Category Archives: Economy Cars

Top Gear is Back this Sunday, November 14th!


Just a heads up to all the Top Gear fans, the boys back in action this Sunday.  I just checked BBC America’s TV schedule and it doesn’t look like they’ll be airing Season 14 any time soon, you’ll have to find other means of watch it.  What will they be getting themselves into this season? Trailer here.

How to Kill a Clunker, the CARS Way


There’s lots of chatter in the blogosphere about the Car Allowance Rebate System, aka CARS, aka Cash for Clunkers. On the surface, it sounds like a good deal; trade in your old gas guzzler and get up to $4,500 towards a new vehicle. Here’s the rough breakdown:

  • Your vehicle must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date
  • Only purchase or lease of new vehicles qualify
  • Generally, trade-in vehicles must get 18 or less MPG (some very large pick-up trucks and cargo vans have different requirements)
  • Trade-in vehicles must be registered and insured continuously for the full year preceding the trade-in
  • You don’t need a voucher, dealers will apply a credit at purchase
  • Program runs through Nov 1, 2009 or when the funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.
  • The program requires the scrapping of your eligible trade-in vehicle, and that the dealer disclose to you an estimate of the scrap value of your trade-in. The scrap value, however minimal, will be in addition to the rebate, and not in place of the rebate.

There are a certain vehicles that are excluded from the program, but Edmund’s has put together a list of vehicles that are included. Check it out, your vehicle may apply, but be forewarned that you’re clunker will end up with a similar fate to this one…

Gas Prices Going Up? Improve Your MPG to keep Fuel Costs Down!


It’s good for a laugh, and I’m amazed they were able to use the AAA logo, but the fact is that summer time drives up gas prices. If you are looking to save some cash at the pump, stop planting your lead foot on the pedals. Alternatively, you can check out our gas saving products. If you’re a car owner, a power programmer like the DiabloSport Trinity. These tuners work by optimizing your air-fuel ratio for higher efficiency. This directly translates into more horsepower and torque, but with the right driving techniques, you can also increase your fuel economy by up to 20%!

If you own a pickup, a truck bed cover can help reduce drag and increase MPG’s, not to mention the added security and better styling that comes with a tonneau cover.

Wallpaper of the Week: Tesla Model S


Tesla Model S - Front View in White

Tesla Model S - Front View in White

Tesla’s Roadster had a lot of hype in 2008.  It was the hot, eco-friendly roadster that could do 0-60 in four seconds while reportedly getting 120 MPG.  While the car is still hot-off-the-presses, Tesla’s been burning the midnight oil, working on the Model S.  It’s a five seven seater sports-saloon that can do 0-60 in five seconds while still having a 300 mile range before needing a recharge. It looks like their work has paid off; I think it’s got the edge on the Porsche Panamera’s styling, while keeping up with it in all it’s performance specs.

So here’s some new wallpapers for your work week, enjoy!

Worlds Cheapest Car Up for Sale


Tata Nano - The Cheapest Car in the World

There’s no question that people are trying to save money where they can. Some are bringing their lunch to work, others are carpooling and even more are trying to work from home. But if you must go into work and you happen to live in India, you can still do it while driving a hot new car that just rolled off the assembly line.  Well…this car might be more closely related to a Power Wheels than anything we are used to seeing on the road, but if it gets you from point A to point B, who’s gonna argue with the $2,000 price tag.

The Tata Nano was officially announced in January at a Tata press conference. Tata has been building hype about this car for over a year, touting it as “the people’s car”. Tata’s goal is to bring personal transportation to the masses, and they might achieve that goal with the incredibly cheap price tag.  So what do you get for you’re two grand? How about no power windows, power steering, power seats, air conditioning, air bag, radio, passenger side mirror, only one wiper blade and plastic body panels all around. Of course there will be trade-offs when making such an inexpensive vehicle… hopefully they didn’t skimp on the seat belt material.  With a 33 horsepower 2-cylinder motor, it’s capable of doing 65MPH. The fuel economy’s got to be pretty good, do you think these would sell in the US? The Smart Twofor is here and selling reasonably well, is there room for another competitor in the market? We’d love to hear your thoughts, pics after the jump!

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95MPG Civic Gets Great Fuel Economy, Scares Children


Mike Turner's 95MPG Civic - 3/4 View

It’s got a face that only a mother could love, but boy does it get good range on a full tank of gas. The secret to this Civic’s green house success is in it’s aerodynamics. You may remember from a few years ago, Infinity advertised their G35 as having a .28 co-efficient of drag, the lowest of any sports car in it’s class. The current Toyota Prius has a coefficient of drag measuring .25, which undoubtedly helps it achieve 48 miles per gallon on the freeway. So other than it’s wedge nose and space-age wheel covers, what does this funky beast have in the way of drag? A measly .17 CD. Continue reading

Oregon Trying to Outlaw Aftermarket Auto Parts


High Performance Tire

In an attempt to look Green, Oregon Governor Theodore Kulongoski is pushing to prohibit the sale of aftermarket auto parts when there are other parts available that will “decrease greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles”. Apparently this bill is focused on limiting consumer choices of tires, which makes little to no sense. The primary target is the high performance lines which, due to their sticky nature, have a higher rolling resistance to the road than all-season and economy rubbers.The slight difference in roll-resistance can often create a loss of 1/4 MPG.

Maybe the Governor is trying to think big, but letting legislatures choose what kind of tires we drive on is probably not the best idea; could you imagine driving a Corvette on a set of cheap all-seasons that don’t offer the type of dry traction a Corvette needs to keep from spinning it’s tires?

