Here's the Thing

Stepping out of the shadows — The story of Don Nichols

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(December 24, 2020) I was half way through the November issue of Classic and Sports Car magazine when the October issue showed up in one of those U.S. Postal Service envelopes. You know the one. It has a large clear window on the front, and a statement on the back that starts with the words, “We Care.” The envelope was chewed up along the edges, the clear polybag in which it is usually delivered was missing, but the rest looked just fine. This presented a problem: Should I finish the November issue, or stop midstream and start in on the October issue?

2021 Toyota Tundra goes dark with Nightshade Special Edition

By Jim Prueter

(December 22, 2020) What do tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and potatoes have in common with Toyota? Well, other than sharing the nightshade name, absolutely nothing. Over the past couple of years, Toyota has been rolling out Nightshade Special Edition trim vehicles on its 4Runner, Sienna, Corolla, Camry, and C-HR vehicles. Now, for 2021, Toyota is offering its blackout Nightshade Editions on the Tacoma pickup truck, Sequoia SUV, and Tundra full-size pickup.

Gas prices spike ahead of the holidays

(December 22, 2020) WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 21, 2020) — Pump prices across the country are getting more expensive as we head into the last weeks of the year. Since Monday, the national gas price average has jumped six cents to $2.22. While not the most expensive price we’ve seen this year, it is the highest national average since mid-September, according to AAA.

GasBuddy survey finds a third of Americans will be traveling this week

(December 21, 2020) BOSTON — Travel plans have been upended for most of the year due to COVID-19, but when it comes to being “home for the holidays,” GasBuddy’s just-released Holiday Travel Survey found that more than a third (34%) of Americans are planning to make that happen and will be taking to the road for the special day.

Lincoln brings back Aviator name for its midsize crossover SUV

By Paul Borden

(December 20, 2020) After a brief run over a decade ago, the Aviator name is back for Lincoln, and it is welcome change from the use of alphanumeric nomenclature among luxury class vehicles, whether they been sedans, coupes, convertibles, or the growing crossover SUV segment. It is much easier to remember “Aviator” than it is “MKX” or whatever Lincoln’s previous midsize SUV was.

NHTSA shows significant improvements in traffic safety during 2019

(December 21, 2020) WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its annual 2019 traffic fatality data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), which showed that  traffic deaths decreased nationwide as compared to 2018, and alcohol-impaired driving fatalities decreased to the lowest percentage since 1982, when NHTSA started reporting alcohol data.

Nine finalists announced for North American vehicle awards

(December 18, 2021) DETROIT — The NACTOY jury voting for the 2021 North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year finalists is in and has been tallied and audited by Deloitte in Detroit. The selection of nine finalists is the second-to-last step in the year-long evaluation process for the three awards before jurors vote and announce winners in January.

2021 Lexus NX 300h F Sport Blackline: Safe, reliable but slipping behind curve

By Jim Prueter

(December 18, 2020) It’s been seven model years since Lexus first introduced the NX compact crossover utility vehicle. Since it debuted for 2015, little has changed. Lexus added the optional Enform Remote system for 2016, standard all-wheel drive for 2017, Lexus Safety Suite+ and a larger standard touch screen for 2018. Otherwise, except for the availability of a few safety and standard driver assistance features, the 2021 NX is the same vehicle introduced seven years ago.

Drivers offered winter safety tips

By Lauren Ward

(December 18, 2020) Adverse weather contributes to about a sixth of the 6.3 million auto accidents that occur on U.S. roads every year. Fog, rain, ice and snow are weather conditions more common in the winter months, which means it’s essential for drivers to take time each year to prepare for driving in winter. Safe winter driving tips include having the proper driving equipment, practicing safe driving techniques, and evaluating your insurance coverage to ensure you are financially protected in the event of an accident or collision.

Edmunds forecasts annual retail vehicle sales will be off 15.5% in 2020

(December 18, 2020) SANTA MONICA, Calif.  — The car shopping experts at Edmunds forecast that 4,036,744 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2020. This reflects a 2.8% increase in sales from the third quarter but a 5.7% decrease from Q4 of 2019. Edmunds analysts also estimate that 14,416,447 new vehicles will be sold in 2020, which reflects a 15.5% decrease in sales from 2019.