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Posts Tagged ‘used car shopping’

Scion’s Comeback Effort Looks Like an Old Toyota

November 17th, 2014

2014_scion_im_concept_la_auto_show

Let me be clear: I don’t think Toyota needs the Scion brand.

The initial intent in creating Scion was to appeal to a younger crowd at a lower price point with small but exciting vehicles. It worked for a little while but Scion has slowly been dying in recent years.

The cars, with the exception of the great FR-S (which should have been a Toyota) are lifeless and dull.

Regardless of this humble car blogger’s opinion, Scion trudges on and will introduce a new vehicle at the LA Auto Show this week.

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Buying Used Luxury? Think Twice

November 5th, 2014
How much are those rings worth to you?

How much are those rings worth to you?

Driving a luxury car for the price of a Honda is an appealing proposition.

I’ve advocated for it on these very pages. Why would someone spend $25,000 on a new Accord or CR-V when they could have a used Audi A6 or Q7?

The benefits make it seem like a no-brainer. For the same money you get more luxury, more brand panache, better performance, and an all-around cooler vehicle. Everything’s great, up until your new luxury car needs some basic maintenance and repairs.

I’d like to share my personal story, so you might avoid the fate that has fallen upon me.

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Who Recommends the Cars You Buy?

November 4th, 2014

Mercedes-Benz M-Class

Who would buy a car that doesn’t come recommended?

Most car buyers get their recommendation from family or friends. Advertising inspires some, and others need no recommendation beyond their own research and experience.

Plenty of car shoppers use a combination of all the recommendations they can get, but few are more influential than the “recommended” status as given by Consumer Reports.

The stalwart of consumer protection and advice has a coveted list of cars it recommends to subscribers. Automakers love being on the list, because it gives their vehicles more credibility. Falling off that list, though, can mean trouble.

Just ask the 2012 Honda Civic, which failed to receive the publication’s recommendation for being underpowered and having too much road noise and a cheap-feeling interior. That led to a redesign for 2013 and a much better car for consumers.

This year, some surprising vehicles have lost their recommended status.

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How’s the Car Culture in Your Town?

October 23rd, 2014

2013_mercedes-benz-m-class

Who knew a guy could nearly be assassinated for trying to pump gas.

I forgot that in Oregon, basic human rights don’t exist. Oh sure, you can marry whoever you want and ride around on bicycles without any clothes, but try to pump gas by yourself, and the Calvary brings out its firing squad.

It’s illegal to pump your own gas in Oregon, so the job is performed by attendants who run ragged between cars, grabbing credit cards and swiping with reckless abandon while barking things like, “Fill ‘er up?” and “Regular or premium?”

It’s like living in 1955.

Speed limits in Oregon are from the same era. Even four-lane Interstate highways are limited to 65 miles per hour.

Yes, Oregon is automotively oppressed. But they sure have nice cars.

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No, Porsche Shouldn’t Build an Entry Level Car

October 13th, 2014

porsche_718

Regarding the possibility of an entry level roadster, Porsche North America’s CEO Detlev von Platen recently said,

We’re not talking about entry models at Porsche. Our entry model is our pre-owned program.

Those words have dashed the dreams of many Porsche hopefuls who had hoped to get into a new Porsche for the price of a loaded Honda.

Sorry folks. If you want a new Porsche, you’re going to have to work a little harder; which is the way it should be.

Some people, though, disagree.

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Should Toyota Build This Juke Rival?

September 23rd, 2014

Toyota C-HR

Toyota shouldn’t bother with the frivolous or deal with matters too far outside of mainstream acceptance.

The Toyota brand is about status quo. It’s about creating the cars that respectable middle-class suburbanites drive to their corporate jobs and to weekend retreats at friends’ lake places.

Toyota doesn’t do wild and crazy, because the people who own them don’t do wild and crazy. Yes, sometimes Toyota steps out and tries something a little more exciting, but at least in the United States, those crazy moments are disguised by a Lexus or Scion badge.

If shoppers want something really crazy, they know they can look to Nissan. But what if Toyota doesn’t want people turning away from the brand when they want to stand out?

Enter the C-HR Concept.

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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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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 Jaguar XE’s Biggest Competition: A Used BMW?

September 9th, 2014

2015 Jaguar XE

With great fanfare and media attention, Jaguar has released official images, specs and pricing of its new XE. This is a huge deal, because the XE is a car set to compete against the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4.

There’s one caveat to the above statement, though: So far specs and pricing are specific to the European market.

The info is enough to infer that the new “baby Jag” will be nothing like its predecessor, the X-Type. It’ll be lighter, faster, more fuel efficient and, to some people, better looking.

That, however, is debatable, and I wonder if the price of entry will send shoppers right back into the arms of the Germans.

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