Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Buying Auto Insurance? Know These Terms



If you're buying a new car, you'll probably also be buying auto insurance, which protects you financially from physical damage or bodily injury in the event of a car accident, theft, or natural disaster and any liability that you may face as a result.
 There are lots of types of coverage, and sorting through them can be confusing. Do your research and consult with an agent to determine which type of plan is best for you.
Meanwhile, here are a few terms that will help you sort through the insurance buying process. 
1) Premium
A premium is a payment (typically monthly) made to an insurance company in return for insurance coverage.
2) Deductible
A deductible is the out-of-pocket amount you agree to pay for damages resulting from a car accident. Typically, the higher your monthly premium, the lower your deductible.
3) Bodily Injury Liability Coverage (BI)
If you cause an accident, bodily injury liability coverage pays the medical costs for injuries (including rehabilitation, pain and suffering) or death to people involved in the accident other than the insured driver. It also pays for legal costs.
4) Comprehensive Coverage
Comprehensive coverage pays for damages to your car due to an event other than a collision, such as natural disasters, theft, and vandalism.
5) Collision Coverage
If your car overturns or is involved in a collision with another vehicle or object, Collision coverage pays for the damage to your vehicle, and can be extended to cover a non-owned vehicle or rental the insured is operating.
6) Loan/Lease Payoff Coverage (GAP Insurance)
If your car is declared a total loss (the insurance company determines that the cost to repair the car is more than the actual value of the car) as a result of an accident or is stolen, gap insurance pays the difference between what you still owe on your vehicle and what your insurance determines is the actual value of your vehicle, less your comprehensive or collision deductible.
7) Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage
Personal Injury Protection Coverage reimburses the insured driver, passengers, and any person struck by the insured vehicle (within the specified limits) for medical, hospital, in-home care, or funeral expenses incurred as a result of an accident.
8) Property Damage Liability Coverage (PD)
Property damage coverage pays for damage to others' property resulting from an accident when an insured person is legally responsible for the accident. Property damage coverage may also pay for legal defense costs.
9) Uninsured/Underinsured Motor Vehicle Coverage
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage pays for medical bills, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, and funeral costs for the insured driver and passengers in the car in the event of a hit-and-run or when an accident is caused by a driver without insurance or with insufficient policy limits to fully reimburse you for damages they caused.
10) Medical Payments Coverage (Med-Pay)
This covers medical expenses for you and your passengers, regardless of who is at fault in the accident.
According to Consumer Reports, bodily injury liability, property damage and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage are must-haves, while collision, comprehensive, personal-injury protection, and medical payments coverage are deemed as coverage you’ll probably need.

Study Before You Buy 

When you're familiar with these terms, you can get the coverage you need and compare quotes from different insurers.Sites like insweb.com compare premiums, so you can do much of the research online.

Monday, August 18, 2014

3 Good Back-To-School Vehicles

It's back to school time again, and if you or a loved one will be heading to a campus, you might be in need of some wheels.
The Beat has selected three good choices for heading back to school, based on affordability, fuel economy and reliability, key factors for students.
Take a look at our list, then make suggestions for your picks for back-to-school rides.


TOYOTA COROLLA
The Corolla got a nice style makeover for the 2014 model year, making it look sportier and more upscale. Yet it retained an affordable price tag, topping out at about $22,000. There's also a new continuously variable transmission and better fuel economy - up to 42 mpg highway.

VOLKSWAGEN JETTA
The Jetta is available in a number of different trim levels, including a diesel model, a hybrid and a sport wagon. For this model year, it received a new engine - a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. It also gets up to 42 mpg highway.

HONDA CIVIC
The Civic comes with a new continuously variable transmission, replacing the five-speed automatic. For this model year, the coupe model received a style refresh. It gets up to 41 mpg highway, and has long been known as one of the most reliable cars on the market.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Beat Went to Music City

The Beat recently traveled to Nashville to test drive the new Lexus NX (see review link below).
But we also got to do some great site seeing, such as our visit to the Hatch Show Print shop, which for many years has been printing terrific concert signs. We also ate well, at a marvelous restaurant called the Farm House. Music City is great. Check it out sometime.






First Look: Lexus NX

The Beat recently traveled to Nashville to get a look at the all new Lexus NX crossover.
It's got some pretty cool styling and technology, and is surprisingly comfortable.
Check out the full review here.

