Car buyers who do their research usually run their options through Kelley Blue Book, an automotive research company that recommends new and used cars, gives up-to-date pricing and shows car listings.
A component of that, its video reviews, are gaining popularity. With more than 600,000 subscribers on YouTube, viewers have been watching Micah Muzio, the company’s video manager, give his opinions on the latest cars since 2007.
In his experience, he tries to approach every review by asking what problem the vehicle is trying to solve. That’s why he’s much more interested in reviewing minivans than supercars.
“If I’m going to be of use to the automotive world and people who are buying cars, it’s kind of cool to weigh in on cars that people are actually going to buy,” he said.
Muzio told us about five cars he has owned in his life and his ultimate dream car.
1986 Isuzu Trooper
In high school, a long-standing deal with his dad meant that he could purchase a blue, two-door 1986 Isuzu Trooper with a manual transmission.
Early on in his school career, the deal was that with every A he got, he would get $1. By the time he was 16, he had enough money for a down payment.
“It had an engine problem where every time it was supposed to idle after you drove it for just a little bit it would automatically stall,” he explained. “That’s where I first dabbled in left-foot braking.”
He also had some of his first off-roading experiences with the SUV. But after a year and a half, “my aspirations went higher.”
1992 Geo Storm
Those aspirations landed him in a white 1992 Geo Storm GSI, a General Motors-imported and rebadged Isuzu Impulse.
With the Suzuki Samurai out of his reach, he figured out a way to emulate that in the Storm.
“I figured out that if you removed four bolts and cut the wires that go to the rear wiper, you could take the rear glass hatch off,” he said. “So I was kind of driving the ‘we-have-it-at-home’ version of a Suzuki Samurai minus the SUV stuff.”
During his ownership of the Storm, it developed a lot of mechanical problems.
“It had a suspension issue that caused major alignment problems,” he said. “So I had premature tire wear. This is all stuff that I would be able to suss out very quickly now, but at the time I didn’t know what I was driving. I knew that it felt a lot sportier than the Trooper.
He owned the Storm for about 2 years before losing it to a head-on collision.
“The Trio of Honda Del Sols”
Muzio moved on to a red 1992 Honda Del Sol with a VTEC engine. He owned three over a number of years, with this first one being taken out by a telephone pole after about two months.
He bought two subsequent Del Sols, which reflected his love of the styling.
“I’ve always been a fan of open-top motoring and that concept of using that targa-style top and having it on a little lift in the cargo area,” he said. “So you still have a ton of cargo space.”
That cargo space was helpful for lugging instruments around during his band days.
2002 Honda S2000
By the time he bought a silver 2002 Honda S2000, he was ready to learn how to be a better performance driver.
“When I bought the thing I was early in my years as a car reviewer,” he explained. “I thought that to have credibility reviewing performance cars, or any car, I needed to improve my driving skills.”
Initially, he would find quiet places on weekends to test the sporty handling. But eventually it primarily became a track car, where he was impressed with its neutral handling.
“That neutrality really bred a lot of comfort with the rear stepping out,” he said, speaking of oversteer. “Not that I was going out and trying to treat it like a drift machine, but it kind of bred an innate understanding of when a vehicle gets sideways. That’s ok. You just have to make proper corrections and (the S2000) really nailed that into my brain.
2021 Ford Bronco
Last fall, Muzio and his family took delivery on a 2021 Ford Bronco Big Bend with the Sasquatch package. He likes the versatility of it, which matches his surroundings in the mountains outside of Los Angeles.
“Our lifestyle up here is such that when you drive around, there’s so many little off-road areas and trails that are right next to where we live and where we shop,” he said.
The capability off-road is something he really appreciates.
“We’ve driven it off-road and in snow and it does a great job getting power to the ground.”
2010-2015 Audi R8
If money were no object, he would snap up a first generation Audi R8 with a V10 engine and all-wheel drive.
“It has an esoteric, elite quality but it’s more approachable than a Lamborghini,” he said. “I don’t like that elitism that comes with supercars and the R8 avoids some of the most negative qualities. I really like the look of the first generation with the side blade.”
A recent Newsweek search for the R8 V10 on Autotrader yielded 85 results, from $83,995 all the way up to $239,995.
Muzio has decided that the car is unattainable and is now exploring his love of aviation.
“Because I’ve thrown my lot into the helicopter world, that’s where I’m going to reside.”