As much car and truck news and opinion as you can possibly take. From electric vehicles all the way to big trucks, we got ya covered on this car blog - and now video blog!

Saturday, December 1

A Cool Volvo? Thanks Galpin for your Custom C30


If you were at the L.A. Autoshow - you were probably dissappointed. A lot of the same old without many debuts. Generally, a lot of plastic, already-available cars for close to $30K. It left us wanting a restored Chevy Malibu and one of those eight dollar Margaritas they were peddling in the convention center.

But, if you'd stopped by the Galpin booth next to the Garage Envy Ford GT display, you saw something you have never seen before. A customised / hot-rodded Volvo. And not just any safety-obsessed Ikea couch on wheels - but the C30.
Shocking the world with a radical use of flat paint (like the Lexus, flat black, FiveAxis concept but not). This thing was purple, had a Galpiny white racing stripe and massive, color-matched purple wheels with white walls. So, what it looked like was a lead sled from the 50s but on a cutting edge Volvo hatchback. The car appears in Galpin's 2008 calendar but it's still in the Basic Transportation official car - so we're not sure which month. A hatchback that looks fast but not 'import scene fast'? Awesome! What do you think about the fast and furious C30? Comment at will!

Thursday, November 29

Fiat 500 coming to U.S. - But is U.S. ready? Autoblog Comments say 'Nope'.

The Fiat 500 promises unbelievable gas mileage (an amazing 39.7mpg !!!), neat style and, according to Fiat, over 500,000 combinations of engines (3 not counting the Abarth tuned version), , colours, wheels and accessories can be had!

But reading the Autoblog comments to the 'Fiat 500 in U.S.' announcement shows that American folk aren't excited about almost-4o MPGs and an interior that looks like this (right).


And, just to show off their mighty car knowledge - lots of Autoblog commentators bring up the historically crappy quality Fiat's become known for. But, the truth, is if you've been into a Panda or Punto lately - not the freaken 80s - you know that a Fiat is made about as well as any other not-expensive car. A little engine noise but panel gaps smaller and straighter than any American (as-in, assembled in Mexico) car. You'll get a warranty - if you didn't, why would anyone buy an Evo, WRX or Viper?

This is, by the way, from people who drive cheap-plasticky-interior Chevies (this picture is a 2008 Silverado Interior) and recall-loving Fords (link to all Ford Recall notices). These are fine cars too - cause all new cars are not very high-quality so why not get 40mpgs and park in urban centers.

So, open your heart to the Fiat 500 -by 2010 - you're looking at 5 bucks a gallon but a quarter of Americans (according to our gas price poll) say
"I don't care how much gas costs, not even a little - I love my truck!"

Shit, Really? 22MPG Chevy Tahoe is L.A. Green Car of the Year


There were electric vehicles (EVs), there were hydrogen cars, even a hybrid Nissan Altima. But who takes home the green gold? An eight-cylinder truck that gets 22 MPG on the highway! Don't get us wrong. We like the Chevrolet Tahoe a lot! But green car it ain't. If you're going over 33mph - you're using all 5.3 liters of V8 the big-ass Chevy's got to offer. GM clearly bought themselves a meaningless award that kinda mocks the whole gas price nightmare L.A. is actually in.

BMW hints new Isetta - Massive Balls or Vaporware Bullplop?


Auto Express, UK's awesome car weekly is teasing us with a possible new Isetta from BMW. Like the New Beetle, New Mini and new Fiat 500 - it's another everyman car that history loves. Of course, like the other fake retro econocars - the above drawing seems to have door handles on the side. Already not very Isetta. But the rear-engine design will be retained (in this fantasy, might never happen scenario.)


Auto Express is telling us to wait until 2010 to hear more. They also raise the interesting point of the Isetta not really fitting into Bimmers 'Ultimate Driving Machine' thing. As gas prices keep skyrocketing like bastards in the U.S. - can new, tiny cars like the Smart, Fiat 500 and this thing be the future?

