April 2014
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Posts Tagged ‘window tint’

Time to Get Your New Car Tinted



With spring finally arriving, and the sun’s most intense rays about to hit our area, now is the time to get your new car windows tinted. The sun’s rays in spring and summer can do a lot of damage to your new car’s upholstery, dashboard and interior finish in general. Tinting your car’s windows will eliminate the majority of this damage, along with offering a number of other benefits.  Following are some of the benefits of quality vehicle window tinting.


Your automobile is one of your most expensive purchases, and quality window tinting is one of the best customizations you can make to increase its look and value. Not only does window tinting create a sleek elegant appearance, but it also protects your interior upholstery, dashboard and other appointments from fading. Most importantly, window film screens out the sun’s dangerous UV rays, scorching heat, and blinding glare creating an overall healthier interior environment for you and your passengers.


Tinted windows provide a noticeable difference in the inside temperature of your auto keeping it cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Tinted windows also minimize the build-up of frost on your windows during those frigid winter months.


Because tinted windows are laminated with an adhesive film, if they break for any reason – accident, high winds, vandalism, burglars, etc. – the window film will hold the glass shards in place, preventing them from flying loose and injuring you or your passengers.


Tinted windows can also deters thieves by limiting the view of accessories and personal items inside your car.


Other Customizations
Window tinting can also enhance other customizations by making chrome accents, paint finishes and other customizations pop.



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The Mustang Turns 50 – A Look Back




Fifty years ago today, Ford unveiled the Mustang. It was a sleek and sporty car, named for a fighter plane and slightly European in flavor. Company brass hoped it might be something of a hit and expected to sell 100,000 of them in the first year.


They sold 22,000 on the first day.


Everyone, even people who hate cars, knows the rest of the story. Yet it would be difficult to overstate the impact the Mustang had on Ford, on the auto industry and on popular culture. It was more than a car. It was a phenomenon. Few cars are so instantly recognizable, or as widely adored, as the first-generation Mustang.


The car singlehandedly created the most American of automobiles, the pony car—relatively small, relatively light and often absurdly powerful coupes with names like Camaro and Challenger. By 1967, everyone in Detroit offered one. Many of them have come and gone and come back again, but the Mustang has endured.


Oh sure, it’s had its ups and downs—let us not look too closely at the Mustang II—yet it remains an American classic and a pop cultural icon, and not simply because Steve McQueen made driving one look like so much fun.


Work on the Mustang began in 1960, when Ford’s marketing Mad Man Lee Iacocca realized the company needed to attract young buyers. He wanted something new, something unique, something to tap into the era’s sense of national optimism. Most importantly, he wanted “something that would be sporty but not a sports car,” said Bob Casey, an automotive historian and former curator of the The Henry Ford Museum.


Iacocca and Ford product manager Donald Frey saw the country being overrun by Alfa Romeos and Austin Healys and other small European sports cars. They figured they’d have a moderately successful car if they simply combined the sex appeal of a sports car with the practicality–and price—of a small coupe.


The car, named for the legendary P-51 Mustang fighter plane of World War II, was unveiled on April 17, 1964 at the New York World’s Fair. It sold for just $2,368 (about 18 grand today), which bought you a hardtop with a straight six and a three-speed manual. But with the longest list of options Detroit had ever offered (beyond creating the pony car segment, that was the car’s other big contribution) you could get yours pretty much any way you wanted.


And people definitely wanted them. Ford sold 1 million Mustangs within 18 months, making it the company’s best-selling model since the Model T.


“Like the Beatles, it was this perfect storm,” said  Colin Comer, an automotive historian who has written extensively about Ford. “People were ready for a change and all of a sudden Ford comes out with this affordable, obtainable car. It was an aspirational car that people could afford. Very few times in history has there been a car with so much buzz and excitement that you could actually buy.”


It helped that the car was, frankly, a stunner, with a long hood, a short rear end and muscular lines. It looked great in any guise: hardtop, fastback or convertible.


“It had lightness on its wheels,” said Franz von Holzhausen, the lead designer at Tesla Motors and a guy who knows a thing or two about pretty cars. “The front end really lived above the bumper not below it. The body turned under the wheels. The rear haunches… it just had this projectile feel. “Those lightened generations really appeal to me still.”


Steve McQueen in Bullitt. TK
Steve McQueen in Bullitt, 1968.  


Carroll Shelby gave the car some racing cred with the GT350 (the first of many performance-oriented models that would include the Mach 1, the Boss 302 and others over the years), and McQueen cemented its place in pop culture when he hooned a 1968 Mustang GT through the streets of San Francisco in Bullitt.


