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Posts Tagged ‘Passat’

9 Cars That Average 50 MPG or Better on the Highway



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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Best New Car Lease Deals under $300/Mo.


Apparently consumers know a good deal with they see one. Driven largely by high residual values, rock-bottom interest rates, loosening credit and aggressive marketing, new-car leasing is at record high rates, according to Experian Automotive in Schaumburg, Ill. Leasing now accounts for 27.5 percent of all new-vehicle transactions, which represents a sturdy 12.5 percent increase over 2012 levels.


“Consumers tend to shop for vehicles based within the limits of their budget, and leasing is often seen as a viable path to a lower monthly payment,” says Melinda Zabritski, senior director of Automotive Credit. “Lenders have seen overall stability come back to the market since the recession, and leasing has gradually returned as a larger part of many lender strategies.”


Not surprisingly, Experian says average lease payments are likewise dropping, from $462 a year ago down to $459 in the first quarter of 2013. If that number still seems high, consider that a large majority of costly luxury cars are leased, rather than purchased outright. Still, automakers in all market segments are now pushing cut-rate leases aggressively on a wider range of models to attract bargain hunters – including those on some of the smallest and least expensive cars on the lot. They love leasing as it brings new customers back to dealerships with clocklike regularity and helps dealers maintain an inventory of recent-model used cars.


We scoured the Internet and found some incredible deals on 12 of the most desirable makes and models, including iconic cars like the BMW 3 Series and the Mini Cooper – all leasing for less than $300 a month. We even came across one car that’s leasing for as little as $99 a month, which is less than the cost of a daily grande latte at Starbucks.


Be aware that we’re identifying the lowest promoted monthly payments available for each make and model; lease terms can vary widely according to a number of factors and the numbers can be juggled according to a lessee’s preference to reflect a lower monthly payment or down payment, longer or shorter lease period and/or more or fewer miles allowed.


While the cost of a new-car lease is based largely on the available interest rate and a given model’s residual value, automakers and leasing companies can manipulate other provisions of the agreement to help sweeten the deal on a given model. Called “subventing” a lease, this often involves subsidizing a below-market interest rate, artificially inflating a vehicle’s residual value or offering bonus cash to lower a car’s transaction price.


Another way automakers can lower a lease’s monthly payment is to reduce the number of annual miles allowed. This is typically 12,000 miles per year, though some leases might include as few as 7,500 annual miles. Be sure not to enter a lease that unduly limits your mileage – particularly if you have a distant daily commute or like to take long road trips – as it may cost you dearly down the road. Depending on the lease terms you could be assessed as much as an extra 15 to 30 cents a mile for exceeding the limit, which means you’d have to come up with $150 to $300 per 1,000 extra miles on the odometer at the end of the lease. However, those who worry they might exceed the stated annual mileage can often purchase additional miles up front at a discounted rate.


Be aware that if you tend to be hard on your car or truck, think twice before leasing one. Leased vehicles must be returned in excellent condition, without dents, deep scratches, window cracks or torn upholstery and with all accessories in good working order; otherwise you’ll be assessed costly “excessive wear and tear” fees.


Finally, keep in mind that the lowest advertised lease rates are typically available only to so-called “well qualified lessees” with top credit scores who represent the lowest risk. Those with less than stellar credit will typically pay a higher financing charge that will, in turn, result in a costlier monthly payment.


The fine print: Monthly payments quoted for vehicles in our list of top lease deals are 2013 models and trim levels specified and do not include additional options, taxes or registration fees. All offers are good through July 1, 2013. Keep in mind that you may be able to garner an even better deal by negotiating a lower transaction price with the dealership. Typically the down payment and first month’s lease payment are due at signing. None of the deals listed here require a security deposit. Dealer participation may vary and the rates and provisions quoted may vary according to region. Check the automakers’ websites and local dealerships for additional deals and details.

BMW 3 Series

Monthly payment: $299; Term: 36 months; Due at signing: $3,774; Annual mileage: 10,000.  This is without doubt one of the best deals we’ve ever seen on what is without quarrel one of the most desirable sport sedans in the industry. This deal includes the base 320i model with the Premium Package and is subject to $1,125 dealer contribution and a $750 lease cash incentive.