Wednesday, November 28

Penny a Day - Sponsor a Poor Kid or Fuel up Your Truck?

Gas in Southern California is going up about a penny everyday. And there's rumors of $200 barrels next year! So, yet again, Basic Transportation whips out its gas price poll.

What's it going to take to get you into a Toyota Yaris, Scion tC, Honda Civic or Prius?



Wednesday, October 3

Buck Pimps out an Enclave for the 'Urban CEO'. Sounds suspicious.

Buick Enclave Urban CEO Edition

If you really run a tech company, rap record label, hell, even an insurance company - you're not driving a Buick. But what if you want to spend 10 thousand dollars less tcustom pimped orange Hummer H2han the price of an 93 Buick RivieraHummer H2 - about 45 grand? Well, Buick has a suggestion they're debuting at the SEMA show. Autoblog has the details, but here's what we know. It's an Enclave, which is actually the least-sad Buick since the 93 Riviera - lowered, on big wheels and with a glued-on ground treatment that makes it look like a C student's Porsche Cayenne! And that's not bad! The 45 grand is the price of an Enclave, plus, let's say airbags, bumpers, sideskirts and rims. Let's say 50K - but you can build your very own 'Urban CEO Enclave' (it was better than calling it The Street Pharmacist Special.

Monday, October 1

Video: Oh My God, Your Car - The Hottest Ferrari Ever!



Have you ever been like, 'screw you, people with nicer cars than mine. Maybe you worked harder in school, but I bet you just have rich parents'. We at Basic Transportation have. And that's why this video of a beautiful and exotic Ferrari 612 flaming like a charcoal barbecue makes our heart smile. And why is an expensive feat of engineering excellence catching fire anyway?

Think about that...

Good news! There's one 612 (just one!) on eBay for $200,000

Sunday, September 30

MySpace Video: VW Microbus is better than you thought



Have you seen those Toyota commercials where the Tundra does impossible-looking stuff? Well, here's some news, Tundras suck. They get brake problems and aren't even really Japanese. What you got there is an American truck without the self-esteem.

On the other hand, the modest Microbus, is still a hardcore steel box that you just can't kill. Check out this amazing video from MySpace. Let's assume, for fun, that the VW in the video still works fine after a jump and a splash.

As for the future of the Microsbus, Volkswagen scrapped plans to produce a retro-rehash of the Type 2/Transporter VW van based on the 2001 VW Microbus Concept - in the spirit of the new Beatle.
So, for now, there's little hope for the man who wants a van that's fun too with no Mystery Machine contenders coming our way.

Wednesday, September 26

What's the Deal with Germans and Hydrogen?

Hindenburg disaster
Generally, we don't like the 7-Series. iDrive sucks and it's a lot ugglier than the model it replaced. But we don't mind alternative fuels and BMW is eeking closer and closer to offering us a Hydrogen-powered 7-Series, which takes balls. At the moment, they're only being used for BMW's PR around the world. They loaned some to NASA for about eight weeks and now, it seems they just go around the world, loaning them out to high-profile VIPs, business folks and especially politicians.

The halo fleet of super green cars is mmm mmm good PR when you're the company that's known for gas guzzlers like the M5 - close 300 g/km of CO2
emissions. The 750hL spews nothing but water vapor when running on hydrogen. Since you can't buy hydrogen very readily, the thing also runs on gas - which is what most normal folks would end up using in this now-heavier, V12 big boy.

All the hydrogen fuel cell stuff adds an extra 550 pounds to the already massive 7 and according to this Ben Lage article, just the materials in each of the 100 or so examples of the 7-Series 750hL costs around $400 grand. With the research, they're about a mil-point-five a piece.

The not-at-all-pompous-sounding
BMW hydrogen technology researcher, Dr. Frank Ochmann explains,"We have no price on the car. We reHydrogen BMW car 750hLgard this as an offer to society to show society where we stand on clean energy."

