Europeans love hatchbacks, but Americans tend to regard them like other Continental curiosities – say, bidets and social democrats. Sure, it can be useful having a hatch instead of a trunk, but when Americans had a choice they mostly, over several decades, picked sedans instead.

The notion of a small, agile sports machine – lightweight, rear-drive, with perhaps 200 horsepower and a price tag under $30,000 – seems like a driver’s dream come true. It ought to sell like “Star Wars” tickets, right? You may wonder why there aren’t a dozen or more such models to choose among.

Beyond an appealingly retro design that recalls a much-loved convertible sold in the U.S. from 1968 to 1985, the revived Fiat 124 Spider, arriving here next summer as a 2017 model, shares another key trait with its ancestor: It is not built by Fiat.

On Dec. 7, enthusiasts saw the made-over Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles for the first time after a $125 million renovation made the once-boxy building as striking as the hot rods and vintage cars it houses.

It was the public relations coup of the year: A five-day East Coast tour, televised minute by minute to a vast global audience, in three identical black Fiat 500Ls flying the Vatican flag. If your product could use a blessing, who better to do it than a man who is supposedly infallible? As celebrity endorsements go, Pope Francis beats Joe Isuzu.

Too many adults assume they do not need to wear seat belts when they ride in the backseat of a vehicle, leading to hundreds of crash deaths each year, according to a study done for the Governors Highway Safety Association, a Washington-based nonprofit.

After rattling off the hop-ups that make his ’32 Ford wickedly fast, the braggart of the Beach Boys’ hot rod anthem, “Little Deuce Coupe,” ultimately boasts, “I got the pink slip, daddy.”

You polished your car, and it glows in late afternoon light. The sun, filtered by a tree, is behind the car, so it casts dappled shadows. You pull out your phone to capture the dramatic image.

Mercedes-Benz calls its new-for-2016 GLE Coupe an SUV, and just about anyone who lays eyes on one will do the same. It is, after all, the love child of the GLE (with DNA contributed by the CLS), a successful and capable vehicle that was known as the ML-Class until Mercedes chose to encrypt all its model designations to sow misunderstanding.

When time and miles finally make it necessary to dig into the engine of a vintage car or truck, decisions need to be made. Some owners choose to make updates at that point, taking advantage of the power and reliability of a factory-built crate engine.

A late-model used car may save thousands of dollars compared with buying new, but a vehicle with an unknown history can be a scary proposition. That’s the gap that certified pre-owned, or CPO, programs aim to fill. Backed by a factory warranty and other perks, CPO vehicles promise greater pe…

The LaFerrari is a supercar among supercars. Powered by a gasoline V-12 and an electric motor, which together generate 950 horsepower, this $1.4 million top-dog Ferrari easily tops 200 and accelerates to 100 mph in less than five seconds.

Staggering sale prices that make even a $30 million vintage Ferrari look like the cheap seats are a hallmark of New York City art auctions. Last spring, a collector paid $179 million for Picasso’s “The Woman of Algiers.” In this wealthy market, however, classic automobile auctions have had a…

The featureless exterior of a warehouse in Long Island City, an industrial neighborhood in Queens, N.Y, conceals a colorful secret: six bright red vintage Alfa Romeo racing cars.

It can be awkward in the middle. Psychologists say middle children are often neglected or underestimated. The middle class is shrinking. And who wants the middle seat on a 15-hour flight to Sydney?

More than a century ago, the pioneering electrical engineer Nikola Tesla experimented with transmitting electricity through the air, forgoing copper wire. He’d probably be pleased to learn that the cars of the luxury brand named for him are powered by electricity, but perhaps disappointed th…

Terry Dietrich received quite the surprise this past June when a blue 1972 Corvette pulled into her driveway. She immediately recognized it as the car stolen from her 43 years earlier, when she was 19. A North Carolina car dealer who had recently purchased it found that the paperwork didn't …

The long debate over which type of battery provides the best path to building vehicles that drive long distances while producing no tailpipe pollutants may come down to this: no battery at all. That is the solution promised by fuel-cell vehicles, which are now starting to show the first sign…

Among the controversies that resurfaced this summer when the name of North America’s tallest mountain reverted to Denali, as Native Alaskans long knew it, was the meaning of the term. It could be “great one” or “high one.”

