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Mark Kennedy

Stories by Mark

A few months ago I had a kidney-stone attack. It hurt like heck for a couple of days, but then I got better.

The Tesla Model S has been called the most important car made in America today. Motor Trend magazine named it the 2013 Car of the Year, following on the bumper of the Chattanooga-made VW Passat in 2012.

When I was a kid, my dad would take me to the neighborhood store and pay 15 cents for a tiny, 6.5 oz. Coke. A "Co-Cola," he called it.

Here's a thought: Small SUVs are the new sedans.

There's a group in Washington called "The Can Kicks Back," a nonprofit dedicated to fixing the national debt.

My world is lily white. Caucasian people dominate my neighborhood, my church and the newsroom where I work.

If you're going to play "king of the hill" in the midsize luxury sedan segment, it means going up against some heavy artillery — notably the Cadillac XTS, Audi A6 and BMW 5-series.

When I was a senior in high school, we had a jukebox in the school cafeteria. It was 1975, and “Sweet Home Alabama” played on a continuous loop. Turn it up!

When Chevrolet set out to redesign its seven-passenger crossover SUV, it clearly had a few specific improvements in mind: more interior refinement, a library-quiet cabin and first-class (not coach) third-row leg room.

"Do you wear white socks?" an eighth-grade girl, who was a family friend, asked me in 1970.

We've had good luck lately snagging new vehicles as soon as they hit the ground in Chattanooga, and we scored again this week with a showroom copy of the brand-new Lincoln MKZ, an important car as the brand competes to regain market share.

Reminder to self: Never ask a boy an open-ended question. He'll swat it away like a gnat.

The Wall Street Journal this week flashed a greed light to auto-buyers. The auto industry is expected to move 15.5 million vehicles this year, according to the newspaper, a level not reached since before the financial crisis in 2008.

Today, I'd like to share with you some amazing discoveries.

If I'm blessed with an average life span, I will live a good stretch of years in two centuries.

On a visit to test drive the redesigned Mazda 6 earlier this week, I encountered two young customers — a man and a woman — checking out the car in the Edd Kirby's Adventure Mazda showroom.

Dad, It's been 20 years since you left us, and I miss you more as the years go by.

Subaru clearly has younger drivers in its sights with the introduction of the all-new Crosstrek hatchback.

Put an electric razor under a down pillow.

When your family ranges in age from six to 54, finding a one-size-fits-all television show is hard. For our brood, "Duck Dynasty" on A&E does the trick.

When automotive journalists voted on the North American Truck/Utility of the Year earlier this month in Detroit, the retooled Ram 1500 took top honors.

My wife and I were standing in the checkout line at Walmart last Sunday when she held up an item from the magazine rack.

When I told a newsroom pal I was driving an Avalon from Capital Toyota last week, he quipped, "Oh, isn't that the car for retired school administrators?"

Do you need a password to get to heaven?

I was walking through the newsroom the other day when my cellphone jangled in my pocket.

Editor's note: Second of two parts. This week we continue on our quest to highlight some of the best new vehicles of the last 12 months. Today we round out our Top 10 picks with a look at five more cars and trucks.

I got an iPhone 5 for Christmas. It's cool — solid black and about the size of a Hershey bar.

Hooray for Hasbro!

I've been test-driving cars for years, but until last Tuesday, I had never had another driver pull beside me at a traffic light and flag me down.

I have a 1960s memory of a second-grade boy who, at about age 7, raised eyebrows in my hometown by climbing into Santa's lap at a Christmas party.

Time was, most modern sedans got redesigned about every five years — whether they needed it or not.

There's only a hair of difference between fearless and crazy. Vivian Tyler, 39, is a good example.

Like a good-looking spouse who also happens to be an All-American cook, the new Ford Fusion Hybrid gives you the best of two worlds — high style and fuel economy.

Over time, my signature has devolved into a dying-man's EKG, a little spasm of an "M" followed by a sad, flat line.

For the first 5 minutes after this week's test drive of the awesome 2013 Audi S6, I thought my personal car, a Toyota Camry hybrid, was broken.

Last week I cleaned out my desk in the Life department and moved to the rear of the newsroom to join the Opinion pages staff.

It's amazing how much refinement automakers are building into today's compact cars; especially when you consider they are direct descendants of the prosaic little econoboxes of the last third of the 20th century.

At exactly 8:29 p.m. on Nov. 6 — Election Night — an email alert popped up on my computer screen.

Cross a Toyota Prius sedan with a small SUV and what do you have?

Since 1995, the Times Free Press and the two premerger dailies here have together published 286 stories about water parks.

Sometimes ad campaigns for new cars are subtle, other times not so much.

As hurricane names go, Sandy is too soft for a killer storm. It's a name befitting a light-haired dog, maybe, or a girl cousin.

Nissan's redesigned 2013 Pathfinder is remarkably different than the outgoing model.

My two sons, ages 10 and 6, were both born in late October. Their Halloween-week birthday parties have always been a snap.

Wow. What's that gorgeous new car the neighbors down the street brought home this week?

When I returned from vacation last week, 2,348 emails were waiting in my inbox like baby chicks. Only 17 were important.

Quick: Think small SUV. Now, what leaps to your mind? Honda CR-V? Toyota RAV-4? Chevy Equinox? Ford Escape?

I hate the Dallas Cowboys.

The new Ford C-Max Hybrid, a compact wagon that gets 47 miles per gallon in the city, is sneaky cool.

The U.S. Census Bureau likes my family. I know this because they call us once a month. I get calls from a census lady who talks like she's from Bombay.

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