"We have no price on the car," said BMW hydrogen technology researcher Dr. Frank Ochmann. "We regard this as an offer to society to show society where we stand on clean energy."

I can't help but wonder - how much will gas prices have to go up for you to give up the truck? Take the poll below!





Saturday, September 22

You Fricken kidding me? Jeep releases Jeep Brand House Paint!

jeep paint
It's not that we mind car brand branded stuff. I got a pair of Jeep jeans, they resist water (and beer) with some sort of Teflon-like beading action. Very cool, but even those were a gift. And I think I had one of those Jeep boom boxes, or at least really wanted one.

Now colors like Sahara brown will be available for your house - inside, outside, the basement, all of it. It's not that they're taking the time out of figuring out how to make the Commander even uglier to make paint. This is just part of Jeep's licensing drive. You can now buy clothes, toys, bikes even bed linens and 'grooming kits; that are Jeepafied - which usually means it's extra tough, or at least water resistant - or at least carry the logo. That's the first time we've ever said 'linens' here.

Next year, watch out for Jeep's own navigation system that also includes an MP3 player, a video player and is tough and cool looking. We're usually more cynical here, but that sounds kinda cool.paint

Jeep's so good at licensing, they've won an award from it from the companies that license their stuff association or whatever it's called (Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA).

I've only seen this story on Chrysler's password-required blog, launched a month or two ago. It's not great.

To check out all the crazy Jeep crap you can ever possibly want to own, check out www.AllThingsJeep.com or www.JeepWorld.com

Tuesday, September 18

It's Coming! Dodge Challenger starts getting made! Cooler than Camaro? You decide!

All the car blogs are letting you know that Dodge is ready to auction off the first three, production Challengers! That means the tooling's done and we're ready for the oldest-looking, new muscle car yet! Meanwhile, Chevy is so close to the Camaro that they're already showing you the Convertible version at Frankfurt.

But only Basic Transportation lets you tell me which one you'd go test drive, haggle over, finance and drive to work!



Hell Yeah! Jeep Wranglers back in the Army with a Pickup to Boot


You know we love Jeeps at Basic Transportation. I've even owned one. And now the cheapest and best 4x4 is going back to where it all started. War! Jeep has announced the J8, a reinforced, diesel version of the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. And, for extra awesome, they're even making a pickup version called the JT. (Jeep Truck, 'tard). So, a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that produces 158 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque - that's a cool truck you can down with!


No word if the J8 will be available for regular, none shot-at people, but hard to imagine they'd keep it from us. Finally, back to simple, agricultural basics for the Wrangler and the long-awaited Wrangler pickup - though not really as cool as the Gladiator.

Check out the full story pic gallery and J8 press release on Jalopnik here.

Friday, September 14

Basic Transportation Car and Truck Blog sells out and gets ads!

homeless
After hours of code bull crap, you're now surrounded by ads! Look, above, below, to the side, ads, ads, ads everywhere! Yes, we've sold out, mostly because we're so damn broke and can use the extra couple nickels every month. Superballs and stickers, even gumballs are now almost within out might, Google Ad-powered grasp!


Thursday, September 13

Volvo gets an extra 4 1/4 mpg from the C30 with simple tweaks - why are they alone?

Volvo C30 Efficiency
Fuel cells, hybrid drives and thousands of batteries. There's lots at the Frankfurt show to show off car companies as whale kissing, tree hugging, environmental freaks. Lots and lots of technology we might see in like ten years to help save the planet and help you score with hippie chicks.
hippie chick
For the moment, Volvo has decided to keep it real and, as Autoblog points out, simple as hell with the C30 Efficiency - a 1.6L Diesel Volvo that, by the way, already gets better gas mileage than Google's Prius Fleet (none-plug-in).

