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Archive for November, 2010

Military Rebates on a New Car

November 11th, 2010

new_car_deals

Today is Veteran’s Day, and it’s important to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect and preserve our country’s freedom, ambition and security.  A small token of appreciation in the form of Military Rebates are currently being offered by several manufacturers members of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and National Guard.

Additionally, the spouses of the servicemen and women are also privy to these incentives. These special programs are rarely advertised, but can mean big savings on new cars—and can usually be combined with other incentives. The editors of CarsDirect.com evaluated this year’s crop of military incentive programs and came up with the following list of the Best Deals.

Special Incentives for U.S. Military Servicemen and Women

Manufacturer Discount Eligible Models Special Terms Recommended Models
Chevrolet Click here Most 2010-2011 Chevrolet models Must currently serve or be a reserve in the U.S. Military Chevy Cruze
Chevy Colorado
Chevy Malibu
Hyundai Up to $1000 Select 2010-2011 Hyundai models Must currently serve or be a spouse of a reserve in the U.S. Military Hyundai Genesis
Hyundai Sonata
Hyundai Tucson
Kia Up to $1000 Most 2010-2011 2011 Kia models Must currently serve or be a reserve in the U.S. Military Kia Sorento
Volvo Click here Select 2010-2011 Volvo models Must currently serve or be a reserve in the U.S. Military Volvo S40
Volvo C30
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Top Ten Cars of The 2010 L.A. Auto Show

November 10th, 2010

The 2010 L.A. Auto Show is here, and some of the most anticipated models will be on display in downtown Los Angeles.  Here’s a quick rundown of our top ten must-see cars of the show.

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG

Just recently redesigned, the car that started the 4-door coupe revolution is about to do it all over again. The CLS63 AMG will combine power, practicality and elegance and is expected to be the showstopper of the Mercedes-Benz booth.

2012 Porsche Cayman RS Clubsport

You’re going to want to stop by Porsche’s room anyway, but to make it even more worth your while, the yet to be unveiled Cayman RS Clubsport will be on display. With its ultra-lightweight construction and increased power, the Cayman RS Clubsport promises to be a track junkie’s dream.

2012 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible

If you’re a fan of the current Camaro, then you’re going to love the top-down thrills the Camaro Convertible has to offer. Although it’s taken a couple years for us to get a convertible version of the Camaro, this topless pony car was  certainly worth the wait.

2011 Chrysler 200

Being hailed as the next big thing for Chrysler, the 200 will take on the midsize segment and hopefully succeed where its predecessor, the ill-fated Sebring, failed. With handsome styling and a list of available features, the 200 looks like it’s up to the task.

2011 Honda CR-Z

Although the CR-Z is already available for sale, the odds are you haven’t seen one on the streets yet. Here’s your chance to get up close and personal with one remarkable hybrid.

2012 Toyota/Tesla RAV4 EV

When Toyota announced a partnership with Tesla earlier this year, no one expected a RAV4 to be the first model to get the EV treatment. Nevertheless, the RAV4 EV concept is a technology showcase that you don’t want to miss.

2012 Saab 9-4x Crossover

As Saab’s newest offering, the 9-4x further distances the brand from its days under GM ownership. Offering style, sportiness and luxury, this crossover could be Saab’s ticket to profitability in 2011.

2012 Nissan Murano Cabriolet

As strange as it is good looking, this concept from Nissan is a bit of a gamble. Still, this convertible crossover is something you have to see in person if you ever expect to really understand it.

2013 BMW 3-Series

The big news here is for the next-generation 3-Series is the return of 4-cylinder power, albeit in turbocharged form.  The award-winning inline-6 turbo will also be available, as will a 2-door hatchback version of The 3.

2012 Infiniti M35 Hybrid

Showcasing Nissan’s newly developed hybrid drivetrain, the Infiniti M35 Hybrid isn’t short on technology. The L.A. Auto Show will be the M35 Hybrid’s North American debut, so we’ll likely get some concrete performance figures on it.  Stop by Infiniti’s section of the floor to check out the future of green luxury.

2015 Lotus Elise

How do you follow an act like the original Lotus Elise—a car that some consider to be the purest expression of the sports car philosophy? The 3rd generation Elise Concept that debuts this week just might be the answer to that question. With a design just as inspiring as the orginal (and hopefully performance to match), the 2015 Lotus Elise Concept won’t disappoint.

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2012 Toyota Prius Minivan Spied!

November 10th, 2010
prius_minivan

Could this be the new Prius Alpha Minivan?

The sleuths at Road & Track have spied what looks to be the 2012 Toyota Prius Minivan.  After more than 10 years of production, something other than a 4-door hatchback will be offered under the Prius nameplate.  The minivan will answer the cries of many current Prius owners who now have growing families, growing pocketbooks and growing needs.

