to your life, and you’re willing to throw reliability and modern amenities into the dumpster, then an Austin-Healey MkIII is an excellent choice. Since a good example of the MkIII is relatively affordable, you’ll be able to add the right gear and adorn yourself in the right garb to match your new British steed’s level of panache.
Time travel on two wheels
From the Archives: Motorcycling is all about speed, freedom and personal style. Look at a bearded and tattoo festooned Harley-Davidson Electra Glide rider, and he’s clearly making a statement that’s half showman, half American pride, all tough guy. There’s no subtlety there, unless there’s a frightened chihuahua in one of his saddle bags. And then there’s the café racer rider. His is a statement about retro-style and a unique simplicity you don’t often see anymore. He’s just the kind of guy who’d fancy the new Royal Enfield Continental GT, a motorcycle that does more than just move two wheels: it brings back a style from yesteryear while showing what a modern café racer is capable of.
Time is the wisest counselor of all -- Pericles
From the Archives: What if there were a way to build something so unique and lasting, something that might also track time for generations to come; something to make those in our place thousands of years from now gaze in wonder, all the while involving those future generations in the process itself? Such a creation was birthed in the brain of a single man — computer engineer, polymath inventor, and designer Danny Hillis — in his quest to create the 10,000 Year Clock, a project of positively monumental proportions both in size and duration, and one that is currently underway in a remote location in the hills of Texas.