Speed Limit: 80. Who’s Ready?

80_MPH_SPEED

We all do it anyway. With many Interstate speed limits at 70 miles per hour, it’s easy to push that to 75 or even 80 when cruising the vast spaces between cities.

On a recent trip from Washington to Oregon, I had my cruise set at 75 and still got passed by cars that had to be going 85. Upon entering Oregon I experienced the pain of a sudden decrease to 65 and wondered why the law there required me to go so painfully slow.

Modern cars are capable of easily cruising at 80 or more, especially with the advent of 8- and 9-speed automatic transmissions that are built for efficiency at high speeds.

With the advancement of technology and the ability to go faster, the Interstate highway system needs to start keeping pace.

In some places, that is happening.

Continue reading >>>

Here Comes Tesla’s Competition

Commuter Cars Tango and George Clooney

When you think of electric cars, the first maker to come to mind is probably Tesla. The company has done an amazing job branding itself as the leader in vehicles powered by electrons. With sexy car designs, lots of media coverage and a personable-yet-eccentric CEO, Tesla has become the gold standard in electric vehicles.

That doesn’t mean Tesla is alone, though.

Other carmakers build and sell vehicles that use alternative fuels, and there’s no way the legacy automakers are going to sit down and watch Tesla silently drive into the sunset with all the cash.

From the big boys to some small guys with big ideas, it seems EVs are here to stay. Keep reading for some interesting competitors Tesla may face.

Continue reading >>>

Underdog Chrysler 200 Goes for the Win

2015 Chrysler 200C and 2015 Chrysler 200S

We root for the underdog.

We want the Cinderella team at the NCAA tournament to advance to the Elite Eight. We want to see the #15 seed defeat the #2 seed, and we get excited when a 35-point football underdog pulls out an overtime victory.

In the automotive world, there is no greater underdog than the Chrysler 200. It has to overcome the stigma of being based on the Sebring, the constant deriding by reviewers across the land and the low-quality association of being a rental-car stalwart.

With the 2015 model, Chrysler and new owner FIAT know things have to change. In order to be a viable and profitable company, Chrysler simply must field a competitor to the top-selling cars in its class: the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion and even the Nissan Altima.

This is an underdog story like no other.

Continue reading >>>

Subaru Dealer Wins Union Fight

subaru_union_fight

Kill ’em with love and humor.

What better way to combat a hostile situation than by offering up some comedy. Maybe we could avoid everything from wars to domestic disputes by simply opening our arms and asking for a hug, then telling a joke.

I know it sounds like I’ve gone all hippie, but when we all just get along, things are so much happier. For the latest proof of this concept, I direct your attention to a Subaru dealership in Wichita, which has effectively diffused a union protest.

Continue reading >>>

Ultra Long-Term Car Loans: A Great Idea!

2014-Aston-Martin-DB9-coupe

Financing a depreciating asset is rarely a good idea. How does it make sense to purchase a $40,000 vehicle, finance it over many years, and then end up with a money pit that costs more to keep maintained than it’s worth? On top of that, not only do you have a car worth a fraction of what you paid, you’ve handed a bank many thousands of dollars for the privilege.

Very few people can afford to pay cash for a car, so financing for a few years makes sense logically, if not financially. There’s not a financial advisor on the planet who will say financing a car over 60 months is a good idea.

Unless, of course, you’re the bank or a very specific kind of buyer.

Continue reading >>>

Tesla Challenging Dealer Franchise Laws, and Winning

2012-Tesla-Model-S

The American dealer franchise system might be on its last tank of fuel.

Since the advent of the mass production of cars, their sales have been filtered through a system of dealerships not affiliated with the carmakers. By acting as the middleman between the factory and the consumer, the dealer is free to negotiate and attempt to maximize profits. The downside for consumers, of course, is that uneducated people can be taken advantage of and charged more than necessary. The upside is that car buyers have local sales people and reliable service.

Tesla wants to change things up by selling directly to consumers in a retail model that could, and probably will, revolutionize how we buy cars.

Continue reading >>>

Our Favorite Drives of 2014

2014 Jeep Wrangler

Over the past months we’ve been hard at work testing out this year’s new cars. From the East Coast to the West Coast, we’ve searched high and low to find and test some of the best cars that have yet to hit America’s roads. While there are still many more out there for us to test drive, we thought it was time for us to tell you a little more about our favorites (so far).

Continue reading >>>

The Best Cars You Haven’t Driven

2014-mazda3

We, as humans, tend to fall into ruts. We find something we like, and then we either forget to try anything else or get so wrapped up that we just assume our choice represents the best choice possible. This is true in everything from ice cream to cars.

Personally, I’m a vanilla guy. I go out for ice cream or frozen yogurt, or “fro-yo,” as the kids say these days, and I always get vanilla, because I like it, and I know what to expect. Oddly enough, I’m not like that with cars. I like variety and have driven nearly every make and model out there. I’ve owned models from Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Suzuki, Subaru, Jaguar and Audi.

Because of my vast experience behind the wheel, I can help you find the diamond you might never have considered. In return I’ll just ask for your advice on branching out from vanilla.

Here are the best cars you haven’t driven, but probably should:

Continue reading >>>

Can You Trust Your Fuel Gauge?

miles to empty

I’ll just get gas when I go out later tonight.

Sure, the gas light came on and I’m 12 miles from home, but I’ll make it and I have to go out later anyway and will be closer to a gas station tonight.

That’s not an uncommon thought for me, and it’s one of the problems of living in an area that’s at least 15 miles from a gas station. Earlier this week it happened to my lovely girlfriend. It would have been fine, but plans changed, and she didn’t make it out to the gas station that night. She forgot about the low-fuel situation until leaving home in the morning, late, for a meeting at work 40 miles away.

Her Subaru told her she had 50 miles to empty. She called me with her quandary:

Continue reading >>>

GM Crisis Escalates, More Cars Recalled

Saturn ION

What started as a simple and routine recall has exploded for General Motors into a worst-case scenario of negative public opinion.

This is bad.

Take the Audi PR nightmare of unintended acceleration in 1986, combined with Toyota’s recent battle with allegations of the same problem and then multiply it by a million. This is so much worse because there are documented deaths as a result of the problem, along with proof that GM has known about the fault for over a decade.

This is really bad.

It all started in 2001 with a single faulty ignition switch.

Continue reading >>>