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Despite sharing mechanicals

Despite sharing mechanicals and structure with the Mazda 3 and European version of the Ford Focus, the Volvo S40 is distinctly Scandinavian in design. That is, it blends form and function superbly.

Modest updates for 2006 include a simplified trim and options structure, standard steering-wheel audio controls, revised wheel designs and improved cup holders.Volvo Vida Dice Diagnostic Tool Electric Silver is the new premium-priced exterior color, while Brilliant Blue replaces Mistral Green and Safari Green on the color palette.

The S40 comes powered in its base form by a peppy 168-horsepower, 2.4-liter five-cylinder powerplant. This engine drives the front wheels via a smooth-shifting Geartronic five-speed automatic transmission, which can be taken through the gears like a manual minus the clutch. Meanwhile, the performance-oriented T5 model receives a lustier 218-hp, turbocharged five-cylinder and a six-speed manual gearbox that, for 2006, gains a "pushdown" function to engage reverse gear. The aforementioned five-speed automatic is optional on the T5.

A sophisticated standard suspension setup features MacPherson struts in front and a multilink design at the rear. While there is some body lean, the overall handling is nimble and taut, allowing quick maneuvering in tight traffic.lexia 3 An optional Dynamic Sport Suspension on the T5 stiffens things for even more tenacious handling, though at the expense of a rougher ride. The T5 is available with an optional all-wheel-drive system.

As expected with Volvo — a safety innovator — the S40 has a variety of safety features, including front-side and side-curtain airbags, a reinforced cage around the passenger compartment and four-wheel disc antilock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Emergency Brake Assistance, among others.ADS1SPrice An available Dynamic Stability Traction Control system helps keep the vehicle's wheels from spinning and/or prevents a loss of control during extreme or emergency maneuvers.

Representing another

Representing another Corvette, this concept wins a place on the list because of its powertrain choice, a four-rotor Wankel, and its stunning mid-engine styling. The car debuted at the Paris Auto Salon in 1973, during a period where Vas 5054aAmerican performance was being stifled by the twin evils of restrictive insurance practices and the first Arab oil embargo. At the time, performance enthusiasts didn't have much to be enthusiastic about as engine compression ratios were coming down and quarter-mile times were going up.

Into this landscape came the Corvette Four-Rotor. Aggressively styled, the design features radical aerodynamics and gull-wing doors. Horsepower output from the four-rotor Wankel engine was said to be considerable. Many elements of the design were considered for production, but nearly all were deemed too expensive or impractical.Vas 5054a Original Version Had GM made a different choice, perhaps Chevrolet would have fielded something as arresting as the original Lamborghini Countach LP4000.

In subsequent years in a move that smacks of "what have you done for me lately," GM swapped out the Wankel for a small-block V-8 and renamed the car "AeroVette."

The AeroVette is currently part elm327of The GM Historical Collection.

For most drivers, the

For most drivers, the all-time most resented vehicle expense is not gas, oil changes or even those triple-digit transmission repairs, but auto insurance.

Every six months to a year, drivers voluntarily or, in some states are required to, play Premium Poker: the high-stakes game in which you bet your driving fortunes against the car insurance companies, all of which have better hands than you do.

Even in these days of almost universal nationwide mandatory coverage, about 15 percent of motorists drive uninsured, according to Insurance Research Council estimates. "The problem of uninsured motorists persists," said Elizabeth A. BMW GT1 Sprinkel, IRC senior vice resident. "Responsible drivers who purchase insurance end up paying for injuries caused by uninsured drivers."

Other unofficial estimates of uninsured drivers, which include illegal aliens, the underage, elderly, medically unfit and disqualified individuals who are driving, put the total at a much higher level than the quoted 15 percent. An even more frightening recent GMAC study found that one in six licensed drivers currently on the road are unfit to drive. It is estimated that 600,000 drivers in New Jersey alone are hitting the roads without car insurance. However, they (the car insurance agencies) know that sooner or later the odds catch up with nearly everyone, and your chances of making it through your driving years without a major automotive incident are outstandingly rare. BMW GT1 Last year there were there were 5,930,182 police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, resulting in an average of one fatality every 12 minutes (every 31 minutes in alcohol-related crashes), an injury every 12 seconds, and 4,181,000 cases of property damage.

Even more sobering, is the U.S. Department of Transportation's estimate that an additional 10,000,000 crashes go unreported, many because the Gm tech2 scan tool drivers have no car insurance and just as many because the drivers are trying to avoid a possible increase in their car insurance prices due to the accident.

