Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top Ten Vehicles of 2011

Atlanta Auto Beat is proud to present its annual list of its top-ranked vehicles of 2011. 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 add your comments.

No. 10 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible

2012 Chevrolet Camaro Exterior

Chevrolet rolled out a convertible version of its Camaro muscle car for the 2011 model year, and thank goodness it did. This car is great looking and fun to drive.

No. 9 Ford Focus

With its newest version of the Focus compact, Ford takes a bold step forward, placing it in a leading position in this key segment.

No. 8 Scion tC

A sporty design meets affordability and great fuel economy in the 2011 Scion tC. 

This vehicle has undergone a full makeover that brings more modern concepts and a stronger yet less thirsty engine to this five-seat coupe.

No. 7 Infiniti G37

With the 2011 Infiniti G37, scintillating driving performance comes standard.
It features three body styles: sedan, convertible and coupe, which the test drive model was. There's also an all-wheel drive version, the G37x, which has enhanced handling.

No. 6 Lexus LX450h

Not all trends are bad, even though it might seem that way sometimes.
The trend of carmakers producing big vehicles that still do pretty well on fuel economy is taking shape, thankfully.
You can add to that list the 2011 Lexus LX 450h hybrid crossover.

No. 5 Nissan Juke

The Juke offers a sporty ride in a compact crossover package.As Nissan's smallest crossover, the Juke occupies a unique position, not only because of that status but also because of its unusual looks.

No. 4 Acura TSX Sport Wagon

The 2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon is true to its name, offering sporty driving dynamics in an attractively designed wagon package.

This model arrives two years after the redesign of the TSX, and seems to be right on time, as sporty cars that can double as family vehicles seem to be growing in both supply and demand.

No. 3 Chevrolet Cruze

The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze is the bow tie marque's latest entry in the compact market, and it is a solid one.
Replacing the Cobalt, which wasn't all that impressive, the Cruze has better styling and a higher quality of materials.

No. 2 Buick Regal

Buick seems to have made all the right moves over the past few years. 
First of all, it has focused on making quality products.
The 2011 Regal, is no exception. This midsize sedan offers luxury and performance.

No. 1 Hyundai Elantra

2012 Hyundai Elantra Exterior
The 2012 Hyundai Elantra remains one of the best compact cars on the market, thanks to its great styling, superb fuel economy and very reasonable sticker price.
The Elantra, which got a redesign in 2011, now has a new Active Eco System that smoothes the throttle response and boosts fuel economy by as much as 7 percent.
The steering has also been enhanced. 
The common design language used by today by Hyundai, which the Korean company calls "fluidic sculpture," is found on the Sonata and Accent, as well as the Elantra. 
It's a beautiful body styling that makes each model look luxurious and far more expensive than the car actually is.

Need a Ride Home After Drinking Too Much? There's an App for That

Georgia authorities have created a smartphone application that aims to reduce drunken driving during the coming New Year's Eve and Super Bowl celebrations.
The Governor's Office of Highway Safety has made a list of free sober ride operations in the new app, called Drive Sober Georgia.
The office said it hopes to make getting a ride as easy as possible for motorists who are impaired by alcohol.
Drive Sober Georgia can be downloaded free of charge on the iPhone and Android markets. For more informa
tion, see
 Ga. offering smartphone app to cut drunk driving

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's the End of the Year - Here are Tips for Getting a Good Deal on a Car

The end of the year presents a good time to go car shopping, as dealers will be looking to clear their lots of leftover inventory and trying to meet their final sales goals. 
So, check out these tips and head to the lots if you're in the market for a new ride. 
    Locate New Car Inventory with the Most Competitive Pricing
  • Model year matters
    Dealers are trying to get rid of 2011 model year vehicles, because they are getting in more 2012 models. So why not help them out? There's likely a good deal to be had for you.
  • Get schooled on rebate/incentive offers
    Some automakers are giving more generous financing rates and rebates at this time of year. Check out's Rebate Center for the latest offers from all of the manufacturers and see where you can save even more money.
  • Scope out the inventory
    If you want a particular model, seek out a dealership that has plenty of them in stock. has a very useful tool for this, called New Car Locator, which will display the inventory of a particular car at dealerships in your area.
  • Make them show you the money
    Most people don't like the haggling involved in car buying, but a little bit of pain can save you lots of dough. For some tips, visit's How-To section with articles and videos that cover all the parts of the car buying process.
  • Don't shy away from pre-makeover vehicles
    A car that has been redesigned gets the most attention, but if a dealer still has models leftover from the previous design, you might be able to get a nice discount. 

