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Posts Tagged ‘Nissan’

Check Here to See if your Car Affected by the Air Bag Recall

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  MERCURY NEWS

 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has expanded the number of vehicles and manufacturers covered by a warning about air bags. Ten automakers and almost 8 million vehicles are covered.

 

The agency is urging owners to get air bags repaired due to the potential danger to drivers and passengers. NHTSA says inflator mechanisms in the air bags made by Takata Corp. can rupture, causing metal fragments to fly out when the bags are deployed.

 

On Monday the agency included 4.7 million vehicles on a list. But Wednesday it added multiple models and removed about 133,000 older General Motors cars that were put on the list by mistake. NHTSA says the number of vehicles could still change because some may have been double-counted.

 

The agency is urging people in high-humidity areas such as Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii and “limited areas near the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Louisiana” to get their cars repaired quickly.

 

The safety agency urges owners to use their vehicle identification number on manufacturer sites to see if vehicles are have been recalled by the manufacturer.

 

Here’s the latest list of models:

 

BMW:

Total affected: 627,615

Models: 2000 to 2005 3 Series Sedan, 2000 to 2006 3 Series Coupe, 2000 to 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon, 2000 to 2006 3 Series Convertible, 2001 to 2006 M3 Coupe and M3 Convertible.

Chrysler:

Total affected: 371,309.

Models: 2003 to 2008 Ram 1500, 2005 to 2008 Ram 2500, 2006 to 2008 Ram 3500 and 4500, 2008 Ram 5500, 2005 to 2008 Dodge Durango, Dodge Dakota, and Chrysler 300; 2007 to 2008 Chrysler Aspen.

 

Ford:

Total affected: 58,669 (Field service campaign)

Models: 2004 Ranger, 2005 and 2006 GT, 2005 to 2007 Mustang.

 

General Motors:

Total affected: About 10,000

Models: 2003 to 2005 Pontiac Vibe made by Toyota, 2005 Saab 9-2X made by Subaru.

 

Honda:

Total affected: 5,051,364

Models: 2001 to 2007 Accord, 2001 to 2005 Civic, 2002 to 2006 CR-V, 2003 to 2011 Element, 2002 to 2004 Odyssey, 2003 to 2007 Pilot, 2006 Ridgeline, 2003 to 2006 Acura MDX, 2002 to 2003 Acura TL/CL, 2005 Acura RL.

 

Mazda:

Total affected: 64,872

Models: 2003 to 2007 Mazda6, 2006 to 2007 MazdaSpeed6, 2004 to 2008 RX-8, 2004 to 2005 MPV, 2004 B-Series Truck.

 

Mitsubishi:

Total affected: 11,985

Models: 2004 to 2005 Lancer, 2006 to 2007 Raider.

 

Nissan:

Total affected: 694,626

Models: 2001 to 2003 Maxima, 2001 to 2004 Pathfinder, 2002 to 2004 Sentra, 2001 to 2004 Infiniti I30/I35, 2002 to 2003 Infiniti QX4, 2003 to 2005 Infiniti FX35/FX45.

 

Subaru:

Total affected: 17,516

Models: 2003 to 2005 Baja, 2003 to 2005 Legacy, 2003 to 2005 Outback, 2004 to 2005 Impreza.

 

Toyota:

Total affected: 877,000

Models: 2002 to 2005 Toyota Corolla, 2003 to 2005 Matrix, 2002 to 2005 Sequoia, 2003 to 2005 Tundra, 2002 to 2005 Lexus SC.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, automakers.

 

 

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RECALL – 1.6 Million BMW’s for Airbag Concerns

REPOSTED BY  MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS – AUTO   FROM:  CNN MONEY

BMW Group is recalling 1.6 million of its popular 3 Series vehicles, making it the latest global automaker to issue a massive recall based on concerns over safety.

Last month the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said seven automakers — BMW, Honda (HMC), Nissan (NSANF), Toyota (TM), Mazda (MZDAF), Chrysler andFord (F) – would be recalling vehicles to fix a possible safety defect in air bag inflators built by the Japanese firm, Takata.

 

Thousands of GM (GM) vehicles have also been recalled over similar Takata-built airbag problems.

 

The recall affects BMW cars manufactured between mid-1999 and mid-2006. The company said roughly 574,000 cars could be recalled in the U.S.

 

This follows a NHTSA investigation into six reports of airbag inflator ruptures that occurred in other vehicles, all of which happened in Florida and Puerto Rico. High levels of humidity are believed to contribute to the airbag problem. Over 7.9 million vehicles have been recalled globally due to the problem.

 

BMW said it had not received any reports about problems with its airbags.

 

Including an earlier announcement, BMW has now recalled about 1.8 million 3 Series vehicles over these airbag issues. Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mazda have also recalled millions of vehicles related to issues with the Takata-made airbag inflators.

