In an automotive-focused study of “connected” consumers performed
last year, the J.D.
Power and Associates 2012 New Autoshopper Study showed that 79 percent of
new-vehicle buyers used the internet to research their vehicle purchase, and one
in five new-vehicle buyers use the internet via tablets and smartphones as part
of their automotive shopping process.
“Access to new-vehicle information
through the internet and apps -- obtained via personal computers, smartphones,
and tablets -- is having a greater impact on many aspects of the purchase
decision than ever before,” said Arianne Walker, senior director, automotive
media and marketing solutions at J.D. Power and Associates. Among “connected”
consumers who use a smartphone as part of their research, 59 percent do so at
the dealership to access vehicle pricing, model, and inventory information, as
well as to compare vehicles.
Continue reading "Using Mobile Devices to Research Automotive Purchases " »
More than 8000 votes have been tallied, the judges
conferred, and thanks to Bridgestone, college just got a little cheaper (okay, not just a little
cheaper, thousands cheaper) for three students. Did you vote for your favorite
“Teens Drive Smart” video? Be sure to check out the following winners.
Continue reading "Winners Announced in Bridgestone’s “Teens Drive Smart” Video Contest " »
tire is a tire is a tire
, right? With the exception of tire folks and
performance drivers or enthusiasts, probably the vast majority of drivers feel
this way. Yet tires are one of the most important components of our vehicles,
and unfortunately one of the most undervalued and least understood. I'm ashamed
to admit that even though I’ve been a
mechanic for my entire adult life, it is only recently that I have come to
really appreciate the science behind, and the vast differences between, those
big black round rubber things that we literally entrust our lives to each and
every time we get in our cars.
Continue reading "Tire Review: Goodyear Eagles Are Like Track Shoes For Your Car " »
By Sherice Bellefeuille
A few months ago, I went to Salt Lake City, Utah, to
participate in a Nitto Ride 'n Drive media event that being held at Miller
Motorsports Park. I didn’t know what to expect, but I have to say that I was
pleasantly surprised during my experience. Even though this was a winter
driving event, because this week is tire safety awareness week, I feel it is a
good time to share what I learned there.
Continue reading "SoCal Girl Takes on Winter Driving at the Nitto Ride 'N Drive Event" »
: 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.
Continue reading "2013 Toyota RAV4: Large Update for a Big Player in the Small-Sized Segment by Sue Mead" »
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.
Continue reading "Kia Shows off Two Updated Models with More for Your Money" »
past December I received an email that at first I thought was a hoax.
It was an invitation from Michelin Tire to be part of their
‘Influencer Community’. They wanted to send me to the NOLA
Motorsport Park in New Orleans where I would test drive their new
‘Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3’ ultra-high performance all-season
tires that will be available May 2013. Without even looking at my
schedule I replied: “YES!” and immediately started packing my
always enjoy driving cars on test tracks under extreme driving
conditions. Experience has taught me that tires are the most
important part of a vehicle that keeps you safely on the road. If
tires are worn, warped, not balanced, or are the wrong type of tire
for current driving conditions, you are taking a huge risk. Think
about this: you can be driving a car with a fresh tune-up, new
brakes, four wheel drive, traction control, and every other
automotive widget known to mankind, but if your tires are inferior,
you could get into an accident. If you are lucky your fender bender
would only damage your vehicle, but there is the possibility you
could wreck someone else’s car or worse yet hurt yourself or
Continue reading "A Tire Adventure in N’awlins" »
General Motors says that today’s pickup truck buyers don’t just use their trucks from 9-5, but also from 5-9, too! They want trucks that have the DNA or core technology of toughness for work, carrying payload, and hauling trailers, but also comfort and room for taking their kids to ball games and ferrying their family around town, as well as connectivity and good gas mileage. Listening to their customers, who are also buying more extended cab models, GM has just taken the wraps off of its next generation Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 that have been updated and renovated for 2014.
Scheduled to go on sale later this year, the stablemates have a refreshed exterior, a completely redesigned interior and upgraded powertrains for more power—but also improved fuel economy. We took a ‘first look’ at the new models recently in Detroit; pricing has not been announced.
While General Motors played it safe with this model year update, and kept some familiar exterior design cues and, in some areas made modest changes, there are also some significant improvements, particularly with some technology features – the improvements offer a welcome change and are clearly a sign of many new and good things to come from The General.
Continue reading "2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500: The General’s Next-Generation Pickups" »
People need to move—and carry things. Adding some all-new and updated game-changing, people-and-cargo-movers to its line-up, Ford has recently expanded its truck brand in the U.S., with new models that go on sale later this year. The Blue Oval is already the best-selling truck maker in North America and now adds two new vehicles for 2014-an updated Transit Connect Van and an all-new Transit Connect Wagon.
We recently took a look and climbed aboard the two new vehicles in Detroit, with Ford’s designers, engineers and marketers on hand to educate us about the new models. First, let’s take a closer look at the van, which came to the U.S. in 2010 as a creative solution for small business owners and others that had the need or desire to own a somewhat utilitarian, compact panel van.
If you’re not familiar with the first-generation version that came stateside from its popular run in Europe for close to a decade, you might think of a bulky, rectangular box with four wheels and the “Airport Shuttle” image, or the name of your electrician painted on the side of a van. You might even think back to the velour swivel seats and dastardly fuel economy of vans in the 1970s and 1980s.
Continue reading "First Drive: The 2014 Ford Transit Connect Van and Wagon" »
Santa Monica, California: The Beetle is a model that needs no introduction; it’s not simply that the “bug” is known around the globe- it’s unique and carries with it a rich history of fun motoring.
Volkswagen brought its latest iteration, a convertible version of the updated Beetle, to the Los Angeles International Auto Show for the global debut of the 2013 VW Beetle Convertible. Although Beetle isn’t the best seller in this German automaker’s lineup, it is definitely the ‘halo’ for the brand and there was no better place than trend-setting LA to take the top off of the halo and also to talk about VW’s increased sales momentum in the U.S. and around the world. VW also brought a group of auto writers to the show and to the sunny and fun California coastal region that runs from Santa Monica to Malibu for a day of top-down motoring in the new Beetle Convertible. It is priced starting at $24,995, with its high-level version priced at $31,195.
What defines the new Beetle is an updated sleek, redesigned exterior and reworked interior. Volkswagen’s convertible bug is an airy, cute and clever version of the car that once redefined the very term “automobile” in the U.S.. Introduced in 1949 as the ‘type 15’ and reinvented in 2003 after a hiatus from the mainstream, the Beetle is an icon of the internal combustion engine, with seating for four adults and a happy-go-lucky character.
This year’s model looks both more modern and more retro at the same time, with a flattened-out, aerodynamic stance that juxtaposes design elements like plain button wheels.
Continue reading "The 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Takes Off its Top By Sue Mead" »