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Author Archive

Massive Lexus Recall due to Fuel Leaks

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:   CBS NEWS

 

DETROIT - Toyota is recalling nearly 423,000 Lexus luxury brand cars in the U.S. to fix fuel leaks that can potentially cause fires.

 

The recalls affect the 2006 to 2011 GS, 2007 to 2010 LS and the 2006 to 2011 IS models.

 

Toyota says that the cars’ fuel lines have nickel phosphate plating to protect against corrosion. Some lines could have been built with particles coming in contact with a gasket. That can cause the sealing property to deteriorate and trigger fuel leaks.

 

Toyota says it’s not aware of any fires or injuries caused by the problem.

 

The company first began looking into the matter in June of 2010 after getting a report of gasoline odor coming from a customer’s engine compartment, according to documents posted Friday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Toyota investigated, but didn’t find the cause until this year, the documents said. It decided to do the recall in October.

 

The company and dealers received six reports from the field and 238 warranty claims about the problem.

 

Dealers will repair the gasket seating surface at no cost to owners.

 

Some of the Lexuses were recalled in 2009 to fix leaks in aluminum fuel pipes.

 

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VW to Debut Fuel Cell Concept at LA Auto Show

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  GREEN AUTOBLOG

 

Amid the flurry of hydrogen announcements from Toyota and Honda last night, Volkwagen has something to add: a new hydrogen fuel cell concept vehicle. This will be the first VW hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in many years – remember the Tiguan Hy-Motion back in 2008? – and it comes as a bit of a surprise.

 

First written up by the German publication Wirtschaft Woche, VW is going to have the prototype car (not pictured) available at the ride and drive at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this week. We don’t yet know what kind of vehicle will sport the hydrogen powertrain, but our money’s on a Golf variant. We’ll see soon enough when we get to Los Angeles.

 

What’s interesting is that there have been a number of not-so-mixed messages out of the VW executive ranks when it comes to hydrogen vehicles. VW’s Japanese president, Shigeru Shoji, said in September that,hydrogen fuel cells, “may fly within Japan, but not globally.” Last year, VW’s electrification head Rudolf Krebs said that “hydrogen mobility only makes sense if you use green energy.” Also last year, VW CEO Martin Winterkorn said it’s basically impossible to build hydrogen vehicles at a “reasonable cost.” Nonetheless, we’re going to see a new VW H2 concept soon. Thoughts?

 

 

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Toyota’s Car of the Future – The Mirai

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  YAHOO NEWS

 

 

Toyota has chosen to name its first hydrogen fuel cell car after the Japanese word for ‘future’ and claims that the new model represents a turning point in the automotive industry.

 

The Mirai, which until now had been known by its concept car name of the FCV, has been 10 years in development. It will be officially unveiled to the world on Tuesday at the LA Auto Show, and will be going on sale in the US at some point in 2015.

 

As well as officially naming the car in a special event on Monday, Toyota’s president and CEO, Akio Toyoda, described it as an environmentally-friendly car that will be fun to drive and that “lets you have it all with no compromises.”

 

“We imagined a world filled with vehicles that would diminish our dependence on oil and reduce harm to the environment. It was a bold, but inspiring goal. And, today it is a reality,” he said.

 

Despite the huge strides made by Tesla in developing electric cars that are desirable, fun to drive and that don’t require overnight recharging every 100km, the hydrogen fuel cell is still considered the solution to making future cars greener.

 

The Mirai, for example, can travel 300 miles (over 480 km) on a single tank of hydrogen and refueling takes roughly five minutes. It takes a Tesla supercharger 20 minutes to put a 50 percent charge on a Model S when it’s running low on power.

 

However, unlike for plug-in electric vehicles, the infrastructure needed to support fuel cell cars — i.e., hydrogen filling stations — is almost non-existent. There is a small network of refueling points in California, but beyond the west coast, they’re a rare sight.

 

As well as announcing the car, Toyota also confirmed that it is building 12 hydrogen stations across New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, to go with the 19 it has planned for California.

 

 

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Review of the 2016 Mercedes – AMG GT S

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  YAHOO AUTOS

 

All over New York — and other upscale megalopoli like London and Vancouver — slender residential glass towers sprout, like some pernicious invasive reed. Each one touted as an order of magnitude more expensive than its predecessor, the apartments these buildings contain are outfitted with features so exclusive, the ordinary consumer will not even recognize their significance: book-matched Croatian walnut travertine, hand-polished Ecuadoran bocote, Grand Palais enamel ranges.

