Fire up the flux capacitor and tell Doc you’ll be back in time for dinner — a so-called flying car is scheduled to be debuted at the New York Auto Show this week. And while it won’t travel through time and Marty McFly won’t actually be driving it (George Jetson will be! Kidding, again), we’re still pretty excited.
Consumer Reports couldn’t even get their $108,000 Fisker Karma test car through its first round of tests before its battery went kaput. And now, Fisker says they’ll be replacing said defective parts in the luxury electronic vehicles.
As many of you probably already know, our kin at Consumer Reports buy everything they test at retail. Which means that they aren’t testing a product that has been optimized or checked out by the manufacturer in advance. It also means that every once in a while, a $107,000 car breaks down in the parking lot.
Our brilliant benefactors at Consumer Reports have released their annual auto issue, and if Toyota was allowed to brag about it, they’d be tooting their horns over the fact that they took five of the top spots out of 10 categories. The April issue is jam-packed with car ratings for the discerning consumer, but companies aren’t allowed to use those scores for commercial use. Sorry!
Thinking you’ve scored a great deal by buying a smaller, cheaper car might not be entirely correct, as one report indicates owners of such vehicles might end up paying more in insurance than some of their fellow drivers.
Some backsides are already alarming, but if new anti-theft technology takes off, the wrong rear really could set off alarms. Researchers in Japan have come up with a car seat that scans a driver’s posterior to verify identity before a car starts.
In 2011, there were plenty of cars with a lot of hype behind them, only to end up doing poorly with consumers. Failing to meet high expectations could almost be worse than just being as terrible as everyone thought you would be. So let’s toast a few of the flops of the 2011 American car market, shall we?
During holiday sales weekends, car dealerships want to lure you in with big deals on delightful new cars. But during these weekends, and in the weeks after, there are really only a few dealers want you to drive off the lot: a luxury ride, a big truck or an unpopular model.
Detractors of all-electric vehicles, beware. A group of German automotive students has set a new distance record for EVs — 1,013 miles on a single charge — and may point the way to future battery-powered cars that won’t give owners “range anxiety.”
When gas hit $4 a gallon in 2008, Detroit’s Big Three auto makers took it on the chin as American demand for big, fuel-thirsty SUVs and trucks suddenly disappeared. But even with gas prices again hovering north of $4, American car companies are whistling a much happier tune–all the way to the bank.
As a reaction to rising gas prices, new cars are becoming lighter and more fuel-efficient. Auto manufacturers are scrounging for ways to cut the weight of vehicles, shifting to lighter materials and ditching some parts altogether.
You don’t have to buy a car that plugs into an outlet to be green or run on batteries, says a new scorecard of the most eco-friendly vehicles on the road.
With banks continuing to stick to high (well, higher) lending standards, and car dealers eager to move inventory, now could be the right time to buy a new car and finance it through the dealer, according to SmartMoney. Rates are as low as zero percent, and . “nothing beats 0%,” says Paul Taylor, of the National Automobile Dealers Association.
A new study by an insurance industry analytics service reveals the vehicles with the highest and lowest percentages of traffic violations. Of the top 10 automobiles with the most violations, three of them were made by Mercedes-Benz. On the opposite end of the scale, 6 of the 10 least ticketed cars were GM models.
According to the consumer advice editor at Edmunds, if you bought a car in the last seven or eight years, you don’t have to change its oil every 3,000 miles. On these newer models, it’s fine to wait until 7,500 miles or more, although a Pennzoil employee tells the New York Times that you should stick with what your manual advises (which is still probably less frequent than every 3,000 miles). You can also check out this California State list of guidelines for different cars.
Ken is facing a $13,000 repair bill on his 2007 Chevy 2500 diesel truck, because the full factory warranty the dealership assured him it had was voided by GM. The reason: GM says at some point in the past, someone put a chip in the truck that doesn’t match the info GM has, so they don’t have to service it. The problem for Ken is that the dealership didn’t check for this chip before it sold the truck to Ken, and Ken didn’t know about this loophole when he bought it. In fact, he says he bought it about a year and a half before GM implemented this rule.
The Highway Loss Data Institute keeps track of insurance claims for stolen cars, and it’s just released a list of the highest and lowest insurance claims for auto theft for 2007-09 models. The winner is the Cadillac Escalade luxury SUV, followed by the Ford F-250 pickup–both of these vehicles have a relatively high claim frequency and high average loss payment per claim of $9,600-$11,000. On the other end, the Mini Cooper and Toyota Sienna 4WD are infrequently stolen and have average loss payments of around $2,000.
Here’s some news that will please many of you who cringe when you see a cocky teenager behind the wheel of an automobile. A new report claims that not only are fewer teens driving their own cars, but that fewer teens are on the road in general.