You got a great deal on a 4-year-old midsize sedan with just 50,000 miles. The car looked to be in excellent overall condition, and it drove smoothly on a short road test. But why did so many things start going wrong soon after you bought it?

This Corvette is a replica, a fact that would normally make it less interesting than an original. But because it reproduces one rather special Corvette, this machine, owned by Dave Miller of Shell Beach, Calif., may be an exception to the rule.

Please join me for a moment in contemplating how often the owners of 500-horsepower cars get to deploy the full potential of what they bought. What about those with 600 horses under the hood? Do drivers of Dodge Hellcats regularly exercise all of their 700-plus ponies?

There's no shortage of mustachioed bravado in the grainy photos from the early days of motor racing. Men. Cars. Danger. The only thing missing from the frozen-in-time images is the smell of gasoline and the blatty roar of primitive engines.

Last chances are heaped upon us. There’s that last chance to save 50 cents a pound on bananas and the last chance to reserve tickets for the hockey season – neither of which ever seems to be truly final.

Motor oil is often called the lifeblood of your car, but it’s not the only circulating fluid that affects its health. Gasoline, lubricant and antifreeze blends designed for the best performance and protection in modern engines may have a very different effect when used in vintage vehicles. F…

It’s a headline seen too often in warm months: A small child, inadvertently left behind in a car, dies of heat stroke. On Sept. 23 the victim was an 8-month-old boy in Macedonia, Ohio.

editor's pick

A lot of the people who spend $75,000 on a car actually care far more about being noticed than about how their car drives. The Audi A7 is not for them.

Among the ruses that shady operators have devised to separate car owners from their money are extended warranties. Owners of recent models may be barraged with offers for service contracts that promise to cover the cost of repairs – imminent breakdowns, their sales pitch hints darkly – for v…

Lately it seems that everywhere we turn, the chatter is about the plight of the middle class. You should be happy to hear that Honda is doing something about it.

Through three generations since 1989, Mazda built nearly a million MX-5 Miatas and long ago ran out of shelf space for the awards the car hauled home. As time approached for a top-to-bottom redesign, the main issue was how to update this beloved roadster without hopelessly screwing it up.

The stories passed down through the decades allude to the unusual role this 1935 Jensen shooting brake — a station wagon in the American vernacular — served in World War II. The Jensen, now owned by Bernie Polen of Franklin, Mich., didn’t transport military brass or troops. Rather it served …

Automakers whose products comprise more than half of light-duty vehicle sales in the U.S. have committed to making automatic emergency braking a standard feature on all of their new vehicles. Automatic braking can keep a collision from happening or mitigate its severity when a distracted dri…

The death of a spouse is a tragedy that warrants compassion and understanding, but according to a report from the Consumer Federation of America, some businesses are taking those losses as grounds for raising the rates they charge.

The straightaway of the Lime Rock Park racetrack has been the scene of fierce battles through the decades, but on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend it is set aside for competition of a more civilized mien. The shriek of engines at redline is replaced by classical music wafting from the paddock…

Ask the owner of a 1960s Jaguar or Javelin how often or how far their cars get driven and, more often than not, the answers would be, “Not as much as I’d like” and “Just to local car shows or out for ice cream on the weekend.” Few are likely to trust a 50-year-old vehicle for a fall foliage …

If you can’t remember the last time you replaced windshield wipers, now — after their summer of baking in the sun and with sloppy weather ahead — would probably be a good time to do so. Testing has shown that even the best wiper blades are likely to need replacing after six months, and most …

The Woodward Dream Cruise, an annual automotive festival in Metro Detroit that draws about a million spectators and tens of thousands of hot rods, muscle cars and classics, is a consistent source of feel-good stories. Perhaps the best from this year, the event’s 21st edition, was that of Geo…

Safety regulations and fuel-saving aerodynamics may be forcing the style of new vehicles toward a kind of sameness, but designers certainly deserve credit for creatively shaping high-tech headlights to give cars distinctive nighttime faces. First seen on luxury vehicles, lights that use high…

If jaw-dropping classics and rare sports cars really get your engine revving, there was no better place to be last weekend than the Monterey Peninsula of California.

Oh, the sacrifices we make in the name of fashion. It’s no longer just the trendy shoes, the too-tight pants, the monster-scale watches. Now it’s the comfort we used to find in the backseat of a luxury sedan, that wonderful fantasy of having a driver to take us where we want.

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