Corvette Stop-Sale Raises New Questions

September 22nd, 2014

2015 Chevrolet Corvette

When you build cars, it’s kind of important to attach all the pieces.

Major automakers have figured out how to do this with impressive precision, while smaller companies can be forgiven for overlooking a small part.

But when the world’s largest automaker misses parts on its most important car, you just have to wonder what’s going on internally. Especially right on the heels of the company’s biggest recall ever.

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10 Cars That Can Make Getting Stuck in Traffic Enjoyable

September 19th, 2014

traffic jam 788d2c4451aa43c4

Traffic is a universal awful. Anyone who has to commute to and within a major city knows just how much time and patience every rush hour consumes. And with the addition of continuous large-scale construction, these delays only escalate. Let’s look at a specific case study: Construction on Boston’s I-90 Prudential Tunnel has reduced lanes and caused congestion in both directions as MassDOT improves it. Knowing Boston construction timelines, or really planned construction anywhere, this will take a while. So if you’re driving through a massive construction project, or simply commuting through rush hour, you might want to consider the cars listed below. They have a comfort level and entertainment packages that can fend off the frustration of sitting in traffic. Most of these entertainment options are, of course, only for passengers. We don’t want any drivers taking advantage of the DVD system or WiFi. That could be dangerous or, even worse, cause even more traffic behind you.

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2015 Ford Mustang: Better Than a Scion FR-S?

September 19th, 2014

2015 Ford Mustang

I think it’s safe to say that Top Gear is a respected and trusted source of automotive news and opinion. When the television hosts or blog writers give an opinion, the world tends to listen.

When I saw the headline that the British blokes had driven the upcoming 2015 Mustang, I prepared myself to read about Ford’s still-inferior performance, interior, steering, yada, yada, yada.

Instead what I read was an absolutely glowing take on the pony car that has taken 50 years to finally arrive on UK shores. That’s great for them, but what will it mean to Mustang purists here in the United States?

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Cars on Autopilot: Self-Driving or Drive Yourself?

September 18th, 2014

volvo_autopilot

The first autopilot system in an airplane was developed in 1912, just as car technology was in its infancy. In the 102 years since, airplane technology has evolved so aircraft can virtually fly from point A to point B by themselves.

The human pilots are there to monitor progress, handle takeoffs and landings, and be prepared for emergencies.

We all accept the fact that planes fly themselves, but transfer the technology to cars and widespread panic sets in.

The terms “self-driving” and “autonomous” are thrown around by automakers, and perhaps most famously by Google, to describe their efforts to create a car that drives with limited human interaction. Some automakers are embracing the technology, but now at least one has put the focus back where it belongs: on the driver.

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Celebrating 60 Years of Ferrari Design

September 17th, 2014
2014 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

2014 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

In 1954, America changed forever.

This wasn’t because of a traumatic event or even something that seemed all that significant when it happened. The impact, though, has spread across six decades and left a trail of inspiration and breathlessness, along with plenty of burned rubber and lofty aspirations.

It was in 1954 that Ferrari formed an alliance with the North American Racing Team and began selling cars in the United States. Over the next 60 years, Ferrari won countless races and produced some of the most exhilarating and beautiful automobiles to ever scorch the pavement.

With a 60-year anniversary car debuting next month, let’s take a moment and look back at some of the most influential Ferrari designs in U.S. history.

First, though, I want to share what little info there is about this 60th anniversary car. AutoEvolution says,

In all likelihood, it is expected that this car will be based on the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, and it will add an exclusive exterior and interior design to account for the price jump of almost $3 million; a standard 2014 F12 Berlinetta starts at $318,888. Among the upgrades include a distinctive blue paint scheme with white stripes acting as a throwback to the Ferraris raced by the North American Racing Team (NART) from the 1960s through the 1980s. Big changes are also expected inside this car.

For $3 million, it had better be special! Not that it matters, because word is that only 10 vehicles will be produced and all are already sold. With that in mind, here are my favorite Ferrari designs from each decade:

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Tesla Model 3: A $35,000 Game Changer?

September 16th, 2014

Tesla Model S

In 2017, $35,000 might buy you a really nice 2014 or 2015 Audi A6 or a beautiful pre-owned BMW 5 Series.

However, come 2017, the world of buying a luxury car could be very different than it is today. Keep in mind, 2017 is less than two and a half years away, and there usually isn’t a lot of change in such a short amount of time. The 2012 cars on the road today aren’t all that different from 2014 models.

Tesla, though, thinks it can usher in an era of electric driving that we’ve never seen before with its forthcoming $35,000 2017 Tesla Model 3.

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Would You Buy an Over-the-Hill Used Car?

September 15th, 2014

used car lot

Maybe a dealership near you has one.

Tucked in a back corner of the lot, behind all the expensive brand new cars, hidden behind the certified used cars, and shadowed by the traditional pre-owned vehicles might sit an ultra-bargain section of the lot. Some vehicles might have rust, some might have the check engine light on, and all have well over 100,000 miles on the clock.

There’s no warranty on these vehicles, they are sold as-is, and the buyer assumes all risk associated with ownership.

Why would a new car dealer risk a good reputation by selling these junk cars?

Because they are huge moneymakers.

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The 2014-2015 Season’s 10 Best Tailgaters

September 12th, 2014

2010 Dodge Ram Pickup 1500

The football season is officially in full swing. Now Sundays (and Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays for college, and Fridays for high school) will be spent staring at the TV, checking your fantasy lineup, and, if you’re lucky enough to actually go to the game, tailgating. Ah, tailgating—there are few things better in the world than cooking hamburgers in a parking lot on a chilly autumn day. There are two essential ingredients to tailgating: good food and a good vehicle. And here we have a list of some of the best vehicles for tailgating.

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Can’t Wait for the Mid-Engine Corvette? Buy One of These!

September 12th, 2014

Corvette Zora ZR1 C8

There has never been a mid-engine Corvette and, most people believe, Chevrolet will never build one.

A Corvette with power coming from behind the driver just isn’t American. We like our cars with ferocious small block V8 engines taking up the space between our feet and the horizon and we like those engines covered by hoods long enough to land a Boeing 747.

That’s why news of a potential mid-engine C8 Corvette, currently dubbed the “Zora,” is staggering.

Car and Driver Magazine has a large feature on the development of the car, which is being covered by blogs everywhere. One of them says:

Little is known about this car, and given that the Z06 chucks out 650 bhp and costs just south of $80,000; anything turned up to 11 should cause quite a scene. The revisions to the chassis will not be updates to the C7, but major changes to be realized in the C8. For this highly tuned version, the price may start around $150,000 and production numbers will be limited to C6 ZR1 levels, somewhere around 1,500 copies.

If this is true, Chevy isn’t building a Corvette, it’s building a Ferrari.

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Free Maintenance Programs: Proceed with Caution

September 11th, 2014

BMW maintenance program

“How about we throw in two years of free synthetic oil changes and call it good,” said the sales manager.

I was negotiating for a car about a year ago, and we’d reached a stalemate on price. We were close, within a few hundred bucks, but I was willing to walk if my price wasn’t met.

The sales manger claimed they were down as low as possible and couldn’t budge any further.

The free oil-change offer sealed the deal. I was thinking 3 or 4 oil changes per year, at about $70 each.

Being the type of guy who regularly dispenses auto-buying advice to friends, family and strangers, I should have thought it through. I should have asked questions. But I didn’t, and I fell for one of the newest strategies in selling cars: free maintenance.

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