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Summer 2016’s American All-Stars

July 1st, 2016

2017 Ford GT

Over the past few decades, competing automakers in Europe and Asia have developed their own reputations for superiority. German cars have become synonymous with luxury and precision, while Italian cars deliver excitement and emotion. Sweden’s Volvos offer the best in safety, and England provides sumptuous style. Across the Pacific, the major Japanese automakers have built their reputation on reliability and longevity, while Kia and Hyundai of Korea now provide top-flight quality at great value. While foreign automakers tend to focus their approaches in ways that bear out these specific reputations, America remains a bastion of variety.

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New Ford F-150 Turbo Diesel Could Take Mileage Crown

July 1st, 2016

2017-ford-f-150-ecoboost

Oil-burning engines have been dominating the auto headlines in recent weeks.

From the newly announced Volkswagen TDI settlement to diesel’s apparent fall from grace, the fuel has been cast in a mostly negative light since the Dieselgate story broke in September 2015.

Americans have lost a lot of faith in diesel-powered vehicles, but one truck could have the potential to turn around diesel’s fate in America.

Diesel’s savior in America just might be an all-new Ford F-150.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Digital Instrumentation

June 30th, 2016
Courtesy Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz Head-Up Display

Chances are, anyone reading this post learned to drive a car with some sort of traditional gauge setup. Speedometer, tachometer, engine temperature, gas level, maybe a warning that someone needs to fasten their seatbelt. But is it possible the near future will leave such an interior feeling old-fashioned, obsolete, better suited for classic cars and car shows? We all know how fondly our zealously up-to-date culture likes to deride (or sometimes obsess over) old technological “breakthroughs” like cassette tapes or first-generation iPods, computing devices that look and feel like bricks in comparison to the sleek devices of today. With their growing computing power and ever-more-sophisticated interiors, why would cars be exempt from this double-time march of progress?

Surely we’ve seen this coming. Nothing moves as quickly as technology or has quite the same way of spreading across all parts of a particular product or experience. We have our award-winning infotainment systems; how long could it have been before some of the operating philosophy behind fighter-jet cockpits or the crisp graphics and formidable computing power of smartphones began showing up right in front of drivers’ noses? Not long, apparently: just take a look at the new display setups appearing in consumer vehicles, from the head-up displays (yes, like fighter jets, sort of) to fully computerized dashboards. But if you haven’t necessarily been keeping an enthusiast’s eye on the automotive market, you might not quite know what these new features are all about. They are, after all, still pretty new. So here’s a quick rundown of a few of the more important (or common) among them.

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How To Get the Most Money for Your Trade-In

June 30th, 2016

trade_or_sell_car

Want to get the most money for your trade? Here’s a tip:

Don’t take the first offer.

Trading in a car at the dealer, as opposed to selling on your own, has benefits and drawbacks. On the negative side, you usually get less money when trading. On the positive side, trading can mean less sales tax on the new car because, in some states, you only pay sales tax on the difference between the new car and the trade-in.

Even though you’re receiving less for the trade, the savings on tax can help make up the difference.

How can you make sure you get the most money for your trade? Read on!

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What the Volkswagen TDI Settlement Means for Owners

June 29th, 2016

2015_jetta_tdi_4218

Volkswagen has agreed to pay a massive $14.7 billion fine to the U.S. government and other entities to settle allegations of cheating on emissions tests and deceiving customers about its 2.0-liter TDI engines. That’s a big number, but what does it mean for the average Volkswagen owner?

You stand to lose a lot of value on your used Volkswagen, according to extensive CarGurus research. (Settlement details have yet to be announced for the 3.0-liter diesel engines.) CarGurus’ data team analyzed a sample of the VW models impacted by the emissions scandal in order to determine what the scandal has cost owners since news of the “defeat device” first broke in September (right before a really awkward 2016 Jetta launch in New York City). The calculations were based on CarGurus’ Instant Market Value (IMV) analysis, which is run daily on millions of used-car listings.

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Don’t Give Up On Diesels Yet

June 29th, 2016

2014-Jeep-Grand-Cherokee-Diesel

The last few months have given us plenty of reasons to not buy a diesel vehicle.

Aside from the massive Volkswagen emissions scandal that basically exposed the oil-based fuel as a dirty alternative to gasoline, there are new allegations that Chevrolet did the same with its Cruze diesel.

Those problems began just as American car buyers were getting used to the idea of so-called “clean diesel.”

There aren’t many new diesel options are on the market today and Americans may have lost their taste for the once-promising propulsion method.

There are a few scenarios, though, where buying a diesel still makes sense.

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Are There Any Bad Cars Left? Kia tops J.D. Power Initial Quality Study

June 28th, 2016

2017 Kia Sportage EX EX

If there’s one piece of advice I find myself sanctimoniously preaching to prospective car shoppers, it’s this: There’s no such thing as a bad car anymore.

Long, long ago, in the early 1990s, Kia Motors expanded to the United States, bringing with it little economical runabouts like the Sephia sedan and the Sportage crossover. There was just one problem: These cars weren’t exactly what we’d describe as “good.” Sub-100-hp engines, crude transmissions, and interiors featuring more plastics than Mean Girls. The little Sephia couldn’t even deliver great fuel economy, barely eking out 27 mpg highway with its automatic transmission. A ‘94 Ford Escort could manage 5 mpg better with nearly identical power specs.

But oh, how times have changed. Despite a poor first impression, Kia has emerged as a shining example of the fact that there really are no more “bad” cars. Every year, J.D. Power conducts its Initial Quality Study, wherein car owners are surveyed to determine which vehicles deliver the best experience within the first 90 days. By placing first on J.D. Power’s 2016 U.S. Initial Quality Study, Kia earned the honor of being the first non-premium brand in 27 years to take home Gold.

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GM Gears Up for Plant Upgrade to Build New C8 Corvette

June 27th, 2016

c8 vette

The hype leading up to the new C7 Corvette was unlike anything in the history of Corvette. Early rumors swirled of a possible rear mid-engine setup, followed by “news” that the C7 would have the same split rear window as the famous 1963 Sting Ray.

Obviously neither of those came to fruition. The Corvette has always been a front mid-engined car, with the motor pushed back to be centered over the front axle. Even without a rear mid-engine (RMR) layout, the C7 has become one of the most lauded ‘Vettes ever produced and is turning heads on the streets and drawing comparisons to Ferrari for its design.

Yes, the C7 Corvette is one hot car.

Could the C8, due for the 2019 model year, be even hotter?

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This Summer’s 10 Coolest New Convertibles

June 24th, 2016

2017 Porsche 718 Boxster

It’s that time of year again. The sun’s beginning to shine just a little too much, and the weather’s transitioning from pleasant and refreshing to downright oppressive. And while some people will turn to more traditional methods of respite—air conditioning is understandably a very popular option, especially in a car—we believe a convertible may be the best cure for the summer heat. We have said it time and time again: that classic feeling of cruising with the top down will never get old. In fact, it seems to get better with time. If you aren’t currently a convertible owner, there are plenty of options out there with a wide range of styles and price tags.

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Cheaper to Keep, or Time to Trade?

June 24th, 2016

car-dealership

When a driver faces a large repair bill for his or her car, it’s tempting to just head to the local dealership, trade in the car, and drive home in something new with a full warranty.

People justify the purchase by reasoning that it saves money on repairs. After all, a more reliable vehicle is far less likely to break down and will greatly reduce, or even eliminate, costly trips to the mechanic.

In many cases, though, it costs far less to keep and maintain an older car than it does to buy a new one. Let’s take a look at a couple of scenarios, and determine if it’s really cheaper to keep your current car.

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