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Archive for the ‘Car Shopping’ Category

Car Safety 2016: Warnings, Assists, and Autopilot, Oh My!

June 10th, 2016

Car scanning road ahead

We love cars, but find the fact that it took almost 1.6 million U.S. motor-vehicle fatalities to make wearing a seat belt mandatory in America troubling. Happily, annual fatalities have declined fairly steadily since their early-‘70s peak, despite the fact that Americans now drive well over one and a half times the number of miles they did then, often while using a smartphone. And with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) testing and rating vehicles for safety and crashworthiness, we have to admit it’s getting better.

Smartphones can, of course, pose huge risks to drivers, so much so that NHTSA partnered with the U.S. Department of Transportation to create the distraction.gov website, and “distracted driving” now has its own Wikipedia entry. But the connectivity and processing power of smartphones can also be used to help drivers avoid accidents and to make sure authorities get alerted quickly and with all the information they’ll need to respond to an accident. And those capabilities will definitely be required for any future “self-driving,” “autonomous,” or Autopilot-equipped cars. As we learned at NEMPA/MIT’s recent panel on the intersection of technology and design, a whole new world of car safety and driver-assistance technologies is available–and evolving–so we’re going to take a look at some of the more important and effective new tech.

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Use the Drop in Subcompact Prices to Your Advantage

June 8th, 2016

Scion_Family_003Looking for good, basic transportation? You can’t do much better than the used subcompact market, whether you’re searching for a used car or crossover.

But don’t think you’ll save only in the subcompact used-car market. Smart maneuvering could afford you savings in other segments as well….

According to the latest research from Black Book, which evaluates the used-car market by attending hundreds of used-car auctions a week, both used cars and crossovers have shown price drops far exceeding anything else in the used-car universe.

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Buyers Want Used Cars That Will Last a Decade

June 2nd, 2016

1970_ford_bronco-pic-52750-640x480There’s an interesting quirk happening in used car buying that could affect new car sales for years to come. Almost half of all buyers want the car they buy to last at least 10 years.

The survey from AutoMD.com showed the majority of buyers are thinking pre-owned, or what we mortals would call used cars, crossovers, SUVs, and pickups. Price was the most important factor, but so was making sure the car would last a decade.

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New England Motor Press Announces 2016 Winter Cars of the Year

May 31st, 2016

2016_honda_pilot-pic-8447236220464335468-640x480

With this past year being a rare exception, winters in New England are a serious business. So, when the New England Motor Press Association gets together to award the best winter vehicles of the year, the industry takes notice.

Although the typical winter’s day this year was more hospitable than during the past few years, the official winter testing day for NEMPA’s auto experts was still a bitterly cold, windy affair – complete with weather service advisories instructing people to stay inside (just check out our Infiniti QX50 impression for proof). Undeterred, we gathered at Bugsy Lawlor’s Automotion garage to test the best winter rigs of the year.

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GM Overstates Fuel-Economy Numbers, Will Pay Out $100 Million

May 27th, 2016

2016 GMC Acadia SLT

Rarely do people buy SUVs for the stellar fuel economy they deliver.

When people do buy an SUV, though, they should be properly informed of how often they should expect to stop at a gas station. The numbers on the window sticker are supposed to do just that, but a few automakers have gotten into trouble recently for misrepresenting their fuel-economy estimates.

In 2014, Hyundai had to pay a fine of $100 million for inflated fuel-economy numbers, in addition to compensating owners.

Mitsubishi is in the midst of crisis in its home country for the same reason, and now General Motors has admitted to providing overly optimistic numbers in the U.S.

How do inflated MPG estimates happen? Doesn’t the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency control those numbers?

Not exactly.

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5 Things to Know About Buy Here, Pay Here Dealers

May 25th, 2016
buy here pay here lot

This Connecticut Buy Here, Pay Here dealer has cornered the market on used Suzukis.

There’s nothing inherently bad about Buy Here, Pay Here dealers. They provide a service to those automotive buyers without good credit who sometimes need a used car in a hurry.

