Friday, June 29, 2012

2012 Nissan Maxima: Get Comfy and Have Fun

Nissan has long referred to its Maxima sedan as the “four-door sports car,” and if you’ve ever driven this model, it’s quite possible you see why.

For the 2012 model year, the Maxima has a few changes in appearance and a few added features, yet its sportiness endures.

The Maxima is powered by a 3.5 liter V-6 engine that makes 290 horsepower and 261 pounds-feet of torque. The Maxima is linked to a continuously variable transmission, with optional paddle shifters, if you want to get a bit more involved in the driving.

Gas mileage is pretty good, given the large engine, with the Maxima getting EPA ratings of 19 mpg city, 26 highway.

On the inside, Maxima offers comfort for driver and passengers and technology that is convenient and easy to use.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Gas Prices at their Lowest Point in 2012

Gasoline prices in the nation have hit their lowest average this year, according to AAA.

The motorist group says that among more than 100,000 gas stations surveyed, the average price came to $3.41.

Prices have fallen below $3 a gallon in South Carolina, according to the Associated Press.

A random check of prices on Atlanta's south side found prices generally ranging from $3.15 - $3.20.

But AP also reported that demand is down by about 5 percent compared with a year ago, in spite of prices that are about 18 cents a gallon lower.

Experts say the continued sluggishness in the economy is tied to the lower demand and lower pricing of gasoline. The Conference Board's consumer confidence measure dropped in June for the fourth consecutive month amid concerns about high unemployment, low housing values, a volatile stock market and an uncertain economy in Europe. Those concerns drive down consumer spending, experts say, which drives 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Volvo C30 is Surprisingly Sporty

So when did BMW take over Volvo?

Ok, BMW did not take over Volvo, but if you drive the 2012 Volvo C30, you sure might think the two European automakers share the same DNA.

The C30 is a very sporty little hatchback that blows doors off other vehicles on the road and blows doors off the notion that Volvos are merely staid, safe cars.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Taking a Summer Road Trip? Take These 3 Quick Steps to Prepare

Now that it's officially summer, you might be getting ready for a nice road trip to see relatives, the beach, the mountains or wherever.
But before you hit the highway, be sure to adopt the old Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared.
Don't get out there and let car troubles ruin your vacation.
Here are three quick tips for making sure you're road-ready.

Check All Five of Your Tires
AAA projects that about 1.2 million drivers will call the motorists' organization for assistance dealing with a flat tire in the summer travel season. Don't be one of them. Check the four tires that are on the ground, as well as your spare. Consult your vehicle's owner's manual to see how much air pressure your tires need, then fill or deflate accordingly.
This is good not only for safety, but also fuel economy. Well inflated tires can cut your fuel bill by up to 12 cents a gallon, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Check for wear and tear too. Insert a quarter into the tread with the top of Washington's head pointing toward the center of the tire. If you see space between the top of Washington's head and the tread, you might need to replace the tire.

Inspect and Clean the Battery

AAA says it is likely to replace more than 700,000 batteries this summer. Don't let your car's be one of them. Make sure the cables are attached properly and that the terminals and cable parts that attach are free of corrosion or other gunk.
A battery typically lasts three to five years, and you can get yours tested at most auto repair chain stores for free.
Change Wiper Blades and Add Washer Fluid

You need to maintain good windshield visibility for safety. Replace your wiper blades when they leave streaks or don't give a clean sweep of water from the windshield. Check your fluid levels and make sure you've got enough and that it reaches your windshield properly.

Take the proper precautions, and your road trip should be a fun experience, as long as your family members don't endlessly sing annoying songs in the car.

Happy motoring!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

2012 Volkswagen Tiguan is a Fun SUV with a Funny Name

You might be attracted by its style, or just intrigued by its unusual name, but for whatever reason you’re drawn to the Volkswagen Tiguan, you’ll be pleased when you experience it.

This small SUV offers good driving dynamics, a strong engine and nice styling inside and out.

