Archive for March, 2015

Flash to Pass, Left Lane Bandits

Can a friendly turn-signal tap improve highway driving conditions?

The evidence is anecdotal, but compelling. More than ever, ambivalent drivers are flocking to the far left lane of the nation’s highways, only to travel at some speed comfortably below the organic flow of traffic.

Premium fuel

Do I Really Need to Use Premium Gas?

Many years ago, premium fuel was thought (and sort of advertised) to contain added detergents that helped keep fuel injectors clean. At the time, fuel injection was rather new, and the injectors’ tiny orifices could easily get clogged by dirt. Therefore, many people bought premium-grade gas for that reason, even though the engine didn’t really require it. But today, virtually all name-brand gasoline (and probably all gasoline, period) contains a sufficient amount of detergent to keep the fuel injectors clean, so that’s no longer a good reason to pay an extra 20 percent for your gas.

How to Save Gas, Gas Prices

City driving is especially tough on fuel economy, but the suburbs also pose challenges to efficiency.

By now, most of us have heard the most common bits of gas-saving advice. We all know not to speed, to avoid jackrabbit starts, and to avoid letting the engine idle. Absolutely sound advice. But there is more we can do in the interest of conserving fuel.

Minivan MPG, Most Fuel-Efficient Minivans

There’s a 6-mpg spread between the thriftiest and thirstiest 2015 minivans. Here’s how these family-friendly people movers stack up when it comes to fuel economy.

Listed below is every 2015 model-year minivan ranked by fuel economy, as per the EPA. Included is the EPA’s estimated annual fuel cost for each model (which is calculated assuming 15,000 miles of driving and a fuel price of $2.80 per gallon).

2015 Lexus ES 350

Consumer Guide’s test Lexus ES 350 arrived with a healthy list of options. Including destination charge, our test car came to $44,145.

2015 Audi Q52015 Lexus ES 350

Class: Premium Midsize Car

Miles Driven: 226

Fuel Used: 11.1 gallons

2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport

Consumer Guide’s test Lexus NX 200t arrived in F Sport trim and loaded with options. Including destination charge, our test truck came to $45,313.

2015 Audi Q52015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport AWD

Class: Premium Compact Crossover

Miles Driven: 671

Fuel Used: 29.2 gallons

1984 Oldsmobile Firenza, Small Wagons of 1984

1984 Oldsmobile Firenza Cruiser

Fact: There are no non-luxury small station wagons currently on sale in the United States.* There’s no one to blame for this situation, unless you feel a need to rant against a buying public that has latched onto crossovers in much the same way music lovers have latched onto downloadable music.

VW Passat TDI

In TDI SEL Premium trim, with no options, Consumer Guide’s test Passat came to $34,405 including destination charge.

2015 Audi Q52015 Volkswagen Passat TDI SEL Premium

Class: Midsize Car

Miles Driven: 424

Fuel Used: 10.9 gallons

Bizzaro World Corvette

What if another manufacturer had created their own version of 1953 Chevrolet Corvette?


Frank Peiler, Consumer Guide Automotive’s Publisher Emeritus, is back for another round of  “What If” design studies. This time, Frank envisions what the 1953 Chevrolet Corvette might have looked like if it had been designed by Studebaker, Hudson, Packard, Nash, Dodge, Ford, or Kaiser. For more of Frank’s “What If?” artwork, check out his blogs on the 1957 Mercury, 1957 Packard, Cord 810, and Lincoln Continental.

2015 Ram ProMaster City

Consumer Guide’s test ProMaster City arrived in Wagon SLT trim. Including the destination charge and a few options, our test truck came to $28,820.

2015 Audi Q52015 Ram ProMaster City Wagon SLT

Class: Minivan

Dates tested: 2/24/2015 to 3/02/2015

Miles Driven: 140

Fuel Used: 7.4 gallons