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Archive for the ‘Car Shopping’ Category

What We’d Buy with 100K+ Miles

April 24th, 2015

1987 Toyota Pickup

Of course every shopper wants to purchase a reliable car. When pouring this much money into a single item, you probably expect that purchase to last a good long while, especially one as important as a car. That’s why reliability in a vehicle becomes such an important metric when considering where to throw your money. But how do you measure reliability? It certainly is a measurement that has to be taken with quite a few grains of salt. But, by the way we look at it, the issue of reliability can be addressed with one question: Would I feel comfortable buying this vehicle if it had over 100,000 miles on it?

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We Want a Malibu That Looks Like the FNR Concept

April 24th, 2015

Chevrolet FNR concept

What you see above could be an early glimpse into what the 2065 Chevy Malibu might look like. True, it’s rare for an automaker to tease us with product that’s 50 years away, but I think Chevrolet has done just that.

For now, this is just a design concept that Chevy has dubbed the FNR and unveiled at the Shanghai Auto Show. I could try to describe its looks, but I think it’s best to let the pictures do the talking, because there’s just no good way to describe what is going on here visually.

How is it powered? I’ll let Gizmag explain:

The electric car is powered by magnetic hubless wheel motors and charged wirelessly. The driver starts the motor with an iris recognition system and can opt between manual and autonomous modes. A combination of sensors and a roof-mounted radar system analyzes the surroundings during autonomous driving, and a set of crystal laser head and tail lamps light the way.

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Time to Trade the Hybrid for an SUV?

April 23rd, 2015

2015 Jeep Renegade

Don’t jump back into an SUV just yet!

If you drive an electric car or a hybrid, you might be tempted by low gas prices to make the leap back into an SUV or crossover. It happens every time there’s a fluctuation in fuel prices; they rise, and people flock to hybrids. They sink, and people migrate back to the big rigs.

Americans are a fickle breed, and we have a hard time looking at the long-term picture. With gas prices currently well under $3 per gallon in most of the country, the great transition back to SUVs is already in place.

According to CNN, so far this year only 45 percent of people who traded in an environmentally friendly hybrid car purchased another. That means 55 percent of folks went back to gas, and many of those were SUV purchases.

The logic makes sense, but whatever happened to the days when someone made a decision and stuck with it for a while?

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2016 Volvo XC90 Twin Engine: Double the Induction

April 21st, 2015

2016 Volvo XC90 T8 twin engine

So the term “twin engine” has officially become a thing, and now the world is just a little more bonkers.

Cars have been using two engines, or perhaps motors would be a better word, since the advent of the hybrid vehicle. One motor runs on gas, and the other runs on electricity, both working together to provide fuel efficiency and power.

Volvo will sell its new XC90 with a similar setup, except it’ll market its flagship SUV as the XC90 T8 Twin Engine.

It sounds impressive, and it is. The two engines, though, are just the beginning.

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Aluminum: Best for Beer Cans or Trucks?

April 20th, 2015
Did it collapse like a beer can?

Did it collapse like a beer can?

News of Ford’s use of aluminum in the body of the new F-150 shook the auto world in 2014. Some saw it as a revolutionary step in the evolution of the pickup truck, while others mocked the decision as an expensive experiment that would end poorly.

Competing brands touted the strength of steel and took issue with the high cost and questionable durability of aluminum. In an interview with Car and Driver, Michael Cairns, vehicle line executive for Ram, said,

It’s the best material to use for beer cans.

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The New Optima and the Future of Kia

April 17th, 2015

2016 Kia Optima

Kia Motors introduced the 2016 Kia Optima at the New York International Auto show a couple of weeks ago as part of an effort to revitalize the brand. As the lesser arm of the mighty Hyundai Motor Group, Kia Motors has struggled to distinguish itself from the South Korean automotive giant’s larger arm (by which we mean Hyundai itself, of course). Kia owes a lot to Hyundai, having been rescued from bankruptcy and absorbed into the conglomerate back in 1998. Kia first introduced its rebranded Hyundai Sonata in 2000 as the Kia Optima in North America, and Kia has since been doing what it can to set the Optima apart from the Sonata and other midsize sedans, in much the same way it’s trying to distinguish itself from Hyundai.

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The 200,000-Mile Club: Tell Us Your Story!

April 17th, 2015

odometer_260,000

We now have proof that almost any car can pass the 200,000-mile mark.

Earlier this week we were a little put off by a list of cars likely to last 200,000 miles that included only Toyota and Honda vehicles. We posted a response on our blog asking for help in proving that claim wrong. We know we have a dedicated group of proud drivers as readers, because we heard from dozens of folks who have proudly taken their vehicles most of the way to the quarter-million-mile mark and beyond.

Keep reading for some examples of cars that have effortlessly travelled hundreds of thousands of miles. Can you guess how many wear a Toyota badge?

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Can You Spare the Spare?

April 16th, 2015

2015_volvo_s60

My daughter’s birthday nearly ended in the bitter cold, stranded on the side of the road in a questionable area of downtown.

After a nice birthday dinner, my wife and two of our girls clambered into the Legacy to thaw from the unusually frozen April night. With the car started and the heat on, I was ready to pull out of my prime parking space and embark on the journey home.

But I noticed a woman on the sidewalk taking a funny glance at the car as she walked past. Her brief but concerned look caused me to pause enough to wonder what she saw. I got out of the car and found my passenger-side front tire nearly out of air.

“Oh no,” I said to myself, “not here. Not now.”

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Want a Performance Car? Don’t Buy a Forester

April 15th, 2015

2015 Subaru Forester

Certain machines come to mind when we stop to think about cars that are built for driving. The usual suspects are BMW, Porsche, and anything else that can be brought out to the track and tear things up straight from the factory floor.

The Subaru Forester isn’t one of those cars. It doesn’t see much track time, nor do people customize it to make it as fast possible. That’s because a Forester, no matter what is done to it, is still a Forester. It’s the hiking boot of the auto world—not luxurious or fast, but it’ll get you to some fun places in relative comfort.

The Forester plays in a niche segment that also includes the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Nissan Rogue. These are not fun cars to drive. They are nice to drive, don’t get me wrong, but no enthusiast alive would call them particularly entertaining when behind the wheel.

A Japanese tuning company thinks it can change that.

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Will Your Car Last 200,000 Miles?

April 14th, 2015

2015 Honda Accord

This used to be a fairly common rule regarding car ownership:

Get rid of it before it hits 100,000 miles.

In fact, I once knew people who firmly believed in trading in their cars before the 60,000-mile mark. They were a strict Chevy family, and experience told them that anything over 60K meant trouble.

Of course, that’s just silly today. Cars at 60,000 miles, regardless of the make, are barely broken in and can easily pass 100,000 miles and even hit 200,000 or more.

A recent list from Consumer Reports rubbed me wrong, because it announced the 10 cars most likely to make it to 200,000 miles. They all had one disturbing thing in common:

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