Vehicles

Autumnal Autos

Five Great Fall Driving Cars

Whether it's a long weekend in the mountains with friends and family or an afternoon blast through wooded sweepers and switchbacks, not all cars are created equal. Get your hands on one of these seven prime choices, and your September, October and early November should be much more memorable.

The beautiful collision of technology and tradition

Chauffeured or in Command, the Bentley Mulsanne Wins

Riding in the back seat of a car often feels more like a punishment than a privilege. But the Bentley Mulsanne makes backseat desirable. Then again, it makes the front seat desirable, too.

Four Generations of the Mazda MX-5 Miata

The Evolution of the Mazda MX-5 Miata

It's said that driving a slow car fast is one of the greatest automotive thrills, especially when it's a lightweight, rear-wheel-drive roadster with a rigid chassis, slick manual transmission, phenomenal balance and perfectly-weighted steering -- a car like the Mazda Miata. With the latest generation just released, it's about time we explored the past, present and future of the world's most popular roadster.

The cult of the Miata lives

GP Short: A Lap at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the Most Popular Roadster Ever

Who would've imagined that a small, underpowered roadster like the Mazda MX-5 Miata would become the darling of the roadster world? Gear Patrol traveled to the challenging Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca, where every version of the iconic Japanese roadster took to the tarmac recently to celebrate the cult of Miata.

Yes, you still have to do the driving

Motoring on the Grid: The “Connected” Car Comes of Age

Staying connected to your information -- whether that means access to music, social media, restaurant reviews, or navigation -- is essential, even when you're on the road. These are some of the best connected cars on the market today; they range from an affordable hatchback to a racy new minivan and all the way to one of the most luxurious rides on the planet.

The smell of leaves and exhaust

Kit: Fall Driving Essentials

When the temperatures drop from their sweaty heights and the warm hues of fall foliage emerge, the driving experience changes -- it's time for windows-down scenic cruising. Bring along the appropriate warm garb (plus a few other essentials) and you'll have mastered the fall drive.

Rediscover your sunroof

Tested: Whispbar Rack System

During a month of hauling kayaks atop a Volvo XC90, the Whispbar proved truly innovative and escaped many of the pitfalls found in other carrying racks.

The Best of the IIHS's Top Rated

10 Safest Cars of 2014

When purchasing a new car, crash safety ratings tend to fall below other priorities like style, fuel economy, performance, amenities, cost and even brand loyalty. That’s unfortunate, since more than a handful of cars will consistently fail to perform well in the one situation we all hope to avoid: a serious accident. If you're smart, and especially if you have kids in tow, you'll take the time to bone up on which vehicles are the safest. Of the 22 cars that received the highest safety rating from the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), these are the absolute best.

Keep Your Backseat Driver Safe

Buying Guide: Car Seats

You baby has arrived. Such a glorious day -- but suddenly having a days-old human in your hands makes the world much bigger and scarier than when you checked into the hospital, and now you have to get them home. You can breathe a little easier with your baby strapped into one of these great car seats.

The Worst Kind of Collision Course

Dissecting The Off-Set Crash, One of the Most Deadly Accidents on the Road

Evidence is mounting that points to the type of frontal collision as a grave contributor to whether passengers live or die in an accident, alongside the typical factors like speed and road conditions. An off-set crash -- where 25 percent or less of the fascia of the car collides with either another vehicle or a hard, stationary object and causes the car to pivot sharply -- is especially lethal, accounting for a quarter of frontal crash deaths. We examine why.

Something's askew in the world of crash testing

Heavier Car? For Safety, That’s a Good Thing

It's both conventional wisdom and fact that heavier cars tend to be safer for their drivers and passengers in crashes. But when it comes to crash test ratings that are widely recognized in the automotive industry and consumers, weight is not brought into the equation with the heft it deserves.

Long Rifle of the Air Age

The 60-Year History of the B-52 Stratofortress

When General Nathan Twining, chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force from 1953 to 1957, called the Boeing B-52 “the long rifle of the air age” shortly after it entered service on June 29, 1955, no one imagined that the eight-engine, 390,000-pound bomber would still be operational 60 years later.

Racing's Up-and-Comer Series Appeals to both fans and drivers

Red Bull Global Rallycross: The Best Racing You’ve Never Seen

Though you've probably never heard about it, Red Bull Global Rallycross is arguably motorsports' best kept secret, and its most promising up-and-comer. With its short, simple races, colorful drivers, insanely powerful cars, and racetracks made of dirt, asphalt and even water, it's easy to see why.

