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Archive for the ‘Car Shopping’ Category

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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Car Accessories, Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Safety, Car Shopping, Cars Coming Soon, Electric Vehicles, General Chat, New Cars, Used Cars , , , ,

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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Car Minded, Car Shopping, General Chat , , ,

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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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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Credit Score Only Fair? A 7-Year Loan Could Work for You

June 22nd, 2016

The new Volvo XC90

An interesting trend in automotive financing could affect your ability to buy a new car. To take advantage, you’re going to need fair (but not good) credit and be willing to stretch the duration of your loan up to 7 years.

As outlined in a recent Automotive News article, auto loans lasting 84 months or more are currently finding both advocates and opponents in the automotive-financing world. Lenders opposed to the longer loans feel consumers with fair credit are buying too much car and are therefore more likely to eventually default.

Turns out, according to Equifax data quoted in the article, these 7-year loans are the least likely to end in default among consumers in the 630-to-680 credit range, which is considered “fair” credit.

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Six Cars Worthy of CarGurus Dads

June 17th, 2016

2013 Ford Explorer

Sharing nuggets of wisdom is part of fatherhood. How to pronounce “February” (that “r” is in there for a reason). How to tie your shoes (there’s nothing wrong with the bunny-ears approach). How to shave your face (you know, growing a beard isn’t a bad idea). We learn so much from our dads, and driving and maintaining a car stands as a hallmark of any father-child relationship. From learning to parallel park to changing the oil, and from heel-toe shifting to understanding the physics behind oversteer and the inherent superiority of rear-wheel drive, many of us wouldn’t have made it to “Guru” status without a little fatherly guidance.

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Looking for Deals on Used Cars Coming Off Lease

June 15th, 2016

2013 Honda Pilot off lease

A burgeoning number of leasers will return their cars over the next six months, and their number is bound to grow even further as leasing continues to be a popular alternative to buying a new car.

Experian Automotive, citing AutoRemarketing.com, says 1.8 million cars will be coming off lease between the end of April and December.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shopping, Domestic Cars, Used Cars , , , , , ,

Taking a Look at the Most and Least Expensive Cars to Own

June 14th, 2016

2016 BMW 340i

There are some things we replace, and other things we repair. I have no qualms replacing a toothbrush every couple months, or buying a new pair of running shoes after a few hundred miles. When it comes to more expensive items, however, my point of view shifts dramatically. Companies like Patagonia have made a strong push against disposable merchandise, offering repair services for their products and encouraging shoppers to fix their gear rather than just throwing it away and buying replacements. It’s a commendable, environmentally friendly decision—and considering the price tags on Patagonia products, one that’s appreciated by shoppers, too.

Of course, when it comes to repairing vs. replacing, nothing trumps the auto industry. Drivers spend hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars per year keeping their cars on the road and, try as a I might, I just can’t visualize disposable cars showing up anytime soon. YourMechanic.com connects car owners with mechanics and in doing so has amassed an impressive data set breaking down the average cost of ownership by brand and specific model, including the maladies that most commonly afflict each brand.

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Fiat 124 Spider: Better Than a Miata?

June 13th, 2016

2017-Fiat-124-Spider

The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider is finally getting its First Drive reviews, and the results are consistent: the much-anticipated new roadster from Fiat is as mediocre as you might expect.

Well, maybe that’s not fair. The 124 Spider is getting some good reviews, but there’s nothing out there saying this is the car that’ll turn Fiat into a best-selling automaker. So far, most agree that the new Fiat roadster is a good car, if not a great one.

The base model could be an exception. Skipping the fancy luxury and performance trims could give owners one of the most respected driver’s cars on the road today. That’s assuming, of course, they are among the few people looking for what the 124 Spider has to offer.

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