If you’ve ever purchased a house, you know how important the initial home inspection is to identify potential problems. Without one, you run the risk of buying real estate’s version of a “lemon.” The same logic applies to used cars and vehicle history reports: Although you can buy a pre-owned vehicle sans a Carfax or AutoCheck report, it’s never in your best interest.
Getting a vehicle history report is one thing, but understanding its contents is another story. Here are some red flags to look out for as you dig up dirt on a used car’s past.
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
- 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.
- 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!)
- 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.
Did you know that the Chevy Malibu is manufactured locally, right here in Kansas City? That’s just one of the many reasons why I love this vehicle! If you’re looking for a stylish, affordable, midsize sedan, then the Chevy Malibu is for you! Read on to hear my musings on why I think this car is one of the best sedans on the market!
The numerous awards the Malibu has won builds an impressive resume for this sedan. It is the 2017 winner of the best midsize car for families and is ranked as #1 in midsized cars by Car and Driver, awarded best buy for a midsized car by Consumer Guide Automotive, and more! Let’s unpack the details of this award-winning vehicle, though. (As if this wasn’t already enough to woo you.)
To put it simply, the Malibu is safe and reliable. It gets a whopping five-star overall NHTSA safety rating along with a five-star rating in frontal and side crash tests! Its safety features that help contribute to these astounding ratings include forward collision alert, rearview camera, front and rear park assist, blind spot monitoring, front automatic braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, pedestrian detection, and more! If you have a teen driver in the family, you can also take advantage of Chevy’s available Teen Driver system that lets you set speed limits and radio volume in the vehicle. When it comes to reliability, the Malibu also earned high reliability ratings among midsize cars from J.D. Power: 4.5 out of five stars–which is way more than what the Malibu’s rivals can speak for!
The 2017 Chevy Malibu is offered in four trim options: L, LS, LT, and Premier. Overall, this vehicle boasts a quiet, comfortable ride in whatever trim you choose. You’ll experience a smooth drive, even when you hit some occasional rough patches. The Malibu simply holds its composure well through different terrains. One of my favorite things about the Malibu is that you can customize it to your liking. If you go just one trim level up from the base model, there are many available packages and a la carte items for you to choose from, so your vehicle can be equipped just to your liking!
If you are currently shopping for a sedan, the Chevrolet Malibu should be on your consideration list. Don’t just take my word for it, though. Go out and give the Malibu a test drive and I guarantee you’ll want to drive away in it!
The Nissan Rogue pulls you in with its enticing price tag, but the perks of this striking SUV continue to surpass expectations! When I hear “SUV”, the Rogue is one of the first vehicles I picture. It is simply just a good, sturdy, dependable car. Read more about why this Nissan is my current featured favorite:
The Rogue gets an impressive EPA estimated 29 combined mpg in city/highway. It is as efficient as it is stylish. It is the only true 3-row compact SUV topping the charts with its fuel efficiency. So, if the fuel economy of a vehicle is your #1 priority, then you should be sold by now! Amazingly the benefits of this vehicle don’t stop there.
There are many notable additions to the new 2017 Rogue that raise the bar from this vehicle in its previous years. It boasts an updated refreshing, sleek interior and exterior, new adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection and an optional emergency braking system. The most talked about commodity of the Rogue, however, is its ample cargo space. When seeing the Rogue for the first time, folks tend to be surprised by the amount of space available inside the vehicle. Its large cargo capacity features an innovative storage system, along with the option of having a third row, which is a definite plus. When it comes to space, the Rogue has plenty to offer. Overall, this Nissan offers a comfortable ride.
The Rogue offers three main trim levels: S, SV, and SL. Even in their most basic trim, this vehicle packs in a remarkable amount of features, including a rearview camera, 5-inch display screen, bluetooth phone and streaming audio system, four-speaker CD player with USB input, and satellite radio. There are also plenty of add-on options for you to customize your vehicle to your liking. From lane keeping assist and forward collision mitigation to a panoramic sunroof, the available features for the Rogue contribute to make this a top SUV contender.
If you’re looking for a reliable, comfortable ride with an expansive interior, you’ve met your match! Go out and test drive a Nissan Rogue, and it will soon become your favorite too!
The Toyota RAV4 is topping the SUV charts! Between safety, style, and performance there are many factors weighing into its rising popularity. Here are some of the many reasons why the Toyota RAV4 is my current featured favorite:
This Toyota has an impressive safety score for many reasons. Its multitude of airbags paired with its highly rated stability control are just a few factors that make this car one of the safest in its class. If that isn’t enough to convince you of this vehicle’s safety, it is an Insurance Institute of Highway Safety 2017 Top Safety Pick+!
While the specific specs of this car are amazing on their own, the overall style is one of my favorite aspects! The RAV4 leans toward the smaller compact SUV side, which is a benefit for many. It gives you the spacious seating and cargo capacity while keeping it easy to navigate through the city! Its newer redesign is a fresh take on the loved older model, and it sure does boast some good looks. It packs in tons of user friendly features that will make you love this vehicle even more. From its integrated navigation system to its new “birds eye camera,” there is no shortage of technology in this car!
This compact SUV now sports five different trim options: LE, XLE, SE, Limited, and Platinum. All trims include a powerful 176-hp inline-4, 2.5-liter, and a six-speed automatic transmission. The RAV4 delivers solid driving power alongside smooth and secure handling. Overall, it is simply a reliable, durable vehicle perfect for the family or for your next adventure!
Test drive a RAV4 today at McCarthy Toyota of Sedalia! Go ahead and browse their selection, I promise you’ll fall in love!