Old School and Off Road

Vintage Explorers: 7 Adventure Vehicles for the Perfect Off-Road Trip

Steep slopes, muddy trails, river crossings and scree slopes turn a garden variety trip into a journey. Adrenaline junkies, take note: off-road excursions are just as exciting as transcontinental road trips, if not more so. Set yourselves up with any of these great vintage off-road adventure cars and you'll see why.

This Week's News On Wheels

This Week In Motoring: September 2, 2014

This Week in Motoring: a whale of a plane, the Uber/Lyft wars, one man's reunion with his vintage Porsche, a commemorative Land Cruiser and more.

High-Class Elbow Grease

The Human Engine of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

The 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is a six-day automotive smörgåsbord on the bucolic greens of the Monterey Peninsula. We sent our non-car enthusiast editor, Matthew Ankeny, to see the scene, hear the stories, and relay the results.

Riding Rough Around The Edges

Tossing Dirt: The TORC Off-Road Championship

About two hours north of Green Bay, Wisconsin past idyllic countryside, dairy farms and wide open roads sits the small town of Crandon, where the peaceful silence of nature is replaced by the roar of 900 horsepower engines competing in The Off-Road Racing Championship (TORC) battling for victory while jumping, drifting and wrecking at the world famous Big House. We had an all-access pass to Jarit and Jessie Johnson from team Husqvarna as they continued their race for the championship.

Father of the modern SUV, for better or worse

The History of the Jeep Wagoneer, the First Sport Utility Vehicle

You can't build a successful SUV today without incorporating comforts like leather and DVD players alongside trail-dominating suspension and chunky all-terrain tires. If any car proved this formula was a successful one, it was the car that did it first: the Jeep Wagoneer.

This week's news on wheels

This Week In Motoring: August 18, 2014

This Week in Motoring: the most expensive car ever sold, plenty of eco-cars, the science behind Tony Stewart's tragic sprint car accident, Motor Trend's awesome drag race and much more.

The horse without the mane is just as wild

Quick Spin: Ferrari 458 Spider, The Perfect Convertible?

In the middle of a cool Chicago summer, sunlight bounces off the unmistakeable Rosso Corsa hood of a V8 Ferrari. A mere eighth of a depression of the throttle produces a sound I can only describe as a chorus of angels descending to earth on winged stallions. Against all odds, Ferrari's delicious V8 458 Spider has won me over to top-down driving.

Prancing, galloping and snorting beauties

Prize Horses: The 10 Most Beautiful Ferraris

Great Ferraris are some of the most stunning cars to ever put rubber to pavement. These ten pageant winners out of Maranello stir the soul and make car lovers out of hotwheels-vrooming youths.

The Theater of Motorsport

Scuderia 120

There's a particular theater to motorsport. The hair-bristling caterwaul of a race exhaust. The aromas of hot metal mechanics. The gritty dust of tire soot. And that's for spectators. Step beyond the yellow line into pit row and things get far more visceral. And though we could prattle on in paragraphs about what it's like to be face-to-face with theatrics of racing Ferraris, we figured it best to report this story through the medium of film.

The Quail Preview

Photo Essay: A Rare Look at an Even Rarer Ferrari Collection

Ferrari enthusiast and luxury watch retailer David Lee is headed to this year's The Quail at Pebble Beach. And, more importantly, he's bringing his collection of vintage Ferarri supercars with him. We got a sneak peak at some of his rare beauties.

Racing Horses

Icon: 1966-1967 Ferrari 330 P3 and P4

The Ferrari 330 P3 and P4 may have never won at Le Mans, but they remain some of the most beautiful and coveted cars of all time. Born of a bitter rivalry between Ford and Ferrari, this is their story.

The Horse Prances On

22 Great Moments in Ferrari History

From motorsport victories to pop culture appearances, these are the moments that helped solidify Ferrari’s rightful spot as one of the greatest (if not the greatest) automotive marques of all time.

Confusing, a little odd... and molto bello

Driving the Dino 308 GT4, the Most Controversial Ferrari in History

Featuring a slew of firsts, the Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 was wrapped in controversy, failed in sales and has been looked down upon by aficionados for years. Today there is a resurgence in the interest of this ill-fated groundbreaker. We talked to one proud owner to find out why.

