Monday, July 26, 2010

Chevy Tahoe Hybrid Brings the Total Package in SUVs

There is a lot asked of SUVs today, but fortunately, if you are a driver of a Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, a lot will be delivered.
This large SUV brings mighty good fuel economy, thanks to the two-mode hybrid system. 
That system uses a pair of electric motors and delivers a colossal 332 horsepower from the 6.0-liter V-8 engine.
It yields 20 mpg in the city and 22 in the highway. 
But, while fuel economy is important, as mentioned, a lot is demanded of SUVs today.
For instance, what kind of interior room do you get?
A lot. How about seating for up to nine passengers and 109 cubic feet of cargo space? Unless you are King Kong, there is no way you will feel the least bit cramped in this ride. 
What about safety?
Plenty of protection is present, including dual front, front-side and three-row head airbags. Also, there are four-wheel antilock brakes, stability and traction control systems and rear parking sensors.
For power, in addition to the gaudy horsepower number, you get towing capacity of up to 6,200 pounds.
Chevy likes to talk about the cool science behind its hybrid system, saying that the regenerative braking captures energy from braking friction to recharge the hybrid system’s battery, for what amounts to free power. 
But the Tahoe Hybrid also employs active fuel management, which deactivates power to half of the cylinders while the vehicle cruises.

Chevy also says buyers love the Tahoe Hybrid's standard features, which include XM Satellite Radio, USB connectivity for portable media devices, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a navigation system that shows hybrid system's power flow, in case you're interested. 
You also get OnStar satellite communications standard, which is, in our opinion, the best telematics system on the market. 
And when you're trying to find the most efficient way to get to work, use XM’s NavTraffic with live traffic updates.
Entertainment is enhanced with a nine-speaker Bose audio system and a rear seat TV with DVD entertainment system. 
Sticker prices on the Tahoe Hybrid run from around $48,000 to about $51,000.

So if you are a demanding SUV customer who really wants it all from your big vehicle, the Tahoe Hybrid comes pretty close to delivering it all.

Ford Unveiling an All-New Explorer

Ford's venerable Explorer SUV is getting a major makeover for the 2011 model year. And Ford says customers will love the new version's fuel efficiency, safety, technology, capability and quality.

“The all-new Explorer will deliver today’s SUV buyers the attributes they really want and value, and a few they might not even have dreamed of,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. “We’re proud to introduce the new Explorer to customers and fans around the world today and pleased to begin a whole new era that blends strong SUV fuel economy and performance.”

Ford says the 2011 Explorer with a V-6 engine should deliver more than 20 percent better fuel economy than the 2010 model, shattering conventional expectations for SUV fuel efficiency. When equipped with the available 2.0-liter EcoBoost I-4 engine, Ford says Explorer fuel economy is expected to improve by more than 30 percent and exceed the 2010 Honda Pilot and 2010 Toyota Highlander V6.

The Beat got a peek at the new Explorer recently and found that the exterior and interior designs are now sportier and more modern looking. 
 Its technology will also be impressive, thanks to the MyFord driver connection system which controls many settings such as entertainment and temperature.

The Explorer will be built at Ford's Chicago plant, and will hit dealerships this winter.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Three Dealerships in Atlanta Area Have New Owners

Three Atlanta-area auto dealerships have new owners after deals that were recently announced.
Jim Ellis Automotive bought the Buick GMC dealership at the Mall of Georgia in Buford, which previously was owned by John Bailey.
AutoNation, the largest owner of car dealerships in the country, has bought Toyota Mall of Georgia and Hyundai Mall of Georgia, which were owned by John Williams.
AutoNation said it will rename the dealerships Team Toyota Mall of Georgia and Team Hyundai Mall of Georgia.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Supplier Linked to Kia Bringing More Jobs to Georgia

Another automotive supplier will locate in Troup County near Kia Motors, Gov. Sonny Perdue announced Thursday.

The Hanil E-Hwa Co., makers of door trim, seats, lining and shelf coverings, will invest $8.45 million and create 173 jobs over the next three years, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Kia recently opened a manufacturing plant in West Point, Ga., that produces the Sorento SUV. That plant, and other related businesses, have brought hundreds of jobs to the West Georgia region.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Last of the PT Cruisers Rolling off the Assembly Lines

The Chrysler PT Cruiser, which burst onto the scene 10 years ago, is reaching the end of its production.

Chrysler sold more than 1.5 million of the retro-looking wagon-type vehicles, but was unable to come up with a new variation that would have extended its life cycle.

Now the plant in Toluca, Mexico, that produced the Cruiser will begin producing Fiat 500s

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tips for Buying a Car

  • Decide What You Want And Need 

  • Think about what you use your vehicle for. If it's all about hauling kids around, get a minivan or SUV. If you need great gas mileage, get a subcompact. Then get a price range in mind and stick to it.

  • Know What Your Trade Is Worth 

  • If you're trading in your old car, make sure you check the value before you negotiate by going to and (values can vary, so it's best to prepare with both estimates). If you still have a loan on your trade, find out exactly how much you owe. It's important to know if you start with a deficit (when you owe more than the trade is worth), because you'll have to add that to the cost of your new wheels. Sometimes it makes more sense to drive your oldie a little longer, or sell it privately. (If a new car isn't in your budget, here are some tips to make your current car more fuel efficient. Don't miss Get Smart With Your Current Car.)

  • Check for Rebates or Special Financing Offers
    If you're buying a new car, look up the manufacturer website for rebates and special financing. Remember: those are incentives offered by the car's manufacturer, not the dealer! They don't cost your dealer anything, so there is still plenty of room for negotiation.

