Archive for April, 2012
Watch out, BMW and Mercedes. The 2014 Cadillac CTS could provide stiffer competition for the 5-Series and E-Class. The redesigned premium-midsize car will grown in size and get freshened exterior styling, greater power, and more high-tech features. Chris Poole files his latest Future Car report on the 2014 CTS.
That famous slogan is attached in fine print to most advertising claims of fuel economy, and indeed it’s true. This has long been accepted, as driving styles vary greatly, and that in turn can make fuel economy vary greatly.
Unless you have free rein at your local junkyard and hotwire an old clunker, it’s not easy to obtain a free car. But there are several ways to get one—or at least drive someone else’s car for free. You can win a car in a sweepstakes, sell advertising on your vehicle, drive a company car, receive a donated car, go on a game show, or scrounge around on such sites as Craigslist. Consumer Guide Automotive editor David Aretha provides all the details in “A Free Car: How to Get One.”
The Chevy Volt is in the news again. This time it’s because the much-maligned “extended-range electric vehicle” is not catching fire, either after a crash (good!) or with the buying public (bad!).
The Chevette was a piece of crap. Everyone knew it then, and most people recall it that way now. So, why would anyone wax poetic about a vehicle that was the very embodiment of American carmakers’ contempt for folks seeking small, inexpensive, reliable transportation? Because America needs crap cars too—or at least it used to.
This is the second in a series of articles about cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs that we think more people should consider purchasing.
Honda Ridgeline sales in calendar 2011: 9,759
Rival sales during the same time period:
Over the last few years, I’ve found it interesting to see the emergence of non-glossy paint jobs on some new cars. Mostly appearing on exotic cars these days, matte- or satin-finish paint is something that is very dear to me. I’ve been enamored with the look since I first began to see it in the 1990s on vintage custom cars being built primarily on the West Coast.
In the article “It’s Diesel’s Time to Shine,” Consumer Guide Automotive lists 11 advantages (and some drawbacks) to owning a diesel-powered car. The main reason is fuel economy. According to the EPA, the TDI (turbodiesel) versions of the 2012 Volkswagen Passat, Golf, and Jetta SportWagen each get 34 mpg in combined city/highway driving.
Are you in the market for a cargo van? The Chrysler Corporation has something new for you . . . kind of. The 2012 Ram C/V (that stands for cargo van) is based on the Dodge Grand Caravan, a minivan, except the rear seats were removed and other modifications were made so that you can carry heavy loads. Oh, and you can no longer see out of the rear window. Read all about this new vehicle in “Five Things You Should Know About the Ram C/V.”
Most people don’t like buying cars. They like inhaling the new car smell while driving home from the dealership, but they don’t like the haggling and anxiety that goes with purchasing a new vehicle. Many blame the dealers, but often the chicanery starts at the factory. Putting a price on the window sticker should be straightforward, but it seldom is. I’ve been tracking car prices for over a decade, and I’m still confused. Here are a few things I’ve learned:
The base price isn’t always what it seems to be. For instance, a Dodge Journey SE has a base price of $18,995, but everyone is required to buy a $2,000 equipment package. The real price is $20,995—at least for now. Many automakers raise prices several times a year. It is never too early or too late to add a few hundred dollars to the base price. Common sense would say that as the model year winds down, prices should be reduced to help clear inventory, but instead they often go up. My theory is that these late-year increases make the rebates seem bigger. A $1,000 rebate really only saves the consumer $500 if the car price has been bumped from $19,500 to $20,000.