Cars are Only Getting Bigger and Better

After the 2018 North American International Auto Show, it’s become apparent that cars are growing in size in order to stay afloat in a competitive market. But why is it that “bigger is better?”U.S Truck, SUV and Crossover Sales Rise

The U.S. is trying to figure that out after seeing less interest in smaller cars this past February. Major automakers like GM saw these particular sales fall by 7 percent, while Ford saw a decline of 6.8 percent. This decrease in small vehicle sales seems to be the result of a shift in consumer preferences.

It’s all about what the consumer wants, and currently, that is a bigger vehicle.

With consumer preferences in favor of a bigger vehicle, crossovers, SUVs, and pickups are having no trouble expanding their sales. Also, lower gasoline prices are beginning to give consumers the confidence to spend the extra money on bigger vehicles once again. But what does this mean for compact cars, mid-size sedans and full-size cars?

“Compact” cars are pushing the limits on what it means to be compact.

In order to compete with the roomier interiors and cargo space of bigger cars, automakers are starting to rethink the design of some of their vehicles. How can they keep their models compact, but also meet consumer needs?

In the past, making cars bigger meant compromising the usability of the vehicles themselves. Engineers are now using a different approach. By using lightweight materials and improved engines, engineers are able to create more space without increasing the actual size of the car. This not only provides the roomy interior that drivers want, but also boosts gas mileage and cargo space.

Legendary Toyota Supra Returns in 2018

The new Toyota Supra made its grand return at the Geneva motor show on March 6th after being discontinued 16 years ago. Many people recognize this celebrated sports car from its first and most famous appearance in the original Fast and Furious movie back in 2009.

The Toyota model that appeared in Geneva is a modern racing concept and holds promise of bringing back the iconic sports car.

Though some motor show concepts don’t make it to fruition, Toyota confirms that there will be a car heading to dealerships in the future that will deliver the high performance of a sports car fit for the track or the road.

The concept car that debuted at the show was a compact two-door sports car, comprised of strong, lightweight materials, a front engine and a rear-wheel-drive make-up. Toyota didn’t reveal many specifications about this revived concept, but we do know that the dimensions of the car will be around 15 feet long, 6.72 feet wide, and 4.04 feet high. The Supra will also be powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged engine paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission producing 335 horsepower and a 0-60-mph time of 3.8 seconds.

The Supra concept was developed in partnership with the new BMW Z4.

The technology in both cars is expected to be similar with the exception of the engine. The Z4 will be available in hardtop and soft-top, whereas the Toyota Supra is expected to be available as a hardtop only.

The Supra legend is expected to launch as a 2019 model, so we can look forward to its production debut later this year!

Vehicle Features Parents Should Look For

When you’re young, you tend to tell yourself that you’ll never be that person who has kids and drives a minivan or conventional family vehicle. It’s not until you actually become a parent that you realize there are just some things you can no longer compromise on. So when the time comes to trade in your sporty two-door for a more kid-friendly vehicle, here are just a few things you should consider.

Vehicle safety features should be first priority for parents

Car manufacturers know how important safety features are to parents who Car Buying Tips for Parentsare in search of a new vehicle. That’s why it seems they are all competing with one another to come out with better options each year. Do your research and read up on all of the latest crash test ratings for each vehicle you’re considering. Additionally, vehicles with features like child lock options, a backup camera and a rear A/C vent to avoid overheating should inevitably make it to the short list.

Ease of loading

Any parent will tell you that it’s no easy feat to load a heavy car seat, diaper bag and all the essentials in a vehicle at once. Give yourself at least a small advantage by choosing a vehicle that’s large enough to not cause you back pain when hunching over trying to snap in the car seat, yet small enough that you don’t feel like you’re stretching beyond your limit to get your child securely situated. Parents may also want to consider upgrading their vehicle purchase to include keyless entry. It can be a serious lifesaver when juggling all of those things and you know your keys are at the very bottom of your purse.

Storage is key

So many people make the mistake of thinking their vehicle offers plenty of storage until they have a child. Between the car seat, diaper bag, stroller, toys and more, there’s hardly any room left for anything else. What are you supposed to do with your grocery bags after a weekly visit to the store? Opting for a larger vehicle, such as a van or SUV, may give you the extra space you need to ensure you always have room for everything you and your child need. It’s also worth exploring your options for a vehicle that features a foot-activated liftgate. This will ensure that you never have to put your things down to get them loaded into the trunk, almost giving the illusion that you have a second set of hands. What parent couldn’t benefit from that?

