High Mileage on Your Car? Here’s Some Perspective

semi truck

Road trips often lead to interesting conversations about cars.

There are two cars in my family, a 2013 Subaru Legacy that was purchased new and now has 16,000 miles on the clock, and a “new to us” 2008 Audi Q7 with a shade over 80,000 on the odometer. Driving across the state yesterday, the conversation turned to what constitutes high mileage on a vehicle. The Audi drives as if it’s just been broken-in even though the dreaded 100,000-mile mark is only about two years away.

As we spoke, the rain poured hard and we were passed by a fast-moving semi truck. Even with the wipers at full force, the tidal wave of water rendered the windshield useless.

But that truck sparked a question:

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Looking Forward to 2014

2015 Mustang

As the auto companies never tire of telling us, car fans have lots to look forward to in the coming year. The 2015 Mustang was already unveiled, totally dominating the auto news a few weeks back, but we’ll have to wait to see sales figures and user reviews to get a clear idea whether the ‘Stang faithful appreciate the new pony car’s increased fuel economy and independent rear suspension. (If they don’t, they might want to grab an old-school 2014, which our reviewer liked quite a bit.)

We’ll also have to wait to see what BMW fans make of the company’s decision to split its legendary 3 Series lineup into separate models for sedans and wagons (still the 3 Series) and coupes (the new 4 Series). Our reviewer found the new 4 Series “sublime to pilot,” but was less impressed with its tech. And of course we look forward to learning more about the new M3 and M4’s “Smokey Burnout” feature, which will likely end up competing with a now confirmed similar “secret feature” on the new Mustang.

What we’re most excited about for 2014, though, is something you’ve already gotten a taste of if you followed either of the links above to our 2014 Mustang and 4 Series pages: The CarGurus site will feature detailed reviews based on extended test drives of top-selling vehicles. Our new reviews will include point ratings on a scale of 1 to 10 in each of 6 categories (Look and Feel, Performance, Form and Function, Technology, Safety and Cost-Effectiveness) as well as an overall score, and we’re confident they’ll provide more useful information to shoppers as well as more enjoyable reading for enthusiasts.

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Who Would Be Better Off If GM Bought Tesla?

Model_S

Can you imagine a Buick Model S, a Cadillac Model X, or maybe a Chevy Roadster?

A mashup between General Motors and Tesla might seem far-fetched, but at least one analyst of the automotive industry thinks a GM purchase of the electric automaker not only makes sense, but could happen in 2014.

If such a transaction did take place, the possibilities are intriguing to say the least. Would GM keep the brand and run Tesla just as another arm in its empire, or would it simply use the technology in its existing brands and kill off the Tesla brand?

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Our Holiday Wish List

Lexus Bow

Photo courtesy of Left Lane News

With the exception of last weekend (when Mother Nature decided the first day of winter should be celebrated in flip flops and T-shirts), this year’s holiday season has been a pretty ordinary one: Malls have been packed, colorful lights strung all over, and kids have been hard at work clearing landing strips for a certain jolly old man and his team of reindeer from the North Pole (before the heat melted all the snow, that is).

Just a few weeks ago, we talked about all the cars we couldn’t wait to see in 2014. But what about the cars we can get right now? While 2014’s cars certainly seem amazing, there are many, many cars already out that we’d love to find in our driveways. After much deliberation, we came up with a list of the 10 cars we’d like Santa to put on his sleigh and leave in Harvard Square for us.

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The Toyota Models That Should Go

2014-Scion FR-S

Toyota makes some weird cars.

In an effort to dominate the world, the automaker has covered just about every segment with the exception of supercars. Come to think of it, it’s entered those exclusive ranks as well with the Lexus LFA.

From entry-level basic transportation to 4-wheel-drive off-roaders to luxury cruisers and everything in between, Toyota has a vehicle to meet the needs and wants of every human on Earth.

For now, at least.

According an article at WardsAuto, Toyota will streamline its product offerings and discontinue some models.

Keep reading for the list of cars Toyota should axe.

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New-Car Fantasy Fails to Meet Expectations

Audi Q7 interior, three-row seating

Four kids, two adults, three rows of seats, two sets of grandparents, three black plastic yard waste bags filled with wrapped presents, 10.9 cubic feet of storage space, 11 hours of festivities and one new car.

That’s the recipe for one of the most efficient but exhausting Christmases ever.

The new car was purchased to solve the problem of taking 2 cars everywhere while safely and efficiently moving 6 people and all their stuff. The theory was that it would work flawlessly with happy children and ample space.

The car was a surprise on Christmas morning for the kids and provided a day of surprises for us adults.

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The Best Christmas Decorations for Cars

x-mas-decorated-car

The moms at my kids’ school love to decorate for Christmas. You can certainly picture these women: embroidered sweaters with snowmen and flashing lights, houses glowing like a radioactive spill, and antlers adhered to the tops of their Denalis.

I can’t even count how many of these moms think it’s “cute” to attach a red ball to the grille and the store-bought car antlers above the doors. Even worse is the wreath zip-tied to the grille. I appreciate the effort at spreading Christmas cheer, but seriously, if you’re going to decorate your car, do it right.

On this Christmas Day, let’s take a moment to appreciate some of the more creative expressions of vehicular holiday cheer.

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Best End-of-the-Year Deals? Look Toward Used!

Audi logo

I’ve figured out a pretty solid way to save around five grand on a used car.

I thought about trademarking my method and producing a late-night infomercial to sell it to the masses for only $19.95, but it’s so simple I might as well divulge everything here.

Regular readers may recall the innocent question a week ago that sparked a used car search. I didn’t think I needed a different car at the time, but once that door of possibility opens, it’s hard to close it.

My current car has over 125,000 miles on it and a host of small problems popping up. The cruise control works sporadically, the driver’s side seat heater doesn’t work and, most of all, the car doesn’t hold the 6 people in my family.

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El Diablo: Miata Style

2001 Mazda Miata MX5

An average car will run a quarter-mile drag race in 15–16 seconds. That’s not a blistering pace, but it’s just enough to give a slight rush while accelerating up an on-ramp before settling into a steady stream of 65-mile-an-hour commuters.

The Mazda Miata, while relatively sporty and fun to drive, typically falls somewhere within that average time in stock, off-the-showroom-floor form. It’s nothing spectacular, and it won’t win many drag races, but the time is good enough to warrant the designation of “sports car.”

Barely.

A quick quarter-mile time in the Miata might fall somewhere in the 11–13-second range. When that stock speed just isn’t fast enough, upgrades can be applied, and the Miata, like any car, can become a drag racer.

An extreme case would be taking a Miata, stripping it completely of its powertrain, and replacing it with a source of power sure to embarrass even the most seasoned of racers.

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Car Safety Takes the Front Seat in America

backup camera in a car

Within a matter of seconds yesterday afternoon, I almost backed into a kid and got backed into by a vehicle. Thanks to a backup camera, I saw the kid at the last second, and thanks to the basic functionality of a car horn, I alerted the backing-up driver to my presence before getting hit.

It was a heart-pounding couple of seconds, to say the least, but goes to show the importance of safety features in vehicles. The horn is probably among the oldest of safety devices, while the backup camera is one of the newest. I’m lucky the Legacy I was driving was equipped with both.

Call it coincidental, but on the same day of the two close calls, I read that the Legacy was one of the few sedans to earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety‘s Top Safety Pick+ rating.

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