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Archive for the ‘Car Shopping’ Category

Sports Cars: Dead or Coming Out of Hibernation?

November 12th, 2014

porsche-911-gt3

There are a couple of quotes we need to address today. The first is from Automotive News:

“The sports car market is roughly half of what it used to be,” Ian Robertson, BMW’s head of sales, said in an interview at the manufacturer’s headquarters in Munich. “Post-2008, it just collapsed. I’m not so sure it’ll ever fully recover.”

In Europe and North America, the car’s role as a status symbol has diminished, with SUVs and crossovers becoming ever more popular.

The second quote expands on the first, and comes to us by way of The Truth About Cars:

Increased congestion, urbanization and a demonization of speeding (backed by harsh, if not draconian penalties) has made the notion of a sports car an outmoded one for many people. Even the latest 991 Porsche 911 GT3 has abandoned the manual transmission.

Do we, the sports car fans of the world, have something to worry about?

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The Perfect Car for a Picky Driver

November 10th, 2014

2015_audi_a3

The requirements weren’t easy to meet:

  1. Fuel efficient
  2. Fun to drive
  3. Easy to zip through traffic
  4. Not a 2-door, but not a lot of extra room for too many passengers
  5. Not a sports car
  6. Not a Honda, Toyota, Hyundai or Kia
  7. Must be new and available for lease
  8. Relatively inexpensive
  9. Not an electric car
  10. Reliable

A dear friend is moving from Washington to Los Angeles and needs a car better suited for SoCal than her current Hyundai Santa Fe. Things can get pretty snowy and cold up here in Washington, so all-wheel drive was a requirement, but front-wheel or rear-wheel drive will be preferred down south.

I set my mind loose to think up suggestions, but had a tougher time than I expected.

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Car Lists, Car Minded, Car Shopping, Domestic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat , , ,

Buying Used Luxury? Think Twice

November 5th, 2014
How much are those rings worth to you?

How much are those rings worth to you?

Driving a luxury car for the price of a Honda is an appealing proposition.

I’ve advocated for it on these very pages. Why would someone spend $25,000 on a new Accord or CR-V when they could have a used Audi A6 or Q7?

The benefits make it seem like a no-brainer. For the same money you get more luxury, more brand panache, better performance, and an all-around cooler vehicle. Everything’s great, up until your new luxury car needs some basic maintenance and repairs.

I’d like to share my personal story, so you might avoid the fate that has fallen upon me.

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Car Minded, Car Safety, Car Shopping, General Chat, Trucks & SUVs , , , , ,

Who Recommends the Cars You Buy?

November 4th, 2014

Mercedes-Benz M-Class

Who would buy a car that doesn’t come recommended?

Most car buyers get their recommendation from family or friends. Advertising inspires some, and others need no recommendation beyond their own research and experience.

Plenty of car shoppers use a combination of all the recommendations they can get, but few are more influential than the “recommended” status as given by Consumer Reports.

The stalwart of consumer protection and advice has a coveted list of cars it recommends to subscribers. Automakers love being on the list, because it gives their vehicles more credibility. Falling off that list, though, can mean trouble.

Just ask the 2012 Honda Civic, which failed to receive the publication’s recommendation for being underpowered and having too much road noise and a cheap-feeling interior. That led to a redesign for 2013 and a much better car for consumers.

This year, some surprising vehicles have lost their recommended status.

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

Selling Your Car? Don’t Do This

October 31st, 2014

upside-down car

If reading yesterday’s post on trunk-or-treating made you want to sell your car and go buy a Ferrari FF to use for tonight’s Halloween festivities, you’re not alone.

Or maybe you’ve finally decided it’s time to give up on your Civic and buy one of the most beautiful cars on sale today.

In anticipation of people inundating the CarGurus used listings to post their cars for sale in search of something a little more rewarding, it’s important that we take the time to remember what not to do when trying to sell a car.

Whatever you do, don’t make one of these horrendous mistakes that’ll keep buyers looking elsewhere.

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Car Lists, Car Minded, Car Shopping, General Chat , , ,

Trunk-Or-Treat!

October 30th, 2014

2011 Maserati GranTurismo

The end of October approaches, and that means Halloween is this Friday. If you haven’t already, it’s now the time to dress up your kids, your house and, yes, even your car. Lots of people are participating in a newer Halloween tradition. It’s called trunk-or-treat, and it seems to be getting more and more popular. The idea behind trunk-or-treating is that you decorate your car, ideally to match whatever costumes your kids plan to wear. Your car becomes an extension of the costume, a continuation of the theme. You then fill what room you have left with candy, and kids go to your trunk, instead of your front door.

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Car Lists, Car Minded, Car Shopping, General Chat

Lexus NX: Just a RAV4 With a Spit Shine?

October 28th, 2014

2015 Lexus NX 200t F-Sport

The problem:

Lexus didn’t have a vehicle to compete against the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.

The opportunity:

Lexus has a solid and successful SUV in the RX series, which has dominated the luxury SUV market for more than 15 years. It could use that leverage to field a new, smaller vehicle and compete in a new category.

The solution:

Take the Toyota RAV4, put in a new engine, use a sexy new Lexus body, add some luxurious and hi-tech amenities, and BAM! We have the new Lexus NX, due in dealerships next month.

With pricing and specs now released, we ask: Is the NX a worthy competitor in this market, or will looking used be a better buy?

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

Say Bye-Bye to British-Built Jaguars

October 27th, 2014

2014 Jaguar XF

If a British car is built in China under direction from its corporate headquarters in India, is it still British?

That’s the question facing Jaguar Land Rover, as the company will officially start building vehicles outside its Coventry headquarters next month.

Would a “Made in China” sticker affect your decision to buy a Jaguar? How about a Land Rover built in the United States?

Both are possible now that JLR is expanding its production overseas.

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

10 Cars Fit for a King (James, That Is)

October 24th, 2014

2015 Kia K900

LeBron James recently made some big news by promoting the Kia K900, not because he was being paid, but because he’s a big fan of the car. He has since partnered with Kia to promote its luxury brand. LeBron is not a small man, but the K900 seems to be a good fit for him. But that got us thinking: Is the K900 really the best fit for LeBron? We looked at our data to determine which vehicles can best fit someone of LeBron’s stature. These cars are truly fit for a “King,” or at least a very big and/or tall individual.

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Cars That Have Gone From Bland to Grand

October 24th, 2014
Remember how the Optima used to look?

Remember how the Optima used to look?

Automakers know that boring doesn’t sell like it used to.

Think back a decade or so, and I’ll bet you can name five boring cars right off the top of your head. I know I can. There were still a lot of beautiful and fun cars in existence, but plenty of mass-produced cars back then didn’t have anything to offer in design, power or handling.

Today some of those same models have experienced a renaissance and have gone from completely bland to utterly grand.

Keep reading for some of the cars that have graduated from transportation appliance to royalty of the road.

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Car Lists, Car Minded, Car Shopping, Domestic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat , , , , , , , ,