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.
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Bottom 10 Vehicles with the Largest Declines Dependability
Quality is an ever-moving target; it’s something automakers have to constantly monitor. And like the Mongol hordes conquering vast swaths of Asia in the 13th century, problems can easily overwhelm an unsuspecting company’s defenses. Like arrows toppling a mighty war elephant, just a few small issues can devastate even the most reliable vehicle on the road. To keep these nomadic defects at bay, engineers and product planners must remain vigilant.
Along with Consumer Reports, J.D. Power is one of the major firms that tracks automotive quality. Its annual Vehicle Dependability Study is highly anticipated by OEMs and media alike. Think of it as a report card for automakers.
For nearly a quarter-century the study has kept a careful eye on quality by tracking problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). It measures things that have gone wrong with 3-year-old cars and trucks as reported by their original owners.
Like America’s Most Wanted, J.D. power has just released a list of 10 vehicles that have suffered the largest declines in quality. These vehicles have had the greatest year-over-year increase in PP100. Some of the cars and trucks on the list may really surprise you.
Bland Like Unsalted Popcorn
Are you self-conscious? Don’t like to stand out in a crowd? Would you rather blend into the background than be the center of attention? Well, when it comes to the automotive world, you are in luck. Some vehicles seem to have skipped class when it came time for their styling lesson. This is not to say they are ugly, but more that they lack any style whatsoever.
We’ve all heard the clichés to describe these anonymously styled cars; plain vanilla, beige, white bread, etc. We like to think of them as stylistically-challenged. Regardless, if you don’t want to draw any undue attention towards yourself, here are ten vehicles that are guaranteed to blend into the landscape.
Back Seat Space
A couple weeks ago our Top 10 target was the large-sedan segment. We looked at a diverse lineup of full-figured four doors, comparing them based on their theoretical maximum range. We multiplied the number of gallons in their respective fuel tanks by each of their highway economy ratings.
Against all expectations the Volkswagen Passat TDI drove away with top honors, and it did so by a wide margin. It wasn’t just the comparison’s valedictorian; it skipped two grades took all AP classes and still wound up with a GPA of 4.2. This diesel-powered “People’s Car” can devour nearly 800 miles on a single tank!
On the other hand, today’s big idea is small. We’re examining cars at the opposite end of the spectrum, specifically C-Segment sedans. We’re comparing a crowd of popular compacts based on, wait for it… rear-seat legroom! Which popularly priced car offers the most-spacious back bench? Which one will give an agoraphobic night terrors? Click ahead for all the details you can stomach.
Despite smaller, lighter cars being safer than they used to be, bigger and heavier vehicles still offer more protection in crashes.
10. Ford Escape - 261,008 Units Sold
2012 was the best-selling year for automakers since 2007, marking the third year in a row that sales have increased. So now is a great time to look back at the best-selling vehicles from last year.
Coming in 10th place with 261,008 units sold is the Ford Escape which was updated for the 2013 model year. Earlier last year, AutoGuide.com had the opportunity to review the 2013 Ford Escape and we came away surprised by its sleek new look, engine selection, and its great handling. It wasn’t without its cons, but overall the crossover delivered a vastly improved driving experience.
SEE ALSO: 2013 Ford Escape Review – Video
Welcome to the latest installment of our weekly series: TGIF[R-S], where Features Editor Sami Haj-Assaad details the ownership experience of the Scion FR-S. If you haven’t seen the latest articles, be sure to check out the whole archive of them.
It’s hard to believe but the Scion FR-S was inspired by a Toyota Corolla. Crazy isn’t it? How does a 2,700 lb, 200-hp rear-wheel drive sports car share anything with a boring econobox?
Price, looks and size… these are the few factors that used to decide what vehicle you’d park in your driveway. Looking for a cheap and small car? A Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic will do. Need something bigger, perhaps a mid-size Hyundai Sonata or an SUV. Things used to be pretty easy.
With increasingly high gas prices and an overall movement towards green, fuel efficient vehicles, fuel economy has become more important. In fact, for many price, looks and size are now completely trumped by fuel economy.
“Buyers just look at the MPG on the sticker,” says IHS Automotive Analyst Devin Lindsay commenting that car buyers are now completely mesmerized by the EPA sticker label.
Take a look at the Toyota Prius, for example. It’s not terribly big, is fairly expensive, and looks… well… weird. But that didn’t stop three million of them from being sold, all thanks to a hybrid gas-electric engine that provides excellent fuel economy.
The Prius isn’t the only option for someone looking for a fuel efficient car, however; especially those in search of a more engaging driving experience. If you want to cut down on trips to the pump, and still drive a fun, powerful, good looking car, your best bet might just be in a diesel powered vehicle. That does mean you’ll almost certainly have to drive German, although a flood of new diesel-powered vehicles are about to hit our shore.
For the ninth month in a row, the top-selling car in Japan is the Toyota Prius, helping hybrids make up more than 20-percent of all auto sales in Japan.
In February, Toyota sold 35,875 Prius hybrids, while the Honda Fit came in second place with 24,973 units sold. That’s quite the gap, especially considering third place was the new Toyota Aqua (Prius c in America – read our review here) that sold 21,951.
Hybrid models are now making up nearly half of Toyota total sales in Japan while Honda announced that 60-percent of their Fit sales are hybrid variants. Rounding off the top five was the Honda Freed in fourth place (13,293 sold) and the Toyota Vitz in fifth (11,288 sold). Over 40-percent of the Honda Freed sales are also hybrids.
The more interesting news is the fact that the Aqua hybrid production isn’t even keeping up with demand. The Japanese automaker originally planned to build 12,000 Aquas per month but now overwhelming demand has customers waiting almost six months for their vehicle if they placed their orders today.