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Top Candidates for “Best Vehicles of 2020”

November 25, 2019
By the time December arrives, most of the industry’s most respected critics hit us with their “best vehicles of the year” lists (what is it about lists that make us so giddy, anyway?). But for now it’s my turn to entice your list-loving eyes. Here are my top nominees to snag their class’s “best of the year” vehicle awards.

Best Cars & Sedans of the Year

Top 3 Compact Car Nominees

  1. Toyota Corolla – Redesigned for 2020, the new Toyota Corolla earns great ratings for fuel economy (31 city/40 hwy), reliability, and standard driver-assist and safety features. It’s one of the most well-rounded vehicles in the pack, and thanks to a base price under $20k, it’s also one of the most affordable small cars in America.
  2. Hyundai Veloster – Perhaps the most unique vehicle on this list, the new Hyundai Veloster, following a full redesign last year, is a pleasure to drive. Its handling is composed, its 201-horsepower turbo-four is powerful, and its cargo space is surprisingly excellent to boot. The 2020 model can also be equipped with a manual transmission. (Hooray!)
  3. Chevrolet Sonic – Featuring agile handling, comfy seats, and plenty of cargo capacity, the 2020 Sonic—which teeters on the “subcompact” and “compact” line—is well worth its $15,420 MSRP. It’s a cozy little commuter that moves around better than you’d expect of a smaller, affordable car.
Continue Reading…
Auto News

Time to Buy an Electric Car Before EV Incentives Get Axed?

December 13, 2018
Earlier this month, the White House announced their intention to eliminate electric vehicle incentives and rebates. If you’d planned on buying a new EV soon-ish, this move would all but take $7,500 out of your pocket! Even if the tax credits aren’t immediately shuttered by the government, the phase-out period for tax credits for most EVs – including GM models like the Chevy Bolt and Volt – is looming, which would also prevent you from cashing in on the full, sweet federal EV tax credit.

To put it simply: Now’s the time to buy your electric car. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Today! Continue Reading…
Auto News, Behind the Wheel

5 Safety Features Every Parent Should Look for When Buying a Car

August 31, 2018
While researching the best vehicles to keep your family safe and sound, you’ve likely read dozens of reviews, browsed IIHS ratings, and looked at NHTSA grades. But as safety technology improves, so too do the number of recommended vehicles on those “safest car” lists, leaving you with more of a selection than ever before.

We call that scenario a “double-edged sword.” With too many options at your fingertips, how do you know which vehicle is right for you? Do you go with a Top Safety Pick+ SUV? What about that 5-star minivan? Ahhh!

Allow me to help you, stressed-out parent. Here are 5 essential automotive safety features you should look for when picking your family’s next vehicle.

Safe Exit Assist An exclusive feature designed by Hyundai, Safe Exit Assist is the guardian angel every parent of a toddler needs. As your kids gain independence, they’ll begin doing things on their own—including opening the car door without assistance. Safe Exit Assist automatically locks the rear doors when approaching vehicles are detected, eliminating the risks of a nightmarish catastrophe. Continue Reading…
Auto News