Takata said last month it would work with the automakers to replace the problematic parts in Puerto Rico, Florida, Hawaii, and the Virgin Islands — places that are known to have high humidity.

 

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF CAR WINDOW TINTING, ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS , MORE INFORMATION ABOUT AUTO GLASS TINTING IN CHICAGO, OR FOR A CAR TINTING QUOTECONTACT MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS 

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Who’s the Bargain King – Testing America’s 3 Cheapest New Cars


REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:   YAHOO AUTOS/MOTORMIC

 

My life is cheap cars, and cheap cars are my life, especially those with character. So when I was asked to figure out what new car in today’s market is truly the best of the three cheapest new cars available, I decided to focus less on market segments, and more on the long-term qualities of the vehicle.

 

This presented a unique problem; availability. It took weeks to organize this comparison primarily because nearly every inexpensive vehicle available to the media is an automatic, and typically loaded with every option. I contacted the manufacturers, visited enthusiast forums for the specific models, and talked up dealers in order to find that good, cheap car that is truly worth your pennies.

 

I also held firm to one important belief: Manual transmissions always sell for less than automatics these days in everything short of all-out sports cars and off-road vehicles. Fewer folks can drive a stick these days, so, if you want to find the best cheap car in today’s market, you’re gonna have to hit ‘em where they ain’t.

 

To figure out which car would be the best deal for a true tightwad, I also made an extreme assumption. I surmised that a typical cheapskate owner will try to keep his or her car for 15 years and 225,000 miles. This sounds a little crazy, but the average car on the road is now nearly 12 years old. The long-term keepers among us who see cars as a rolling spreadsheet will value the gas-sippers mightily, especially if these high-milers have to endure the miseries of a daily commute.

 

This is what I found:

 

 

The Pretender: 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage

The Mitsubishi Mirage is not a bad car. Let me rephrase that. The Mitsubishi Mirage is not thatbad of a car.

 

The exterior is, as you would expect, a love-it or hate-it affair. Some women thought the Mirage was cheerful and cute. Most men thought the Kiwi Green subcompact looked like something between a frog and an insectozoid. I liked the smallness of the package and, after bestowing the name Kermit to my driving companion, I started driving it throughout the small towns of North Georgia.

 

The Mirage does have a few strong pluses, the most surprising of which is space. One of my mechanics who is 6-foot-8 was able to sit comfortably in the back seat. I quickly found that the Mirage’s tall roofline offered the opportunity to fit a lot of items that larger-sized competition would never be able to swallow.

 

The Mirage is also a class leader when it comes to fuel economy. The stick-shift has a slightly notchy feel to it, but this could be an advantage – if you are interested in learning to drive a stick, it would be the easiest of the three. Although the Mirage’s 1.2-liter, three-cylinder engine, at 72 hp, trails every new model on the road save the Smart, the Mirage is a good fit for customers who never test a vehicle’s full capability. Just expect to rev the Mirage’s engine a lot more than others.

 

Unfortunately, the Mirage is also not so much of a car as a generic form of wheeled transportation, like those isles of white boxes that every supermarket once offered in favor of fancy goods with brand names.

 

The accommodations are scant to the point of weirdness. The higher-end ES model that I sampled offered all sorts of once-exciting “options” such as alloy wheels, traction control and power mirrors. But it didn’t have features that were in economy cars 20 years ago, such as a center dome light on the headliner or a center armrest. Everywhere you looked, there was evidence of cost containment, from the one tiny cupholder for the entire rear seat, to roll-down windows that you just had to keep applying varying levels of force to get down.

 

The engine was also downright terrible on an upward incline. Forget mountains: the Mirage could get beaten up a hill by kudzu. The fourth gear in most other economy cars was replaced by the aural screaming of a third gear trying to help a little engine that barely could.

 

All that said, city dwellers will have different needs from country folk. If all you truly need is to get from Boring Point A to Boring Point B in the most economical new vehicle possible, the Mirage may truly be your 21st-century Geo Metro. It averaged an impressive 44 miles per gallon during my time with it, and even squeezed out a near-hybrid 50+ miles per gallon while driving through the winding, mostly-flattish roads of small-town America.

 

Was the Mirage the cheapest? No, and this is why: Its miserly fuel consumption comes at a hidden cost, and that cost is maintenance.

 

Buried deep within the maintenance schedule is an unfortunate reality that all three-cylinder car owners must endure: valve adjustments. In the Mirage’s case, this procedure is recommended roughly every 30,000 miles. The owner’s manual asks you to listen for a ticking noise and adjust when needed, “if valve noise increases adjust valve clearance,” which is legal shorthand for, “if you don’t do it and it breaks, too bad.” The cost of this service at the dealership is $299 which, over the course of seven visits, would come to well over $2,000. As a guy who deals with dealers every single day, I don’t see any of them not recommending this service. Sorry.

