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A SPORT WAGON IN EVERY GARAGE | PART I

A SPORT WAGON IN EVERY GARAGE | PART I

Some details: Manufacturers like Jeep are replacing both the Compass and Patriot with a new crossover platform for 2017 and Honda expects their new subcompact crossover, the HR-V to outperform its best selling Pilot next year. If you look at the concept cars popping up from American, Japanese and European manufacturers over the past few years, they’re all pointing at a more streamlined, efficient and compact vehicle. Of course, there are always exceptions, Lexus and Infinity continue to sell a ton of their LX and QX vehicles respectively with no plans to trim down– but at this point they are the exception rather than the rule. If this trend continues, where might we end up? Back to the beloved family wagon perhaps? Let’s take a look at why this might be the inevitable full-circle scenario starting with this snippet from Charles Moss at The Atlantic: “At one point in America’s automotive history ... read more

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A SPORT WAGON IN EVERY GARAGE

 A SPORT WAGON IN EVERY GARAGE

The industry calls it “impact incompatibility” and it translates into the corners of your car not lining up with the corners of my SUV. This phenomenon was limited to tall trucks and oversized pickups until the 1990s when the Sport Utility Vehicle ruthlessly captured the American market. The statistics state that you are three times more likely to die in your car when hit by an SUV than you are when hit by another car. Because traditional SUVs are built on tall truck frames, they simply roll up and over your crumple zones and engine compartments rendering them useless to protect you. Moreover, unless you’ve been living under a sound proof rock for the past 20 years, you know that putting your fellow motorists at a disadvantage on the motorways is not the only downside of driving an SUV. High center of gravity leading to roll overs, poor visibility leading to back over deaths, poor handling and extr ... read more

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THE YEAR OF THE ELECTRIC CAR

THE YEAR OF THE ELECTRIC CAR

Self-driving, gesture-controlled cars may be all the rage at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, but in reality those advances are still years away. A fully automated vehicle will probably not be produced or sold in the next decade. So what’s REALLY the big news story in car tech? Electric. The electric car is finally here, and it’s all grown up and ready for prime time. It all started with the Tesla. Well, it started before then with the Prius and Volt hybrids, but the Tesla Model S is what really got people’s imaginations going. Here was a car that was 100% plug-in electric, that could be charged to near full in only a few hours, that looked good, drove great, and actually had a useable range. Since the first Model S debuted a few years ago, high-end auto manufacturers like BMW and Mercedes have been playing catch-up, and putting out some great cars like the i3 and i8. The only problem? M ... read more

CAR NEWS FROM CES 2015

 CAR NEWS FROM CES 2015

Most normal people don’t really care all that much about CES, the Consumer Electronics Show that gives technology companies an excuse to play Nerds Gone Wild in Las Vegas every January. For those of us not involved with the debauchery of the show itself, the only indication that something extraordinary is happening is brief mentions in the news about the weird new gadgets on display. This year more than any other, however, those weird new gadgets have included cars. It may seem strange that cars are now considered “consumer electronics”. Still, it makes perfect sense when you think about it. After all, to most people, a car is just a transportation utility. And with cars being filled with more gizmos and gadgets than ever, they’re about as much electronics as your cell phone. So what’s the latest and greatest on the car front at CES this year? Two things: electric cars, and self-driving cars. W ... read more

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DRIVING RESOLUTIONS FOR 2015

DRIVING RESOLUTIONS FOR 2015

It’s the new year, which means it’s time to shed some horrible habits and start making a plan for becoming a better person! Of course, we’re not talking about getting healthy, finding a better job, or spending less time watching daytime TV. Those are noble goals, for sure, but they’re not REALLY important. No, what’s REALLY important is spending the year becoming less of a menace on the roads. Yeah, we’re talking to you. Like a grease-stained Santa Claus in mechanics overalls, we know all the naughty things you did last year behind the wheel of that 2-ton killing machine you call a vehicle, and we’re going to help you make it on the “nice” list this year. So put your right hand firmly on the steering wheel in the 2 o’clock position and repeat after us: This year, as part of my New Year’s resolution to become a better driver, I do solemnly swear: I will not use my phone while driving ... read more