Tweaks (listed in another Autoblog post here) to the gears, undercarriage, even oil and tires and wheels and viola - 9 g/km (grams per kilometer you drive in it) less CO2 AND, AND, wait for it, AND 4.25 mpg more! That's savings you can take to the money bank and you can shit on Prius drivers, since - the new mileage I used a calculated, so I assume Basic Transportation - Car and Truck and Electric Vehicle (why not) blog brought it to you first. Click on title to see Autoblog's C30 Efficiency image gallery (not exciting, but efficient).

VW GTI Convertible (I mean, Cabrio) - Make it, Make it, Make it!

VW GTI Cabrio Concept
VW Convertible
Notice, we haven't even mentioned Frankfurt because that stuff only effects super rich people looking for a 1million euro Lamborghini etc. At Basic Transportation - we're pretty much about basic transportation. Which means, when a cool spin on a groovy hatchback comes along - we're gonna flag it up!

Remember the 80s GTI Cabrio, that somehow was all 'fun in the sun' without any of the girliness? Like the Miata, the Vdub was just too fast and fun to be a chick car. And so, we're taking a stand right now. If VW makes a GTI Cabrio again, it'll be too awesome to be for girls! (they already got the Beatle and the EOS.

Build it!

Wednesday, September 12

This Week in Gas Price History: California's paying less, Texas paying more, but we're all screwed

To be precise, we're screwed at a rate of 20 cents since last year, about buck since this week 2004. So, really, the long-term outlook for being able to guzzle as much gas as we want is probably on the decline. So, again, I gotta ask - how much is too much - remember this poll? Vote now!



Tuesday, September 11

Hatchback Sales are Way Up. Uh....yay!

Plymouth Horizon Dodge Omni
VW GTI

Here's a couple examples of hatchbacks that don't suck; The VW GTI, which exists and is great and the Dodge Hornet, which may or may not be getting made or not made in China or America, some say.

And, of course, there's the Fiat 500 which I hyped up so big a couple days ago that I don't feel the need to talk about it anymore. Dodge Hornet

Either way, according to the L.A. Times, which uses fancy 'sta-tis-tics', sales of hatchbacks were way up in July 07 while overall car sales were down. This could simply mean that the economy is crumpling a little faster than it seems and that the only cars people feel they can afford are small and cheap - The Nissan Versa is on the list of big winners...but then so is the not-at-all-cheap Mini. So it's not the crumbling economy. It must be that some people are seeing the up side of having something relatively roomy that's not too expensive and, of course, gets ridiculous gas mileage. We're talking in the 30mpg range for most of these rear-window-wipered bastards!

So maybe, slowly, the image of the 80s hatchback is slowly going away...slowly. The Dodge Omni, pictured above, is, unquestionably, the hatchback that ruined the word 'hatchback' for all cars with a hatched back the same way hitler ruined that little mustache for everyone. It was a horrendous piece of car crap but did help get Chrysler saved by Congress. It was also Motor Trend's 1978 Car of the Year - which just proves Motor Trend is bullshit. Let's root for cars like the GTI and the Mini to make hatchbacks not suck.

You Decide: Roush Silverado - coolest truck ever or gaughty redneck fantasty?



Roush is famous for the crazy stuff they do to Fords. And, their Roush F150 is damn sweet. Unlike the....let's say...'understated' mods you get when you score yourself a Saleen F150, the Roush is loud, growling, brightly colored and generally obnoxious. And it looks like Roush has applied the same winning formula to a possible truck. And, look at it, if they don't end up making it - someone else will. Would you drive a bright orange truck with what looks looks like a shaker hood? Would you want it in a quad cab?

My vote's 'hell yes'





Driving the 2007 Escalade - Cool, wrong, really badly made

2007 EscaladeThere's too many car reviews online - so we hate doing them. But when given the chance to jump behind the wheel of a 2007 Escalade - the ultimate SUV - I said 'what the hell, let's do it.'

