Thursday, May 29, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Will viewers think the funny commercials are enough to overlook gas prices that can make you cry, not laugh, and buy the 2009 Honda Pilot?
Monday, May 19, 2008
Always check pressure when the tires are cold, since driving even a couple of miles to the gas station can provide a false reading.
- Under-inflation generally provides a smoother ride, but it also causes tires to wear out at the sides, and it wastes gas because tires need more power to push the vehicle.
- Higher pressure generally results in improved steering response and fuel economy, but a stiffer ride, and it wears out the tread in the center.
Even the experts get it wrong. Top automotive website Edmunds.com tested vehicles driven by 212 of their employees and found a bunch substiantially under-inflated and wasting gas.
Edmunds.com (full disclosure here -- I write for them occasionally) discovered they would save nearly 6,000 gallons of gas a year and about $20,000 of their boss' money, by keeping tires properly inflated.
So go check your tires. It could make your great drive more fuel efficient.
Monday, May 12, 2008
The VW Beetle is one of the world's most famous, most regognizable vehicles, truly one of the great drives of all time. In 2008, it is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its return.
Cute as a bug, fuel efficient, fun to drive. No wonder the Beetle is a hit with buyers in all age, income, and other demographic groups.
Since being re-launched in 1998, the VW Beetle has sold more than 1,000,000 models -- about half of them in the United States. And many of those are the Beetle convertible, ditto cute and fuel efficient and fun to drive.
Many of those buyers customize The Bug -- as it's also known -- with fancy paint jobs and other modifications. Spoiler, anybody?
Although it uses design cues from its classic predecessor, the Beetle is new, inside and out, with a water-cooled engine, modern safety features, and creature comforts including an iPod jack for the audio system. And, of course, the famous flower power vase.
The American division of Volkswagen is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. The parent company is headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany, about one hour from Berlin.
Volkswagen also sells Rabbit, GTI, Jetta, GLI, Passat sedan and wagon, Eos, Touareg SUV and the new Routan in North America. But not its super luxury sedan, the Phaeton (think Audi A8), which is sold in Europe and the Middle East.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Cars like this are generally called 'entry level', for first-time buyers, or those who simply can't afford to spend more.
But these bargain-priced beauties are a great drive for anybody who wants features such as a navigation system, hard-drive music storage, voice-controlled iPod integration, Bluetooth phone connectivity, push-button start, leather seating.
All for $18,000 -- or less. So here are the top three cars for $18,000 or less -- according to Kelley Blue Book --
2008 Ford Focus
Definitely a cool car, with Ford's industry-leading SYNC music and phone integration system that allows you, for instance, to play any song in your digital library simply by saying its name. The popular Ford Focus is available as a sedan or a coupe.
- MSRP -- $15,280, KBB new car book value -- $14,942
2008 Honda Fit
With gas prices on the rise, small cars like the Honda Fit are gaining in popularity. The Fit sips gasoline and offers the sportiest driving experience available in an econo-car. Plus, the seats can be configured in multiple arrangements, so it can easily hold things like your friends, your gear or a medium-sized alpaca (according to a photo on Honda's Web site, anyway).
- MSRP - $14,585, KBB new car book value -- $14,585
2008 Jeep Patriot
This model has a classic look reminiscent of the departed Jeep Cherokee, plus a functional interior and a price tag under $18,000 price tag even if you upgrade to four-wheel drive. Combined with highway fuel economy up to 28 miles per gallon, the Patriot delivers a cool mix of SUV-like versatility and car-like efficiency for buyers on a budget.
- MSRP --$16,055, KBB new car book value -- $15,894
Great drives for $18,000 or less, and economy at the gas pump too.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Buy a new Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge and you get a gas discount card that guarantees you pay just $2.99 a gallon for gas for three years.
A great drives deal? Not so fast.
Small/Compact Car -- Dodge Caliber, Chrysler PT Cruiser
Mid-size Car -- Dodge Avenger, Chrysler Sebring, Chrysler Sebring Convertible
Large Car -- Dodge Charger, Chrysler 300, Dodge Magnum
Crossover --Dodge Journey
Minivan -- Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town and Country
Compact and Mid-Size SUV -- Jeep Patriot, Jeep Compass, Dodge Nitro, Jeep Liberty
Large SUV -- Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Commander, Dodge Durango, Chrysler Aspen
Pickup Truck -- Dodge Dakota, Dodge Ram, Dodge Ram HD.
These models are not eligible for the Let's Refuel America program:
All SRT models, Dodge Viper, Dodge Challenger (pictured), Dodge Ram Chassis Cab, Chrysler Crossfire, Jeep Wrangler and Dodge Sprinter.
Who ever thought $2.99 gas would look like a great drives bargain.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Does Iron Man Tony Stark drive an Audi R8? Of course he does.
Jeff Bridges, Robert Downey Jr., Jon Favreau and Terence Howard arrived in an R8 -- which, BTW, has a 2-year waitlist.
Jack Black, Leslie Bibb and Vince Vaughn were escorted in the Audi Q7 SUV.
Robert Downey Jr. plays Tony Stark, whose superpowers are the result of the highly versatile and indestructible high-tech armor he developed himself. When he is without his Iron Man suit, the technically-adept billionaire relies on the Audi R8.
There's a special Audi-Iron Man website that includes exclusive behind-the-scenes content, interviews with the cast and crew, Audi Iron Man commercials, background on use of Audi vehicles on the movie set, and more.