Hey Millennials: 10 Great Cars for Your Weird New Dates

February 12th, 2016

2016 Subaru Crosstrek Special Edition

Flappers. Beatniks. Hippies. Hipsters. The media never tires of creating new terms for members of the younger generation. In the old days, those terms often had a negative connotation, but now that the Internet gives the younger generation the power to participate in the media, those terms tend to be less openly hostile. The current younger generation generated quite a bit of hostility in the auto press a while back, with headlines declaring things like “Millennials don’t like ____ (cars, shopping for cars, taking care of cars, driving, etc.).” More recent headlines question those older ones, suggesting millennials do like cars and driving, but think cars and driving are different than they used to be. We prefer the sound of those recent headlines, and we agree that cars and driving are changing radically.

Dating for millennials is also changing, apparently, but one thing hasn’t: The vehicle you use to pick up a romantic partner and and take him or her out on a date will have a big impact on that date. So in the interest of finding news ways to satisfy old needs, here are 10 vehicles we think would be perfect for 10 new types of millennial dates. We hope you have a great Valentine’s Day, millennial or not.

Continue reading >>>

Compact Trucks Available Now, Soon, and Eventually

February 12th, 2016

2016_toyota_tacoma

Your world has gotten way more complicated in recent months if you’re in the market for a compact truck.

We are in the midst of a compact-truck renaissance, and keeping track of what trucks are here now, which are due for a major refresh, and which are coming soon can be a headache. How is a buyer to know whether he or she should pull the trigger on a truck that’s on the market now or stay patient for just a little while longer to get something that might be even better?

Keep reading for a quick rundown of what’s available now and what’s not far down the road.

Continue reading >>>

Things to Know Before Using a Tax Refund to Buy a Car

February 11th, 2016

Used carsIt’s that time of year many people look forward to: tax refund season. It’s also the time of year used-car dealers look forward to, because people use those refunds to buy new-to-them cars.

Now, you might see articles claiming that tax refund car purchases peak around April 15. That’s not true. The only people filing tax returns then are those who owe taxes – not those expecting refunds.

What’s the first thing you want to know about buying a used car with your tax refund? Now is the worst time to buy a used car with a tax refund. How come? It’s simple. Between now and the end of March, it is a seller’s market when it comes to used cars.

Continue reading >>>

Chevy Malibu: The Best Non-BMW Available Today?

February 11th, 2016
Without any logos, could you guess the car?

Without any logos, could you guess the car?

A new ad from Chevrolet suggests that putting the Chevy logo on a car reduces its value by about $40,000.

That’s not the intent, of course, but it’s one way of interpreting the ad for the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu.

Before we go any further, I need to say that I think the 2016 Malibu is the best sedan Chevy has built in decades. It’s worthy of instilling pride back into American cars and is a noble competitor to the Accords and Camrys of the world.

The new Malibu is sleek and well designed, has a high-quality luxurious interior, and offers plenty of technology to keep the driver and any passengers informed and entertained.

Its latest ad, though, is a head-scratcher.

Continue reading >>>

NHTSA Administrator Talks Autonomous Driving

February 10th, 2016

MIT Transportation Event

Remember all the recall-related headlines of the past two years? Those manufacturer errors account for only about 2% of deaths on the road. Conversely, 94% of lives lost in motor-vehicle accidents are due to human error. These are startling numbers, which lead to sobering realizations. Back in 1970, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was formed to study our highways and roads in an effort to minimize the risks associated with driving. As technology has advanced, this administration’s scope and responsibilities have advanced as well. Dr. Mark Rosekind, the current NHTSA Administrator, spoke with Bryan Reimer, of the New England University Transportation Center and MIT’s AgeLab, regarding the NHTSA’s role in the current and future state of autonomous driving technology.

Continue reading >>>

Should We Tax Gas While It’s Cheap?

February 10th, 2016

low_gas_prices

Who doesn’t love low gas prices?