 

Is the Mirage the cheapest car to own then? It depends on whether you are willing to do your own valve adjustments. At a TrueCar price of $13,345, this entry level Mitsubishi rang up as the second cheapest when it came to purchase price, but it’s just not quite there when it comes to real-world, long-term ownership.

 

The Contender: Nissan Versa S

Loss leaders are both a blessing and a curse in the car business.

 

The good news is that they help make the lower-end of a market segment more competitive. Whether it is Lexus selling the first LS for only $35,000 back when it first came out in 1989, or Nissan shocking the industry with a Versa that sold for only $9,995 five years ago, these cars often times redefine the expectations of car buyers who are looking for an outstanding deal.

 

The problem comes with age. Eventually, the prices for these vehicles move up quickly, to the point when they no longer represent the best deal in the marketplace. That’s what happened with the Nissan Versa. First off, this car has become so rare where I live that I had to drive a near-new, 5,000-mile unit at Carmax before finally getting my hands on a new one that had just arrived at a new car dealership. Apparently, base Versas are an endangered species these days.

 

Second, once I was given the keys, it became apparent that the spunky base Versa I drove five years ago has evolved into a very different car. There is a thinness to nearly every physical aspect of the Versa. The hood, the doors, the cheap black interior panels…the cost-cutting and de-contenting of the base model Versa model is stark, to the point where I wondered whether the car would hold up over time. Consumer Reports recently stated that the customer satisfaction rating for the Versa was the lowest in its price class, and after driving the absolute base model, I understood why.

 

The 1.6-liter, 109-hp engine has an almost guttural sound. And surprisingly, in terms of real-world performance, it offers none of the underpowered, penurious thrust of the 72-horsepower Mirage. You can take on any highway or mountain road with confidence.

Nissan Versa interiorNissan Versa interior

The Versa is also in dire need of more sound-deadening material at highway speeds, and the five-speed stick shift that’s coupled with the anemic 1.6 shaves about 10 percent of the fuel efficiency boasted by the more upscale versions (27 city / 36 mpg highway vs. 30 city and 39 highway). A light foot and the Versa’s low-rolling resistance tires, which are new for 2014, help negate this difference. The Versa closely matched the Mirage’s 44 mpg with a laudable 42 mpg. But the bottom line is that a Versa S makes the trade of pinching pennies up front in exchange for losing more of them as time goes on.

 

Driving around in the base Versa is almost like riding around in an exoskeleton. All of the outlines of a bigger car are there, and the Versa will definitely help you get there in a far more comfortable manner than the Mirage when it comes to highway driving. However, it just doesn’t have any of the upscale touches that would make you want to keep it for the long haul. The audio quality was far worse than the Mirage, the interior carpeting seemed to be painfully thin, and although the amount of interior room is the best in this price class, the inability to fold down the rear seats infringes on the practicality of that design.

 

In person, the Versa S struck me as the engineering for a marketing idea of “the lowest-priced car in America.” It is, but it’s not. The Versa starts with an $11,990 MSRP and an $810 destination charge. However, the Nissan dealers in metro Atlanta have some of the highest documentation processing fees in the marketplace and, overall, the cheapest Versa S that I found ended up being $13,018 according to TrueCar.com at Town Center Nissan in Kennesaw, Ga. The Versa is an overall better deal than the Mirage, and is cheaper to own in the long run. But it’s not the best deal in the entry level market.

 

 

The Cheap Car Winner: 2014 Chevy Sonic

If we were solely to compare apples to apples with comparable sticker prices and features, theChevy Spark would have likely been our final entrant. The sticker price on the base model is only within a few hundred dollars of the Versa, and also within shouting distance of the similarly-equipped Mirage.

 

However, in the real world of car buying, fashions and marketing budgets often trump value. The new, popular car that is heavily advertised is often sold at little-to-no discount, while vehicles that are in the twilight of their model run become the better, quieter alternative.

 

This is what we discovered with the Chevy Sonic. The MSRP of just over $16,018 for the sedan version was whittled down to a TrueCar real-world price of $13,648 at Day’s Chevrolet in Acworth, Ga., while the hatchback version was available for $14,068 at the same dealership.

 

At that price point, the Sonic obliterates the competition by nearly every single measure: interior accommodations, features, safety, fun, and material quality. The 1.8-liter, 138-hp engine powering this sub-$15,000 car is the same exact one that’s in a loaded $25,000 Chevy Cruze, as is the five-speed gearbox which offers a sporting feel that neither the Versa nor the Mirage can approach.

 

The interior is adorned in a tasteful two-tone design with surfaces that are eons better than the hard, thin plastics of the competition. You get six speakers instead of four or two, along with a touch-screen radio system surrounded by dual cubbyholes which can hold everything from an iPhone to wallets large and small. Nearly all the features that were missing in the Versa and Mirage, from the small touch of a comfortable armrest to the big difference of a five-star overall safety rating, were pleasingly standard in the Sonic.