My NAIAS Highlights

January 9, 2017
First of all, for those wondering, NAIAS stands for “North American International Auto Show.” Believe the hype about what you’ve heard, BIG things have been happening this year at the auto show in Detroit! A couple debuts have stood out in my mind, and I just had to share my favorites with you! Nissan’s Rogue Sport The Nissan Rogue has been Nissan’s #1 selling vehicle in America. SUV’s have been growing fast in popularity among car buyers. So, this was a smart move for them to expound upon their SUV lineup. This new Rogue Sport has a 2.3-inch shorter wheelbase and is 12.1 inches shorter in overall length when compared to the Rogue. With the second row folded down, it offers 61.1 cubic feet of cargo space and their innovative “Divide-N-Hide” cargo system. While smaller, it has a standard 141-horsepower! It offers available Nissan Intelligent Safety Shield technologies and Around View® Monitor (AVM) with Moving Object Detection (MOD). Plus SO many more features to get you amped for the Rogue Sport. Enough about the specs, the smaller size helps to make the vehicle maneuver easier, especially for those in city traffic and hunting for parking spots. It will go on sale nationwide beginning in Spring 2017 with choices of S, SV and SL grade levels and I absolutely cannot WAIT! For those who love the space an SUV offers but aren’t always in need of a ton of cargo capacity, this is the car for you. The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport is more than an extension of the popular Rogue, which accelerated past the Nissan Altima sedan in calendar year 2016 to become Nissan’s number one selling model. While sharing the Rogue name, platform and numerous advanced safety and security features, Rogue Sport stands on its own as a stylish, nimble, fun-to-drive and affordable compact SUV. Toyota’s 2018 Camry The Toyota Camry has been America’s best selling sedan for years. But recently, car buyers have been showing increased interest in small SUV’s, so, Toyota took a smart move in unveiling an updated Camry in hopes to maintain its popularity against the competition. While it’s still newly 2017, Toyota took no time in planning for the future. The all-new 2018 Toyota Camry boasts a surprisingly sportier style inside and out. This is the 8th generation of the Camry, so Toyota had to maintain what people know and love while still making it exciting, new, and relevant. It comes with Toyota’s dependable, safe, and durable expectations but has been redesigned to take the Camry in a new direction. To simply state it, the 2018 Camry just looks fun to drive (and that’s a great first impression!) To break down some specs for you: the hood is 1.6 inches lower, dropping the occupants’ seating heights an inch in front and 1.2 inches in the back with resculpted front seats and dash. Thus, making the interior, while practical, more roomy and spacious with a sport-sedan feel, and a much more attractive look. Toyota has moved away from the monotone, classic mid-sized sedan, and put the Camry through an evolution. If that isn’t enough to get you hyped, there’s plenty more details to sell you on what’s to come for the 2018 Camry (and I cannot wait)! 2018_toyota_camry_xse_02_88961eaaee6ed5242af8ea35e3990da6c70f8a63  
Auto News

7 Features Seen in 2017!

December 26, 2016
2016 is dwindling down and the New Year is buzzing with talk and trends! When it comes to the auto world, some trends are clearly becoming more popular than others. Inspired by this article, I wanted to compile the top projected trends seen for the automotive industry in 2017. The world is constantly increasing in technological feats, which is evident in the evolution of cars! Read on to see what to expect in 2017!
  • Digital dashboards. I’m seeing this trend more and more: Cars are doing away with the classic analogue dials and quickly being replaced with more detailed, customizable, digital gauges. With even the least-expensive models seen with advanced systems that can wirelessly stream calls, texts, data, and more.
  • In-Car WiFi. Bluetooth and hands-free features have been around for awhile, but WiFi capabilities in cars are popping up more and more. Yes, you can buy a hotspot or special device to bring WiFi to your vehicle, but on-board WiFi? That’s a game changer.
  • Entertainment tablets. In-car entertainment systems have been around, but lately I’ve seen custom tablets included, making systems more portable. Someone in the backseat wants to change the radio station? No problem, just pass back the car’s tablet.
  • Advanced guidance cameras. Guidance cameras have become almost a norm in a majority of vehicles, helping drivers to reverse safer. But, now, these cameras are becoming more and more advanced, with some models even offering 360-degree, bird’s-eye view capabilities.
  • Truck-Bed audio systems. The benefit of this feature is up to your imagination. But, weatherproof audio systems are being seen incorporated into pickup trucks in the near future!
  • Improved seating. Vehicles are taking notice of seat comfortability more and more. Spinal support, back support controls, and overall, more detailed seat customizable options are a few features being seen in many 2017 vehicles!
  • Improved safety technology. With more and more distractions being added to the road every day, it’s nice to see safety features taking technological advances. Lane departure warning features are being seen and improved upon, ensuring more safety out on the road!
These are just a few of the new features popping up in cars in 2017! Do you have a favorite feature you can’t live without? How about a feature you wish your car offered? Let me know!
Auto News

