Monday, February 23, 2015

Chevrolet Traverse Honored by Automotive Media

The Southeast Automobile Media Organization recently honored the Chevrolet Traverse with its Best-in-Family-Vehicle Category award. The Traverse is a crossover SUV that has a smooth ride, nice comfort features and it gets pretty good fuel economy.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Few Tips for Chilly Weather Car Care

It's pretty cold across a good portion of the country these days, including below normal temperatures in our Georgia home base. So, make sure you follow a few tips to avoid auto problems in the chilly weather.

-- In order to avoid a gas line freeze, keep your gas tank above half full. When you run your vehicle on gas fumes in the dead of winter, condensation can build up and this leads to fuel line freeze-up; the end result is no-starts!

-- Make sure your battery terminals are clean and sans corrosion (white powder around the nodes or the clamps), so that your car will start without hesitation.

-- Use a winter blend windshield washer fluid, it contains more alcohol and has less water, so a freeze up is pretty unlikely.

--Switch to low-viscosity oil in winter because it will flow more easily between moving parts when it’s nippy outside. 

--If you have an older car you shouldn’t have to idle in the cold more than 30 seconds to get her going. The best way to warm up a newer vehicle is to drive gently at the start.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Four Steps to Negotiate Your New Car Purchase

Buying a new car can be a white-knuckle ride.
Emotions run in the red, salespeople push for breakneck decisions and financing comes with tricky twists and turns.
But here are four steps to help you negotiate the course safely and cross the finish line with a deal you are happy about.
Stick to the plan. Before you start negotiating, decide what you want, how much you can pay and stick to it. During those fast-and-furious talks, a salesperson may urge you to add anything from extended warranties to a high-end sound system. Don't end up with a pricy case of buyer's remorse.

Square up. Auto dealers use a worksheet called a "four-square" when they negotiate your transaction. To avoid being boxed into a corner, figure out each worksheet component before you sit down to deal and keep all the details, except the total purchase price, close to the vest.
  • Total purchase price. This is the only one of the squares you should discuss with the dealer. Know the new vehicle's base price, add-ons and other potential charges.
  • Trade-in value. Find the value of your old ride; decide whether you're better off selling it yourself. Only discuss the trade-in after finishing up your purchase price negotiations.
  • Down payment. Strive for 15–20% of the total price, if possible.
  • Monthly payments. Remember, these can be influenced by other factors such as loan term or interest rate, which can make you lose sight of the actual purchase price. Keep your total transportation costs — loan payments plus fuel, insurance and maintenance — around 10 to 15% of your take-home pay.

Pick your battles: Sticking to the plan is good, but consider being flexible on minor details like color, trim and less-expensive options if they give you negotiation room. When a lower payment's at stake, do you really care whether those seat covers are taupe or rainstorm gray?

Get preapproved: If possible, show up with a preapproval from a lender of your choice. That way you know how good a deal you're getting, and you're not relying that the dealer will get you the best financing package.

Friday, January 16, 2015

2015 Toyota Camry: Still at the Top of the Sedan Game

The venerable Toyota Camry sedan has evolved gradually, rather than drastically, over the years. But the 2015 model has taken on arguably the car's most expressive statement yet, appearance-wise.


Friday, January 9, 2015

2015 Subaru WRX STI: Strictly for Kicks

You might be tempted to call the 2015 Subaru WRX STI the official car of youthful indiscretion. It is fun to drive, in the right settings. But it offers not much in the way of practicality. And as an everyday driver, it can be pretty harsh. But if you think refinement is an overrated quality, check out the STI; you might like it.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Top 10 Vehicles of 2014

Atlanta Auto Beat is proud to present the 2014 edition of its annual list of top-ranked vehicles. Rankings are based on vehicles tested by The Beat, and measure traits such as affordability, fuel economy, functionality, looks and predicted reliability.

We hope you enjoy this list, and as always, feel free to comment.

No. 10 Volkswagen Jetta

If you're talking fantastic fuel economy in a fun-to-drive package, you're talking the VW Jetta. This little machine makes it fun to zip through city streets or get out on the open highway and cruise to your heart's delight.

No. 9 Honda Pilot

You want rugged? The Pilot can be that. You want refined? Yep, it does that too. This versatile SUV is great for families and has a number of really neat features that make it a great choice.

No. 8 Toyota RAV 4

After many years on the market, this small crossover SUV has been through a lot of changes. But it has consistently remained a good choice for those who want practicality and reliability.

No. 7 Lexus LS 460

When it's time for a luxury sedan that lets you step out in style, it's time for the LS 460. This roomy car is full of creature comforts and provides the typically smooth Lexus ride.

No. 6 Nissan Altima

This is just one of those all-around good, solid sedans that you would recommend to almost anyone who's shopping for a car. It has a sporty look inside and out, and is also practical.

No. 5 Toyota Avalon

The Avalon has always been a pleasant sedan, but forgive us if we viewed it as a car for the more mature set. Well, this Avalon is not ready for anyone's retirement home. We were impressed by its looks, but even more so by its spunky driving dynamics.

No. 4 Toyota Prius v

The regular Prius has long been a favorite among the green crowd, but for those who needed a little more room, the Prius v has come along and filled the void beautifully.

No. 3 Honda Fit

A subcompact does not have to feel like you're riding in a phone booth, and the Honda Fit surely is much more comfortable than that. Add in its great fuel efficiency, and you've got a wonderful car.

No. 2 Honda Accord Hybrid

What's not to love here? Great fuel efficiency, a consistently reliable record and a roomy interior make this hybrid a top choice among those who want a sedan that will fit all of their needs.