 

They are also empty. Generally devoid of permanent residents, these buildings and the apartments they contain act as transitory housing — pieds-a-terre — for the global one percent, who light upon their $50 million dwellings when the mood or season suits.

 

Those same economics have spawned a new thatch of elite sports cars. All-new or significantly updated two-seaters like the Jaguar F-TypeChevrolet Corvette Stingray, and (forthcoming) second-generation Audi R8, as well as slightly older and ostensible two-seaters like the Porsche 911 and Nissan GT-R, now duke it out for the AmEx Centurion Cards, and rear ends, of the beau monde as their second (or third or fourth or fifth) vehicles; something to keep at the house by the ocean, or the mountains, or the vineyard. Call them pieds-a-car.

 

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S
2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S

 

Entering into this gilded fray this coming spring is the all-new, 503-hp Mercedes-AMG GT S (a less potent and “S”-less 456-hp variant will follow in mid-2016). Powered by a twin-turbocharged, 4-liter V-8, and transmogrifying its spirit to terra firma through an updated version of the 7-speed dual clutch transaxle, the GT S will rip its way to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, on its way to a terminal velocity of 183 mph. That’s comparable to its aforementioned competitors, and likely quicker than a major insider commodity trade.

 

This is a marked achievement, especially when considering that this is only the second complete car (after the rare SLS) built by Mercedes’ in-house performance sub-brand, AMG. Despite having dispensed with its older brother’s vital (and thirsty) 6.3-liter naturally aspirated V-8 and gullwing doors, one can see clearly the influence of SLS’ design on the GT S. It has a similar Olympic lap pool of a hood, squinty ovoid tail lamps, and tersely grimacing Bender the Robot mouth.

 

This isn’t surprising, because it shares a good deal of its aluminum sub-frame/mid-front engined/rear transaxled underpinnings with that previous model. Though we imagined it in our minds as much smaller and lighter, it also shares much of that outgoing model’s horizontal and gravitational dimensions, coming in at just 3.5 inches shorter and 175 lbs lighter the SLS—that means about 15 feet and 3,500 lbs.

 

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S
2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S

 

This doesn’t serve it well, in our opinion. Whereas competitors like the F-Type look much smaller — and much better — in person than they do in photographs, the opposite is true of the GT S. Like a wide-eyed, pumpkin-headed starlet, who looks great projected at 60 feet but like a bonsai sunflower when spotted in the wild, the GT S has awkward proportions. We really like its broadly toned rear end and muscular quadriceps. But as much as recent Benzes like the S-Class and C-Class have reclaimed a sense of grace, we couldn’t locate the same in the GT S. We kept trying to come up with positive templates for its appearance, but all we could think was: cheesecake lollipop, extruded robot teardrop, or round of windswept boursault impaled on a butter knife.

 

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S

 

Inside, our feelings are similarly complicated, and we mean that quite literally. As in other contemporary Benzes, the materials are beyond reproach: metal, leather, carbon fiber, and piano black (or something like it in argent matte which we’ll call “synthesizer silver”) are expertly applied. And the new sloping center console is, as on modern Porsches, quite dramatic. But, as if in homage to 1980s Alfa Romeos or 2010s Aston Martins, the controls are placed in improbable — and in the case of the joyless joystick that acts as the transmission knob, impossible — locales. We have never before wished for a prehensile spinal column, but this is seemingly the only way one could comfortably place this car in park, drive, neutral, or reverse. Or reside in its seats, which were as firm and unsupportive as a reform-school principal.

 

We did very much like the big flip-top Porsche 928-esque hatchback, which granted a quantity of actual, usable trunk space — something jarringly absent from the SLS. Firmly in the positive column as well is the way the GT S performs. It is fast. Very fast. In fact, it gobbled up everything the northern California mountains pitched at its prominent proboscis. The transmission response is greatly improved over its often-laggardly behavior in the SLS. The engine’s baritone exhaust note amps toward the profound (especially from outside the car). The computer actuated, ridiculously acronymed suspension causes the big 265/295 series (front/rear) rubber mounted to the forged 19”/20” (front/rear) wheels to offer commendable grip — if a bit too much stiffness for our false teeth. And the optional carbon ceramic brakes are a drag, in the best possible way.

 

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S
2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S

 

Yet, somehow, the GT S left us feeling dispassionate. It was wonderful in many respects, and a vivid and significant step forward for Mercedes-Benz sports cars. Yet it didn’t manage to grab us by the loins. In the context of the category, it lacked the precision of the Porsche 911, the incorrigibility (and seductive shape) of the Jaguar F-Type, or the functionality of the outgoing R8. We liked it, but we weren’t in love, and love is everything in a sports car. Its only job is to make you grin and salivate every time you touch it or sit in it or remember, in the drudgery of your hideous existence, that you actually own it.