Introducing the All-New Toyota Prius Prime

March 23, 2016
The New York International Auto Show is in full-drive, which means so are the year’s biggest automotive announcements. One of the first new vehicles revealed this morning is the 2017 Prius Prime, which Toyota is dubbing the “best and most technologically advanced hybrid in the world.” Those are some powerful words! Let’s take a look, shall we? Design. The new-generation Prius Prime is 2.4 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider, and about an inch lower than its predecessor. This growth improves cargo room and offers a road-hugging experience. The Prime’s aerodynamic body design cheats wind with every mile, while its high-strength/low-weight structure results in an astoundingly low energy consumption. Automatic grille shutters help reduce drag by closing when airflow to the radiator is not needed. CePDmhxXEAAX2yN Energy-conserving quad LED headlights and LED rear combination lamps leave an unforgettable night time signature. Aiding driver visibility is a full-width aero glass panel over the rear spoiler and a standard backup camera. Last, but not least, the lightweight carbon fiber rear hatch—a Toyota first—makes opening and closing almost effortless. EV or Hybrid? Both. You can plug it in, fill it up, or both. On one 11.3-gallon tank of regular-grade gas and a full electric charge, the 2017 Prius Prime anticipates an estimated total driving range of over 600 miles. The class-leading Prime is expected to offer approximately two times the electric range of the previous model, meeting the daily commuter distance of over half of U.S. drivers. Especially impressive is the ability to drive at speeds up to 84mph without ever leaving EV mode. Wow! CePF5NEUMAEeKex Efficiency. The Prius Prime achieves an estimated 120+ MPGe, perhaps the highest MPGe rating of any Plug-in Hybrid on the market. It also exhibits a significant 26% enhancement over its predecessor, greater battery capacity, and an overall improved hybrid system. And I haven’t even scratched the surface! For even more information about the new Prius Prime’s technology, multimedia, mechanical genius, and built-in features, check out the official press release from Toyota.
Auto News

7 Car Trends for 2015

February 24, 2015
I recently have come across several different articles spotlighting the car trends that came about in 2014, as well as the predictions for 2015. I’m always interested in reading about trends, from fashion to food to cars, so of course this kind of thing is right up my alley! I’ve rounded up the most interested predictions I read about, and also added a few of my own. I’d love to hear what you think about these predictions and whether or not they will affect your life in any way. So read on and then leave a comment with your thoughts! 1. Hybrid sales will go down. This is a fairly certain prediction, since hybrid car sales have already been declining since 2014. And now that gas is at a record low price, it’s even more of a sure thing! Though hybrid cars are a great idea in theory, so many of your “normal” cars are becoming more fuel efficient, so there just isn’t the demand. 2. Trucks and SUVs continue to gain popularity. As all types of cars become more fuel-efficient, people can more realistically justify buying a truck or SUV, since the gas mileage is much better than it used to be. Trucks have hauling power and durability, while SUVs have cargo space and passenger room — something that small, compact vehicles just can’t compete with! 3. Autonomous cars quickly become more of a reality. Autonomous cars are no longer a mystical, futuristic idea. I’ve talked about them before on my blog, but 2015 will be the year that we get that much closer to autonomous cars being a standard part of our driving culture. Exciting stuff, right?! 4. Auto sales reach a record high. Okay, I had some help from CNBC on this one. This article reports that after six years of sales suffering from the recession, automotive sales are skyrocketing! They will reach a record high this year, as the economy improves and people get more anxious for new, fuel-efficient cars. 5. More online car shopping. Last year, about 17 percent of car buyers bought their car online. While that number seems low, I think it’s pretty amazing! That 17 percent represents millions of people trusting the internet with one of the biggest purchases they’ll ever make in their life. Obviously, buying a car online means you can’t even take a test drive! Though it’s shocking now, more and more people will rely upon online reviews and research rather than in-person test drives in 2015. 6. Infotainment systems will become standard. As car sales increase and people purchase cars with the latest and greatest features, car infotainment systems will become even more popular. People will have access to easy-to-use, amazing products that will make driving safer, more convenient and more fun! Sounds pretty good to me 🙂 7. Cars will be more eco-friendly. I’ve already mentioned the increase in fuel-efficient cars, but cars will become more green in other ways too. Cars will be built in a more efficient process and produce lower emissions in our environment. That’s something everyone can support!
Auto News

History Lessons: Nissan emerges in the United States

February 17, 2015
They’ve brought us innovative cars like the Leaf, trusty cars like the Pathfinder and funky rides like the Juke and the Cube. Nissan is an amazing automotive brand with quite the legacy — but do you know any of the details? If you didn’t know before, read on and you’ll quickly be filled in on the fascinating history of this brand we all recognize so well in the United States! Known by a different name You may remember the “vintage” brand of Datsun. Well, that old brand is actually the same as the Nissan we know today! Datsun, a Japanese company, came about as an acronym of the company investor’s last names. The first car was even called DAT. The company went through several name changes (Kwaishinsha Motorcar Co., DAT Jidosha & Co., Ltd.) before arriving at the name of Nissan in the 1930s as a short name for the holiday company Nihon Sangyo. Comin’ to America Aside from several name changes, the company now known as Nissan experienced many merges and changes in top management. And when an American named William Gorham came into the picture as an engineer for the company, Nissan took its first steps to becoming a well-known brand in the United States. Soon, most of the processes and machinery were coming from the United States to Japan. And later on, Nissan became a major vehicle producer for the U.S. Army. So by the 1950s, Nissan was a household name in America. A new sort of car Nissan was able to break into the United States market mainly because of its Datsun small car line, which was unlike anything being sold in out country at the time. The Datsun 240Z, the Datsun 510 and other similar models became huge hits in the U.S! Nissan today Now a well-established company in Australia, Brazil, India and all the corners of the world, Nissan is a major player in the automotive industry. They’ve forged partnerships with other iconic brands like Ford, Volkswagen and Alfa Romeo, and they now produce all their cars in South Korea instead of Japan. Along with the other major players, Nissan is working on electric cars, autonomous cars and non-automotive products in the near future. With all these big things underway, I’m certainly excited to see where they’re headed next!      
Auto News

