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How Long Should Automakers Be on the Hook for Defective Parts?

July 13th, 2016

Audi_Q7_leak

How long should an automaker remain responsible for poor workmanship?

Traditional car warranties range from about 36,000 to 100,000 miles, or between 3 and 10 years. Typically, if something major is going to go wrong with the vehicle, it’ll happen within the warranted time frame.

Sometimes, however, poor workmanship or defective materials surface after a warranty expires. Automakers can issue recalls to deal with these kinds of problems, and they sometimes do–but usually a car owner is left responsible for repairs.

In 2012, Volkswagen settled a $69 million class-action lawsuit to address the issue of leaking sunroofs in nearly 3 million cars between model years 1997 and 2009. The Audi A4, A6, and A8 were included in the settlement.

The 2007-2009 Audi Q7 was excluded, but owners across the country are now experiencing flooded interiors due to the same problem. Should Audi be on the hook?

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Car Minded, Car Safety, Foreign Cars, General Chat, Trucks & SUVs , , , ,

Stan Hatoff said, “Gas is Gas,” but Stan Hatoff was Wrong

July 12th, 2016

canada_gas_prices

Down in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood, there’s a little outpost of late 20th-century automotive culture. Accepting only cash, Hatoff’s gas and service station is known around the city for consistently providing some of the cheapest gasoline you can find. It’s hard to imagine impatient New Englanders willing to walk away from their car, ask the man behind bulletproof glass for “$20 on pump 4,” and watch as the numbers on an ancient pump slowly climb—but without fail, Stan Hatoff’s station is one of the busiest in Boston.

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Audi, Toyota Ready Subcompact SUVs

July 11th, 2016

Audi_Q2

The unofficial car of Seattle is the Audi Q5.

Driving through the Emerald City is like navigating an Audi showroom, as it seems every third car on Interstate 5 sports the 4-ringed logo up front.

It’s grown so common that my family now plays the “Q5 game,” where the first person to spot a Q5 gets to punch someone in the shoulder. It’s a lot like an updated version of the old “slug bug” game involving the Volkswagen Beetle.

This weekend my wife punched my arm, then quickly had to retract it when she noticed the passing car was a Q3, a smaller sibling to the Q5 that we had both forgotten existed.

The Q3 competes against the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA, some of the smallest SUVs on the market, but Audi is now going even smaller with the upcoming Q2.

How small can SUVs get?

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Car Minded, Foreign Cars, General Chat, New Cars, Trucks & SUVs , , , , ,

Stay Cool: Our 10 Favorite Features for Summer

July 8th, 2016

Mazda MX-5 RF

The 4th of July has passed once more, and if you’re anything like us, you spent a good portion of the holiday grilling, swimming, and taking care not to lose a finger while shooting off those Roman candles. Then, waking the next day in a foggy state, you climbed into your car and began thinking about all the features that would make your sweltering drive back home a bit more pleasant. Some ice-cold A/C for sure, but also maybe some sunshades or, if you’re anything like one of our test drivers, ventilated seats.

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

Are We Always Passively Shopping for Cars?

July 8th, 2016

2016_ford_explorer

Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re always shopping for a new car.

You can be casually scrolling through Facebook, thinking only of cat videos and the most recent “Game of Thrones” episode, when a post from a car dealer goes by featuring a shiny new Ford Explorer. You might wonder, even for a moment, if the new rig would make for a good replacement for your aging Honda Pilot.

Or maybe that first glimmer of desire for a different car appears when a friend posts photos of his or her new GMC Acadia.

Whatever the source of inspiration, you might start wondering if you should consider buying a car. At the very least, you’ll start thinking about the type of car you’ll want when the time comes to make a purchase.

Perhaps you’ll click on the dealer’s link out of curiosity, or even (innocently) begin a search inspired by your friend’s new car.

Even though you didn’t think you were in the market, a different car suddenly becomes a very real possibility. This is called “passive shopping,” and a new study suggests that social media has created an environment in which we’re doing it all the time.

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

Has the Toyota Prius Fallen from Grace?

July 7th, 2016

2017-toyota-prius-prime

The Toyota Prius first came off the production line in 1997 and immediately sparked an automotive revolution. Since the day it was introduced, Toyota has sold 3.7 million versions of the Prius worldwide.