 

Compared to the $220,000 SLS, the AMG GT S’ anticipated price of $130,000 to $140,000 will seem like a deal, albeit one slightly higher than the Jaguar competition but close to what the higher-end Porsche 911 models command. (The non-S may start around $110,000.) Like a perfectly executed but uninhabited showplace condo in the sky, the GT S is laden with all the compelling attributes that signify absolute desirability. Yet it lacks that odd and unconscious anima that lights up our irrational emotional receptors. Like Burt Bacarach said, “a room is not a house, and a house is not a home.”

 

 

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Salt-Water Powered Car – 920 hp, 373 Miles/Tank

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  HUMANSAREFREE

 

The recent announcement that the Quant e-Sportlimousine, which is a salt water powered car, has been certified for use on European roads is a big sign that the Oil Cartels are losing the energy war.

 

Since the early 1900s, the Oil Cartels, which are controlled by the Controllers, have been harassing and silencing alternative energy inventors who pose a threat to the Oil Cartels. One of the greatest alternative energy inventors that they silenced was Nikola Tesla.

 

Unlike traditional cars that run on gasoline, the Quant e-Sportlimousine runs on an electrolyte flow cell power system made by NanoFlowcell that has the ability to generate an astonishing 920 horsepower (680 kW).

 

This salt water powered car can go from 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 2.8 seconds and has a top speed of 217.5 mph (350 km/h). The Quant e-Sportlimousine is built by the German company Quant.

 

Electrolyte flow cell technology has been around for decades, but it wasn’t until recently that certain car manufacturers were given the permission to start building cars that run on electrolyte flow cell technology.

 

This type of alternative energy technology will eventually make gasoline powered cars obsolete, because using electrolyte flow cell technology to power cars is a lot more efficient and much cleaner than using gasoline.

 

 

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The Most Durable Cars

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:   YAHOO AUTOS

 

 

Everybody wants to own a keeper. A car that provides so much personal satisfaction that the years and miles can just fly by, while the enduring qualities of that daily driver remain picture perfect.

 

The hard part for most folks comes down to hype.

 

To sell more cars, manufacturers continue to promote short-term quality studies that have little or nothing to do with the long-term ownership experience. For example, J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study only covers the first 90 days of ownership, while its long-term survey tracks three-year-old vehicles over a short 12 month span.

 

In a market where the average car and truck is now over 11 years old, a long-term reliability study requires a much longer view of car ownership. For those of us who are looking to find a good used car, or even feel concerned about how a new car will hold up, we should be able to know the longevity of a vehicle for the entire life cycle instead of just a random early point in time.

 

This is why Nick Lariviere and myself have developed the Long-Term Quality Index. With over 550,000 data samples from all over the country, we have been able to look specifically at measuring the three key ingredients that tell you how well a given model has performed in today’s marketplace; mileage, age and condition.

 

To make this study fair and impartial, we have also taken two unique steps that represent a first for long-term reliability studies in the auto industry. The first is removing owner bias. Certain people will always recommend a car simply because that’s what they bought in the past and if something bad happens, they won’t tell you about it. Others are just oblivious to the thumping of a bad transmission, or the knocking of a bad motor. That is why we only have mechanics and skilled professionals appraise the vehicle’s condition.

 

Second, we focus exclusively on condition and longevity. Cars that are either 18 years or older, or have 180,000 or more miles, have endured well past the average life-span of the average vehicle.

 

In our study, we’re finding that only a chosen few can routinely achieve these two levels of longevity without a major mechanical defect. It’s this level of engineering excellence that we want to highlight in our study.

 

So what have we found so far? Some of what you might expect, but a lot of surprises.

 

Rennett Stowe via Twitter

The Over-300,000 Club Is Still Pretty Exclusive: Five types of vehicles make up more than 60% of the cars and trucks with at least 300,000 miles. They are:

By our calculations, these models are about 2.5 times more likely to hit 300,000 miles than any other vehicle.

 

One Nissan model is greater than all of Volkswagen:

We’re not talking about a mid-sized Altima, or the Sentra compact which has become the official taxi south of the border. The biggest surprise so far in the study has been the Nissan Maxima. Older models (2002 and earlier) with the 3-liter engine and four-speed automatic offer exceptional long-term reliability.

