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.
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.
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.
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
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
THE OTHER SIDE OF HAM
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