Knibbe Ranch, Spring
Branch, Texas: This celebrated cattle ranch in the Hill Country of Texas was
the perfect place for ‘The General’ to get back in the saddle! Now launching
its next-generation pickup trucks, General Motors is truly back in the truck wars and hosted the
first drive of its all-new 2014 Chevy Silverado at this working ranch that has been used for a
handful of years as the proving grounds to evaluate the country’s top trucks
each fall, in an annual shoot-out sponsored by the Texas Auto Writers
It’s stunning to me that many American consumers have such a negative response to diesel automobiles. They still have the mindset that diesel fuel is something out of a gothic novel—smelly, toxic, smoky, expensive, and bad for the environment.
It’s not, I assure you. Let me educate you to the future of clean diesel. In this case, it's Mercedes-Benz’ version called BlueTEC.
In this video, Jody DeVere, CEO of AskPatty.com, joins Easy
Does It host Ereka Vetrini to shine some light on what's really going on
under your hood. When it comes to car care, DeVere says
that the biggest mistake people make is "really not
understanding what your car needs." To combat this, she says, "Crack
open that dusty manual that's usually in the glove box of your car and
understand the basic needs of your car and the intervals that those should be done.
And then do it to the letter of the law. That's going to prevent a lot of
costly, long-term, expensive problems." Click here to watch the Easy
Does It Segment on Yahoo!Shine.
Brasada Ranch, Redmond, Oregon: Attractive new styling, more powerful and efficient engines and some of the latest creature comforts, even at the entry-level model, define the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander; it’s a crossover sport utility vehicle that seats seven. Mitsubishi says the third-generation Outlander has some “ground-breaking safety features for its class”—and we agree. It is also the only SUV at its price in its segment with three-row seating that comes standard. The new model also gets improved aerodynamics and better sound insulation; high-end technologies include adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and a crash-mitigation system. While Mitsubishi has not announced exact pricing, the new model will be priced close to the outgoing version, with an impressive array of added content over the previous generation.
The 2014 model year marks the 10th time Chevrolet has introduced a new Impala – and this little antelope, born in the Year of the Snake, is a refined, modern take on “The General’s” iconic five-passenger sedan. Its looks have not always been consistently stunning-in fact, the outgoing model was growing a bit long-in-the-tooth. However, the 2014 Chevy Impala’s design team has hit it out of the park with a gorgeous design that is equal parts American muscle and European sculpture.
Carefree, Arizona: For the 2013 model year Toyota is giving RAV4 customers a little less and a little more for their money. The “more” category includes a complete interior and exterior redesign, a new engine, new six-speed transmission, and new all-wheel-drive system. Under the “less” heading, Toyota has filed its V6 motor, which was previously available as an option on this compact SUV, as well as removed the optional 3rd-row seat. The 2013 RAV4 starts at $24,145, including destination. The 4th generation RAV4 is significantly more refined and distinct from the first models that came to market in 1994 as ’95 editions with little competition; since Toyota has sold 1.7 million RAV4s in 150 countries and says some 80 percent are still on the road. The latest edition now joins 45 crossovers, including its direct competitors, the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue and Chevy Equinox. Toyota’s California design team penned the new model for the U.S.; it gets 8 standard airbags (including driver side knee airbag, front passenger seat cushion airbag and side airbags for front and second row) and a standard backup camera, as well as optional goodies like Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) and a height-adjustable power liftgate.
Outside, the all-new RAV4 has the profile of an Olympic cyclist, with a low front bumper shape that wraps up from below like handlebars and a roofline that slopes steeply back from the A-pillar like a hunched-over speed racer. Glistening headlamps have an asymmetrical shape that slants inward toward the nose, which features a V-shaped grille that emphasizes this “cute ute’s” more aerodynamic look.
The rear of the ute, which features an integrated spoiler with LED lights, has a bulbous shape that belies the cargo space inside. We’re thrilled that a liftgate replaces the swinging rear door of previous model years which also held the spare tire; standard steel wheels are 17 inches, with 17- and 18-inch alloys available on higher-end trim lines. The spare is now tucked under the cargo floor.
Austin, Texas: Jeep’s update of its 2014 Grand Cherokee model makes it new; there are new drivetrains, more luxury and a bevy of options for off-road prowess define it and its sizzling sibling- the high-performance, lap-of-luxury 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT. One of the original mid-sized luxury SUVs to come to market in 1992, the newest version seats five and is an authentic competitor to VW, Land Rover, BMW, and other high-end sport utes. It’s priced from $28,795 to $50,995; the Grand Cherokee Limited with Jeep’s new EcoDiesel V6 is the lowest priced diesel SUV in the market at $40, 295, says Chrysler.