 

There were three areas where the Sonic fell just short of the competition. For one, I recorded a real-world fuel economy number of only 37 mpg for the Sonic. Keep in mind, though, that I have a light foot and live in the ex-urbs. Those with heavier feet and flatter terrain will likely find the Mirage the most forgiving with regard to fuel economy.

 

Secondly, the GM warranty falls short of Mitsubishi in terms of time (five years vs. ten years for the Mirage) while matching it in terms of mileage at 100,000 miles. The Nissan warranty is for five years / 60,000 miles on the powertrain.

 

Finally, the Sonic is simply not the cheapest over the course of 15 years and 225,000 miles, either. Which car was? As it turns out, the Versa was the best with a light foot and for those who live in mountainous or hilly area, while the Mirage would be the likely winner for those who do a lot of in-town driving over terrain that is mostly flat. In either scenario, both have a financial advantage over the Sonic which translates into approximately $1 a day.

 

Is the Sonic worth it? To me, the answer is an emphatic yes, but keep in mind that there are other vehicles out there, such as the Ford Fiesta and the Mazda 2, that offer similar value thanks to those models being in the final year of their model run. The last year for a model tends to offer the highest level of quality, and the most competitive price in today’s marketplace.

 

So if you are looking to get a long-term keeper instead of a car that only looks good on a financial spreadsheet, broaden your horizons a bit, and shop for a car with the right combination of a slightly higher price and a lower level of popularity. Just because you’re thrifty with your money doesn’t mean you have to drive a bad car.

 

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF CAR WINDOW TINTING, ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS , MORE INFORMATION ABOUT AUTO GLASS TINTING IN CHICAGO, OR FOR A CAR TINTING QUOTECONTACT MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS 

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GM’s Best Sales Since 2007

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASSS TINTERS FROM:  CNN MONEY

 

After a double-whammy of bad news, GM had something to cheer about today – its June sales.

 

The automaker said June sales rose 1% from a year earlier, marking its best performance for the month since 2007.

 

“I’m pleased with the numbers across the board. I was looking for GM’s June sales to be down 5 or 6%,” said George Magliano, auto economist at IHS Global Insight.

 

The improved figures come after more than 27 million GM vehicles have been recalled in the U.S. this year. That includes 7.6 million vehicles announced Monday, part of worldwide recalls totaling 8.4 million.

 

The company has recalled nearly as many cars in 2014 as all automakers did in the record year for recalls, 2004.

 

GM has come under intense scrutiny for a decade-long delay in publicly revealing an ignition switch flaw that resulted in at least 13 deaths and numerous injuries. The company retained attorney Ken Feinberg to develop a victim compensation plan, which he outlined Monday.

 

But there hasn’t been a noticeable impact in the showroom.

 

In particular, its Buick brand had its best sales since 2006. Deliveries were up 18% from a year ago, driven by an 82% increase in sales of the Encore, its small crossover SUV.

 

It was also the strongest June in 7 years for Chrysler, whose sales were up 9%.

 

Ford (F) reported a 6% decline in sales last month that Magliano of IHS called “disappointing”. But despite that overall decline, Ford said its Fusion and Transit models had their best June ever.

 

Asian automakers also reported gains in June. Nissan’s sales were up 5.3%, Toyota (TM)’s sales were up 3.3%, and Hyundai’s June sales gained 3.7% from a year ago.

 

One particularly weak report came from Volkswagen. U.S. sales plunged 22% from a year ago, despite starting delivery of its all new Golf GTI model.

 

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REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  YAHOO AUTOS/REUTERS

 

Honda Motor Co and other Japanese automakers on Monday recalled almost 3 million cars with potentially explosive air bags supplied by Takata Corp, bringing the total recall so far to about 10.5 million vehicles over the past five years.

 

The series of recalls cover both passenger-side and driver-side air bags, which the world’s second-biggest automotive safety parts maker manufactured in 2000-02. The total ranks it among the five biggest recalls in the industry’s history.

 

And the tally is expanding further as Honda and six other automakers also said on Monday they were recalling more vehicles in some high humidity regions in the United States, in what they called a “field action” at the request of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to replace Takata air bag inflators.

 

In the wider action, Honda said it was recalling about 2.03 million vehicles globally over potentially flawed Takata air bag inflators made in 2000-02 with a risk of exploding and shooting out shrapnel at drivers and passengers, expanding a recall from April 2013. It cited how explosive material used to inflate Takata passenger-side air bags had been handled and processed in 2000-02 at plants in the United States and Mexico.

 

Nissan said it would recall 755,000 vehicles worldwide, while Mazda said it would call back 159,807 vehicles, both also expanding April 2013 recalls.

 

Takata Chief Executive Officer Shigehisa Takada and Chief Operating Officer Stefan Stocker said the company was working with safety regulators and car makers. “We will aim to further strengthen our quality control system and work united as a company to prevent problems from happening again,” they said in a statement.

