10 NHTSA 5-Star Safety Picks for Any Lifestyle

2016 Volvo XC90

Cars and safety have had a long and difficult relationship, but it became way more complex with the arrival of the smartphone. A Pew survey last year determined that 64% of American adults own a smartphone, and anyone who’s spent any time on American roads within the last couple of years knows many people use those phones while driving. In fact, we’re just concluding April, Distracted Driving Awareness Month, during which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched its “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” campaign.

We strongly urge everyone reading this post to take NHTSA’s recommended steps to minimize their distractions while behind the wheel and avoid getting pulled over–and not just in April, but year-round. Unfortunately, there’s very little any driver can do about to prevent other drivers from getting distracted. So here are ten 2016 cars that should meet the needs and budgets of a wide variety of drivers, all with 5-star overall safety ratings from NHTSA. We hope none of you will ever have to test your car’s safety features, but just in case….

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What’s Your Stance on a Car’s Best Stance?

stanced subaru brz

Forgive me if I’m late to the game on this one, but I’ve recently learned a new term that’s popular among certain tuners and modifiers.

The always-reliable and entertaining Urban Dictionary perhaps best defines “Stancing” as:

To destroy a car’s handling abilities by having it lowered an excessive amount. Typically, the tires are tucked way inside the vehicles fenders. But in order to have a hellaflush stance and run the required excessively wide wheels with tires that are stretched just to fit onto the wheels, the car has to have an excessive amount of negative camber.

I’ve seen cars that have been lowered like this. Their tires look like the result of an unfortunate axle-breaking accident involving the car, a curb, and an icy day. I didn’t realize that this trend had a name and that entire groups of people do this to their cars on purpose.

I don’t like it. Why destroy a car’s handling (and looks) like this? I much prefer cars that come from the factory with a killer stance. That is, a car that looks strong, intimidating, and ready to pounce at a moment’s notice.

Here are some of the cars that come stock with a great stance, no lowering (or axle-breaking) required.

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Great Cars for Your Next Summer Adventure

2011 Honda Element

Well, here we are in the peak months of summer. Believe it or not, we only have 9 weeks remaining where the days are longer than the nights. That’s not a ton time left. It might be time for you to grab your friends and family and spend your summer how it should be spent: hiking, fishing, boating, camping, swimming, relaxing, and, of course, driving. You’re going to want a vehicle for the season to accommodate all of your summer adventures.

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Ten New Cars to Celebrate Freedom

2015 Chevrolet Suburban

With Independence Day this weekend, we thought it would be an ideal time to take a look at some of the most “American” cars on sale today. Sure, it would be easy to throw together a list of muscle cars and pickup trucks, but, like it or not, the United States isn’t the birthplace of the V8 engine or 4-wheel-drive (that would be France and the Netherlands, respectively), and anyway, that would have been too easy. Instead, when trying to define American culture, we’ve been drawn to the wide breadth of automobiles that have helped define our car culture. After being born from a nation’s version of youngest-child-style frustration (our revolution), the U.S. was initially kept afloat by—and then thrived because of—our penchant to innovate.

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The New King of the Muscle Cars… For Now

2016 Chevrolet Camaro

How’d it feel, Camaro, to be the muscle-car sales king?

It lasted about 6 years.

You managed to outsell the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger while giving the automotive press and middle-aged gearheads aneurysms with your cartoon-ish retro looks.

The Challenger had never been a real contender sales-wise, even though the vicious Hellcat could take the other two cars and burn their rubber straight to, well, hell.

How do the numbers stack up, and does the Camaro stand a chance of reclaiming the throne?

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10 Cars Worthy of a Super Bowl MVP

2015 Chevrolet Colorado

Tom Brady received a Chevrolet Colorado as his Super Bowl MVP prize, a vehicle a lot of people thought was an odd choice for such a prestigious award. This makes some sense when you consider how much of a marketing push has surrounded Chevrolet’s resurrected midsize pickup, and the resulting publicity around the choice will certainly move some Colorados off Chevy lots. Last year, General Motors gave Malcolm Smith a Silverado High Country, straying away from the trend of giving performance sports cars in the handful of years Chevy has had the contract with the NFL.

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The Non-American American Car

Could the new Alfa Romeo Guilia and Dodge Charger  share a platform?

Could the Dodge Charger share an Alfa Romeo platform?

Some things are inherently American.

Think of things like Mt. Rushmore, Kentucky and the Heart Attack Grill. These are representations of Americana that showcase our country as it exists today. We love our history, our freedom and our food. And, of course, we love our cars.

There’s a new list of the most “American” cars of 2014 that includes Hondas, Toyotas and Chryslers among the Fords and Chevys of the world. I find it interesting when foreign-owned brands get named on lists like this, as it blurs the line between the domestics and the imports.

This is a phenomenon that will continue, as the Chrysler 300 and Dodge’s Charger and Challenger could become the next American cars to lose their heritage.

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2014 Ford Mustang Will Reach for the Future

Ford Evos Concept

Ford might finally be done looking to the past for design inspiration and be ready to forge a new path into pony-car future.

Since its introduction as a 1964 1/2 model, the Mustang has defined the pony car and led the industry in innovation. Well, aside from a few questionable years when some might say the Mustang lost its soul. Okay, maybe 30 questionable years depending on who you ask. The 1974 through 2004 Mustangs might be best described as “polarizing,” but they still had a loyal following and sold ridiculously well.

But it wasn’t until the retro-styled 2005 Mustang debuted that the pony car was re-invented. Since then the Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro have spawned modern takes of their old selves. But how long can looking into the past provide for a rewarding future? Ford thinks the answer to that question is 2014.

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