 

In the long-term reliability study, 1,038 Maximas out of 4,825 have gone over 180,000 miles (21%), versus only 785 Volkswagens out of 14,518 (5.4%)

 

Cadillac has VW levels of long-term reliability:

Both brands have abysmal long-term reliability with Cadillac scoring the same 5.4% as Volkswagen, which is less than half of the industry average. Head gasket issues for most years of the Northstar V-8 along with high maintenance costs make older Cadillacs a nadir when it comes to finding a long-term keeper.

 

How bad does it get for Cadillac? Well, here’s a shocker for you.

 

Cadillac Cars = Older Kias: If you removed the Cadillac Escalade, which is nothing more than a full-sized primped-up version of the less expensive Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon, the Cadillac brand becomes a true bottom dweller. Kias that were made before Hyundai’s takeover of that brand show similar levels of long-term failure.

 

The Honda Accord Crushes Nearly All of Europe: Thanks in great part to the sound reliability of older Volvos, all European brands are barely able to beat the number of Accords that have been traded-in with over 180,000 miles. The Honda Accord‘s tally of 3,826 trade-ins with over 180,000 out of 12,398 nearly beats Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes, VW, Volvo, Saab, Porsche, and BMW’s sub-brand MINI combined. These European models required a staggering 67,484 vehicles and an army of old Volvos to surpass the mileage tally of one popular Honda model.

 

British Roots Do Not Bear Reliable Fruit: You have about as much chance of dying from an injury this year as you do buying a Land Rover and a Jaguar with outstanding reliability. The chances of both vehicles combined lasting over 180,000 miles before getting kicked to the curb is an eye-popping 1,700:1.

 

The Accord and Camry Are Workhorses: Even with well-known transmission issues for certain six-cylinder Honda Accords, the two most popular mid-sized vehicles continue to be kept for far longer periods of time than their competition. The Accord and Camry have remained cars worth keeping with 28% of all Accords traded-in with over 180,000 miles, and 24% of all Toyota Camrys following suit. Both are more than twice the industry average of 11%.

 

Exceptional Reliability Is Still A Rare Thing: A lot of manufacturers have applied cost-cutting measures and decontenting methods to extremes. These engineering shortcuts often don’t reveal themselves until after the vehicle goes beyond 100,000 miles. However, there is still a very wide gulf that separates the market leaders from the market laggards as those miles and years add up.

 

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Most Ticketed Cars in the US

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:   WALL STREET CHEAT SHEET

Everyone knows a red Ferrari convertible attracts attention from the highway patrol. Pricey speed demons have a certain disadvantage when it comes to moving violations, but their high cost also rules out the young and the reckless — the class of driver known to take the most risks. Believe it or not, you can’t find Mustang, Challenger, or Camaro in the top 20 of most-ticketed automobiles, according to data analyzed by Insurance.com. What’s more, the frumpy Toyota Prius is ticketed more often than a Corvette.

 

Using over 550,000 requests for insurance quotes over the course of a year, Insurance.com put together a list of the cars whose drivers reported getting the most tickets over the previous three years. In the muscle car capital of the world, this list skews, cheap, sporty, and foreign, but there are a few wild cards in the mix. Compared to the 19.9% of all drivers who reported getting a ticket, these cars attracted tickets in 28% to 33% of the situations.

 

Here are the 10 most-ticketed cars on U.S. roads.

 

10. Mazda2

Like the Ford Focus and VW Golf, the Mazda2 has a reputation as a car worth the aftermarket treatment. Cops are aware of this fact as well. In the huge sample size, 28.1% of 2014 Mazda2 drivers had reported violations, about 8% higher than the average car. Numerous offenders had speeding and racing convictions under their belt, which sent insurance premiums skyrocketing. Probably the biggest factor in the Mazda2’s ticket total is its base price. At $14,720, there are many young drivers behind their wheels.

 

9. Toyota FJ Cruiser

Perhaps the unusual color combination on the Toyota FJ Cruiser makes it stand out from the automaker’s other models. Whatever the reason, 28.4% of drivers of these sport utility vehicles have found themselves with a ticket in hand in recent years. Another Toyota that didn’t make the top 10 but was notable on the most ticketed list was the Prius, which locked down 20th place with 27% of owners getting tickets. That was more often than the triumvirate of American muscle cars.

 

8. Scion tC

The compact sport coupe is a recurring style on the list of most ticketed cars on U.S. roads. With a base price under $20K and a reputation for performance, it is no wonder 28.8% of Scion tC drivers reported getting a ticket recently when shopping for a new insurance package. It will hardly come as a surprise that Insurance.com listed speeding as one of the recurring violations for owners of this Scion model.