What to Know Before Trading in Your Car

When the time finally comes to upgrade to a new vehicle, you may be so overwhelmed by the bells and whistles in front of you that you completely forget about your current car. IUpgrading to a New Vehiclef you’re like many other car owners, you may also be tempted to try and sell it on your own, but there’s no telling how long that could take. In the end, the time and effort you put in may not be worth it. Trading your car in at the dealership may very well be your best option not only for convenience sake, but to save you a bit of money on the cost of your new vehicle, as well.

Just be sure to keep few things in mind when trading in your car

Trade-in appearance is important

Some believe that a little mud on the exterior and some trash on the interior floor doesn’t matter. After all, the dealer will focus more on the model year and amount of miles put on it, right? Sure, but appearance definitely matters. Going the extra mile to make sure your vehicle is in the best visible condition before having it evaluated can never hurt. If anything, it shows that you’ve taken care of it.

It also doesn’t hurt to fix the dings that may have come from normal wear and tear over the years. The little money you spend to make those minor improvements can make a big difference on how the dealer values your car when all is said and done.

Do some trade-in research

There are many opportunities to appraise your vehicle online before physically taking it in. However, it’s important to keep in mind that most vehicles fall between the categories of rough and average trade-ins. According to Kelley Blue Book, only three percent of clean vehicles fall under an excellent condition price and 54 percent are determined to be in good condition.

Is your trade value being inflated?

It’s important to be aware that a dealership may inflate the value of your trade-in to meet your expectations, then increase the price of the vehicle you’re interested in purchasing. To determine the amount that the dealer is honestly willing to give you, ask them if the number they put on your trade-in would be the same number they would give you if you weren’t buying another vehicle from them. If it’s not, then you need to evaluate whether or not you want to move forward with that dealership.

Would you buy your car?

It’s time to be realistic. If you wouldn’t buy your car, what makes you think that a dealership would? At the end of the day, they’re looking to make a profit just as much as you are. It’s important to come prepared with what you feel the car is worth, but also determine if there is a little wiggle room and a minimum price you’d be willing to except. Be open to negotiation, but remember you have every right to walk away.

Things to Know When You Buy Your First Car

Buying your first vehicle is one of the most exciting experiences, giving you a sense of freedom and maturity that simply cannot be explained. However, owning a vehicle is also a huge responsibility, and given the significant amount of money that was used to make such a purchase, you should take Increasing the Lifespan of Your Carmaintenance very seriously.

Here are a few things you should keep in mind if you want your first vehicle to last for many, many years.

Read the owner’s manual as soon as you buy your first car

Too many drivers purchase a vehicle without even giving their owner’s manual a second look. They simply toss it into the glove compartment for safe keeping and break it out on the rare occasions they need to decode a light on the dashboard. Do yourself a favor, however, and make sure you at least give your manual a brief look-through. Every owner’s manual provides priceless information regarding things like recommended gas and oil to use and when routine maintenance is recommended for that particular make and model.

Avoid driving on E

We’re all guilty of it; we are in too much of a rush to get wherever we’re going that we tell ourselves that we will stop to fill up on gas later – even though we have a quarter tank left. Before you know it, your gas light turns on and you’re coasting on fumes all the way to the nearest gas station. Not only is this really risky, but it can wreak havoc on your engine, as gas acts as a coolant for electric fuel-pump motors, according to Consumer Reports. If there isn’t enough gas, your pump’s motor can overheat, costing you a lot more than a simple tank of gas.

Make sure your car’s tires are inflated correctly

Overinflating your tires can reduce traction prematurely, whereas underinflating can cause serious damage to the wheels themselves. This is again where reading your owner’s manual comes in handy, as it will highlight the ideal psi for your tires. Once you’ve determined this, be sure to check your tire pressure frequently – even the spare tire, which will avoid you being unprepared in an emergency situation.

Audi to Launch Vehicle-Integrated Toll Collection

If you’re one of the many Americans that rely on the convenience of E-ZPass as you travel on tolled roads each day, you may be interested to hear about the new technology Audi is slated to launch later this year. Instead of having to set up and attach a small device to your windshield for the tolls to recognize, Audi’s new vehicle-integrated toll payment technology will be built in and ready to go.

Audi to Offer Alternative to E-ZPass

The Integrated Toll Module (ITM) is a toll payment technology that will be incorporated into select Audi models beginning later this year.

This system will not only provide a level of convenience for Audi drivers, but with its strategic installation in the rearview mirror, the transponder will eliminate the need for stick-on tags or additional collection devices. This aims to declutter your windshield and eliminate the need to manage multiple accounts.

The module will be compatible with almost every toll system in the U.S., as well as parts of Canada and Mexico.