Infiniti EX35 is Fun Luxury Crossover

It seats five, has plenty of power and offers great safety and technology features. Plus it's pretty fun to drive.
It is the 2012 Infiniti EX35 crossover SUV.

The EX comes in base or Journey trim levels and features a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that makes 297 horsepower and is linked to a seven-speed automatic transmission.
As a crossover, the EX sits on a car-based chassis and gives a sharp, almost sports car-like ride with its four-wheel independent suspension.  The standard drivetrain is rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel is also available.
The EX gets 17 mpg in the city, 24 highway.
The interior of the EX is comfortable and neatly designed. Leather seating is standard. Infiniti says there is 88.5 cubic feet of passenger volume and 18.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the back seats. Passsengers in front should have plenty of head and leg room, but those in the back might be just a bit cramped.
Standard features are automatic dual-zone climate control and heated and powered front seats.
The Infiniti EX35 seats five, drives nicely and has plenty of safety features.
Read more:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Scion IQ - Small Wonder


In a downsized economy, less is more and sometimes big things come in small packages, 10-foot-long packages. Standing not so tall, measuring at just over 59”, Scion’s 2012 “premium micro-subcompact” is just that, a big step to downsizing for American consumers.

At a whopping 66.1” wide and weighing in at 2,127 lbs, the newest addition to Scion’s family geared to young buyers and urbanites is all about “intelligent quality,” appropriately titled the iQ.

Simple and straightforward, Scion’s subcompact creation adds new “IQ” to the generation of smart cars with its concentrated design for intelligence, innovation, individuality, and quality.

The Beat was there in refreshing Palm Beach, Fla., for the iQ’s press preview and there are a lot of cool features about this little bundle.

The iQ starts at less than $16,000, an MSRP of $15,995 (which includes delivery fee).
It has a 1.3-liter, 94-hp engine and a combined mpg of 37, which is economically savvy in today’s gas consumption but a little low for a car of this size.

The modern look of the iQ, described as “Techno-Organic Design,” is slick and spunky. The exterior is clean and simple including elongated front headlights that give the illusion the nose of the car extends beyond its compact size.

Alloy-finish side mirrors with mounted turn signals, an LED brake light mounted above rear window wiper and extended A-pillars to help create an open passenger cabin modernize its design. Inside, the less-is-more motto continues with a black dash and door tops.

Front seat bottoms are form fitting and covered in a deep gray cloth patterned with light gray ovals. The leather-wrapped manual tilt steering is lined with red-stitching and features a flat-bottom for optimal leg room with audio controls and mode button.

Interior features include front console cup holder, two rear cup holders, four 25 oz. drink bottle holders, remote keyless entry, auxiliary 12v power outlet, first aid kit, rear window wiper, sun visor mirrors, and electric rear hatch release.

One possible disadvantage of the sleek look is the speedometer display, which is challenging to read with its positioning slightly tilted on its side and can be a bit distracting when trying to gauge speed while driving.

The Scion drive monitor, placed left of the speedometer, is a little cluttered to read, displaying fuel level, instant/average fuel mileage, average speed, outside temp, resettable trip meters, odometer, digital clock, and CVT indicator.

The iQ’s interior is also modified to accentuate the theme of “Big Ideas Concentrated” with an asymmetric dashboard and seating design. Center console is clean and simple with a single air conditioning dial, an LCD display, and audio CD slot. The 3+1 seating, driver, two adult passengers, and the fourth seating position behind driver ideally intended as room for a child, makes the iQ the world’s smallest four seater.

Engineering behind the iQ relies on the idea that “a car should not be any bigger than it really has to be.” With this idea in mind, six engineering innovations make the iQ possible, such as a flat gas tank housed beneath the floor reducing rear overhang and slim-back front seats for optimal rear legroom.

These innovations also allow for Scion’s new subcompact to maintain as much extra space as possible for a car of its size. A mini storage bin is placed under the front passenger seat and the 50/50 folded seatbacks give the option of riding with a third passenger as well as storage space.

The rear cargo floor is formed by the lid of a removable storage tray, hiding the second storage area formed in Styrofoam that holds owner’s manual, first aid kit, and tire repair system. The backseat completely folded forms a flat cargo surface. iQ’s maximum EPA cargo capacity is 16.7 cubic feet and with rear seats upright the iQ has just over 3.5 cubic ft of cargo space.