7. Mercury Topaz

The Mercury Topaz (and its sibling the Ford Tempo) have been out of production since 1994, but a large volume of these rides are still on the street and getting hit with tickets for violations of all sorts. Because liability coverage is all that is necessary for these vintage auto specimen, locking up a cheap rate for a Topaz is possible. Of those who were looking for a price quote, 28.8% had reported being ticketed in the previous three years in the sample of over 550,000 drivers.

 

6. Volkswagen Rabbit

The Volkswagen Golf has been sold under the Rabbit nameplate for several generations of the vehicle, the most recent of which was released in 2004. As drivers of the Golf GTI will attest, these cars are favorites of the aftermarket set for their responsiveness and lightweight body. Even the base 2015 Golf starts below $18K, so expect the new version to stay in the top 10 in ticketed cars for years to come. Speeding was a common infraction among the 29.6% of Rabbit drivers who had been pulled over in recent years.

 

5. Subaru Tribeca

The Tribeca sold so poorly for Subaru that the automaker stopped producing the SUV in 2014. Of the vehicles that are actually on the road, drivers are racking up tickets at a prodigious pace. Insurance.com data showed 29.7% of Tribeca drivers receiving tickets in the three years up to the 2014 study. Though the volumes are surely lower than many other cars on this list, the Tribeca’s rate of ticketing is the highest in the utility vehicle segment.

 

4. Toyota Supra

Insurance.com reported citations for driving without insurance popping up for Supra owners, but it is safe to say speeding is the pastime of choice for this enthusiast’s favorite. The Mark IV, which was the last generation Supra built from 1993 to 2002, led the pack for this performance model. Overall, 30.8% of Supra drivers said they had been ticketed in recent years when shopping for a new rate.

 

3. Scion FR-S

The Scion FR-S is always popping up on lists of hot performance cars around $25K, so there is no mystery as to why it broke the top three in most ticketed vehicles on U.S. roads. Almost one third (32.6%) of FR-S drivers had been cited for some type of violation over the previous three years in the Insurance.com study, which sent premiums skyrocketing for a driver with multiple speeding tickets.

 

2. Pontiac GTO

Like the Topaz and Supra, the Pontiac GTO may have ended its production run long ago but still reels in a high number of tickets. A robust 32.7% of GTO owners had received a citation over the previous three years. As one of the original American muscle cars, the GTO holds a unique place on the most ticketed list, but this last generation was an import from GM’s Australian subsidiary, Holden. Standard hood scoops and 350 horsepower would explain its high position among this group.

 

1. Subaru WRX

Always on the list of best performance cars under $40K, the Subaru Impreza WRX is built for speed. It usually tops the list of cars ripe for aftermarket upgrades as well. The combination of racing stock and low price point makes it a magnet for tickets, and 33.6% of WRX drivers reported they had been cited in the three years prior to shopping for insurance quotes. WRX STI performance variants featuring 305 horsepower likely have even higher ticketing rates. It’s safe to say cops have this car on their radar
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Best Selling Vehicles in October

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:   WALL STREET CHEAT SHEET

 

The world’s seven largest automakers don’t seem spooked by the record level of recalls throughout the industry, and neither of the consumers. Cumulatively, auto sales surged 5.8% during the month of October, and on an annualized basis, global sales should reach or exceed 16 million cars for the eighth month in a row.

 

 

Growth rates at Jeep and Ram put Fiat Chrysler in a leading position, and Chevrolet and GMC both saw gains as well, though Cadillac served as an anchor and GM gained just 0.5% for the month. Nissan, Toyota, and Honda all saw meaningful gains, though Ford’s sales haltered.

 

“For Ford, the slow month was not unexpected. The company is currently undergoing some serious revamps to its production process as it gears up for the unleashing of the all-aluminum F-150 pickup truck,” Sam Becker from the Autos Cheat Sheet wrote. “General Motors, on the other hand, is still trying to claw its way back from an absolutely disastrous beginning to the year, in which the company was forced to recall millions of vehicles.”

 

As for the top 10 best-selling vehicles of the month, there were few surprises, but recent model updates and refreshes have done their part to boost growth for several vehicles. See how the top selling vehicles in the country faired in our ranking below, courtesy of Cars.com’s Kicking Tires blog.

10. Honda Civic

An 11.6% decline in sales to 24,154 units versus the October from a year ago put the Honda Civic in tenth place, a few spots behind its usual 7th-5th place finishes. While other compacts have been renewed for 2015, the Civic is still riding its 2014 refresh, which seems to be losing its spark; sales for the year through October sit at 277,584, or 1.2% below the same 10 months of 2013.

