All posts tagged fuel economy

The Best of Both Worlds: Why You Should Consider an SUV Crossover

Otherwise known as a crossover utility vehicle or CUV, the crossover SUV is one class of automobile that’s exploded in popularity recently. Dozens of models from a slew of manufacturers have shattered sales records over the past few years. Here are some of the reasons why the crossover SUV is an appealing option for consumers.

Flexibility and Utility

A crossover is by its very nature a more versatile vehicle than a simple sedan. Many come will all-wheel drive, which enables access to places that vehicles with low clearances can’t go. Furthermore, a CUV like the Buick Encore at Quebedeaux Buick GMC boasts nearly 50 cubic feet of storage space while a Honda Accord has under 15 cubic feet.

Admirable Fuel Economy

Despite the fact that most CUVs come with a good 180 horsepower or more, many manage to deliver surprisingly solid fuel efficiency. Since so many crossovers have four-cylinder engines, they’re usually pretty good with gas when cruising for long distances. Some are capable of up to 35MPG if you drive conservatively.

Superior Safety Records

During the 1990s, the Ford Explorer gave SUVs a bad name due to its reputation for rollovers. CUVs are far more stable thanks to their low center of gravity and technologies like Electronic Stability Control. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, crossover SUVs are safer than sedans when it comes to crash fatalities.

Above-Average Longevity

If you’ve ever worked on a truck like an F-150 or a Silverado, you know how pristine their engine bays remain after years of abuse. Since they’re higher off the ground, rust and road salt don’t do as much damage in the long run. Modern CUVs have the same advantages and won’t deteriorate as quickly as sedans.

Reasonable Repair Costs

A crossover SUV is essentially a large sedan with a better frame and a tougher suspension system. Consequently, they’re not as expensive to fix as big trucks like the Dodge Durango or the Toyota Tacoma. Oftentimes, brake jobs and shock replacements for a crossover SUV cost little more than the same procedures performed on a mid-sized sedan.

Crossovers Are Here to Stay

At this point, it’s obvious that crossover SUVs are more than just a fad. They’re beyond popular with the general car-buying public for all of the reasons mentioned here and more. The only major downside to crossover SUVs is that there are so many quality models out there to choose from.

Looking to Save on Fuel? The Top 6 Most Fuel-Efficient Cars You Can Buy

Because of fluctuating gas prices many people are fed up with pouring their life savings into gas guzzlers and are now on the hunt for more fuel-efficient cars. If you drive a lot, gas prices are not doing your wallet any favors. Investing in a more fuel efficient car will really pay off in the end, whether you drive a lot or not. If you need a little help finding a fuel efficient car that also fits your needs, preferences and lifestyle, the following are the top 6 fuel-efficient cars out there.

Lexus RX 450h

This midsize crossover is for drivers who want performance as well as great gas mileage. It features a combined 30 MPG in combined highway and city driving. The resale value is high at 60 percent in 3 years. At around $45,000, the Lexus RX 450h offers a stylish, dependable car with great gas mileage. The size isn’t to shabby either. If you’re worried that buying a more fuel-efficient car means you’ll have to downsize, think again. There are plenty of options that can hold your family, or the soccer team, or a carseat or two.

Ford C-Max Hybrid

With a combined 43 MPG for both city and highway, the Ford C-Max provides a reasonable amount of passenger space for a car its size. It’s priced from approximately $26,000 to $34,000. The C-Max has been touted for its quiet, comfortable ride, so if you’re the type of driver that prefers a smooth, serene drive to work, this may be the choice for you.

Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

For those who can afford to spend a little bit more on beautiful styling yet still want a vehicle that’s fuel-efficient, the MKZ Hybrid may be the perfect car. It’s estimated at 45 MPG combined city and highway. The car starts at $36,190 and features a panoramic sliding roof and a quiet ride. If you’re trying to maintain luxury while still saving on gas, the MKZ can help you achieve both goals.

Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

At approximately $30,000 the Jetta delivers 42 MPG in the city and a substantial 48 MPG on the highway. It gets great marks for rear legroom and good performance. While the spacious cabin is a draw for small families, the Jetta also gets good safety ratings which also makes it another attractive buy. For those who need safety, comfort, and lower gas prices, the Jetta offers the whole package.

Honda Civic Hybrid

This sleek looking hybrid averages 44 MPG in the city and 47 MPG on the highway. With a starting price of about $25,000 the Civic offers consumers front and side impact air bags and room for five. The Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid is considered its top competitor. For those deciding between the Jetta and The Civic, initial price may play a role. However, both cars are an excellent choice for those seeking to cut down their gas bill.

Toyota Prius

The Prius has not only a stylish, futuristic design, but provides room for a family of four. It also delivers 50 MPG city and highway combined. Ranging between $25,000 and $31,000, it’s easy to see why the Prius is a favorite for many drivers looking for a fuel-efficient vehicle. With the same average MPG, Toyota also makes the Prius c. The Prius c is a small compact car starting at just under $20,000 for those couples who want a little car to zip around in, but is also a friendly option for small families who are trying to save on fuel.

