Going CPO? Look to GM!

2013 Buick LaCrosse

There are two ways of looking at Certified Pre-Owned cars:

As overpriced used cars As value-priced new-car alternatives

Yes, buying a CPO vehicle will cost more than buying an as-is used car from a dealer or private party. The upside, though, is a warranty of some kind along with the peace of mind that comes with knowing the car underwent a 2,163-point inspection or whatever is standard now at dealerships.

The target market for CPO cars is people who want an alternative to a new car, but with the same assurance that if something goes wrong, they’re covered.

Virtually all automakers offer some kind of CPO program, and General Motors’ has recently been recognized as one of the best.

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What Classic Car Would You Want New Again?

1973 911 Carrera RS

There’s really only one thing in life humans should strive for: an unlimited budget.

With an unlimited budget, people can experience all the driving pleasure the world has to offer. Sure, some people say money can’t buy happiness, but have you ever seen an unhappy person behind the wheel of a Porsche?

Cocky and arrogant maybe, but certainly happy.

While new Porsches are undeniably a source of true happiness, a classic can elevate the joy to a whole new level. That joy can turn to grief pretty quickly, though, when it’s time to look for replacement parts. Imagine owning a 1973 911 Carrera RS and looking for someone to maintain it or repair damaged or worn-out pieces.

As much happiness as cars provide, classics breaking down are a major source of human unhappiness.

But, there is a solution.

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Ready for the Datsun Comeback?

New Datsun

“Is that an old Ferrari!?”

My son pointed and loudly exclaimed to anyone within earshot that he had spotted some sort of rare Prancing Horse. In reality, the car that captured his attention was a beautiful Datsun 240Z.

He hadn’t even heard of Datsun, and he couldn’t hide his disappointment. I explained that the old 240Z certainly shares some looks with a Ferrari GTO, or even a Jaguar E-Type, but the car really defined the affordable sports car market in the United States and was, and still is, unmistakably Datsun.

Then I told him that Datsun isn’t around anymore.

“Well, I think Datsun should come back,” he said.

Datsun is indeed coming back, though in a much different way than my son in mind.

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When Extended Warranties Pay Off

2007 GMC Acadia

An extended warranty might be a good idea

About 4 years ago a family member bought a used Lexus, along with an extended warranty contract that covered the car for 5 years and an additional 60,000 miles.

The contract cost about $1,200 and was quickly forgotten once the paperwork was completed.

Meanwhile, my brother purchased a 2007 GMC Acadia, and an extended warranty. Before the ink even dried, his transmission failed, and the warranty more than paid for itself by covering the repairs. Other issues on the Acadia have come up since, and the warranty covered them all.

With my brother’s warranty set to expire, he’s preparing to sell the car rather than risk more repairs.

The Lexus has been flawless for many years, until this month, when it began running hot and experiencing other problems. The car was in the dealer’s shop before the warranty was remembered. With just a few thousand miles left on its coverage, it paid for a new radiator.

There’s lots of advice out there that says to skip extended warranties, but experience says they’re worth it—when done right.

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Performance at 30 MPG

2000 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe

The 2000 Chevrolet Corvette is not a spectacular supercar. The base model uses a 5.7-liter V8 to deliver 345 hp, which the EPA rates at 15 mpg city/25 highway.

Fun, yes. Super, no.

The Corvette has always been the value-priced sports car playing in the land of supercars. For buyers looking for cheap horsepower, the ‘Vette fits the bill. It’s never been the most refined or comfortable or elegant, but that’s not what Corvette buyers of the past ever expected. Just raw, straight-line power.

The used market has lots of Corvettes from the last 6 generations for sale. The 2000 model I referenced generally is listed at around $10,000, which makes for an incredibly cheap sports-car experience.

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Ford F-250 Reaches the Top… of Most Stolen List

2011-ford-f-250-super-duty-crew-cab-photo-334257-s-1280x782

Ford can add another claim to its long list of popularity-contest wins:

The Ford F-250 is number one!

Sure, this time it’s among car thieves, but any number-one rating is positive, right? It just means the F-250 is so popular and so good, even people who can’t afford one want one.

The big Ford isn’t the only popular truck targeted by thieves. In fact, 8 of the top 10 spots went to trucks or SUVs built by General Motors, so I guess a big congrats goes out to them, too!

I just wonder whatever happened to the good ol’ days of cars like the Accord topping lists of most stolen vehicles, back when thieves were more practical and concerned with things like stealth and, surely, fuel economy.

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Are Convertibles Dying?

Toyota_Camry_Solara

On Interstate 90, somewhere between Seattle and Spokane, I passed a slow moving convertible that travelled leisurely in the right lane.

I glanced at the car, and the driver, as I sped by and made a quick comment to my travel partner.

“Convertibles should not be front-wheel drive,” I said.

The car, a red Toyota Camry Solara, was driven by an older woman with short graying hair.

My friend, without missing a beat, said, “I know. But then what would people like her drive?”

An excellent point. She continued, “Those are cruising cars. Not much for driving fun, just a way for regular people to get some wind in their hair.”

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Buy One of These and Save Loads of Money

2013_Volkswagen_Golf_TDI_2-Door_422306

I don’t always steal quotes from memes on Facebook, but when I do, it’s because I want to save you money. So with that in mind:

“I’d rather not save any money.”

Said no one.

Ever.

Saving money on a car isn’t just about keeping a few bucks in your wallet on the day you buy, it extends to the amount of money put into the car for as long as you own it. Fuel, insurance, maintenance and more all factor into the long-term costs of any automobile.

Of course, that’s not news to anyone. But what kind of car costs the least to own over the years that you have it? Figure that out, and you’ll laugh in the face of friends and family who thought they got a great deal, but now suffer from a maddening case of financial drain. Symptoms include itchy, watery eyes and severely dry bank accounts.

If you want to avoid such embarrassing problems, read on.

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Do You Have an Older Car That Has Aged Gracefully?

Sure, they looked pretty good when new...

Sure, they looked pretty good when new…

Aging gracefully is important, for humans and automobiles. As this isn’t a blog about Homo sapiens, I’ll refrain from my judgments on the human side of age and grace.

No car, though, is off limits.

Take a couple of 10-year-old cars, put them next to one another, and note the difference in how they have aged. Obviously, how the well the car has been cared for makes a huge difference in the way it looks. Some cars, though, just look every bit their age, while others still look surprisingly new. That’s a function of design and build quality.

Take, for example, these two vehicles:

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Happy Fourth of July!

patriotic chevy camaro

On this 237th birthday of the great United States, it seems appropriate to celebrate with pictures of patriotic cars. We could keep this to images of domestic cars only, but the truth is any car can be decked out in the colors of this great nation.

People get pretty creative when they show their American pride on their cars. Custom paint jobs, flags on the roof, it all makes for entertaining viewing, especially on a day when we celebrate all that is great in the States.

For this Fourth of July, enjoy some of the more creative patriotic automotive art forms. Be safe and come back to us tomorrow!

Mustang looks good in red, white and blue!

When MINIs go American

Artistic American Camaro

Patriotism knows no size!

Sure, it’s British, but it’s still red white and blue!

Happy Fourth of July!

-tgriffith