Friday, August 8, 2014

2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Abundant Fun


Some things never get old, like the thrill of driving a fun, exhilarating roadster.
Such is the case with the 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata, which this year is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its introduction.
There have been no radical changes to the Miata over the years, which is a good thing, because it has developed a legion of die-hard fans who appreciate everything it stands for.
What does it stand for?
Probably most essential is the fact that folks love it because it is a genuine sports car that presents some of the best driving dynamics in the business, and it gives you that without costing you an arm and a leg.
The Miata added the MX-5 designation to its moniker a few years ago, but lovers still just call it Miata.
It’s powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 158 horsepower when linked to the six-speed automatic transmission or 167 ponies with the five- or six-speed manual.
Those horsepower numbers aren’t off the charts, but be assured that you won’t feel any lack of power behind the wheel of the Miata.
Fuel economy is rated at 21 mpg city and 28 highway with the manual, and 22 and 28 with the automatic.
In the previous model year, a few changes were made to the front end, and fog lights became standard. Mazda also replaced the Touring version with something it calls the Club model. It features 17-inch dark finish alloy wheels, a new suspension for manual models and a front diffuser.
But the bottom line is, as in most Mazda models, the driving dynamics never disappoint.
Whether it’s sprinting down an interstate highway or taking some twisty rural roads, this machine is a box of thrills.
The handling is superb, thanks to its even weight distribution and tightly tuned suspension.
Acceleration is steady and smooth, and braking is precise and reliable.
Yes, you can get great driving dynamics in cars that cost a whole lot more, but why would you want to pay extra?
The Miata is like paying the cover charge at a bar that a local garage band plays, but getting a concert from the Rolling Stones.
It even has some nice touches, such as the standard leather wrapped steering wheel and the optional heated seats and automatic climate control.
Mind you, as a two-seater, it’s not always the most practical car. Don’t try to haul a bunch of cargo, either.
But that’s not what Miata is about.
It is about a free-spirited, pleasurable ride that makes you smile.
Speaking of which, enthusiasts are already eagerly anticipating the arrival of the ND Miata next year.
We certainly hope to get a peek (and a spin).
The Miata starts at around $23,000 and ranges to close to $33,000.
For big fun in a small package, it’s hard to beat the Miata.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Porsche Tops JD Power Survey For 10th Year in a Row


Porsche is the highest-ranked brand in the annual J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study, which was recently released. It was the 10th consecutive to finish for the German brand. Hyundai gained the top spot among non-premium brands and was the highest-ranked non-premium brand in the J.D. Power 2014 Initial Quality Study.  It's the first time a brand has ranked tops in APEAL and IQS in the same year.
Dodge and Porsche won three segment awards each: Dodge for the Challenger, Charger and Dart; and Porsche for the 911, Boxster and Cayenne.
Winners of two segment awards each are Audi, Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan. Audi won for the A8 (tie) and Q5; Ford for the F-150 LD and F-250/F-350 Super Duty; Mercedes-Benz for the CLS-Class and S-Class (tie); and Nissan for the Rogue and Quest.
Other winners included the BMW 4 Series; GMC Yukon; Honda Ridgeline; Hyundai Accent; Kia Soul; Land Rover Range Rover; Mazda MAZDA6; MINI Countryman; Toyota Highlander and Volkswagen GTI.
Mazda was the most improved non-premium brand, gaining the No. 9 spot after taking the No. 16 spot the prior year.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

2014 Toyota Tacoma: Works Hard, Plays Hard



The 2014 Toyota Tacoma is a versatile, rugged truck that lets you work and play in style.
This midsize pickup is perfect for those who want the utility of a truck, but also want something a little smaller and more fuel efficient than full-size models
The Tacoma comes in three cab styles: regular, Access and Double. With the regular and Access models, you get a six-foot bed, and the Double comes with a five- or six-foot bed.
The truck is powered by a standard 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 159 horsepower. Optional is 4.0-liter V-6 that makes 236 horsepower. The four-cylinder models come with a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission, and the V-6 models have a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic.
In all models, automatic limited-slip differential is included.
Fuel economy is rated at 16 mpg city, 19 highway on the V-6 and 21 and 25 on the four-cylinder.
Safety features on the Tacoma include traction control, electronic stability system and side curtain airbags, all standard. A backup camera is optional.
For added functionality and convenience, the TRD models have a 115-volt power outlet in the cargo bed.
The interior is comfortable, with seating for up to five and optional heated front seats.
The Tacoma starts at around $19,000 and ranges to about $30,000.

For a fun, versatile, reliable midsize pickup, you won’t find many choices better than the Tacoma.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lexus IS 250c is a Fun Convertible



It’s hard to beat getting out on the open road and taking the top down. With the Lexus IS 250c or 350c, you can do just that, in style.
This convertible seats four and has a hardtop roof that opens or closes in 21 seconds.
Its styling is a bit different from its sedan sibling, with coupe-like looks when the top is up and a more snug interior.
Both the sedan and the convertible have a 2.5-liter V-6 that makes 204 horsepower. But the convertible’s gas mileage is a little lower, at 21 mpg city, 30 highway, because of the added weight of the convertible mechanism.
The IS 350c has a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 306 horsepower, with fuel economy of 19 and 27.
The interior is pleasantly appointed with features like dual-zone climate control, leather seating and USB/iPod connection. Add some options such as the Enform telematics system, voice-activated navigation system and Mark Levinson 14-speaker sound system  and you’ll really be riding in style.
However, unless you’re very tiny, make sure you’re riding up front; the back seats have almost no room.
One neat feature about the IS 250c is the anti-glare gauges that still allow you to see their information displays even when the top is down and direct sunlight is beaming down.
Also, the climate and audio systems adjust automatically when the top is down.
The IS 250c is priced at around $44,000.

For an enjoyable, top-down ride with nice luxury touches, the IS 250c is a fine choice.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Buick Announces Technology Features


Buick has announced that most of its 2015 models will come standard with a built in Wi-Fi hotspot, powered by its OnStar telematics system, with 4G LTE.
The move is a nod to the increasing levels of technology and connectivity found in automobiles today. 
Buick also said that each 2015 model will come standard with Apple Siri Eyes Free and text message alerts.