It was swimming with the

It was swimming with the Sharks only last year, but the WRX emerges from its complete makeover as a confirmed Jet. The lines of the mini-wagon are more taut (if not excessively handsome). The roof looks lower, the rear-end rake is steeper, and the flaring hood scoop is now tamped CarBrain C168 down into a narrow cheese shaver. There's no body-color stitching on the upholstery, no epileptic boost meters, no race-boy adverts embroidered on the seats. The black and titanium trim is so understated -- red-numbered gauges notwithstanding -- that the car should really be called the Impreza LX.

Disappointment? It can't be measured in milligrams. This '08 WRX is so capable and willing, such a leap in livability and refinement over its predecessor, that the words "budget BMW" actually crossed our lips without causing gags.

Unfortunately, some of the old WRX remains for nostalgic types. The Evinrude-esque putter of the 224-horse, 2.5-liter flat-four is just as lame, although more damped in the quieter cockpit. The engine's four-armed intake tract has been changed from aluminum to plebeian black plastic.VOLVO VIDA DICE  It might be lighter and cheaper, but it won't encourage WRX lovers to crack their hoods at the hamburger stand.

Five-on-the-floor seems about as outdated as three-on-the-tree in a world full of six-speeds. The ratio spacing is almost identical to the Caliber's but without the second overdrive. No surprise that the Rex's recorded 20-mpg average is at the bottom. The turbocharged boxer spreads its torque thickly around 3000 rpm, so the extra gear was only missed on the interstate. Little joy was derived from shifting, anyway, the stick's floppy connection to the transmission seemingly done with bungee cords.

So much for the bad. Our back-road bash brought out the WRX's manifest improvements, including a new solidity in the ride, competence to the brakes, and fluidity in the suspension and steering. Arcs are traced cleanly with well-greased and reactive steering, the suspension restraining roll and pitch but letting the body down over dips and bumps as gently as a ballerina in slippers. Or a BMW on Michelins, we thought. As in a Bimmer, Subaru's new chassis filters out everything you don't need to know to go quick with confidence.

And quick it is, the WRX's all-wheel drive supplying much appreciated rear-drive throttle response in this group. Injudicious right feet easily overwhelm the front tires of the other cars, especially the hyper-boosted Mazda. Autel MaxiDAS DS708  But the WRX responds to mid-turn gassing by tucking in the front end and tightening the line. From this, great drives are made.

Maryland's governor, Martin

Maryland's governor, Martin O'Malley, signed into law on May 19 Senate Bill 277, allowing the use of speed cameras in highway work zones and within a half-mile radius of schools, which means that they can be placed on freeways under these BMW GT1 DIS V57 SSSV41 conditions. Maryland is only the second state behind Arizona to codify the use of freeway speed cameras into law. Hawaii piloted a program but dropped it, and similar programs near San Jose, Calif., and in southern Florida were dismantled after they were found to be operating outside of state law. Maryland's law takes effect from Oct. 1.

Sean Adamec, the governor's spokesman, responded to our inquiries.

"Maryland is in a unique position," Adamec said. "A pilot program in Montgomery shows it worked; it lowered incidences of fatalities, crashing and speeding and made neighborhoods safer. It's safer for kids, road workers Volvo dice vida 2011A and it's been shown to work based on evidence. The point of them isn't to raise money but to catch speeders and that in turn makes neighborhoods safer.

"We wouldn't propose any tax on motorists traveling at safe speeds. If it was revenue rising we would've done it years ago, [but cameras] slow people down so they don't need to levy so many fines. Of course there is a financial impact to make roads safer with less fatalities, but in the end you can't put a price on the life of a child."

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Toyota is recalling 1.53

Toyota is recalling 1.53 million Lexus,MaxiDAS DS708 Avalon and other models, mostly in the U.S. and Japan, for brake fluid and fuel pump problems, the latest in a string of quality problems for the world's No. 1 automaker.

Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday it will call back for repairs about 740,000 cars in the U.S. and 599,000 in Japan. The remainder are in Europe and other markets around the world.

Over the past year, Toyota has recalled more than 10 million cars and trucks worldwide for a variety of problems, from faulty gas pedals and floor mats that can trap accelerators, to braking problems in its Prius hybrid. In August, AutocomCdpProForTrucks Toyota called back 1.33 million Corolla sedans and Matrix hatchbacks in the U.S. and Canada because their engines may stall.

The majority of vehicles this time around need to be fixed for a problem with the brake master cylinder, which could lead to weaker braking power, said spokesman Paul Nolasco in Tokyo.

Some models in Japan and elsewhere -- but not in North America -- have an electrical problem with the fuel pump, gm tech2 Candi which could lead the engine to stall, Nolasco said.

No accidents have been reported from the two defects, he said.