Clean, Torquey and Efficient -- What's Not to Love?

Economy Plus: Driving 5 Great Diesels

The only problem with hybrids is how boring they can be to drive. Diesel cars, on the other hand, offer outstanding torque with hybrid-like fuel economy. We take five great ones out for a spin.

Feel The (Clean) Burn

New-School Diesel Brings Clean Burns to the Masses

Diesels have come a long way since the days of smoke spewing trucks and roaring German sedans. New advances in diesel tech have made the fuel a more viable option for passenger cars, and they may have some serious benefits over their gasoline counterparts.

Where MPG meet MPH

Smoke and Mirrors: 5 Best Diesel Motorcycles

Diesel engines may just be the perfect fit for motorcycles. They offer bullet-proof reliability, stump pulling torque and the kind of range even Ted Simon can only dream of. Add to that the fact that refuelling doesn’t involve extended time out of the saddle and it makes you wonder why there aren’t more on the market. We found four examples that would look great in our garage on the road.

A battle of torque, efficiency, and German luxury

Want This, Get This: Audi A8 L TDI or BMW 328d xDrive

The Germans are all over the diesel car market. Which makes complete sense: those Europeans are passionate about the practicality that diesel-powered cars provide, not to mention the kind of torque that can pull Tyrannosaur teeth from their sockets. If you want a capable German diesel that nets both solid mileage numbers, good driving dynamics and the aesthetics and comfort a stylish German sedan affords, then look to Audi and BMW at the two ends of the price spectrum.

A Great American SUV, Proven

Six Weeks in the Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel

The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel will haul you and your stuff for nearly 730 miles on one tank, all the while spoiling you with leather, panoramic roof, digital screens and tons of hauling capabilities. Is this the best American SUV ever made? After six weeks and a variety of tasks and duties, we think it's certainly up there.

A case study in the downsides of the CUV

The Bizarre Success of the BMW X6

The BMW X6 been around since 2007 and has found shockingly good sales success for BMW, even earning a refresh this year: all this, despite its inferior specs, a small interior, and the fact that it looks like it's been whacked with the same ugly stick as the Pontiac Aztek. So how does the X6 manage to draw buyers?

Jeep's radical departure pays off

In the 2015 Jeep Renegade, Very Different is Very Good

Jeep is an American automotive staple, but it hasn't done anything radically new in, well...ever. This signature Jeep American-ness on four driven wheels now gets its biggest injection of originality in the form of the Italian-made, Fiat 500L-based 2015 Jeep Renegade.

The weird vehicles that started it all

CUV DNA: The Original Crossovers

While the marketing term "crossover" is a recent invention, the concept is not. Automakers have been making cars that fill the gap between utility vehicles and family cars for decades. Here are three that helped to determine what the crossover is today, along with their modern-day kindred spirits.

Crossovers to the dark side

Five Best Performance Crossovers

Crossovers have changed in the recent past; you no longer have to trade in your testicles and driving sense to drive one. Even the haters (car nuts) have been proven wrong now that more horses, better driving dynamics and sleeker silhouettes have shown up in performance-focused crossovers. Here are five that break hard from the pack of mediocre crossovers still stuck in the driver's ed parking lot.

GP x Petrolicious

The Collector’s Series, Part Twelve: Citroën DS

Vintage is in something fierce. You can blame the cliche and assign Mad Men all you want. But vintage is deeper than that. A stretch of tough times and the "planned obsolescence" of today has refocused our attention to history even more than ever. New doesn't always equate to better and some things really don't work like they used to. The Collector, a new Octane series in partnership with the classic car experts at Petrolicious, acknowledges the automotive gems of yesteryear that have gone overlooked for one reason or another. As a series, the selections we'll share stand as both a group of savvy buys we'd base our personal car collection around and as a source of inspiration for life in the wake of ownership. Head to Petrolicious to read The Collector Series, Part Twelve: The Citroen DS, then peruse the kit it inspired.

Some MMasterful, All MMagnificent

The BMW M3 Through the Generations

Over the decades, BMW's iconic M3 has only grown in power, performance (and in most cases, weight), going from niche sports sedans to one of the most popular performance-focused automobiles in the industry. The best part? There are five generations of them, all with scintillating, unique details and the underlying similarities of greatness.