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BENEFITS OF ROTATING YOUR TIRES

There was a time not so long ago when everyone rotated tires. It was something you did, every year (or more often, if you drove a lot). These days, thanks in large part to advances in tire technology, few people even think about rotating their tires. That’s a shame, though, because even with tire lifetimes now measured by the tens of thousands of miles, there are a lot of benefits that come along with rotating your tires (or, more likely, paying someone to rotate them). Improve the Lifetime of Your Tires Tire technology may have improved the usual lifetime for many passenger tires into the tens and twenties of thousands of miles, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve on those estimates yourself. Rotating your tires helps make sure that the normal tire wear of driving around is spread evenly across all four of your tires, potentially adding thousands of miles to your tires’ lifespan. With tire prices always increasing, this can save you hundreds of dollars in ... read more

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HERE’S WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT EMISSIONS INSPECTION CHANGES IN DENVER FOR 2015

Starting on January 2nd, 2015, the state requirements for emissions inspection in Colorado will change. Here’s what you need to know. You might need to go to the inspection station. When your 2015 registration renewal postcard comes in, on the top right portion there will be a box that will tell you whether or not your vehicle needs to take an Emissions Test. If it says you do, you’ll need to head to the Air Care Colorado inspection station. You can find a list of locations here: http://aircarecolorado.com/index.php/locations-and-maps/locations/. New vehicle exemptions will increase to seven years. Because newer vehicles are cleaner and have better emissions, they don’t need to be inspected as often. New vehicle exemptions will be required every seven years, instead of every four. Older vehicles will need Onboard Diagnostic syste ... read more

GAS PRICES ARE FALLING AND AMERICANS ARE RAMPING UP BUYING

Gas prices have been steadily falling for the last few months, hitting an average price of $2.68 as of December 15th. Even better news? Analysts think it might hit lows of $30 a barrel, due in part to new sources of US based oil (like the fracking boom in North Dakota) and a surplus supply in foreign countries due to decreased demand in places like China. Americans have started taking advantage of those price drops, but not by increasing their amount of car travel. According to dealer reports, the sale of large SUVs and trucks has seen a big boost in the last few months. In fact, light duty truck sales (like the Ford F-150) are up 9.6% this year. Compare that to a paltry 1.3% increase in sales for sedans and other smaller cars, and you can see how much the shift in oil prices have affected consumer’s purchasing decisions. What does all of this mean? As the price of driving larger cars decreases, consumers are upgrading their vehicles. The problem with this is that while the cos ... read more

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5 TIPS FOR DRIVING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

If you’re like most Americans, you’ll be hitting the road at some point next week to visit family and friends for the holidays. But before you jump in the car, take a few minutes to and make sure you’re prepared for the long road ahead. Plan Your Route in Advance – Take half an hour to plan your route before you leave, especially if you’re driving half a day or more to get to your destination. Additionally, bring a paper map or printed out directions in case you lose GPS signal in your vehicle. As a bonus, you can map out a few alternative routes in case you run into traffic or other highway incidents that look like they may add a few hours to your trip. Pack an Emergency Roadside Kit – Every driver should have a roadside kit in their vehicle for any unexpected emergencies that might happen. A few staples to include are non-perishable snacks, a flashlight, a blanket, gloves, activities, batteries, a tool set, and a laminated list of emergency ... read more

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5 THINGS YOUR DAD SWEARS YOU SHOULD KNOW HOW TO DO ON A CAR, BUT THAT YOU REALLY DON’T

A recent article on mnn.com boldly proclaims “Modern Drivers Are Clueless About Their Cars”. It’s kind of a valid point – the statistics bear out that most drivers can’t perform basic maintenance on their cars, or even know how their cars work. The better question is, who cares? Well, besides my dad. My father grew up with the generation that wouldn’t dream of taking their car to a shop unless it was still under warranty. Before I got my drivers license, I was required to pass a stringent test of ‘essential’ skills more rigorous than anything the DMV could possibly have dreamt up. And now, years later, I’m here to say “Dad, you were wrong!” These skills are as outdated as being able to shoe your own horse, and next time someone insists that you absolutely need to know them, you can point them here to show them just how wrong they are. Drive A Sti ... read more

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