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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.

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Car Lists, Car Minded, Car Shopping, Cars Coming Soon, Domestic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat, New Cars, Trucks & SUVs , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shopping, General Chat, Used Cars , ,

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.

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Car Minded, Car Shopping, Domestic Cars, General Chat, New Cars , , , ,

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?

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shopping, Domestic Cars, General Chat, New Cars, Trucks & SUVs , , , , , ,

Jeep Wrangler’s Future Includes a Hybrid, a Diesel, and a Pickup

February 3rd, 2016
Jeep Gladiator Concept

Jeep Gladiator Concept

Last week on this blog we proposed some of the cars that are worth re-imagining with different bodies. It was fun and included everything from an F-TYPE with a backseat to a hyper-luxury minivan.

Neither of those are safe bets to hit the market anytime soon, but the vehicle that got us thinking about such possibilities is the ubiquitous Jeep Wrangler.

The Wrangler just might be the most famous 4×4 of all time, and the next few years could turn out to be some of the best it has ever seen.

Here’s what’s coming down the road for Wrangler fans.

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Car Minded, Car Shopping, Domestic Cars, General Chat, Trucks & SUVs , , , , , ,

Five Tips for Test-Driving a New-to-You Car

January 28th, 2016

Starting a test drive

In the course of a year, it’s possible to review more than 75 new cars, trucks, and crossovers when you’re an automotive journalist. That’s not put forth as some kind of bragging. It’s just to demonstrate that driving more than 6 new vehicles a month gives one an insider’s view on test-driving new cars.

Let’s look beyond all the things you need to do before going to a dealership. That’s been handled well here in other articles at CarGurus. Instead, here are five insider tips to keep in mind for test-driving a new or new-to-you car.

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Car Minded, Car Shopping, General Chat, New Cars , ,

Toyota FJ Cruiser: The Unlikely Collectible

January 27th, 2016

2014_toyota_fj_cruiser

I may have accidentally cost myself a lot of money.

Since my son was about 10, he’s been in love with the Toyota FJ Cruiser and obsessed with having one as his first car. Being a loving and supportive dad, I told him that I’d pay half and match his contribution to buying one when the time came.

My son is 14 now, and his driving years are getting frighteningly close. He’s still set on having an FJ Cruiser, but prices haven’t exactly fallen like I expected.

Insead, some used FJ Cruisers are selling for more than when they were new. What’s going on?

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Car Minded, Car Shopping, Foreign Cars, General Chat, Trucks & SUVs, Used Cars , , , , ,

Tesla Model 3 or Chevy Bolt? No Contest!

January 25th, 2016

Tesla Model 3

Soon a $37,000, 200-mile electric vehicle will arrive on the market. The car could be the one that finally ushers in the era of the affordable, high-range, mass-produced electric car.

This car is well along in its development and will be available to purchase in the coming year.

The car’s designers made aerodynamics a top priority, so it slips effortlessly through the air. When in motion, wind flows around the vehicle from the headlamps to the rear wheels. The aluminum body and smooth proportions cut down on weight and drag to increase both range and acceleration. Plus, the bottom of the car is completely flat, since there aren’t any exhaust bits that need to be kept cool.

Yes, this car could be a game changer.

Oh, and Tesla is building one, too.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shopping, Cars Coming Soon, Domestic Cars, Electric Vehicles, General Chat, New Cars , , , , ,

Jerry Seinfeld Sends $10 Million Worth of Porsches to the Auction Block

January 22nd, 2016

seinfeld-collection-porsche

Remember when we said that Barack Obama might be the coolest car guy ever? Well, he’s not.

In that same article we mentioned that Jerry Seinfeld could be making a case for himself with his web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

Little did we know that Mr. Seinfeld is one of the world’s most exclusive Porsche collectors and owns one of the rarest stables of Porsches known to exist, including the very first 911.

That automatically ranks Seinfeld in the upper echelon of car guys, no questions asked. Three of his rarest vehicles will go on sale at auction in March, and are expected to fetch a staggering sum.

Here are the cars going up for sale:

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Car Minded, Car Shopping, Classic & Vintage Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat, Used Cars , , , , , ,

5 Questions to Help You Decide Whether to Buy or Lease Your Next Car

January 21st, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Malibu 005When I was young and poor, I always fantasized about leasing a new car, because the monthly payments were so attractive. Of course, with a credit score in double digits, no responsible car company in the world would have leased me a new one.

Now that I’m older and married to a woman with a good credit history, I’m no longer attracted to leasing. We hold our cars for a long time, as witnessed by the 2008 Mazda5 and 2002 Dodge Neon parked in our driveway.

With my perspective out of the way, let’s ponder 5 questions to figure out whether you should lease or buy your next new car. They can help you determine what will work best for you.

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