Author: Linda Steil

Choosing the right car for a new driver

What happens when it comes time to purchase a vehicle for a new driver? Do you run out to buy the fanciest, most expensive vehicle on the lot? Probably not. Instead, hopefully, you’ve done research and have already taken into consideration things like the price, your budget and the cost-to-own. Once you get past that, though, it’s time for the fun part – shopping and test driving. Temptation may lead you down the path of getting something fun, but here’s where practicality is your pal. For the record, that doesn’t mean boring. It just means making the smart choice of something you can safely and comfortably drive. Here are a few additional things to consider when test driving your first vehicle. 1. Visibility Blind spots can cause accidents. When you sit in the vehicle, can you easily see in all directions? Does the vehicle offer blind-spot monitoring capability? If you have to crane your head in an awkward fashion to see the vehicle next to you, it is probably not the car for you. 2. Ride height You may, at first, think this sounds odd, but bear with me for a moment and take into consideration the majority of other vehicles you see on the road around you. Are you surrounded by large trucks and SUVs? Or are they mostly … Read More

Alfa Romeo Giulia wins 2018 Motor Trend Car of the Year®

What test drive includes more than 7,000 miles of driving, potholes, jagged pavement, steep grades, misaligned railroad crossings and avoidance maneuvers? The one that wins you Motor Trend’s Car of the Year. This year, 26 contenders were assessed. The field was narrowed to the top eight “Of the Year” finalists who were evaluated against six criteria: advancement in design, engineering excellence, safety, efficiency, value and performance of intended function. From there, the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia rose to the top. But it wasn’t just any win. It was the first Motor Trend Car of the Year Award for an Italian car. “Motor Trend’s judges agreed that the Alfa Romeo Giulia is the new ultimate driving machine,” said Ed Loh, Motor Trend Editor-in-Chief. “Alfa Romeo developed a car that is perhaps the finest handling sedan on the market.”  

What color is your truck?

It’s no secret that I love my truck. I write about it a lot. One of the things I like best about it is the color, because no one else has one like it. It’s Stinger Yellow. As you might imagine, not only does everyone see me coming, but they also definitely know it’s me because it is, in fact, the only yellow truck in town. Part of my disinterest in other truck colors, red and/or blue for instance, was the fact that I feel like I see them all too often. If you had asked me a couple of weeks ago, I would have guessed that red was among the most popular of truck colors, but that is not actually the case. Working in conjunction with Performance Truck Products and utilizing data available on Cars.com, Spork Marketing recently created and released the infographic below depicting the most popular truck colors of 2017. “If you’d have asked me before we collected this data, I’d have guessed that red, blue and green were all equally popular. However, as our chart shows, green is significantly less popular than red or blue,” said Nate Dwyer, director at Performance Truck Products. “The popularity of white, silver and black trucks is definitely a result of fleet and commercial sales, as at least one of these … Read More

Four tips to stay safe on the road this winter

Recently I was chatting with friends of mine who live in Manhattan and they were marveling at the fact that just a couple of weeks ago it was 80 degrees outside. In November. In New York City. Keep in mind we were having this conversation as snow was falling all around us and we were shivering in the cold. Fall of 2017 did have some unseasonably warm temperatures. But today is December 1 and I’m afraid it’s time to face the music – winter, and all its glory, is right around the corner. I drove in a lot of winter weather that day I spent with my friends from NYC. Freezing rain, sleet, snow and then finally clear skies and frigid temperatures – I covered it all in just a few short hours. And I have to be honest, my husband and I have been slow to put our winter tires on our vehicles because the temperatures have been so mild. Luckily, I have plenty of experience driving in winter weather. But that doesn’t mean that the first time out each season, I don’t need to jump start my brain. Just a quick reminder of the basics before Old Man Winter gets a chance to give me a swift kick in the rear and send me headed in a direction … Read More

The big reveal – 2018 Jeep® Wrangler makes its official debut today

There are some things in life that you look at and say, “Don’t mess with perfection.” It’s rare. But it happens. That was how I felt about the Jeep® Wrangler. But then I said, “Self, let’s give this updated 2018 version a look and see what it’s got going for it.” Today, at the LA Auto Show, the 2018 Jeep Wrangler is officially introduced to the public for the first time, and I am happy to say that much of what makes our beloved Wrangler the recognizable icon that it is will remain unchanged. The slotted grille, round headlights, removable doors, fold-flat windshield … these are all things that will remain standard features. What has changed? Modern technology. The all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler will have more available safety and technology features. Later in the model year, two new engine options will also be introduced. Leave it to the Jeep brand to not only mess with perfection, but then make it, well … perfect-er.

