J.D. Power released the results of its latest Initial Quality Study at this month’s Automotive Press Association luncheon in Detroit. The survey had some very surprising results.
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E for Electricity
As fuel prices continue to test the limits of infinity, small cars are becoming more appealing to more new car shoppers; this downward spiral is evident. Many people that used to drive full-size SUVs a decade ago have opted for more efficient crossovers. Large-sedan buyers have traded in their tugboats for midsize models and compact-car owners are thinking even smaller, or outside the box all together. Schwinn is a great way to save money, both on gas and gym memberships.
Along with diesels and hybrids, pure-electric vehicles are a great way to avoid getting “pump palpitations” brought on by astronomical fuel prices. Naturally, EVs are the best remedy for this ailment because they use no fuel at all, unless you count all the coal burned at the cross-town powerplant.
But for all of their potential savings electrics tend to be pretty dreary, not to mention expensive. Adding a big dash of excitement to this perpetually overcast vehicle segment is the Fiat 500e, an amped-up A-Segment car with design flair only an Italian could deliver.
It’s a dangerous world out there. Buying a new vehicle has more perils and pitfalls than the Atari game of nearly the same name. Instead of swinging from vines or jumping over obstacles, car shoppers can skip the aerobic workout by simply visiting AutoGuide.com. We’re here to help and we’re glad to do it.
Her Majesty's Pleasure
In the rarefied world of exotic automobiles there’s something for just about everyone, so long as their wallets are sufficiently engorged. For customers that wish to be smothered in comfort and morally objectionable amounts of luxury Rolls-Royce offers a host of suitable automobiles that will surely exceed their needs. If someone wishes to attract attention a brightly colored Lamborghini is hard to beat; they’re unsurpassed when it comes to ego-fluffing. And of course for eccentric drivers interested in something completely off the wall there’s the Koenigsegg CCX. Lady Gaga, your car is ready.
Boutique British brand Aston Martin falls somewhere between these extremes. Their products are opulent but sporty, outrageous looking yet tastefully designed, special without being completely obscure. They’re James Bond’s top pick and a fine choice for anyone lusting after something exceptional.
Aside from the laughable Toyota-based Cygnet city car the V8 Vantage Coupe is Aston Martin’s entry-level offering. With two seats, two doors and rear-wheel drive it has all the ingredients of a true performance machine. However, the S model is a step up from there, and the Roadster is yet another rung up the ladder. This dramatic drop-top is an extraordinary car and the subject of today’s AutoGuide Five-Point Inspection.
What’s the first company that comes to mind when you think of car seats? If it’s Grayco or Britax you really need to get out more. In the realm of performance automotive seating Recaro is a leader in the industry, whether it’s at the OEM or aftermarket level.
We live in a digital world. For many new-car shoppers megabytes and gigahertz are just as important as horsepower and fuel economy. To members of the younger demographic chips are made of silicon, not potatoes, and ram has nothing to do with trucks. But what about the rest of us? To help customers understand the high-tech features of their cars, every Lexus dealer is staffed with dedicated experts that are at the ready to answer any questions a buyer may have about their vehicle.
Crossovers are all about fuel efficiency and family functionality. They blend attributes of cars with traits of traditional SUVs to create vehicles that are neither fish nor fowl; they’re the undecided voter of the automotive world, essentially the state of Ohio. Is it going red? Will it be blue? One thing’s certain; it’ll never go to the Green Party.
Six of the Top 10 Least Reliable Cars and Trucks on the road are Ford products. At least, that’s according to data provided by Consumer Reports, a non-profit organization that tests everything from toasters to homeowner’s insurance. This lopsided result has raised a lot of questions, like: Are Blue-Oval vehicles really that troublesome or is Consumer Reports’ survey methodology flawed?
You’ve been lusting after if for two long weeks, suffering for want of that which keeps you going. The withdrawal symptoms have probably been unbearable; we’d hazard to bet you’re shaking like a James Bond martini still in the mixer. You’ve been patiently waiting and finally we’re happy to oblige your carnal yearnings… but for God’s sake leave your trousers on!
