New car - or 'Tell me what cars you have bought lately (that are interesting)'


From what I’ve read the next gen BMW 3 series are all going to be twin turbo 4 cylinders. BMW engineers appear to have recently become big fans of forced induction.


Ideally you do want to downsize winter tires. As long as they fit over your brakes and the outside diameter is within a few percentage points (3-4), you’re fine.

You’ll see better fuel economy, have more comfort, pay significantly less for the tires and replacement wheels, have less road noise, and have better performance on certain surfaces (bumpy packed snow, for example.) In fact, you could also go with slightly narrower tires (say 245->225 or 225->205) and see even better fuel economy and better performance in slushy snow and on ice.

The only reason you would ever, ever want big wheels with low profile tires is for appearance’s sake. Also, if you’re making a closed wheel race car, they can improve handling responsiveness - of course, that is lost in a normal vehicle because manufacturers usually soften the suspension to make up for the harsh ride of 35 or 40 profile tires.


Yeah, I think I’ll probably get one of the minus size wheel/tire combos from Tire Rack. Now to find someone who wants my nearly new snow tires from my last car…


I think people (read: teenagers with Honda Civics) tend to forget that a car’s entire suspension system is designed for certain sized tires, and vice versa. The #1 way to ruin any ride is to cheap out with some kinda stupid suspension modification (chopping springs) and putting on low profile tires. People mistake stiffness and anti-roll as a performance.


My lovely but ugly Fiat, I’ve posted pictures of a few times here, came with expensive low profile 17" tires and a silly chrome add on sporting exhaust (didn’t do anything, it just looked sporting).
On a car which only reason for existing were that it was a roomy six seater, but not quite a MPV.

Turned out the previous owner put them on himself using wrong bolts, so on our first long ride on the freeway, we almost lost a front wheel while going 115 km/h. We got rid of those when one blew and we could almost get a full set of normal tires for the cost of one of those Goodyear suckers.


Of course, where I live, the snow tires go on in early November and don’t come off until sometime in March, or even April if you’re being cautious. Which means something like five months of the year driving on less than stellar tires for normal use. Some years, you really need those snows most of those months. Other years, not so much, but you can never be sure that tomorrow a storm won’t blow in.

So, if I get the 16" package–inexpensive, good snow performance–I also end up with the worst driving experience I’m guessing, for days when it’s not winterpocalypse. The 17" package might be a nice compromise, but the cost goes up as I can’t get the wheels as cheaply usually and the tires are pricier.

Last winter I went through it fine with 18" Michelin snows (225 45R18) but I’d like to keep my rims on this car out of the salt and snow if possible, and I figure if I’m buying new rims for the winter I might as well get the type/size that maximize snow performance…


I don’t think going to a smaller rim gives you a worse driving experience. Many people equate the smaller wheel look with low performance, but its not so Many people I know who autocross or run thier cars on tracks have dedicated track wheels/tires that are as small as they can get that fits over the brakes. Why? Smaller wheels weigh much less, and less unsprung weight often results in better performance.

Unless you cannot stand the look of the 16s or they will not fit over the brakes on a GTI, I’d get the 16s.


I’d be cautious changing sizes from the default on a modern car. There are (handwaving) various sensors ‘n’ stuff that can get thrown off if the wheel is rotating at a speed other than what it thinks it should be.


So I’m in the market for a new vehicle sometime between now and the end of the year. My current car is a 2001 Ford Focus wagon which used to be my wife’s car until we sold my Blazer to buy a Chrysler Town and Country mini-van for her. Anyway, I DO NOT want to buy a sedan, as my kids are getting older and I need more room in the back seat and more storage space in the rear of the vehicle. Our van is also nearing 100K miles, so it would be nice to own something large enough to take the four of us on vacation comfortably but that isn’t a full sized SUV or mini-van. I also am on a budget, hoping to pay no more than $450 a month over 48 months for whatever I buy. Essentially that works out to be $20,000 borrowed at 4% over 4 years. Tax/title (and then some hopefully) will be covered by my trade-in of the Focus.

I have been looking at the Kia Sorrento. I test drove one over the weekend and liked it. The gear shift was a little funky, as it has one of those sport-shift things that allows you to move from standard automatic to some kind of clutchless manual shifting. WTF is that? Anyone have any experience with it? Why would I ever use such a thing? Apparently the Hyundai models have this same transmission as well.

I was less than pleased with the Kia dealership though. They have been running ads in the paper that claim they have “over 30 2011 Sorrentos in stock!” but when you arrive they tell you the 2011 has been sold out for months and they have brand new 2012’s available, but not at the $18,000 price point advetised in the paper for the 2011’s. Bait and Switch at it’s finest. This is why people hate car salesmen.

Anyway, if there are any Kia Sorrento owners out there, please comment on your impressions of the vehicle and the company as a whole. Also, the Hyundai Santa Fe is on my radar as well though it is slightly more expensive, so I’d like to hear impressions there too. Lastly, any other suggestions for a crossover or similar vehicle that would fit my needs and price range would be greatly appreciated. I’m thinking about looking at the Ford Escape, but the prices on those seem to vary wildly from dealer to dealer.


Slainte, you might also want to look at the CR-V. I haven’t been in the market for one recently (we bought our 2005 new), but they are reliable, reasonably roomy, and (knock on wood) 6 years and no significant problems yet.



That’s generally true, but as long as the math works out, the ABS should be fine–and the packages I’ve seen on places like Tire Rack take that into account, it appears. It pretty much has to work, or you’d be stuck using huge low-profile snow tires on everything, and that really doesn’t help much.

Or so it appears. I may just wait for repulsor rays.


As long as the tire radius stays constant (+/- a small amount), changing wheel size has no impact on the ABS or other electronics. A competent tire seller should ensure the radius does not change.

As the unsprung weight and the bump absorption from the tires increases, the ride may change a bit. Most people would feel a smoother ride.


I am totally effing psyched about getting this car! In theory, probably sometime next summer.


It’s beautiful, that’s for sure. Too bad it doesn’t have a clutch!


Just went from a 335i to a 535i this week. Much more comfortable drive and plenty of zip, but does not handle like the smaller 3. Also has more room for the kids in the back.


I was thinking about buying a Bentley Continental GT, but then I asked myself: Is it too common and downmarket?


Well, a clutch only matters to change gears, which only matters to keep the RPMs in the power curve.

Tesla has one gear and there’s no power curve. 100% power at zero RPMs up to about 7,000 RPMs, after which the torque slowly drops off up to top speed. You’ve basically got full torque until around freeway speed.

No need for a clutch.


Um, yeah, I know how electric cars work :). I’m just implying that I prefer driving with a manual transmission, as that’s what’s fun for me, and that requires (for me at least) a clutch. Ergo, I don’t want an electric car. But it’s a real nice one that’s for sure.


Ah, I get it. I mean, I don’t get the desire for a clutch exactly. It’d be like wanting to flick the turn indicator back and forth to make it blink or something.

I’ve driven manuals my whole life and I suppose I understand a sort of “downshift = power = fun” that’d take time to unlearn. The main reason I’ve preferred a manual over the years is the control over the power curve, but that’s sort of a non-issue in an electric motor. But hey, I’m not judging, honest :)


Yeah, it’s a personal thing. I drove manuals for a quarter century, then two years ago tried an automatic again–a nice six-speed with sport shift, etc.–and just now ditched it for a six speed manual. I could not shake the feeling of passivity without the shifter and the left-foot action. Now I’m actually enjoying driving again (a smaller, more nimble vehicle helps, too). YMMV.