The One Thing Diesels Still Do Well

Only with a diesel?

It’s now impossible to talk about diesel engines without mentioning Volkswagen. The company accidentally—but fundamentally—changed the landscape of diesels and the attitude of American buyers toward the oil burners.

Not only that, other automakers are now second-guessing their diesel programs and vowing to pursue electricity instead.

In fact, Volvo says that the next generation of diesels will be its last. Audi and Mercedes have pulled diesel options from the United States. Cadillac, meanwhile, has plans to buck that trend and introduce diesel engines to the U.S. market in hopes of capturing whatever enthusiasm remains for the alternative fuel.

Despite Cadillac’s optimism, diesels have one purpose, and Volkswagen has made it exceptionally clear that the future of clean driving isn’t it. Continue reading >>>

Mirage or Metro? The Battle for MPG Supremacy Spans the Decades

It was Earth Day, and I pulled up to a noodle joint and parked next to an old Geo Metro. The diminutive little car stood out in a sea of pickups and SUVs, like a defiant statement against the modern status quo.

As I exited my vehicle, the owner of the Metro approached his.

“Great car,” I said.

“Thanks,” he replied, ”I get 46 miles per gallon, I’ll keep ‘er till she stops running. They just don’t make ‘em like this anymore.”

I smiled, nodded, and went into the restaurant thinking about his claim. Was he right? Are there any cars like the Metro that are still available for purchase in the United States?

I can think of at least one. Continue reading >>>

Coming Back to a Dealership Near You: Volkswagen TDI!

Volkswagen has approval to bring back the diesels!

Not since 2015 has a VW TDI left a dealer’s lot. In September of that year, news broke that the German automaker had been cheating on government emissions tests and its diesel-powered cars actually emitted many times the legal limits of nitrogen oxides during normal driving conditions. All new diesel-powered Volkswagens were suddenly illegal and a stop-sale followed immediately.

No doubt you’re overly familiar with the scandal and its far-reaching fallout that killed not only VW’s diesel business, but has virtually knocked diesel out of the American market just as it was gaining steam here.

After criminal charges and billions of dollars in fines and repair costs, the EPA has finally approved Volkswagen to sell repaired 2015 TDI models in the U.S. 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 >>>

Newsflash: Electric Cars Are Here!

2016_nissan_leaf

A lot of people don’t realize this, but it’s possible, right now, to head to a local dealer and drive home in an electric car. You, being an informed and educated car guru, are likely well aware of this. Up to 60 percent of the American public, however, don’t realize that plug-in electric cars are a thing.

Last summer I drove a brand new Nissan Leaf onto a local community college campus to help set up an event. The response from people that day was complete disbelief that a car could run so silently.

“It’s electric,” I said.

“Electric? Like you plug it in?”

“Yup.”

“So it doesn’t need gas?”

“Nope.”

Most of the folks I spoke with that day didn’t know about electric cars. As it turns out, most people in America don’t either.

Continue reading >>>

When It Makes Sense to Drive Instead of Fly

Road Trip Car

The holidays bring many things: festive decorations, various holiday foods, crackling fireplaces, and general merriment and cheer. Oh, and travel. Lots and lots of travel. Looking at expensive plane tickets during this time of year, it’s pretty clear the air-travel industry is aware of this, and who are they to pass up the chance to leverage a little supply and demand? Airlines may love it, but at times, the juxtaposition of Thanksgiving and Christmas–just 30 days this year–can put plenty of strain on even the fattest wallets. In some cases, it can make you wonder whether it’s more affordable to drive instead of fly. Continue reading >>>

Paris Joins Three Major Cities to Ban Diesel by 2025

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At the C40 meeting in Mexico City last week, Paris’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, met with the mayors of Mexico City, Madrid, and Athens, where they agreed to ban diesel cars and trucks from their cities by the year 2025. Although cities like Tokyo have implemented bans in the past, seeing this mandate implemented in traditionally diesel-friendly countries may come as a surprise to automakers that have invested heavily in diesel technology.

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What Are the Most Inaccurate Numbers on the Window Sticker?

2016_outback_windowsticker

Virtually everything on the Monroney sticker can be negotiated.

The Monroney, better known simply as the window sticker that adorns all new cars for sale, tells vital information about the vehicle, its engine size, trim level, installed options, and, of course, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).

The listed price is typically a starting point for negotiation, and the sticker will tell buyers of any added market adjustments or unnecessary options.

There’s one number, though, that isn’t negotiable and has a long reputation of not even being accurate:

The EPA estimated fuel economy.

Continue reading >>>

Tired of Gas? Find Relief with These Alternative Fuels

Gas may be cheap these days, but untethering from the local Citgo is still an attractive idea. For many, electricity is the obvious choice when opting out of gas cars. Tesla continues to be the dominant and popular choice in this realm, although Chevrolet is preparing to launch the all-electric Bolt (and its 200-mile range) before the end of 2016, and the Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul EV, and Ford Focus Electric, among others, are currently available at more reasonable prices than the higher-end Tesla cars.

Continue reading >>>