Still, for claustrophobics and urbanites traveling outside of the inner city, the-little-car-that-can isn’t a realistic option to pack enough storage space for anything that requires extra room for three or more passengers and luggage such as camping equipment.

Nevertheless, for those driving a local distance with little baggage the iQ is easy to drive and easy to park with a turning radius of 12.9 feet with electronic power steering.

As part of the personalization options the iQ offers three audio systems, Standard, Premium, and Navigation.
Standard Audio includes Bluetooth hands-free and audio, HD radio, scion sound processing, USB/AUX, steering-wheel mounted controls, CD player with mp3 and WMA capability, four speakers, two in center console and two full range mounted in doors.

Premium Audio includes all standard features plus 200 watts max power, 5.8” TFT touch screen, Pandora internet radio capability, album art, iTunes Tagging, and six RCA outputs.
Scion Navigation System Audio includes all standard features plus 7.0” touch screen, iTunes tagging, six RCA outputs, DVD player, ipod video via USB connector, full navigation system GPS based on SD card, and video input for connecting with aftermarket backup camera.

iQ owners also have a choice of two wheel covers, 16-inch steel wheels, or 175/60R-16 all season tires. More dealership accessories available are fog lights, alloy wheels, lowering kit, rear spoiler and whatever personalizing ideas the buyer can imagine.

With its “mini-me” capabilities, the iQ stands apart from the subcompact prototype, making the iQ a unique city car of its kind.
Driving the urban minded car is a quiet ride, especially for a car that looks like it’d be swallowed up by the road. This is thanks to an acoustic windshield built to decrease sound frequencies.

As far as safety features for a little car in a big world, the iQ’s Star Safety System includes anti-lock braking system, brake assist, electronic brake-force distribution, smart stop technology, traction control, and enhanced vehicles stability control. It also boasts the most airbags in the industry with 11 standard airbags, including the world’s first rear window airbags.

The micro-subcompact car segment is redefined by the iQ as Scion introduces its concept of “New Urbanism,” a vehicle for a more progressive buyer whose transportation needs and desires are changing
with today’s evolving concerns like consumption control and the environment. This will launch Scion’s niche for innovation into another element of authenticity, community and personalization for the rising generations of buyers and although a few tweaks may prove necessary, the iQ is definitely a big step for subcompact kind.

Be sure to look out for the iQ, which will be released in waves starting on the West Coast, dipping down into the Southeast and Gulf states area, followed by New York, then completing its sweep in the East Coast and Midwest in March.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chevy Facing Volt Cord Woes

Chevrolet appears to have a problem on its hands with its Volt plug-in hybrid. It seems as though many owners of the sedan have reported overheating and melting of the cord used to charge the car from standard 120-volt household electrical sockets. While GM says the cords are safe and blames the problems on the owners’ wiring, it has replaced an unknown number of cords and made changes to its design, Yahoo News reports.

The cord that plugs into household outlets is an alternative to charging stations that Chevrolet suggests Volt owners install at their homes. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Plug-in This Prius for Even Better Fuel Economy

Let the confusion begin anew! Despite the rising popularity of hybrid vehicles, many people still seem to think that you have to plug them in.
      Generally, you don't.
      Unless, that is, they are plug-in hybrids, which are beginning to gain popularity (a la Chevrolet Volt).
      Toyota is unveiling its new Prius Plug-in, a variation of its now venerable hybrid car.
      The ones that came before could not be plugged in. Sales of those models will continue.
       This one, however, runs on gasoline and electricity, just like the previous Prius, but the source of the electricity can now come from a wall outlet or charger.
      Got all that?
      Toyota says the Prius Plug-in will go on sale in March in 14 states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. In 2013, it will be sold in the rest of the states.
       The Plug-in has a manufacturers' suggested retail price of $32,000, according to Toyota's website. But that may vary depending on how it is configured.

Continue reading on Plug-in this Prius for even better fuel economy - Macon Automotive |

Chrysler Adding Jobs, Boosting Production

Chrysler announced last week that it will add 1,100 jobs in Ohio as it ramps up production of its Jeep Liberty SUV.
The automaker is investing $1.7 billion as it plots future production, and says it wants to build the strength of its Jeep brand in North America and globally.
"It's becoming probably the star of the European market," CEO Sergio Marchionne said. "I have similar expectations for Jeep ... in the eastern part of Europe, Russia and China."
A Dodge Nitro on the line at the Toledo Assembly Complex. The Jeep Liberty is also built at the two-plant complex.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Toyota Rolls 'Em Off the Line in Miss.

