10 Economical Options for the Sensible Graduate

personal_car_rental

As Boston-area folks know all too well, another year’s worth of college students will soon graduate and move on to their next stage in life. Whether that next stage will be an entry-level job, more school, volunteer or charity work, or getting right to work on their first (next?) startup, we wish this year’s graduates nothing but the best with whatever comes next.

We ran a recent survey that determined more than half of graduating college students plan to buy a car, and we were happily surprised to learn that over half of them expect to buy it themselves. Two-thirds of those getting a new car plan to buy a used one, and almost half expect to spend $15,000 or less, though we also learned that graduating college students don’t understand a car’s true costs. Over half plan to work in the city, and 71% plan to commute by car.

So here’s a graduation present from CarGurus: a list of 10 cars available used at an average cost of $15,000 or less that are all fine commuting cars and should hold their value relatively well. We deliberately avoided sports cars, which might tempt even a valedictorian to drive unsafely and would cost substantially more to insure. We hope all recent graduates plan to continue learning in their next stage of life, and we look forward to celebrating some of their successes in the no doubt impressively near future.

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10 Best SUVs for Less Than $15,000

2009 Subaru Forester

CarGurus spent two days previewing the 2016 New York International Auto Show, and if one trend stood out more than others, it was America’s apparent obsession with crossovers and SUVs. This could be due to low fuel prices, or perhaps it’s more a consequence of our country’s longstanding enthusiasm for adventure and frontiers. Whatever the reason, from the introduction of the Maserati Levante and the over-the-top Lincoln Navigator concept to Mitsubishi’s last-ditch effort with the Outlander PHEV, this message was clear: automakers are hitching their wagons to crossovers and SUVs.

Since the public apparently has a hankering for high-riding, do-anything transportation, we decided to find the best used crossover vehicles using CarGurus’ user-submitted reviews. To keep things interesting, we set a price limit of $15,000, but eliminated any cars more than 15 years old or with an average of more than 100,000 miles. If you want to submit your own ranking reviews on CarGurus, we’d love to hear what you have to say!

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10 Best Cars to Tackle Winter: 2016 Edition

2014 Nissan Pathfinder

Every neighborhood has one. The guy with the monstrous SUV and a driveway covered in ice. No matter how shiny their brand new snow-blower is (they usually have a snowblower), when the white stuff starts to accumulate, they hop in their Suburban, step on the gas, and let the 4-wheel drive do the rest. The machine specifically designed to clear driveways never even gets primed — why let your hands freeze pushing that contraption around when your SUV isn’t even really stuck?

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Top 10 Most Dramatic Redesigns of the Last 25 Years

X4 Sketch

The next time you find yourself leafing through your copy of Wikipedia, take a close look at some of the antique car pages. The early days of the automobile were undoubtedly exciting, but change was actually very slow for individual makes and models. The car synonymous with brass era automobiles, the Ford Model T, ran its course for 19 years with hardly any cosmetic changes. Beyond some tweaks to the hood, cowl, and fenders, a ‘27 Model T can be easily confused with a model 10 years older. Think of it as the Porsche 911 design philosophy.

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Here Come the Car of the Year Awards

Tesla Model S

The 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year

Anyone can give out a Car of the Year award these days. In fact, the list of COTY awards seems to grow every year. There’s the old stalwart, the Motor Trend Car of the Year, but there’s also the North American Car and Truck of the Year, the World Car of the Year, and now the Popular Mechanics Car of the Year. Perhaps there should be an equally prestigious “tgriffith Car of the Year.”

Maybe there will be.

With such a wide variety of awards, it’s pretty hard to label the one true Car of the Year. In this era of “everyone’s a winner,” every car has some chance of winning some kind of award.

Motor Trend, though, seems to have nailed this year’s choice.

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Ford Ranger Wildtrak: Ford’s Greatest Tease

Ford Ranger Wildtrak

You can cling to hope all you want, but the fact remains that the new Ford Ranger won’t be sold in the United States. Ford’s reasoning is that its new compact pickup is too close in size to the F-150, and buyers should just opt for that truck.

That reasoning doesn’t make sense, though. Ford has 5 crossovers/SUVs and 5 different cars, so by its own logic shouldn’t have a Fusion, because it offers the Taurus. And it shouldn’t have the Escape, because it has the Explorer. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Yet for some reason, when it comes to trucks, that’s the thinking that has prevailed.

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