The Jaguar XE’s Biggest Competition: A Used BMW?

September 9th, 2014

2015 Jaguar XE

With great fanfare and media attention, Jaguar has released official images, specs and pricing of its new XE. This is a huge deal, because the XE is a car set to compete against the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4.

There’s one caveat to the above statement, though: So far specs and pricing are specific to the European market.

The info is enough to infer that the new “baby Jag” will be nothing like its predecessor, the X-Type. It’ll be lighter, faster, more fuel efficient and, to some people, better looking.

That, however, is debatable, and I wonder if the price of entry will send shoppers right back into the arms of the Germans.

Continue reading >>>

Can New Technology End Distracted and Drowsy Driving?

September 8th, 2014

driving while tired

How far should an automaker go to make sure the drivers of its cars stay safe by limiting the amount of distractions behind the wheel?

The latest news on battling distracted driving falls under the category of either creepy or cool, depending on your take on in-car technology. After my experience this weekend, though, I wouldn’t just call it cool, I’d call it potentially life-saving.

Lexus was one of the first to use technology to sound an alarm when it sensed a driver was not paying attention.

GM plans to step up the technology in a big way.

Continue reading >>>

Safe Vehicles for Carpoolers and Soccer Parents

September 5th, 2014

A Ford van empties at school

The back-to-school season and fall sports have begun, and if you’re the parent of a child who plays any of the many fall sports, you know how important your vehicle will become when bringing athletes to their practices and, more important, games. Carpooling will become an essential part of your everyday commute, and you’ll want a vehicle that can hold as many teammates—and all their equipment—in the safest way possible. Well, we’ve compiled a list for you that takes all of that into account. We looked at the number of seats, the amount of cargo space available and the safety rating of all the minivans and SUVs on the market, and we found the best options for getting your athletes (and their friends) to games and back.

Every vehicle on this list has seating for at least 7 and a terrific safety rating. Seven of the 10 vehicles on this list have a perfect NHTSA 5-star safety rating, while the other three (the Dodge Journey, Lincoln Navigator and Toyota 4Runner) are just below the threshold of perfection and make up for it in other relevant ways.

Continue reading >>>

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata: New King of the Roadsters?

September 5th, 2014

2016 Mazda MX5 Miata, front

I’ve needed some time to digest this one.

When it was announced that Mazda would unveil its 2016 MX-5 Miata this week, part of me hoped for a design that would blow me out of the water and leave me with nothing to say except to declare Mazda the king of all roadsters.

That didn’t happen. At least not right away.

As I’ve examined the photos and compared the new Miata with past versions and with other roadsters, my thinking is beginning to change. While we don’t know a lot of details yet regarding performance numbers or price, we can assume there won’t be any problems there, because past generations have never disappointed. So for now, we’re left to compare based on design only.

Continue reading >>>

New Infiniti Concept Hints at Challenging Panamera, But Why?

September 4th, 2014

Infiniti Q80

For a long time I thought Mitsubishi would be the next car brand to die in the U.S., but now I’m not so sure, because another brand here is showing signs of slowly bleeding out.

Last month, Mitsubishi sales were actually up 29 percent compared with this month last year, while Infiniti sales dropped nearly 23 percent.

Infiniti, the luxury arm of Nissan, suffers from a bit of an identity crisis as it tries to compete with Audi, Lexus, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and, yes, even Porsche.

The problem is that all of those companies do at least one thing very well, be it luxury, performance, panache or all three. Can you name what Infiniti does well?

Continue reading >>>

The New BMW: A MINI with a Spit Shine?

September 3rd, 2014
Just throw a BMW logo on it and call it good?

Just throw a BMW logo on it and call it good?

There are two kinds of people who buy BMWs:

  1. People who appreciate the dynamics of a true rear-wheel-drive performance machine.
  2. People who like the BMW logo.

As BMW embarks on a new era of vehicle production, it hopes it can please both types of people without alienating the first. Type 2 people really don’t care which wheels are propelling the car forward, while Type 1 people believe anything that’s front-wheel drive is undeserving of the BMW logo. After all, BMW owns MINI, so it can scratch that FWD itch, right?

For a while, BMW carefully walked the line while admitting some vague future plans for a FWD car, but now it seems the German automaker will pull out all the stops and bring at least 6 cars to market that are powered by the same wheels that steer.

Continue reading >>>

Who Negotiates the Best Deals on Cars?

September 2nd, 2014

BMW_E46_front_20080822

Two headlines grabbed my attention this weekend, both of which pertain to the purchasing of cars.

Yes, I know there are plenty of more exciting headlines, such as the production of the 2015 Mustang and spy shots of soon-to-be-revealed new models, but none of that matters if no one is around to buy new and used versions of those cars.

At CarGurus, we want you to get the best deal possible on a car and feel good when we hear that people are negotiating solid buys.

Who are the people getting the best deals on cars these days? Here’s a hint: If you’re a guy, it’s probably not you.

Continue reading >>>

A Jacked-Up Jag and Other Auto Atrocities

September 1st, 2014

jacked up jag

I only saw it for a moment.

While driving out of town and heading north toward my favorite lake, I turned my head, because something odd caught my attention. In a parking lot on the other side of the highway sat what appeared to be an older Jaguar.

In itself, that observation was nothing spectacular. But this Jag was different, because its body sat a good 6 feet above the suspension and tires.

Someone had taken that little Jag and turned it into a monster truck. As a guy who appreciates Jaguars and other non-monster types of vehicles, I don’t understand modifications that take a car and turn it into something it was never meant to be.

We may not understand the motives behind such auto atrocities, but we can stand back, laugh, and silently criticize the cars that no one else will ever want. I will say this, though:

Each of the cars pictured below must have taken a labor of love to create. While these aren’t my taste, at least someone had fun making them.

Continue reading >>>

Bostonian Back-to-School Cars, By College

August 29th, 2014

2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek

It’s time to welcome the new and returning students of Boston. All 250,000 of them. In Boston, the first week of September is a very important (and crazy busy) time of year. It’s the beginning of true orientation for new arrivals (and reorientation for returning students) as everyone settles into their new locations and prepares for the year to come. One thing many students may find useful in the Boston area (or anywhere, really) is a car. So why not pick a car that will accommodate the needs of your school, your neighborhood and your future career (if you’re thinking longish-term investments)?

Continue reading >>>

The Best Cars of the ’90s (and One from the ’80s)

August 29th, 2014

BMW E39 M5

Car designers were on their game in the 1960s, but it seems they took a two-decade vacation in the ’70s and ’80s. I’m pretty sure interns used a straight edge and T-square to churn out car designs back then.

Not until the 1990s did the real designers, and their curvalicious designs, come back, along with some quality and performance that turned the ’90s into a golden age for motoring.

That might sound funny, especially being only 15 years removed from the turn of the century, but keep reading for proof that the ’90s provided the jump-start car designers needed to propel motoring into the 21st century.

Continue reading >>>