Toyota announced that it has begun production of its Corolla compact sedan at a new plant in Blue Springs, Miss.
Toyota now has 14 plants in North America that build 12 models.
The Mississippi plant was scheduled to begin production in 2010, but was delayed by the economy, Toyota said. It will employ nearly 2,000 people by next year.
Toyota is just the latest auto manufacturer to start or expand vehicle production in the Southeast.
Kia builds vehicles in West Point, Ga., Hyundai has a plant near Montgomery, Ala., Volkswagen recently opened up shop near Chattanooga, Tenn., BMW has long operated near Greenville, S.C., Nissan builds in Mississippi and there are others.

Love Its Looks or Hate It, You Can't Deny the Nissan Juke is a Sporty Little Rascal

The Juke offers a sporty ride in a compact crossover package.As Nissan's smallest crossover, the Juke occupies a unique position, not only because of that status but also because of its unusual looks.
In our week and a half of test driving it, we got an equal number of "that's really cool looking" and "that's really ugly" comments, hurled presumably at the car, not at its driver. Most critiques of the driver tend toward the latter remark.
The Juke is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 180 horsepower and 170 pounds-feet of torque, which is quite a bit of a car of this size. The Juke, after all, is built on the platform of Nissan's Versa subcompact.
The Juke has a continuously variable transmission, but a six-speed manual is an option (on SV and SL trims that have front-wheel drive). All-wheel drive is also available.
The Juke is equipped with an Integrated Control (I-CON) system, which lets the driver pick from three driving modes: Normal, Sport, and Eco.  Nissan says the I-CON system changes the throttle response and steering based on which mode of driving is engaged.

Continue reading on 2011 Nissan Juke: Love or hate its looks, no denying its sportiness - Macon Automotive |

Thursday, November 17, 2011

People Will Travel on Thanksgiving, Shocking Survey Finds

The highways will be crowded this Thanksgiving weekend, according to AAA, which projected a rise in travel.

Amazingly, it appears that people are planning to travel for the coming Thanksgiving holiday.
Some 42.5 million Americans are estimated to be hitting the road on or around Thanksgiving, according to the American Automobile Association.
AAA says last year, 40.9 million people traveled during the holiday.
The numbers suggest that it is evidently common for people to travel during holidays.

OK, sorry for the sarcasm, but don't you get sick of reading "news" stories such as this at each holiday?

Perhaps a bit more pertinent (but not much) is how much people are paying for gasoline this holiday compared with a year ago.

 AAA says that in the U.S. now, gas is averaging $3.39 a gallon, compared with $2.88 last Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nissan Quest Makes Hauling the Family a Stylish Event

The Nissan Quest has SUV-like styling and an interior that is luxurious.The Nissan Quest got a clever redesign last year and is back for 2012 as a well-thought out, spacious family vehicle.
The makeover it received last year gave it an SUV-like appearance, with its tall structure and boxy, as opposed to rounded, edges.
The Quest has always been a bit different when it comes to styling in the minivan category (some would argue there is no style in the minivan category). But Nissan deserves props for that, because buyers in this segment don't necessarily want to look like they are driving the same thing as all of their neighbors.
And for those who would argue that minivans lack style, check out the subtle touches on the Quest, such as the chrome door handles and interior design, which say upscale SUV more than they say soccer-mom mobile. 
Nissan offers the power-sliding side doors and power liftgate that give minivans the practicality that their users demand.
On the inside, you'll see the seating configuration offers two middle-row captain's chairs, as opposed to a bench. Those seats don't remove, as is the case in some competitors, but they fold down to add to cargo room.

Continue reading on If your family road trip isn't fun, don't blame the Nissan Quest - Macon Automotive |

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Toyota Recalling More Than Half a Million Vehicles for Steering Woes

Toyota said today it will recall about 550,000 vehicles worldwide — mostly in the United States — for problems that could make it harder to steer.
The Associated Press reports that the recall affects 447,000 vehicles in North America, as well as 38,000 in Japan and another 25,000 in Australia and New Zealand, citingToyota spokesman Dion Corbett. In Europe some 14,000 vehicles are being recalled along with 10,000 in the Middle East and 14,000 in Asia outside Japan.
Toyota took 79 reports about the defect dating back to 2007, said Corbett. There have been no reports of accidents or injuries stemming from the problems, he said.

