Author Archive: John Matras
John is a veteran auto writer, first published in Custom Rodder magazine in 1980. Since then, he has been published in all the big car magazines, including Car and Driver, Road & Track, Motor Trend, Auto Week, Automobile, plus a variety of others, including but certainly not limited to Automobile Quarterly, Collectible Automobile, and Special Interest Automobiles. John’s work has also been featured in a number of consumer and general interest magazines such as Consumers Digest, Popular Science and others.
John has written four books, including a history of the Mazda RX-7 (selling for more out-of-print than it did new), buyers’ guides for Mazda, Datsun/Nissan and Volvo cars, and is co-author of 365 Cars You Must Drive with Motor Trend editor Matt Stone, and his work has been translated into Italian, Estonian, Portuguese, Russian, and Bulgarian. John is recipient of the prestigious Ken Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism, awarded by the International Motor Press Association, and the Golden Quill from the Washington Automotive Press Association.
John has three adult daughters and has been married for more that four decades to Mary Ann, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.
The original XC90 was virgin territory for Volvo in 2002. Volvo was a company that had entertained owners with decades of station wagons but had steadfastly resisted the siren call of the SUV and crossover. Volvo needn’t have worried, other than to think, what took us so long? The XC90 was an instant hit, becoming […]
Grand routier. It has that certain sound even on paper, without even being spoken. There can be no doubt that it is French, nor of its meaning, even for someone who doesn’t know the language and even if there is no direct translation into English. This was a great road car of France. This was […]
A dilemma some car shoppers face is whether to buy a particular car model and stay at a lower trim level, resisting the premium trim and optional luxury features because they make a car too expensive. Or to buy that same model and load it up, getting all the extra features that they wouldn’t on […]
The United States is deservedly recognized as the pickup truck capital of the world, with the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Colorado the top selling models on the U.S. market while pickups in the rest of the world are niche players. But that doesn’t mean the open bed haulers aren’t, well, interesting. Mahindra Imperio: Back in […]
Remember that game we played when we were kids, Mother May I? One child would tell the others what kinds of steps they could take. Well, the Hyundai Tucson just got one giant step. Just like the Tucson did for the 2010 model year, the 2016 Hyundai Tucson takes a big stride in the first […]
We’ve seen some unusual product placement efforts in the past, but Fiat has outdone about all of them with a Fiat 500 not only being chased by a half dozen or so police cars but also show on live television that yes, it’s not a clown car. California is probably the only place in the […]
Honda famously muffed the ninth generation Civic. Into one of the most competitive segments in the automotive market, Honda brought its “B” game. The 2012 Honda Civic wasn’t so much bad. It was that it wasn’t as good as it could have been, confusing inexpensive with cheap. Honda must have known it from the beginning, […]
The smallest mass-produced V-6 would hardly seem to be something to brag about, something like having the smallest head in the senior class, except that the 1.8-liter V6 in the 1992-1994 Mazda MX-3 GS was such a gem. And a small diamond is worth more than a big chunk of quartz. Focusing on the engine, […]
The 2016 Chrysler 300 is simply the most Chrysler of a Chrysler there is. That’s not a tautology, really. While of course it is a Chrysler—that’s the name on winged badge on its grille—it’s also a Chrysler, living up to the heritage that built the Chrysler Building, one of the most recognizable icons of the […]
Who would have believed that Toyota, maker of the 1959 Toyopet Crown would have become the international automotive juggernaut of today? Toyota products have been almost immovable from the upper reaches of customer satisfaction studies. In 1959 America, they were often simply immovable–except by tow truck. Toyota’s initial decision to send the Toyopet Crown to […]
#PinkBeetle—that’s right, hashtag-Pink-Beetle as its name—is a real thing. Or at least it will be when it goes on sale this fall. Volkswagen claims the Beetle #PinkBeetle will be the first car with the pound sign as part of its name, and we certainly don’t doubt it. Thanks to the hashtag, says Volkswagen, the #PinkBeetle […]
The Volkswagen GTI is now one year into its seventh generation. We first drove the 2015 VW Golf GTI in California but this is the first time for us to sample a GTI on our home turf. While our first-drive 2015 GTI was a top-trim Autobahn model, it did not have the Performance Package, which […]