Honda’s Foreman 450ES Keeping up With the Competition

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Honda–a name that’s become synonymous with quality construction and reliability–faced the ultimate challenge with the design of the 450 ES: build a quad that improves on the Foreman 400′s legendary capabilities without alienating its legion of passionate fans.

It was getting crowded in the big-bore 4×4 market in late ’97, and there was formidable competition from various manufacturers. Polaris, nipping at Honda’s heels, already had two 500cc 4x4s, and Yamaha had just unleashed the awesome 600 Grizzly. Honda’s plan was to do what it has always done–continue to set the standard in utility ATVs, while simultaneously making it even more difficult for the “competition” to keep up.

Three Glorious Holes

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By now, regular readers are familiar with the most beloved car in the mph fleet, our Subaru Justy. Despite being on the receiving end of random acts of violence and abuse from the mph staff, this mid-80s, triple-cylinder appliance not only won’t throw in the towel, but begs for more like a jilted lover. The clutch no longer “clutches” per se, but vaguely and randomly applies pressure to the flywheel as its leisure, the sensation from the helm not unlike that of a CVT-equipped snowmobile; rpms climb and eventually the vehicle begins to move, momentum chasing the engine revs until the next gear selection.

Hurry Up and Die

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When I’m not busy fighting third-world famine with my witty and informative car reviews, I use my awesome video game skills to defend the Star League from Xur and the Ko-Dan. I’m a pretty busy guy, and my hour-long commute doesn’t help. For the safety of the universe, this situation needs to change.

NAIAS Outtakes

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Here are a few worthy Detroit-show cars that, for reasons of redundancy or space, didn’t make it into the March issue. Look for the rest of the magazine’s NAIAS coverage on newsstands starting February 14th.

Ethanol Hunt Day 4

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It took a few days for me to run through 20 gallons of regular gas in the Tahoe. Even with an average of 12.5 miles per gallon it took more driving than I’m used to in a test vehicle to get the needle towards E. This was during a mix of city and highway driving but I usually give people a disclaimer that “city” driving in Chicago is much harsher than what a suburbanite might consider city driving. In the last mile on my drive home there is a stop sign or light at EVERY block. And to get to the grocery store is three miles of pretty much the same treatment.

Ethanol Hunt

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I’m still trying to run through the current tank of unleaded gas in the Tahoe before refilling with E85 and after about 20 miles of city driving it seems to be working, a bit too well. I also made it to the nearest possible E85 station to scope things out. The “Gas City” is located just a few blocks from Wrigley Field. While that may sound really cool to out-of-towners, it also means we’re in one of the most congested areas on the North Side. Try getting near it on a game day buddy.

The Great Ethanol Hunt Begins

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The latest buzz in alternative fuels to hit the mainstream is Ethanol. This magical blend of corn and gasoline called E85 is either the answer to America’s dependence on foreign fuel or one big scam by farmers, depending on the blogs you read.

Not stimulated for this hardtop

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“A hardtop version of the Solstice would just make sense,” someone on the website wrote. Maybe so, but not a hartop that looks like this. In the words of our estimable managing editor, Dave Merline, “What are those on the roof—ass cheeks?” Just horrible. And the car itself, with all its nostrils, gills, and puncture wounds, is indicative of the identity crisis still raging at Pontiac.

Want trunk space? Don’t buy a Pontiac Solstice

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A sensible car the Solstice is not. If you want trunk room, hip room, cup holders or any modern day conveniences look elsewhere. This American roadster is built for taking corners, cruising and looking good. But since some people wondered just how much you could fit in the trunk, check out the brief video below.

Strategies for Smart Car Buyers

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New Car Buying: Good Salesman, Bad Salesman

A friend of mine recently asked for a dealership recommendation. I gave her the name of a local dealership and the name of the fleet manager, a young woman who had sold me a car for Edmunds recently.

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