If you are considering going green and getting a hybrid car, then more power to you! With a hybrid vehicle, you get premium fuel efficiency and and advanced technology that works together to maximize your driving experience. One of the best hybrid vehicles out there is the Toyota Prius Prime. If you are on the hunt for the perfect hybrid vehicle, I definitely recommend the Prius Prime. Here’s why:
The Prius Prime features Toyota’s first dual motor drive system, which includes EV Mode. This system gives the Prime a boost in acceleration and improves efficiency at full highway speeds.
With an EPA-estimated 133 MPGe and total driving range of 640 miles, the Prius Prime is the considered the most fuel efficient car in its class. Lightweight materials such as the carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer helps increase the efficiency of the Prius Prime, all while elevating your drive. However, the best features are the three different driving modes: EV Auto Mode, EV Mode, and HV Mode. Between the three modes, the driver is able to optimize and maximize efficiency based on demand and driving conditions.
The Prius Prime is equipped with advanced technology to help make the drive as comfortable and smooth as possible. The 11.6-in. HD multimedia display gives you access to everything with one simple touch. The Predictive Efficient Drive is an available intelligent drive coach that learns your routine stopping patterns, and helps to boost fuel efficiency in return. The Multi-Information Display screen gives you insight on what is going on inside of your Prius Prime. With a glance, you are able to keep track of energy use, fuel economy, and more in real time. Safety features are also a big part of the Prius Prime. Features such as the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection and Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist help to keep the driver in control and accident free. The available Safety Connect is a great way to keep emergency assistance within your reach at all times. Some of its features include Toyota’s 24/7 call center, Stolen Vehicle Locator, and Automatic Collision Notification.
There are so many reasons the Toyota Prius Prime is a great choice when buying a hybrid vehicle. What are some things you look at when deciding on which hybrid car to buy? Let us know in the comment section below!
I’ll be honest, I once didn’t know the difference between a car and an SUV, except for that one was obviously bigger than the other. Of course, I didn’t know what the silver “AWD” on the back stood for! The cars with extra letters on the back just means it’s a better model than the base, right? Thankfully, I have since learned the difference between FWD, and AWD, and all the drives in between, and I’m excited to pass this knowledge on to you.
Lets start with FWD. FWD stands for front-wheel-drive and it’s standard on most sedans. This simply means that the power that propels your car forward comes from the front tires, and the back wheels are just along for the ride. Cars with FWD are generally lighter in weight because the drive shaft is shorter. There is less weight in the drivetrain overall, so they tend to get the best gas mileage. Since the drive wheels are beneath the heavy engine, FWD vehicles often get better traction. This is also a huge plus for rainier climates, since the weight placement helps the wheels to drive straight if you lose traction, so you’re at a lower risk to fishtail. All in all, there is a reason that most cars come standard with FWD — it makes for a really great drive.
Next, there is this thing called RWD. RWD stands for rear-wheel-drive and is really common in sportier vehicles. When a car accelerates quickly, the weight of the car moves back, and the weight on the drive wheels allow it to gain more traction. In addition, RWD vehicles tend to have more equal weight distribution between the front and rear allowing it to turn more easily and naturally. Also, the suspension in the front doesn’t have to be jammed into such a little space, so the arms and rods can be longer, allowing them to last longer than the narrower angled parts of a FWD vehicle. In a lot of ways, rear-wheel-drive is the opposite of front-wheel-drive. All you have to decide is which one suits you best.
I’ve heard 4WD and AWD used interchangeably. Although they are similar, and in many ways serve the same purpose, there are a few key differences. Four-wheel-drive, also known as 4×4, 4WD, and Four by Four, distributes the maximum power from the transmission equally to every wheel. This is perfect for whenever you’re going over rough terrain. This function takes a lot more power and consequentially, much more gas. Thankfully, most 4WD models have an on/off switch, so you can turn it off when you don’t need 4WD.
AWD or all-wheel-drive, is a much newer innovation, and brings with it a little more complexity. Unlike a 4WD vehicle, AWD is on all of the time. AWD works to get power to the wheels by splitting capacity between two wheels or the front and rear axles. Because of this, it isn’t quite as robust as 4WD and it can’t match the same levels of traction in extremely low-speed off-roading that 4WD provides. For the less extreme off-roader who wants a better grip and handling in every road condition, AWD is a perfect match.
You may think to yourself, ‘So, which one is best?” If there was an answer to that, there would only be one kind of drive out there. Now that you know the differences between each, just determine which best suits your driving habits. Comment below and let me know which drive you like best!
If getting there is half the fun, then at least a quarter of the fun comes from your camping ride. But since there’s no point to rough it behind the wheel, I’ve put together the top three vehicles that are best suited for the trip. These camping rides typically see more duty as commuters and kid taxis, but their real talent is serving as versatile tools to better enjoy the great outdoors.
Toyota Land Cruiser
The Toyota Land Cruiser is a sometimes-overlooked member of the off-road SUV club. Unless you’re bringing more than four friends or need to tow a yacht, this is the camping ride you should consider. Some camping rides are cheaper, others are as sure-footed, but only the Land Cruiser ties it together with style and character.
The best camping ride in the Nissan SUV bunch is still the Xterra. It has a rough-around-the-edges demeanor, but that’s easily overlooked when you consider its off-road capability. The interior is easy to clean which is a plus for the inevitable pound of dirt that will make its way into your car when camping. With its ample cargo area, festooned with tie-downs and cargo hooks, the Xterra is an ideal ride for any camping trip.
It’s as bloated as your Aunt Clara and nearly as large, but the Chevrolet Suburban tows, hauls and transports like no other camping ride. With a little effort, the bus-sized cabin is almost what you’d call luxurious— and we ladies sometimes need a lot more luxury when it comes to camping. It’s definitely not for the eco-minded, but for those that aren’t quite as concerned with their footprint, the Chevy Suburban presents one of the strongest cases as a must-have camping ride.