 

9. Chevrolet Cruze

Though it’s very much the same car from 2014, Chevrolet made a few tweaks to its popular Cruze for the 2015 model year, and the results appear to have made quite a splash. Sales of the compact carleapt 51% over October of last year, and sales of the car for the year to date of 232,403 units puts the Cruze ahead of the same period last year by 9.7%.

 

8. Ford Escape

Despite little to no change for the 2015 model year, Ford’s popular crossover SUV got a 12% boost to 24,919 units for October, putting its year-to-date tally at 255,081 vehicles sold since January. This translates into a year-to-date gain of 1.8%, which is admirable for the Escape, which is starting to age against newer competition.

 

7. Toyota Corolla

Toyota’s venerable Corolla seemed to get off to a slower start coming off its redesign for the 2014 model year, but it has kept up enough steam throughout the year to maintain its rank of 7th for October on a 5.6% gain, or 24,959 units. Overall, the venerable Corolla — which was one of the first cars to wear Toyota’s new design language — is up 10.3% on the year, to 283,764 cars.

6. Honda Accord

The Accord has been on a winning streak this year, occasionally outselling the consumer favorite Camry and at one point, even the Chevrolet Silverado for a second place finish in the monthly rankings. Sales in October tempered, however, to 27,128 units, which is still good for a solid 7.8% gain, and the car is up 7.9% on the year with 331,510 units moved.

 

5. Honda CR-V

With the 2015 model year refresh hitting dealerships about now, the Honda CR-V is seeing a reigniting of consumer interest. October sales spiked to 29.7%, or 29,257 units, to leave the popular crossover SUV up 7.4% on the year, at 270,272 models sold since January.

 

4. Toyota Camry

America’s favorite midsize sedan has gotten a healthy redesign for the 2015 model year, to help shed its beige personality with a sportier, bolder appearance. Now arriving at dealers, the new Camry saw October sales surge 13.8% to 33,164 cars, leaving its year-to-date sales up 5.7% at 368,142 units with two selling months left in the year.

 

3. Ram Pickup

Ram has been on fire this year, essentially from start to finish. That streak continued through October, as the brand sold 39,834 pickups, to seal a 33.5% spike over October’s sales from last year. This leaves Ram’s pickups — the 1500 line and the larger heavy duties as well — at 359,702 models sold since January, or a 22.9% leap over the same sales period of 2013.

 

2. Chevrolet Silverado

After a disconcertingly slow start for Chevy’s updated line of pickups, the portfolio has thrown the salesthrottle open and sold 46,966 pickups in October, for a handsome 10.1% year-on-year gain over October of 2013. So far this year, Chevrolet has sold 429,119 of the bow tie-branded pickups, leaving the truck 6.4% in the green for the year so far.

 

1. Ford F-Series

As Ford readies to transition from the 2014 to 2015 model year F-Series pickups, the company has seen a dip in sales leading up to the awaited release — perhaps in anticipation. That streak continued through October with 63,410 units moved, or down 0.6% from October of 2013. To date, Ford has sold 620,447 trucks, which falls behind the first 10 months of last year by 0.5%.

 

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2015 Car of the Year

 

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  YAHOO AUTOS

 

Overwhelming. That was our first reaction as we began the task of choosing the best new car for our annual Yahoo Autos Car of the Year. The previous winners — the Tesla Model S in 2013, and the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray in 2014 — had been drawn from a tight pack of favorites. The 2015 model year offered dozens of new models, yet not one had emerged as the front-runner by the time we assembled in California last month.

That would hold true as we winnowed our choices down to 17 vehicles and ran them through our most extensive battery of tests to date — with hundreds of miles of driving loops and countless sessions around our autocross course. We set loose at speed, opened and closed everything with a hinge and debated questions from the nature of transportation in the 21st century to seat-fabric stitching to whether 707 hp was too much or just enough.

 

2015 Yahoo Autos Car of the Year. Photo illustration by Robert Kerian
2015 Yahoo Autos Car of the Year. Photo illustration by Robert Kerian

 

Yes, our gathering included the whooping Dodge Challenger Hellcat, along with that other high-end piece of Detroit iron, the Chevy Camaro Z28. Ford sent the new Ford Mustang Ecoboost, while the luxury performance world was represented by the Alfa Romeo 4C and BMW M235i. From the more affordable side came the Honda FitSubaru WRX and a pair of new midsize sedans, the Hyundai Sonata and Chrysler 200C. For luxury cars, we invited the Mercedes-Benz C-ClassHyundai GenesisKia K900Acura TLX and Maserati Ghibli. Rounding out our class was the Mercedes GLA-Class and the quirky BMW i3 electric car.

