Chevy Volt Tops in Owner Satisfaction


In its annual owner satisfaction study, Consumer Reports admits that it’s dominated by fuel-efficient vehicles and sporty ones. These two types of owners seem the most satisfied with their purchase versus buyers of more traditional or practical ones.

The Volt had the highest satisfaction rate with 93% of owners saying they’d buy it again. Consumer Reports says its study was composed of 314,000 responses from subscribers with vehicles from the 2009 through 2012 model years. Because the Volt has sold in such small quantities for such a short time its high score should have a few asterisks attached to it.

The study also focuses on just one premise: Would you buy this car again?

It doesn’t take into consideration reliability or other issues covered in other CR studies.

Overall, domestic automakers dominated most segments of the study, taking the top spot in eight of 10 segments surveyed. However, domestic makes also took the lowest scoring title in seven out of 10 segments.

Check out the full lists below.

By David Thomas | December 1, 2011 | Comments (15)

2012 BMW 3 Series Starts at $34,900

2012 BMW 3 Series
The all-new sixth-generation 2012 BMW 3 Series sedan gets a starting price of $34,900, excluding an $895 destination fee. The 2012 sedan goes on sale in February. The 2012 3 Series wagons, coupes and convertibles are currently on sale, but they are still the previous generation. New versions of those body styles have not been revealed yet. 

The new sedan pricing represents a small $300 price increase over the existing model. The new model also features more room, efficient powertrains and more standard features.

By Colin Bird | November 23, 2011 | Comments (14)

2013 Infiniti JX35 Priced at $40,450

2013 Infiniti JX35
Infiniti has released the 2013 JX35’s full slate of standard features and options, reinforcing our initial opinion that this three-row crossover, which debuted at the 2011 L.A. Auto Show, is a good deal in this segment.

To recap, the seven-passenger 2013 Infiniti JX35 will start at $40,450, excluding a $950 destination charge. The large crossover is powered by a 265-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 and a continuously variable automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard; intelligent all-wheel drive is an affordable $1,100 option. Both front- and all-wheel-drive versions get an estimated 17/23 mpg city/highway, and premium gas is recommended.

By Colin Bird | November 23, 2011 | Comments (10)

Best Cars for Black Friday Shopping


A successful Black Friday shopping trip is all in the planning. Bargain hunters study store ads and websites as though they're cramming for a test, and now they have less time to do so as several major chains — Target, Best Buy, Macy's and Kohl's — will open their doors at midnight instead of 4 or 5 a.m. the Friday after Thanksgiving.

There's one thing that Black Friday shoppers can plan for before the deal-laden store circulars arrive: which car to take.

Black Friday shoppers might think bigger is better — big SUVs, minivans — when it comes to picking a car for hauling all their bargains. They're not wrong, especially if they're hoping to bag a gigantic flat-screen TV at a low price. But nimble small cars in busy parking lots shouldn't be left out of the Black Friday fun. Here are our top picks for Black Friday haulers:

By Jennifer Newman | November 22, 2011 | Comments (3)

2012 Mini Cooper Roadster Priced at $24,350

2012 Mini Cooper Roadster
The 2012 Mini Cooper Roadster will have a starting price of $24,350 (excluding a $700 destination fee) when it joins the Mini lineup early next year. That’s $3,050 more than the 2012 Mini Cooper coupe, which the Roadster is based off of, but it is $600 less expensive than the Mini Cooper convertible ($24,950).

Unlike the power-operated top on the Cooper convertible, the Cooper Roadster has a manually operated cloth top. You open the top by turning a release mechanism on the windshield frame to release the roof, then you push the cloth top down from there (shown above). To close the top, you push a button near the rollover bars to extend the top enough, via gas-pressured springs, so that you can lift it up and fix it back in place.

By Colin Bird | November 17, 2011 | Comments (0)

Brand Loyalty Declines; Shoppers Put Technology First

Hyundai Veloster
Bob Glanville runs a manufacturing company in Bristol, R.I. He just bought a diesel 2012 Volkswagen Jetta TDI wagon for its gas mileage, power and cargo room. Richard Pealer, a graphic designer in the Pittsburgh suburb of Carnegie, Pa., took the keys to a 2012 Hyundai Veloster for its sharp styling and nimble handling.
Two guys, two pretty different high-mileage cars. But Glanville and Pealer share one other thing: Neither has an affinity for a particular brand of car. Glanville last drove a Toyota Tacoma; Pealer used to own a Suzuki SX4.
Brand loyalty is declining across the board, and a new study suggests shoppers' desire for multimedia technology in their cars could be a key reason. And carmakers that can stay on top of tech trends may be able to keep more people coming back to their brands.

By Kelsey Mays | November 15, 2011 | Comments (2)

2012 Jaguar XJ: What's New

2012 Jaguar XJ
Now in its third model year, the 2012 Jaguar XJ adds more comfort and sport package trims to its already long list of available configurations. Base prices also increase for 2012.

A new options package is the Sport and Speed Pack. Performance enhancements include an aerodynamic splitter underneath the front bumper and a rear lip spoiler — minor stuff, but Jaguar says it was enough for it to change the speed limiter’s top speed from 155 mph to 174 mph for the trim package. A black mesh finish to the grille and lower intake, red-painted brake calipers and special 20-inch wheels are also added to the exterior. The package is available on the XJ Supersport and the XJ Supercharged trims.

By Colin Bird | November 10, 2011 | Comments (3)

Movers and Losers: October 2011

Fall is turning quickly into winter, and the 2012 model year is making a big impact on the movers and losers list. In October there were still more 2011s sold versus 2012s, but it took much longer to sell them.

The average for both 2011 and 2012 new models was 60 days, but the 2011s took 93 days on average to move off lots. The new 2012s were obviously in more demand, moving on average in just 15 days. The slowest 2012s were the Nissan NV cargo van at 69 days and the Fiat 500 hatchback in 66 days.

That's not good news for the just-introduced Fiat brand.

By David Thomas | November 10, 2011 | Comments (11)

2012 Honda CR-V Will Launch in December

Honda says the redesigned 2012 CR-V will arrive at dealerships next month as originally planned, rescinding an earlier statement that flooding in Thailand could delay the small crossover's launch by several weeks.

Although no U.S.-bound Honda vehicles come from Thailand, parts sourcing — including certain electrical components, Honda says — prompted the automaker to trim production at its U.S. plants beginning last Wednesday. That could continue for several weeks, Honda says, but it won't affect CR-V timing.

Thailand is a major hub for Southeast Asian auto manufacturing, with assembly plants from Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda and Mitsubishi, not to mention numerous suppliers, according to Automotive News. The country's worst flooding in 50 years has Toyota trimming production at U.S. facilities, but other major automakers tell us their U.S. operations will remain unaffected.

We'll keep you posted on the situation as it affects specific models.

By Kelsey Mays | November 9, 2011 | Comments (8)

2012 Toyota Corolla: What's New

2012 Toyota Corolla
After its mild refresh for 2011, the 2012 Toyota Corolla gets more standard features, along with new audio, multimedia and navigation options.

The Corolla still comes in L, S and LE trims, like last year. The base L trim now has exterior-color power side mirrors, power windows with driver-side auto-down, power door locks and remote keyless entry, all standard. Those features were previously optional. The LE trim adds 16-inch steel wheels and steering-wheel audio controls to the standard roster. The S trim gets new double-stitched upholstered seats and the same radio upgrade found in the LE.

By Colin Bird | November 9, 2011 | Comments (14)

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