Author: Linda Steil

Great Halloween costumes for your … car?

The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates that Americans will spend $9.1 billion on Halloween this year. And you can bet that the largest percentage of that will go toward costumes – some even for the four-wheeled family members. Dressing up your car for Halloween may sound strange to some, but to others, not so much, and DIYing a costume just might be easier that you think. For example, if you own a white Dodge Magnum, print and cut out a couple over-sized Ghostbusters logos, rig up some ghost-busting gear for the roof of your car using things like plastic soda bottles, pool noodles, duct tape and spray paint. And voila! You have your very own Ghostbuster mobile. Any black vehicle can quickly and easily be turned into a bat-mobile. Amazon even has the wings, if you don’t care to make them yourself. Trunks make a great canvas for a multitude of different ideas. They can be the rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland, or a giant (funny or creepy) mouth or Platform 9¾. Do you have a white Jeep Wrangler? Some black lettering and a golden eagle on the hood and you’ve got your own version of Daisy Duke’s Dixie. Turn the bed of your Ram pickup into a creepy graveyard with some fake grass, skeletons and tombstones. You can … Read More

Recalculate adventure in a new Jeep® Compass

Recently, a friend and colleague mentioned that, as he nears the point of having a teen driver in his house, he’s looking at purchasing a 2018 Jeep® Compass. To be completely honest, this surprised me. When I think young drivers and the vehicles they want to drive, I don’t necessarily think of the Compass. I think Renegade. Perhaps it’s because, when I look back at my own teenage years, the words “directionless” and “rebel” come to mind. But I digress. For him, it’s more a matter of practicality. The Compass has plenty of room for his son to haul his buddies around. Plus, when he heads off to college, there will be more than enough room for his college gear. In addition, the family currently has a Grand Cherokee, so there is a familiarity that comes with driving a “mini-me” version of the same vehicle. And the best part – the price is right. While I know the recently-updated Jeep Compass has many fans, I regrettably must admit I have not paid it much attention. Until now. Now I’m … recalculating. What is so great about the new Compass? As I said previously, the price is right. Whether you go for the base-model Sport or head straight for the top and choose the rugged Trailhawk, you’re looking at an MSRP … Read More

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid lobbies for ‘Official Family Vehicle for California’ title

If you were to guess which state sold the most hybrid vehicles, and you said California, you would be correct. If you were to guess which state sold the most minivans, and you said California, you would be correct again. So, would it surprise you to discover that the Chrysler brand is lobbying for the Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid, the only hybrid minivan in the United States, to be named the Official Family Vehicle for California? I didn’t think so. Other well-known state symbols, like the grizzly bear, valley quail, desert tortoise and serpentine (it’s a rock), act as lobbyists in support of the Pacifica for the brand’s multi-media campaign. “Forty percent of all hybrids are sold in the state of California — it’s also the biggest minivan market in the country — so it makes perfect sense that we say the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is the ‘Official Family Vehicle for California,’” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT®, Chrysler and FIAT®, FCA – North America. As Kuniskis further pointed out, it isn’t just the minivan’s marketability that makes it a solid representative for the state. “With 84 miles MPGe in electric-only mode, 33 miles of all-electric range and seating for seven, the Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid minivan is hands-down the most fuel-efficient family vehicle. Aligning … Read More

Head out for food and fun at the State Fair of Texas

This time of year, there is one thing I dearly loved about living in the Dallas-Fort Worth area – the State Fair of Texas. Whether I only had time to head out there for a few hours or I was making a full day of it, I always knew I was in for some great food and a ton of fun. These days, a trip to the fair takes a bit more planning that just hopping on the DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit), but is well-worth the effort. Why? Let’s start with Big Tex. Where else are you going to be greeted by a 55-foot cowboy wearing a 95-gallon hat? Only in Texas. Then there’s the food. There is something about “fair food” – I don’t know if it’s the fact that much of it you can only get once a year (at the fair, of course!), the creativity that goes into some of it or the pure indulgence of it, but fair food rocks. This year, just a few of the new additions to the lineup include Pinot Noir Popcorn, The Tamale Donut and a Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger. (As if they didn’t already have us at “bacon,” they added cheese, funnel cake AND a burger? Oh my.) Finally, and quite possibly in an effort to burn off … Read More

Release your Renegade – Jeep® brand celebrates the renegade spirit

A renegade, by today’s definition, is someone who rejects convention. Someone who thinks outside of the box, takes risks and celebrates being different. Today, the Jeep® brand is celebrating the renegade spirit in a new “Release your Renegade” campaign, featuring break-out musical artist Halsey (Astralwerks Records) and her new single, “Bad at Love,” in a 30-second video. In addition, up-and-coming artists Molly Kate Kestner (Atlantic Records), Uri Grey and Chloe Nixon each have their own Release your Renegade videos, available here and on the Jeep brand social media channels. “With the ‘Release Your Renegade’ campaign, Jeep is lending its reach and providing a worldwide platform for [Halsey, Molly Kate Kestner, Uri Grey and Chloe Nixon], to share their unique stories of exactly what it means to be a renegade – as told through their own words and music,” said Olivier Francois, Chief Marketing Officer, FCA. “Jeep represents freedom, passion, adventure and authenticity – qualities shared by our millennial artists.”