Part of that success came from the fact that the Prius was the only hybrid in production when it hit the market. Today virtually every large auto manufacturer offers at least one hybrid model. Even Toyota has expanded its hybrid offerings to include models that compete with the Prius.

Not only is there a glut of hybrids on the market, but automakers are evolving toward fully electric cars, which may eventually push the Prius and its fellow hybrids into obsolescence.

Toyota’s June sales numbers seem to confirm the fall of the Prius. Is there hope for a resurgence?

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Car Minded, Car Shopping, Foreign Cars, General Chat, Hybrid Cars, New Cars , , , ,

Tesla Autopilot Crash Raises Questions About Autonomous Cars

July 6th, 2016

2016_tesla_model_s_85d

It’s not easy to write about death.

Death, however, is a tragic and so far unavoidable part of automotive culture. In 2014, an average of 89 people died per day in car crashes. Worldwide, the numbers are far larger: An average of 3,287 people die every day in cars.

Those are sobering numbers and even more powerful when you consider that every one of those deaths was a mother, father, son, or daughter.

As common as deaths on international roadways are, one tragic accident has made headline news for being the first to happen in a self-driving car.

Have drivers already become too trusting of autonomous technology?

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Car Minded, Car Safety, Domestic Cars, General Chat , , ,

The Mill Blackbird: Is Anything Real Anymore?

July 5th, 2016

The Mill Blackbird

Roughly a year ago, the CarGurus team began producing professional video reviews to accompany new car test drive reviews. We release two full test drive videos and one short “first impressions” video per week, and although we’ve been able to maintain an aggressive publishing schedule, the development process hasn’t been perfectly smooth. As with any new venture, we’ve hit plenty of snags along the way. Chief among our struggles has been the ability to secure press cars for filming and reviewing.

Of course, this isn’t a problem unique to CarGurus. The logistics behind automotive press fleets are daunting, and well worth exploring in a future article. It behooves automakers to get cars into the hands of journalists, as good, objective reviews of their vehicles can be a boon to sales. The trouble, however, is that automakers also need to contribute resources to their direct advertising campaigns. That means money, people, and, of course, cars. Now, however, a British post-production visual effects company has stepped in with a possible solution.

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Car Industry News, General Chat

40 Years of the Accord: Here Are Our Favorites

July 4th, 2016

Honda 40

In 1976 Honda changed the automotive world by introducing the Accord, a slightly larger alternative to the popular Civic.

The 1970s were similar to today in that drivers wanted efficient cars to combat rising gas prices. The Civic and Accord did just that, while providing a dependable, high-quality, and fun-to-drive experience.

A smash success from day one, the 1.6-liter 68-hp Accord came with a nearly 50-mpg rating from the EPA.

Honda made the Accord much larger and less fuel efficient over the years. Here’s how Autoweek compared the first Accord to the latest model:

The wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) alone tells the tale — the 2016 Accord’s wheels are spaced 109.3 inches apart, whereas the 1976 Accord only had a 93.7-inch wheelbase. That’s actually 6 inches shorter than a 2016 Honda Fit’s wheelbase. Overall length is even more staggering — the 1976 Accord was a compact 162.8 inches long (about 19 inches shorter than a 2016 Honda Civic), while the current Accord is relatively gargantuan at 192.5 inches in length — a full 29.7 inches longer than the 1976 model.

Today the Accord is one of the “most American” cars on the road. With 40 years of Accords behind us, though, which was your favorite model year? Here are some of ours.

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Car Minded, Classic & Vintage Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat, Used Cars , , , ,

Summer 2016’s American All-Stars

July 1st, 2016

2017 Ford GT

Over the past few decades, competing automakers in Europe and Asia have developed their own reputations for superiority. German cars have become synonymous with luxury and precision, while Italian cars deliver excitement and emotion. Sweden’s Volvos offer the best in safety, and England provides sumptuous style. Across the Pacific, the major Japanese automakers have built their reputation on reliability and longevity, while Kia and Hyundai of Korea now provide top-flight quality at great value. While foreign automakers tend to focus their approaches in ways that bear out these specific reputations, America remains a bastion of variety.

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