  • Check Internet and Newspaper Deals
    Many dealerships advertise a car at a lower cost in the newspaper or on the internet. If you walk into the dealership without the ad in hand, they'll quote you a higher price. Remember that just like supermarkets have specials on certain foods to get you in the door, so do dealerships. Keep your eye on your research and budget; don't let yourself be talked into something else once you shake the salesman's hand.

  • Don't Show Your Cards
    The first thing a dealer will do is ask you a lot of questions, trying to figure out what you're looking for. You should answer honestly - a sales person is there to help - but don't tip your hand too soon. If you know they have the car you want for a good price but you're willing to spend more, don't tell. Be vague if you have to, or give a price range. There's no need to talk numbers until you're ready to buy.

  • Use Ads to Negotiate
    Let's say you've found the perfect car, but you know a dealer across town is selling the same year, make and model for less. Bring the ad. Many salespeople will deal to keep your business. (Find out how you can keep your car running longer for less in Top 5 Money-Saving Tips For Your Car.)

  • Check the Vehicle
    Have your mechanic check the car if it's used. Check the vehicle's history; has a VIN check capacity that will tell you if a vehicle has been in an accident or has other suspect history.

  • Be Ready to Walk Away
    If the dealer isn't meeting your needs, won't let your mechanic look at the car or the vehicle history is suspect, walk away. There are other cars and other dealers out there. You did your homework. Don't be taken for a ride just because you fell in love with a car. (If you're looking to buy a car, check out Car Shopping: New Or Used?)

  • Beware of "Extras"
    You're ready to sign on the dotted line, and you find the finance manager talking you into alarm systems and extended warranties, priced at a thousand dollars or more. This is how dealers make their money. Unless you buy a car with a bad history most extended warranties aren't a good deal for you. Think about it: the dealer wouldn't be making any money off these warranties unless the repairs cost them less in the end. Instead of paying for an expensive warranty, budget for repairs.

  • Friday, July 2, 2010

    Chevy Impala Gives You Room to Relax and Enjoy the Ride

    The Chevrolet Impala continues to occupy its place as a full-size sedan with roominess and power.

    The Impala comes in LS, LT and LTZ models, with the LT featuring optional power glass sunroof, power front passenger seat and heated front seats. The highest trim level LTZ includes leather seats, heated power seats up front, leather-wrapped steering wheel and an eight-speaker Bose audio system standard.

    The Impala is powered by a 207-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 or a 230-horsepower, 3.9-liter V-6. Both are linked to a four-speed automatic transmission. This front-wheel drive machine gets 17-18 mpg in the city and 27-29 mpg on the highway, which isn't bad when compared with other models in the category. For instance, the Honda Accord's numbers are a little better. But the Accord costs significantly more. 

    There's a fairly substantial amount of car on this sedan, which enhances its safety factor. 
    There are dual front, front-side and two-row head airbags, and the Impala gets a Five-Star crash test rating at the front and front-side, plus a Four-Star rating for the rear-side impact test. 

    There are also antilock brakes and traction and stability control systems to add stability and collision avoidance. 

    But it's on the interior where the Impala really scores some points. It's so spacious, and there is room enough for you to haul your gear, so that it makes traveling with the family a pleasure. 

    Chevy says the 18.6 cubic foot trunk is larger than almost all competitors, and that the same is true for other important metrics like front and rear legroom.
     The tester was a base LS model, and came with cloth seats for five, a one-touch power window for the driver, plus cruise control, dual zone climate control with air filtration, simulated wood trim, OnStar satellite communications, CD player and XM Satellite Radio.

    Not bad at all for a base model. 

    The Impala ranges in price from about $24,300 to right around $30,000.

    At that bandwidth, it provides a very compelling value.

    With power, safety and convenience the Impala should be on your shopping list if you are seeking a full-size sedan.

    Toyota Recalling 270,000 Vehicles Globally

    Toyota says it is recalling 270,000 Lexus and other vehicles globally to repair faulty engines.
    The company has had a number of recent quality issues, and has said it plans to refocus on producing reliable vehicles. 
    Problems with valve springs in the engines can lead the vehicle to stall while it's moving, Toyota spokesman Hideaki Homma said Friday in announcing the recall.
    Toyota said it has gotten 200 complaints over faulty engines in Japan but no accidents were reported there or abroad, according to Homma. Some drivers reported that the engine made strange noise.
    The global recall that starts Monday affects seven luxury Lexus sedan models as well as the popular Crown, Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco said. Of the 270,000 recalled cars, some 180,000 were sold overseas, including the United States, and 90,000 in Japan.
    The automaker was already scrambling to repair its reputation after 8.5 million vehicles were recalled beginning in October because of problems with sticking accelerator pedals and other issues.
    Toyota was slapped with a record $16.4 million fine in the United States for acting too slowly to recall vehicles with defects.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report

    Thursday, July 1, 2010

    No-Text-And-Drive Law Takes Effect in Georgia

    The Beat hopes you weren't doing it before, but if you're doing it now in Georgia, it's illegal. A law that prohibits individuals from using wireless telecommunications devices for writing, sending or receiving text messages while operating a motor vehicle takes effect today, July 1.
    Here's how the law reads:
    "No person shall operate a motor vehicle on any public road or highway of this state while using a wireless telecommunications device to write, send, or read any text based communication, including but not limited to a text message, instant message, electronic mail, or Internet data."
    The fine for offenders is $150 and one point on the driver license.