Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hybrids great on gasoline savings but not expense, study finds

Hybrids may be tops when it comes to saving gasoline, but they're far for the best choice for budget-conscious car buyers, a new study says.

The four-door hatchback Chevy Aveo for General Motors Corp. leads the ranking of the highest quality new-car price points in terms of "total ownership cost" as intended by automotive information steady Edmunds.com, based on $5-a-gallon gas. The highest-ranked hybrid was the Honda Civic at No. 10. The Toyota Prius hybrid -- No. 1 in the government's power sector rankings -- came in 26th.
Hybrids, which are powered by both an electric motor and a gasoline engine, typically get better gas mileage as opposed to their non-hybrid counterparts but carry higher worth tags.

A 2008 Aveo hatchback amidst manual transmission lists for $10,235 and is rated by the Environmental Protection Agency at 27 miles per gallon in combined city-highway driving. The Prius, by contrast, has a combined fuel economy of 46 mpg and a implied retail price of $21,500 -- and typically transactions for thousands of dollars above that when of above average demand.

The study's purpose "isn't to discourage shoppers from obtaining hybrids," alleged Jesse Toprak, head of industry analysis for Santa Monica-based Edmunds.com. However, "consumers ought to ponder regular-engine small cars if such a goal is just to save money."

The Edmunds.com findings are at odds amongst a recent analysis by Consumer Reports, which ranked both the Prius and the Civic hybrids amongst the 10 cars that the bidder "the best gas economy for the buck."

Consumer Reports easily included vehicles that get its "recommended" rating, which is centered on reliability, safety, handling and other components in addition to dealings price and power economy. That's part of the reason the Aveo and the Toyota Yaris did not make Consumer Reports' fuel-economy cut.

"We did not want to send households to cars who are anticipated to let them down in other areas," said Rik Paul, the magazine's auto editor.

One car-shopping strategy that is basically absolute not to get sense financially is to trade in a late-model sport utility vehicle or pickup truck for a smaller, a greater number of fuel-efficient vehicle. Because of plummeting demand, trade-in values on these types of gas guzzlers have been falling fast -- some dealers won't accept them at all -- and that can wipe out the gas savings achieved by switching to a tinier car, auto research steady Kelley Blue Book Co. said in a prediction last month.

Toprak noted that many lendees buy hybrids because of the cars' environmentally friendly image or additionally reasons unrelated to economics.

"At least 50% of all automotive purchases are not founded on mortgage considerations," he said. "Its a particularly emotional purchase that doesn't constantly involve numbers."

Friday, July 25, 2008

Top 10 Pickups With the Worst Residual Value for 2008

It's worth taking the tiny bit to find out a thing or two about residual value before deciding on your next pickup. Choose a truck with a high residual value, and you'll benefit from decreased monthly bills if you opt to lease. Opt to buy one of such pickups, and you will enjoy greater amount of robust resale values.

This directory showcases the 10 pickups amongst the rock bottom visual expense for 2008 — the trucks that are likely to depreciate the numerous during the ownership period. We've argued the fee of its earliest market worth such a each truck is possible to retain subsequent to five years in an annual mileage of 15,000. Residual price level percentages are based on the nationwide True Market Value (TMV®) price, plus usual opportunities and target charge.

These trucks are not as dismal a bet as you'd think. For one thing, a couple of them come with bargain-basement worth tags, making them choices to ponder for those on a budget. Also, these kinds of trucks can be virtual steals when purchased on the used market, since you will perhaps be able to purchase a pickup on currently directory for a lot less than you'd pay for a competing car with a sturdier resale value.