The ITM is developed to be very user-friendly and will allow drivers to adjust the settings through an easily accessible infotainment system. Drivers will have the ability to control all settings, including changing occupancy for regions with carpool requirements, as well as the ability to turn the module on and off.

Audi is the first automaker to launch this innovative technology, but as previously mentioned, the ITM will only be integrated in select vehicles, which have not been announced yet.  However, the auto manufacturer did feature an A8 interior during the initial press announcement, so we have a hunch that it will be one of the few models to feature the new technology.

How Long Do Tires Tend to Last?

Replacing the tires on your vehicle can be very costly, which is why so many drivers seek out the answer to this question. Obviously, you want to be able to get the most life out of your tires as possible, but attempting to drive on a worn-down set of tires for as long as possible can be a very dangerous game to play. So what’s the magic number? Unfortunately, there is no set-in-stone answer.

The truth is, how long a set of tires will last depends on a number of different factors, such as the amount of miles you put on your car. The lifespan of your vehicle's tires

While many people may believe that a set of brand new tires should last roughly six years, that won’t always be true when you compare someone whose travel time to work every morning is a total of 10 minutes, to someone who spends about 45 minutes in the car each way. As the latter puts a greater amount of miles on their vehicle in a shorter amount of time, the tread will wear down on their tires and require replacement quicker.

How long your tires will last also depends on the way you drive.

If you’re someone who has a need for speed and enjoys doing “burn outs,” then your tread is going to wear out extremely fast. Not to mention the fact that those stunts can lead to inconsistent tread wear, as well.

If you hope to get at least 50,000 miles out of a brand new set of tires, the solution is simple. Not only should you refrain from driving recklessly, but you should invest in quality tires. Opting for the cheapest brand may seem like a no-brainer at the time, but considering how often you have to replace them, are you really saving anything in the long run? There are also a number of options to choose from, including performance tires, all-seasons and winter tires. If you live in a region that experiences heavy snow during the winter months, you’re going to need tires that can hold up. Plus, switching from winter tires in the winter and performance tires in the summer can help to extend the lifespan of both sets.

If you’re not sure which tires are best for your particular vehicle or how to interpret tread wear ratings and other specs, be sure to enlist the help of an expert at your local auto store.

How to Negotiate When Buying a Car

Buying a new vehicle can be a very stressful process for a lot of people. Those who aren’t necessarily comfortable negotiating with a salesman can end up leaving a lot of money on the table because they don’t know how to approach it. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can follow to increase your chances of getting a great deal on a car, truck or SUV.

Here are a few tips for how to negotiate when buying your next vehicle.

Research the vehicle, come up with a price you’re willing to pay and communicate effectively.

Get the Best Deal on a Car by NegotiatingBefore you walk into a dealership and start haggling over price, you should have a number in mind as far as what you’re willing to pay for a specific car. That number shouldn’t be something you simply pull out of thin air, either; it should be a number based on research you’ve done prior to visiting the dealership. By figuring out what similar cars are selling for in your area and which add-ons are necessary versus unnecessary to your needs, you can get the upper hand during negotiations and show that you are not going to pay more than you think you should for a vehicle.

Secure financing for your vehicle before you sit down with a car dealer.

If you walk into a dealership and tell a dealer you already have financing for a vehicle secured, they will be more likely to give you a great deal on a car. They know you’re prepared to pay for it, and maybe more importantly, they know you’re willing to walk away if you don’t get the deal you want. This is perhaps the most underrated thing you can do during a vehicle negotiation.

Walk away if you don’t feel comfortable with the negotiating terms at any time.

No matter how prepared you are or how hard you try, there will be some dealers who just refuse to give in to your demands, even if they seem perfectly reasonable. If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable at any point during a negotiation or you just can’t come to an agreement, it’s okay for you to walk away and look for a better deal elsewhere. Remember that it’s your money being spent, so there’s absolutely no reason for you to feel forced to agree to unfavorable terms set forth by a dealer.

Leasing vs. Buying a Car

This is one of the biggest struggles drivers have when shopping for a vehicle. Of course, there are advantages to both options, but ultimately it comes down to you: your preferences; your needs; your budget. Rather than walking into a dealership and allowing a salesperson to make the decision for you, consider a few things beforehand so you know exactly what you want to do once you find the car you want.

Things you should consider before leasing or buying a carHow much do you drive each year?

This is a big one, as it can ultimately make or break whether leasing is even an option for you. Vehicle leases are always offered with a mileage limit, which typically falls between 10,000-15,000 miles per year. If you are someone who travels a lot for school, work, etc. and you don’t think that you can stick to the mileage limit in your contract, you should absolutely look to buy rather than lease. If you lease and go over your mileage limit, you will be required to pay for each extra mile you put on that vehicle, which can really add up in the long run.

