Monthly Archives: May 2015

Find the right vehicle for your family

Every family is different and has different needs and preferences when it comes to choosing a vehicle. Luckily there’s something for everyone.

If you and yours are the outdoorsy types, an SUV may be the best way to go. Urbanites might benefit from a minivan or sedan. Those in between, well, that’s what crossover SUVs are for. The good news is that the days when station wagons were the only choice for families are long gone. The market has responded to these different circumstances with a plethora of shapes and styles to suit virtually any need. Of course, determining the best of these choices is what we do, so we gathered together 23 of the latest and greatest different vehicles from a variety of manufacturers to determine which made the cut. We started with last year’s finalists, and culled those that were either due for imminent replacement, or which had been clearly surpassed by newer vehicles in the segment. To that, we added new vehicles that had come out since last year — including a couple of redesigns — voted on candidates, narrowed the field, carried the one, and ultimately landed on the vehicles you see here.

The final field included three minivans, four compact SUVs, four midsize SUVs, two full-size SUVs, two full-size sedans, and three midsize sedans, the kinds of vehicles that usually come to mind when thinking about family cars. However, this year we also included cars from other categories. First were two full-size pickup trucks, unconventional choices to be sure, but roomy, comfortable, and with seemingly endless cargo space, they were definitely worthy of consideration. On the other end of the spectrum were three compact cars, often the first choice of anybody on a budget.

It came as no surprise that two minivans — the 2015 Honda Odyssey and the 2015 Toyota Sienna — made the family car final cut. The 2015 Nissan Pathfinder and new 2015 Toyota Highlander midsize SUVs also appear on our list of finalists. The Honda CR-V was joined by the new Subaru Outback on our list of small SUVs, and all three midsize sedan candidates — the 2015 Honda Accord, 2015 Hyundai Sonata, and 2015 Toyota Camry — made the cut. The 2015 Chevrolet Impala full-size sedan makes its second appearance, too. In the realm of small cars, both the 2015 Honda Civic and surprisingly flexible 2015 Kia Soul won out. On the other end of the size spectrum, both the 2015 Ram 1500 and new 2015 Ford F-150 full-size trucks we tested were deemed worthy of family duty. Finally, the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe made the list.

Read more here.

3 vehicles that can get you 200,000 miles

Collectively, Americans put an average of 13,476 miles on their cars annually according to the Department of Transportation. This is why considering a vehicle’s ability to travel long distances without major problems is really important when it comes time to purchase a new one.

iSeeCars.com, a website that aggregates 30 million used car listings from all around the country, recently looked for all of the vehicles housed on its website from 1981-2010 that have more than 200,000 miles on the odometer in order to see which models are really going the distance for their owners. The findings, which list the 12 models with the highest percentage of 200,000-mile travelers, are quite interesting. Only one car made the list, the Honda Accord. All the rest are either trucks or SUVs.

Here are three that make the list:

  • Honda Accord
  • GMC Yukon
  • GMC Sierra

Read more for the full list.

3 things that are ruining your fuel efficiency

We expect our vehicles to live up to their fuel efficiency promises, meanwhile there are many things we do on a regular basis that actually ruin it. Here are 3 of them:

Idling

It should go without saying, when a vehicle’s engine is running it’s also consuming fuel. Just because you’re cold or your favorite Taylor Swift song is playing on the radio is no excuse for keeping those cylinders blazing away. If you can muster the courage, switch the ignition into accessory mode. This kills the engine but still allows you to listen to music or receive a limited amount of heat in frigid weather before the cooling system reaches ambient temperature. Shutting things down when not needed can save you big money. Why

Depleted tires

Tires are perhaps the most overlooked parts on a car, though they’re certainly one the most important. Remember, they’re the only components that ever touch the road, or at least they should be. Running over- or as is more likely the case, under-inflated rubbers is not just bad for fuel economy and the tires themselves but it’s also a safety issue.

Not having enough air in them increases rolling resistance, friction and causes excess heat to build up, which can have a detrimental effect on their longevity. Keep a gauge handy and try to check your vehicle’s tire pressure at least once a month.

Speed

If your mileage is off, one of the easiest things you can do to remedy this situation is modify your behavior. Going full-throttle at every green light or driving 20 MPH faster than the highway speed limit can have a devastating impact on your fuel consumption. Slow down, take a breath and watch your efficiency improve.

The national speed limit used to be 55 miles an hour for a reason, even if most people hated the legislation and everyone ignored it. This restriction, on paper at least, saved fuel by allowing vehicles to operate in their most efficient speed range. If you’re not in a rush it’s something you can still do today.

Read more here.

Google’s self-driving cars taking to the open road soon

Google has announced that its compact prototype vehicle will start driving in Mountain View, Calif. this summer. Though the cars are autonomous, each will be manned by a safety driver aboard who can use a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal and brake pedal if need be. The vehicles’ speed will be capped at 25 miles per hour.

The arrival of the Google-built cars on public roads follows Google’s extensive tests of a fleet of Lexus SUVs the company turned into self-driving vehicles. Those cars have driven nearly one million miles autonomously and are now traveling about 10,000 miles per week.

Earlier this week, Google revealed that its self-driving cars have been involved in 11 minor accidents over the last six years, though the company says they were all the fault of other human drivers that collided with Google’s vehicles.

Read more here.