Monthly Archives: December 2013

America’s Best value cars of 2013

Most savvy car buyers are aware that as soon as a new car gets driven off a dealer’s lot it immediately takes a dip in value. However, not all vehicles depreciate at the same pace over time. Wouldn’t it be great to know which new cars were likely to be worth the most when it’s time to sell? Automotive Lease Guide has been forecasting automotive residual values for more than 50 years, and is considered an industry benchmark for this calculation. For the past 13 years, ALG has been giving Residual Value Awards to vehicles and brands likely to retain the most value after three years of ownership. Let’s take a look at the winners for 2014. Continue reading

How to get a great deal when buying a new car?

Heading to the auto dealership to buy a new car is a daunting prospect. For many of us, it represents the second most expensive purchase we’ll make in our lives, behind buying a home. With so much money on the line, buyers should be armed with as much information as possible. We spoke to buyer advocate Jerry Robbin to learn his top 15 tips for the best deal on a car. For a fee, Robbin will negotiate with a dealer for you, so he has plenty of experience with this process. Heed his advice and you could save thousands on your next new car purchase. Continue reading

Best drivers car of the year 2013

More than 100 million Americans drive to work every day, and millions more are using their cars to accomplish everyday tasks. For most, daily driving is a dreaded activity filled with honking horns, wasted time, traffic and big gas bills every month. To lessen the blow, we’ve compiled a list of some of the greatest daily-driver options now available, from cars with awesome infotainment systems to hybrids that offer relief at the pump. Click through these 2013 models and prepare to rack up those inevitable daily miles with a smile on your face. Continue reading


Best value cars of year 2013

Kiplinger’s Best in Class winners top the rankings in each of our 12 categories. The rankings are based on performance, value and safety, as well as driving impressions from our own road tests. The Best in Class winners are our top picks among models that have a track record of at least one year or redesigned vehicles with powertrains substantially the same as the previous generation.

Ford Focus

Ford Focus

All except two of our Best in Class winners also earn Top Safety Pick designations from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (no sports cars or truck-based SUVs made the IIHS Top Safety Pick cut this year).

Volkswagen’s compact sedan is firing on all four cylinders. It has generous interior room (38 inches of rear legroom) and cargo space (its 16 cubic feet rivals the space in midsize models), high resale values, and German driving dynamics. The TDI’s 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine gets stellar fuel economy and produces 236 pound-feet of torque to get you off the line fast.

Getting 41 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving and priced less than $27,000, the Camry Hybrid gives other midsize cars a lesson in value. It has 200 horses under the hood, a roomy backseat that can be folded down (unlike in many hybrids), and ten airbags, including side airbags for the rear passengers and knee airbags for the driver and front passenger.


Significant technology turning points that transform car travel

From music to travel to telecommunications, technology has transformed entire industries and disrupted traditional ways of doing business. Just ask record labels, travel agents and home telephone service providers. And now it’s the car’s turn.

Tech turning points

Tech turning points

Whether it was 4G connectivity and “big data” coming to vehicles or large tech companies making a stake in the connected car space and the move toward autonomous driving, 2013 saw several significant turning points that prove that technology will change driving as we know it. Here’s my take on the top five car tech trends we saw this year.

Connectivity. You can’t have a connected car without connectivity. And with the smartphone and tablet market reaching a saturation point, wireless carriers have set their sights on the car as the next mobile device — and hence a new market for data plans — as drivers increasingly want to stay connected. 2013 kicked off with GM and AT&T announcing a partnership to bring 4G connectivity to cars in 2014, and wrapped up with Audi doing the same at the Los Angeles Auto Show with an unnamed carrier partner.

Autonomous cars. While it’s been three years since Google revealed in late 2010 that it had logged almost 150,000 miles testing its original self-driving Toyota Prius, in 2013 most mainstream automakers revealed their autonomous vehicle ambitions. More than a half dozen major car companies as well as electric vehicle startup Tesla announced automated driving technology, introduced a self-driving research vehicle or both. And Nissan said it will have several self-driving vehicles on the market by 2020.
Over-the-air software updates. Because of the disparate differences in product lead times between the technology and auto industries — 12 to 18 months versus three to four years — cars are always behind the times tech-wise. While manual software updates have been used for several years with systems like Ford Sync, over-the-air updates that occur automatically make it easier for car owners and car companies to keep in-dash electronics current. An example of this is when Audi rolled out a new feature via an OTA update that allows a driver to find, reserve and even pay for a parking spot in advance. Tesla did it too when it added an update to deal with fires issues for the Model S.


