Archive for December, 2010
Tuesday, December 28th, 2010
Road & Track is excited about the new year. Aren’t we all? But maybe they are excited for different reasons than us. If you are looking for a New Year’s Resolution of not spending than I’m sorry to share these cool cars with you. Road & Track is very enthusiastic about several cars for 2011 that will be fun to drive, and you will look great driving them. For those of us that are spending money in 2011!
McLaren MP4 -12C - This car was originally built from 1992 through 1998. This is considered by many to be the “ultimate supercar.” The 2011 McLaren will have a twin-turbocharged 592 horsepower 3.8-liter V8 engine. There will be a 7-speed twin-clutch sequential shift transmission as well.
Ford Boss Mustang - This model is being revived from the 1960’s. The engine will be a 440 horsepower 5.0-liter V8 engine. There will be adjustable dampers that you need to use a screwdriver to adjust-just like the original Boss from the 60s.
Mercedes Benz SLS AMG Convertible - This car is for the serious car buyer. The base price will be $200,000. It will have a droptop with a 571 horsepower 6.2-liter V8 engine and a 7 speed dual clutch transmission. You can chose between this one, and the SLS AMG coupe which has gullwing doors.
Then we can talk about the cars that more of us can relate to.
Ford Focus ST - This is a front-wheel drive hatchback that has been sold in Europe for awhile now. It has a 247 horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 20% better fuel economy. It’s getting great reviews and Europeans love it. We’ll see if Americans do as well.
Buick Regal GS - this car will reach 60 mph in less than 7 seconds, have 255 horsepower 4-cylinder engine with enough power. Lots of standard features and a price tag of about $30,000.
Volkswagen Golf R - I’ve talked about this car before. Another hatchback that is finally making it’s way to the U.S. A turbocharged 270 horsepower 2.0-liter 4 cylinder engine.
There were a few more, but I like these 6 choices from the list the best. I don’t think I’m really thinking these cars are all that cool as Road & Track does, but everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Some other 2011 cars have peaked my interest much more. And actually once the Detroit Auto Show starts at the beginning of next month, there will be more “cool” cars to get excited about for 2011 I’m sure.
Tuesday, December 21st, 2010
No one wants to let the minivan die. I can’t blame them. If you can find a way to make it just a little bit better than the previous ones, why not try and get some new (or old) customers. Whether the world wants to believe it or not, minivans are still everyone. Sure the sales are down, but people, specifically families, still buy minivans. I have heard many friends and family members, swear to “NEVER buy a minivan” only to get one less than a year into parenthood. It’s a no-brainer. Minivans give you room. SUVs have room too, but it’s a different kind of room. Usually in order to get to the third row, you have to climb over the second row seats. It’s just not the same as the van. I loved my van when my kids were young. I could fit so much stuff (and people) in it!
Enough of my dialogue. Ford is bringing their European small minivan to the U.S. in 2011/2012, and the C-Max will debut at the Detroit Auto Show next month. The C-Max will be aimed at younger families. It has a lot to offer. A hands free liftgate that opens with a sliding kick motion under the vehicle, MyFord Touch, and Sync as well. The C-Max has room for seven people with a 5 + 2 seating layout. That means that there is room for 5 people in the first 2 rows and then 2 more people can sit in the third row with smaller seats.
It has a 109.7 inch wheelbase and is 178 inches in length. This minivan can be compared to another small minivan the Mazda5, which is 180.5 inches in length with a wheelbase of 108.3 inches. There will be 2 engines available. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder base powerplant that has 168 horsepower, a EcoBoost 1.6-liter I4 with 168 horsepower, though with premium gas you can get 180 horsepower.
I read some comments on this car, and most people said they would not be interested in this car until it had an option of AWD or diesel engine. It just doesn’t seem to be peeking anyone’s interest with the engines as is. We’ll see if that changes once the car is seen in Detroit next month or actually at the dealerships next year.
Sunday, December 19th, 2010
California is so eco-friendly compared to most other states. They are getting the most Chevy Volts when they go on sale next month. They have lots of charging stations popping up across the state. Now they are the home to a new all-electric vehicle called a Triac. It is made by Green Vehicles.
The Triac is a electric vehicle with three wheels and seats for the driver and one passenger. It’s an odd-looking car, but maybe that will draw people as well. According to the President of Green Vehicles, Mike Ryan, this car was made for those people that are looking for an “environmentally conscious lifestyle.” This is definitely a commuter car. If it’s just you driving to and from work. Hey why not drive the Triac. There are currently only about a dozen of these cars available, but Green Vehicles is expecting people to start catching on and deciding that the Triac is the car to have.
