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Archive for the ‘Trucks & SUVs’ Category

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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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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Cars That Should Have a Diesel Option

October 17th, 2014

2015-ford-mustang-gt-burnout

Diesel-powered cars should be the wave of the future.

Electric vehicles have the distinction of being able to run on zero fossil fuel, but the production of electricity itself requires all kinds of dirty energy. Yes, it’s pretty cool to drive without any pollution, but how many tons of coal have to burn for the privilege?

That’s a discussion that won’t be resolved by a single blog post, but it’s the reason diesel-powered vehicles should be given a second look before buying electric.

Unfortunately there’s still a shortage of diesel cars in this country, but here’s a list of vehicles that should at least have the option.

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

Will the Jeep Wrangler Go Soft?

October 7th, 2014
It just wouldn't be the same in aluminum

It just wouldn’t be the same in aluminum

The older they get, the more crotchety and overweight they can become. They can be tough as all get out, but just not quite able to keep up with the younger models.

Aging can take a toll and leave nothing but a softer, weaker version of their old selves.

I’m talking, of course, about the aging process of legendary off-roaders such as the Jeep Wrangler.

Heavy, inefficient, go-anywhere SUVs have started to fall out of favor, because newer models that weigh less and use less fuel are starting to come of age.

Should buyers jump ship from the old stalwarts and sign on to something newer and lighter, even at the expense of strength and capability?

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Latest GM Recalls Prove Importance of Quality

October 6th, 2014

2015 GMC Canyon

The first headline on the Detroit News Autos Insider newsletter was, “GM Issues Three New Recalls Saturday.”

The headlines for those recall stories were:

  1. Latest GM Recalls Bring Total to nearly 30M Vehicles
  2. GM Halts Sales on Midsize Trucks Due to Airbag Problem
  3. GM Recalls 117,000 Vehicles for Stalling

None of that sounds particularly good at first glance, does it?

In fact, some people might take those three headlines, along the recent news of GM stopping sales of the new Corvette, as signs that General Motors is having some major quality problems.

Maybe, though, these recalls are signs that everything is OK with General Motors. Or at least, everything will be OK soon.

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

10 Best $10K-or-Less Weekend Warriors

October 3rd, 2014

2011 Honda Element

Do you want to buy a reliable, durable and fun car for under $10,000? Of course you do! Well, we have some great options for you—nothing before 2002, so not too too old, but all of these can surely be found for less than 10 Gs. These are the perfect cars to take on anything you have to battle this weekend, be it adventuring, exploring or chores. These cars will make little work of your responsibilities. They’re about reliability more than anything. Well, reliability, durability and fun.

These are vehicles you won’t be afraid to test and beat the hell out of. You can go to the limit with these and not be worried they might fail you. They’ll quickly become your best friend. You may not admit it in public, but you will never want to get rid of these. So whether you’re the type who gets stuff done over the weekend or who just feels like going out for an occasional cruise, you should definitely consider picking up one of these cars.

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

Big Changes Coming at Cadillac

October 2nd, 2014

2015-cadillac-ats

What’s the trendiest, most hip and creative center in all of America?

Some might say Cupertino. Some might argue that it’s Mountain View.

Seattle get could a few votes, and so could Boston.

Narrow the parameters to include cities that are best for automotive innovation, and Detroit and Los Angeles are obvious candidates.

But New York City? The nation’s busiest metro is great for advertising and fashion… but for cars?

Whether it makes sense to us or not, General Motors has chosen NYC as the new corporate headquarters for Cadillac. The first big change will be an entirely new naming scheme.

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The 2015 Honda CR-V

October 1st, 2014

The 2015 Honda CR-V, Touring trim

Today marks the on-sale date for Honda’s 2015 CR-V. We haven’t driven it yet, but did attend a coming-out party for one of Honda’s standard bearers at a New England Motor Press Association (NEMPA) event last night. Having sold more than 300,000 CR-Vs last year, Honda has high expectations for the new SUV, and while changes for 2015 amount to a mid-cycle refresh, the company hopes some of those changes will result in even bigger sales for 2014.

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Car Minded, Car Shopping, Cars Coming Soon, General Chat, Trucks & SUVs

Local Motors: The Future of Automaking

October 1st, 2014

Local Motors Rally Fighter

Whether you want a $700 remote-control car, a $1,900 skateboard or a $99,900 car, Local Motors has you covered.

The Phoenix company is famous for its open-source design strategy and series of micro factories, which allow for the company’s signature product, the Rally Fighter, to be designed, and built, by the same people who buy it.

The Local Motors website says the Rally Fighter:

Looks like a race car, rides like a luxury vehicle. A rugged tube chassis construction complemented with all the requisite creature comforts. This 50-state street legal off-road desert racer is at home on the open road, the daily commute, and on the most challenging desert terrains.

More on the Rally Fighter in a moment, but first, check this out:

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2015 Ford F-150: Too Much Truck?

September 30th, 2014

2015 F-150 CrewCab

I think I figured out why midsize trucks are suddenly back in vogue.

Remember when the Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma were small? Back in the 1980s and ’90s, those small trucks were significantly cheaper than their bigger brethren.

By the 2000s, though, the Ranger faded away, and the Tacoma grew to the size of an F-150, and was often more expensive.

Now, the big trucks have grown even bigger, with price tags that are sending folks back to the comfort of something smaller. Yes, we have entered the era of the $47,000 truck.

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