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Archive for September, 2008

Many Choices for Fuel in 2009

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

According to an article on MSNBC.com, consumers will have a range of choices on how their vehicle will run.  Will it be diesel, a plug-in hybrids, all electric vehicles, hydrogen-powered vehicles, or ethanol or biodiesel?  So many choices, but gasoline will be the dominant fuel for many years to come. 

~The diesel vehicles are cleaner and becoming more popular among cars, instead of the common diesel trucks. 

~Plug-in hybrids run on a battery that can be recharged and then in turn use less gasoline to operate.

~All electric vehicles run on 100% electricity and are now becoming more powerful able to go from 0-60 mph in under 4 seconds and go more than 200 miles on a charge. The problem is that the cost is more than $100,000.

~Hydrogen-powered vehicles, such as Honda FCX Clarity Fuel-Cell Vehicle, are a nice alternative to gasoline, except currently they are not many service stations to refuel in the United States. You cannot travel too far away from a service station, or else you could get into some trouble.

~Ethanol and Biodiesel choices for your fuel have several drawbacks currently. The fuel costs the same if not more than gasoline and you get a few less miles a gallon.

Here are just brief descriptions of some of the alternative fuel methods. Unfortunately right now, you may still need to buy a gasoline powered vehicle with the hope that next time you are looking for a car, there will be more readily available methods for you to help make your choice easier and more environmentally friendly. 

 

 

New GPS for Teen Drivers

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Are you a parent of a new teen driver?  If so, you are probably so nervous to have your child out on the roads alone driving the car.  I don’t blame you. I’m sure there are a great number of parents that face the same nerves and fears as you every day. Well, there is a new GPS device called the Tiwi that will track your teen driver’s speed, aggressive driving, location, and more to help your nerves and help your child stay in check when you are not in the car.  The Tiwi is a GPS system that sits on your dash and tells the driver when they have exceeded the speed limit and that they need to slow down, or that they took a turn too fast.  It will also notify the parents through cell phone, texting, or email if the driver violates any rules of the road.  There is also a 24 hour emergency assistance if the car gets into an accident.  Also, at any point, the parents can “call into” the Tiwi, and without pressing any button, the teen can talk to their parents. So, if the parents get word that the teen has been speeding, the parents could call into the car and say get home immediately!

I’m sure that the teens out there are hating the, though I’m sure that alot of parents out there are thrilled by this device. It’s a catch 22. You should be able to trust and feel comfortable that your teen driver knows how to drive and knows enough to follow the rules, etc., but at the same time a device like this will help to keep them in check, in case of a temporary lapse of responsibility came over them.  I like this device and for only about $549 it can be yours.  There is a monthly fee like OnStar, but as far as I’m concerned, Tiwi is well worth the money.

 

 

 

Best Car Models

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

According to ConsumerReports.org, here is a list of the 10 best car models for 2008.

1.  Green Car: Toyota Prius

2.  Small Sedan: Hyundai Elantra SE

3.  Family Sedan: Honda Accord

4.  Upscale Sedan: Infiniti G35

5.  Luxury Sedan: Lexus LS 460L

6. Fun to Drive:  Mazda MX-5 Miata

7.  Small SUV: Toyota RAV4

8.  Midsized SUV: Hyundai Santa Fe

9.  Minivan: Toyota Sienna

10.  Pickup truck: Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab

From this list, there should be a car for everyone. 

 

 

Honda Insight Hybrid

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

Honda Insight

There was an article on detnews.com about Honda’s new hybrid that will be a direct competitor of the Toyota Prius.  The new Honda Insight was the first hybrid sold in the United States. It was a two-seater and not very popular selling only about 4700 in 2001 in its’ peak year.  The Toyota Prius just sold over 180,000 in the United States last year.  Honda will be targeting sales of 200,000 Insights with half being sold in the United States. 