For the 2012 model year, VW gave the Tiguan improved fuel economy and a slightly restyled front end and rear end.

The Tiguan is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes a hearty 200 horsepower and 207 pounds-feet of torque and tows up to 2,200 pounds, according to VW.

The VW Tiguan has been slightly restyled for 2012 and has improved fuel economy.Photo credit: Volkswagen .

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Underrated Cars Get Some Love

Some cars get way more hype than they deserve. Then there are those that don't get enough credit.
That's why decided to compile a list of most underrated vehicles.
We took a look at the list and found that by and large, we agree with TCS.
The vehicles on this list are quite good, and might be a bit underappreciated.

The list included the Chevrolet Cruze
as well as the Kia Soul, Cadillac CTS, Buick LaCrosse

and the Infiniti M.

Others on the list were the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Sportage, Cadillac SRX, Chevy Traverse and Ford Taurus SHO.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Want a Value Vehicle? Check This List

USAA, one of the most respected auto insurance companies in the world, has released its 2012 list of best value vehicles.
The ratings are based on cost, safety and reliabilty.
Hmmm, those are three of The Beat's favorite categories also.
Anyhow, here's the USAA list. We raised a few eyebrows at some of the picks, but overall, seems like a pretty solid list.
Check it out.
Large Sedan: Dodge Charger
Midsize Sedan: Toyota Camry Hybrid
Small Sedan: Hyundai Elantra
Large Luxury Sedan: Hyundai Genesis
Midsize Luxury Sedan: Volvo S60
Large SUV: Chevrolet Traverse
Midsize SUV: Dodge Journey
Small SUV: Kia Sportage
Large Luxury SUV: Audi Q7
Midsize Luxury SUV: Lexus RX 450h
Large Pickup: Toyota Tundra 2WD
Small Pickup: Nissan Frontier
Sports: Ford Mustang
Coupe: Honda CR-Z (hybrid)
Wagon: Nissan Juke
Minivan: Dodge Caravan

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Grab the Family and Head for the 2012 Subaru Outback

If it's a family vehicle you want, but a minivan or big SUV isn't your cup of tea, check out the 2012 Subaru Outback.
This vehicle has been on the market for a number of years, and it seems to get better with time. This model year adds a winter convenience package for those in cold climes and new wheel and audio options.

You can choose from a pair of options under the hood: a 2.5-liter four cylinder engine that makes 170 horsepower or a 3.6-liter six cylinder that makes 256 horsepower.
Transmission choices are the six-speed manual or the continuously variable tranny.

Of course since it's a Subaru, you get standard all-wheel drive, which, along with it's extended ground clearance, makes it a great pick for those who live in areas that get hit with nasty weather, or those who like to do light off roading.

But that doesn't mean it's not great for folks who live in warmer areas, and in fact it's rather curious that with Subaru's record of building great, reliable vehicles, it hasn't caught on quite as well in some of those other regions.

Might be a function of marketing, or who knows what else.

The Outback has three trim levels - base, Premium and Limited.
There are a ton of handy standard features, but when you upgrade, you get some nice options, including leather seating, voice-controlled navigation and dual-zone climate control.

And as mentioned above, the Outback is a great family vehicle that is versatile, serving up 71 cubic feet of cargo space when you plop down the back seat.

Passengers in both rows of seats enjoy ample leg and head room.

The Outback starts at around $24,000 and ranges to about $33,000.

Managing a family is tough, so make it easier by getting something comfortable, versatile and reliable to ferry them around - head for the Outback.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Infiniti M37 is a Nice Package of Luxury and Performance

Luxury and performance coexist delightfully in the 2012 Infiniti M37 sedan.

This car's 3.7-liter V-6 engine makes 330 horsepower and 270 pounds-feet of torque and provides more than enough power to accelerate smoothly and with good pace. The rear-wheel drive and seven-speed automatic transmission ensure a steady yet assertive ride quality.

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