The Triac is powered by a Leyden Energy lithium-ion battery. It has a 100 mile range. It can reach a top speed of 80 mph, and costs about $25,000. Ryan thinks that the price will come down in the next few years. Plus, don’t forget there is a $7500 federal tax credit for electric vehicles. The current model of the Triac is a manual transmission, but the new model, the 2.0, will have an automatic transmission. The car weighs 2000 lbs.
If you live in California, and just need a car for your commute, maybe you might consider the Triac. You’ll be the talk of the road. I’m sure of it.
Thursday, December 16th, 2010
Forbes autos are very busy coming up with their lists of the best and worst of vehicles. The latest list is the worst selling vehicles of 2010. In 2010, approximately 11.5 million cars will be sold up from 10.4 million in 2009. It is predicted that 12.8 million will be sold next year and 17.4 million in 2015. This list of worst selling vehicles does not include brands that are being discontinued like Hummer, Pontiac, or Saturn, and those models (Kia Rondo and Chrysler PT Cruiser) that are discontinued.
1. Smart ForTwo - sales decline was 61%
2. Subaru Tribeca - sales decline 61% This crossover hasn’t made it’s mark among the tight competition in the crossover vehicles.
3. Mazda RX8 - sales decline 50%
4. Suzuki SX4 - sales decline 47%
5. Suzuki Grand Vitara - sales decline 42% Another crossover having some problems staying afloat.
6. Suzuki Equator - sales decline 39%
7. Toyota Yaris - sales decline 38% Now that the gas prices have stabilized, small cars aren’t selling as they were a year or two ago.
8. Mazda Tribute - sales decline 36%
9. Scion xD - sales decline 31% Another small car not wanted.
10. Porsche Cayman - sales decline 31% Then there is the problem of really expensive cars not selling in these economic times. Can you blame anyone?
From the list, several repeater brands. Mazda and Suzuki are taking a hit. This list is just the top 10. I bet we would find that these brands are hurting in all their car sales this year.
Monday, December 13th, 2010
Big news for Volkswagen this past week. Volkswagen announced that they will be bringing the Golf R that is currently in Europe to the United States in 2012. This is a hatchback, that many of us probably remember from a couple of years ago, but it’s been sometime since we’ve seen it here in the U.S.
The Golf R will have a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. VW hasn’t released the power of this engine, but the European Golf has 270 horsepower. All of the Golf R’s will have a manual transmission. Supposedly this Golf R will have bigger brakes and 18-inch wheels. It will be available in both 2-door and 4-door.
My in-laws just got a 2011 VW Golf. They are huge Volkswagen fans and with good reason. They drive their VW’s into the ground to the point where it owes them nothing. I’m sure the Golf R will be the same quality.
Sunday, December 12th, 2010
I have just the car for all of us this holiday season. Well….probably not all of us or actually many of us, but it’s fun to pretend. The 2011 Jaguar XJ is a sleek sedan that is definitely unique its appearance. It is long. From the pictures, it looks very long. It is 124.3 inches to be exact (for the long wheelbase.) The rear taillights have been nicknamed “cat claws” and that is a perfect name. They do look like cat claws.
The XJ is a rear-drive, full-size luxury sedan. There are 2 engine choices. Both are V8 engines. One is a 5-liter V8 engine that has 385 horsepower and it can be supercharged to 470 horsepower. Then there is the supersport trim Jaguar XJ V8 engine with 510 horsepower that can go from 0 to 60 seconds in 4.7 seconds.
The gas mileage is typical of a luxury sedan with 15 mpg in the city and 21 on the highway. There are a lot of standard features in the Jaguar XJ including full-length sunroof. Bluetooth and a navigation system are standard as well. Alright, I guess I need to tell you the price, right? A perfect holiday present…..for just $113,000! Let me know if you get the Jaguar XJ as a present this year. I will be quite jealous.
Sunday, December 12th, 2010
I found an article on yahoo finance on what you need to know that mechanics won’t tell you. Now obviously this isn’t all mechanics, but there are definitely some shady ones that will do anything to get your money and additional money as well. An honest mechanic is the man with all the information. He wrote a book and even has a website called MyHonestMechanic.com.
I’ve told you this before, but I’ll remind you. You don’t need to change your oil every 3 months. Some mechanics will tell you that you need to change it every 3 months, and then in turn will make more money. The mechanic will not make much money, if any, on the oil change, but they will try to get you to rotate your tires or buy an air filter that will be a money maker.
