CarMD Names 10 Best Cars for Repair Costs

The 2014 Toyota Corolla has the lowest cost to repair among any 1996-2015 models.

The 2014 Toyota Corolla has the lowest cost to repair among any 1996-2015 models.

Preventive maintenance is the secret to automotive happiness. Failing that, it helps to own a car with low maintenance costs. A new list provided by CarMD provides some excellent guidance into the 10 best cars for repair costs.

It’s part of CarMD’s annual manufacturer and vehicle reliability rankings. It measures the top 10 manufacturers, top 100 vehicles, top 3 vehicles by vehicle category, and common repairs by vehicle make. This year’s Vehicle Health Index™ is based on more than 251,000 repairs recommended for model year 1996 to 2015 vehicles in the United States from Oct. 1, 2014, to Sept. 30, 2015.

Continue reading >>>

Alternatives to Volkswagen Diesels Worth Considering

2015 Jetta TDI 4218

So, as most people know, the automotive world has been shaken by the announcement that Volkswagen has massively cheated on emissions testing for 11 million of its diesel-engine vehicles across the globe—482,000 in the United States. That scandal will effectively kill the market for Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars for months, if not years, to come.

What should you do, though, if you had your heart set on a diesel-engine car? It’s time to consider alternatives to the affected 2.0-liter turbodiesel models. Let’s look at the models included in the emissions scandal and suggest another good option. One important thing to point out, though, is that you can find all of these VW models with gasoline engines that were not subject to the illegal tampering. However, their fuel economy will be much lower.

Continue reading >>>

Demand Drops as New Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Volt Introduced

2016 Toyota Prius

The 2016 Toyota Prius had its global debut Tuesday in Las Vegas. The main message at the premiere was not fuel economy. It was looks and handling.

Sure, almost every car in the world is sold on looks and handling, but that’s a huge change in direction for the most fuel-efficient car on the market that doesn’t have a plug. Toyota didn’t totally step away from that message. After all, it expects the Prius, when it goes on sale early in 2016, to get a combined 55 mpg.

It’s not a problem unique to the Prius, either. Fuel efficiency is an almost impossible selling point when the national price for gas is $2.39, according to AAA, which predicts prices could fall below $2. That’s great for us as consumers, but lousy for Toyota as it introduces its latest and greatest hybrid vehicle.

Continue reading >>>

10 Cool Cars to Beat the Heat

2014 Dodge Charger

Regardless of where you live, the weathermen seem to be offering the same warning: It’s going to be a scorcher. We’ve seen heat waves hit nearly every part of the globe this summer, and despite coming off one of the most brutal winters on record, we’re already tired of the heat and humidity here in Boston. Being in the northeast, central air conditioning isn’t a given. However, unless you paid Porsche for a new Boxster Spyder, you’ll most likely be able to find some relief in your car.

Continue reading >>>

When a Prius Changes Shape, Is It Still a Prius?

Toyota NS4 concept

Will the next Prius look like this NS4 concept?

The shape of the Toyota Prius defines it as much as its name. In its earlier days, people wanted the hybrid to look different so it was immediately clear to other motorists that the driver cared for the environment and believed in saving money at the pump. That was a time when hybrid buyers were more Ed Begley, Jr., than regular families looking to save a few bucks.

Of course, the Prius’ wedge-like shape also contributes greatly to aerodynamics, helping push mileage figures ever higher.

The current-generation Prius has looked mostly the same since the Bush Administration. Can a new Prius, that looks nothing like a Prius, still sell well for Toyota?

Continue reading >>>

Used Car Prices at Highest Levels Ever

Toyota Prius

My intent today was to write a story about the most stolen vehicles in America. And I’ll get to that.

While researching the story, though, I came across a newscast by AutoNews that said used car buyers are paying as much as $3,000 more than they did just six months ago. Kelley Blue Book similarly reports that used cars are now “more expensive than ever.”

That’s great if you happen to be in the business of selling used cars or have a car you want to unload. But it sucks for car buyers and only makes some vehicles even more appealing to steal.

Continue reading >>>

Japanese Destruction Leads to Higher Car Prices

Toyota Prius

Will the Prius sell for more than MSRP?

As supply dwindles and production continues to sputter, new-car shoppers are already seeing higher prices for some of the more fuel-efficient Japanese vehicles.

The cost of the imports is going up, because earthquake-related production shutdowns in Japan are reducing supply of the autos that people are increasingly snatching off dealer lots.

That’s a simple supply-and-demand equation, with cars like the Toyota Prius and Honda Fit becoming more popular as gas prices get closer to $4 per gallon. It just so happens those are also two of the cars hard-hit by production slowdowns, and dealers are raising their prices, in some cases, to over MSRP.

Will a similar price increase trickle down to used cars? It’s entirely possible.

Continue reading >>>