However, it’s important to keep in mind most Buy Here, Pay Here dealers (BHPH dealers) aren’t in business to establish long-term relationships. They’re trying to make the most profit they can from financing used cars.

Here are five things you need to know before purchasing a used car from a BHPH dealer.

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Can a Car Go Too Far? Our Highest-Mileage Cruisers

May 20th, 2016

1989 Lincoln Town Car

Summer’s just around the bend, which means many of us have long weekend drives in our near future. Leaving the day-to-day for a beautiful summer weekend away can definitely heal many wounds, but some of us will need to cover a lot of miles to really get away from it all. We polled our used-car listings to find those vehicles with the highest mileage per year, but weren’t surprised to find the top end of our list packed with cargo vans and large pickup trucks.

You don’t want to leave work on a Friday for a long drive to your summer getaway with your honey in a cargo van, do you? No, so we’re going to show you the sedans and wagons that have covered the largest average number of miles per year, in order to to find some comfortable highway cruisers. These vehicles aren’t generally fast and luxurious, but any one should fit the bill if you need a vehicle to get yourself and your loved one(s) a long way from your home base for some relaxation.

Please make sure you prepare for any long drive by getting plenty of sleep beforehand and turning off your cell phone or giving it to a passenger to avoid distraction. We’re not sure where you’ll cover lots of miles for relaxing weekends away this summer, but here’s a list of great road trips. Wherever you go, we hope you return safe and refreshed, and we hope you enjoy the drive.

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The Intersection of Technology and Design Isn’t Boring

May 19th, 2016
Toyota's FCV Plus concept

Toyota’s FCV Plus concept

On May 26, the New England Motor Press Association, of which some of us here at CarGurus are members, will host a conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the theme Technology Intersecting Design. It may sound like a boring topic, but as you’ll see, it’s a compelling one.

The NEMPA conference will include prominent industry figures like Timothy Anness, head of advance design, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – North America; Mary Gustanski, vice president of engineering, Delphi; Michelle Tolini Finamore, curator of fashion arts at the (Boston) Museum of Fine Arts; Dr. Gill Pratt – CEO, Toyota Research Institute; and John J. Leonard, professor of mechanical and ocean engineering at MIT.

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10 Economical Options for the Sensible Graduate

May 13th, 2016

personal_car_rental

As Boston-area folks know all too well, another year’s worth of college students will soon graduate and move on to their next stage in life. Whether that next stage will be an entry-level job, more school, volunteer or charity work, or getting right to work on their first (next?) startup, we wish this year’s graduates nothing but the best with whatever comes next.

We ran a recent survey that determined more than half of graduating college students plan to buy a car, and we were happily surprised to learn that over half of them expect to buy it themselves. Two-thirds of those getting a new car plan to buy a used one, and almost half expect to spend $15,000 or less, though we also learned that graduating college students don’t understand a car’s true costs. Over half plan to work in the city, and 71% plan to commute by car.

So here’s a graduation present from CarGurus: a list of 10 cars available used at an average cost of $15,000 or less that are all fine commuting cars and should hold their value relatively well. We deliberately avoided sports cars, which might tempt even a valedictorian to drive unsafely and would cost substantially more to insure. We hope all recent graduates plan to continue learning in their next stage of life, and we look forward to celebrating some of their successes in the no doubt impressively near future.

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Hidden Used-Car Costs New Grads Must Know

May 12th, 2016

A car has hidden costs

In many students’ minds, “car” and “graduation” go together. For some, it’s because a post-grad job requires a vehicle to commute to and from work. Others may simply want a car to maintain their independent lifestyle from college (especially if they plan to move home).

This isn’t changing for the class of 2016, either. According to a recent survey conducted by CarGurus, almost one-third of upcoming graduates plan to buy a car. And of them, 57% plan to pay for it entirely on their own.

Buying a car is a major purchase—even if you opt for a moderately priced used one. Taking this on yourself is a big sign of financial freedom, but it’s also a big financial responsibility. To handle it wisely, keep in mind the following hidden costs.

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