With Volvo’s Comeback Complete, What’s Next?

Well, they did it.

Written off as a doomed automaker when Ford unloaded it to Geely Automotive in 2010, Volvo has defied the odds and roared back to life while keeping its Swedish charm under Chinese ownership.

That wasn’t supposed to happen.

While execs at Volvo remained confident through the transition that they’d bring the company back to life, we have to take a moment and point out that Saab’s executives once thought the same thing.

Sinking automakers rarely can find the cash—or the buyers—to become relevant again and—like Saab—tend to disappear into the night.

Ask anyone who’s driven a new XC90, though, if Volvo shows any signs of disappearing. Continue reading >>>

The Best Family Cars of 2016

family_car_tips

Imagine driving across the country with a carload of children. Now imagine doing that twice, every year. CarGurus surveyed families to determine which cars best meet their needs, and among other findings, 1 in 3 parents reported driving his or her kids at least four hours per week. Cumulatively, that equals two round trips between Boston and San Diego per year. We’ve all lusted after a Mazda MX-5 Miata or Dodge Challenger at least once in our lives, but if kids are in the picture, the shortcomings of a sports car become readily apparent. Continue reading >>>

Car Safety 2016: Warnings, Assists, and Autopilot, Oh My!

Car scanning road ahead

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.

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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 Cars We’d Happily Let Do the Driving

Google Self-Driving Prototype

Self-driving cars are coming. Thanks to visions of Skynet and Terminators, this is a frightening proposition to many people. Rather than being seen as an unparalleled convenience, autonomous cars have often been viewed as a soul-sucking leech on the driving experience. But that’s a shame, because if you begin to see cars as appliances, the appeal of an autonomous automobile is enormous.

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10 Best Cars to Tackle Winter: 2016 Edition

2014 Nissan Pathfinder

Every neighborhood has one. The guy with the monstrous SUV and a driveway covered in ice. No matter how shiny their brand new snow-blower is (they usually have a snowblower), when the white stuff starts to accumulate, they hop in their Suburban, step on the gas, and let the 4-wheel drive do the rest. The machine specifically designed to clear driveways never even gets primed — why let your hands freeze pushing that contraption around when your SUV isn’t even really stuck?

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Comparing Cars from Back in Our Fathers’ Day

1961 Jaguar E-Type

No matter what the application, technology always advances. In the 1980s, Casio was famous for its Databank watch. It included enough storage memory for some addresses and phone numbers, and it had a handy calculator, just in case you decided to tip 18.7%. In April, 2015, Apple released its own smart watch. It’s roughly the same shape as Casio’s Databank, but the technology now allows for 8 gigabytes of storage, a touchscreen, haptic feedback, and a range of apps that cover everything from the weather to the Red Sox score to what Jeremy Clarkson’s been tweeting this week. Cars are no different.

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10 Best Cars to Tackle Winter: 2014 Edition

2014 Jeep Wrangler

The words of House Stark will tell you that preparing for winter is imperative. And assuming you’ve seen a few winters in your time, you’ll know that one of the biggest adjustments you’ll need to make is winter driving. You’ll need to add some time to your commute allowance, check your antifreeze, grab some flares and road salt, and throw on some snow tires. But if you’re looking for a new vehicle to bring to battle with winter, we have some suggestions. Cars for skiing are great, but these vehicles will do you good in the everyday winter struggle.

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The 10 Best Vehicles for Snow and Ice

Toyota_tacoma

I’ve driven a lot of cars in the snow and am surprised at how much difference I’ve seen even in vehicles that otherwise are comparable to each other.

As winter begins to set in across the country, we figure it’s a good time to create a list of the best cars, trucks and SUVs for plowing through deep snow and easing over slippery ice. Here are my top ten, but feel free to drop a comment and let us know what you drive in the snow and how it does.

Toyota 4Runner/ Tacoma

Throw any weather situation at either of these Toyotas and you’ll make it through just fine.

Audi A6 Quattro

I had a boss once who loved his A6 so much he’d take me out on snowy mornings and speed through the twisties, trying to make his car come unstuck. He succeeded only once, and broke an axle for the effort.

Honda CR-V

I chose this over the Pilot because it’s lighter. The Pilot gets a little top-heavy, which makes going down icy hills a heart-racing experience, while the smaller CR-V crawls easily to the bottom.

Subaru Forester

A low center of gravity and all-wheel drive combine to make the Forester a winner in the snow and cold.

Jeep Wrangler

If you’ve got a hard top and doors on your Wrangler, nothing should stop you from reaching the top of the mountain.

Volvo XC90

Lots of ground clearance, lots of weight, but a low center of gravity make the AWD version of the XC90 a great winter car.

Suzuki SX4

Being a 2,500-pound small car, this thing stays planted. And with the ability to choose AWD or lock it into 4WD, the SX4 is a great commuter car for snowy highways. Just don’t take it on the trails.

Lexus RX

As long as you’re not running low-profile 18-inch summer tires, this little Lexus will serve you well through any winter storm.

Porsche Cayenne

This is for those who want a little extra flashiness in the their snowy commutes, plus the added benefit of the residual heating function, which will keep the Cayenne heated for up to 20 minutes after shutting the engine off.

BMW 328i xDrive

With dynamic stability control and intelligent all-wheel drive, what else do you need in a winter car? Oh… headlamp washers? Okay, you get those, too.

What do you drive in the snow?

-tgriffith

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