1. 2008 Mazda B-Series Truck — 33.2%

2. 2008 Isuzu i-Series — 34.7%

3. 2008 Ford Ranger — 36.8%

4. 2008 Mitsubishi Raider — 37.0%

5. 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 — 37.9%

6. 2008 Nissan Titan — 38.3% (tie)

7. 2008 Dodge Dakota — 38.3% (tie)

8. 2008 Ford F-150 — 38.9%

9. 2008 Dodge Ram 2500 — 39.9%

7. 2008 Cadillac Escalade EXT — 38.4%

8. 2008 Ford F-150 — 38.9%

9. 2008 Dodge Ram 2500 — 39.9%

Saturday, July 19, 2008

2008 Honda Odyssey

Four ages into the current generation, the Honda Odyssey is holding its own, rather speaking, in a new automobile market savaged by $4 a gallon gas and a dwindling economy.

Like those of its archrival, the Toyota Sienna, dealings of Odysseys were off by 9 per cent the year with June as compared to a year earlier. But persons of the longtime leader of the minivan pack, the Dodge Grand Caravan, are off by 26 percent, continuing to while the Dodge and its cousin, the Chrysler Town & Country, were a great deal more recently redesigned than either the Sienna or Odyssey.

Honda updated the Odyssey's styling for '08 and has supplied the supplementary expensive Odyssey variants, similar to the Touring which I sampled, how is said to be an improved variable cylinder management system - which can shut off two or 3 of the engine's six cylinders to save fuel.

So, it seemed worthwhile to take an extra look at the Odyssey.

And our one-week look, including over a hundred dollars of miles of driving, reveals a minivan with one of the most attractive and user-friendly interiors on the family automobile market but, at 4,600 pounds in a suspension tuned for comfort, one the is just average in its handling.

Further, continuing to when the tester was empty except for the driver, the 241 hp. engine, while smooth, disappointed in its ability to uphold speed additonally climbing for a long while interstate improvements without a downshift from the five-speed automatic transmission. And, if the driver requested a downshift with a stab of the accelerator, so gearbox was ongoing to deliver.

Back on the upside, the Odyssey has a top five-star score from the federal authorities for frontal and half impact crash protection, additonally the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety names it a "top safety pick." (The Sienna and Grand Caravan get a slightly lesser rating of "good" from the institute.)

The U.S. EPA anticipations the Odyssey's fuel sector as prohibative as 25 mpg on the highway; I never saw an average on the trip computer above 21.4 in the local-highway mix I did over seven days.

Odyssey prices start at $26,530 with freight for an LX, plus automatic transmission, air conditioning, electricity windows and locks and stability control and brake assist. Most are priced in the $30,000s and they duration past $40,000 for a top-of-the-line Touring model through options like a navigation system.

This minivan seats up to eight and, when the split third row is not needed, it can be quickly folded into a vastly in the floor.

That last row, by the way, earned praise for its spaciousness based on two of my adult passengers seated in it on a trip for 15 or 20 minutes. But I'm not guaranteed if properties could undergo been as enthusiastic if we had been on the road for an hour or more.

Honda's large, clearly marked dashboard controls deserve special praise, constructued unlike individuals in some competitor vehicles to be leg work on the move by a past customer who is in addition driving.

2008 Honda Odyssey Touring

Vehicle tested:

Engine: 3.5-liter V-6, 241 hp.

Fuel: Regular

Transmission: Five-speed automatic, front-wheel drive

Safety: Dual front, seat-mounted side and curtain air bags; 4-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock, brake help and stability control; rearview camera for backing; tire pressure monitoring; fog lamps, daytime running lamps

Place of assembly: Lincoln, Alabama

Cargo room, min./max, cubic feet: 38.4/147.4

EPA fuel economy

estimates: 17 mpg, city; 25 highway

Price as driven: $40,645 not excluding freight

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hummer H2 - 2009 Reviews


At the L.A. Auto Show in 2004, General Motors first introduced the idea of a smaller HUMMER pickup. It was the H3T Concept. The production version of the concept, the 2009 H3T, is scheduled to be on GM's stand at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show in February.

