Archive for May, 2012
Note: This report supplements Consumer Guide Automotive’s full report on the 2012 Toyota Prius c, a subcompact hybrid car that starts at $18,950.
What essentially started out as an experiment to sell small, cheap cars built in South Korea has turned into an automotive empire. In a fairly short amount of time, Hyundai has gone from a joke in the minds of consumers and pundits to a major powerhouse whose products (in most segments anyway) are not to be missed.
Many of us dream of being a race-car driver, but the money and time spent is often so prohibitive that most of us don’t bother. Thankfully, a new class of racing is emerging: the B-Spec class. This category is comprised of subcompact and compact cars lightly modified for racing. Even though it is an emerging segment, B-Spec racing is officially sanctioned by various motorsports associations, including World Challenge, GRAND-AM, the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), and the National Auto Sport Association (NASA).
The executives at Rolls-Royce will be pleased to know that Consumer Guide honored the 2012 Rolls-Royce Phantom Sedan as the top-rated U.S.-sold vehicle, giving it a score of 84. But they also must deal with this reality: The 2012 Bentley Continental Flying Spur tied the Phantom with an 84 score . . . and is less than half the price. While Rolls officials can boast of the brand’s prestige and that their cars are largely handmade, Bentley is no slouch. Queen Elizabeth herself has planted her royal heiny in the back seat of a Bentley. The Flying Spur’s starting price of $184,200 makes the Phantom Sedan’s $380,000 price tag seem outrageously bloated.
The year 1984 wasn’t a good one for domestic automakers. That was the year that General Motors stripped Buick, Oldsmobile, and Cadillac of stand-alone status, lumping them together into a single, seemingly characterless marketing arm of the maker.
If you have a long commute to and from work, it could be taking a much greater toll on you than you might think.
The best car I have ever driven retails for less than half the price of a Rolls-Royce Ghost. I intend for that statement to put some perspective on the relationship between price and value, because, at about $120,000 typically equipped, the Mercedes-Benz S550 is both terribly expensive and a really strong value.
Note: This report supplements Consumer Guide Automotive’s full report on the 2012 Porsche Cayman, a premium sporty/performance car that starts at $51,900.
I have always been a fan of quirky and unique things, so when Chrysler announced that it would be making the Fiat 500 available to the U.S. market in 2012, I was intrigued. Although I was not quite intrigued enough to want to buy one of the little cars myself, I took comfort in knowing that such a niche car would be around to break up the monotonous traffic landscape; i.e., the rounded-off box shapes of SUVs and the rather nondescript forms of modern sedans and compacts.
Mazda and Fiat Auto are teaming up to develop a small rear-wheel-drive sports car that will be sold as the next-generation MX-5 Miata and as the first new Alfa Romeo Spider since the 1996-2010 model. The project was announced in late May 2012 with a joint statement by Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne and Mazda Chairman Takashi Yamanouchi. The plan is to develop “two differentiated, distinctly styled, iconic, and brand-specific lightweight roadsters. . . . The Mazda and Alfa Romeo variants will each be powered by specific proprietary engines unique to each brand.”