 

A Takata spokeswoman said it was unclear what the financial impact of the recalls would be, but last year’s recalls cost the supplier $300 million. The 2013 recalls were intended to close the book on a problem that emerged as early as 2007 and has been linked to two deaths.

 

Separately, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Ford, Chrysler and BMW said they are conducting regional recalls in the United States to replace Takata air bag inflators in certain vehicles in high humidity regions of Puerto Rico, Florida, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands. Most of the companies said NHTSA had determined the regions affected, when asked why other humid areas were not covered.

 

However, Honda is also recalling affected vehicles in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas.

 

Ford said it was recalling 58,669 vehicles, including certain 2005-2007 model Mustang cars, 2005-2006 model GTs and 2004 Ranger pickup trucks. Mazda said the recall affects about 34,600 vehicles, including 2003-2006 Mazda6, 2004-2008 RX8 and 2006-2007 MazdaSpeed6 cars, and 2004 MPVs. None of the other automakers have determined the number of vehicles affected.

 

NHTSA did not have an immediate comment.

 

Nissan said it is determining which models are affected by the recall. A Chrysler spokesman said the 2006 Dodge Charger was the affected model but the scope beyond that has not been determined. BMW said 2001-2006 model year 3 Series cars were affected, while a wide range of Honda models were covered.

 

TURNING OFF AIR BAGS

The recalls come as General Motors is under scrutiny over why it took more than a decade to discover a faulty ignition switch linked to at least 13 deaths.

 

Monday’s global recalls by Honda, Mazda and Nissan follow Toyota’s recall last week. Prior to Monday, the four Japanese car makers and BMW had recalled 7.6 million vehicles equipped with potentially defective air bags.

 

Short of Takata replacement parts, the automakers said they would turn off air bags in Japan as customers bring recalled vehicles into dealerships – judging that an inoperable passenger side air bag is safer than a potentially defective one.

 

In the United States, NHTSA opened a probe earlier this month on whether Takata inflators made after 2002 are prone to fail, and whether driving in high humidity contributes to the risk of air bag explosions.

 

In a June 11 letter to the NHTSA, Takata said it would support “regional campaigns” to replace certain driver-side air bag inflators made between January 2004 and June 2007, as well as certain passenger-side inflators made between June 2000 and July 2004. Takata said it will support the replacement of those inflators in vehicles in high humidity areas of Puerto Rico, Florida, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands.

 

But it did not admit that there is any “safety defect” in the air bags, saying information currently available does not indicate that.

 

Among previous large-scale global recalls, about 14 million Ford vehicles were affected over a 10-year period to 2009 over a faulty cruise control deactivation switch. From 2009, Toyota recalled more than 9 million vehicles related to unintended acceleration and, in 2012, recalled more than 7.4 million vehicles to fix power window switches

 

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Consumer Reports’ 6 Popular Cars to Avoid

REPOSTED FROM CONSUMER REPORTS BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS – AUTO

 

Our auto experts test dozens of cars every year. In addition to pushing them to their limits on our professional track, they use them for daily transportation, commuting, ferrying around kids, going on road trips, and so on. They get to know each car inside and out. And they learn which ones they’d consider buying themselves and those they’d avoid. To save you the frustration of having to find that out for yourself, here are a half-dozen to pass up.

Mercedes-Benz CLA

 

Price we paid: $36,500

It’s billed as an “affordable” Mercedes. But what you won’t get is Mercedes luxury for less. It’s a cramped compact with a stiff ride and poor visibility. It’s tough to get into and out of the car, and it lacks the handling finesse and refinement you might expect.

Better choices: Acura TSXBMW 320iMercedes-Benz C250

 

Gallery: Volkswagen BeetleGallery: Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen Beetle

 

Price we paid: $20,835

Yes, the retro look is cute. But this bug could end up squashing you with repair costs because reliability has been far below average. Also, the rear seat is cramped, the view to the rear is restricted, and a wide center console intrudes on front knee room.

Better choices: Mazda3Subaru ImprezaVolkswagen Golf

 

Gallery: Nissan VersaGallery: Nissan Versa

Nissan Versa sedan

 

Price we paid $15,49

It’s economical but a bummer to drive. The Versa feels slow, and the interior is noisy and looks cheap. This model scored poor in a recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash test and got near-bottom scores in our owner-satisfaction survey.

Better choices: Chevrolet SonicHyundai AccentKia Rio

 

Honda Crosstour

 

Price we paid: $34,730

The Crosstour will make you cross-eyed. The sedan/SUV’s swoopy styling looks nice, but it cuts visibility and cargo space. And convoluted touch-screen controls are hard to use. Plus, handling is clumsy, and the wide turning circle makes parking a chore.

Better choices: Subaru OutbackToyota VenzaVolkswagen Jetta SportWagen

 

Scion tC

 

Price we paid: $21,130

Though the ads may rave about the great handling of this sporty-looking hatchback, we found the tC’s performance to be uninspiring. Plus, its ride is uncomfortable, too much noise creeps into the cabin, the interior feels cheap, and it’s hard to see out.