While there are plenty of choices when it comes to fuel efficiency, you shouldn’t have trouble finding a model that offers you and your family everything you need. Whether you’re looking for luxury, room for your family, or simply a fun ride, there’s a fuel-efficient vehicle available for almost everyone. Remember to compare MPG’s while car shopping, and you’re sure to find the perfect car for your lifestyle, that also fits better into your financial plans.

AUTHOR BIO: This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write about business, finance, women’s interests, and technology. Dixie lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters. Information for this article was provided by the auto professionals of Speedy Brake and Apollo Muffler, who provide head gasket repair in Calgary.

Hybrid Electric Vehicle Shopping Considerations

Hybrid vehicles continue to grow in importance, offering consumers the best of two possible worlds: vehicle electrification and extended range. By making use of electric motors and a gasoline engine, a hybrid electric vehicle ensures that you can take that long trip without having to plug-in someplace and wait hours for a recharge.

The Toyota Prius is synonymous with "hybrid," but there are other models for you to consider. Read on for tips on how to buy a hybrid electric vehicle, representing one of the most fuel efficient and cleanest car segments sold today.

General Definitions

What is a hybrid vehicle? Well, for starters, it is officially called a hybrid electric vehicle, one of several types of vehicles that offer at least some kind of vehicle electrification.

All hybrids make use of two fuel systems. Today, those systems are a gas-powered internal combustion engine and electric motors. The gas engine is paired with a transmission to turn the wheels. The electric motor may make use of a generator and regenerative braking to produce electricity that is sent to and stored in a battery system. Such systems original used nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, but in recent years most manufacturers have switched to lithium-ion (li-ion) or lithium-polymer (li-poly) batteries that are lighter weight and more efficient.

Plug-in or Not

Traditional hybrid vehicles receive electricity onboard, with no need to plug-in to an outlet to draw current. Today, your hybrid vehicle options have expanded as there are models that can be plugged in. Models, including the Chevrolet Volt, the Ford C-MAX Energi and the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, do plug in and offer an advantage of running on electric-only power longer than traditional hybrids. If your trips are mostly local, you’ll put some serious space between gas station visits, lowering your fuel costs and reducing the amount of emissions dumped into the air.

Another advantage of a plug-in vehicle is that there are tax deduction benefits offered, something that traditional hybrids no longer have. Your tax benefit is determined by the federal government and depends largely on the vehicle you select as well as your tax bracket. Buy a Chevrolet Volt and you may be eligible for a $7,500 tax credit; with the PHEV Prius, your tax benefit is up to $2,500. State and local benefits may also be available.

Cost Premium

When buying a hybrid, you’ll pay more for this vehicle then you would for a comparably equipped gasoline model. The difference is typically from $3,000, but you may notice cars that are priced at least $5,000 higher. What you need to do here is compare equipment levels. For instance, the Ford Fusion Hybrid comes in about $8,000 more than the base Fusion model. On closer inspection the difference is about $2,500 as the Fusion Hybrid offers a trim level comparable to the Fusion SEL.

With a cost premium in play, you’ll want to determine how long it will take for you to recoup the extra cost. One way to figure that out is to compare the fuel economy between like models. The example of the Ford Fusion is a good one — the 2012 edition gets 23 mpg city, 33 mpg highway for a combined 26 mpg. The Fusion Hybrid gets 41 mpg city, 36 mpg for a combined 39 mpg. If you drive 15,000 miles per year, then your gas cost at $3.50 per gallon would be calculated as follows:

15,000 miles divided by 26 mpg equals 577 gallons. Multiply 577 by $3.50 per gallon and your annual fuel costs are $2,020.

With the Fusion Hybrid you’ll divide 15,000 by 39 and get 385 gallons. Multiply 385 by $3.50 and your annual fuel costs are $1,348. That means you’ll save $672 per year. If your hybrid has a $5,000 price premium than it will take you nearly 7 and one-half years to recoup your cost. Clearly, buy a hybrid if you expect to keep it at least that long and you think that gas prices will only go higher.

What Size

Most hybrid models come in smaller sizes, but there are some vehicles such as the full-size Chevrolet Tahoe SUV and the big Lexus LS 600h L sedan that are also sold. Familiarize yourself with the various models offered and consider only those that meet your needs.

Some hybrid models lose as much as 20 percent of trunk storage capacity as the battery pack juts into the trunk. Other hybrids take away rear seating space for the same reason.

Most hybrids are paired with a single-speed transmission, although some have regular automatic or continuously variable transmissions. You will want to test drive the models that interest you, taking it out on the open road and driving it extensively around town. Learn if the power offered is sufficient for your needs — hybrids get horsepower from both energy sources, therefore you won’t lack the get up and go to get moving with such vehicles.

HEV Considerations

Every hybrid vehicle comes with a hybrid warranty, covering the electrical parts including motors, generators and battery packs. By law, the minimum warranty for the battery system alone is 8 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. Some states, such as California and New Jersey, mandate a 10-year or 150,000 mile warranty. In any case, familiarize yourself with the maintenance procedures for a hybrid and follow these carefully, to ensure that you enjoy the maximum benefit of owning one.

Resources

FuelEconomy.gov: Federal Tax Credits for Plug-In Hybrids — http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/taxphevb.shtml

U.S. Department of Energy: Alternative Fuels Data Center — http://www.afdc.energy.gov/

Chris Joseph is a freelance writer and media consultant currently working with AutoFair.