7 Cars for Winter Driving

January 29, 2015
Unless you live in forever-sunny San Diego or Miami, winter weather calls for some changes in the way you drive. From four-wheel drive to new windshield wipers, you can exponentially increase your safety and performance on the road by switching out some features on your car. But even better than winterizing your car is getting a brand new one, right?! Of course it isn’t in the cards for everyone, but it’s always fun to think about. In the case that you are in the market for a new car this winter, here are my favorite cars for winter driving: 8S4 1. Toyota Sienna AWD: Though some people might scoff at the idea of a minivan making my list, the Toyota Sienna is a serious contender for winter performance. I wanted to add vehicles for a variety of lifestyles, and the Sienna is by far the best family-friendly van for snow driving. It’s the only minivan to have an all-wheel drive option and higher ground clearance to handle icy roads. 6W42. Toyota Highlander: Whether you’re plowing through a snowdrift or simply passing over muddy terrain, you will never have to worry about getting stuck in the Toyota Highlander. This SUV is small enough to remain convenient and compact, while large enough to allow for comfortable seating. EAP 4. Nissan RougeYou’ll feel far more confident in the Nissan Rouge than any small sedan. Like the Highlander, it’s a compact SUV with the option of all-wheel drive. The steering is secure and solid, while the high-quality interior, comfortable seating and all-around view monitor make it a great everyday vehicle. GBE 5. Chevy Suburban: This is one of the best cars for a a big family or otherwise large group of passengers. Because it has a wider frame, electronic stability  and 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, you’ll know that you and your whole crew are safe and sound when the icy roads come along. (But of course you still want to make sure you drive carefully!)K23 6. Nissan Pathfinder: This beauty is one of the Kelley Blue Book selected vehicles for 10 top Cars and SUVS for Snow driving. I particularly like the Pathfinder because it gets better gas mileage than many SUVs out there, clocking in at about 21 miles per gallon on the highway!PU5 7. Hyundai Tucson: Named a “Top Safety Pick” in 2013, the Tucson is an excellent choice for winter driving if you have a love of Hyundai! The higher ground clearance allows better manuevering, and the Tucson also has great stability, assist control and brake control for going up and down hills. You can’t go wrong!
Auto News, Behind the Wheel

You're More Likely To Get a Speeding Ticket In These Cars!

January 18, 2015
There’s a common belief that red cars, yellow cars or super fast sports cars are the ones who get over by the police most often. But I just read an article that totally debunks that myth! According to the study they cite, the cars that get pulled over the most are actually the popular, lower end cars that are driven by young kids who are more likely to joy ride and speed. It just proves that it’s certainly not the car that makes you drive faster, but it’s the person behind the wheel! Hence, this study is really a reflection on the type of cars young people drive, which in consequence are the cars that get pulled over the most. The study found that the speedy, expensive cars are usually driven by older drivers who are more cautious (because of the price of the car and their wisdom with age!) led the study, and searched out all cars involved in moving violations in the past three years. Their findings seem to be pretty accurate:

Top 10 Most-Ticketed Cars

2. Pontiac GTO (32.7 percent) 3. Scion FR-S (32.6 percent) 4. Toyota Supra (30.8 percent) 5. Subaru Tribeca (29.7 percent) 6. Volkswagen Rabbit (29.6 percent) 7. Mercury Topaz (28.8 percent) 8. Scion tC (28.8 percent) 9. Toyota FJ Cruiser (28.4 percent) 10. Mazda2 (28.1 percent)

It seems like these cars are the type that might get into a little street racing, right? The Volkswagen Rabbit was a little surprising to me though! And another interesting tidbit: the Dodge Viper is actually the least likely car to be pulled over, out of the whole study!

What do you think of the results? Do any of them surprise you? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!