Better choices: Mazda3 hatchbackSubaru Impreza Sport

 

Gallery: Mitsubishi OutlanderGallery: Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi Outlander

 

Price we paid: $27,180

This is one of the few small SUVs that can carry up to seven people. But the Outlander handles clumsily, is slow to accelerate, assaults your ears with engine noise, and shakes your  body with a nervous ride. And the third-row seat is tiny.

Better choices: Honda CR-VMazda CX-5Subaru Forester

* * * * * *

 

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$75,000 Camaro Z/28 is Already Sold Out, But Chevy May Build More

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:   YAHOO AUTO/BOLD RIDE  

 

 

If you were in the market for a $75,000 Chevy that wasn’t a Corvette, you may have missed your opportunity. The new Camaro Z/28 — which Chevy says is the most high-performance Camaro ever built — is already sold out for 2014. All 500 units of it.

 

According to Autoguide, who spoke with chief engineer Al Oppenheiser in a recent interview, all 500 units of the track-focused Camaro already have a home for 2014. With the Z/28 painting a “target” on cars like the Porsche 911 and Nissan GT-R, it wasn’t hard for muscle car and track car enthusiasts alike to dish out that much cash.

 

But there is good news for those of you who may have missed out. For 2015, Oppenheiser says that if there is enough of a demand, Chevy could build up to 2,500 units of the Camaro Z/28, and get them into the hands of even more enthusiasts. The downside being that the new Z/28 would become a little less exclusive than originally expected.

 

In case you forget, for $75,000, the Camaro Z/28 ditches features like A/C and radio, in place of a 7.0-liter V8, a six-speed manual transmission, and 500-hp. And not to mention a race chassis, and upgraded wheels and tires.

 

 

 

 

 

Looks like the old saying “less is more” stands true of the new Z/28.

 

 

 

 

 

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Could Nissan’s Self-Cleaning Paint Make Car Washes Obsolete?

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  YAHOO AUTOS/MOTORAMIC

 

 

During this vile, never-ending winter, motorists had three options to keep their cars clean: Shell out on regular car washes; slave away in the cold, wind and snow washing it yourself, or screw it and just drive a dirty car. I, like many, chose the last option. But if only I’d been able to test Nissan‘s self-cleaning car, all my troubles would have washed away.

 

Nissan revealed today that it’s testing a super-hydrophobic and oleophobic paint, impervious to water and oils. The technology, sold by UltraTech under the name of Ultra-Ever Dry, is in prototype form as applied by the carmaker’s European engineers on a Nissan Note. In many ways, it works like Rain X (where the solution’s polymers react with pores in the windshield glass to create a barrier that repels precipitation). Ultra-Ever dry creates a layer of air between the paint and environment; when mud, dirt or oils touch the surface, it rolls off leaving a clean, streak-free appearance.

 

Water-resistant coatings aren’t new, and Nissan has offered a self-healing product (Scratch Shield) on its cars for years. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands have been developing a surface coatingthat not only repels precipitation like Rain X, but combines the self-healing aspects of Scratch Shield. In 2012, those same researchers expected to be six to eight years away from a production-ready product.

 

The paint being tested by Nissan is ready for production, and as you can see in the images and video, it appears to do its job as intended. No plans are being made to include the paint as standard on future Nissan vehicles; however, the Japanese automaker says it might sell the technology as an add-on — or perhaps as the ultimate in special dealer-pitched coatings.

 

The cost of the paint has not been revealed – or how long its repellant features lasts before needing a re-coat (Scratch Shield lasts around 3 years). Something so simple makes you wonder why we aren’t already driving self-cleaning cars. Nissan looks set to make that vision a reality. After this winter, my wife will be thrilled.

 

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9 Cars That Average 50 MPG or Better on the Highway

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  THE MOTLEY FOOL

 

My nose would shoot to about six feet in length if I exclaimed that gas mileage was an important feature to me when purchasing a car. However, I’m very much in the minority on this one.

 

Fuel economy has grown to become an increasingly important factor which sways car buyers when making their decisions. One reason this has come to be is that gasoline price growth, adjusted for inflation, is handily outpacing wage growth, also adjusted for inflation, since 1980. This means the real cost of gasoline is rising faster than consumers’ wages, so consumers are having to look toward improved fuel economy when they purchase vehicles.

Another reason we see fuel economy in the spotlight is the negative sentiment built up against the world’s largest oil producers. A number of consumers believe that big oil is evil and are looking for vehicles that run solely on electricity, a mixture of gas and electricity, or on gasoline, but that sip rather than guzzle fuel.