Look around you. Even if you’re in a place as mundane as an office you’re surrounded by things. There’s probably a telephone to your left, a stapler in the drawer and even a bottle of water next to the keyboard you spend thankless hours pounding away on each week. Chances are all of these items were designed, tested and manufactured in computer software long before they ever went into physical production. On the forefront of this digital revolution is a company called Dassault Systèmes, a global corporation that’s practically synonymous with product development.
In ancient times fat was considered a sign of wealth, a symbol of prosperity, just like golden jewelry or owning slaves. Someone who had a little extra bulk was likely far better off than the starving peasants down the street. Today it’s just the opposite; fat is out. High-ticket items have become the modern way flaunting one’s success. Private jets, tea bags made from the Dead Sea Scrolls and of course high-end cars are all conspicuously consumed by well-off individuals.
One of the most prestigious autos on the market today is built like a Stradivarius, features a flying lady on its massive hood and is named after an allegedly non-existent phenomenon. The 2013 Rolls-Royce Ghost Extended Wheelbase is all that and much, much more.
To Frugality and Beyond!
Fuel economy is a major purchase consideration for new-vehicle shoppers; in fact it’s the No. 1 thing they look for in a car or truck. Consumers continue to demand ever greater mileage, and so does the federal government. Washington keeps turning up the wick on its Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations. In response to these stimuli automakers are working day and night to improve the efficiency of their products.
It may not be perfect but the United States is a great country. America has her share of problems, both past and present, but for the most part this nation is pretty sweet; when it comes to being awesome we’ve done better than most.
Since its founding in 1936, Consumer Reports has become the go-to source for shoppers. From new refrigerators to bottles of wine, Blue-ray players to homeowner’s insurance, if it’s on the market it’s likely the non-profit organization has scientifically tested it. Of course the consumer watchdog is probably most famous for its vehicle reliability ratings.
Automakers are always looking for an edge over the competition. Any spec-sheet advantage, no matter how insignificant, is fair game. Engine output is often something they brag about. One vehicle may have more horsepower but a competing car could offer more torque. What’s the difference between these two measurements? What do they mean? Surprisingly these terms are totally different but related.
The week is drawing to a close and while that can mean several things, most importantly (of course), it’s time for another installment of Ask AutoGuide, the information superhighway’s most exciting semi-regular feature. Beating the competition to market with mildly informative and generally accurate content is the name of the game. Our skilled geniuses are ready to spread their expertise like frosting on a sheet cake; just scoop it out of the tub and smear it all around.
You Know You Want One
Your grip on the steering wheel tightens. Your eyes fixate on the yellow line. Your brain screams about the trees just beyond the shoulder. Wait for it… wait for it… ok, NOW! You pounce on the clutch as your right foot stabs the accelerator. A wrist-flick completes the downshift. Feather the brake, turn into the corner and scrub off some speed; the radius decreases slightly. You nail the apex, tires howling like a bloodhound on the trail. You roll back on the throttle for a speedy exit and dive into the next corner.
From a moving van to moving the stars
Ah to be young again. AutoGuide’s nationally recognized, board-certified Oracles remember their youth vividly… it was terrible. People often say age is just a number and you’re only as old as you feel, unfortunately they were born wearing elastic-waist jeans and Science Olympiad fanny packs. Gingivitis arrived when they were in middle school.
Keep on Truckin'
Americans love trucks. We adore them more than fast food, football games and country music. They’re like 4,000-pound hamburgers made with two all-freedom patties, liberty sauce, Willie Nelson, sparklers and Old Glory, sprinkled with bacon bits and built on a sesame-seed frame. Drivers lust after these utility-focused rigs like hungry children crave chicken nuggets; month after month, year after year, we just can’t get enough of ‘em!
It’s Friday and another work week is slowly… drawing… to… a… close. Like Andrew Lloyd Webber’s epic musical CATS, this string of five days feels like it’s never going to end. At least people aren’t prancing around the AutoGuide offices in leotards and leg warmers. Meow!