On the other hand, if you are someone who doesn’t drive very often and can confidently stick to whatever limit is applied at signing, it makes absolute sense to stick to leasing.

How much do the technology features mean to you?

Until recently, this may not have even been something that drivers considered when deciding between leasing or buying. However, as technology becomes more and more commonplace in the auto industry, it seems we can’t go one year without a new tech feature being introduced. If you think that you can be satisfied with 2018 technology once 2022 rolls around, then why not buy a car now and not have to worry about mileage limits?

Conversely, if you know that you will feel as though you’re missing out on the latest and greatest, then leasing is the obvious choice. Simply monitor your mileage and upgrade to the latest model every few years.

How much are you willing to pay each month?

One of the biggest draws to leasing a vehicle is the smaller monthly payment. Who wouldn’t want to drive a brand new vehicle without the hefty payments associated with buying it outright? If you want the look without the price tag, leasing is the best option for you. However, make sure that you are fully aware of the hidden costs, and are willing to pay extra once your lease is up if you’ve gone over your mileage limit or if the vehicle has visible signs of wear and tear. If you aren’t prepared to stick to the guidelines of your contract, it may be best to pay a little more each month now, rather than a lot more at once when you turn in your lease.

Tips for Increasing the Lifespan of your Vehicle

Everyone knows the basics, right? Keep up with your oil changes, rotate your tires and be mindful of any indicator lights on the dashboard that may require attention. However, it’s important to remember that not all potential issues have their own indicator light, and you may be unknowingly doing things to reduce the lifespan of your vehicle.

In addition to regular maintenance, here are just a few things you should be doing to ensure your vehicle remains in good condition for many, many years.

Regular Interior and Exterior Cleanings

Extend the life of your car with these few tipsNot only does keeping your car clean inside and out make it look better, but it can help to keep it running better overall. The underside of your vehicle is virtually unprotected, taking hit after hit as you drive through dirt, rain and snow. In those areas in particular that experience heavy snowfall, the road salt used to provide more traction can be the most damaging of all, leaving holes where left untended. Regular visits to the car wash can help to reach even the most hard-to-reach places on your vehicle, ensuring that the body continues to hold up.

As for the interior, make sure you clear out your trunk after each season. The more weight you’re carrying around in your car, the more fuel you’re using. While those fold-up beach chairs were useful during the summer, it’ll be a while before you need them again.

Calm Your Road Rage

We’re all guilty of it. But the quick acceleration to stop someone from merging in front of you just before the exit, followed by the squealing of your tires as you’re forced to let them in anyway isn’t helping anything – least of all your vehicle. Aggressive driving can ultimately lead to your car wearing down sooner than it really should. Take a deep breath and remember that you’re doing it for the longevity of your car.

Give it a Minute

No one expects you to wake up and immediately be at your peak performance, right? Well your car works the same way. Rather than hoping in and shifting into “drive” as soon as your engine purrs to life, give it 60 seconds. Letting it sit for one minute before driving allows the oil to reach a temperature where it can properly lubricate the engine and extend its lifespan.

Finally, make sure that you don’t ignore the warning signs. If a light comes on in the dashboard, make sure it gets your full attention. Even if a light doesn’t come on, if you drive your car every day, you know when something seems off. Remember that it’s always better to check it out than write it off as nothing and pay for it in the long run when your vehicle gives out much sooner than expected.

Tips for Choosing the Right Oil for Your Vehicle

Unfortunately, there are many drivers who don’t have any idea what kind of oil is used in their vehicles. They simply rely on their local mechanic shop to not only determine what they need, but to take care of the maintenance of changing the oil, as well. If you have gone so far as to invest in a vehicle, however, we believe that you should take the time to educate yourself about the purpose of oil and the best option for your vehicle rather than relying on someone else to make the decision for you. Check out a few tips for choosing the right oil for your vehicle below.Learn about the Maintanence of Your Car

See what your owner’s manual recommends

It’s actually not all that difficult to find out which kind of oil you should be using in your vehicle. Your owner’s manual will tell you what your car’s manufacturer would recommend. Navigating your way through all of the complex information in an owner’s manual can be tricky, but once you locate what you need, make a note somewhere where you won’t forget it, or make a point to bookmark the page for future reference.

Consider your climate

If you live in a part of the country where it gets pretty cold during the winter months, you might want to consider using an oil that is specifically designed for cold weather. Likewise, there are certain oils that perform better in cars that are used in a warm climate. Oils are identified with a number and a W, and the lower the number is before the W, the better you can expect for that oil to work in colder weather.

