President Trump has been in office for over a week now, and his efforts to motivate automakers to manufacture vehicles in the U.S. have so far been met with controversy and mixed results. There’s been a substantial amount of press over Ford’s decision to cancel a $1.6 billion assembly plant in Mexico, while still moving small-car production (notably, the Ford Focus) to Ford’s existing Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly plant. The Ford Focus has been in the spotlight, but it’s worth noting that there are many more models that could be affected by Trump’s theoretical 35% tariff. In fact, the automotive industry in Mexico has had a long and stable history. Continue reading >>>
CarGurus is a wonderful resource for shoppers looking to find great deals from great dealers, but sometimes we wonder whether we’re serving the automotive enthusiast community as well as we could. Sure, we’ve got plenty of data connected to market values, used-car rankings, and new-car reviews, but how can we help drivers, new or seasoned, looking to bury themselves deep within the rich world of car culture? For some of you, this glimpse down the path toward gearheadedness will sound painfully obvious. For the uninitiated, we hope it acts as a roadmap as you earn your stripes (your C4 Corvette Grand Sport racing stripes, that is).
We love cars, but find the fact that it took almost 1.6 million U.S. motor-vehicle fatalities to make wearing a seat belt mandatory in America troubling. Happily, annual fatalities have declined fairly steadily since their early-‘70s peak, despite the fact that Americans now drive well over one and a half times the number of miles they did then, often while using a smartphone. And with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) testing and rating vehicles for safety and crashworthiness, we have to admit it’s getting better.
Smartphones can, of course, pose huge risks to drivers, so much so that NHTSA partnered with the U.S. Department of Transportation to create the distraction.gov website, and “distracted driving” now has its own Wikipedia entry. But the connectivity and processing power of smartphones can also be used to help drivers avoid accidents and to make sure authorities get alerted quickly and with all the information they’ll need to respond to an accident. And those capabilities will definitely be required for any future “self-driving,” “autonomous,” or Autopilot-equipped cars. As we learned at NEMPA/MIT’s recent panel on the intersection of technology and design, a whole new world of car safety and driver-assistance technologies is available–and evolving–so we’re going to take a look at some of the more important and effective new tech.
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.
The Jeep Wrangler is an insanely popular car. Not only is it one of the most sought-after used cars on CarGurus, but it also retains its initial value better than any other car on the market. Nevertheless, enthusiasts have been hammering Fiat Chrysler (Jeep’s parent company) to produce new and different versions of the Wrangler for years, and the returns on their efforts have been slow but sure. In 2007, Jeep modified the previously 2-door-only Wrangler and introduced the first 4-door Wrangler Unlimited. At the New England International Auto Show this year, we saw the Wrangler Backcountry: an extra-capable off-roading version of a car specifically designed to be extra-capable at off-roading. Until just recently, however, Jeep has failed to acquiesce to its fan base’s greatest demand: a Wrangler Pickup.
Don’t drink beer out of green bottles, don’t forget to stretch, and always remember to write your grandmother a thank-you note. Along with these basic rules for success, when researching new cars, I’ve always eliminated options that were available only with automatic transmissions. Car enthusiasts argue over almost every imaginable detail, save this one. Perhaps it has to do with their beloved “involvement” with the machines that they adore, but manual transmissions have long been a unanimous preference for card-carrying members of the local gearhead union.
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.
Ever think you’d see that headline? That’s one I’d place right up there with, “U.S. Nearly Defaults” and “Obama Wins Re-Election.”
But these are crazy times we live in, and you just never know what’s going to dominate the headlines.
The Honda Civic has been one of Consumer Reports’ darlings since, oh, I don’t know, the Jefferson administration. It’s a car that has gotten progressively better since its inception in 1972.
For its latest test, CR drove the $19,405 2012 Honda Civic LX. For comparison, the 2011 version of the car scored a 78 on the magazine’s scale, which meant a rating of “Very Good.” The 2012 version dropped a shocking 17 points to a mediocre 61. That’s lower than the Kia Forte and Ford Focus. In fact, it’s lower than everything except the redesigned Volkswagen Jetta.
So what happened?
Newer is always better, right?
That’s why we always look forward to the newest version of the iPhone and iPad. It’s why some guys trade in their wives for younger models. Most importantly, it’s why people wait anxiously for new model-year cars to come out and why we devote blog space every week to highlight the most exciting cars coming soon.
More horsepower, better engines, improved fuel economy, more storage space, a better-tuned suspension, less road noise and other technological advances always seem to make the newest cars so much better than the ones they replace.
Unfortunately, sometimes even the newest cars don’t quite live up to the bar set by their predecessors.
Many of us in the U.S. have spent years, decades even, complaining about the lack of oil-burning engines available for our driving pleasure.
Currently, the four-ringed automaker’s diesel offerings are the A3 TDI hatchback and Q7 TDI. In the next 24-30 months, we can expect four more diesel Audis to tempt American buyers into putting their money where their oil-craving mouths have been.