Early Favorites: Which 2017 Will You Test Drive?

2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlmited

Winter Storm Stella, microwave cameras, and St. Patrick dominated the news this week, but we’re more interested in the 2017 model year and which new cars shoppers want to see themselves driving. We’ve published 37 Test Drive Reviews of 2017 vehicles so far, and we’re going to take a look at those vehicles that have garnered the most inquiries from CarGurus shoppers. We haven’t spent enough time with a bunch of big sellers to review them yet, so we suspect our end-of-year list will look different, but we want to see which 2017s have already started generating interest. If you were buying a new car this year, do you know which 2017 you’d want to test drive first? Continue reading >>>

The 10 Best Cars for Driving (and Sitting) in Traffic

2016 Subaru Outback

Memorial Day is a time for remembrance and an opportunity to honor the men and women who lost their lives serving in the armed forces, but for many it’s also the symbolic start of summer. The upside: many Americans will be enjoying cookouts, baseball games, and getaways during the long memorial weekend. The downside: anyone residing in a major urban area will become all too familiar with the harsh realities of miles-long traffic jams that all started because that guy couldn’t be bothered to merge properly.

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10 Economical Options for the Sensible Graduate

personal_car_rental

As Boston-area folks know all too well, another year’s worth of college students will soon graduate and move on to their next stage in life. Whether that next stage will be an entry-level job, more school, volunteer or charity work, or getting right to work on their first (next?) startup, we wish this year’s graduates nothing but the best with whatever comes next.

We ran a recent survey that determined more than half of graduating college students plan to buy a car, and we were happily surprised to learn that over half of them expect to buy it themselves. Two-thirds of those getting a new car plan to buy a used one, and almost half expect to spend $15,000 or less, though we also learned that graduating college students don’t understand a car’s true costs. Over half plan to work in the city, and 71% plan to commute by car.

So here’s a graduation present from CarGurus: a list of 10 cars available used at an average cost of $15,000 or less that are all fine commuting cars and should hold their value relatively well. We deliberately avoided sports cars, which might tempt even a valedictorian to drive unsafely and would cost substantially more to insure. We hope all recent graduates plan to continue learning in their next stage of life, and we look forward to celebrating some of their successes in the no doubt impressively near future.

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Use Your Smartphone Instead of a Factory-Installed Nav System

Spark Android Auto

As a new-car reviewer, it’s my job to drive a new car pretty much every week. Sometimes it’s more than one a week. Over the course of a year, I can experience scores of different automotive navigation systems.

Some are good, some are horrible, and some are somewhere in between. Yet what I consistently find is that none are as easy to use as Google Maps on my iPhone. Until recently, the only advantage the factory-installed navigation systems had was the built-in screen.

But that’s all changing now. Some manufacturers are getting savvy and realizing that it’s better to offer infotainment systems that can work with your smartphone to provide navigation instead of selling you a more expensive navigation system.

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More Troubles for Honda: 2.5 Million Recalls

2012 Honda Civic

Even before the terrible earthquake/tsunami disaster in Japan, Honda seemed to be losing its way. I wrote a story in May of last year about that.

More recently our estimable tgriffith told you about Consumer Reports’ slam of the new Civic (above)—for bad brakes and handling, a choppy ride and, yes, an inferior interior. CR rated the Civic 11th out of 12 small sedans, and that made big news in the car world.

Now the company is getting slammed again, this time with a recall of 1.5 million U.S. cars and another million in China and Canada for an automatic transmission problem affecting 2005-2010 Accords, Elements and CR-Vs.

The UK’s Financial Times (subscription required) noted it was one of Honda’s largest recalls ever, “equivalent in size to 70 per cent of the 3.5m vehicles that Honda sold last year.”

Why is this happening to the “once proud” leader in small cars? For years, Honda (and the Civic in particular) was the one to beat, the best-engineered, best-made, best-selling. Now it’s being seriously challenged by, of all companies, Hyundai, formerly producer of some of the world’s worst-made cars.

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