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Dear Tom and Ray:

As I write this, I am still fuming. This past week, the temperature has been in the high 80s to low 90s. I hate the heat and get super grumpy. So, I get into my wife’s VW, which, of course, has been baking in the sun all day, and she’s waiting for the engine to warm up before she turns on the AC so the AC will be colder! After what felt like a four-mile drive in hell, she finally turned on the AC, but she would only set the fan speed to No. 1, so there was barely any air blowing. I asked if we could put the fan on the highest setting to, you know, get some cold air into this hot box. She said no, and kept it on the lowest possible setting. I wanted to scream! Her reasoning was that since the air is recycled, the AC works better, and the air is therefore colder, if the fan is not turned on full blast. Huh? Is she right? Why on earth are there other fan speed settings, then? I’m thinking so one can actually FEEL the cold air. Has all this heat fried my thinking capabilities? Sincerely hot under the collar

– Skip
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Dear Tom and Ray:

My husband and I recently purchased a hacienda in Tucson, Ariz., where we just arrived for the summer and will be spending all our future summers. At present, my beloved 1986 Buick Skylark, painted in John Deere green, is sitting in a fully exposed driveway with only the shade of a small cactus to protect it from the blazing sun. My German mother, whose advice I always follow, has suggested that we purchase a small gazebo to shade my Buick. My British husband, who has only just arrived in the states this January, has wondered whether a better course of action would be to get a “reflective cover thingy” (his words). His frugality here may be the result of the fact that the Buick broke down on the way to our wedding, and he thinks it is on its last legs. Bottom line: gazebo, “reflective cover thingy” or status quo? — Elizabeth Read more »

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UMFA presents Jay Leno for special event at University of Utah in connection with
Speed: The Art of the Performance Automobile

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) at the University of Utah is pleased to present Cars and Conversation with Jay Leno, a special ticketed event taking place at Kingsbury Hall on Saturday, July 14 at 8 p.m. Tickets are now available for purchase at smithstix.com and kingtix.com.  Cars and Conversation is presented in conjunction with the UMFA’s current exhibition, Speed: The Art of the Performance Automobile, on view through September 16, 2012.

Cars and Conversation will feature Jay Leno, celebrated car aficionado and host of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” as he takes the stage of Kingsbury Hall for a lively discussion with Speed exhibition curator Ken Gross. Beginning at 8 p.m., Leno and Gross will speak about everything auto, ranging from great car discovery stories to Leno’s lifelong experience with automobiles and his adventures as a pace car driver. Cars and Conversation will end with an interactive question and answer session with the audience. Read more »

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By Andy Stonehouse
For Utah Rides

So what could they do to totally redefine the loveable but somewhat underwhelming micro-import that is the Fiat 500? Besides align forces with Charlie Sheen and an exotic Romanian supermodel?

The answer’s the Abarth, the Fiat 500 on anabolic steroids. A genuinely impressive, sports-oriented redux of the literally pint-sized Fiat, the Abarth version radically transforms the little car into a fire-breathing monster. Albeit a microscopic, fire-breathing monster. Read more »

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By AARON COLE
For Utah Rides

I don’t feel neglected.

As a consumer between the ages of 18-35, with (mostly limited) expendable income and a Y chromosome, I thought most commercial television was created with a target fixation on my wallet.

Turns out, there’s a whole world of automobiles that has been ignoring me. Apparently.

Forget fire-breathing muscle cars, low-slung import sports cars or massively overcompensating-for-something-else trucks; the world of small SUVs now wants my attention. At least, that’s the feeling I get.

Here’s a perfect example: the 2012 Volvo XC60 R-Design. Read more »

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By Sara Lacey
For Utah Rides

I wasn’t sure what accessory I might need while driving the Chrysler 300S.  Turns out I just needed a matching attitude.  I can’t help but feel like the 300S is not for the meek or mild, but the person who takes risks (or feels comfortable acting like it).

Chrysler has maintained the signature look of the most recent generation of the 300 even through some mild updates.  I do like how the 300S takes a vehicle that, in it’s 300C incarnation, screams Al Capone/Head Honcho/Pinstripe Suit and Cigar and flips it into a more urban vibe.  So in the 300S I feel more Jay-Z/Superstar/Pinstripe Suit and Cigar.  I intentionally didn’t say Beyoncé/Sasha Fierce/Platform Heels and Entourage.  Why? Read more »

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By AARON COLE
For Utah Rides

I appreciate Akio Toyoda.

As the president for the company that (basically) bears his own name, Toyoda is a smart man.

From the minutes he took the reigns of Toyota as a global automaker stories circulated about how Mr. Toyoda, a reported stickler for details, would roam the lots looking under, around and inside new Toyotas that were on the lots. One day, it’s been said, Toyoda made it a point to crawl under 4Runners on a Seattle lot to see if they had been updated after a fairly insignificant recall. It was that kind of person, logic would assume, needed to save Toyota from itself as it raced to be the largest automaker in the world.

Reportedly, he’s also a man who can’t stand boring cars. Read more »

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DEE-ANN DURBIN
AP

DETROIT— From mini cars to monster pickups, sales of new cars and trucks surged in June and eased concerns that Americans would be turned off by slower hiring and other scary headlines.  Automakers sold nearly 1.3 million cars and trucks in June, up 22 percent from the same month last year. Chrysler posted its best June in five years. Sales soared at Volkswagen, which is on track for its best year in the U.S. since 1973. Read more »

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Dear Tom and Ray:

I am in the Air Force, and last week when I was driving through the gate at the base, the security forces troop accidentally raised the security barrier on my vehicle (BMW Z4) while I was passing over it. The impact was loud and sudden. It raised my car up and then dropped it down, littering the street with plastic and rubber parts. I have been waiting a week for an estimate on the vehicle. There is damage to the front end and, of course, the undercarriage. The Check Engine light came on immediately. For some reason, I cannot get a straight answer about whether the frame was bent in the accident. How can I tell for sure? BMW says the only way to tell is by taking it apart. However, the insurance-approved garage put it on the lift and said, “It looks pretty good.” Thank you for any help you can provide. — Bryony Read more »

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Its no surprise Range Rover Sport is Rover’s biggest seller

By AARON COLE
Auto Columist

According to me, and my semi-official survey of everything on the road, I’d say the love affair with Range Rover and Land Rover appears to be at its end.

My nowhere-near, officially unofficial results are based entirely because the best-looking SUV on the planet has fewer rolling chassis on the road these days than Hudson Motor Car Company.

I’m speaking, of course, about the Range Rover Evoque, which looks better than Eva Longoria and drives better than her famous ex-husband Tony Parker ever will.

I don’t get it, America. Here is the best of both worlds: You get your coveted Range Rover badge and Greenpeace doesn’t lose a lung in the process.

Oh, and by the way, even Stevie Wonder would tell you that the two-door version is the best looking SUV ever created.

I just don’t get it. Furthermore, according to my unofficial counting methods of looking around at every odd stoplight, the Range Rover outsells the Evoque — like a bajillion-to-1. Read more »