Tag: New Cars

By on January 4, 2016

23 October - 25 October, 2015 Lexington, Ohio, 2015 ©2015, Jake Galstad MotorSportMedia

It seems like a fine tradition here at TTAC for the contributors to look back on their work over the past year and actively seek feedback. The comments are my favorite part of this site, and it’s because of them that my work has shown up elsewhere. That’s a long way from the first contribution I emailed Bertel Schmitt from my Air Force computer.

While I may have dropped my contributions from a 2013 high of 43 posts, 2015 was better than my 2014 total of five. In fact, I think I posted enough this past year to warrant a list of my favorites and yours.

So, shall we?

(Read More…)

By on January 2, 2016

Image courtesy of kenwood.eu

According to automotive experts, the in-dash CD player’s days may be numbered in new cars. Also, water is wet, and orange juice made from oranges.

The Telegraph reports that roughly one-third of new cars sold in the UK by the end of the decade will have a CD player, with many of those physical media players being optional extras.

About 3 out of 4 new cars come with some sort of USB connectivity as standard, according to the newspaper, which means there are many people who are opting for a USB connector AND CD player in their car today. Wait, why? (Read More…)

By on December 7, 2015

2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited Exterior

Toyota’s small trucks have long been associated with bulletproof reliability (and occasionally militant militias). Despite the Tacoma splitting from the legendary Toyota Hilux bloodline in 1995, the Taco (as some fans refer to their trucks) has continued Toyota’s rugged and reliable image. A big factor in the Tacoma’s long-term reliability is the Toyota’s philosophy to change: it should happen slowly and only when necessary.

Although the 2016 Tacoma is dubbed an “all-new third generation,” just like we see in the Camry, large portions of the design are carried over from last year’s model. This is excellent news for some, but may come as a disappointment for others. The changes are enough to keep brand loyalists happy, radical enough to be called a re-design, but sedate enough that folks eyeing a GMC Canyon may not be swayed by the lure of Toyota’s legendary reliability.

In a nutshell, Toyota swapped in a set of tried-and-true transmissions, fitted a Lexus V-6 under the hood, tweaked the frame with stronger steel and covered the truck in new sheetmetal. On the inside, we get a new dashboard, infotainment systems from the Toyota Highlander and a steering wheel from the larger Toyota Tundra. If you’re a Taco man, that’s all you need to know before you run out and buy one. For the rest of us, click past the jump.

(Read More…)

By on November 16, 2015

2016 Honda Accord Exterior

Accord sales are down 11 percent versus last year. Surprised? So was I. Looking at the numbers, the winner is even more surprising: the Chrysler 200.

Tim’s numbers at GoodCarBadCar tell an interesting tale. Overall segment sales are down slightly with most models seeing only modest sales differences. Then we have the Accord and 200. Honda sold 35,000 fewer sedans so far this year than last while Chrysler sold 72,000 more.

While the 200 is far from a sales segment leader, the increase is impressive nonetheless, and begs the question: Are Honda’s traditional buyers opting for an American alternative? It’s not possible to answer that question simply by the sales numbers, but it is an interesting question.

Despite Americans getting bigger in every generation, the family sedan’s focus on the back seat is in decline. This is partly due to the crossover revolution and partly because cars like the Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, Kia Optima and even the Subaru Legacy are cutting rear headroom in an effort to look sexier from the 3/4 shot.

Fear not, families of four: Honda continues to carry the torch for pragmatic sedan shoppers with the refreshed 2016 Accord.

(Read More…)

By on September 14, 2015

2016 Mercedes GLA 250 Exterior-008

2015 Mercedes GLA 250 4Matic

2.0-liter DOHC I-4, turbocharged, CVVT (208 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm; 258 lbs-ft @ 1,250 rpm)

7-speed “7G-DCT” dual-clutch automatic

24 city/32 highway/27 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

26.5 (Observed, MPG)

Tested Options: 4Matic AWD, Driver Assistance package, Active Parking, Blind Spot Assist, Wood Trim, HID Lamps

Base Price:
$32,225*
As Tested:

$42,800*

* Prices include $925 destination charge.

Every luxury manufacturer is in a relentless pursuit downmarket. There are a few reasons for this but the most important are increasing volume, amortizing common development costs and snagging life-long brand loyalists as early as possible. The Mercedes GLA is the latest entry in a growing segment: small luxury crossovers.

Small luxury branded vehicles are nothing new to our European friends, but until recently BMW and Mercedes kept anything small and front-wheel drive far away from American hands. Until now. In 2014, Mercedes took their A-Class FWD hatch and made a sedan out of it. Calling it a “CLA”, the Civic-sized sedan was a runaway success starting at $31,000. Since crossovers are the hot segment to be in these days, it didn’t take Mercedes long to jack the CLA up and add a rear hatch to create the GLA.