While the '04 concept featured a standard cab with an integrated the bed (similar to original HUMMER H1 variants), the new H3T is a traditional pickup with a separate crew cab and five-foot bed. There is only one cab/box configuration. The H3T rides on a 134.2-inch wheelbase, some 22 inches longer than the standard H3 SUV. The HUMMER truck is also longer than the crew cab iterations of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size trucks on which the H3s are based. On paper and in person, this is not a small vehicle.

Interior Design

An extra star for not using chrome plastics. The seats are perfection. With all the legroom in the backseat, it's a nice vehicle for passengers as well. The instrument panel lighting is attractive and easy to read.

From the B-pillar forward, as you'd expect, the H3 SUV and T are identical. The rear seat of the H3T is standard pickup fare with a three-person bench that folds up to open up floor space for cargo. Behind the cab, the five-foot box incorporates GM's bed-rail accessory mounting system, as well as a removable tailgate.

Powertrains include the standard 3.7-liter in-line five-cylinder that produces 242 horsepower with either a five-speed manual or an old-school four-speed automatic. The Alpha-level 5.3-liter V-8 with 300 horsepower is optional, and given the new truck's weight (our estimate is 4600-4800 pounds), it's going to need all the power it can get. While we hope for a modern six-speed automatic to go with the V-8, it's looking like the heavy-duty four-speed automatic from the existing H3 Alpha is going to be as good as it gets. The Alpha editions will be rated to tow 5900 lb.

4.10 gears get these 2.5 tons of steel and plastic up and moving. It's not gonna blow anyone's doors off, but it does what it needs to in traffic.

Big discs at each corner slow this thing down in a hurry, and the dynamic rear proportioning should keep the rubber rolling in the back regardless of load. There's no handbrake present, and that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. The vehicle will automatically engage brakes if it rolls backwards for 2 seconds, but a handbrake would have felt more natural.

Bouncy and truckish, but this is a pre-production model, so lets hope it gets smoothed out by the time it reaches showroom floors.

Staying true to the HUMMER image, the H3T should prove to be a capable off-roader. Full-time four-wheel drive is standard, as are functional skid plates and 32-inch tires. Taller 33-inch tires and locking differentials are optional.

Pricing will be announced closer to the H3T's on-sale date, which is expected to be late summer/early fall. If GM follows the pricing conventions they've set with the H2 SUV vs. H2 SUT, expect to see prices around $28,000 for a base H3T to $39,000 for the Alpha models.

Handling: ***
Given the ride height and center of gravity, this thing actually handles pretty well. The massive sway bars in the front and back help cornering a lot and the new steering gearing (16:1, 3 1/8 lock-to-lock) made parking and general driving pretty easy.

Its 50:1 crawl ratio and 4.03 low range lock make downhill grades virtually brake free and let the 4-speed HydraMatic do all the work, keeping 2.5 tons under control. Highway shifting is silky smooth.

The speakers are fine and amplification is decent, but where's the iPod jack? XM is great and all, but c'mon, even Aveo's have an AUX input jack these days. It can't cost that much to implement this, so it just seems like an annoying oversight.

Toys: ***
The nav/entertainment system is nice, but throws a distracting glare into the back window. The pushbutton 4x4 controls are easy to read and conveniently located above the radio. Monochrome reverse vision seems a bit dated, but probably gives a better image in low light situations. The sunroof improves off-road visibility, especially when crawling down steep grades. OnStar and XM are nice doodads as well, at least for the free trial periods.

Value: N/A
Can't really call this one until pricing is announced, but there's bound to be a premium on the Hummer brand.

Probably the most complete vehicle in the Hummer range, the H3T improves on its relatives' best attributes — off-road ability and macho styling — but still suffers from the same problems - 'roid rage styling and enormous dimensions for relatively little storage space. A plain old pickup would be cheaper and more practical. Still, if you must have a Hummer, this is the one to get.

GM's recent investment of $74 million investment in the Shreveport, Louisiana plant makes producing the new H3T possible. Estimates for yearly production hover around 35,000. The plant also produces the H3 SUV, the Chevrolet Colorado, and the GM Canyon mid-size pickups.