“You have a vehicle that’s already a hit and it gets used in movies and gets even cooler,” Casey said. “You too can be like Steve McQueen! They picked it because it was a car that Steve McQueen would drive.”


The Mustang has been in dozens of films, including Goldfinger and Gone in 60 Seconds — both the 1974 and 2000 versions — and was Farrah Fawcett’s ride in Charlie’s Angels. Only a handful of cars have had a similar impact on pop culture. The Volkswagen Beetle, comes to mind, as does the original Mini.


Like those cars, the Mustang was something unexpected, something unlike anything else available at the time. And it could be easily customized to be exactly what you wanted, be it a totally sedate, reasonably luxurious coupe to a corner-carving weekend racer.


And then, the dark ages. An oil embargo, rising insurance costs and tightening emissions controls prompted Ford to radically remake the car in 1974. It was a Mustang in name only, a car based on the Pinto, of all things. It was slow, it was ugly and it was haphazardly assembled, but that didn’t stopMotor Trend from naming it the car of the year. Time, not to mention Mustang fanatics, have not been kind to the car, even if Ford did sell 1.1 million of them between 1974 and 1978.


Things improved in 1979 with the Fox body Mustang, named for the platform it shared with such illustrious machines as the Ford Fairmont and Mercury Marquis. It was bigger, yet lighter and looked sportier, even if it didn’t really act the part until the GT appeared in 1982. That car packed the venerable 5.0-liter V8 putting out a reasonably stout (for the time) 157 horsepower. You could argue it was the car that made the Mustang relevant again and reignited the Mustang vs. Camaro rivalry.


“It was fast and cheap and Ford played it up in the ads,” Comer said. “It was a real Mustang again.”


The third generation car introduced the Mustang to a new generation and became a pop cultural icon of its own, even if Vanilla Ice (who rapped about his “five-point-oh”) can’t hold a candle to McQueen.


The 5.0 had a hell of a run—15 years in all—before being replaced in 1994. The SN-95, as the car is known within Ford and among the faithful, drew styling cues from the best Mustangs of yore and was a solid performer. Ford couldn’t build them fast enough. Mustang went even further back to the future in 2005 with the car codenamed S-197. It cribbed from all the best styling elements of the 1960s in a move J Mays, Ford’s senior VP of design, called “retro-futurism.” It was, for many, the prettiest of the retro-fabulous cars Detroit built in the last decade.


Click to view in full resolution. Image: FordTo mark the Mustang’s 50th anniversary, Ford is offering a limited run of 1,964 “50th Anniversary” edition models. 

The pony car finally entered the 21st century on December 5, 2013, when Ford unveiled the sixth-gen Mustang. It is a radical step forward, not least of all because it finally ditched the solid rear axle for independent suspension. The car features a handsome mixture of classic styling and Ford’s modern design language in a package meant to broaden the car’s appeal to a global audience–which explains why the BMW M3 was among its development benchmarks.


“It picks up on the nostalgia for the old car but modernizes it in a more muscular way,” von Holzhausen said.


In some ways, it’s comforting to know the Mustang is still galloping along. The Camaro and Challenger rejoined it a few years back, and they look a lot like the classics of the 60s. You can (and probably will) argue over which of them truly was the best. But the Mustang gets credit for sheer longevity, and for the passion it incites. Ford has sold more than 9 million Mustangs since 1964, and in that time the car has become as quintessentially American as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola.


“They’ve sold so many,” Comer said, “that everybody has a Mustang story.”




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Bugatti Rolls Out Fifth Legend Veyron




The penultimate edition in a series of six special edition Bugatti Veyrons honoring the most important people and cars that have shaped Bugatti’s history has been revealed ahead of a scheduled debut at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show on April 20. Part of the Les Légendes de Bugatti (Bugatti Legends) series, this fifth car is reminiscent of the famed Bugatti Type 18 affectionately known as Black Bess, which at one point was the fastest road car in the world.


The Type 18, built between 1912 and 1914, was one of the most important Bugattis of the pre-war era. It was powered by a 5.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivered close to 100 horsepower, which was enough to see it reach a top speed of 100 mph–a speed previously reached only on race tracks. This makes the Type 18 a legitimate forerunner for the Veyron, and is thus regarded as a Bugatti Legend.