Keep the age of your vehicle in mind

According to Popular Mechanics, about two-thirds of all the vehicles on the road today have more than 75,000 miles on them. The engines in these vehicles have a lot of wear on them and could benefit from utilizing oil that is specifically intended for older vehicles. Many of these oils can prevent leaks that spring up when crankshaft seals break. They are designed to deliver better performance from your vehicle than you would get with standard oils.

No matter what kind of oil you ultimately choose for your vehicle, you should do your research and make an informed decision. Your vehicle is a big investment, and it’s important to use the right oil to ensure your vehicle has a long lifespan.

Should You Really be Warming Up Your Car This Winter?

If you live in a particular part of the country that experiences harsh winter conditions, you might be in the habit of starting your car up every morning and letting it run for a few minutes to “warm up.” Many people have been taught that this is necessary to ensure proper engine health on cold days, but the truth is, you could actually be doing more harm than good.Warming Up Your Car When it's Cold Out

According to Popular Mechanics, the reason why many drivers practice the warm-up method is because our parents and grandparents grew up in the age of carbureted engines and passed this wisdom down to us. Back then, cars did need to be warmed up properly in order to protect the engine during the winter months, but things have changed since the introduction of modern internal combustion engines.  Now, letting your car run idly causes extra fuel to enter the combustion chamber and coat the cylinder walls, dissolving the oil that is meant to lubricate the pistons. Not to mention the amount of fuel you are using up in the process. In short, this can end up drastically reducing the lifespan of your vehicle’s engine.

So what’s the best way to warm up your car in the winter? Get in and drive it. We know that no one really wants to get in a cold car, especially in the early morning hours before work. However, this is the quickest way to get your engine up to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (where it returns to a normal fuel to air ratio) and the best option to prolong its life.

Another reason to avoid letting your vehicle sit idly while it warms up is that it can actually be illegal, depending on where you live. The negative effects vehicle emissions have on the environment, as well as the increase in reported thefts for unattended and idly running vehicles have led many states to put fines and other repercussion in place.  In Utah for example, fines vary by area, but can be anywhere from $15 to $125. In places like Washington, D.C., you could be fined as much as $5,000 for leaving your car running idly.

Rather than starting your car every morning and letting it run for a few minutes before driving, try to break the habit. Let it run for 30 seconds or so and then get on the road. If you take it easy on the speedometer, it shouldn’t be long before things start to warm up.

Those Cool Tech Features May Be Driving Your Car Insurance Up

Most of the new vehicles that are on the market today come equipped with a wide range of technologicalThose Cool Tech Features May Be Driving Your Car Insurance Up features that are designed to make them safer than ever. This includes everything from backup cameras that allow you to see what’s behind you when you put your vehicle in reverse, to blind-spot monitoring that keeps a close eye on the areas you can’t see when driving. There’s no doubt that these features are helping reduce the number of accidents we find ourselves in, and in some cases, they’re even saving lives.

At the same time, however, did you know that these features can also drive your auto insurance rates up and force you to pay more out of pocket?

The problem with car technology is that it isn’t cheap. Those cameras that are installed all over your vehicle? They cost a lot of money, and aside from paying for the feature in the first place, keep in mind that you will also have to pay extra to have them insured by your auto insurance company. According to a recent USA Today report, which cited data from Liberty Mutual Insurance, it costs about $3,550 in parts and labor to fix the bumper on a 2016 entry-level luxury car today, compared to the roughly $1,845 cost to fix the bumper on a similar 2014 car. That’s because sensors are installed on many newer bumpers, which need to be repaired when the bumper is damaged.

Because of this, you should take the time to weigh your options before you commit to buying a car, truck, or SUV that comes with a lot of fancy bells and whistles.

While many of the latest forms of technology can provide extra protection and help you avoid accidents, you may also have to pay a premium to get them—and it seems like this could only increase. Car insurances rates have gone up in recent years, and they’re expected to continue to climb moving forward as even more technological advancements are incorporated into vehicles. It could make you think twice about the features you want in your car, and it could also make you think twice about how you care for your vehicle.

Of course, technology isn’t the only thing that is making car insurance more costly, but it’s safe to say that it’s playing a large role in it and causing many drivers to reconsider what they purchase.

Could We Soon Be Buying Cars Online?

In 2018, you can buy just about anything you want online. From new clothing and the latest electronics to fresh groceries and different household products, it’s easier than ever to shop for the items you need and have them delivered directly to your home in a timely fashion.

But could the online shopping experience really expand to vehicles soon?

