NEMPA Panels Dig Into Green Vehicle Technology

May 22nd, 2015

DSCN1961

This week we attended the New England Motor Press Association (NEMPA)’s panel discussion on the future of green vehicle technology, California’s Zero Emission Vehicle mandate, and mass-market adoption of these technologies. It was a terrific, fruitful discussion. Two 4-person panels brought together expertise and opinions from automakers, energy research groups, electric utilities, and state politicians as they discussed the industry’s current strategies and what needs to change to increase the desirability and sales of Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs).

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Why Toyota Shouldn’t Build a New Sports Car

May 22nd, 2015

Toyota sports car concept

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I don’t think Toyota should build an inexpensive sports car.

If you know anything about me, you know I’m a freak about sports cars. I clamor for rear-wheel-drive, manual-shift, great-handling coupes and roadsters. I was thrilled when the Subaru BRZ came out, and I’ve gushed about the new Porsche Boxster and basically all iterations of the classic 911.

My brother-in-law races Miatas, and my father-in-law raced Porsches in his younger years.

I love sports cars and everything they represent.

There have been rumors that Toyota would build a sub-$20,000 RWD sports car, but, believe it or not, I don’t think it should.

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GM Offers Best Rewards for Military Service

May 21st, 2015

Corvette convertibleMemorial Day weekend fast approaches. It’s a great time for new and used car shopping with summer just around the corner. More importantly, it’s an important time to recognize the military men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Some automotive manufacturers extend special discounts to military personnel (and sometimes retired veterans) that might be worth considering if you’re shopping for a new car. Check their websites to find the models you might want. (The website MilitaryRates.com has a list of companies offering discounts.)

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Are Car Dealers the Cheapest for Car Maintenance?

May 21st, 2015

car_dealer_service

I’ve grown up believing that the service department of a car dealership is the most expensive place to get your car repaired or serviced. I attribute that to my Dad, who taught me at a young age to always take my car to an independent repair shop to get the best price.

I carried that belief into adulthood, and only now am I starting to realize that’s not always the best approach.

To be fair to my Dad, maybe that was true 20 years ago. Maybe dealerships have realized they need to be competitive with other shops to keep customers coming back. Whatever the case, it’s time to give car dealerships another look for service.

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How to Find Your Perfect Car

May 20th, 2015

2002 Saturn SL2

“What’s the best car I can buy?”

The question pops up quite often at family gatherings, social events, in random Facebook messages, and anywhere people find out I write for a car blog.

The answer is always the same.

“The one that makes you happy.”

Of course, people want more information than that. They want to be told which car offers the best value, best performance, best fuel economy, best reliability, and so on. Needless to say, there is no “best car money can buy.” There is a “best car for you.”

Today we’ll look at the best car to buy if you want an inexpensive used car with great gas mileage.

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Airbags: Saving Lives (Mostly) Since 1991

May 19th, 2015

airbag recall

Have you ever had an airbag deploy in your car?

I’m lucky, because the only airbags I’ve ever seen in use have been in videos of crash tests. Airbags stay hidden most of the time, silently tucked away and forgotten. The only reminders of their existence are the subtle etchings in the surfaces that hide them.

Airbags are meant to save lives, and they have, with many thousands of people owing their continued existence to an explosive cushion of air. Airbags, though, have also taken lives by ejecting with too much force, ejecting with young children in the seat, or, most recently, exploding and sending shrapnel at drivers and passengers.

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Surprise! A Corvette Split Window and a ’67 Shelby GT500

May 18th, 2015

1967 Shelby GT500

There are some things you don’t expect to see when you seclude yourself deep in the woods for the weekend. Those things are:

  1. A cell-phone signal
  2. Air conditioning
  3. A perfect 1967 Ford Mustang GT500

This last weekend, deep in the forest of North Idaho and near the pristine shores of the expansive Lake Pend Oreille, my family and I saw all three. Plus, as an added bonus, a 1963 Corvette Stingray Split Window.

You’ve surprised me, Idaho.

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10 Cars to Buy When You Get Promoted

May 15th, 2015

2007 Bentley Continental Flying Spur

Hard work pays off. Hopefully, you’ll get out of a job what you put into it. If you’re a hardworking person, you’ll likely receive an opportunity to move up in the world. So maybe you’re moving on to something new, or you’re replacing someone who has left a position above you. Either way, moving up can be pretty awesome. So with your newly accepted promotion, you’ll want to spend your more generous new wages appropriately. So why not buy a new car, something that will really show the world your hard work has paid off (literally). People often say “you should dress for the job you want.” So why not drive a car for the job you want?

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Toyota’s Partnerships: Good for Toyota, Good for the Industry

May 15th, 2015

2018 Toyota Supra

Toyota is one of the world’s largest automakers, but at least one of its coolest cars is the result of a partnership with another automaker.

Automotive partnerships don’t always work. One failure that comes to mind immediately is the Chrysler TC by Maserati.

I guess “failure” might be a little harsh, because the car does have its own club and plenty of fans. Those people see the car as misunderstood and elegant, while the rest of the world sees a Chrysler K-car with a spit-shine.

The TC lasted only three model years and cost close to $40,000 when new. That high price bought a Maserati body with a Chrysler engine, pretty much the worst from each partner at the time.

Toyota seems to have the partnership thing figured out, though, with at least three marriages to other major automakers. Will they fare better than the Chrysler-Maserati tie-up?

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While 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Debuts, Save Big on Current Sports Cars

May 14th, 2015

New Camaro Logo

This weekend the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro will debut in Detroit. Chevy has slowly teased photos in an attempt to whip up a media frenzy. Why the special focus? A couple of reasons: The Camaro is an automotive icon, and sports cars are suddenly hot again with lower gas prices and an improving economy.

It’s a great time to crave a sports car. There are traditional coupes like the Camaro, Dodge Challenger, and Ford Mustang. Throw into the mix sedans like the Dodge Charger, the Nissan Maxima, and the Subaru WRX, and there is no shortage when it comes to selection or deals.

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