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Motor Matters
The 1940 Packard boasts a powerful straight eight-cylinder powerplant, contained nine bearings, as well as a 105-pound crankshaft. It developed 160 horsepower.

Packard purchased in Warren performs flawlessly

During the 1999 celebration at the birthplace of Packard automobiles in Warren, Hal Hermann carefully looked over more than a thousand Packards from around the world on display. What he found most impressive was the quiet 356-cubic-inch, L-head engine introduced in 1940. The powerful ...

2017 Jetta: Sport-tuned sedan

UIf you want basic transportation from point A to point B, then the Jetta isn't your car. There's nothing boring about this compact sedan. The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta, a sporty little number with three turbocharged four-cylinder engine choices, has long been Volkswagen's best-selling vehicle in ...

Different for Volvo: 2017 S60 Cross Country

AUTO DOCTOR Dear Doctor: Have you driven the new Volvo Cross Country? The appearance is sporty hot and I'm thinking of putting it on my list of vehicles to test. — Eric Dear Eric: I agree, the new raised appearance on the body is hot-looking. I drove the 2017 Volvo S60 Cross Country ...

Trax gets new look

Chevrolet has given its popular Trax a more contemporary look, a new instrument panel and more safety features for 2017, and the early reviews are good, as it continues to set U.S. sales records in the fast-growing small SUV market. The five-seat Trax registered its best January and February ...

Get an expert to fix car’s air flow issues

Dear Doctor: We have a 2007 Mercury Grand Marquis. It has low mileage and is well maintained. Our blower motor works; we have air conditioning and plenty of coolant. But there is no heat. I've done my research and narrowed it down to the "blend door actuator," which I see is a common problem. ...

Passat has rough-running engine

Dear Doctor: I own a 2009 Volkswagen Passat 2.0 four-cylinder. The engine light is on and the engine runs rough. The fault codes are p12a2 and p0171. I have had the car to three shops and no one knows what the problem is. Do you have a suggestion? –– Bill Dear Bill: Lean conditions can ...

GMC cuts size, cost of Acadia

GMC has given the Acadia the biggest makeover in its 10-year history, shrinking the size and the price of its best-selling SUV while making it more fuel efficient and giving it new technology. The 2017 Acadia’s new base engine — a 193-horsepower four-cylinder — helps give the midsize ...

Acura’s engine light stays on

Dear Doctor: I purchased a 2004 Acura MDX with the 3.5-liter V-6 engine from its original owner. The vehicle has 177,000 miles and runs great. The engine light comes on indicating an emissions problem. The previous owner had the catalytic converter and gas cap changed. He told me the light ...

Niro is most affordable hybrid SUV

Kia’s newest vehicle, the 2017 Niro, is the lowest-priced, gasoline-electric hybrid SUV on the market and is rated as high as 50 miles per gallon in combined city / highway travel. Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $23,785 for a front-wheel drive, five-seat Niro FE with ...

‘Reduced power’ light is on

Dear Doctor: I have a 2003 GMC Yukon with the 5.3-liter engine and 245,000 miles on it. While driving, there’s an error light indicating “reduced engine power.” When this happens I have no acceleration and must pull over and shut the engine off. After waiting a few minutes, I restart the ...

This wild Willys is from 1948

Thornton Race didn’t want his son, Rick, to be in danger as he motored to high school, so he provided a sturdy secondhand 1948 Willys Jeep station wagon. It was a strong, slow car, and ideal for a teenage driver. The steel-bodied vehicle had the nose of a military Jeep and was powered by a ...

Mazda6: Solid, traditional sedan

Faced with stiff competition and an onslaught by crossover sport utility vehicles, the 2017 Mazda6 perseveres as a solid choice for anyone who values driving enjoyment along with the traditional virtues of a midsize four-door sedan. The Mazda6 enjoys a reputation for reliability and, in the ...

Corolla turns 50, gets new look

Toyota has marked 50 years of its stalwart and economical Corolla by giving it new styling and features and a nicer interior while keeping it under $20,000. The base model, the Corolla L starts, at $19,385, including the destination charge. It comes with a 132-horsepower four-cylinder engine ...

Transmissions need to learn

Dear Doctor: I purchased a 2015 Jeep Cherokee two years ago and it ran beautifully for 18 months. Then the check engine light came on, and the dealership told me it needed a new transmission. After the transmission was replaced it was fine when I drove it home. But the next morning I noticed ...

‘57 Star Chief for Pontiac family

Jim Humlong, his father and his brother all owned different 1957 Pontiac vehicles. Eventually, all the Pontiacs were traded in for newer cars — a move now regretted by Jim Humlong. Decades passed before Humlong saw in a car magazine a well-equipped Star Chief Custom Catalina hardtop ...

Ford set to offer diesel F-150 truck

By TIM SPELL Motor Matters Ford introduces a freshened, more-capable 2018 F-150 pickup truck. Set to go on sale this fall, the F-150’s headline grabber is an improved five-powertrain lineup, highlighted by a first-time diesel-engine offering. “Our customers have asked for a diesel ...

Mercedes S550 offers convertible

For those who can afford the luxury of a Mercedes S-Class and want everyone to know it, the German automaker is offering its S550 convertible for the first time since 1971. Worried that the four-seat sedan will be draughty or lack the atmosphere of its fixed-roof version? Don’t. The 2017 ...

1985 Riviera is rare convertible

The speedometer on Paul Puff’s 1985 Buick can register speeds up to 85 miles per hour. Despite that indication, Puff says, “this car has never seen 85.” Puff explains that his Buick Riviera did not start out as a convertible, as Buick only manufactured Riviera coupes in 1985. ...

Change brake, steering fluids and oil

Dear Doctor: My 2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser has 26,000 miles. I went for a routine oil change and was told I should also have a brake fluid flush performed. Why would this need to be done? –– Richard Dear Richard: Brake fluid does attract moisture. At my shop, we recommend ...

Buick drops Encore price

Buick has lowered the price on its popular Encore for 2017, all while updating its look and adding new connectivity features. The base price of a 2017 Encore with the destination charge included has been lowered to $23,915, saving buyers $1,075 off of last year's $24,990 manufacturer's ...