The Type 18 known as Black Bess is one of three Type 18s still in existence. Only seven were built in total. The car was named after an English racehorse and is currently owned by Evert Louwman, who has it displayed at the Louwman Museum at The Hague in the Netherlands. He has allowed Bugatti to show the car in Beijing next week alongside the modern Bugatti Legend Black Bess Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse.


The exterior of the modern version features a carbon fiber exterior, painted black but with 24-carat gold accents. Inside, the car features leather trim on most surfaces, with a mixture of Beige and Havanna tones used. The steering wheel, in red, draws a clear reference to the historic Type 18 Black Bess. This accent has also been picked up and continued in the red decorative stitching on the outer bolsters of the seats and in the seat belts.


As with all of the Bugatti Legends, no changes have been made to the mechanicals of the special Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse, which means peak output from the car’s quad-turbocharged 8.0-liter W-16 remains at 1,184 horsepower and 1,106 pound-feet of torque. Top speed is limited to 233 mph, though we know the car is capable of hitting 254 mph–with its top down. The 0-62 mph run takes 2.6 seconds.


Three Bugatti Legend Black Bess Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse supercars will be built, each priced at 2.15 million euros (approximately $2.98 million). Considering all of the previous Bugatti Legends have been sold, we suspect this one won’t last long. You can read about the previous cars in the links below:

Bugatti Rolls Out First Of Six Legend Edition Veyrons At Pebble Beach

Jean Bugatti Honored With New ‘Legend’ Veyron Special Edition

New Bugatti ‘Legend’ Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse Debuts In Dubai

Bugatti’s Latest Legend Edition Veyron Honors Bugatti Founder’s Brother Rembrandt




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1965 Chevy Impala SS Classic – With A Whole New Look

Midwest Glass Tinters had the pleasure of tinting this beautiful 1965 Chevy Impala SS this week.  By using 35% film, we gave this classic collectible a sleek new look while keeping its original look and feel.


To learn more about auto glass tinting or to get an idea how sleek your car or truck would look with tinted windows, visit us at www.MidwestGlassTinters.net.






























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3-Wheeled Car Costs $6,800 – Goes 672 Miles on 1 Tank of Gas





The Elio is technically a motorcycle, but is a whole lot easier and safer to drive.


Most Americans–about 93%–drive to work alone. So why use a car that’s big enough for four? A new vehicle that’s half-motorcycle and half-car is designed to replace sedans and SUVs on morning commutes and help save money and emissions in the process: The Elio costs $6,800 and gets 84 miles to the gallon. It’s possible to drive 672 miles on a single tank of gas. That’s the distance from New York City to Detroit.


“The premise behind the concept is that most households have at least one vehicle that’s single occupant,” says Paul Elio, founder of Elio Motors. “Even if you have kids, you probably have an SUV or minivan, and then a small sedan with dust on the backseat. We can be that car.”



The Elio actually has two seats, set front to back for ideal aerodynamics, in case the driver needs to give someone a ride. Inside, it looks and acts pretty much like a car; it’s fully enclosed and has car seats and seatbelts, air bags, and options for manual or automatic transmission. It’s more like a car than this somewhat similar vehicle from Lit Motors. But because it has three wheels, it’s classified under law as a motorcycle.


The motorcycle classification leads to some strange consequences–in a few states, under current law, you’d have to wear a helmet even though the vehicle is enclosed. But it also has benefits. “As a motorcycle, you can go in the HOV lane by yourself,” Elio says. It also meant the vehicle can come to market more quickly, since there’s less red tape involved in manufacturing a motorcycle.


Even though regulations don’t require it, the company plans to comply with all standards for cars that apply. “We’re engineering to achieve a 5-star crash rating in all directions,” Elio says. “We’re going way beyond the minimum.” Still, there are a few idiosyncrasies–the headlights, for example, can’t comply with car standards because motorcycle lights are required to be brighter by law.


Because the vehicle is so lightweight–about half the weight of a typical small car–the company can save on materials costs. Elio has also tried to optimize other steps in manufacturing to keep costs down. “We get all 34 of our suppliers together once every four to six weeks and we work on the vehicle as a group. That’s never been done before. All of these things add up to a lower price.”


There are no guarantees of success. Aptera Motors developed a three-wheeled electric vehicle with much fanfare, but the company shut down in 2011.


When the vehicle comes to market next year, the Elio plans to have innovative financing to make the vehicle even easier to buy. “It’s actually cheaper to drive a brand new Elio than a clunker,” Elio says. The company will offer the option to buy the car with nothing but a special credit card for gas; every time someone buys gas, they’ll pay extra to make a car payment.


