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Archive for the ‘Car Shopping’ Category

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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Lexus Wants to Change the Rules of the Game

August 11th, 2015

Lexus NX

Some people buy cars with reckless abandon. They need a car, they go to their favorite dealer, they pick a car, they agree to buy it, they write a check, and they drive away.

These people don’t worry about the cost of the car, because they’ve decided the MSRP is reasonable, since the car will serve its intended purpose for the next couple of years or so.

I’ve known plenty of people who purchase cars this way. They buy vehicles with names like Denali, Benz, Porsche, Lexus, and more.

I am not one of those people. I’m a negotiator, and when I think I’m at the rock-bottom price, I try to go lower.

Then again, I don’t buy new luxury cars. The people who do would rather have a good experience at the dealership than spend hours trying to save a few bucks.

Lexus hopes to take advantage of that and could offer a no-haggle pricing policy. Could Lexus become the Saturn of the 21st century?

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Should Gas Engines Be Banned?

August 10th, 2015
Smoggy L.A.

Would electric vehicles solve LA’s smog problem?

A few years ago we discussed the idea that V8 engines should be outlawed. Of course that never happened, and the idea itself is just a symbol of the direction the auto industry could go.

However, that 2009 article foreshadowed the rise of turbocharged engines and the declining need for a V8. Why get a fuel-thirsty 8-cylinder when a boosted V6 can provide better fuel economy and similar hauling capability?

The idea of outright banning V8 motors is ridiculous. It is possible that the market will slowly erode demand for the V8, but certain groups of buyers will always keep at least a small demand going.

Even the most fuel-efficient gas motors cause pollution, though, and at least one decision-maker in an influential state wants to push things even further.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shopping, Electric Vehicles, General Chat , , , ,

12 Cars for Folks Who Hate Trips to the Pump

August 7th, 2015

2013_lexus_es_300h_base-pic-1753983099041277991-1600x1200

Have you ever found yourself tearing across a post-apocalyptic desert wasteland, desperately hoping that your fuel tank won’t run dry? Although not everyone spends their free time pondering Mad Max-related scenarios, we at CarGurus occasionally do. A few weeks ago, we discussed some of the best cars for a summer adventure, and one in particular caught our interest: the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI. We pointed out that with it’s 14.6-gallon tank and great fuel economy, the SportWagen should be able to get you roughly 600 miles before needing a fill-up. That got us thinking—just how far can someone get on one tank of gas? We decided to look at the data to figure it out.

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Why I Don’t Like American Muscle Cars Anymore

August 7th, 2015

1964.5 Value Mustang

The American muscle car craze started with the 1964.5 Ford Mustang. That’s the car that showed Americans that high power could fit into a small package, be inexpensive, and look good at the same time.

The Mustang gave way to a new era of loud-and-fast rear-wheel-drive two-door cars powered by V8 engines. They defined a generation of rebels and teenagers who wanted to live fast and drive hard. The cars were different from sports cars of the time, because they lacked the grace and sophistication of European cars. To put it simply, American cars overcame that lack of grace with pure, raw muscle.

Buyers ate them up for the better part of the next 50 years. But as buyers aged, muscle cars came to represent something different. Instead of symbolizing youth and rebellion, the cars started to represent lost youth and cheap power.

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Car Minded, Car Shopping, Classic & Vintage Cars, Domestic Cars, General Chat , , ,

Third Age Suit Points to Greater Safety Technology Needs

August 6th, 2015

Glaucoma glasses Ford photoNormally driving a 2015 Lexus RC 350 is an exercise in automotive enjoyment. On one hot day recently, I found it extremely difficult. I had trouble seeing. My movements were largely restricted, and my hand was shaking. I was less confident in my ability to safely drive.

While it sounds like I was drunk, I wasn’t. I was encased in Ford’s Third Age Suit. It is designed to significantly reduce mobility when worn. It helps designers and engineers create future vehicles with the needs and limitations of the elderly in mind. It also does a great job of highlighting how crucial current safety technology will become as you age.

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You Can’t Park a Voucher in the Garage

August 6th, 2015

Shelby Super Snake Ford Mustang GT 2015

About 900 customers who ordered a 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat or Charger Hellcat and never received their 707-hp muscle car will have to get back in line.

Late last month, Dodge cancelled unfilled orders, because dealers accepted more orders than the factory could fill. One dealer alone took deposits on about 200 Hellcat orders, knowing full well it would never receive so many of the limited-run cars.

All is not lost for the customers who had their orders cancelled, though. They will receive a voucher that allows them to buy the more-expensive 2016 version at the 2015 price. That won’t satisfy the people who were hoping to get a first-run 2015 car, which could increase in value as it becomes a collectible.

For customers who aren’t stuck on the Hellcat brand, there’s a deal on a certain 850-horsepower Super Snake that is available now.

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Test-Driving a New Car? Don’t Do These Five Things

August 5th, 2015

test drive the vehicle you plan to buy

Test drives aren’t as fun as they used to be.

In the past, a buyer would find a car he or she liked, request to take it for a drive, and have the salesman throw the keys and say, “Enjoy!”

When I was shopping for a 2004 Jaguar X-Type in late 2003 (don’t laugh, it was a cool car back then), the salesman gave me the car for an afternoon with the only condition being that I have it back by closing. I did, and I ended up making a purchase a few months later.

I don’t think the odds of that happening today are very good. That’s a shame, because a long drive provides ample time to get a true feel for the car. Today’s 15-minute drives tend to not be as comprehensive as they should be.

Next time you take a test drive, make sure you maximize the value of your time in the car by following this advice.

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FCA: Another Recall and the Coolest Dyno on Earth

August 4th, 2015

CTC cold test dyno

You’d think, at some point, we’d grow immune to recall news and just start ignoring the mass of notices that fill the headlines of news outlets everywhere.

For now, though, the recalls that dominate headlines seem to feed our hunger for negative news and cultivate a fear of our own vehicles.

Don’t get me wrong—recalls are serious, and some of them must be addressed as soon as possible to avoid danger. Others are, in my humble opinion, the result of over-anxious government agencies trying to justify their existence.

The latest recall from FCA could potentially be a must-fix, so let’s address that and then look at something seriously cool that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is doing to constantly improve its vehicles.

First, the recall:

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Lexus RC 200t: Coming to America?

August 3rd, 2015

Lexus RC F

Many years ago I did a lot of complaining about cars available in Europe that people in the United States weren’t able to own.

A lot has changed since then. Small economical cars and efficient diesels are now available on these shores, including the likes of FIAT and Alfa Romeo. We don’t have as many station wagons or hot hatches (the scorching new Honda Civic Type R won’t be sold here), but for the most part the cars here are just as cool as the cars there.

Lexus might tip the scales back in Europe’s favor, but if history is any indication, it won’t be long before new models introduced there end up over here.

The RC Series is the next test.

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