When we ran our final poll, none of the editors chose the same top three models — yet only one car landed on most lists and topped a majority, proving itself worthy of our highest endorsement. For 2015, our Yahoo Autos Car of the Year honor belongs to the new Volkswagen Golf GTI.

As we have in years past, the editors at Yahoo Autos weighed five categories when making their choices: Performance, efficiency, value, design and engineering — not just how well individual pieces worked, but how they meshed as a whole. Because we were judging so many different types of vehicles, managing editor Justin Hyde offered what he called the Westminster Kennel Club rule: A car has to be among the best in its breed before it can compete for the top prize.

 

 

In that light, the GTI might seem like a dachshund winning Best in Show. The previous generations of the 40-year-old hot hatchback brand have built a fervent but limited fan base in the United States. “A lot of people who were attracted to the GTI over the years would walk away because it was too small, too expensive or too European for them,” said Hyde. “This 2015 edition should make them reconsider.”

Built from VW’s new MQB chassis — an attempt to make a Lego-like kit of parts to underpin almost any size and style of vehicle — the 2015 GTI has grown longer, lower and lighter; about two inches in overall length and wheelbase, about 80 lbs. fewer overall. On the inside, those extra inches have gone into cargo space; the GTI now has 22.8 cu. ft. behind the rear seats, more than our favorite compact car from 2014, the Mazda3.

Outside, the new dimensions and sharper bodywork make the GTI the most attractive model VW sells on these shores. Inside, the cabin and sightlines feel solid and Germanic in the best sense. The interior “brings Audi-level refinement,” said contributing editor Steve Siler. “I wish the styling had evolved a bit more, because no one will be able to tell how much better it is merely by looking.”

Power comes from the traditional 2-liter turbo four, boosted this year to 210 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, paired with either a six-speed manual or six-speed, dual-clutch automatic with launch control.

But that’s not exactly what we drove. Instead, our tests of a four-door automatic GTI included what VW calls the Performance Pack — a set of upgrades that adds 10 hp, better brakes and a trick new style of limited-slip differential known as VAQ. Like its competitors such as the Ford Focus ST, the regular GTI has software that can lightly blip an individual front brake to even power delivery. The VAQ goes much further; it’s a set of electric clutches and software controls on the front driveshaft that anticipates what wheel needs more power. In the right moment, VAQ can send the engine’s entire grunt to one wheel, and add power when coming out of a turn to nearly eliminate understeer.

No other front-wheel-drive car in the world has this technology, and it’s the key innovation that defines the GTI and set it apart on our custom-built autocross route. You might assume, that, being front-wheel drive, the GTI would have a hard time navigating the tight, twisty course we constructed — the kind that makes such cars stumble into curve-destroying understeer.

 

 

Only it didn’t. The GTI managed a 44.9 second lap time in editor/racer Alex Lloyd’s hands, bumper to bumper with that of the Ford Mustang and not too far off the more powerful, rear-wheel-drive BMW M235i. The only hint of understeer came under hard acceleration from tighter turns. Trail-braking into a corner, the hot hatch is lively — the rear end dances on its toes. At corner apex, the slowest part of the turn, there’s a delightful pivot around the front axle that none of us have personally experienced before from a front-wheel drive machine.

The GTI also beat the 707-hp Challenger Hellcat on our autocross, by a decent margin. Admittedly, the big ol’ Hellcat isn’t at home on such a tight course, but it’s an able demonstration of the GTI’s prowess. The GTI’s time was a far cry from the 40.5-second fast lap set by the Camaro Z28, but then the Z28 was built to go fast around a track and little else.

The GTI, however, can ably serve as a Costco-to-schoolhouse shuttle. The rear seat of the GTI was more comfortable than some of the midsize cars we tested. The suspension lets you feel the road but not so much that you tire of driving around rough urban pavement. And, as we’ve seen, it can handle itself on track with more poise and dignity than expensive cars whose handing was their calling card. Did we mention it was faster than a Subaru WRX?

“Out on the streets, it’s composed with excellent road feedback that makes you feel connected,” said road test editor Aki Sugawara, “yet it’s still refined enough to pass as a luxury car.”

When we ran down our five categories, the Golf GTI shined in all of them. As equipped, our GTI was rated at 25 mpg city/33 mpg highway. Sticker price on our full-boat edition was $31,040, but the regular GTI starts around $24,000 for a two-door stick (with the traditional plaid-cloth seats), and the performance pack will list for $1,495 when it becomes available next month.