It goes without saying that the Escalade is sexy as hell and ridiculously roomy. But, of course, so is the Tahoe, which costs half as much. While they no longer share a platform and 95% of the parts, the two trucks are still the same size. The Escalade has an unnecessarily bigger, V8 and, most importantly, the constantly adjusted, futuristic-magnetically-charged shocks.

2007 Escalade InteriorAt one point, the Cadillac man that came along for the ride insisted, with no hint of sarcasm, that I try to flip the Escalade and - since it wasn't mine - I was happy to give it a shot. It didn't take long for me to get the four-ton bastard up to 50 on a surface street and, bracing myself for rollover goodness, I yanked the wheel for a hard left (after all, Tony Soprano flipped his Escalade and walked away).

The king of bling just turned into the parking lot where I pointed and screeched sideways like a Camaro. Expensive computers told one side of the car to become stiffer to make up for...physics. The truck was unflippable.

So, drivability is impressive and who doesn't like 22inch chrome rims from the factory. Quality is another issue altogether. Bare in mind that the $77 grand on the Escalade's sticker can buy a slew of different luxury cars. Before even getting a close look at the Caddy, I could see the seam of the drivers' door was crooked, narrow on the top and much wider on the bottom. This was without looking very closely - it didn't occur to me to check the body on a new car - I usually reserve it for salvaged pieces of crap like that Buick Riviera I had.

Crooked doors, on a brand new, $80K Cadillac. Seriously? Inside, the plasticky feel of fake wood panels glued onto pickup dashboard panels is a bit better than it was on the old, pickup-based Caddies - but not much better. The second time I went to backup, the backup camera had stopped working. The time before, it had shown the rear bumper on the navigation screen, which was cool. I put the car into 'drive' and then 'reverse' again. Nothing, the camera toy had gone too. Again, this Escalade had 40 miles on it at the time.

I was done. The Bose, 5.1 Dolby sound system also sounded like crap. The guy tried to explain that every Escalade's sound settings were adjusted at the dealer when it was purchased. 'So, it just sounds crappy from the factory?'

Maybe we, as a society, need to find a new pimpmobile? Maybe better-made and with better gas mileage?

Sunday, September 9

What the Hell? The Fiat 500 is a small car I actually like.



OK, so, at heart, I'm a redneck, and as such, I like big, comfortable and cheap cars/trucks with V8 engines, hooked up to the rear wheels. Small cars are for people that can't afford those and girls, right? And, yeah, the Mini is a great car...for girls. Even the Scion Xb is pretty cool...and yet it's for girls and high schoolers. But, there's hope for my gas guzzling ways (maybe). The Fiat 500 coming out in our fifty-first state, Europe makes me think twice. The interior is so convincingly old fashioned like. The safety rating is so good (top score from the EU folks). And the ridiculously amazing gas mileage of the Fiat 500 (56mpg) is just mind boggling. Yes, it's over 10 seconds 0-60 and yes, that sucks from a standing stop at a freeway onramp - but damn!

At the end of the day, my car might easily be a Chevy Silverado Extended cab...yeah...with leather. Although a Mustang GT Convertible also whispers my name at night. But if the Fiat 500 comes to to the States (and there's a tiny chance it will), I might think about it for my Hollywood, green car cred.



Wednesday, September 5

A 'Green' car that doesn't bore the crap outta ya? - Check out the Citroen C-Cactus Concept

Citroen C-Cactus Concept
Yes, the Elettrica in the last post is very...responsible. But it's basically a golf cart. And yes, the Prius makes people feel good about their environmental mindedness. But it's a horrible, fish-shaped, boring, cloth-seated five-door hatchback. So, at this year's Frankfurt Autoshow, Citroen is showing off a concept that won't have you shrugging your shoulders until they're sore and discolored. Instead, marvel at the chunky Citroen's curves and bulges, windows that look like they were crudely drawn with a crayon. That's what you want from a car that gets about 70mpg - which totally craps on the Prius's 40 and change to the gallon.

