You’re driving along, happy as can be, rocking out to some Journey, when suddenly, you feel a vibration against your body. Feels kinda good but oh no, wait, that’s a signal that there’s a car approaching on your left side so watch out and don’t get in an accident. Sound enticing — er, interesting? You’re in luck! Engineers at Yale are working on just such an invention.
Yes, Virginia, there is an electric car. Sibling Consumer Reports got their hands on a pre-production model of the Chevy Volt, a new plug-in electric car hitting the asphalt this fall. It has a range of 40 miles on just electric. After the battery is depleted, the gas engine kicks in, extending the total range to 300 miles. Yep, you can plug it in to a standard outlet. But how’s the ride?
A former manager of a car dealership knows exactly how sneaky those sons of guns can be. One of their favorite tricks involved knowingly pricing out the monthly payments at $100 above what the bank computers would let buyer afford, and then acting like they’re your best friend for getting it lowered $100.
What does it mean to be “loyal” to a car manufacturer? Brett tells Consumerist that he wanted to take advantage of a program that offered a $500 loyalty discount to people who already own Mazdas. He negotiated a price with a local dealer, then learned that he wasn’t eligible for the $500 discount…because his previous Mazda had been totaled (that’s a picture of it, at left), and his car insurance company now holds the title.
If you pay attention to all the various automobile ads on TV, you’d probably notice that just about every make and model of vehicle has won some sort of award from some magazine, or that its been “rated highest in its class” by any number of organizations. But what many people don’t know is that these awards and thumbs-up ratings almost always cost the car companies a pretty penny.
Good news for those hankering after a fuel-cell vehicle: Toyota has announced they’ve cut the cost of making hydrogen-powered cars by around 90 percent and could start selling the first retail model for close to $50,000 by 2015.
For those without the temperament or time to engage in the scrum that is negotiating with a used car dealer, Carsala will do it for you. The site boasts a team of professional negotiators who will contact an average of twenty dealers and work to get you the best price possible. No more getting befuddled by the Four-Square or “Oh, I’m sorry, I really want to make this work but my manager in the back will only agree to…” The pros at Carsala charge a commission of 20% of the difference between Blue Book value and the final price. And, unlike some other car shopping sites, they don’t take kickbacks. Handy! Or you can just use their free tools to check out how a price you’re quoted compares to others in the area, and whether the car you want really fits your budget.
The sorry state of the economy the past couple of years has actually led to higher prices for used cars, writes Kiplinger. That’s because more people started buying used cars, which tightened the supply while also reducing the number of fresh trade-ins. It may be a couple of years before prices drop again, but Kiplinger has some suggestions for saving money if you plan on buying a used car this year.
Yesterday, we posted Consumer Reports’ selections for the best cars for teen drivers. That list, on which the least expensive car was priced at $9,900, drew quite a bit of heat from readers who thought the listed cars too pricey for teens. That’s why we want to hear about your first ride.
It’s almost graduation time, which means that lots of parents and recent graduates will be in the market for a dependable car for heading off to college or full-time work. Our cousins with the cool test track at Consumer Reports have come up with their annual list of Best Cars for Teens.
Consumerist reader Brian has been devoted Nissan owner his entire adult life, having owned upward of 10 different Nissan vehicles over the years. But now Brian is looking to move onto non-Nissan pastures after the driver’s side seat of his new Pathfinder became possessed by some sort of malicious demon.
In a move to remove some of the taint of bankruptcy and bailout, luxury car maker Cadillac is taking steps to distance itself in the public eye from its parent company, General Motors.
Wisconsin’s lemon law for cars is pretty strict. If a customer demands a refund on a newly bought car that won’t run and can’t be repaired, the manufacturer has to comply within 30 days or pay double the purchase price plus legal fees. Marco Marquez has been fighting Mercedes-Benz for 4 years now over a $56,000 E 320 he bought in 2005 that immediately stopped working. He says the company deliberately stalled on giving him the refund in time, and last week a judge awarded him $482,000.
While the Congress frets about the millions of Toyotas on the road that probably shouldn’t be, our grease-monkey brothers at Consumer Reports were busy getting domestic. They just released the list of their Top Picks for vehicles put out by American car companies.
The website AutoMD.com sent mystery shoppers to 600 auto repair shops in 50 different market areas to ask how much it would cost to replace the front brakes on a Ford Focus. They found that on average, repair shops in Memphis were among the most affordable shops tested, and they tended to consistently quote their prices to customers. The worst was the Chicago area, where shops quoted anywhere from $425 to $150, and where every shop tested changed its quote depending on what information the mystery shopper presented.
As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Toyota look into whether or not complaints of steering problems in 2009 and 2010 Corollas merit a recall, it’s worth investigating both the potential financial and public relations costs for the auto giant.
If you’ve been having flashbacks to the fall of 2007 while watching the Olympics on NBC this week, you might want to blame Chevy, who decided to dust off their love-it-or-hate-it “Our Country” ad campaign for the winter games in Vancouver.
Now that Toyota has almost nearly completed its time in the naughty spot for dumping a few million potentially deadly vehicles on the market, the world’s largest auto manufacturer is looking to make nice. But instead of flowers, candy or poetry, Toyota is making plans to woo you back into their showrooms with increased cash incentives and improved maintenance plans.