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Top 12 Fun and Safe Family Cars Made in America

According to the 2017 Cars.com American Made Index, 25 percent of people surveyed want to buy an American car. That’s almost double the number of people who said so in 2016, and it doesn’t take an astrophysicist to figure out why. President Trump has clearly made Americans aware again.

Whether you agree or disagree with the man and his policies, it certainly doesn’t hurt this country’s economic fortunes to deliberately choose a vehicle that is designed, engineered, and built in America using American ingenuity, parts and labor. The question, of course, is this: What the hell is an American car in the first place?

Some people follow the profits. Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Tesla are the only car companies currently headquartered in the United States (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is incorporated in the Netherlands with an HQ in London). But does that make a Buick Envision built in China an American car?

Some people consider the brand. Fiat Chrysler is a now single company serving as an umbrella for multiple legacy brands. Is an Italian-made Alfa Romeo Stelvio as American as a Detroit-built Jeep Grand Cherokee? Is an Italian-built Jeep Renegade as American as a Michigan-made Ram 1500?

Some people consider where a car is actually assembled. The Toyota Camry is built in Kentucky. The Ford Fusion is hecho en Mexico. Which one is American? Both? Neither?

With the help of American University’s Made in America Index, Speedy Daddy aims to define an “American” car.

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The Best Cars and SUVs of 2017

For the second year in a row, the New York Daily News has announced its annual Daily News Autos (DNA) Awards. What’s that got to do with Speedy Daddy, you might ask? Good question.

As the editor of the newspaper’s Autos section (and a contributor to other publications), I am proud to have instituted this awards program in 2016, and I am thrilled that the Daily News elected to repeat the DNA Awards for 2017. While several of my own selections did not make the final cut this year, those vehicles that earned the most votes from the 8-person jury, and by extension won the award, are absolutely worthy of your consideration.

What follows is a selection of those vehicles, the ones that are worthy of a Speedy Daddy recommendation. I’ve listed them here in alphabetical order, along with some of the reasons cited by our jury for selecting them for the win.

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2017 Geneva Auto Show: 6 Speedy Picks for Under $60,000

Normally, the annual Geneva Motor Show showcases vehicles that won’t come to the U.S., along with ridiculously priced supercars that might get your adrenalin pumping but that you’ll never see on public roads let alone in your own driveway.

Naturally, this trend continued in 2017, but automakers also rolled out six new America-bound, performance-oriented models with at least four doors, a back seat big enough for kids, and a price tag under $60,000.

Intrigued? Check out what’s headed for the States starting in a matter of weeks, listed in alphabetical order.

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Opinion

Autonomy is Right Around the Corner, Yet Car Companies are Doubling Down on Driving Fun

Can a Toyota Camry legitimately be described as fun to drive? Toyota thinks so, and expects this to come to pass when the redesigned 2018 Camry arrives later this year.

The next-generation Camry is built on Toyota’s new global vehicle architecture, designed from the ground up to improve driving dynamism. Chairman Akio Toyoda, himself a fan of taking the long way home, has decreed that Toyotas and Lexuses must be more than just high-quality, dependable, and efficient vehicles. They must spark emotion, they must be enjoyable to drive, and they must be aspirational rather than an appliance.

Toyota is not alone. Multiple automakers are flexing their engineering muscles in order to appeal to people for whom the journey is just as much fun as the destination. Clearly, if you are a driving enthusiast, now is a great, if disconcerting, time to be alive.

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Five to Drive: Fun and Safe Crossover SUVs

Everybody wants a crossover SUV, except for driving enthusiasts because weight + taller center of gravity = sad face emoji.

If you like to drive, but daily life demands more space for passengers and cargo in a safe, all-wheel-drive vehicle, don’t worry. There are several crossover SUVs that meet the criteria without sucking all of the joy out of your commute.

Personally, my favorite is the 2017 Ford Edge Sport, equipped with a twin-turbocharged V6 engine, available 21-inch wheels and performance tires, and a driving thrill unmatched by anything at its price. Unfortunately, it does not qualify as a “Top Safety Pick” according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), coming up short in the small overlap frontal-impact test.

The five vehicles that follow, however, do earn this crash protection designation. So if that’s your most important consideration, as it should be for any vehicle in which you’re planning to carry your family, check out one of these fun and safe crossover SUVs. They are listed in alphabetical order.