Plus, the C-Cactus achieves this gas economy through fancy diesel technology, variable valve timing and other cleverness. Not just using electric when going slow. And, finally, while Prius uses damn-near-impossible to recycle batteries - lots of them, the C-Catus is made to be easier to recycle and more green to produce. Now let's hope Citroen actually produces it!

Check out more pix from Autoblog Green - Citroen C-Cactus Concept!

Monday, September 3

New Elettrica electric vehicle take on GWiz and NICE Mega City on London streets




Today, Future Vehicles in UK, best known for retrofitting original Minis with electric running gear, announced that they'd be making the first electric car actually manufactured in UK. While India-made GWizzes and French NICE are abound in central London, the tiny Elettrica will be able to offer more range, taking two passengers up to 70 miles on a single charge - as opposed to 50 like the NICE or Gwiz.

The added range is thanks to a Lithium battery. The GoinGreen and their GWiz expect to offer these on new models and as upgrades in early 2008. Another important feature of the Elettrica, if you like living, is the safety. The GWiz got into some hot water because, since these EVs aren't classed as cars by the EU, the safety standards are pretty lax. Future Vehicles created a safety 'shell' for the Elettrica similar to the on Smart ForTwos.

The Lithium-powered Elettrica will gost £12,750 inc VAT - compare that to the newly-reduced cost of
£7,299 for the AC-drive GWiz or around £10K for a Mega City - both can (uncomfortably) seat four. Expect to see these funky-looking green machines on the streets of London soon. Test drives are already being scheduled in the capital. Check out the link when you click the title.

Thursday, August 30

eBay Find: SEMA Show Chevy Cobalt SS is still a lame Cobalt.


Why is it people buy Chevy Cobalts? Even with the attractive financing, and relative zippiness - (supercharged 2.0 - so it's not slow) but why allow yourself to be caught dead in this sad bastard? Even the Cavalier it replaces had tons more personality and Chevyness compared to this shapeless, pointless, old-Honda-Civic-wannabe coupe.

Usually - when I see a SEMA car on eBay - I stare at it for a while. Imagining how much better my life could be if I owned it. Big wheels, big speakers, big screens, big ballin, shot callin. Not on this occasion. Even on pretty wheels and with a two-tone paint job, this Chevy still sucks. Remember when they used to make cars?

So our advice is - if you already got at least a 'B' and mom promised you that sporty new car, check out a slower, but less tragic, Scion tc.

The Man With the Van now Has a Plan - 2008 Dodge Caravan

Back of the Van 2008 Dodge Caravan
Does your pappy drive a van for work? His saws, hammers, drills and duct tape all neatly arranged in a pile - with old newspapers and water bottles sprinkled all over? Well, if he's still in an Astro from the 90s, it's because America's had a van shortage since Chevy killed the Astro, Ford killed the Aerostar and all dad had left is the Dodge Sprint - a rebranded Mercedes that only big, chain plumbers, carpenters and locksmiths could afford.

The rest of the van-driving dads had to get a pickup or keep fixing the old vanScooby Doo Mystery Machine. Well, now Dodge is striking a blow for the workin man by offering the 2008 Caravan with no-seats-in-the-back (read: commercial). The Crossfire ate doo-doo. The Avenger is ridiculous. Apparently what the Germans didn't understand is - Americans need vans!

Scooby Doo Mystery Machine

Jaguar takes Another step toward the light - with the XF



Jaguar's a hot little potato right now. Ford's getting rid of it - but not quite yet. Meanwhile, after killing the S Class - Jag's got something brand new for you. And there's absolutely zero reason for you to give a crap. The new Jaguar XF looks like...an Acura or a Lexus or an Oldsmobile Alero how about an Audi. It totally looks like an Audi. In fact, it could be any car at all.

Compared to vintage Jaguars like this bowler hat-shaped Mark II from 1966 or so - the new XF, which the world got to see just a day or so ago boring. And it bores us.