In the U.S., the recall affects the 2004 and 2005 Camry, Highlander, Sienna and Solara, the 2004 Avalon and the 2006 Highlander HV and 137,000 Lexus vehicles including the 2004 and 2005 ES330 and RX330 and 2006 RX400h.

Toyota will mail owners a notification to make an appointment with an authorized dealer to have their car inspected once replacement parts have been produced in sufficient quantities.
Toyota has recalled some 14 million vehicles since 2009 for problems such as acceleration and braking flaws. It has received a great deal of criticism for allegedly not being forthcoming enough about its problems. 
The company has said that it has been trying to communicate better with customers and empower regional operations outside Japan to make safety decisions.
On Tuesday, Toyota said its earnings fell by 19 percent, to $1 billion, in the third quarter, as it continues to deal with difficulties from Japan's earthquake and tsunami. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Camaro Convertible Makes Performance Fun

2012 Chevrolet Camaro Exterior

Chevrolet rolled out a convertible version of its Camaro muscle car for the 2011 model year, and thank goodness it did. This car is great looking and fun to drive.

The convertible comes with a V-6 or V-8 engine and a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, just like the coupe.

Chevy added structural reinforcements such as a tower brace under the hood, a reinforcement brace for the transmission and underbody bracing to bolster the convertible's rigidity, producing a more sports car-like ride.

The Camaro convertible's power soft-top takes about 20 seconds to lower, and it's quite easily done. There is a latch above  the windshield that you release, then touch and hold a button, and voila -- roof is gone. 

The canvas top features sound-dampening material and a glass rear window with a defogger, and has the silhouette of the coupe's metal roof when raised.
The car looks great with top up or down. 

Camaro LS and LT models take the V-6 engine, while a V-8 is featured on SS models. With the automatic transmission, the V-8 has an Active Fuel Management system, which shuts down four cylinders under light loads.

The Camaro takes three suspension settings, with the LS and LT models getting a sport-tuned suspension, the SS convertible having the FE3 setup and the SS coupe holding the new FE4 performance suspension. SS models also hold large Brembo-brand brakes and adjustable electronic stability and traction control settings and manual-transmission versions have Launch Control.

Engine features are:

  • 323-hp, 3.6-liter direct-injected V-6 with 278 pounds-feet of torque
  • 400-hp, 6.2-liter V-8 with 410 pounds-feet of torque (automatic SS)
  • 426-hp, 6.2-liter V-8 with 420 pounds-feet of torque (manual SS)
  • Standard six-speed manual transmission
  • Optional six-speed automatic
Camaros range from around $24,000 to about $42,000.

For good looks, fun driving and a retro, muscle car style, it's hard to beat the Camaro.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Buick Unveils Verano Compact Sedan

Buick says its new 2012 Verano is the brand's first compact that will bring premium features and luxury characteristics, and after a day spent driving this model, it's hard to argue against that. 
The Verano is likely to continue the recent sedan successes that Buick has enjoyed with LaCrosse and Regal. It's got good looks, is exceptionally quiet and performs nicely enough to add a little driving excitement but not so much that it's over the top.
The Beat recently got to check out the Verano in New York City, and took it up the coast into Connecticut on a pleasant autumn day. 
On the inside, the Verano's dashboard is logically and neatly arranged. There's a color touchscreen, and an optional SD card-based satellite-navigation system with upgraded audio. 
The sound quality of the standard audio system is pretty good, and enhanced by the overall quietness of the car. The standard connectivity and infotainment features offer the best in technology, with Bluetooth for phone and audio being standard, as well as an aux jack plus iPod via USB, SiriusXM (free for 3 months) and the latest of OnStar (free for 6 months). Buick IntelliLink gives specific smartphone integration on the steering wheel and voice control of streaming audio from the phone through services such as Pandora and Stitcher.
The Verano defies easy classification, even though it is billed by Buick as a compact. It has 109 cubic feet of combined trunk and passenger space, pushing the limits of the EPA's "Compact" classification.
 So in many ways, the Verano feels more like a midsize sedan. That's very true up front where there's plenty of knee room thanks to the design of the center stack and dashboard. The headroom is good too.
But move to the back seat and you feel much more like you are in a compact, with little leg room. 
Trunk space is large, ranging between 14 and 15.2 cubic feet depending on whether or not you get the premium audio upgrade and/or tire inflator kit. The trunk has an open format without awkward niches or humps, and it has a relatively low (29-inch) lift-over height.
There are tons of sound-reducing measures like triple-sealed doors, laminated windshield and front side glass, a five-layer acoustic headliner, fabric-wrapped A-pillars, computer/robot applied goo throughout the body cavity and more.
On the road, the Verano is well-tuned and nice to drive.

