Friday, September 26, 2014

2015 Volkswagen Passat: Practical Sedan with some Driving Fun

The 2015 Volkswagen Passat comes with impressive driving dynamics, a few engine choices and a roomy interior.
You won’t be blown away by the Passat’s looks. It has understated styling, on the outside and inside. But in that sense, it sets itself a bit apart from other midsize sedans, which in recent years have rushed to embrace the sweeping, slanting body style that has become so popular.
The Passat’s base engine is a 1.8-liter turbocharged four cylinder that makes 170 horsepower. Another choice is the 3.6-liter V-6 that makes 280 horsepower. And there’s a 2.0-liter four cylinder turbo diesel that makes 150 horsepower.
The base engine gets a very solid 24 mpg city, 36 highway, with its six speed automatic transmission. But if you want really great efficiency, get the diesel and its 30 mpg city, 44 highway with a six-speed manual or 30 and 42 with the automatic.
Clearly, Volkswagen continues to demonstrate a penchant for fuel economy.
Safety ratings favor the Passat as well.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives it a five star rating and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives it a top safety pick plus award.
On the outside, you’ll find 16-inch wheels standard, with 17 and 18-inchers optional.
The headlights and tail lights get a nice bit of angular styling, but other than that, there are just clean lines and no dramatic slopes to the Passat’s body style.
On the inside, the roomy Passat seats five comfortably. Optional amenities include push-button start, dual zone climate control and navigation.
The Passat starts at around $22,000 and ranges to about $37,000.

If you’re looking for a midsize sedan that’s fun to drive yet practical, the Passat is worth a look.

Friday, September 19, 2014

2014 Infiniti QX60: Safety, Technology and Luxury

If you’re looking to carry your crew or your cargo in style, the seven-seat Infiniti QX60 is a good choice.
This crossover SUV made its debut in 2013, when it was called the JX35.
But as Infiniti made the questionable move to identify each of its vehicles with the letter Q, this one gets the new moniker.
What remains is a choice of front or all-wheel drive, a number of technology features and distinctive styling.
The QX60 is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that makes 265 horsepower and 248 pounds-feet of torque. That is mated to a continuously variable transmission, with front-wheel drive standard, all-wheel optional.
Front-wheel models get 20 mpg city, 26 highway and all wheels get 19 and 25.
The safety technology of the QX60 is outstanding. There is a backup collision intervention system that senses objects that are sitting low behind the vehicle or other vehicles that may be crossing the rear path and warns the driver or applies the brakes when needed.
There’s also an around view monitor that gives an overhead view of the vehicle to reveal any objects that may be to the sides or in the blind spots of the driver.
And as you might expect there is blind spot warning, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control, which slows the vehicle when it closely approaches a vehicle ahead of it.
·         For exterior styling, the contoured rear window is a nice touch, giving it an imaginative design feature that goes a step beyond the usual SUV look.
·         A power liftgate and moonroof are standard.
·         The interior is comfortable and nicely appointed. Front and second row passengers get a decent amount of head- and leg room, while the third row is a bit more snug, but not bad for children.
·         The rear cargo area has 15.8 feet of space, which isn’t huge, but is certainly serviceable.
·         Three zone climate control, heated front seats and leather seating are standard features.
·         Available options include cooled front seats, heated steering wheel and second-row seats, a navigation system and two-screen rear entertainment system.
·         The QX60 starts at around $43,000 and ranges to about $45,000.

·         For great safety technology, distinctive styling and nice amenities, the QX60 is worth a look.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Extended Warranties: To Buy or Not To Buy

Car buyers face the decision of whether it’s worth it to purchase an extended vehicle warranty. Some say the prolonged protection is worth it, but others say that it often does not pay off.
If you’re facing this choice, there are a few factors you should keep in mind.
Some extended warranties are better than others. Factors such as who is selling the warranty, when you purchase it and its particular terms can make a big difference.
Beat The Press
When you’re signing all that paperwork at the dealership, don’t be pressured to buy the warranty at that moment. You might do better to find a third party, or after-market, seller. That’s because dealerships frequently
substantially mark up the cost of their warranties.
Try To Anticipate
If you think there’s a good chance that the car you’ll buying will have a problem that will cause a major repair bill, and that you’ll have difficulty handling that bill, an extended warranty might be a good idea. Of course, it’s very difficult to predict such occurrences.
If you’re buying a new car, which typically is covered by a three year/ 36,000 mile warranty, think about your plans for after that period. If you think you’ll be getting rid of the car at about that time, don’t buy an extended warranty. If you might hold onto it for a long time, the warranty might be worth it.
Shop Smartly
A major auto maker or a highly regarded financial services company are probably the best places to buy warranties, if you choose to do so. Local dealers and other third parties might not be as reputable.
Know The Terms
It’s important to get a full accounting of what’s covered and what’s not, and to know the payment terms and conditions.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Lexus RX 450h: One Fine Hybrid

The Lexus RX 450h is a great crossover hybrid SUV that is roomy, luxurious and fuel efficient. If those are qualities you're seeking, it's hard to beat this model.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Quick Look at the Lexus IS 250 F- Sport

  • Lexus has a 2.5-liter V6 in the IS 250 F-Sport, producing 204 horsepower and 185 pounds-feet of torque. The all-wheel-drive version will get to 60 mph in a reported 8.3 seconds.
  • The IS 250 AWD get fuel economy numbers of 20 mpg city /27 highway. 
  • Lexus is said to be developing a four-cylinder turbo engine, as it seeks to step up its competitiveness against other luxury sport sedans.