Month: April 2016

It IS possible to get a good deal on a used car

  I rarely write about preowned vehicles (aka used cars). In fact, a cursory review of previous posts and it doesn’t appear that I’ve written any at all. This doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in high-quality preowned vehicles. And it certainly doesn’t mean I only buy new vehicles. On the contrary, I’ve purchased more used vehicles over the years than new and with very good results. I am also a regular “peruser” of CarGurus. The key to beginning a successful (and hopefully long-term) relationship with a preowned vehicle is not all that different from purchasing a new vehicle. You must first know what you need and what you want. From there, you do research to determine which vehicle(s) is available in your price range that fulfills your needs and wants. One thing that has taken some of the stress out of preowned vehicle shopping is the evolution of certified preowned (CPO) vehicle programs. What began as a special designation for low-mileage, off-lease, luxury-brand vehicles has grown to encompass more than 30 auto manufacturers. Of course, not every CPO vehicle program is the same. Each will have its own inspection process, warranty and coverage information, as well as option protection plans that a new owner may consider purchasing. For example, in order for an FCA vehicle to qualify as a … Read More

Prepare to fall in love with the all-new Alfa Romeo Giulia

The first time I ever heard of Alfa Romeo I was 17. Like everyone else that summer, I was drinking in the latest box office smash and the med-student-turned-summertime-playboy/waiter, Robbie, made reference to using his tips from that summer to buy an Alfa Romeo. For those who didn’t recognize the movie reference, it was Dirty Dancing. Set in 1963, Robbie may very well have been saving those tips up to buy a coveted Alfa Romeo Giulia. Today the Alfa Romeo Giulia is back and last week the first one rolled off the production line in Cassino, Italy. More beautiful and better than ever, the all-new Giulia will soon be headed for U.S. soil, ready to be set loose on the American bi-ways. Much to-do has been made about the Giulia’s re-entry into the American market. It is, after all, a completely new Giulia and only the second new model, worldwide, from Alfa Romeo in six years. Distinctly Alfa, the Giulia is truly a stunning car from its classic, triangular grille to the powerful lines that give it a muscular essence, all the way back to the quad exhaust. Weighing in at a svelte 3,300 pounds the vehicle is constructed of aluminum and carbon fiber. It also has near-perfect 50/50 weight distribution for better handling. As we all know, beauty is … Read More

FCA’s 2016 Product Preview kicks off today!

Small business isn’t so small anymore. According to the Small Business Association, 54 percent of all U.S. sales are made by small businesses. And small-business owners provide 55 percent of the jobs to today’s working Americans, adding eight million new jobs to the workforce since 1990. Why are these important facts being touted in an auto writer’s blog? Because small-business owners need hard-working vehicles to drive their businesses. Owning a commercial vehicle (or a small commercial fleet) is about more than simply transportation and the possibility of a tax write-off at year-end. A well-signed, attractive company vehicle is a strong marketing tool that provides the public with a first impression of your business everywhere you go. A well-maintained, reliable fleet ensures your employees reach their destination without unwanted breakdowns. And for those who offer a company car to their employees, it’s a benefit that tends to generate happy, loyal workers. FCA is the seventh-largest automaker in the world. They are a big business that has taken the time to understand the needs of small business and crafted their lineup of vehicles to serve a multitude of needs. From the lineup of industrious Ram vehicles to the rugged Jeep® brand lineup, FCA produces some of the hardest working vehicles on the market. But not to be outdone, the meticulous Chrysler lineup, … Read More

It’s a muddy job, but someone’s gotta do it

Whether you’re 6 or 46 calling something “Mudfest” just sounds like tons of fun. But when the Northwest Auto Press Association (NWAPA) dubs an event “Mudfest” and then invites automakers from all over to enter their toughest competitors, well that may just be epic. For the 22nd consecutive year the NWAPA hosted Mudfest with NWAPA journalists spending two days putting vehicles to the test. On both pavement and off-road courses, more than 25 NWAPA journalists closely examined the capability and comfort of competing utility vehicles and pickups. In the end, Ram truck and Jeep® brand vehicles came out on top. “Jeep and Ram build vehicles that know how to win and the NWAPA members agree after testing them in the Pacific Northwest,” said Nik Miles, president of NWAPA. “The company has a strong reputation for capability and they proved it with winning titles at this year’s Mudfest.” The 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee 75th Anniversary Edition earned the honor of Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year as well as winning the Family Utility class. Dominating the Extreme Capability class, the 2016 Jeep Wrangler pushed its way straight to the top. And a newcomer to the competition, the 2016 Ram Rebel burst onto the scene winning the Pickups category. The competition consisted of six categories including compact utility, family utility, premium … Read More