The Verano offers a smooth, compliant ride. Not a bit of harshness here.
The Verano's naturally aspirated, direct-injected 2.4-liter 180-horsepower four-cylinder gives straight-ahead power. The engine matches the needs of the car wonderfully. 
But EPA fuel economy estimates of 22 mpg city, 31 highway are a bit disappointing.

Conveniences such as push-button parking brake, dual-zone climate control and keyless ignition are standard.
 The Verano carries a base price of around $23,470.

Be Safe and Have Fun This Halloween

It's Halloween, which means trick-or-treating.
So, with all those little ghosts and goblins walking around, it will be especially important for motorists to drive carefully.
Please slow down and keep your eyes focused on the road, especially in residential neighborhoods.
And parents, please make sure the youngsters are dressed with safety in mind -- using reflective tape is a good idea.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2012 Hyundai Veloster: A First Look


With so much demand for greater fuel efficiency, Hyundai continues to deliver its 40 mpg standard with the Veloster.
The new sport-model is engineered and geared toward a younger audience with its focus on a centralization of portable electronics. Yet, the Veloster, as Hyundai puts it, “doesn’t judge”.
With its practical reinvention of the coupe and as a car built for “whatever,” this concentration on design with functionality expands the reach of Hyundai customers that have grown the brand.

The Veloster introduces an all new 1.6-liter GDI Gamma engine paired with two transmissions, Hyundai’s proprietary six-speed manual and Hyundai’s first EcoShift dual-clutch.
Upon the new arrival’s release, the Beat had a drive and a peek at each Veloster in the warm, seaside air of the sunshine state’s St. Petersburg.
Some of the features setting the Veloster apart from the mainstream are its third passenger side door, to avoid awkward rear-seat access, and a multi-function 7-inch touch screen that welcomes you with sound and a customizable image before starting your drive.
Functions provided on the LG display are Pandora internet radio for iPhone users, Gracenote advanced voice recognition and album cover art via iPod, photo slideshow, video playback, as well as two fuel economy games, “ECO Coach and Blue Max,” used to track the driver’s fuel efficiency when driving. Designed for modification, personalizations of themes are available for background colors, images and sound. The 7-inch LG display is simple to use and makes for a less distracting drive with this ability to centralize typically portable applications within the center console.
Its hidden passenger door (the handle is tucked into the window frame) and 7-inch screen of multimedia features makes Hyundai the first in innovating an “Advanced technology three-door coupe”.
The sport-bike inspired design, described as a “fluidic sculpture,” has a motorcycle visor feel from the front and includes features like wraparound headlights and taillights to give the illusion that the car is in constant motion. Inside, the standard cloth seating is comfortable and supportive, coming in full black or full gray. Adding the Style/Tech packages, seating comes in black, gray, or red/black leatherette bolster with cloth inserts.
Competing with the Honda CR-Z and the Scion tC, the Veloster has the best-in-class interior volume in the compact sporty car segment. Both models are very spacious for an all adult seating despite outward compact appearance, the passenger volume measuring to 89.8 cubic feet and the cargo 15.5 cubic feet. The Veloster also carries tons of storage space with front door pockets with bottle holders, front and rear cupholders with storage consoles, and a dual-tiered armrest storage box.
The Veloster provides three different packages: Base, Style, and Technology. Basic standard features consist of XM radio with USB auxiliary jacks, a hands free Bluetooth phone system with voice recognition, Blue Link telematics system, a seven inch LCD touch screen, and 17 inch alloy wheels.