The Insight looks alot like the Prius. It was been redesigned and now is a five-seater vehicle. This is much more appealing to people and should help sales. Another big selling point of this fuel-efficient car will be the cost. It will cost about $19,000, which is several thousand dollars less than the Prius or the Honda Civic hybrid.  The Honda Insight should be coming out next April. Check it out!

  

Pick the Perfect Car for You and Your Needs

Friday, September 5th, 2008

According to an article on MSNBC.com, when considering buying a new car, you need to consider your future needs as well as the present ones.  You need to think about your family, or possibly future family before buying a car.  Many people need capabilities of seven seats and third row seating that is easily accessible for car seats and passengers to sit there.  You may need car seats now and need safety for your youngsters, but you want to make sure that your car is safe for your teenage driver as well.  Even though the gas price is $4/gallon, people’s main concern when buying a new car is safety. They want the extra side air bags, and the high safety test ratings.  Consumers also want space. They want the extra large trunks and cargo space wherever possible.  Families come in all shapes and sizes these days. Some have small children, and some have elderly parents and children. Everyone is looking for a different “family car.” 

These differences have created the crossover vehicles by automakers.  Saturn makes a crossover vehicle that called the Outlook that is very popular among families.  As I said, what you need for your family car, is up to you, but know that you have many to choose from and that you need to consider now and later on when getting your family wheels!

 

American Safety=European Safety

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

According to an article on MSNBC.com, it isn’t an easy 1, 2, 3 to put a European car on the roads here in the United States. The safety regulations are so much different.  So for instance, Ford wants to bring their fuel efficient cars that have been selling for years in Europe to the United States, where fuel efficient cars are a must for most these days. Well, it’s more than just selling them here in the United States. Things like the color of the rear turn signals need to be changed and the position of the crash dummies for testing. These are just a few of the necessary changes that have to be changed to meet the U.S. safety standards compared to the European safety standards.  Because of these changes that have to be made, it is taking alot longer for European model cars to be made and sold here in the U.S. 

The safety standards are so different too. For instance, in the U.S.,  there is a test to see how well the bumper handles a crash, whereas a similar test is done in Europe by hitting a pedestrian to see how much damage is done to the person.   ”The bumper to absorb energy to reduce the risk of injury is not the kind of bumper system you would design to help protect the vehicle,” says Jim Vondale of the Ford safety office.  The goal of these automakers is to have a set of global regulations from 40 countries in order to avoid having to worry about individual standards from each country.  That sounds like a good idea to me, because all safety regulations should be the same, and the colors of turn signals and such be the same as well. This would make driving in different countries much easier for people, and this would be easier and less expensive for automakers and in turn hopefully cheaper for the customer. 

  

Best/Worst Cars for Depreciating Value

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

There was an article on Bankrate.com this weekend about the depreciating values of cars and the ones with the best and the worst values.  Unfortunately, every car depreciates the minute it leaves the dealership, but obviously you want the best trade-in value that you can get. Here is a list of the top 5 best and worst values.

BEST

1.  Volkwagen R32 - MSRP $32,990 5 year value 43% or $14,186

2.  Jeep Wrangler - MSRP $19,680 5 year value 42.9% or $8443

3.  Mini-Cooper - MSRP $18,700 5 year value 42.7% or $7985

4.  Scion XB - MSRP $16,370 (manual) $17,320 (automatic) 5 year value 39.5% $6466 (manual)/$6841 (automatic)

5.  Honda CR-V - MSRP $20,700 5 year value 39.4%  $8156

WORST 

1.  Lincoln Town Car - MSRP $45,295 5 year value 18% $8153

2.  Chevrolet Uplander - MSRP $22,320 5 year value 18.5% $4129

3.  Kia Spectra - MSRP $13,545 5 year value 18.8% $2546

4.  Suzuki Reno - MSRP $13,299 5 year value 19% $2527

5.  Kia Rio - MSRP $11,540 5 year value 19.2% or $2216

So, here is some more information to think about when you go looking for a new car. Good luck!

 

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