Q. I see there are many "Best
the year awards for new cars about this time of year. In fact, which
award is the best? -- N.F., Chicago
A. Motor Trend magazine provides the longest, most widely known and most respected "Car of the Year" award. That magazine has named the Volkswagen Golf as its "2015 Car of the Year."
Q. My car dealer sold me four winter tires mounted on new rims for my 2004 BMW Z4 with an automatic transmission. It said my car came with "racing tires." My local gas station said I didn't need new rims and only needed rear snow tires. It also plugged a hole in one of the car's run-flat summer tires. What is a good regular "summer tire" for my car? -- P.A. (via Internet)
A. Your rear-wheel-drive Z4 needs four winter tires, not just two, but I see no reason why it required new rims. I doubt that the car came with "racing tires" because they're specialized for track use, and nobody races a Z4 with an automatic transmission. I definitely wouldn't advise plugging a hole in a run-flat tire.That tire should be replaced. Contact the Tire Rack (www.tirerack.com) for the most suitable summer tire for your BMW.
Q. I'm selling my sporty 1953 Muntz Jet, which has a Lincoln V-8. Do you know of anyone interested in buying it? -- J.H., Zionsville, Indiana
A. I don't use this column to buy or sell cars, and don't know anyone interested in a Muntz Jet at the moment. But your rare car is definitely worth mentioning (and is profiled in the classic car section of this web site). Only 394 of the 1951-54 Jets were built by extremely colorful, wealthy Earl "Madman" Muntz. The racy Muntz Jet was a favorite of the Hollywood set and was right for the times then. Owners included actress-princess Grace Kelly and singer Vic Damone. The Jet was a modified four-seat derivative of a sports car built by legendary race car builder Frank Kurtis. It came with Lincoln or Cadillac V-8s and some had especially wild colors. Earl Muntz told me in a 1969 interview that he had to stop making the Jet because it cost so much to build that he couldn't make money with it. My advice is to sell your car at a big classic car auction, where Jets in good condition command high prices after being largely forgotten or ignored by the collector car crowd for years.
Q. I'm thinking about
2006 Scion xB. Is there another car out there that's competitive in
terms of gas mileage, roominess and design? -- A.B. (via Internet)
A. Your youth-oriented car's extremely boxy shape provides excellent utility, and its fuel-efficient engine and city friendly agility has drawn both young and (to Scion's surprise) old buyers. However, you might consider the boxy Kia Soul, Nissan Cube and Ford's redesigned Transit Connect.