There’s a certain glee that one gets while driving through a city or down a highway and seeing those glowing gas station signs displaying prices that start with a one.

As of this writing, the national average price of regular unleaded is $1.77. You can fill up a thirsty Tahoe for around $45, which is a huge relief when compared with the $100 fill-ups that were common just a few short years ago.

When gas prices are this low, sales of SUVs and pickups go through the roof, while electric vehicles tend to languish on dealer lots for much longer.

The president has a plan that he hopes could spark some EV sales and help reduce consumption of cheap, easily available gasoline. The odds of his plan being implemented, though, aren’t good.

Continue reading >>>

Would You Pay $149,000 for a $50,000 Shelby GT350?

February 9th, 2016

2015 Ford Shelby GT

Do you remember the first time you bought a new car?

Mine was in 2004. The Honda Pilot was in its second model year, and I had to have one.

I did my research and learned everything I could about the SUV. Keep in mind, this was coming up on 12 years ago, and the era of online car research was still in its infancy. I learned enough to know which trim I wanted and the price I was willing to pay.

What I wasn’t prepared for was a little thing called “market adjustment,” a phenomenon that has been taken to all-new levels in 2016.

Continue reading >>>

Kia Next to Compete With the BMW 3 Series?

February 8th, 2016

kia-novo-concept-02-1

Here are the carmakers you might expect to field competition to the BMW 3 Series:

Audi
Mercedes-Benz
Lexus
Acura
Infiniti
Jaguar
Volvo

Each of those automakers builds a vehicle that could be considered a sports sedan, and each has its own selling points and unique qualities when compared with BMW’s venerable sedan.

Other brands might like to get into the sports sedan game, but just don’t have the heritage to build a world-class competitor that would be taken seriously.

So a Kia entry in the sports sedan market would seem to have a snowman’s chance in summer, right?

Continue reading >>>

10 Cars Fit for Super Bowl 50

February 5th, 2016

Super Bowl 50 logo

This weekend will cap the 2015 NFL football season with one of television’s most watched events: the Super Bowl. The 50th edition of this great American sporting event pits Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Manning’s a veteran, having won and taken the MVP title for Super Bowl XLI as well as five Associated Press NFL MVP titles since entering the league in 1998. Cam Newton’s younger, having entered the league in 2011, but he’s got some impressive stats, too, and he’s our bet to win the MVP award this year. Fittingly, each quarterback was the first pick in the NFL draft the year they entered the league.

Because we’re huge fans of cars in addition to football, we’ve decided to turn this year’s Super Bowl into a car contest in addition to a football game. We’ve selected five critical players from each team and picked a car to represent each of those players. We’d be happy to see what you think of our picks as well as which one of each pair of cars you would select – please let us know in a comment. We hope you’ve already voted in our poll on the game itself, of course, and seen the best and worst car ads that will be shown during this year’s game. Since our local Patriots didn’t make it to the big game this year, we’ll likely be much quieter while watching it than we were last year, but we’ll certainly have a good time, and we hope you will, too.

Continue reading >>>

FCA Killing Off Dodge Dart, Chrysler 200 in Favor of Trucks and SUVs

February 5th, 2016

2016_chrysler_200

Could you imagine Ford discontinuing the Fusion? Or Mazda doing away with the Mazda3?

Of course not. Those are core models for the brands and it would be complete insanity to cancel them without an improved replacement ready to go.

Chrysler, now FCA, spent years fine-tuning its core sedans. The Chrysler 200 began life as the Sebring and has since become a respectable entry in the compact sedan market. The Dodge Dart resurrected a cherished name from the past and is the FIAT-based sedan that Americans hoped would arrive when the Italians bought out Chrysler.

The cars aren’t record-setting sales superstars, but they do fill an important hole in the company’s lineup. Not having an entry in the compact sedan segment is akin to suicide in the mainstream auto industry.

Yet FCA is doing the unthinkable: Canceling the 200 and the Dart, without any concrete plans to replace them.

Why is this happening?

Continue reading >>>