At the moment, there are already millions of Americans who are using the internet in some form or fashion when shopping for new cars, trucks, and SUVs. Some use it simply to browse around so they don’t have to give up an entire Saturday afternoon to walk around a car lot, while others use it to crunch numbers while comparing the prices of different makes and models. But regardless of how they are using it, it’s clear people are already accustomed to utilizing the internet during the car-buying experience.

According to a recent column on online car buying, Sophus3—a company that specializes in providing automotive companies with digital intelligence data—is reporting that the average person today only visits two auto dealerships before making a vehicle purchase. That is down dramatically from just a decade ago when most people made roughly six trips to a dealership before deciding on the vehicle they wanted.

Sophus3 also states that about 90 percent of people use the internet (mostly on mobile) to research vehicles before buying, which is also up dramatically from 10 years ago.

There are many pros and cons to taking this approach to vehicle shopping. On the one hand, using the internet to shop for vehicles provides you with all of the information you could ever want with regards to cars, trucks, and SUVs. You can check out the various prices for them, skim through the tech features that are available, and even watch videos that highlight the safety features of vehicles. It’s so easy to shop, and you can do it on your own schedule right from the convenience of your own couch.

On the other hand, shopping for cars online doesn’t allow people to get the hands-on experience that goes along with physically visiting a dealership. Many people like to feel the way a car drives and check out the interior before they commit to buying it. Sure, you can find out how roomy the interior is by looking at the measurements online, but until you actually climb behind the wheel of a car, you have no idea how you will feel when you’re driving it. That alone is the reason that many dealerships maintain a physical presence rather than trying to sell cars solely online. Additionally, being able to speak with a dealer and have him confirm your research findings is much more comforting when it comes to such a large investment.

But the truth is that we are inching closer to a world in which people don’t actually see and touch vehicles before they buy them. There are many car manufacturers and dealers that are currently creating technology that will allow them to sell more vehicles online. You will be able to haggle over prices on cars, negotiate a trade-in for your existing vehicle, set up financing, and even have your new car delivered right to your home if you prefer.

The good news for those who still enjoy buying their vehicles in person is that it doesn’t sound like car companies and dealers are going to devote all of their resources to selling vehicles online just yet.

A recent Cap Gemini survey suggested that more than 60 percent of people would miss the test drive experience if it suddenly went away. That means that you will still likely be able to buy cars at dealerships for the foreseeable future.

However, we can’t deny that it certainly seems like more and more people are turning to the internet to buy their vehicles. As the younger generation (those who have become accustomed to buying everything online) get older, it’s only a matter of time before a shift takes place and everyone get used to the idea of buying cars online.

Top Vehicles Consumers Will Stay Loyal to in 2018

There are many people who stay loyal to the vehicles that they drive. Once their older car, truck, or SUBest Vehicles to Buy in 2018V comes up on its lease or finally gives out, they go to the dealership and purchase a newer version of the same model. This is why you tend to find the same dozen or so vehicles on “most popular” vehicle lists every year. It’s also why there are a handful of vehicles that consumers are expected to stay loyal to in 2018.

Check out a few of the most popular most popular vehicles from 2017 that are slated to be just as popular buys throughout 2018:

Honda Accord

Honda has made some big changes to their 2018 Accord. For starters, they have scrapped the V6 engine, opting to offer consumers a choice of two different four-cylinder engines instead. They have also upgraded the exterior of the Accord to make it look sleeker without sacrificing interior space. In fact, the 2018 model offers more room than any of its predecessors, and as a result of all this, the Accord was just named Car of the Year at the Detroit Auto Show. A total of 322,655 were sold throughout 2017, and given this new distinction and the fact that the Accord was also named the Overall Best Buy for 2018 by Kelley Blue Book, We expect interest in this sleek sedan won’t diminish in 2018.

Toyota Camry

You don’t often find the Camry on any Top-5 lists for vehicles sold in the U.S. anymore, but the loyalty is there. 387,081 Camrys were sold in 2017, and this year, Toyota has made a number of improvements to help blow those numbers out of the water. With more horsepower, better gas mileage, and a bunch of safety features that put it on par with many of the crossovers out there, it’s likely that midsize sedan won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

Nissan Rogue

Rogue sales have jumped by more than 30 percent since 2015, which could partially be due to the release of Disney’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The name that ties the crossover and the movie together led to boundless marketing opportunities, and Nissan even coming out with a Limited Addition Star Wars version of the Rogue. It’s certainly not the only reason though, as Nissan outfitted the 2017 Rogue with new LED running lights and a number of innovative safety features, earning 403,465 sales over the last year.

