Ignore the fact that new car smell—like French fries, Listerine, and the Vatican’s radio station—can give you cancer. It’s still intoxicating, isn’t it? Go on. Climb into something at your dealership. Take a deep breath. If you feel all woozy, that’s the new car smell hitting you right (and possibly the cancer cells metastasizing). There’s a reason why pine tree air fresheners include a “new car smell” as a flavor, and not “1987 Tercel hatchback littered with Carl’s Jr. fries and 5 days’ worth of Burning Man dust.”
This week has been loaded with new cars, as we do first looks on the 2013 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid as well as the Ford Transit van. The next Volkswagen Golf gets a debut just in time to duke it out against the Fiesta. And we pontificate over the Altima’s fuel economy, which is indeed a very big deal, to clean up some comments from our own vice president. Hey, it’s an election year. It’s also a big year for cars. Stay tuned.
Monday, September 3
In a bout of consumer-oriented information, Nissan chose to spell out the 2013 Altima’s fuel economy by imagining how many tanks it would take to get to Mars. Answer: more than Curiosity, but less than the Hyundai Sonata. For a more down-to-Earth mileage comparison—literally—Nissan announced that the Altima would get 38 miles per gallon highway, which would cost $532 over the course of a Los Angeles to Washington D.C. drive—and back. Altima owners must like to drive a lot.
Tuesday, September 4
A new Golf only comes around every so often, but it’s usually paid attention with fervor on both sides ot he Atlantic. In typical new-car tradition, it’s longer and more spacious. But in atypical new-car tradition it’s also 220 pounds lighter: partially thanks to lighter-strength steel and the sort of cheese-grating diet that only anal-retentive chefs are inclined to pay attention to. We’ll get our closest look at the Paris Motor Show in a few weeks; but until then, you can check out the photos here.
Wednesday, September 5
Oh look, the Golf debuted at just the exact time Ford released its next Fiesta—at the Paris Motor Show as well, no less. Think there’s some kinda rivalry there? Well, given the Fiesta’s smaller size, in Europe it’d compete against the Volkswagen Polo, a step smaller than the Golf. But we don’t get the Polo here. And with Ford’s new expressive styling (read: chrome), it’ll be more noticeable than the Golf merely out of principle, and reflectiveness.
Thursday, September 6
Our First Drive of the 2013 Honda Accord will be next week (in time for another exciting installment of our Weeks in Review). But for now, we checked out the Accord Plug-In Hybrid, which is exactly as you guessed the Accord is, only with an electric socket. It definitely promises a 500-mile range, 15 of those miles on electricity only, and an mpg equivalent of 100 miles per gallon. It also won’t get lost in a Honda dealer lot. Better snatch ‘em up quick.
Friday, September 7
Remember the Econoline? Yes you do—it’s that thing that drove you from Terminal 7 to Rent-a-Wreck last time you were in town. A wreck can describe the Econoline’s refinement and modernity as well, despite its infamous longevity, which is why Ford is finally putting it out to pasture, just in time for a new Transit. The new 2014 Ford Transit will be a unibody construction, which Ford promises to be just as durable (if not more so) and even more efficient than the current van, which won’t say much. But the company also hints at a new cultural phenomenon: the return of vannin’ to the streets of America. Bust out that shag carpeting. On second thought, maybe not.