 

Finally, we’re also seeing beefed-up pressure from individual states and the federal government to improve mile-per-gallon, or mpg, standards, as well as reducing noxious emissions. In August 2012, the Obama administration announced new vehicle fuel-efficiency standards that would require U.S. auto fleets to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, which was up dramatically from its previous target of 34.5 miles per gallon due to hit in 2016. The goal, of course, is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while also reducing oil consumption with presumably even more cars on the road.

 

But, here’s the good news: automakers are listening! In fact, according to a recent Consumer Reports study, nine automakers have managed to build vehicles capable of delivering 50 mpg (mpg equivalent, or mpge, for the ones that don’t burn gas) on the highway or better, leaving their peers decidedly in the dust.

 

Today, we’re going to look at those nine vehicles and their manufacturers to see what they’re doing right, and determine if these vehicles and automakers truly do have an edge over their peers.

     2014 Honda Civic Hybrid

 

9. Honda Civic Hybrid – 50 mpg
Interested in jumping into a hybrid capable of getting you a cruise-a-licious 50 mpg on the highway for less than $30,000 MSRP? Then the Honda (NYSE: HMC  ) Civic Hybrid could be your car of choice. Honda combines its two best attributes with the Civic hybrid – top-notch dependability which we’ve come to expect from Honda and its subsidiary Acura, as well as impressive fuel economy with an electric motor powering the car at lower speeds and kicking over to the gasoline engine at higher speeds. It may not be among the top five, but the Civic Hybrid has attributes that should keep it selling well in the U.S.

 

8. Volkswagen Passat TDI SE – 51 mpg
No folks, that’s not a misprint – that’s 51 mpg on the highway from a fossil-fuel-burning engine. In this case Volkswagen has turned to its highly reliable diesel-engine technology to get even more impressive gas mileage than the Civic Hybrid. Volkswagen’s U.S. sales have been stagnant for years, and the Passat TDI SE could be the first step in the right direction for the company in the U.S. market. With a base price just north of $26,000, this is vehicle worth keeping an eye on.

 

7. (tied with six) Toyota Prius Plug-in Advanced – 55 mpg (composite of electricity and gas)
Believe it or not, Toyota (NYSE: TM  ) doesn’t dominate this list, but you will see two of its vehicles lined up in the next two spots. The Prius Plug-in Advanced allows for a nice go-between of the electric-gas-hybrid vehicles and solely electric vehicles by giving consumers the option to plug their Prius in to get up to 15 miles of all-electric range at 62 mph or less. A more efficient and higher capacity lithium-ion-battery pack is what allows the Prius Plug-in Advanced to achieve this superior electric range. In other words, for those with short commutes, this could be a smart choice! However, at a price point north of $34,000, the Prius Plug-in Advanced, even with its reduced price for 2014, may not offer enough fuel efficiency based on its price.

 

6. (tied with seven) Toyota Prius Four – 55 mpg
Now the Toyota Prius Four certainly hits a perfect chord with consumers looking for the iconic Prius styling and impressive fuel efficiency which topped out at 55 mpg on the highway. With a base MSRP of $28,435 for the Prius Four, which comes with a few premium upgrades, including the solar roof package, navigation, and head-up display, it’s right in line with the price point of the Honda Civic Hybrid while providing superior fuel economy.

 

5. Chevrolet Volt – 76 mpg (composite of electricity and gas)
Similar to the Prius Plug-in Advanced, the Chevy Volt, which is manufactured by General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) , allows consumers to travel an EPA-estimated 38 miles before its gas-powered generator kicks in and allows the car to go an estimated 380 miles on a full tank. Simply put, if you have a relatively short commute, it’s incredibly likely you could go weeks or months between a gas fill-up. On the flipside, the Volt has also been associated with a number of battery issues and recalls, and even with a reduced price point for 2014 still appears a bit pricey. It may be a few more years before General Motors and Chevy have a success on their hands with the Volt.

     Tesla Model S

 

4. Tesla Model S (base, 85 kWh) – 102 mpge
No list of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on an mpg or mpge basis would be complete without including America’s most vaunted electric vehicle, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) Model S (in this case with the superior 85-kWh-battery package). The advantage of the Model S is that it provides the most comparable all-electric driving range to gas-powered vehicles, but it does come with a hefty price point that’s north of $60,000 and will price most consumers out of the market. Furthermore, with the Model S being so new, there’s no used market, so leasing isn’t an option at the moment. The car certainly could be called exclusionary, but there is undeniable demand for the Model S in the U.S. which could translate to big profits for Tesla moving forward.

 

3. Ford Focus Electric – 107 mpge
If you absolutely don’t want to leave a carbon footprint, but can’t stand the high price point of the Tesla Model S, Ford‘s (NYSE: F  ) all-electric Focus could be the answer. The Electric Focus will only run about half the price of the Model S, but it still comes with some hefty drawbacks, including a driving range estimated to be only 76 miles, and a top speed that caps out at 82 mph. In addition, the same exclusions apply for Focus Electric owners in that they’ll need a plug for overnight charging, meaning condo owners and apartment renters probably need not apply.

