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Dan Neil, an automotive journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2004 for his weekly column Rumble Seat in the Los Angeles Times, is reportedly leaving his job in Los Angeles to serve as the automotive columnist for The Wall Street Journal.
On top of the test drives (Wheego Whip), test rides (Coda Sedan) and a visit to the unlimited energy booth, a highlight of the AltCar Expo last weekend was getting to hear the LA Times' premiere auto scribe Dan Neil moderate two sessions called "Some Inconvenient Questions." Neil was lucky to have on his panels some of the most knowledgeable people in the green car world who were able to discuss and promote their favored technologies (plug-in hybrids, hydrogen, etc.) without beating each other u
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No flowers, no cake, not even a eulogy. The Los Angeles Times has delivered its auto section an ignominious ending. Tucked among Dan Neil's Pulitzer-winning prose was a small, unceremonious Editor's Note notifying readers of the change in a matter-of-fact fashion. Circulation figures are down, advertising revenues are way down, and the LA Times' ownership, Chicago's Tribune Company, has been desperately slashing for years now, trying to return profitability. Fans of Dan Neil will now be able to
Dan Neil of the LA Times recently got a chance to spend some time with the new Smart ForTwo and came away less than impressed. The performance of the little three cylinder works fine in city driving but is barely adequate for getting on the highway. The tiny two seater was designed to get around the narrower streets of old European cities but apparently doesn't get much benefit on the wider streets of Los Angeles. Dan wasn't thrilled with the fuel economy either, failing to crack 40mpg.
In Sunday's LA Times, Dan Neil exorcises his guilt over climate change with a humorous essay that does give a hint to his serious efforts in fighting a global problem. He has converted to compact fluorescent lights and recycled "everything but the cat." But over-analyzing the carbon footprint of every purchase makes him an "awful party host." What harmful emissions were spewed into the air to bring grapes from Chile or sparkling water from Germany? And enjoy a hamburger? Forget it! It leaves a c
The Los Angeles Times' Dan Neil recently wrote a review of the new 2007 Nissan Altima Hybrid and, well, he pretty much likes it. In many respects it's very much like a new Toyota Camry Hybrid, which is to be expected since Nissan is licensing the battery and control technology for their first hybrid vehicle from Toyota. The Altima loses some trunk space to the battery and electronics, bring it down to just over 9 cubic feet. However, the Nissan's curvier styling combined with sharper steering an
Calling it dead-sexy, L.A. Times' Pulitzer-winning auto critic Dan Niel drained the batteries on a Tesla Roadster but came away with a positive charge in his heart and soul. In a video that accompanies his written review, Neil said, "You know, it's easy to the lose sight of the fact that this is really a historic automobile at a historic time." Allowed only a few minutes in the car in a tight urban setting, Neil poured on the volts to reach 85mph in short bursts. Neil wasn't allowed to use First
When is a hybrid not really a hybrid? When it's a "mild" hybrid, with a battery pack that can slightly improve fuel economy, but cannot drive the car on its own. The Saturn Vue Green Line is one of these mild hybrids, and the LA Times' Dan Neil was certainly unimpressed with it. He calls the Vue "as conventional as Victorian sex", a great phrase to describe this unexciting SUV. In fact, Neil's full of clever wordings that express his dislike of this vehicle. After doing a lot of comparisons of f