Archive for the ‘Car Minded’ Category

Identical Cars on the Road: Have You Seen Yours?

October 9th, 2015

Ferrari Testarossas

Whatever kind of car you drive, there’s nothing like seeing the exact same car on the road to make you feel less special.

Last summer I saw two identical Mustang Shelby GT350s directly next to each other on a road in North Idaho. Had there been just one, I would’ve thought the car looked cool and been mildly impressed at the driver’s choice in vehicles. Seeing two in the identical color and same model year suddenly made them look like novelties. I was a little embarrassed for the drivers.

The two cars weren’t cool anymore. They were common.

This week I stumbled across a website that highlights what it calls Auto Buds, two cars of the exact same make, model, and color, crossing paths in public areas. Has it happened to you?

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Some Used EVs Offer Better Deals Than Their Gas Counterparts

October 8th, 2015

Used electric cars continue to drop in value. Willing to cut the fuel hose out of your life? It might prove less expensive to buy a used electric vehicle than its gas-powered counterpart.

The CarGurus CarValues page helped me do some research on the Instant Market Value of used electric vehicles and their gas-powered counterparts. It’s a helpful tool that helps you see the true cost of what used cars are selling for in your area in real time. (Your results may vary from mine based on geography and other fluctuations, because Instant Market Value can change as more cars get listed for sale.)

Fiat 500e

Fiat 500e used car photoLet’s look at the Fiat 500e as an example. A 2014 model has an Instant Market Value of $13,445 for a used version with 24,000 miles on it. In this instance, a 2014 Fiat 500 in the Pop trim level will be less expensive at $11,929.

However, as the EPA’s fuel economy site points out, it will cost you $7,000 in average in fuel costs to drive the gas-powered Fiat for 5 years. The 500e has a 5-year energy cost of $2,500. It will take you only about 18 months to make up the difference. That’s probably worth it depending on how long you plan to keep the car.

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The Fight Begins to Win Frustrated Volkswagen Customers

October 8th, 2015


It was only a matter of time before automakers jumped on the opportunity to seize leery Volkswagen owners and convince them to jump from their sinking ship.

We already know that Volkswagen owners are among the most loyal in the auto industry, so getting them to trade-in their prized V-Dub on anything else is an exercise in futility. It just doesn’t happen.

Even in the midst of crisis and outright deception on VW’s part, many owners are staying true and standing behind the brand that lied and cheated its way into their hearts. Like a bad relationship, some owners feel hurt and vulnerable, while others defend their choice in automobiles.

We don’t know yet how Volkswagen will fix its dirty diesels, but we do know there’s a fight starting to capture the affected customers around the world. Will they turn their backs on VW?

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Time’s Up for the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

October 7th, 2015

2015 Lancer Evolution Final Edition

Tell people you own a Mitsubishi Lancer and you aren’t likely to encounter many looks of jealousy.

The Lancer, after all, is a standard economy-minded family sedan that doesn’t offer much in the way of panache or excitement. It’s a good car that’ll transport you and your closest friends or family members to the places you need to go.

The base trim offers a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that makes 148 hp and uses a 5-speed manual transmission to deliver a respectable 25 miles per gallon in the city and 34 on the highway.

The Lancer is as practical as practical transportation gets.

The Lancer Evolution, though, is a completely different beast.

And it’s taking a final bow.

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Scion Comes Roaring Back

October 6th, 2015

2015 Scion iA

Toyota handed Scion a pre-wrapped, easy-to-hit home run when it decided the hotly hyped new GT-86 sports car would wear a Scion badge.

That car became the Scion FR-S and was supposed to light the brand on fire. The lightweight, rear-wheel-drive sports car was the answer to Scion’s woes and a kickstart to Toyota’s return to excitement.

Except it didn’t really turn out that way. The FR-S has sold well, but it remains a niche car that has never reached overwhelming popularity with the masses.

Last month, Scion finally caught fire and roared back on the scene of relevancy. Did FR-S sales finally hit redline?

Nope. The credit goes to a subcompact sedan and a new 4-door hatch.

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Now’s the Best Time to Buy… a Volkswagen?

October 5th, 2015

VW logo diesel emissions

All automakers in September saw their average transaction price increase.

Well, all but one.

Volkswagen is the only major automaker to see its average transaction price drop in the month of September. This could be just the beginning of the fallout of its diesel scandal, but it could also mean good deals for savvy shoppers.

There’s no question that Volkswagen is now in a full-blown crisis situation. In fact, one prominent VW exec illustrated just how bad things are by saying he thinks his company could pay the ultimate price:

Volkswagen AG’s designated Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch warned managers that the diesel-emissions scandal could pose “an existence-threatening crisis for the company.”

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Getting the Most Towing Capacity for Your New-Vehicle Dollar

October 2nd, 2015

2012 Ford F-250

Frequent readers of our blog might remember a post we wrote a while back about which vehicles offer the most horsepower per dollar. The possibility of getting the absolute most of a certain spec or feature per dollar intrigues us, perhaps because we’re a consumer-focused site, or maybe just because it’s fun to have a purely data-driven glimpse into car shopping. It’s easy to buy a car based on looks, or branding, or a particular set of features that you’re simply dying to have. It’s harder to figure out exactly where the best value lies.

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Tesla Model X Will Set New Standard for SUVs

October 2nd, 2015

Tesla Model X

It won’t be long before the traditional automakers put out an SUV that has gull-wing doors, electric power, and front doors that open as the driver approaches the vehicle.

Just as the Tesla Model S made German automakers step up their premium sedan game and forced them into building electric sedan concepts, the newly unveiled Tesla Model X will do the same for SUVs. Yesterday we compared some currently available models to the X, and it’s pretty clear there just isn’t any competition.

The Model X isn’t a vehicle that’s the result of an evolution of SUVs to this point. This is a vehicle that completely revolutionizes the SUV. As such, it will be only for those who are looking to join that revolution.

Those looking for predictable dependability and practicality need not apply. There’s a Kia Soul for that.

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Tesla Model X Breaks Open the Electric SUV Market

October 1st, 2015

Tesla Model X EV SUV photoThis week, while the world was finally given an in-depth look at the Tesla Model X, I spent time driving the Kia Soul EV. It got me thinking the electric SUV might be the segment that saves the electric vehicle market in the United States.

Why’s that? Because electric SUVs allow Americans to be practical, drive a big vehicle, and feel themselves green enough to deserve praise (at least their own).

Sure, you may have seen the gull-wing doors of the Model X, which Tesla calls “falcon doors,” and thought, “Wow!” But this vehicle is going to be known for so much more than its looks. Consider the fact that it’s going to have enough room in the rear to hold a sheet of plywood. It also has front cargo space where a traditional gas engine would go.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shopping, Electric Vehicles, New Cars, Trucks & SUVs

Who Will Drive the Alfa Romeo 4C?

October 1st, 2015


All I wanted to do was take my family out to dinner and dance lessons.

Last night, though, the universe tried to tempt me with other plans. Every Tuesday night, my wife and two of my daughters head downtown for salsa lessons. We thought we’d make last night special and go to dinner first. It just so happens that the restaurant we chose is next door to a FIAT dealership.

I had no problem walking by the rows of 500s in all their different forms, but then something new caught my eye. Through the dealer’s window I saw my first-ever in-person Alfa Romeo 4C.

First impression? Take my money.

Second impression? Not so much.

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