Buick LaCrosse

Monthly payment: $239; Term: 24 months; Due at signing: $2,009; Annual mileage: 10,000. Pound-for-pound this deal on the midsize LaCrosse delivers the “most” car for the money, with a quiet and comfortable five-passenger interior residing under a sleek and stylish exterior. This deal is for the base “eAssist” mild hybrid four-cylinder model and includes two complimentary years of OnStar Directions & Connections, SiriusXM Radio and two years or 24,000 miles (whichever comes first) of free vehicle maintenance; it’s subject to a $2,000 lease cash incentive.

Chevrolet Cruze

Monthly payment: $149; Term: 36 months; Due at signing: $2,469; Annual mileage: 12,000. This price gets you a Cruze LS with automatic transmission, and represents a terrific deal on this nicely styled, accommodating and solid-performing compact sedan.

GMC Terrain

Monthly payment: $199; Term: 39 months; Due at signing: $3,069; Annual mileage: 12,000. This rugged-looking smallish midsize five-passenger crossover SUV is family friendly and a real bargain at this price; it’s for a SLE-1 model with front-wheel drive. A similar deal is offered on its near twin, the suburban-chic Chevrolet Equinox.

Honda Civic

Monthly payment: $169; Term: 36 months; Due at signing: $2,299; Annual mileage: 10,000. One of the industry’s best-selling compact sedans received assorted improvements for 2013, with a low lease rate being the icing on the proverbial cake. This deal is for a Civic LX Sedan (including PZEV models) with automatic transmission.

Honda CR-V

Monthly payment: $219; Term: 36 months; Due at signing: $3,399; Annual mileage: 10,000. Arguably one of the most amenable compact crossovers currently in production, it’s difficult to find fault with the peppy and perky CR-V, especially at this low monthly payment. It’s for a base EX model with front-wheel drive and is subject to a $500 lease cash incentive.

Mini Cooper

Monthly payment: $199; Term: 36 months; Due at signing: $2,215; Annual mileage: 10,000. It may be too small for some, but the venerable Mini Cooper is among the most enjoyable little cars on the road with pleasing go-kart-like handling and an eccentric nature. This deal is for the base Cooper hatchback with automatic transmission and is subject to a $500 dealer contribution.

Nissan 370Z

Monthly payment: $299; Term: 39 months; Due at signing: $2,999; Annual mileage: 12,000. With 332 horses under the hood the 370Z costs less to lease than a buck per month per horsepower. Talk about fast money. This deal is for the base coupe with manual transmission equipped with floor mats and splash guards, and is subject to dealer contribution.

Nissan Leaf

Monthly payment: $199; Term: 36 months; Due at signing: $1,999; Annual mileage: 12,000. Think you can’t afford to drive an electric car? Think again. Assuming your daily drive is within the Leaf’s range (about 75 miles give or take on a charge), this can be a terrific deal, especially with the EPA rating the Leaf at the electric equivalent of 129/102-mpg city/highway. This deal is for the Leaf S and is subject to a $7,500 lease cash incentive and dealer contribution.

Scion FR-S

Monthly payment: $299; Term: 36 months; Due at signing: $1,999; Annual mileage: 12,000. Arguably one of the hottest new models for 2013, the FR-S is a stylish and thoroughly entertaining rear-drive sports car that’s being offered at an attractive price. This deal is for a base model with automatic transmission.

Smart ForTwo

Monthly payment: $99; Term: 36 months; Due at signing: $1,393; Annual mileage: 10,000. Granted, this is a small car that’s small even by small car terms, but it’s basic transportation for two passengers and can be had for just over three bucks a day. Deal is for the base Pure Coupe model and is subject to dealer contribution.

Volkswagen Passat

Monthly payment: $249; Term: 39 months; due at signing $0; Annual mileage: 10,000. Not only is the incredibly spacious midsize Passat sedan being offered for a low monthly lease rate, you can drive one off the lot for zero down, which makes this an even better bargain. Deal is for a Passat S with Appearance Package and automatic transmission and is subject to dealer contribution.



Chicago Auto Show Alt-Fuel Race Today


TODAY, The Chicago Auto Show is pitching an alt-fuel road rally that’s likely to be far quicker than the one that inspired it more than a century ago.

Thirteen vehicles ranging from the Tesla Model S all-electric to the Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid to the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in to the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid will challenge each other in a rally that will start at the city’s McCormick Place and run about four hours.

The race is inspired by 1895′s Chicago Times-Herald Motor Race, regarded as the first road rally in US history. That “race” featured six vehicles attempting the 50-mile round trip between Chicago and Evanston, IL. Just two of the six vehicles finished, with the winner – a Duryea, pictured – crossing the finish line in about nine hours, according to The Henry Ford Museum website.

