Self-Driving Cars Are Never Going to Happen

Lucid Air

After seeing the Lucid Air—Tesla’s most formidable competition to date—at the 2017 New York International Auto Show, it’s clear that electrification is the future of transportation. Not only do electric cars deliver exceptionally low running costs and valuable peace of mind to more environmentally conscious drivers, but more and more examples are turning in performance benchmarks normally reserved for exotic hypercars. Continue reading >>>

Cadillac’s Super Cruise: Self-Driving Done Right?

Self-driving technology continues to develop faster than auto writers can report on it.

Tesla’s AutoPilot has paved the way for autonomous driving, but it may have an Achilles’ heel: Drivers tend to get lazy and forget that they need to continue keeping an eye on the road. If the system fails, which has happened at least a few times, drivers get caught off guard and unable to quickly respond.

Cadillac began working on an autonomous driving system called “Super Cruise” about five years ago and finally has it ready to debut on the upcoming CT6 sedan.

Will GM’s system show Tesla how autonomy is done? Continue reading >>>

Uber Halts Self-Driving Program, BMW Announces One

The BMW iNEXT: Coming soon!

The drive toward full autonomy in cars continues on its relentless march, but setbacks continue to plague the new technology.

Google was among the first to publicly test self-driving cars and has logged millions of mostly trouble-free miles. Tesla is also proving the technology, though not without occasional tragedy.

Automakers around the world are also going all-in on the self-driving craze. Ford has promised full autonomy by 2021, as have Tesla, Audi, and more.

BMW just announced its intent to join that list, while Uber has abruptly halted its autonomous testing after a crash in Arizona.

Will we see full autonomy in just four short years? Continue reading >>>

5 Essentials for the Perfect Spring Break Road Trip

The snow has begun to melt, the sun is sticking around longer each day, and for thousands upon thousands of college students, the next few weeks will be some of the year’s best. For many, Spring Break means precious days away from school and the opportunity to hit the road and get out of town. Every road-trip car needs plenty of space for food and snacks, a couple of pillows, and enough room to make sure the travelers on board don’t murder each other. But there are a few other essentials, without which an interstate odyssey could easily become a terrible long haul. Continue reading >>>

Dependable Drives: Ten 2014s Worth a Look

2014 Ford F-150

As anyone who’s shopped for a used car knows, cars retain value inconsistently. In this era of Big Data, armies of statisticians are gathering and analyzing all sorts of car numbers by maker, body style, price, location, model, and so on to see what we can learn. J.D. Power recently published its 2017 Vehicle Dependability Study, which rates both makers and models, and it shows that Lexus and Porsche had the fewest reported problems per 2014-model-year vehicle, followed by Toyota, Buick, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, and BMW.

Each year J.D. Power polls owners of 3-year-old cars to determine the number of problems they experienced during the previous 12 months, then ranks each maker and model by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles. Last year we built a list of Reliable Rides featuring 10 cars that performed well in studies based on model years 2010 through 2013, and this year we’re going to take a look at some new winners and returning champs as well as some cars that have made important changes since 2014. Continue reading >>>

Headlight Replacement: Not What It Used to Be

I wonder if you, dear readers, share this same frustration in car ownership.

Back in the day, when a headlight in your car went out, you just went to your local parts store, bought a replacement headlight (not just a bulb, but the whole darn headlight), unscrewed the old one, screwed in the new one, and went on with your day.

I’m sure, unless you still drive a 1994 Tercel, you’re well aware that those days are long gone.

Headlight replacement has evolved into roughly the same category of difficulty as engine replacement. Continue reading >>>

What to Look For in a Winter Vehicle

2017 Subaru Outback - Photo by Matt Smith

Winter may have taken its sweet time arriving in the Northeast, but after this past weekend, our city of Boston is a certifiable wonderland. The storms came just in time, too, as CarGurus headed down to Bugsy Lawlor’s headquarters for the annual New England Motor Press Association’s Winter Vehicle Testing. Last year, we made do with dry, frozen ground to judge the 2016 Winter Car of the Year, but after a winter storm strong enough to convince Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to declare a snow emergency, we were able to enjoy fresh snow on our favorite trail.

But what exactly should you be looking for in a winter vehicle? If television commercials are to be trusted, the only winter cars worth their salt are those capable of 4-wheel drifts down the back bowls of Colorado’s highest peaks. Blasting through fresh snow, rather than traveling up the I-95 corridor, may make for more attractive marketing materials, but most folks in the market for a winter vehicle are more interested in one that can reliably take them to work during the week and to the mountains on the weekend. If you’re looking for a car primarily to handle winter roads, there are a few details worth your attention. Continue reading >>>

About 25 Percent of Cars on the Road Need Recall Repairs—Will You Buy One?

Buying a used car can be a little like playing Russian roulette these days.

Even though modern cars are as safe as automobiles have ever been, about one in four cars on the road have open recalls on them. That translates to over 63 million cars in the United States that have been recalled but never fixed.

That represents a massive 34 percent jump over the figure that was measured a year ago.

What’s going on? Continue reading >>>

Are You Less Safe in a Hybrid Car?

I’ve heard from more car shoppers than I can count over the years asking for advice on purchasing a new car. Yesterday a question was asked that no one had previously brought up to me.

The shopper is in the market for a new 2017 hybrid or plug-in hybrid SUV. She drives a lot, lives in an area known for epic snowfall, and has had her share of scary incidents while on the road. Naturally, she wants something safe and reliable that goes at least a few miles on electric power to save a few bucks on gas.

Considering the close calls she’s had while driving, she asked me if rescue workers are able to use the Jaws of Life on hybrid and electric vehicles. She’d heard a rumor that first responders won’t extract people stuck in such vehicles due to risks of electrocution from cutting into high-voltage lines.

Could that rumor be true? Continue reading >>>