Does the GLA have enough luxury to convince Ford Escape shoppers to jump up to a Mercedes? And perhaps more importantly: is it a real Mercedes?
(Read More…)

By on September 1, 2015

2016 Audi Q3 Exterior-002

2016 Audi Q3 Prestige

2.0-liter, DOHC I-4, CVVT (200 horsepower @ 5,100-6,000 rpm; 207 lbs-ft @ 1,700-5,000 rpm)

6-speed Tiptronic automatic

20 city/28 highway/23 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

20.2 mpg (Observed, MPG)

Tested Options: Prestige Trim, Quattro AWD, Sport Package

Base Price:
$34,625*
As Tested:

$42,175*

* Prices include $925 destination charge.

Audi’s Q3 isn’t a new vehicle by any stretch. It was first launched in 2011 but didn’t make it to America until the 2015 model year. That’s because the Q3 plays in a segment that’s new to us — the even-smaller compact luxury crossover. This form factor isn’t new to the rest of the world, but until Land Rover brought the Range Rover Evoque to America and BMW followed up with the X1, there wasn’t a real focus on small luxury soft-roaders.

With crossovers being the latest craze and every luxury brand looking to move down-market to capture fresh young buyers, it was only a matter of time till Mercedes and Audi joined the party with the GLA and the Q3. With a “low” $33,700 starting MSRP, the baby Audi is the more practical counterpart to Audi’s sharp-looking A3 sedan. Although CamCord shoppers have to give up a great deal of room to upgrade to the A3, the Q3 has the potential to be a more sensible option.

(Read More…)

By on August 27, 2015

Signing his life and wallet away for the next six or so years with a long-term auto loan agreement

Next year may not be as kind to new car buyers with bad credit.

If you’ve been paying attention to the market recently, it’s been an up-and-down ride for the past few days. Market volatility is just one of the indicators that the Federal Reserve may be considering a hike to the federal funds rate (probably not this year, though), which would impact borrowing rates in a record-setting year for the auto-loan business. 

“It has the potential to impact auto loans, any rate increase certainly can,” said Melinda Zabritski, senior director for Automotive Finance for Experian. “The rate depends on so many other factors in the market … (A rate increase is) at some point, likely. But there’s not a strong chance that it will go up this year.”

Rates for loans have largely stayed the same since 2008, when interest rates were lowered to spur lending after the recession. Many of the low-rates today haven’t changed and automakers such as Subaru have offered interest-free loans on some of their cars.

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By on August 26, 2015

Happy Face Car Lot

Sick of recalls and rising costs, Americans are buying cars now, more than ever, and apparently they don’t like it, the Associated Press is reporting.

An annual survey of 4,300 new car owners revealed that overall satisfaction with new cars is at its lowest point since 2004. Most of that is due to repeated recalls, according to the American Consumer Satisfaction Index. Overall, consumer satisfaction dipped 3.7 percent, to 79 out of 100 points.

“While it is true that all cars are now much better than they were 10 to 20 years ago, it is alarming that so many of them have quality problems,” Claes Fornell, ACSI Chairman and founder, said in a statement. “The number of recalls is at an all-time high. This should not happen with modern manufacturing technology and has negative consequences for driver safety, costs and customer satisfaction.” (Read More…)

By on August 3, 2015

IMG_0611

Subaru’s Legacy is unique in the midsize sedan segment, not just because it is the only entry with standard all-wheel drive, but also because it also comes with a standard continuously variable transmission and the $21,745 price tag is just $405 higher than the least expensive entry, the Passat. The value of that standard CVT and AWD system is around $2,600-$3,000 effectively making the Subaru a much better value than the base Volkswagen that is front-wheel drive with a manual. This value proposition is the key to understanding Subaru in general and the Legacy in particular.

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By on June 1, 2015

2015 BMW M235i Exterior1

We’ve talked about BMW’s portfolio expanding faster than an American on a midwest diet before, but I’m going to do it again because it’s the key to understanding the 2-series in general and the M235i in particular.

The M235i is not an M2, it is not a 235i M Sport, and it is more than the former 135is. Are you confused yet? The M235i is the first of BMW’s “M Performance” vehicles which are not to be confused with “M Sport.”

Here’s how BMW’s new four-tier system works:

Things start with M Sport which is a “looks fast/handles well” package, then we get “is” which adds a dollop of performance, followed by the new M Performance where we put M in front of a three digit model number (M235i) denoting increased power, improved handling, improved braking and suspension tweaks, before going full-on-M.

In theory, the full treatment includes body modifications like wheel well enlargements, carbon fiber bits and a dual-clutch transmission. If you’re not totally confused yet, continue reading.

(Read More…)

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