Archive for February, 2014

Great Vehicles for Around $20,000

Some of these cars come to a little over $20,000 (like this Forester), but are well worth the extra money.

The following article, written by Consumer Guide Publisher Tom Appel, first appeared in the “2014 Chicago Auto Show Official Show Guide.” Thanks to the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, producers of the Auto Show, for allowing us to share the text again here.

Last year in this same space I reported that the average transaction price of a new car had risen to over $30,000 (it’s about $31,000, now). At the time I looked at a number of vehicles that could be had for around that sum of money.

Dodge Dart Reliability

Our relationship with the Dart stayed warm over the past 12 months, even through the arctic chill that marked this winter.

2013 Dodge Dart Limited

Dates tested: 1/07/2013-1/13/2014

Miles driven: 10,926

Fuel used: 391.7 gallons

Real-world fuel economy: 27.9 mpg

About six months after Dodge resurrected the Dart name for a new compact sedan, a dark-grey, top-line Limited model arrived to begin a year-long evaluation.

1960, Red Car Ads

1960 Willys Jeep brochure

Folks don’t buy a lot of red cars, but they do like to look at them. According to automotive paint supplier DuPont, red was only the fifth most popular new-car color in 2012. The most popular? Plain vanilla while. Snooze.

Corvette Museum Sinkhole

Formed February 12, this sinkhole claimed a handful of cars on the floor of the National Corvette Museum.

On February 12 a sinkhole inside the National Corvette Museum resulted in damage to several classic vehicles. Below is an account of the event and the vehicles damaged provided by the museum, followed by a General Motors press release presented without editing.

Sinkhole Collapses at National Corvette Museum


Mr. Montalban didn’t want you to worry about going “small,” Cordoba did everything a big car did.  Chrysler built just over 150,000 of the personal luxury coupes for 1975. Base price: $5392.

It took the odd sighting of a Cordoba in traffic this week to bring about this post. It’s only now, 40 years after the fact, the this Chrysler’s chromey goodness started to appeal to me. A friend’s dad had one, and as I recall it was nothing but trouble. Still, he held onto it for years, taken with its smooth ride and handsome, clubby cabin.

Mitsubishi Outlander Reliability

The Outlander’s all-wheel-drive system has gotten a lot of use — and praise — during our snowy Chicago winter.

Although we’ve had our long-term Mitsubishi Outlander for more than six months now, it wasn’t until I looked up some information on Mitsubishi’s website last week that I noticed this nearly invisible stunner: For 2014, most Mitsubishi vehicles – including our Outlander – are covered by one of the industry’s best warranties. For all practical purposes, it matches the famed – and widely publicized — 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and non-transferrable (original buyer only) 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty of Hyundai and Kia.

fisherbody_ad_66, Dog Safety

The door is locked and the kid’s belted, but Fluffy could be in for some trouble. The question is, what is the best way to keep a dog safe in a moving vehicle?

Publisher Tom recently sat down to chat with radio personality and noted pet expert Steve Dale, host of “Steve Dale’s Pet World.” The topic of that conversation was automotive dog safety. You can hear that conversation this Sunday (February 15) on WGN radio in Chicago at 6:30 AM CST. Included here are a few of the points discussed.

2015 Volvo V50

Based on the S60 sedan, the new V60 wagon is just going on sale now as an early 2015 model.

For decades, the Volvo name was synonymous with safety; it’s what the company promoted and how it made its mark. In recent years, however, Volvo has tried to expand its image to include performance and luxury, both likely in response to the success of rival premium brands such as Audi and BMW – which have long played the performance and luxury cards. This effort resulted in some very un-Volvo-like products that didn’t sell particularly well, and some argue did little but blur the company’s focus. (In response, BMW in particular has battled back with superlative safety claims of its own.)


Michael Andretti, Tanner Foust, Scott Speed, and VW marketing executive Vinay Shahani present the 2014 GRC Beetle race cars.

CHICAGO — At the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, Volkswagen announced its plans to run in the Red Bull Global Rallycross (GRC) racing series for the 2014 racing season. The company is partnering with Michael Andretti’s Andretti Autosport and will field two cars, one piloted by multitalented stunt driver/U.S. Top Gear host/2012 and 2013 GRC Champion Tanner Foust, and the other driven by ex-Formula 1 and NASCAR star Scott Speed.

7-Series Diesel

BMW’s 7-Series goes diesel for 2014. The 6-cylinder oil-burner can only be found in long-wheelbase, AWD versions of the 7-Series.

CHICAGO — Following in the footsteps of other recently released diesel models, BMW announced the first 7-Series to offer a diesel: the 740 Ld xDrive. It carries the same 3.0-liter Twin Power turbocharged inline 6-cylinder diesel as found in the 3-Series, 5-Series, and X5, along with all-wheel drive. Although EPA figures were not yet available, BMW says it should score “deep in the 30s” on the highway cycle. More established was the projected 0-60-mph time: a swift 6.1 seconds. Also established was the price. When it goes on sale this spring, the company says it will start at $83,425 including destination.