Automobile - - Contents -

Your take on our All-Stars, plus de­sign cri­tiques.

ROBERT CUM­BER­FORD in the May is­sue fea­tur­ing your 2018 All-Stars opines re­gard­ing the Volvo V90 T6, “This is the one that I can imag­ine buy­ing and keep­ing in use for 10 to 15 years with­out much main­te­nance ex­pense.” A Volvo with­out much main­te­nance ex­pense be­yond the three years of “free” main­te­nance the fac­tory pro­vides? Does such a thing ex­ist? Ei­ther Cum­ber­ford is delu­sional, or he has found the ver­i­ta­ble holy grail for bud­get-con­scious Nor­dophiles.


Naperville, Illi­nois

As part of your All-Stars pack­age, you pub­lished an in­ter­est­ing re­view (“Train­ing Day”) of a lim­ited-ac­cess, com­mer­cial high-per­for­mance driver ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram, sup­ported and branded by Toy­ota. You also pub­lished con­tact in­for­ma­tion for 11 com­mer­cial and brand-sup­ported per­for­mancedriv­ing schools. This well-writ­ten ar­ti­cle and its foot­notes ig­nored two other slices of this mar­ket: club schools (Audi, BMW, Porsche, etc.) and lo­cal schools as­so­ci­ated with race­tracks, and ef­forts like Hooked on Driv­ing and Per­for­mance Driv­ing Ex­pe­ri­ence. I wanted to re­mind other read­ers of these ad­di­tional op­tions.


Min­neapo­lis, Min­nesota

I was happy to see the 2018 Honda Ac­cord among the top eight All-Stars. Now, if Honda could lure the head de­sign­ers away from Mazda or even Kia to im­prove its ex­te­rior de­signs, the Ac­cord and Civic would be fan­tas­tic cars. I’ve wanted to trade my five-year-old Ac­cord but don’t like the de­sign of the new model.


Ne­wark Val­ley, New York

Todd Lassa said the Toy­ota Camry All-Stars con­tender has “an eye-pop­ping price just shy of $40,000.” Huh? In case you guys missed it, pre­vi­ously de­scribed con­tenders were the Range Rover

Ve­lar ($90,170), Porsche Panam­era 4S ($126,705), Mercedes-AMG E63 S ($145,160), Land Rover Discovery ($79,950), Fer­rari GTC4 Lusso T ($352,6800), and Lam­borgh­ini Hu­racán Per­for­mante ($274,390). All are two to eight times more ex­pen­sive, and, strangely, none of the en­tries for those cars even men­tioned the price, though the Mercedes write-up did note that the car had “nearly $40,000 in op­tions.” In other words, an en­tire Camry worth of op­tions! If a $40K well-op­tioned Camry is too much for Mr. Lassa’s eyes, I can only sur­mise that the Ford GT ($450,000!) ex­ploded his heart. My con­do­lences to his fam­ily and friends. He will be missed.


Sara­sota, Florida

I had to recheck my math. $122K. Yes, $122K. That is the av­er­age price for your 26 All-Stars. Wow. At that price, they bet­ter be good. Damn good. Of those 26, maybe seven are af­ford­able to the av­er­age con­sumer. There is a good chance I will never even have an op­por­tu­nity to see 13 (or more) of them on the road here in south­east Wis­con­sin. I’m sure the wealth­i­est two per­cent en­joyed the ar­ti­cles. The rest of us, not so much.


Mount Pleas­ant, Wis­con­sin

Your write-up on the Mazda MX-5 Mi­ata Club RF notes, “Gone is the reg­u­lar

Mi­ata sim­ple man­ual cloth roof.” Sadly, an­other plain, fun sports car (which re­placed the gov­ern­ment-reg­u­lated-dead fun sports cars) bites the dust! Next, Tour de France will con­vert to moped power. O. KLEYTON COOPER

Cleve­land, Ohio

I en­joyed read­ing about all the amaz­ing cars that com­pete for the All-Stars awards. You even put in a pseudo-prac­ti­cal wagon for us av­er­age peo­ple. Thank you. When

I say pseudo, I mean that the Volvo would not dare to tackle a typ­i­cal 1-foot Michi­gan snow dump, as it has wimpy ground clear­ance and an iffy AWD sys­tem—when it is com­pared to the very ca­pa­ble and proven Subaru Out­back. Moab would be out of the ques­tion, whereas the Out­back would frolic there with the Jeeps. For $37,000, the Tour­ing is a loaded ma­chine. Subaru sells a lot of Out­backs, and the Out­back might just be the new pro­fes­sors’ Volvo wagon. I’m a physics pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus, and I cer­tainly would choose the Out­back over any other ve­hi­cle. I call the Out­back a “no ex­cuses” ma­chine. Any road or weather con­di­tion, bring it on! STEPHEN SCHEWE

Ann Arbor, Michi­gan

Ku­dos to Arthur St. An­toine for his vir­tu­oso col­umn, “Play­ing in the All-Stars Game.” The fi­nal para­graph, about his drive in the Lam­borgh­ini, was pure magic. It brought me back to the time I drove my ’14 Corvette from Long

Is­land, New York, to Deal’s Gap, North Carolina, for the pur­pose of driv­ing the Tail of the Dragon. I went up and down that mag­i­cal piece of road eight times, al­ter­nat­ing be­tween sec­ond and third gears, the en­gine howl­ing and pulling around ev­ery bend. Pure en­ergy, pure fo­cus, pure con­cen­tra­tion. For those pre­cious few hours, noth­ing else ex­isted. Af­ter­ward, I en­joyed the af­ter­glow sit­ting on a bench by the river, with the car tick­ing and cool­ing be­hind me, ap­pre­ci­at­ing the day, the view, and the re­ally kick-ass ex­pe­ri­ence I had. Good writ­ing should evoke those types of emo­tions and bring back those types of mem­o­ries. Thanks, Art!


Hunt­ing­ton, New York


Although I am not a big fan of Lewis Hamil­ton or Mercedes-Benz—my tastes run to Fer­nando Alonso and Fer­rari—I am a ded­i­cated For­mula 1 fan, and I thor­oughly en­joyed your in­ter­view with the reign­ing world champ (“Above the Noise,” May). It was much dif­fer­ent than I ex­pected, with more depth and less fluff than we nor­mally read in such in­ter­views. When Hamil­ton joined F1, I con­sid­ered him an ar­ro­gant pup, but he has cer­tainly de­liv­ered the goods. I send my ku­dos to him, es­pe­cially since he cer­tainly over­came some big hur­dles to get to the top (be­ing a poor black kid in a rich white men’s game comes to mind). So I say to him, en­joy the fruits of your la­bor while you can. Plan for to­mor­row but live for to­day. Life can be cruel (see Michael Schumacher). And, as al­ways, Forza Fer­rari! We would wel­come your tal­ents with open arms.


Las Ve­gas, Ne­vada

Write: Au­to­mo­bile mag­a­zine, 831 S. Dou­glas St., El Se­gundo, Cal­i­for­nia, 90245 Email: let­[email protected]­to­mo­bilemag.com. Let­ters may be edited for clar­ity and length. Cus­tomer ser­vice: au­to­mo­[email protected]­cus­tom­erser­vice.com; 800-289-2886

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