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As I read about what may be coming in Lincoln's lineup ("Trend"December2010), the proposed new "MKT Town Car" names stood out. MKT-L? MKT-EL? Someone has to be kidding. When it comes to naming car models, the thinking of current auto executives baffles me. If I tell a friend I'm going to the auto mall to look over the new MDX, CTS, MKZ, 335d. and RDX, he would have no clue what brands, much less models, I'm referring to. The words Fusion, Charger, Regal, or Ctuze are associated with an automobile one knows right away. The names Fleetwood, Road Master, Town Car, or Imperial immediately bring to mind a large, luxurious automobile. Cruze, Fiesta, and Neon bring to mind an altogether different image. Names stick with us; an alphanumeric string does not. Myron Whiting Brookings, Oregon write us at

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The Volt is really an incredible piece of engineering and marks the next step in the evolution of passenger cars ("Mission Accomplished," December 2010). One aspect of electric cars concerns me, however. After hundreds of thousands of them reach their eighth year or 100,000 miles, what happens to the batteries? If they cannot be recycled, we will just be trading one environmental problem (gasoline emissions) for another (toxic waste). Also, what will happen to these used cars? Will the cost of batteries make their resale prohibitive? Tom Langston Runnemede, New Jersey Many of you fretted about battery life, and we can't know how long real-world lithium-ion packs will last. Butultraconser/ative battery management has effectively made Prius oatteries last the life of the car, and we expect the same to be true with the Volt. And when they're done being car batteries, they'll likely be used to ouffer wind or solar energy.—Ed.

I have a bet. My friend says the Volt fully recharges Frank Markus said it charges up to 40 percent in mountain reserve mode. I say you have to plug the Volt in to fully charge, and that it will not fully charge even when driving a long way on the freeway. Which is true? Will the Volt fully recharge itself in some situations? If so, what situations? Scott Jorgenson Phoenix, Arizona

You're right: The engine never recharges the oattery. We even tried preconditioning the cabin with it parked and Mountain Mode selectedI which fired the engine, hoping that,when we set off, switching to Normal Mode would give us that oig buffer, but no dice.—Ed.

Let's see if I have this right: The Volt runs its 149-horsepower battery until that's pretty well exhausted, then switches to a 74-horse generator to run the electric motor. Based

We'll all have alphanumeric names v/hen we move to domes to escape the C.H.U.D.S. while awaiting our 30th birthday "graduations." Get with the program, Myron-1138, and stop fighting the future. We'll give you a head start by giving you Death Race 2 on Blu-Ray. Enjoy happy...end of line...

on the Volt's 3729-pound weight, that's 50 pounds per horsepower, plus driver, baggage, and passengers. If I drive the Volt to Virginia International Raceway, I expect to get about 27 mpg, but on returning home I'd get about 18 mpg, which isn't bad fora 74-horse engine pushing that weight If I lap VIR with the Volt I might make it in 330. Cven a smart car does better than that. Perhaps you want to say GM's back in the e-car game, but if I have the Volt right, it falls way behind a 10-year-old Honda Civic Hybrid or Toyota Prius. My 6-year-old Civic Hybrid averaged 41 mpg in the 75 miles there, turned six 2:58 laps at 12 mpg and then traveled home at 42 mpg again. The Volt is predicted to get 27 mpg there and 18 mpg return and 6 mpg on track for 20 miles. And you think that's catching up? Sounds like falling farther behind Also, did you run acceleration curve on the generator alone with depleted battery? wjp4eme Via the Internet

The Volt's notyow rig for an enduro at VIR. You'll get several quickish tire-squeal-y laps out of it with all 149 horsepower, then you'll get the Propulsion-Power Limited warning, and slow down to a time like the one you're suggesting. The Volt can't run on gasoline alone, so your weight'power number is unrealistic, as are your fuel economy predictions. Expect high 30s in charge-sustaining mode.—Ed.

I just finished reading the story about the Chevy Volt and really enjoyed it. I ov/n a 2007

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Prius and I find myself trying to get that rnpg number as high as possible. I like the fact that the Volt can run electric only for around 50 miles, but that got me thinking. I live in Minnesota, and I know the Prius has to run the motor in winter to heat the car, dropping mpg dramatically. How does the Volt heat the passenger compartment? Glenn and Kim Via the Internet

Mfnnesotans will want ro 'precondition" their interiors electrically while plugged in whenever possible. Because electrically heating the air car draw as much power as moving the car, the seat heaters are also used to great effect—Ed.

porsche populist party

I wasn't surprised when I received an e-mail saying that the Porsche Cayenne had won 2011 Sport/Utility of the Year. I was disappointed though when I saw there was no GM or Subaru entry among the contenders. I lowever, this was a minor offense compared with the fact that Motor Trend put a <120,000 Porsche in the same competition as the 523,0001 lyundai Tucson. I've respected your opinions about vehicles (especially last year's winner), but this competition makes me question that respect. Never mind the fact that the winner cost nearly six times the price of one the cheaper contenders. You show you're out of touch with the American public. Value was part of the criteria for the 2010 Car of the Year competition and is listed as one of the criteria for the 2011; unfortunately, your editors didn't notice that one. Jason Shughart Grantham, Pennsylvania As we explain each year, only new or significantly revised vehicles are invited to our "of the Year" events. The entrants are not compared against each other, but against set, detailed criteria The Porsche delivers on all fronts—yes, even value within its segment.—Ed.

I read with great interest the Sport/Utility of the Year. But I am rather perplexad with Scott Mortara's conclusion about the Lincoln M<X: "In the end, the MKX's hefty as-tested price is what prevented it from garnering the top spot in our SUOTY competition."Yet, you gave :he calipers to the Porsche Cayenne According to excerpt of the month tell them if I want cool, I'll drive my new flip-top Sebring Ltd." ■Name withheld for obvious reasons

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readers on location where do you read motor trend?

t-mail digital photo(s) of you and Motor Trend to: [email protected] or rnail them to: Motor Trend, do Mail, Readers on Location, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245.

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my rudimentary math, the Cayenne's sticker starts at $14,240 more than the MKX. Am I missing something? Dan Schubring Via the Internet

Indeed you are, Dan. The bose Cayenne starts at $47,625.—Ed.

falling up

I just finished reading your review of the beautiful new Audi A7.1 found especially interesting Audi's new steering system that "helps lower fuel economy^This is a bold move, considering the frenzy in the automotive world to go green. While other car companies arp nputpring th»ir rar«; and sacrificing thp bits to the god of fuel economy, it's nice to see Audi going in a different direction. This kind of crpativp thinking nay not apppal to the tree-huggers, but will strike a chord with Americans longing for the golden years of oil excess. Paul Marin Wallkill, New York

If only. The steering system helps lower fuel consumption.—Ed.

van wilder

Your article was right on the money. I've had three company-issued minivans over the past

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