Car and Driver February/March 2021

This magazine is for automobile enthusiasts interested in domestic and imported autos. Each issue contains road tests and features on performance, sports, international coverage of road race, stock and championship car events, technical reports, personalities and products. Road tests are conducted with electronic equipment by engineers and journalists and the results are an important part of the magazine's review section. Get Car and Driver digital magazine subscription today.

United States
12 Issues

in this issue

10 min

DUNK TANK Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that you found electrical gremlins in the Land Rover Defender [“Defending the Brand,” November 2020]. The power-steering system gave a false alert, the camera system died, the stop-start system failed to restart at a stoplight, and the satellite radio expired. It’s clear that Joseph Lucas, Prince of Darkness, is alive and well in Britain. Wasn’t it Lucas who was the patent holder for the short circuit? —Allan Robertson Halifax, NS Sounds like the Land Rover would be a fun, if expensive, adventure rig until the electric gremlins creep in. I think I’d rather buy a Jeep Rubicon for weekend woods thrashing plus a Toyota Supra. Loved “the roof rack produces more wind noise than a gas-station burrito” and “the truck shakes passengers like bricks in a…

2 min
a race against time

You never forget where you were when a Very Bad Idea first popped into your head. For me, it was in Virginia during a glowing October sunset as I was riding in the bed of a Jeep Gladiator. K.C. Colwell, our deputy director of testing, was giving a tour of Virginia International Raceway’s 4.1-mile Grand Course. K.C. has been one of our Lightning Lap drivers for the past 11 years and knows every bump, tar patch, and inch of curbing at VIR. His tour reminded me of a scene in Free Solo, where Alex Honnold is prepping for his ropes-free climb up El Capitan by going over every handhold and foothold he’ll need to escape death. K.C. takes lapping just as seriously. In that moment, and as someone who, since March,…

6 min
every number tells a story

There are only a couple of reasons why someone would push a Volkswagen Arteon to 120 mph. Either there is no better option for a getaway car or they’re testing it. We were testing it. “That’ll give you an idea of the top-speed test,” said testing director Dave VanderWerp, one hand casually on the wheel. I was riding shotgun and holding a laptop wired to a Racelogic VBox 3i data logger, a five-figure piece of equipment that calculates our position and speed 100 times a second. Another wire ran from the VBox out the rear passenger’s door and up to an antenna stuck to the Arteon’s roof. That antenna connected us to seven satellites. Why do we need satellites to locate the car we’re sitting in? Because using what’s in medium…

1 min
when does an $8000 car cost $21,000?

For the roughly 2.6 million Americans who bought vehicles from them in 2019, buy-here, pay-here (BHPH) dealerships are both a lifeline and a scourge. These used-car lots act as both dealer and lender, catering to customers with credit scores below 620, a history of making late payments, or a repossession or bankruptcy in their past. In exchange for financing these risky customers, BHPH lots charge above-market prices for their vehicles along with interest rates as high as 29.9 percent. In 2019, BHPH customers defaulted on almost four out of every 10 loans. For the dealers, who can repossess and resell the same vehicle over and over, this is merely a part of doing business. For the hard-up people relying on those cars, though, it’s another snare in the poverty trap. They…

1 min
evolution of the species

When we meet a strange new creature, we do what humans have done since the beginning of time: observe it, categorize it, and maybe see what it tastes like, but not necessarily in that order. In the kingdom of Automobilia, that means stomping the don’t-call-it-a-throttle pedal and sliding past the limits to see what electric vehicles are capable of and how that’s different from the combustion-powered vehicles we know and love. Here’s the tale of the modern EV, as told through the data from 47 electrics and more than 2200 gas, diesel, and hybrid vehicles we’ve tested since Tesla introduced the Model S in 2012. On average, internal-combustion-powered vehicles are quicker. But the real-world swiftness of electric motors and single-speed transmissions shows in our passing tests. That lack of gearing in most EVs…

4 min
these vacuums suck

The Tests Paw Patrol Our local Petco provided us with a trash bag of dog hair, which we rubbed into a carpeted floor mat. Snack Attack We seasoned the floor mat with Cheerios and crushed Cheez-Its, just like kids do. Getting Dirty We spilled two cups of potting soil on the mat. Mic Check We used our sound-level meter to measure how loud each vacuum is from three feet away. Weighing In We put each vacuum (without attachments) on a scale. 1. Bissell Multi Auto $180 Attachments: extension hose nozzle, motorized brush, dusting brush, crevice tool The Multi Auto’s motorized brush does a great job picking up deep-seated pet hair. The extendible hose nozzle gives this Bissell an edge in maneuvering under and around seats to find runaway crumbs. We used the motorized brush to clean up dirt the other vacs…