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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New Cars *Are* Getting Safer – Don’t Believe What You Read

July 6th, 2016

Ford safety technology

The news is full of gloomy stories these days when it comes to automobiles. It might even be enough to make make you think driving an automobile is becoming more dangerous.

There is, for instance, the recent fatal collision between a Tesla Model S and a semi trailer. And the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration said last year was the deadliest on the nation’s highways since 2008.

It’s enough to make you want to swathe yourself in plastic bubble wrap and never leave the house.

But new cars are getting safer, thanks to a host of new technologies. The best part is you’ll probably never have to consciously use most of them, but you’ll nevertheless be glad they’re there.

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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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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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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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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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New Ford F-150 Turbo Diesel Could Take Mileage Crown

July 1st, 2016

2017-ford-f-150-ecoboost

Oil-burning engines have been dominating the auto headlines in recent weeks.

From the newly announced Volkswagen TDI settlement to diesel’s apparent fall from grace, the fuel has been cast in a mostly negative light since the Dieselgate story broke in September 2015.

Americans have lost a lot of faith in diesel-powered vehicles, but one truck could have the potential to turn around diesel’s fate in America.

Diesel’s savior in America just might be an all-new Ford F-150.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Digital Instrumentation

June 30th, 2016
Courtesy Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz Head-Up Display

Chances are, anyone reading this post learned to drive a car with some sort of traditional gauge setup. Speedometer, tachometer, engine temperature, gas level, maybe a warning that someone needs to fasten their seatbelt. But is it possible the near future will leave such an interior feeling old-fashioned, obsolete, better suited for classic cars and car shows? We all know how fondly our zealously up-to-date culture likes to deride (or sometimes obsess over) old technological “breakthroughs” like cassette tapes or first-generation iPods, computing devices that look and feel like bricks in comparison to the sleek devices of today. With their growing computing power and ever-more-sophisticated interiors, why would cars be exempt from this double-time march of progress?

Surely we’ve seen this coming. Nothing moves as quickly as technology or has quite the same way of spreading across all parts of a particular product or experience. We have our award-winning infotainment systems; how long could it have been before some of the operating philosophy behind fighter-jet cockpits or the crisp graphics and formidable computing power of smartphones began showing up right in front of drivers’ noses? Not long, apparently: just take a look at the new display setups appearing in consumer vehicles, from the head-up displays (yes, like fighter jets, sort of) to fully computerized dashboards. But if you haven’t necessarily been keeping an enthusiast’s eye on the automotive market, you might not quite know what these new features are all about. They are, after all, still pretty new. So here’s a quick rundown of a few of the more important (or common) among them.

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How To Get the Most Money for Your Trade-In

June 30th, 2016

trade_or_sell_car

Want to get the most money for your trade? Here’s a tip:

Don’t take the first offer.

Trading in a car at the dealer, as opposed to selling on your own, has benefits and drawbacks. On the negative side, you usually get less money when trading. On the positive side, trading can mean less sales tax on the new car because, in some states, you only pay sales tax on the difference between the new car and the trade-in.

Even though you’re receiving less for the trade, the savings on tax can help make up the difference.

How can you make sure you get the most money for your trade? Read on!

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What the Volkswagen TDI Settlement Means for Owners

June 29th, 2016

2015_jetta_tdi_4218

Volkswagen has agreed to pay a massive $14.7 billion fine to the U.S. government and other entities to settle allegations of cheating on emissions tests and deceiving customers about its 2.0-liter TDI engines. That’s a big number, but what does it mean for the average Volkswagen owner?

You stand to lose a lot of value on your used Volkswagen, according to extensive CarGurus research. (Settlement details have yet to be announced for the 3.0-liter diesel engines.) CarGurus’ data team analyzed a sample of the VW models impacted by the emissions scandal in order to determine what the scandal has cost owners since news of the “defeat device” first broke in September (right before a really awkward 2016 Jetta launch in New York City). The calculations were based on CarGurus’ Instant Market Value (IMV) analysis, which is run daily on millions of used-car listings.

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