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Posts Tagged ‘Consumer reports’

New Impala Nothing Like the Old Ones

August 27th, 2013

2014 Chevrolet Impala

I’ve always called it the brown paper bag of vehicles.

A family friend had one when I was younger, and I rented one when I was a young adult on a business trip. Those two experiences were enough to turn me off from the Chevrolet Impala ever since. This was a car that could go unnoticed in traffic and blend in like a brown paper bag in a bag full of other brown paper bags.

The Impala was uninspired, lacked any sort of intriguing design elements whatsoever and drove like a giant sheet of plywood.

So you can imagine my surprise, walking to the mailboxes at my apartment complex, when a car’s rear haunches caught my eye before revealing a word I would never have expected to see emblemized on the rear: Impala.

Whoa.

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Can We Still Believe Window-Sticker MPG Numbers?

December 7th, 2012
Window stickers

Really?

There’s a war among automakers, and the casualties are beginning to pile up.

It’s a war to claim the best miles-per-gallon figures in a market where consumers are heavily influenced by the numbers on the window sticker or touted in TV commercials.

To get the attention of more buyers, and to get them to hand over their hard-earned money, would automakers be willing to inflate those numbers? We certainly won’t accuse anyone of misleading the public on purpose, but two automakers in the last month have been hit with claims that their stated MPG numbers are higher than actual results.

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Most Satisfying New Car In All the Land: Chevy Volt!

December 3rd, 2012
2013 Chevrolet Volt

The very satisfying Chevy Volt

The Chevrolet Volt: Electric without the anxiety.

If I sat on the marketing team for the Volt, that’s a slogan I might throw out there for consideration. While it’s possible to drive the Volt for months on end on electric power only, thus never needing to stop at a gas station, the car provides the option of driving from Boston to Seattle if the owner so chooses. That’s because the Volt’s genius powertrain allows for all-electric trips of roughly 40 miles or can use its small gas engine to extend range all the way to… well… Seattle.

While the car costs way too much (in my humble opinion), has suffered from a terrible marketing campaign and has been at the center of a heated political debate, owners seem to love the experience of the Volt and would buy one all over again. Which is more than Nissan can claim about its fuel-efficient Versa.

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Cars Coming Soon: Jaguar XFR-S, the Cure for the Common AMG

November 1st, 2012

Jaguar XFR-S

If the word “seductive” could be applied to just one car brand, it would be Jaguar. The sultry curves of a Jag are like no other car on Earth. Add in the ferocious power harbored behind the headlights, and it’s hard not to bend to the Jag’s sweet call.

Like any seductress, though, there are potential drawbacks, the biggest being the question of long-term reliability.

With the new Jaguar XFR-S, Jag hopes to take on the likes of the Audi RS 6 (unavailable in the U.S.), Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG and BMW M5.

As great as the XFR-S might be, can it seduce buyers way from the competition?

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Will Going Eco Really Save You Any Money?

June 5th, 2012

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

The short answer:

No. No, it won’t.

The longer answer:

Unless you have up to 40 years to wait for your investment to pay off.

The full answer:

Keep reading for all the juicy details.

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The 7 Most Dangerous Vehicles on the Road

June 1st, 2012

2012 Ram Pickup 1500 Laramie Limited

Mention the most dangerous vehicles on the road today, and the Ram 1500 pickup truck isn’t likely to make many people’s list. Dangerous to others, perhaps, but certainly not the most dangerous vehicle to ride in.

The smart fortwo? That would make sense.

But, once again, we have proof that we live in a world that doesn’t make much sense. Because, according to the website 24/7 Wall St, which compiled information from Consumer Reports ratings, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash safety results, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety vehicle scores and J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study, the most dangerous vehicle on the road today is indeed the Ram pickup truck. And the smart’s not even on the list.

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Quality? Don’t Care. Performance? No. Safety? Pass. Fuel Economy? Yes Please!

May 23rd, 2012

Ford Focus Electric

Fuel economy, at least temporarily, has become the single most important factor to new-car buyers.

I say “temporarily” because we all know it won’t last.

Americans have a tendency to overreact to things. Remember in 2008, when gas prices jumped and folks traded in their SUVs en masse for more fuel efficient rides? Remember, later that year, when prices dipped below $2/gallon and many of those same buyers flocked back to their big rigs?

Now it’s 2012, and prices are hovering near $4 again. No surprise that fuel economy is an important factor for buyers, but *the* most important? This world has gone crazy.

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Uh-Oh: Fisker Karma Belonging to Consumer Reports Breaks Down

March 9th, 2012

Consumer Reports' Fisker Karma

List of things you don’t want to happen:

  1. Have spinach stuck in your teeth for the duration of a first date.
  2. Buy a new car and have it break down on the way home.
  3. Have the car you built and sold to Consumer Reports break down even before it’s checked in.

A positive Consumer Reports review can make or break a new car. Even established cars can suffer when the great CR Oracle turns its head away, as the Honda Civic is well aware.

So what happens when a start-up automaker sells a $100,000 car to the almighty CR, only to have it on a flatbed truck moments later? It’s not going to be good.

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Seventeen Cars That Defy Logic, Get 40 MPG

February 24th, 2012

2012 Scion xD

“Only in politics do people root for bad news and they greet bad news so enthusiastically. You pay more, and they’re licking their chops.”

That awkwardly worded quote was said by President Obama yesterday, in a scathing speech decrying Republicans as rooting for bad news and promising a return to $2 gas if elected.

Of course, being the educated and intellectual group we all are, we know darn well that a new president can’t step into office, drill for new oil and lower gas prices to two bucks a gallon. We are aware of the immense complexities that go into gas prices and the hundreds of factors that lead to more-expensive gas. The one thing we can all do to demand lower prices is decrease our use of the stuff.

Not driving your F-250 to and from the grocery store to buy a six-pack is a good place to start. For those in the market for a new car, buying one that has been shown to get at least 40 mpg on the highway works, too.

Consumer Reports released a list of cars that hit 40 mpg or more in its highway testing. The list is impressive, because it features 17 fairly inexpensive cars officially rated below the magical 40-mpg mark that achieve it in real-world testing.

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Do People Still Care About Their Car’s Brand?

January 31st, 2012

Consumer Reports Car Brand Perception study 2012

Two conflicting reports from the last couple of days have cast all kinds of confusion on what car buyers look for when shopping the major auto brands.

One story says car buyers don’t see any real differences in car companies, while another says car buyers are heavily influenced by their general feeling regarding a brand.

Yesterday, our man jgoods went into some great detail on one of those studies and what drives buyers toward, or away from, certain brands. I recommend you check out his story.

Both studies come from major, respected sources, and both make logical sense. But which is correct? Do buyers care about the brand of their cars or not?

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