“If you buy $10 of gas, it will show up as a $30 charge on your statement–that $20 extra is your vehicle payment,” Elio explains. “As long as you drove into the dealership with something that gets 27 miles per gallon or less–and we know there are 100 million of those cars out there–you’ll be paying less, and you’ll have a brand new vehicle under warranty.”


You’ll also be helping reduce pollution. “If you drive it 20,000 miles per year, an Elio produces less emissions than one cow’s flatulence during the same time,” Elio says. “We’re cleaner than a cow. After 10 years of sales, we expect to save 8 billion gallons of gas.”



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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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Luxury Cars With The Best Gas Mileage



At 430 horsepower and with a huge V8 engine, the 2014 Audi R8 will go from 0-60mph in just over four seconds and hit nearly 200 miles per hour. It also gets 11 miles to the gallon in the city–not exactly the ideal model for maximizing range (and beach time!) during a spring weekend away.


But there are a few luxury cars that get exemplary gas mileage. The $39,500 Lexus ES 300h, for instance, gets 40 miles to the gallon in city/highway averaged driving and provides luxurious amenities like leather interiors, bamboo trim and an extended rear seat. It pairs a plush ride with Lexus’s most fuel-friendly version to date of the newly revamped midsize sedan.


The same goes for the $32,050 Lexus CT 200h, which gets a whopping 42mph in combined city/highway driving and is the least expensive—and most fuel-efficient—vehicle Lexus offers.


And Cadillac, Detroit’s luxury darling, offers a $75,000 ELR plug-in hybrid car that gets 82mpg for its first 37 miles of driving and 33mpg after that. That’s not bad considering the brand’s big, bad, gas-guzzling image of years past.


“People who buy luxury cars are typically not cash-strapped to begin with, so they may not be particularly concerned with saving money on fuel, but there are other areas of appeal beyond the EPA number–especially with range,” says Jack Nerad, the executive market analyst at Kelley Blue Book.


In fact, you might think that well-apportioned, powerful luxury sedans always get worse gas mileage than their more mainstream cousins, but premium automakers like Acura and Lincoln are focusing more than ever on making everything super efficient, super clean, and super lightweight (Exhibit A: carbon fiber everything). They’ve realized that more often than not, buyers these days who can afford to pick from plenty of options are routinely choosing the most efficient of the lot.


Read on to see other brands on our list of this year’s luxury cars with the best gas mileage. You’ll be surprised what makes the cut.


Behind the Numbers

The experts at Kelley Blue Book compiled this year’s data, which evaluated all 2014 model-year vehicles that promise a combined city/highway rate of 35 mpg or more. Hybrids and plug-ins, diesels, pure electric vehicles and even some gas-only entries made the cut.


The diversity is a good thing, Nerad says, as long as it’s managed well.


“More choices sometimes make the choice difficult–but that’s a good problem to have,” he says.


Still, there is much room for growth when it comes to efficiency, since most of the vehicles in the luxury segment fall woefully behind the ones enumerated here in terms of efficiency. Engine size, vehicle weight and aerodynamics all affect how many miles a car or truck will suck from its tank, and those factors are largely driven by market demands rather than environmental altruism. (One interesting note pertaining to expensive cars: Drag is the dominant player in efficiency on long straight roads like Interstates, and vehicle length has a huge effect on drag, and shorter cars have more drag than longer ones, so in some cases a big luxury car – which can better approximate the aerodynamically superior teardrop shape than a tiny econo-box – might get superior highway efficiency to a smaller one.)


Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla Motors TSLA +2.65%, has led the charge in improving efficiency by creating a 100-percent electric luxury sedan, the Model S, for a competitive price, and his similarly-fueled Model X SUV is due out later this year.


The South African billionaire said when he founded the company that it’s up to automakers to push for sustainably fueled and efficient cars.


“The overarching purpose of Tesla Motors (and the reason I am funding the company) is to help expedite the move from a mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy towards a solar electric economy, which I believe to be the primary, but not exclusive, sustainable solution,” Musk says. “Critical to making that happen is an electric car without compromises.”


With the cars on this list, at least, so far so good.




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Consumer Reports Names each Brand’s Best and Worst Cars



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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2014 Edition – 5 Coolest cars under $25,000



Buying a inexpensive automobile used to mean settling for a bland hatchback or sedan, but no more — as Kelley Blue Book’s picks for 2014′s Coolest New Cars Under $25,000 show.