The exterior strikes a nice visual balance between refinement and ruggedness, with a grille that has been redesigned to give more luxo character overall, with distinguishing trim around each of the signature vertical slots. Slimmer headlamps and a shorter upper grille put a check in the “more refined” category, while 17-inch all-season tires (standard on base Laredo models) and a beefy lower grille have “rugged” cred – plus, depending on the trim level, tires get as big as 20 inches.
The rear has new, larger tail lamps with smart LED lighting, a larger, more aerodynamic rear spoiler, and a re-sculpted tailgate. Dual exhaust tips are standard on all Limited, Overland and Summit models. Front and rear LED lighting, including bi-xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps on higher end models, make Grand Cherokee grandly bright on the road.
For its fourth birthday as a unibody crossover SUV, the Kia Sorento is getting the equivalent of a pony, a piñata party and a wardrobe of amazing new clothes all at once. Among its gifts: a completely new chassis, a new V6 engine, a redesigned interior and some vamped-up, top-of-the-line features including an entirely new high-end trim line. Kia wants to be known for design, safety and value.
The Sorento’s facelift freshens its design, while inside you’ll find improved conveniences, upgraded materials and more amenities. A top IIHS safety pick, Sorento seats five or seven (there are 2-row and 3-row versions), and comes in front-wheel drive and all-wheel-drive models that start at $24,950, including destination charges.
In case you have not noticed, there are a lot of vehicles in the competitive compact and medium-sized utility vehicle (CUV) segment – and they start to all look alike after awhile. Although Sorento doesn’t look radically different from its contemporaries, it has a few distinctive features that help it stand apart. Among them: a beefy grille and deep front air dam with black hexagonal grille inset behind chrome trim. Vertically set rectangular fog lamps offset sleek, slanted headlamps.
The rear end sits high and is capped at the bottom by a kickplate with a sweet-looking oval tailpipe.
Consumers’ pain at the pump is back with gas prices rising for 33 consecutive days according to the Washington Post
and the average price of gas moving closer to $4 per gallon. No need to
worry, says the Car Care Council. A few simple and inexpensive vehicle
maintenance tips can help alleviate the pain.
“You can’t control the price of gas, but you can control how much gas
you burn by performing proper maintenance and how you drive. Performing
simple and inexpensive maintenance can save as much as $1,200 per year
in gas costs,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.
The Car Care Council offers these gas-saving maintenance tips:
Keep your car properly tuned to improve gas mileage by an average of 4 percent.
Keep tires properly inflated and improve gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent.
Replace dirty or clogged air filters and improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.
Improve gas mileage by 1-2 percent by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil.
Driving behavior also impacts fuel efficiency. The council offers these gas saving driving tips:
Observe the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases rapidly above 50 mph.
Each 5 mph over 50 mph is like paying an additional $0.25 per gallon
for gas, according to www.fueleconomy.gov.
Avoid excessive idling. Idling gets zero miles per gallon. Warming up the vehicle for one or two minutes is sufficient.
Avoid quick starts and stops. Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent in the city.
Consolidate trips. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much gas as one longer multi-purpose trip.
Don’t haul unneeded items in the trunk. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk reduces fuel economy up to 2 percent.
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car
Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of
regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a free
copy of the council’s Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.
Auto shows have a personality and the Chicago Auto Show is described by automakers and autowriters as a “down-home” show—and they love it! There’s even an event sponsored by all the automakers for the press and other early attendees called “Sweet Home Chicago”! But, don’t let its slower pace and more comfortable setting make you think it’s small. In fact, the Chicago Auto Show is the largest auto show in North America and this year’s show marked the 105th annual event, which makes it the longest-running and one of the best-attended shows in the world. Sponsored by the Chicago Automobile Trade Association dealers, the show is held at the McCormick Place Convention Complex where the enormous amount of space on hand brings an ease for car makers to offer free concerts and set up experiential test tracks. There’s also a ‘social media day’ now held annually that draws a wide variety of presenters and consumers to come together to evaluate and promote this new landscape and its effect on the automotive industry. AskPatty.com was one of the presenters this year, helping to showcase the exciting and rapidly-growing arena of Marketing to Women.
But, at the end of the day, an auto show is really about new sheet metal and the introductions of new models soon to hit the streets along with the unveiling of concept vehicles that are experiments in design and technology and are meant to take the temperature of the audience, plus help automakers make decisions about whether to move forward with a particular model or technology. There were a number of both-new models that will be in dealerships soon and a few hot concepts. My personal favorites were the 2014 Toyota Tundra, the 2014 Ram Promaster, the 2014 Nissan Juke NISMO and Nissan NV200, and the Kia Crossover CUT Concept.