While the base package is appealing in itself, it’s hard not to make an upgrade for the Style and Tech packages, especially when the Tech package requires the purchasing of the Style package.
The Style package, which completely enhances the car’s already impressive interior and exterior at an added $2,000, includes 18-inch alloy wheels, chrome grille, front fog lights, sunroof, a premium audio package, and leather steering wheel and seating. The Tech package, also after an added $2,000, offers 18-inch alloys with painted inserts, backup warning sensors, navigation system with rearview camera, push button start, and 115V outlet.
Currently, the base Veloster M/T starts at $17,300, but moves up to $21, 300 after adding the style and tech packages. While the base DCT starts at $18, 550 the additional style and tech packages move the MSRP up to $22, 550.
While the Veloster is aesthetically daring, its dual-clutch transmission (DCT) may appear to potential drivers as confused or cautious in its driving delivery, responding with slight hesitation at first foot-to-gas. And for those craving more horsepower the Veloster leaves buyers questioning when the model will offer an engine upgrade.
Nevertheless, the new direct-injected four-cylinder engine, producing 138 horsepower, paired with the DCT drives with confidence in its road gripping standard 17-inch alloys with EBD and Brake Assist. Hyundai’s first DCT also offers manual shifting as well as paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
Driving the six-speed manual is surprisingly smooth thanks to the model’s light clutch. Steering is more personalized with not just an adjustable steering for height but for width as well, with the option of moving the steering wheel forward or back from the driver’s seat.
The 2012 Hyundai Veloster offers a fun, unique ride and designs with its asymmetric three door entries, advanced multimedia technology and a fuel economy that’s nothing to sneeze at, creating an aggressive
new image for the coupe.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kia Unveils New Rio, Refreshed Soul

Kia, the other Korean automaker that has been on a hot streak lately, is unveiling a new version of its Rio subcompact for the 2012 model year. A five-door hatchback will be rolled out first, then a sedan later this year.
Kia gave journalists a peek at the new hatchback, along with a refreshed version of its Soul wagon, in Texas last week.
Based on early impressions of both vehicles, Kia will continue its success, in the same way that sister brand Hyundai has been kicking tail and taking names.
The Rio5 hatchback will start at just $14,350 for the base LX with six-speed manual transmission model, or $15,300 if you get six-speed automatic. Those prices are lower than the 2011 models.
If you move up to the EX model, pricing starts at $16,500, and the SX top level begins at $17,700.
Pricing for the sedan has not been announced yet, but expect it to be even less expensive.
“The all-new Rio brings Kia's successful combination of world-class styling, outstanding fuel economy, advanced technologies and tremendous value to the smallest and most economical vehicle in the Kia lineup,” Michael Sprague, vice president of marketing at Kia Motors America, told reporters.

Continue reading on Kia unveils an all-new Rio and refreshed Soul - Macon Automotive |

Monday, October 17, 2011

2012 Hyundai Elantra is at the Head of the Class

2012 Hyundai Elantra Exterior
The 2012 Hyundai Elantra remains one of the best compact cars on the market, thanks to its great styling, superb fuel economy and very reasonable sticker price.
The Elantra, which got a redesign in 2011, now has a new Active Eco System that smoothes the throttle response and boosts fuel economy by as much as 7 percent.
The steering has also been enhanced. 
The common design language used by today by Hyundai, which the Korean company calls "fluidic sculpture," is found on the Sonata and Accent, as well as the Elantra. 
It's a beautiful body styling that makes each model look luxurious and far more expensive than the car actually is. 
The only question Hyundai will have to deal with in using this styling is what it will do for an encore and when will it have to do it. There is likely to become a point at which this bold styling will look dated, but that might be a few years off yet. 
On the interior of the Elantra (and its other models), Hyundai gets more praise for the quality of materials and the spaciousness and comfort. In fact, Elantra has enough size to be classified as a midsize sedan by the EPA.
The highly fuel-efficient engine is a 1.8-liter, four cylinder that makes 148 horsepower and is linked to a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
The Elantra gets 29 mpg in the city and 40 highway, and as Hyundai is fond of pointing out, that 40 mpg figure comes with no asterisks, meaning you don't need a particular engine or trim level. 

Speaking of trim levels, there are two -  GLS and Limited, and each has plenty of goodies. 
Hyundai says it offers as standard equipment power windows and locks, USB/iPod input jack, satellite radio, remote keyless entry, and premium cloth seating. For options, you may choose a high-res navigation system and Bluetooth connectivity. And for comfort, you can get rear heated seats, front heated seats and leather upholstery.

There are plenty of safety features such as all-disc antilock brakes, six airbags, an electronic stability system and a tire pressure monitoring system. Elantra was made a top safety pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Elantras range in price from a little more than $16,000 to almost $23,000.
This is one of the best cars on the market, worth every penny that you'll spend on it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Transportation Roundtable Lacks State Backing

It all boils down to this.

All the hand-wringing that’s going on this week with the Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable can be traced back to one player — the State of Georgia.