For anyone keeping track, That Racing Channel recently staged a drag race with a Model S and a Volt. The Tesla finished a quarter mile almost five seconds (and at 20 miles per hour) faster than the Volt.

Rounding out the Chicago Rally are the Nissan Leaf all-electric; Fisker Karma extended-range plug-in; Tesla Roadster EV; Toyota’s Prius and Prius C hybrids and Prius plug-in hybrid; a Volkswagen Passat TDI diesel; a Via Motors Silverado extended-range plug-in; and a Smith Electric Delivery Vehicle.


Reprinted by Midwest Glass Tinters



Elantra – 2012 Car of the Year

Despite  the renewed popularity of American-made cars in 2011, foreign automakers took home top honors at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. 


Hyundai captured Car of the Year honors for the second time since 2009 when its luxury Genesis won.  For 2012, the Hyundai Elantra took the title, beating out the Ford Focus and the Volkswagen Passat.  “Sporty, yet sensible.  Luxurious, yet affordable.  Spunky, yet safe,” said Jayne O’Donnell of USA Today, one of the judges.  The Elantra is a series of paradoxes, and every one is another argument for the latest impressive entry in the Hyundai lineup.”


In the SUV of the Year category, the Range Rover Evoque, which had also won Motor Trend’s 2012 SUV of the Year award, topped the competition in Detroit for its combination of performance and fuel efficiency.  “Range Rover successfully charts a new direction for the venerable SUV trailblazer with a fresh design and advanced thinking about environmental issues,” said Fortune magazine’s Alex Taylor, one of the judges.  The Evoque is made at Indian automaker Tata’s UK-based facility.


Powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and with a six-speed automatic transmission, the Evoque beat out Honda’s CR-V and BMW’s X3 SUVs.





Used Cars to Consider — and Some to Avoid

There are a lot of things to consider when buying a used car — not the least of which is the honesty of the seller; but  the most important thing to consider when buying  a used car is the reliability record of the make and model.  To help us with that, CBS MoneyWatch looked at owner surveys, J.D. Power ratings and Consumer Report ratings in 5 car catgories to see which cars had less-than-stellar reliability records and to offer some more reliable alternatives. 


Small Car Category: 


Avoid:  The Volkswagen Beetle — Owners reported problems with the climate control system and power equipment, both of which can lead to expensive repairs. 

Alternative:   Hyundai Elantra — Owners reported no major problems; and the Elantra got the maximum rating from J.D. Power, and is ranked above-average by Consumer Reports. 


Midsize Car Category:


Avoid:  Volkswagen Passat — Consumers reported problems with the fuel, electrical and climate systems, as well as the power equipment.

Alternative:   The Ford Fusion — Fusion won the reliability award in this year’s J.D. Power survey, and Consumer Reports gives it a much-above-average used car rating.


Midsize SUV Category:


Avoid:   GMC Acadia — Owners reported  problems with the suspension and audio systems, and J.D. Power and Consumer Reports both gave it their lowest used car rating.

Alternative:   Toyota 4 Runner — the 4 Runner won J.D. Power’s top reliability award, and Consumer Reports rated it much better than average as a used car.  Owners liked its highway and off-road capability.


Large SUV Category:


Avoid:  The Ford Expedition — Owners reported problems with the transmission and audio systems, and its best gas efficiency is only 18 mpg.  J.D. Powers and Consumer Reports both gave it a low used-car rating.

Alternative:   Toyota Sequoia — While just slightly better on fuel efficiency, the Sequoia gets a high rating from both J.D. Power and Consumer Reports.  Owners liked its roomy seating and comfortable ride for long trips.


Minivan Category:


Avoid:  Chrysler Town & Country — Although very popular as a new car, owners reported problems with suspension, brakes, climate system and power equipment.   J.D. Power and Consumer Reports both rated it low as a used-car purchase.

Alternative:  Toyota Sienna — The Sienna won the reliability award for minivans from J.D Power, and it got a better-than-average rating from Consumer Reports.


In addition to the tips above, it’s often wiser to purchase a 3+ year old used car for a couple of reasons.  The biggest new-car depreciation has already taken place, and with new car prices rising sharply, buying a 1 or 2 year old used car often make worse financial sense than buying new.