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Introducing our 'Daily Drivers': Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek

Hello, we're Lyra Solochek and Peter Couture, co-workers and fellow car buffs. When we're not talking about NASCAR at the watercooler, we're usually weighing the merits of the latest car models. After editing other newspapers' reviews for the St. Petersburg Times and tbt*, we asked each other: Why not broaden our discussions? Surely, the Tampa Bay area deserves its own automotive voice.

Our editors agreed.

Starting tomorrow, the Times will publish our new column, "The Daily Drivers," that will appear Saturdays in the AutoLink section and Thursdays in tbt*, our free daily. We hope to bring practical insights to our auto reviews. We both have families and everyday responsibilities that put demands on a vehicle. One of us has a long commute. The other drives mostly in city traffic. Our children are different ages.

That means we'll look at what affects commuters and parents. Yes, those cupholders really are important. So are things like cargo space, easily foldable seats, room for groceries and safety features.

That's not to say we don't value traditional automotive attractions like performance and styling. We do. But beyond routine maintenance, we're not spending our weekends swapping out small-blocks.

If we have any qualifications, it's that we're probably drivers just like you.

Peter jokes that through the years his cars have gotten progressively worse — from his first, a 1970 Firebird, to his current ride, a '95 Chevy Lumina he kindly refers to as a "heap." He loves Corvettes (especially the '67 Sting Ray) but will probably never own one.

Lyra started with a 1977 Toyota Celica GT and eventually moved up to her '07 Acura RDX and '08 Honda Ridgeline. But she still misses her all-time favorite — a 2002 Mini Cooper S — which she recently parted with. Dream cars? A Cooper S JCW. And she hopes Acura puts the ZDX into production.

So why start to review cars at what may be the worst time in the history of the auto industry? Well, if you're like us, a new car remains an aspiration. Even if you can't afford to buy one that doesn't mean you don't want to read about them. And enough about tests in the snow — we want to know how the cars drive here, in the Tampa Bay area.

Saturday's AutoLink: '09 Ford Flex SEL

Introducing our 'Daily Drivers': Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek 05/29/09 [Last modified: Monday, June 1, 2009 8:40am]
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