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Archive for the ‘Car Minded’ Category

J.D. Power’s 2014 Ten Best for Initial Quality

January 23rd, 2015

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

The auto press usually focuses on new cars this time of year, but another reason the midwinter months can be exciting is from the used car perspective. Around this time of year, some of the cars that were brand new last year are starting to appear on used car lots. 2014 models have had their time in the spotlight, and now’s your chance to try to find one for a bargain. There likely won’t be a hugely significant price change, mind you, but you can (we hope) expect a barely year-old vehicle to be in decent shape. Even if these cars are still on new lots, you can expect the dealerships to offer some great deals to move that inventory and make way for the plethora of ’15s and ’16s they’re receiving.

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Jaguar’s SVR Performance Brand: Your New Favorite?

January 23rd, 2015

2015 Jaguar F-Type R

There are performance brands, then there are the performance sub-brands of performance brands.

It sounds confusing, but you know exactly what I mean. BMW has one. Audi has one. Mercedes-Benz has one. Cadillac has one. Even Lexus, the stalwart of comfort and luxury, has one.

Jaguar has one too, which has been denoted with an R or R-S badge on the trunk, which signifies a step up in horsepower, acceleration, and handling. Future top-of-the-line Jaguars will wear a new SVR badge, which will likely grow into a full lineup of vehicles.

Which is your favorite performance brand? Keep reading for a quick rundown.

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Hydrogen Fuel Gets Closer to Mainstream

January 22nd, 2015

hydrogen_station_california

I know, I know. We talk a lot about the fuel that powers our cars on these pages.

We complain about high gas prices, we get cautiously excited about low prices, we wonder if governments should increase taxes on fossil fuels, and we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of alternative-fuel vehicles.

The question always comes back to this: environmental effects. Fossil fuels are damaging to pump out of the earth, and they pollute the atmosphere when burned. Electric-powered cars don’t emit any gasses when driving, but the production of the electricity that charges them can be harmful.

Hydrogen is, theoretically, clean from all angles. A new filling station in California could change the game on how we think about fueling our cars.

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Ready for the Comeback of Lotus?

January 21st, 2015

2015 Lotus Eterne sedan

Imagine a new Lotus and you probably picture a late-model Elise. Or maybe you’re one of the people who associate Lotus with the Tesla Roadster, which is essentially an Elise with an electric drivetrain.

Lotus did have a good run in the U.S. and made cars that were famous for being light and fast with superb handling characteristics. The cars looked like exotics but were priced like luxury sedans.

Lotus is still in business and, in the U.K., offers the Elise, Evora, and Exige on a somewhat limited basis. There’s still a limited U.S. dealer network selling what’s left of the 2014 Evora inventory and plenty of used models.

Over the last few years, Lotus has announced, then cancelled, plans for all-new vehicles. How seriously should we take this latest announcement of a brand-new model?

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Wait on That SUV: Will Gas Prices Go Back Up?

January 20th, 2015

cheap gas

We’re all well aware that gas prices are absurdly low. Filling up my Audi Q7 used to approach $100, and now I can comfortably fill up for under $50. Prices are well below $2.00 per gallon, which harkens back to the good times of nearly a decade ago.

Of course with cheap gas, American drivers seem to forget that prices were ever high. Check out this quote from CNN:

With fuel prices steadily dropping, SUV and crossover sales climbed 11.8% higher last year. Now, with gas below $2 a gallon at most U.S. gas stations, that trend is expected to continue.

Instead of being thrilled that gas is cheap and keeping fuel-efficient cars to make the savings even bigger, we go right back to our SUV addiction. You know what that’ll do? That’s right. Welcome back, $4 gas.

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Don’t Believe the Tale of the Scorned Wife and the Cheap 911

January 19th, 2015

cheating-husband-porsche-for-sale

If you want a good deal on a used Porsche, or any used car for that matter, don’t bother looking for scorned spouses.

There’s a popular urban legend that tells of wives, angered by the infidelity of their husbands, selling their cheating spouse’s wares for pennies on the dollar. In most versions of the story, the car in question is a nearly new Porsche 911, sold for as little as $50.

The story surfaced again this weekend, this time out of Australia and with a slightly more believable price. Thanks to some nifty detective work, the story was proven false.

Here’s how it went down:

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What’s New at the New England International Auto Show

January 16th, 2015

Show floor

In any place where autos tend to wear inconsistent but unsightly coats of road salt & grime all winter, a convention hall full of sparkling brand­ new cars holds particular appeal in January. This weekend’s New England International Auto Show offers enough car eye candy to refresh anyone’s view on personal transportation, not to mention a chance to learn all about the increasingly sophisticated technology built into new cars. I attended the NEIAS press preview yesterday, at which a number of manufacturers presented new cars they’ll highlight at the show.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shows, Cars Coming Soon, General Chat

10 Cars Unveiled in Detroit We Can’t Wait to See

January 16th, 2015

2016 Nisan Titan

This has been quite a big week for the auto industry, as manufacturers unveil the first lines of their 2016 portfolios at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The annual auto show has a long history of being one of the most pivotal events of the year for auto manufacturers. This is the time of year to get excited. This is when we begin to have a sense of what is to come in the next 11 months of automobile production and when we get to see in what direction the industry will head. This is one of the biggest events in the auto industry for a reason.

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Why Did Toyota Use This Photo of a New Tacoma?

January 16th, 2015

Toyota Tacoma FB

The picture looks like a Ram 1500 that’s been in a wreck.

The above photo, a close-up of the headlight, fender, and hood of the new Tacoma, could very well have been a photo submitted by a Ram owner after a long and damaging day of off-roading.

Believe it or not, Toyota’s marketing department posted the picture in an effort to generate buzz for the all-new Tacoma pickup.

It’s a terrible picture. And people noticed.

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New BMW Headlights Solve Old Problem

January 15th, 2015

BMW headlights at CES

Imagine a world where you never have to worry about turning down your brights as you drive. We’ve all been there, happily zooming down a country lane or lonely highway with the road in front of us bathed in ample light, our cars cutting through the darkness with high beams in full force.

Then a car approaches.

We think nothing of it until the approaching vehicle flashes its high beams, causing us to remember that we are blinding this fellow traveler. In our haste to quickly turn off the high beams, we spill our drink and accidentally flip on our right turn signal.

By the time we recover, the approaching car is long gone and we flip the high beams back on, only to repeat the process a few miles down the road.

There has to be a better way.

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