Nissan NV200 Have Problems With Transmission, Oil Pressure Sensors and Steering

Ford is recalling 7,153 Lincoln MKZ sedans for faulty transmission sensors that can lock the vehicle in park, according to filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The 2013 and 2014 MKZ Hybrid has a transmission sensor that may read the gear selection incorrectly as neutral when it is really in park and let the driver engage the drive position without stepping on the brake. However, the software will recognize the fault and shift the transmission back into park and apply the handbrake. A warning light will illuminate along with the message “Shift system fault, Service required.”

Nissan NV200

Nissan NV200

Ford said it received warranty claims and several vehicles with this condition over the past few months. The MKZ is all-new for 2013 and was initially delayed for several months after quality problems at the factory. There have been no related injuries or rollaways due to the problem, Ford said. Only Hybrid models are affected.

Owners should have already received notification to take their cars to a Lincoln dealer, which will update the transmission software.

In November, Ford recalled 139,917 Escape SUVs in the U.S. to fix engine problems that could result in fires under the hood. The automaker was also fined $17.35 million by the NHTSA in August for delaying a recall on older Escape models.

Volvo received five owner reports in the U.S. from February through November citing engine noise and little or no oil in the engine. Volvo said the oil sensors that would normally flash an alert on the instrument panel were not activated and therefore the drivers did not know their engines were low on oil. In at least two of the cases, Volvo mechanics forgot to refill the engine with oil after a service. In all cases, the engine was replaced due to excessive damage. Only 5-cylinder engines are affected, Volvo said.


Gallardo Promising 610 Horsepower and a Softer Bite on Public Roads

This is the 2015 Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4, the long-awaited replacement for the Italian automaker’s best-selling 10-year-old Gallardo.

The Gallardo, after more than 14,000 sold, made its last hurrah in November, but when the Huracan debuts this spring, we’ll bet the applause won’t die down until next Christmas.

The aluminum and carbon-fiber chassis looks more like a baby Aventador up front, and from the rear three-quarters, we’re getting some hints of the 1982 Jalpa. Without any badges, it’s obvious the Huracan is a Lamborghini. The outrageous cuts, lines and trapezoidal shapes are rounded off a little, just so you can tell it’s all new.

lamborginiThe 5.2-liter V10 engine has been reworked with a combination of direct and port fuel injection, similar to the technology found on Lexus vehicles, which lets it produce 40 more horsepower than the Gallardo Squadra Corse LP570-4. The result is 610 horsepower at 8250 rpm, zero to 62 mph in 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 202 mph. That matches the speed of the current LP560-4 and is two-tenths of a second quicker than the LP570-4.

The engine also features an auto start-stop system to reduce emissions (and given how loud this 10-cylinder is at startup, we’re curious how well this really works in traffic). Torque is up from the 397 lb-ft in the LP570-4 to 413 lb-ft, which peaks at the same 6500 rpm.

Despite the addition of carbon fiber, the Huracan weighs slightly more than the Gallardo LP560-4, at a dry weight of 3,135 pounds. The real weight, topped off with all fluids, will be higher.


With mass car market in stress, Hyundai eyes luxury segment

The country’s second-largest carmaker, Hyundai, is studying the growing luxury car market which is today the stronghold of German trio — Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. The South Korean carmaker is considering a foray into the segment with its top-of-the-range models like the Equus and Genesis sedans, and the Veloster compact sports car, for which it could set up a separate sales network.

T2014-mazda-3-wallpaper1he strategy to enter the luxury market follows Hyundai’s recent focus of building a more upmarket image for the brand and slowly moving up the chain towards premium vehicles, even as it maintains its hold on the mass market of compact cars. Recent launches in the premium space include the Elantra and Sonata sedans, while a new Santa Fe SUV is expected to follow next year.
“We are studying the luxury space right now, though there is nothing definite yet.

Apart from Equus, there are more luxury models in the Hyundai range. However, we will need a different network to sell these cars. We are gauging customer acceptance of Hyundai’s luxury car range and then we will take a decision,” a Hyundai India official told FE. However, the official did not specify a timeline for launch, or if they will be assembled at Hyundai’s plant near Chennai.