The GTI “constantly delivers more than you expect,” said Lloyd. “It’s a lovely cruiser, nippy and fun during city driving, and downright magnificent for a front-wheel drive machine on the autocross.” For all those reasons and more, we’re glad to welcome the Volkswagen Golf GTI into our garage of vehicles we’ve deemed worthy of being a Yahoo Autos Car of the Year.

Five other cars impressed us enough to earn their own individual accolades as the best new vehicles in the performance, enthusiast, luxury, value and green categories, and several others came close. Click the tiles below to see what cars prevailed, and which ones left us wanting more.

 

 

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Car Buying Mistakes to Avoid

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  WALL STREET CHEAT SHEET

 

Vehicles can convey status, personality, or even individuality with the decorations we place on them. When we see a person driving a mini-van covered in bumper stickers that read “my child earned the honor roll at School Hall elementary,” it’s relatively easy to note that vehicle more than likely belongs to a parent, and one who is proud of her children’s achievements. Or, when we see a nicely-dressed person driving a $100,000 car, we peg that individual as wealthy.

Buying a new car — or new used car — is exciting. It’s a time when you can change the image that came along with your old vehicle, and it’s also a time when you can shop for the state of the art features and technology that may not have been on the market when you purchased your last vehicle. For those who drive a “beater,” buying a new car is especially exciting, as a smooth ride, well-functioning systems, and comfort may not have been present in you old car. Some people look forward to simply having a car that won’t break down periodically.

In the midst of all of the excitement, people make mistakes when buying a car. We scoured the internet and spoke to a few dealerships to find out some of these mistakes, and how to avoid them.

Failing to evaluate your personal budget and finances

Before you even walk into the dealership, you should examine your budget with a fine-toothed comb. Find out exactly how much you can afford to spend on a vehicle payment, warranties and extras, insurance (including gap insurance), and your max budget for the total price of the vehicle. The worst thing you can do is base your vehicle’s price and payment amount on the advice of the dealership, and what they will approve you for.

If you intend on trading in a vehicle, know your car’s appraisal value prior to visiting the dealership and also, know the exact amounts (if any) that you owe on your previous vehicle loan. There are a variety of websites that will provide you with an estimated appraisal amount in a matter of a few moments. “Be sure to print out the details and bring them with you to the dealership. If you don’t think you’re getting a fair deal, you might be better off selling the car on your own, either to a private party or to the used-car superstore CarMax,” suggests Edmunds.com.

Inadequate research

Data published by Dealer Refresh indicate that 83% of people conduct online research prior to buying a car. Sites like KBB.comTruecar.com, and CarFax.com provide essential information you need to know about a vehicle before you buy, like its blue book value, its history, and reviews from otherconsumers.

Although the vast majority of people use these resources to their advantage, there is still a portion of car-buyers — 17% — who do not use these resources. The National Automobile Dealers Association reports that in September, there were around 1.2 million light vehicle sales. If the purchasers of these vehicles followed the same patterns — over 200,000 of them failed to perform this online research.

Lastly, take some time to review the online inventory at several dealerships. It’ll increase your knowledge of competitor pricing and also narrow your search significantly.

Being overeager — impulse buying

When you see that beautiful SUV, with the back-up camera, upgraded sound system, and leather interior, it’s really hard not to fall in love. But, it’s better to take your time to find the right car than rush into an impulse buy. A car is a serious purchase, and second to a home, it’s often the largest purchase people make.

With such a large purchase, it’s essential that you make a decision with a level head. If you feel overly eager to get out your checkbook and drive away in the floor model, it’s probably best to leave the dealership and come back another day. Ideally, you should shop around at several dealerships before you make a purchasing decision anyway.

Failing to consider the options

The people who walk into the dealership, pick a car, sign the papers, and let the dealership staff lead the transaction often end up spending more than they wanted to. Enter each dealership prepared. If possible, obtain pre-approval from a bank or credit union so that the dealership has to compete with those rates if they want to finance you for a vehicle. If they can’t compete, obtain the loan from your credit union or bank. Having that option provides you with the upper hand.

Also, contact your insurance company, as well as some other insurance companies, prior to shopping. Try and find out the estimated cost to insure your top picks so you can factor insurance costs into your decision making process. It’s also prudent to find out if your insurance company provides gapinsurance coverage and if so, how much it costs. This way, when the finance office offers you gap coverage, you can make an informed decision.

Finally, give yourself some wiggle room. Save enough of a down payment to be able to decide how much you want to put down, instead of being in a situation where you barely have enough to cover a down payment.

 

 

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