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Wallpaper of the Week: 700 Horsepower Lightning GT EV


Lightning GT - Passenger Side

Lightning GT - Passenger Side

This weeks WOTW features a hot Electric Vehicle from the UK. It’s got 700 horsepower, making 0-60 achievable in four seconds flat.  And it’s not just fast; it can go 200 miles on a 10 minute charge… not too bad, eh?  Since it’s a all electric, it costs about 12 times less to power than gasoline, not to mention the tax incentives. The Lightning GT will be available for purchase in the UK sometime in 2009 for a price tag of £120,000, which is about $171,000 USD. The Lightning GT will be available to the rest of Europe and the US at a later date, but as of right now, there is no time frame for making a left-hand drive version.

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Top 10 Least Stolen Vehicles of 2008


Looking to buy a new car?  This list will not only help you avoid theft issues, but it’ll also point you in the direction of cheaper car insurance rates.  Make sure to avoid some of the hotter vehicles of 2008.  Hit the jump to see the list!

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Top 10 Most Stolen Cars of 2008


Ever wonder why insurance rates are so high on your car?  Relatively low dollar cars like used Honda Civics and Accords often fetch insurance premiums higher than cars which are 2-3 times more expensive.  The reason is that these cars are highly desireable to theives.  Hit the jump to see if your car made the list for the top 10 cars stolen in 2008.

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Ford’s Electric Drive F150: An Evolution of Ford’s Iconic Truck


 

The F150 is undisputably the most successful vehicle in the history of automobiles.  At its peak, Ford was selling an F150 every 34 seconds, which is nearly 930,000 trucks sold in one year.  Unfortunately for Ford, escalating gas prices have nearly killed truck sales this year, leaving them with tens of thousands of unsold vehicles.  Ford knows they have a goose that lays golden eggs, they just need to figure out how to capitalize on it given the current market conditions.

Enter PML Fightlink, a UK based electric-motor and drive technology firm.  Ford teamed up with PML to produce this one-off concept Ford F150 for the 2008 SEMA show.  They started with a base crew cab F150 and striped out the engine, fuel system, transmission, gearbox, drivetrain, differentials and fuel tank to make room for a 40 kilowatt battery. 

That 40kw battery powers four electric Hi-Pa drive motors that are installed at each wheel, and each motor produces 150 horsepower and 150 ft-lbs of torque at any RPM.  The stock 5.4-liter V8 motor produced a healthy 320 horsepower, but with the Hi-Pa drive system, this F150 is now has 600 horses and 600 ft-lbs of torque on tap.  A built-in generator recaptures kinetic energy that would have been lost during braking.  This system is reported to be even more efficient than similar systems installed on today’s hybrid vehicles.

There is no word yet on any compromises this vehicle may make, like estimated range before a recharge is needed or even how long a recharge takes, but one thing is for sure, this is a giant leap forward for EV technology in trucks. It may be several more years before we see Hi-Pa drive technology in road going vehicles, but I’m confident that this technology will be a paramount factor for trucks and SUV’s returning to the roads.

Source: SEMA.org

Toyota Yaris Used as a Bobsled


Here’s another funny commercial that Toyota’s marketing team came up with in their list of thing’s the Toyota Yaris can’t do.

Toyota Yaris Tries to Fly off an Aircraft Carrier, Swims with the Fishes


Toyota’s latest line of commericals aims to show that their Yaris can do just about anything, but instead of showing you what it can do, they show you what it can’t do.  In this commercial, the Yaris tries to take off from an aircraft carrier.

AutoAnything did some Homework: Toyota Prius vs. VW Jetta TDI


Popular Mechanics had a post on their site comparing Toyota’s Prius to the new diesel-powered Volkswagen Jetta and they got some interesting results. 

The Prius dominated in city driving with 44.7 miles per gallon compared to the Jetta’s 32 MPG.  This is likely due to the Prius’s hybrid powertrain system: when you stop at a light or stop sign in the Prius, the engine shuts off, so you don’t burn ANY fuel.  Interesting to note is that their Prius got 3 MPG less than it’s EPA rating while the Jetta for 4 MPG more than it’s EPA rating.

Although the Prius wins in city driving, the Jetta wins for highway cruising.  At a constant 65 mph, their Prius got 44.8 MPG while their Jetta TDI got 45.4 MPG.  Although not a huge difference, its cool to see that diesels are still a great option for excellent fuel economy.  The Popular Mechanic’s article said that the TDI gets a $1,300 tax credit for using “Lean Burn Technology” and the Prius’s tax credit is no longer available, making the Jetta $1,320 cheaper than the Prius.

Moral of the story: If you do a lot of city driving, get a Prius.  If you’re mostly on the highway, want to save some bucks and like the smell of a new Volkswagen, check out the 2009 Jetta TDI.

 

Read the Full Review Here: Prius vs Jetta TDI

GM Goofs Up, Leaks Photos of the 2011 Chevy Volt!


The Volt has been a hot topic in the car industry. It’s a gas-electric-hybrid, 4-door economy car that is expected to get over 50 MPG and cost is near the $30,000 mark.  A full charge of the battery system should take about 10 hours from a standard US 120 volt wall outlet, but take all this with a grain of salt because no official numbers or specifications have been released.

What is official are the photos in the gallery below…although the photos were accidently released due to “human error”.  Enjoy!

Source: TheCarConnection.com

What Car will Give You the Best MPG’s?


Check out this video.  It will give you comparisions of the real world fuel consumption of todays most fuel efficient vehicles: the Toyota Prius, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI, the Ford Focus, and the Smart FourTwo.

Want to improve the fuel economy of your current vehicle, take a look at a few gas saving products like performance chips, the Fitch Fuel Catalyst, performance car air filters,