“All of these cars are actually fun, stylish and desirable,” says KBB Managing Editor Jason Allan, who led a team of Kelley Blue Book experts in finding the hippest models from among 104 new cars that typically sell for $25,000 or less.

Allan says modestly priced vehicles can sometimes offer better looks and handling than costly rivals because expensive models often come with big engines and extra features that add weight. The editor adds that vehicles aimed at younger buyers often require fewer creature comforts and less interior space, giving manufacturers more freedom to focus on snazzy looks and sporty performance.

Dollar figures refer to KBB’s Fair Purchase Price, an estimate of what a given model is going for based on actual U.S. sales over the past week. Unless otherwise noted, prices also refer to each model’s base trim line with manual transmission.

KBB Fair Purchase Price: $24,640 (with automatic transmission)”The Camaro name is legendary — and the styling on the latest generation is still head-turning,” Allan says. “It’s just a nice mix of yesterday and today.”Launched by General Motors in the 1967 model year but discontinued after 2002, the sexy Camaro returned to the market in 2010.The 2014 version comes standard with a 323-horsepower V-6 engine. If you can afford more than $25,000, there’s also a convertible and high-performance models that top $60,000.

KBB Fair Purchase Price: $24,619

This compact hatchback from Volkswagen comes standard with a great combination of luxury and sport features.

Even the base GTI boasts a 200-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, eight-speaker audio system and other upscale amenities.

“The GTI is kind of an affordable version of a higher-dollar European sports sedan,” Allan says. “It has a ‘European’ driving feel and a lot of interior refinement, but its hatchback design and relative roominess make it a really versatile car.”

3. Jeep Wrangler 

KBB Fair Purchase Price: $22,195

Whether you’re driving through the suburbs or the Serengeti, the Wrangler will get you where you’re going and look cool in the process.

“The Jeep Wrangler can go just about anywhere,” Allan says. “It’s built to go off-road, and it does so better than anything else in its price range.”

The two-door soft-top convertible comes standard with a 285-horsepower V-6 engine and manual transmission. Automatic transmission is optional, as are a four-door layout and a detachable hard top.

2. Ford Fiesta ST 

KBB Fair Purchase Price: $21,298

This all-new model from Ford is a feistier version of the popular Fiesta subcompact.

The ST comes standard with a 197-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission, as well as sportier tires, steering, brakes and suspension than what a basic Fiesta offers.

“We really like the regular Fiesta, and Ford just turned up the heat with the ST,” Allan says.

1. Scion FR-S 

KBB Fair Purchase Price: $25,455

The FR-S costs a tad more than $25,000, but that’s just because Kelley’s Fair Purchase Price system captures weekly fluctuations in how much U.S. consumers are paying for the sexy Toyota.

Allan says KBB editors have named the vehicle the Coolest New Car Under $25,000 for two years running because the FR-S typically sells for less than $25,000 while offering the feel of a much-more-costly sportster.

“The FR-S is just a very pure ‘driver’s car,’” the expert says. “It doesn’t have all that big of an engine, but that’s good, because a lot of horsepower also adds a lot of weight.”

The base FR-S coupe comes standard with a 200-horsepower four-cylinder “boxter” engine, plus rear-wheel drive, a six-speed manual transmission and other performance-oriented features. Automatic transmission is available for around an extra $1,100.



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280HP Honda Civic Type R Makes Fiery Debut at Geneva Motor Show



As of late, Honda hasn’t been a brand associated with fun-to-drive cars. The new Civic Si barely satisfies our pallets for performance, but there is a a model worth caring about that has long been absent from the lineup. It’s the 280-horsepower Civic Type R (concept), and in this fiery guise, it looks epic.


This burning hot hatch will be the first model to employ Honda’s new turbocharged 2.0-liter VTEC engine (when produced). The inline-four will put down close to 280 horsepower, all sent to the front wheels, of course.


Honda Civic Type R


With all that power, Honda has big plans in mind for its latest hot hatch. They want the Type R to be the fastest front-wheel drive car around the Nurburgring, surpassing the current 8:07.97 lap time set by the Renault Megane 265 Trophy. Game on.


PHOTOS: See More of the 2014 Geneva Motor Show

Of course — with any Type R — we likely won’t see it in the US. The Euro-only hatch is currently on display in concept form at the Geneva Motor Show and will likely go on sale later in the year with minor changes. We are red-hot with jealousy.


Honda Civic Type R 2


PHOTOS: See More of the 2015 Honda Civic Type R




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