Recharge OR refuel on the way to Sesame Street

Remember when sunny days swept the clouds away? When, for an hour each day, you joined your friends where the air was sweet. Remember getting to Sesame Street? These days, old favorites like Big Bird, Grover and Cookie Monster are still playing, singing and laughing (except Oscar, of course) their way down the old, familiar path. But now they’re also riding in style with a new friend. Dax Shepard and a few members of the cast are taking the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid for a spin. During their ride, a question arises. Should they stop to refuel? Or recharge? The good news is, they’re driving a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, so they can do either! It’s almost like a magic carpet ride and every door opens wide. It can take you where the air is sweet. It can even show you how to get to Sesame Street. Check out all of you favorite Sesame Street characters and their experiences in the Chrysler Pacifica and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid on the Chrysler YouTube channel.

It’s time to think about getting your vehicle ready for winter

It does not even seem possible. As I sit here in shorts and a T-shirt, trying to keep my hair up off my neck, winter is right around the corner. But it’s true. The days have grown significantly shorter. The leaves are starting to fall. And soon we will be trading in our tank tops for warm, wooly sweaters. At least in the northern parts of the country. Of course, that also means ensuring our vehicles are ready for winter weather. The best option, prior to the first wintery blast, is making an appointment to get your vehicle serviced – especially if you haven’t made it in to say hello to your favorite mechanic recently. When was the last time the antifreeze was flushed? Do you need an oil change? How about your battery – is it getting some age on it? These are all items that are more efficiently handled by professionals who, by the way, also have the means to properly dispose of old fluids and batteries.   Some things you can quickly and easily do on your own, however, include: New windshield wipers – a clear line-of-sight is key to safe driving and removing the winter muck from your windshield is a vital component. As much as I hated admitting it, my husband (boyfriend at the time) … Read More

It’s October 2 and you know what that means! It’s National Name Your Car Day!

I don’t know why I am so entertained by National Name Your Car Day each year, but I think it’s fun. I actually just realized that I’ve had my truck for nearly a year now and have not named her yet. Crazy, I know, and she deserves an original name. I’ll get to work on that. Meanwhile, how about a look back at a few of the most famously (infamously?) named vehicles … Like Christine – a red, 1958 Plymouth Fury. She was a beauty and she self-repaired! But perhaps we could have done without some of her other qualities.   Or, the Bluesmobile – a 1974 Dodge Monaco, complete with the police package. Jake wasn’t initially impressed, but Elwood jumped into action and found a way to win him over.     Then there’s Dixie, one of the many stars in the Dukes of Hazzard motor brigade. A 1980 Jeep® Wrangler CJ-7, you probably remember that Dixie was driven by Cousin Daisy.  

Essential ingredients for a fantastic fall road trip

Fall is the best time of year for a road trip. It’s not too hot. It’s not too cold. The days tend to be bright and sunny, with crisp mornings that beg for a really good cup of hot coffee (or cocoa), just before you begin your trip. Whether you’re destination-bound or just out for a Sunday drive, there are a few things that can make your road trip ever more delightful. Check out our short list here. 1. A car-mounted GoPro If you’re driving, you miss seeing so much! Sometimes, even as the passenger, things pass you by. But, if you have a GoPro catching all of those moments, you can relive them when you reach your destination. The best part – you’ve got editable footage to use as you like once you get back home. 2. Car food Even if you have planned stops along the way, every good road trip must have car food. And it needs to be the good stuff. Healthy eaters can splurge on some ranch dressing or peanut butter to dip the crudités you will inevitably pack. (That would be me – apple slices, carrots and celery are my go-to items.) Not-so-healthy eaters … well, you have a plethora of prepackaged items to choose from, so take your pick! 3. Water Because, well … Read More

2016 FIAT 500X – Autoblog editors share their thoughts

I (almost) always enjoy reading reviews of the FCA US LLC brand vehicles. There are some with which I wholeheartedly agree. Some, of course, with which I don’t. But most provide a perspective I either hadn’t thought of or didn’t realize. Recently, I ran across Autoblog’s “2016 FIAT 500X Long-Term Wrap Up | Exceeds expectations,” and I found some of the editor’s remarks amusing. So I’ve decided to share them here. Let’s start with Executive Producer Adam Morath who wrote, “I wanted to love this car, but it just wouldn’t let me.” When someone starts a vehicle review with a sentence like that, I am compelled to read on. So I did. As it turns out, while the vehicle was parked outside his house, the alarm started to sound for what seemed to be no reason at all … at midnight. He encountered other problems related to the wiring during his time with the vehicle as well. The dealership was able to correct the issues, but the damage was done. While Morath conceded that he could appreciate the vehicle’s style and spaciousness, his love for the FIAT 500X had waned. (You can’t please everyone, right? I mean, did that mysterious fifth dentist EVER recommend Trident?) On the complete opposite spectrum, a seemingly hard sell going in to this long-term test … Read More