Ford F-Series

The Ford F-150 has been one of the best-selling pickups for more than 40 years now, and in 2017, Ford sold 896,764 of them – a 9 percent jump for the F-150. It doesn’t take much to realize that steady sales for the F-Series are going to continue well into 2018. The trucks now feature aluminum bodies, V6 engines with improved fuel efficiency, and interior technology that makes them more advanced than ever. It’s no wonder the 2018 F-150 was just named the Pickup Truck Best Buy of 2018.

Chevrolet Equinox

Sales for the Equinox, which is GM’s flagship crossover SUV, were up about 20 percent in 2017, and there is no reason why that number shouldn’t rise in 2018. The latest Equinox is roughly 400 pounds lighter than the original and now features a 4-cylinder engine, helping to dramatically reduce the amount of time spent gassing up at the pumps. Though the 2018 Equinox is now on the smaller side, it still has plenty of cargo space and is competitively priced compared to other crossovers.

If you are in the market for a new car, truck, or SUV this year, there are plenty of great options for you to consider. These are just a few of the vehicles that consumers are expected to remain loyal to, and as automakers continue to push the boundaries and come up with new features, these models are sure to keep on getting better and better in the coming years.

Important Things to Consider Before Purchasing a New Car

Buying a new car is a huge investment, and not one that should be made on a whim. We know what it’s Tips for Buying a New Vehiclelike when you see a nicer model on the road next to you and feel a pang of jealousy. It can be tempting to just get off at the next exit and head to the nearest dealership, but if you can resist for just a little while longer, we may be able to offer some advice to help you make a better, more informed decision when the time actually does come to upgrade your vehicle.

Set a realistic budget

First and foremost let your wallet lead you, not your eyes. Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin – it’s undeniable that these manufacturers know how to make good looking, high-performance vehicles. However, driving within your means and not being tied to a hefty monthly payment will undoubtedly give you more monetary flexibility in other areas of your life. Remember that you will not only have to consider the monthly payment for the car, but the cost of fueling, insuring and registering it, as well.

Figure out your trade-in value

Regardless of whether you attempt to sell your old vehicle on your own or trade it into a dealership and let them handle the hassles for you, it’s important to establish how much you will get back for your old car prior to shopping for its replacement. This way you already know how much you will receive for it, and how much you will have to put down towards the new payment. Be honest about the car’s overall condition and do your research to determine how much that make and model year is truly worth.

Wants vs. Needs

Establishing the difference before heading into the dealership is key. With all of the technological advancements available in the auto industry today, it can be difficult to see past the bells and whistles and focus on what’s truly important. For example, while a vehicle with heated rear seats may seem great, if you don’t have children and typically travel alone, you probably don’t need that extra feature. Conversely, if you plan to start a family in the near future you may want this feature, as well as something with high safety ratings.

Remember that there will always be something new and exciting, but choosing a vehicle that meets your needs first and foremost will help increase long-term satisfaction.

And the Award for Car of the Year 2018 Goes to…

Honda has enjoyed a lot of success at the Detroit Auto Show over the course of the last few years. In Honda Accord named 2018 Car of the Year2016, the Honda Civic took home the coveted Car of the Year award, and in 2017, the Honda Ridgeline was recognized as the official Truck of the Year. As of Monday, January 15, Honda can add yet another Car of the Year award to its trophy case.

The Honda Accord was named the 2018 Car of the Year at the Detroit Auto Show, beating out the Toyota Camry and the Kia Stinger in the process.

One of the most noteworthy reasons the Honda Accord was able to snag the 2018 Car of the Year award is because this year’s model looks and feels different than those that came before it. The 2018 Accord not only gives people the opportunity to pick between two different four-cylinder turbocharged engines, but to choose between hybrid and high-performance versions, as well. Additionally, despite the sleeker appearance of the new Accord, Honda has found a way to give you more interior space.

We should also mention that there were several other big awards handed out at the Detroit Auto Show, as well. The Lincoln Navigator, which has been re-engineered for 2018, was named the Truck of the Year at the auto show. Meanwhile, the Volvo XC60 was awarded the Utility of the Year, due in large part to Volvo’s commitment to creating all of its new vehicles with four-cylinder engines.

The Detroit Auto Show, which was  held at the Cobo Center in Detroit, took place for public viewing from January 20 through January 28. The Accord and many other new automobiles were proudly be on display for all to see.

Google Assistant is Coming to Your Vehicle

If you currently use Android Auto inside your car or truck, you may be confused by this headline. Currently, those who operate the Android Auto app can make voice commands through their phone or vehicle display by using the phrase, “OK Google.” However, you may have never realized that having access to Google Voice doesn’t necessarily mean that you have complete access to the full Google Assistant system. Until now, that is.