 

2. Mitsubishi i SE – 116 mpge
Someone had to produce the cheapest electric vehicle; and why not Mitsubishi! The subcompact Mitsubishi i SE is an all-electric vehicle with absolutely no frills attached. Its stodgy interior can fit four people and the car itself can get an EPA-rated 62 miles on a single charge for an MSRP of less than $29,000 before tax breaks. Of course, this cheaper price comes with some drawbacks as well. The car has top speed of just 81 mph (perhaps with the wind at its back), but more importantly has just a 62-mile range and can take 21 hours on a standard 110-volt charger to reach a full charge. If you pony up for the 240-volt charger (which I strongly suggest you do), the charge time dips to an expected six to seven hours.

 

But the No. 1 most “fuel-efficient” vehicle on the highway is…


Nissan Leaf

1. Nissan Leaf SL – 118 mpge
Taking the top spot in terms of highway fuel-efficiency is Nissan‘s Leaf SL which gets an average of 84 miles per each full charge. Although the Nissan Leaf costs a few thousand more than the Mitsubishi i SE, it comfortably seats five people, offers a respectable 107 horsepower, and the SL model comes with upgrades such as 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, and leather-appointed seats. Long story short, with the exception of price point, the Nissan Leaf SL appears to be superior in every way to the closely rated Mitsubishi i SE. It may not compared with the Tesla Model S driving range by any means, but it gives cost conscious and carbon footprint aware consumers a perfect vehicle to turn to in the U.S.

 

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Consumer Reports Names each Brand’s Best and Worst Cars

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  YAHOO AUTOS / CONSUMER REPORTS

 

While car brand reputation can be a strong influence on purchase decisions, such perceptions can be misleading. The reality is, every brand offers models that perform across a spectrum, with some clearly better than others.

 

As we see in our annual Car Brand Perception survey, how consumers view brands can often be a trailing indicator and not reflect the current reality. To further illustrate this point, we have compiled a list chronicling the best and worst models by brand based on our overall test scores.

 

The test performance variation differs from brand to brand, with some brands’ worst model being still doing rather well, while others span a wide range, making any generalities quite misleading. Take Audi, for example. Even its worst model, the A5, scores a 74 (out of 100) and meets our performance standards, safety, and reliability criteria to be Recommended. Meanwhile, the best Jeep is the Grand Cherokee Limited. It earns 77 points in our tests, only three points more than the worst Audi. But the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited marks the low point in our current ratings, scoring only a 20. The gap between best and worst can be even broader. Chevrolet, for instance, spans from the Impala (95) to the Spark (36).

 

The list below includes all brands for which Consumer Reports has tested at least three different models recently, thereby excluding Land Rover, Mini, Ram, Smart, and Tesla.

 

Make Best Worst
Acura Acura TSX (4-cyl.) Acura RLX Tech
Audi Audi A7 3.0 TDI Audi A5 Premium Plus (2.0T)*
BMW BMW 328i BMW 750Li*
Buick Buick Regal Premium I* Buick Encore Leather
Cadillac Cadillac XTS Premium Cadillac SRX Luxury
Chevrolet Chevrolet Impala 2LTZ (3.6) Chevrolet Spark 1LT
Chrysler Chrysler 300 (base, V6) Chrysler Town & Country Touring-L
Dodge Dodge Durango Limited (V6) Dodge Journey Limited (V6)
Fiat Fiat 500 Abarth Fiat 500L Easy
Ford Ford Fusion SE Hybrid Ford Fiesta SE sedan
GMC GMC Sierra 1500 SLT (5.3L V8) GMC Terrain SLE1 (4-cyl.)
Honda Honda Accord LX (4-cyl.) Honda Insight EX
Hyundai Hyundai Sonata Limited (2.0T) Hyundai Accent GLS sedan
Infiniti Infiniti Q70 (M37, V6) Infiniti QX80 (QX56)
Jaguar Jaguar XJL Portfolio* Jaguar XK Convertible*
Jeep Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited (V6) Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
Kia Kia Cadenza Kia Rio EX hatchback
Lexus Lexus LS 460L Lexus IS250 (AWD)
Lincoln Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Lincoln MKS (base, 3.7)
Mazda Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring Mazda2 Touring
Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec (AWD) Mercedes-Benz CLA250
Mitsubishi Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR Mitsubishi iMiEV SE
Nissan Nissan 370Z Touring coupe Nissan Versa SV sedan
Porsche Porsche Boxster 2.7 Porsche Cayenne (base, V6)
Scion Scion FR-S Scion iQ
Subaru Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium Subaru Tribeca Limited
Toyota Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE Toyota FJ Cruiser
Volkswagen Volkswagen Passat SEL Premium (V6) Volkswagen Beetle 2.5L (MT)*
Volvo Volvo S60 T5* Volvo XC90 3.2

 

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