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Archive for November, 2011

Toyota and BMW Discussing Partnership to Build Green Cars

November 30th, 2011

BMW Toyota Green Car Powertrain Partnership

Toyota and BMW are negotiating a partnership to share their best and brightest green powertrain technologies with each other, the Japan Times reports. In a move to cut costs while complementing brand strengths with areas needing improvement, the pair of automakers should each reap gains from the reported technology swap.

BMW and Toyota Form Green Powertrain Technology Partnership

BMW TwinPower 2.0-liter diesel engine.

Toyota is eyeing BMW’s powerful and efficient diesel engines for use in the diesel-loving European market, where the Japanese automaker has struggled to sell cars as of late. More specifically, BMW’s TwinPower 2.0-liter diesel will likely soon find its way into European Toyota passenger cars. This is not only one of the world’s cleanest and smoothest diesels but would also help Toyota save on engine manufacturing costs, skyrocketing recently due to the yen’s high strength.

BMW and Toyota Form Partnership for Green Cars

Toyota Prius Hybrid Synergy Drive system.

So what’s in it for BMW? The answer is Toyota’s treasure trove of patented hybrid systems, indisputably the industry’s brightest. Aside from the expensive and not-that-efficient ActiveHybrid 7 and a handful of other models, BMW has not made the commitment to hybrids of some of its competitors. Adding more hybrids to its lineup is a priority for BMW, so why not seek the assistance of the industry leader?

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Choosing the Right Tires for Winter Driving

November 30th, 2011

Snow Winter Tires FAQ Frequently Asked Questions Guide
The snow is upon us, and for many it is time to make the switch from summer or all-season rubber to a good set of winter tires. Here Pricing Insider answers all your questions in a quick and handy guide.

What are winter tires?

Winter (or snow) tires have special groove patterns designed specifically to perform in ice and snow. Not only are the grooves deeper; they are patterned with more small horizontal traction areas to better grip the sludge, snow and ice that is so dangerous to your winter safety. The tire is of a softer composition with more natural rubber and silica especially designed to perform well in freezing-cold temperatures. Some winter tires have metal studs to cut into the icy road surface, though these are illegal in many areas.

All-season or winter tires?

This is the most common question from drivers in areas with moderate winter weather. All-season tires will be fine in many cases in areas with moderate temperatures and only slight, sporadic snowfall, with a good set of tire chains (where legal) for when things actually do get rough. If your area reaches below 40 degrees regularly there is no reason not to keep a good set of winter tires for added control, safety and peace-of-mind.

What are the benefits and compromises?

Winter tires will improve handling, maneuverability, cornering, braking, safety and stability on bad roads. The change is so profound that despite traction control and ABS, they could save you from ending up in a snowy ditch. Their downside is lots of road noise, and inferior handling to summer or all-season tires when temperatures are warm and roads are dry.

Winter tire logo

Check for the snowflake logo to verify tires are winter rated.

How do I choose winter tires?

Check your vehicle manual, or contact the local dealership or tire store, to find the right size. In some cases you’ll need to downsize your wheels as winter tires don’t typically come in extremely low-profile sizes common to performance tires. Narrower tires cut through the snow easier, as well. Look for the symbol of a snowflake within a mountain on the tire sidewall: this means the tires have met minimum requirements for snow driving.

What are the costs?

A good set of winter tires with basic spare wheels to mount them on (this avoids costly repeated trips to the tire shop to have your tires switched and balanced) should cost around $1,000 (or more with trucks, SUVs and cars with larger wheels). This is no small amount, to be sure, but there is added savings here: your regular summer or all-season tires won’t wear while you’re not using them in the freezing-cold, significantly prolonging their life. Besides, can you really put a price on your safety?

Where’s the best place to get winter tires?

In our experiences, the best place to buy tires locally are America’s Tire Company and believe it or not, Costco.  For online purchases, Tire Rack reigns supreme.  Before buying, read this guide and if you have additional questions, don’t be shy…all the companies mentioned above have exemplary customer service and are widely acclaimed as the tire experts.


2012 BMW 3-Series Pricing Announced: $35,795

November 29th, 2011

2012 BMW 3 Series Pricing Price Release Date

BMW has released pricing for its next-generation 2012 3-Series sedan, set to go on sale in the U.S. in February 2012. The 2012 328i sedan, with its new 240-horsepower TwinPower turbo 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, will start at $35,795, only $300 more than the outgoing 2011 model.

The upscale 335i, packing 300 horses from BMW’s tried-and-true 3.0-liter inline-6, will be priced from $43,295.

Base prices here an $895 destination charge and represent only small increases over the previous-generation 2011 3-Series: $320 more for the 328i and $370 for the 335i. Each model will be available in Sport, Luxury and Modern Lines, each with its own distinct character and standard equipment.


Toyota FT-86 Released, Available Soon

November 28th, 2011

2013 Toyota 86 Production Version Header

Toyota has finally pulled the cover off its the final production version of its new rear-wheel drive sport coupe after years of concept car teases. The car will be known as the Toyota GT 86 in Europe and simply the Toyota 86 in Japan. The name is pronounced “Hachiroku” in Japanese, not-so-coincidentally the nickname given to the hugely popular Toyota AE86 compact sport hatchbacks and coupes of the 1980s.

In the U.S. the car will be sold under the Scion badge with some light reworking, though Toyota promises the same specs. The decision is a curious one as Toyota itself has nothing that could be called performance car in its U.S. lineup, while Scion’s own tC is fresh off a redesign. We’ll give Toyota the benefit of the doubt and eagerly anticipate the Scion version nonetheless.

2013 Toyota GT 86 Production Car Pics Interior

Toyota 86/GT 86/Scion FR-S Specs

Engine: 2.0-liter Boxer flat 4-cylinder, direct and port-injected
Power: 197 hp @ 7,000 rpm and 151 lb-ft. of torque @ 6,600 rpm
Driveline: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic transmissions, limited-slip differential
Dimensions: 167 in. long x 50.6 in. high x 101 in. wide
Curb Weight: Est. 2,650 lbs.
Base Price (Scion FR-S, U.S.): Est. $25,000
Release Date: Spring 2012 (Japan), June 2012 (U.K.), Mid-2012 (U.S.)


Buying Outlook: 2012 Hyundai Accent

November 28th, 2011

2012 Hyundai Accent Expert Buying Outlook Prices Header

The 2012 Accent is fresh from a complete redesign, and Hyundai hasn’t been able to quite keep up with demand. Don’t expect much (if any) of a discount off MSRP right now as supplies are slim, but this trend is expected to continue in the months to follow.

Because subcompact margins are so low and incentives are much smaller, now is as good a time as any in the near future to buy a 2012 Accent because as gas prices increase (which they will), the demand for fuel-efficient cars will pick up, and it will be harder to get a car like the Accent in the color/trim that you want.

[Not quite sold on the Accent? Here's the 10 cheapest cars in America]

2012 Hyundai Accent Prices Expert Buying Outlook Infographic