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Archive for the ‘Car Shopping’ Category

Ford Bronco and Ranger Poised for Comeback

August 31st, 2015

2015 Ford Ranger

Either call me clairvoyant or a bumbling blogger with a predisposition for choosing unlikely topics that come true.

Just 10 days ago I wrote about the 50th birthday of the Ford Bronco and the likelihood that we’d ever see a new version of the old brute roll off assembly lines.

Then over the weekend I saw this headline in my inbox:

Ford Said to Weigh Return of Bronco, Ranger Output to U.S.

What!? This wasn’t a headline from one of those click-factory websites designed to fool readers into spreading an unfounded rumor. This was a headline from Bloomberg, an organization that knows a thing or two about the auto industry.

It’s a good time to be a Ford fan.

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Investing In Cars Could Save Your Life

August 28th, 2015

1966 Griffith 400

You wouldn’t think a former school teacher could have owned so many rare and exceptional cars in his life.

Gary, though, is different.

I met Gary, a 72-year-old retiree, at his home on Priest Lake in Coolin, Idaho. My family went to escape the Washington wildfires and rented his home on the beach. As we sat near the water and discussed life, we discovered a common love: cars.

Gary, it turns out, also dabbled in the buying real estate during his teaching career and amassed a small fortune that he used to invest in cars. One investment turned out to be a silly mistake, but the others ended up saving his life.

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Transmissions: With So Many Numbers, How Do You Choose?

August 27th, 2015

1956 Dodge push button automatic transmissionOnce upon a time automotive transmissions were simple things. Three-on-the-tree was a popular manual transmission mounted on the steering wheel through the early ‘70s. Automatic transmissions hit their stride in the ‘50s and have become ubiquitous to the point that they can be found in more than 90 percent of vehicles in America.

That helps explain, in part, why manufacturers offer such a variety of automatic transmissions. Also driving their development has been a need for greater fuel economy as automakers struggle to hit a corporate average fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

Currently, there are 6-speed, 7-speed, 8-speed, 9-speed, manual and continuously variable transmissions on the market. How do you choose? Let’s look at the offerings to give you some perspective.

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

Your Next Buick: Made in China?

August 25th, 2015

2015 Buick Envision

The gleaming new Buick sits in your driveway. It’s a proud statement of your success and a beautiful example of American design and ingenuity of engineering. It’s a Buick like never before and leaves the stigma of Buick as an “old man’s car” far in the past.

This is the Buick of the future. It’s sleek and shapely. It’s desirable and impressive. It’s fresh and invigorating.

This is the Buick for young families and emerging professionals.

This is the Buick Envision. It’s most likely coming to the United States.

And it’s made in China.

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Which to Choose: Alfa Romeo 4C Spider or Mazda MX-5 Miata?

August 20th, 2015

Alfa Romeo 4C SpiderTwo great open-air, 2-seat roadsters have hit the marketplace recently: the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider and the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. Both are spirited, lightweight, and fun to drive. The question is, which do you choose?

Performance
The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider (see our Alfa Romeo 4C Overview) is equipped with a 1.8-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder that produces 237 hp at 6,000 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque at 4,250 rpm. The Mazda Miata MX-5 (read our Overview) comes equipped with a 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder engine with 155 hp at 6,000 rpm and 148 lb-ft of torque at 4,600 rpm.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Review, Car Shopping, General Chat, New Cars

Honda Won’t Let it Go: New Ridgeline Coming Next Year

August 19th, 2015

2017 Honda Ridgeline

Remember the movie “Rudy,” about the young man who desperately wanted to play football for Notre Dame but lacked the resources to make it happen?

The Honda Ridgeline is the Rudy of trucks.

Honda has wanted to play in the midsize truck market since the Ridgeline was introduced in 2005. The truck, however, never sold enough to be labeled a success. Still, the little Ridgeline hung on, clinging to hope and barely selling enough to keep going.

It probably should’ve been discontinued years ago. Instead, after a brief hiatus, the Ridgeline is poised for a 2016 revival.

With 2016 models from other automakers making a splash and revitalizing the midsize market, maybe things are primed for the next Ridgeline to finally grow up and compete.

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Make Room for More Suburbans

August 17th, 2015

2015 Chevrolet Suburban

There could be 60,000 extra General Motors SUVs on American roads next year.

I want to say more, but first you should sit and let that marinate for a few seconds.

Sixty thousand additional Suburbans, Tahoes, Escalades, and more will choke our highways and suck down mad amounts of fuel, easily negating any environmental gains created by alternative-fuel cars.

This isn’t a tirade against fuel-thirsty SUVs—I happen to own one of the least efficient vehicles built in the last decade (a 2008 Audi Q7), which I need for family purposes. I’m just saying that 60,000 Suburbans is about 50 percent of the 119,000 electric cars sold in the U.S. in 2014. And those are just the *extra* SUVs GM plans to build.

Why is the American carmaker increasing production so much, and what does it mean?

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These SUVs Paved the Way for the F-PACE

August 14th, 2015
Cold-weather testing the Jaguar F-PACE

Cold-weather testing the Jaguar F-PACE

Before the crossovers of today roamed the roads, the SUVs of yesterday paved the way to give them smooth access.

My oh my, have the big utes evolved. This year we have news that crossover SUVs from Jaguar, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, and even Lamborghini are on the way, while existing stalwarts such as Jeep, Land Rover, Ford, Chevy, and more, continue to rake in huge profits from the people-movers.

Of all the new SUVs coming our way, Jaguar’s F-PACE looks the most intriguing. Jaguar Vehicle Program Director Andrew Whyman said,

We developed the F-PACE to offer the ride, handling and refinement demanded from a Jaguar car, together with new levels of ability and composure on a variety of surfaces and weather conditions. Just as we paid obsessive attention to detail over the engineering of every single component, we’ve exhaustively tested the F-PACE in the most challenging conditions to ensure that it will exceed the expectations of our customers around the world.

We don’t have any specs yet, but we do know the Jag, thus far, looks like it’ll be one of the most attractive SUVs in the world.

It couldn’t exist, though, without a little help from these ancestors.

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How to Get the Best Deal on a New Car

August 13th, 2015

2015 Honda CR-VThe world where new car dealers compete for your business is a place only the savviest buyers know exists. With just a few clicks of your keyboard, you could be well on your way to having new car dealers deliver you their best deals before even setting foot on a lot.

After all, according to a Time.com article, 75 percent of new car buyers, if given the opportunity, would rather do the entire process online. Let’s help you accomplish that.

The absolute first step you must take is researching the exact vehicle you want. You’re not going to get the best price on a Honda CR-V, the car we’re going to use to highlight the shopping process. Sure, it’s an extremely popular car, but that doesn’t mean deals don’t exist. Go online and build your vehicle. That will make you realize the car you want’s starting price and how expensive options will be.

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The Case for Self-Driving Cars Becomes Clear

August 12th, 2015

Self-driving cars, Google

I used to think that the advent of self-driving cars would be the downfall of society. I thought they’d take away our freedoms and turn us into mindless commuters.

I imagined people inside their smart vehicles, each buried in his or her smartphone, while the cars silently flow through interstates and arterials like ants slowly marching toward their queen.

Orderly. Efficient. Conforming.

I’m not the kind of guy who likes to conform. I don’t want to be just one of a billion ants locked into a life of mindless existence, thus my resistance to autonomous vehicles and a future where individuals must fall into line.

I think I’m starting to get it, though. Here’s why.

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