Cyber Monday is quickly approaching – get great FCA US gear for the family this year

If you ventured out in the mad rush of Black Friday and can now sit back, knowing your holiday shopping is complete, congratulations! If, on the other hand, you were like me and avoided the madness, you may still be contemplating what you are getting for those on your list in the days ahead. But Cyber Monday is just around the corner and you know what that means! No crowds. No craziness. Just quiet shopping from the comfort of wherever you happen to be. Now, let’s cut to the chase – if you’re reading this, you are likely familiar with the FCA US LLC brand lineup. You either own, have recently owned or would like to own one of the many great Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, Ram or FIAT® vehicles. So, why not own the gear that goes along with them? Luckily, each of the five brands offers clothing, gear and gadgets galore. Did your kids come home at the onset of either the PopSocket® or Fidget Spinner craze (maybe both) and announce that they just had to have one? And did you, initially, roll your eyes at the latest fad, but then realize just how handy those little PopSockets are and find yourself wishing you had one of your own? Or catch your significant other picking up the fidget spinner … Read More

Quick and easy road trip hacks that every holiday traveler should know

According to AAA estimates, about 89 percent of the millions of holiday travelers on the road will be traveling 50 miles or more to reach loved ones. So, when you’re one of 45+ million trying to reach family and friends, how do you make the traveling adventure better, more fun, easier and potentially safer for all involved? You incorporate a few quick and easy holiday road trip hacks, of course! Take these, for example. Ensure you have the best apps loaded to assist in your travel needs BEFORE you leave. Some of my personal favorites include: Gas Buddy can guide you in finding not only the cheapest prices, but also the closest gas station if/when the need arises Sit or Squat is ideal for, well … other needs Waze is great for redirecting around traffic jams that pop up while en route Hands-free is key. Ensure whatever method you are using (even if it’s the person in the passenger seat) is up to the task. Plastic cereal containers make great travel trash cans. Keep a couple extra liners in the bottom of the container for quick changes during pit stops and you won’t waste time pulling wrappers and straws out from between the seats once you reach your destination. Shower caddies make great organizers. Create activity centers for the kids … Read More

Holiday dishes that travel

It’s the beginning of the holiday season and all the traditional eats are right around the corner. If you’re traveling and volunteered (or were volunteered by someone else) to bring your best dish, did you consider what the travel time can do to your recipe? Or whether there will be room in the oven to cook or reheat your tasty tidbits once you arrive? Don’t let holiday travel throw a wrench into what might otherwise be described as nothing short of divine. A tweak here and there may be all your favorite recipe needs. For example, if a hard brake on the way to last year’s family gathering sent your infamous cherry pie toward destinations unknown, leaving you to arrive empty-handed, why not try something a little safer this year? Try this instead – make cherry pie bars. Cherry pie bars? Yes, they’re a thing. They’re delicious and perfectly preportioned. If you don’t know where to start, TheCountryCook.net has a delicious recipe that you can make the night before. Then, package them up in an airtight container that can be safely stored away for a safe arrival at your destination. (One of the best parts of this recipe is you can make them with any number of seasonal fillings – pumpkin, cherry, apple, blueberry, pecan … the list goes on!) … Read More

Special Edition 2018 Ram 1500 Hydro Blue Sport to hit showroom floors

Ram trucks stand out among the crowd with some of the hardest-working, longest-lasting trucks on the road today. The Ram brand also offers some of the best-looking, most luxurious trucks. Available options and special editions make Ram trucks much more than just a work truck. It’s a comfortable everyday driver that easily transitions from the work site to a night on the town. Recently, Ram trucks announced the final special edition release for the 2017 calendar year – the 2018 Ram 1500 Hydro Blue Sport. “The custom look and high-impact colors have been well received in the marketplace and this new Ram 1500 Hydro Blue Sport will surely stand out on dealers’ lots and in customers’ driveways,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep® and Ram Brands. “Enthusiasts demand that their trucks get noticed and our Ram 1500 Sport lineup delivers a durable, powerful alternative with great visual appeal.” The Hydro Blue Sport goes on sale November 2017, but don’t delay. Production will be limited to only 2,000 units.