More Space
Look for the new Prius Minivan to have room for two additional passenger (the current 2010 Prius seats 5 passengers).

More Power
Power will most likely come from a larger version of the 1.8-liter 4-cylinder hybrid engine currently found under the hood of every 2010-2011 Prius on the road today.  Displacement will hit 2.5-liters while power should go up significantly.  Our guess is around 162-hp, which is a major bump when you calculate the substantial amount of torque that the brushless electric motor will generate.

More Juice
The new Prius Minivan will also feature a more advanced version of the Lithium battery pack found int he current generation Prius.  With some Priuses (or Prii, take your pick) found famously in New York’s taxi fleet hitting 400,000+ miles on the original pack, it comes with no surprise that Toyota will continue with the development of Lithium Ion vs. Lithium Polymer.

More Fuel Economy
Well, not quite.  But the new Prius Minivan will in fact be the most-fuel efficient 7-passenger vehicle on Planet Earth.  Currently, that title is being held by the 2010 Mazda Mazda5 which nets 21 MPG in the city and 27 MPG on the highway for a combined MPG of 24.  Look for the Prius Minivan to smash those numbers and set a new standard for fuel-efficiency in the minivan class with a combined MPG of 50.

More…Money?
Yes.  But you are getting a lot more.  With the current 2010 Prius on sale for around $22k base and up to $27k full loaded, the new Prius Minivan should cost between $29k-35k, putting it roughly $5000 to $10,000 less than a new 2011 Toyota Sienna or the all-new and all-awesome 2011 Honda Odyssey.

Availability
We don’t know for sure, but look for the Prius Minivan to be available sometime late in 2011.

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Lexus Makes Presence Felt at 2010 SEMA Show

November 9th, 2010
Lexus CT200h

Lexus CT200h

Whether they went for the  flashy tuner cars or for the chrome-laden goodness of the muscle cars, auto enthusiasts of all kinds got a post-Halloween hybrid treat at this year’s SEMA Show. Short for Specialty Equipment Market Association, SEMA is an automotive aftermarket organization that hosts one of the largest annual conventions in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The 2010 SEMA Show turned out to be one of the most exciting events in recent years, with many manufacturers rolling out some of the wildest cars of the show. One thing that especially stood out was that Lexus opted to display only hybrids at this year’s show. Thus, six handsomely customized hybrid vehicles adorned the  Japanese luxury brand’s booth, earning Lexus some well-deserved foot traffic from show attendees.

[In Pictures: 2011 Lexus CT200h]

One of those show cars was the recently launched 2011 CT200h. Styled by tuner royalty, FIVEaxis, the Lexus F Sport CT200h Concept not only looks like a sporty ride, but has the parts to back it up. With an adjustable suspension and 18-inch F Sport alloy wheels, this Lexus is definitely no ordinary hybrid.

[First Drive: 2011 Lexus CT200h]

The other cars featured in the Lexus booth were the HS250h and LS600h L by VIP Auto Salon, the RX 450h by Paul Tolson, the LS600h L by Fox Marketing and the 0-60 Magazine Lexus GS450h.

Lexus has taken a huge risk by only exhibiting their hybrid models at one of the biggest shows of the year, but in an age of ever increasing environmental awareness, it’s a risk that just might pay off.

By providing plenty of networking opportunities, hosting various seminars and showcasing a countless number of products, the SEMA Show has become Sin City’s premier automotive event and draws thousands of industry leaders each year.

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Toyota Accused of Buying Problem Cars

November 9th, 2010

Toyota’s fortunes seem to have taken a turn for the worse. After battling in court for months and appearing before a congressional hearing, new allegations against the Japanese automaker are coming to the surface.

This new lawsuit alleges that Toyota knew about instances of sudden unintended acceleration (SUI) as early as 2003, but the company coerced owners into signing a confidentiality agreement that prohibited them from discussing the matter publicly. The suit also claims that Toyota technicians were able to replicate the SUI but failed to report the problem to the NHTSA.

Brian Lyons, a Toyota spokesman, denies that any Toyota technicians managed to recreate the SUI condition and instead suggests that perhaps technicians employed by a Toyota dealership—which are independent businesses—are the technicians the plaintiffs are referring to. However, Lyons does admit that Toyota did buy back two vehicles due to SUI complaints. Lyons states that these repurchases were only to investigate the claims further and were not part of some elaborate cover-up.

Still, this latest class action suit, which represents dozens of plaintiffs, does cast some doubt on Toyota’s past actions. Whether or not Toyota is guilty of these accusations remains to be seen.

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