The Roundtable has until Oct. 15 to submit its final list of projects that will be included on a penny sales tax referendum that will be presented to voters next year. The tax is estimated to generate $7.2 billion over 10 years with 15 percent of that will go directly to local governments, leaving $6.1 billion to be divvied up by the Roundtable.

The leaders in the 10-county region are agonizing over whether it should add $80 million (in addition to the current $100 million) to fully fund the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority’s Xpress buses over the next 10 years by taking away from four other transit investments.

The Roundtable will meet on Oct. 11 to try to find consensus on the four toughest amendments that must be addressed before the Oct. 15 deadline.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Gas Prices Far Lower Than They Were a Month Ago

Average retail gasoline prices in Atlanta have fallen 3.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.22/g Sunday, according to CBS Atlanta.
The national average fell 2.1 cents per gallon last week to $3.42/g, according to gasoline price website
Gas prices are 32.6 cents per gallon lower than a month ago.
But even though prices are dropping, prices Sunday were 56.9 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago.
The national average has decreased 24.0 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 61.8 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.
"After oil prices briefly dropped to $75/bbl in the last two weeks, we've seen a mini-rally take place, driving prices up to a more recent mark of $82/bbl. The volatility we continue to see in oil prices isn't surprising, and will likely continue as a fragile economy and some upbeat investors play the market," said Patrick DeHaan, Senior Petroleum Analyst. "What this means for motorists is a continued roller coaster ride at the gas pump. While I don't expect a huge of movement in either direction, these up and down fluctuations in gas prices will become the norm ahead of a volatile spring 2012 time period," DeHaan adds.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Soap Box Derby Coming to Southside

In an effort to establish a south side hub for the Dunwoody Kiwanis Club’s Soap Box Derby, Allan Vigil Ford Lincoln, in Morrow Georgia, has partnered with the Dunwoody Kiwanis Club to create Soap Box on the South Side.
On Saturday October 22 and Sunday October 23, Allan Vigil Ford Lincoln will host The Soap Box on the South Side Rally Race for local children to earn points to qualify for an Akron race. The race will be held at the Morrow dealership and entry fee will be $25 per person with all proceeds going to CURE Childhood Cancer, an Atlanta based non-profit which raises money for childhood cancer research. In addition to the Stock, Super Stock, and Master’s division races, the event will also include activities for Super Kids, involving some special children from CURE Childhood Cancer. Participants will be invited to wear costumes in honor of Halloween weekend. Food and drink, as well as other fun activities for the kids will be available throughout the weekend, including a cook out to follow the Saturday race activities.
Whether you’re an experienced soap box racer or are brand new to the sport, all kids (ages 8-17) are welcome to participate. Here are a few simple steps if you would like to get involved:
1. Register for the race
Registration costs $25 per person and all proceeds will be donated to CURE Childhood Cancer, an Atlanta based non-profit which raises money for childhood cancer research. Contact Michael Rabern  at or 678.708.5792 678.708.5792 to register.
2. Order your derby car kit
Click here to order your regulation Super Stock car kit. The kit takes approximately two weeks to arrive, so plan ahead.
3. Attend a Soap Box Derby Clinic at Allan Vigil Ford Lincoln in Morrow
Allan Vigil Ford Lincoln of Morrow is offering two different sessions in October to learn about the Soap Box on the South Side Rally Race and receive assistance in assembling your derby car. Especially planned for beginners, these sessions will feature an expert on all-things soap box derby who will make sure that you are assembling your car to regulation-standards. Clinics are optional and non-progressive, so you may attend as few or as many sessions as you would like. All sessions take place at the Morrow location from 11 am – 12 pm.
October 8, 2011
October 15, 2011
4. Learn about the AASBD World Championship Race
For the more experienced participants, the Soap Box on the South Side can earn you qualifying points for the AASBD World Championship Race in Akron, Ohio. 
Click here to learn more about the World Championship Race.
5. Tell your friends
Help spread the word about the Soap Box on the South Side Rally Race by downloading this form and sharing it with your friends who may be interested in participating.
On the weekend of the Soap Box on the South Side Rally Race, participants, family, and friends will be invited to enjoy additional activities. Wear your Halloween costume, play games, tour a fire truck, and enjoy a Saturday cookout.
For any additional questions, or if your business is interested in sponsoring a child, please contact Michael Raburn at or 678.708.5792 678.708.5792 .