In truth, even with the full integration of Google Assistant, most drivers will likely still use Android Auto for the same simple functions they’ve been using the basic voice command for. This includes asking for directions, playing music and responding to messages. However, Google Assistant will make it possible for users to set another music streaming service (such as Spotify) as their go-to playback preference and allow for users to control connected devices from the road. Say for instance that you’re halfway to work and you realize that you might have left your front door unlocked. If you are connected to the Schlage Smart Lock system, Google Assistant can check and secure your home, saving you from having to pull a U-turn and miss your morning meeting.

Additionally, there are a couple of Google Assistant Actions that the company is eager to introduce as it fully integrates into Android Auto.

If you’re like many, you may have already heard that it may be possible for you to place your Starbucks order directly through your vehicle’s display screen, sparing you the long wait at the counter. However, have you heard about SpotHero? The app allows you to search for parking near your intended destination, compare prices, and pre-pay for your reserved parking spot before you get there all through Android Auto. All you have to do is tell Google Assistant what to do as you drive and focus on the road ahead.

Once Google Assistant is integrated into Android Auto, it won’t be long before you’ll be enjoying the power of artificial intelligence from behind the wheel. The app will be available for over 400 vehicle models and 40 manufacturers. Not sure if your vehicle is on the list? Check out Android.com for more details.

Could Car Subscriptions Be the Next Big Trend for 2018?

For years now, people have had two basic options when looking to obtain a new car. They could either purchase the vehicle outright or lease it for a few years. According to Slate, however, there is now a third option that may prove to be more enticing for those who prefer luxury vehicles.

There are a handful of car manufacturers, including Cadillac, Porsche, Ford, and Volvo, that are now allowing customers to obtain car subscriptions.

Rather than committing to buying a car or leasing one for a certain amount of time, people can pay a monthly fee to “subscribe” to certain vehicles. It isn’t particularly cheap—Cadillac, for example, is charging $1,800 per month for its subscription service—but it will allow people to switch cars up to 18 times per year without having to commit long-term. In most cases, subscription services will also come equipped with vehicle delivery, insurance, registration, roadside assistance, routine maintenance, and more, which means subscribers really won’t have to do anything other than make regular payments and enjoy the freedom.

Most of the car companies that are currently offering car subscriptions at this time are doing so in major cities like New York City, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Dallas.

However, the thought is that car subscriptions might turn into a long-lasting trend, especially among millennials who want to enjoy the benefits of having a car sometimes without committing long-term. People will be able to sign up for a subscription at their convenience, use it for a couple of months, and then send it back. As we mentioned, subscribers will also have the liberty of switching up models throughout their subscription period. Porsche, in particular, allows you to switch vehicles as often as you want – for a $2,000-per-month price tag.

For now, the high price associated with car subscriptions might keep the average person away.

However, it’s safe to assume that more and more drivers will be intrigued by the idea of enrolling in a car subscription once the practice becomes more commonplace. Not only could this change the way we drive, but it could give car manufacturers a new source of revenue moving forward.

The Weather Outside is Frightful, So be Sure to Protect Your Car

Temperatures across the U.S. have plummeted over the course of the last few weeks, and the frigid weather has reminded us just how brutal the wintertime can be. It can be particularly difficult on your vehicle, especially if you fail to take the time to prepare it for the harsh winter weather. So before you find yourself in an unfortunate and expensive situation, you should do everything you can to protect your vehicle this winter.

The first thing you should do is ensure that your battery is equipped to handle the cold temperatures that are going to plague many states over the next few months.

Most batteries are only built to last about five years, so if it’s been longer than that since your last replacement, you might want to consider making the investment. If you are on the fence, have your battery looked at by a professional mechanic for extra assurance. He will be able to give you a definite answer on whether or not it’s going to last through the winter months.

The next thing you’re going to want to do is consider swapping out your current tires for dedicated winter tires.

Contrary to popular belief, most all-weather tires won’t perform very well in snow and ice due to lack of traction, and you may find your vehicle slipping and sliding in harsh conditions. If you live in an area that experiences high snowfall and low temperatures, winter tires are undoubtedly your best bet in keeping your vehicle protected.

Lastly, we know that the last thing anyone wants to do in the cold, winter months is wash their car. However, road salt can wreak havoc on your vehicle’s exterior and leave damage that will outlast the weather. Quick, regular trips to your local car wash can help you avoid even more headaches come spring.

These are just a few of the steps you should take to protect your vehicle this winter season.

Winter doesn’t last forever, but if you fail to take precautionary measures now to protect your vehicle from its wrath, you may be dealing with the aftermath for a lot longer than anticipated.