Commute in the award-winning comfort of a Chrysler Pacifica

Commuting to and from work generally is not fun. I used to spend over two hours each day in my car and I have friends who spend more than three hours a day just getting back and forth from work. Let’s not even mention the folks who office from their vehicle on a daily basis. Yikes! When you have a vehicle with (almost) all the comforts of home, it may make that time spent on the road just a bit easier. The 2016 Wards Best Interiors list was recently announced and the all-new Chrysler Pacifica made the list of 10 best. This year, eight WardsAuto editors spent two months reviewing and scoring 47 different vehicles that met the judging criteria. (To qualify, a vehicle must be completely new or have significant improvements over the previous model year.) Judges evaluations are based on the materials used, ergonomics, driver information, safety, comfort, fit and finish and aesthetics. Competition was stiff. Nineteen out of the 47 qualifying vehicles were luxury models. So, how did a minivan make the top 10 against such strong competitors? It’s all in the design and Chrysler put a lot of thought and effort into the all-new Pacifica. “The folks who put the minivan on the map in the 1980s have stunned the segment yet again with the lavishly … Read More

Dodge drives to top of social media rankings

Go just about anywhere and you’ll see people on their phones tweeting, posting, sharing, liking and so forth. Ever wonder what all those people are so anxious to share with the world? The folks at Shareablee, Inc. do. In fact, the team at Shareablee is so fascinated with other people’s fascinations they have made it their business. And recently they looked at the social media activity of the top vehicle brands in the United States from Jan. 1 through March 15, 2016. Ranking the brands with the most total actions (likes, comments, shares, favorites and re-tweets), Dodge, Jeep® and Ram all made the top five. Dodge roared to the top spot on the list, racking up 5.2 million social actions in the first two-and-a-half months of the year. This equates to a 373 percent increase over the same time period last year and nearly double that of the second-place brand. “Dodge and SRT® vehicles have passionate fans who are not just customers, but real brand advocates,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT®, FCA – North America. “The fact that Dodge generated 5.2 million social interactions so far this year, nearly double that of the second-ranked automaker in the study, really reinforces our belief that when the information you share is authentic and … Read More

2017 Chrysler 300S makes big, bold statement

From the older models to the newest, the Chrysler 300 is a head turner. Whether you choose the more affordable Limited, the sporty S or the top of the line C configuration, each have an elegance and an attitude that makes you WANT to look at them. This has never been truer than with the updated, sportier 2017 Chrysler 300S sport appearance packages. “The new 2017 Chrysler 300S re-excites the passion of what owning an American flagship sedan is about,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT®, Chrysler and FIAT®, FCA – North America. “And now for our Chrysler enthusiasts, two all-new sport appearance packages take the 300S model’s athletic styling and appointments to the next level.” From the inside out, you’ll see and feel the difference. Careful thought was given to the details, taking every day colors and materials and crafting them into a spectacular design. Dramatic piano black interior trim has been added to the instrument and door panels while new light gray diesel colored accent stitching accentuates everything from the leather-wrapped steering wheel to the new performance seats. Speaking of the new performance seats, the moment you slip behind the wheel you will feel the high-bolstered contours hug you comfortably in place. In addition, for those more exuberant drives, when you need turn … Read More

From coast to coast in a Jeep® Wrangler

Say you were given keys to a Firecracker Red Jeep® Wrangler and the freedom to take it anywhere you wanted for a year. Would your trip include the northern most drivable point of the United States – Prudhoe Bay, Alaska? Or the southern most drivable point on the big island of Hawaii? In April 2015, at the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab Utah, The Fast Lane Car (TFLCar) team set out to include both of those destinations, as well as the highest drivable point in all 50 states, into a one-year adventure. The journey ended this year, 37,000 miles later, in the same place they began – at the 2016 Easter Jeep Safari. Dubbing the adventure the Motor Mountain USA (MMUSA), TFLCar’s team had more than just a fun year in a Jeep Wrangler in mind. “We had three goals when we began Motor Mountain USA,” said Roman Mica, Executive Editor, Host and Producer. “We wanted to create an adventurous video series that connected with our fans and was completely unique. Motor Mountain USA did just that. We summited the tallest drivable peaks in all 50 states. We drove a Jeep Wrangler to Prudhoe Bay Alaska, the farthest north you can drive in the United States. And then we drove to the southern most point in the United States on … Read More