What’s Under Your Hood?

July 30th, 2015
What engine does yours have?

What engine does yours have?

In 2013, my wife purchased a new Subaru Legacy. She wanted the top-of-the-line Limited model with leather, EyeSight, Adaptive Cruise Control, roof racks, and so much more.

She found the car she wanted in the color she wanted and negotiated a good price. When I asked her what engine the car had, I received nothing but a blank stare.

This girl knows cars. Her first car was a 1974 Porsche 911, and she can identify nearly any car on the road. She’s definitely a car chick, but the question of what powerplant sat under the hood of her new car stumped her.

I don’t blame her, though, because she purchased the car as a safe family sedan, not a drag racer.

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Finally! The Midsize Diesel Truck Has Arrived

July 29th, 2015

2016 Chevrolet Colorado Duramax TurboDiesel 058

Today is the day we found the Holy Grail of the U.S. auto industry.

For years, decades, even, American consumers have clamored for and pined after a truck. Not just any truck, though. The market is flooded with trucks. There are, and have been, big trucks, small trucks, efficient trucks, thirsty trucks, foreign trucks, domestic trucks, capable trucks, wimpy trucks, and so many more.

Simply put, there has been no shortage of trucks in America.

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Here’s Your Chance to Sell Your Truck Back to the Automaker

July 28th, 2015

2012 Ram 1500

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has flexed its muscle and leveled Italian-American automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles with a massive fine and buyback program, in addition to requiring strict oversight of future recalls.

A fine of up to $105 million is the result of a settlement between the government and FCA over allegations of misconduct in 23 recalls covering more than 11 million vehicles. Part of that misconduct includes failure to disclose defects and not properly conducting recalls.

The bigger consequence is FCA’s agreement to offer to buy back upward of 500,000 Ram vehicles.

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Ridiculously Cool Vehicles for Under $5,000

July 27th, 2015

1957 fire truck

What car would you buy for under $5,000?

That might seem like a ridiculously low budget for getting a cool car, but start shopping around and you might be surprised at how much car you can get for five grand.

You’ll find all the usual economical commuter cars, some old-but-sleek sports cars, plenty of hard-working pickup trucks, a few worthy classics, and so much more. Look a little deeper, though, and you’ll find vehicles outside the norm.

Like a fire truck.

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10 Cool Cars to Beat the Heat

July 24th, 2015

2014 Dodge Charger
Regardless of where you live, the weathermen seem to be offering the same warning: It’s going to be a scorcher. We’ve seen heat waves hit nearly every part of the globe this summer, and despite coming off one of the most brutal winters on record, we’re already tired of the heat and humidity here in Boston. Being in the northeast, central air conditioning isn’t a given. However, unless you paid Porsche for a new Boxster Spyder, you’ll most likely be able to find some relief in your car.

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Electric Cars Grabbing Headlines, Changing Lives

July 24th, 2015

Porsche Pajun small sedan

Would anyone have guessed in 2005 that auto headlines midway through 2015 would focus so heavily on electric vehicles? From Tesla to Porsche and from upstarts to downfalls, electric cars are succeeding, failing, creating controversy, and setting records everywhere we look.

We recently covered the news about the fast-depreciating Nissan Leaf, and we’ve covered the rise of Tesla in these virtual pages since the Roadster was just a baby.

We’ve also seen the fall of Fisker, Coda, Aptera, and many more hopeful EV makers that never sold more than a handful of vehicles before going belly-up.

Here are some of the more interesting headlines from the last week or so regarding the best (and worst) in the EV world. If there’s any doubt that electric cars are here to stay, these stories might change some minds.

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Do You Need an Extended Warranty When Buying a Car?

July 23rd, 2015

Photo by Ian Lamont

Photo by Ian Lamont

Okay, so you’ve found the car of your dreams—new or used—and all the paperwork is almost done. The dealer representative then highly recommends buying the extended warranty for additional peace of mind. But do you need one?

Here are some things to consider. Basically, an extended warranty lengthens the warranty a new car manufacturer offers. For example, it might be used for additional coverage on a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty.

The first thing to consider is how long you are going to keep your new car. There’s no sense in buying an extended warranty if you don’t plan to keep the car beyond the manufacturer’s warranty.

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Jaguars and Spyders and Ghosts, Oh My!
Or: How We Lived the Good Life at NEMPA’s 2015 Ragtop Ramble

July 23rd, 2015

2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost
We had just finished considering whether or not our current car would be held in such high regard if it came packaged with a different badge on the steering wheel. Would it elicit stares and draw myriad cell phones, all pointed in our direction, as it does now? Surely, plush carpeting and massaging seats are common enough nowadays to be found in a Kia K900 or a Hyundai Equus, let alone one of the more and more ubiquitous luxury brands. Was our car really so special?

Then we saw it. Driven by what very well may have been a chauffeur, a brand spanking new Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG pulled alongside us and, sure enough, compelled my co-driver to utter the following:

“Ha! Peasant.”

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The Arrival of the $70,000 Pickup

July 23rd, 2015

2016 Ford F-150 Limited

The only pickup ever made with a carpeted bed was a Ford product.

The Lincoln Blackwood survived in the United States for a single year after being touted as a luxury truck. People didn’t buy it because it had one major problem: It couldn’t perform as an actual truck.

The Blackwood was sold for the 2002 model year and available with rear-wheel drive only. The exterior of the bed had aluminum pinstripes running over fake wood inserts, while the interior was finished in plush carpeting and covered with a powered tonneau cover.

Truck guys laughed at the truck, while luxury buyers scoffed at the idea of needing a $52,000 truck.

Fast-forward to the 2016 model year, and Ford seems to have figured out the equation for building a luxury pickup that will be able to get used as a truck.

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Leaf Loses Nearly Half Its Value, Other Electrics Follow Suit

July 22nd, 2015

2013 Nissan Leaf

All cars depreciate, but few have sunk in value as much or as quickly as the 2013 Nissan Leaf.

Low fuel prices have suppressed the sales of electric cars and created a glut of new ones on the market. That alone is enough to bring prices down, but there’s another force at work that has devastated used values of the Leaf and other electrics.

If you’ve ever considered a new or used electric car, now is the time to get in the market and find one of the best deals out there.

First, though, we should look at why prices have dropped so much.

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