You can change your brake pads, relatively easily, yourself. It would definitely save you a lot of money, and if you don’t do it right, you will know right away (supposedly!) You don’t need to change the brake pads until they are 85-90% worn.
You don’t need to change your transmission fluid at 25,000-30,000 miles. More like 50,000-60,000, if at all.
Put chalk on your tires before they are rotated to ensure that they are actually rotated and correctly.
Make sure that you keep track of all repairs done, and check warranties. Many warranties will take care of a lot of your problems.
The real moral of the story is that you need to try to find a mechanic that you trust and then you can build a reputation with them. You will probably be less likely to get ripped off. Also, do your homework. If there is something wrong with your car, try to diagnose the problem yourself (as best as you.) That way you will be able to discuss it with the mechanic, and if you don’t like what you hear from them, get a second opinion.
Wednesday, December 8th, 2010
According to yahooautos.com, there have been five technology inventions over the past 15 years that have greatly “altered the automobile.”
Hybrid technology - this is such a major innovation that will continue to have great effects on the automotive industry. Who knows, soon most of us might be driving hybrid/electric vehicles.
Continuously Variable Transmissions - fuel economy is greatly improved by CVT and it also maximizes the engine. The CVT will most likely become standard in all vehicles in the years to come. They are a better alternative to the manual or automatic transmissions.
Batteries - they are “smaller, faster, smarter, and lighter.” The weight of the cars has changed because of the batteries
GPS Navigation - obviously 15 years ago, there wasn’t a system in your car that was voice-activated and almost always gives good directions so you don’t get lost. Can you beat that?
Accident Avoidance - Volvo has a safety system called City Safety. It helps distracted drivers by rapidly stopping a vehicle when the car senses a collision. It is used to help drivers, but not stop them from paying attention.
All these technological advances have caused us to not pay attention as much driving too, which causes the most problems, and for sure the most serious accidents. Technology is great, but we still need to drive as we all learned to at 16.
Tuesday, December 7th, 2010
Do you want to get your loved one a really nice present for the holidays this month? I have the best December deals. Truecar.com did all the necessary research for us. Now I can just give you the information that you need before you head out to the dealers this month for your loved ones.
2011 Chevrolet Cruze - 2.9% financing for up to 60 months. Average price $16,798-22,424
2010 Ford Fusion - 0% financing for up to 60 months. Average price $19,334-$27,648
2010 Nissan Maxima - 0% financing for up to 36 months. Average price $29,006-$31,502
Subaru Forester - 1.9% financing plus a donation to a charity of your choice. Average price $19,873-$27,615
BMW X5 - 0.9% financing and a $2500 holiday credit. Still with this credit, it is a very expensive car. You better really love this person to get this car or maybe you need a present for yourself instead. $44,228-$56,097
2010 GMC Yukon - 0% financing for up to 72 months or $3000 cash back. $38,027-$59,191.
Toyota, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, Lincoln, Nissan, Infiniti, Volkswagen, and Mazda all have 0% financing available on many of their models. Some have the financing for longer months, but you definitely have some choices. Just hurry. These deals all expire 1/3/11.
Sunday, December 5th, 2010
Autoweek.com has come up with a list of the top ten “snow warriors” as the snow flies for many of us over the next few months. Some are clearly out of the price range for many of us, but at least we can dream.
Ford F-150, Dodge Ram, and Chevrolet Silverado - price range $25,085-$27,760. The four-wheel drive and height of the trucks will help you through the winter months.
Subaru WRX - $26,220. This is an all-wheel drive vehicle that will make it through the tough rides.
Jeep Grand Cherokee - $32,995. The V6 engine has lots of power to get you out of snow trouble, if need be.
Ford Taurus SHO - $38,595. It’s an all-wheel drive vehicle as well.
Acura RDX - $35,480. This vehicle is a small crossover.
Toyota Land Cruiser - $68,180.
Land Rover Range Rover Sport - $75,395. It has a 500 horsepower V8 engine. It’s an all-wheel drive.
Audi A6 Avant (2010) - $54,185. Quattro all-wheel drive. You can also fit lots of luggage and kids/pets if need be.
Volvo XC60 3.2 AWD - $36,250. All-wheel drive
Volkswagen Tiguan S - $27,360. all-wheel drive
As you can see, the all-wheel drives are definitely the choice of autoweek. There are definitely some reasonable cars for us as we deal with the gross white stuff.