Sunday, July 18, 2010
Check out this AutoTrader article that says vehicles like the 2011 Toyota Sienna and Acura TL are moving up on the list of considered new cars. The Ford Mustang is number one with AutoTrader users and the Sienna is now fifth.
Monday, July 12, 2010
As the reality of the all electric Nissan Leaf draws nearer, expect to see a lot more all-electric vehicles, concepts, drawings and promises. One is the Audi e-tron, and all electric, high performance coupe that looks like a smaller version of the R8 - it's a real car but just not for US buyers. Recently, Audi entered the car in a 100+ mile rally. A high performance electric car may seem silly but Mercedes Benz says a battery powered SLS could be a reality and the Tesla Roadster is fairly quick without the help of a gasoline engine. BMW is also working on an all-electric car based on what the company learned from the Mini-e. The luxury hybrid Fisker Karma is also on the way and Tesla promises a four-door, all electric performance sedan. Also look for Mitsubishi's electric i-Mieve and of course the Chevrolet Volt is on its way.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Say goodbye to the Chrysler PT Cruiser, production ends this week. The car has been around since 2000. Housewives over 40, retirees, Victrola collectors and Dale Ernhardt t-shirt wearers will have to pick a different ride - Chevy HHR anyone? The Jeep Compass is just a crappy as the PT Cruiser sot that's one you can consider too. Actually, the PT Cruiser is nicer than the Compass.
Truth is, the PT Cruiser was never a super star - it's been primarily a value proposition. At one point, you could lease one for $99 per month. FIAT, Chrysler's new owners, has a lot experience with small, affordable cars that are fun so maybe they can come up with non-retro replacement for the PT.
MSN Autos has a much more in depth article on the PT Cruiser and it's long, slow demise. Soon, we'll be seeing fewer and fewer of those PT Cruisers with the wood paneling - now what will we make fun of? But we didn't always look at the retro PT with such contempt, according to the Detroit News Chrysler sold more than 1.3 million PT Cruisers. And remember, the PT was an almost instant success - just goes to show, today's superstar is tomorrow's sad story. Hey Kayne, better spend the money wisely.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
The 2010 Toyota Matrix is a lot like the 2009 Toyota Matrix. That's just as well since the Matrix was redesigned in 2009. Due to increased concerns about safety, the 2010 version of the Matrix does get stability and traction control added to the standard features list. The price also jumps up about $250.
There's a lot to like about the Matrix, it's basically a Corolla wagon but with an extra dose of attitude. The mid-level Toyota Matrix S is likely the best seller as it combines value and desirable features. The standard engine is a 1.8 liter inline four cylinder but the S model comes with the more powerful 2.4 liter engine (158 hp). An eight speaker stereo with satellite radio, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, power windows and keyless entry are all standard. Add a few extras like $880 alloy wheels, sport package (front and rear spoilers) and carpeted floor mats and cargo mat for an extra $200 and the price is just a hair over $22,000, base price is $19,650. The one feature you'll miss on the S is cruise control - it is not standard and well worth adding to the options list. There's also an all-wheel drive version of the Matrix.
On the road, the Matrix feels like a competent economy car - the ride is neither exceptionally smooth or excessively busy. On rough roads the Matrix feels a bit jittery but other than than it's fine. The 2.4 liter engine is powerful enough, the five speed automatic transmission helps keep the revs (and noise) down but if you really step into it there's a lot of noise. Road and wind noise are managed well.
As a versatile wagon, the Toyota Matrix works well. It's not remarkable but it does provide that extra measure of Toyota-ness that we've come to expect from cars like the Corolla. The interior is neither plush nor super-cheap but somewhere in the middle. Cargo space is OK for a compact and the wagon configuration adds a little more total volume versus the trunk on a sedan. Think of the Toyota Matrix as a nothing more than a well-built compact wagon that will likely hold its value over the years. It's no sports hatch like the Mazda3, nor it is penalty box.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Here's just a hint at how Nissan is incorporating mobile and smartphone tech into the advertising and function of the new electric Leaf. The Nissan Leaf will be on sale soon and will be the first mass produced, all electric car.