Consumer Reports 10 most improved vehicle designs
Now that we know the 10 top-rated vehicle redesigns of the last 15 years – yesterday’s post on The Open Road blog – we’ll look at the 10 most improved designs of more recent cars, brought to us by Consumer Reports. Only one vehicle – the “impressive” 2014 Chevrolet Impala – made both lists. “The Impala scored not only the greatest points gain (32) among the 10 vehicles in the CR rankings but also the highest point total (95),” according to Consumer Reports, which ranked vehicles by improvement in the overall test… Read More top 10 vehicle makeovers of the last 15 years
Sometimes judging whether we like the design of a car, SUV or truck happens year to year. And sometimes it takes a little longer. Considering the long and short of it, the automotive research website,, recently named its “Top 10 Most-Improved Cars from the Past 15 Years.” The list is interesting as well as instructive to would-be car and truck buyers who may have dated opinions of some vehicles on the list. Among the 10 top-rated redesigns are three Chevrolets and two Chrysler Group vehicles, as well as one each of… Read More

Toyota hits speed bump in latest Consumer Reports ratings
It’s a tough year for Toyota at Consumer Reports. Several of the auto manufacturer’s nameplates lost their “Recommended” status in the latest of CR’s Annual Auto Reliability ratings and rankings, according to The Car Connection electronic newsletter. “It's likely the results were met with a collective wince over at Toyota,” wrote Bengt Halvorson. “While the automaker – and its Lexus luxury counterpart – still ranked above all others in reliability,” Halvorson reported at The Car Connection, “the consumer publication revoked its 'recommended' status for the best-selling Camry, as well as the Toyota RAV4 and… Read More

Road Trips – where to find tips online for holiday travel
With the holidays fast approaching – you can tell by all the talk of Black Friday – ‘tis the season to think about all the festivities. And how you’re going to get to them. If you’re like many people, there is a road trip in your near future. So we’ve put together this blog post leading you to some of our favorite articles on the Internet with tips for safe holiday road travel. (For more timely suggestions, see our Tuesday infographic, “Holiday Road Trip – A dozen great ways to prepare for an automobile… Read More

Holiday road trip tips for a happy family journey
Road trips are as much a part of the holiday landscape for many as turkey and presents – and in some places, snow. But the way you plan your road trip can make all the difference between a long, uncomfortable, even unpleasant drive and the sort of family adventure that makes memories that can last a lifetime. Who wouldn’t rather arrive at grandma’s house bursting with holiday spirit, ready for the festivities? To help with your planning, we’ve put together a colorful infographic, “Holiday Road Trip – A dozen great ways to prepare for an automobile adventure,” that captures some of… Read More

Five finalists named for 2014 Green Car of Year
Green Car Journal has named its five finalists for the 2014 “Green Car of the Year” award in advance of the LA Auto Show, where it will name the winner in late November. Nominees for the 2014 car-of-the-year award are the Audi A6 TDI, BMW 328d, Honda Accord, Mazda3, and Toyota Corolla. These five finalists are also honored as the Journal’s “Top 5 Green Cars for 2014" and earn the magazine's "Green Car Product of Excellence" honors. The magazine will announce the top award winner during the auto show’s press days, Nov.… Read More

Small SUVs a big deal, but which is best for you?
Compact, affordable SUVs are hot. Year-over-year sales are expected to be up more than 25 percent this month, far and away the largest gain among five new-vehicle segments, according to Kelley Blue Book (KBB). "Consumers are drawn to the new models in the crossover (SUV) segment, which feature increasingly efficient engines, yet have more cargo space and a higher ride height than their car counterparts," said Alec Gutierrez, KBB senior analyst. Still, projected October sales in the segment (150,000) trailed the mid-sized car segment (189,000), compact cars (178,000) and full-size pickup trucks… Read More

Manhole covers next big thing for eco-vehicles?
The next big step in the eco-vehicle revolution just might be something not attached to the vehicle – manhole cover charging stations. A company named HEVO Power has come up with the charging station, which would not require motorists to plug in their vehicles to get a battery charge. Recharging without cords is something of a Holy Grail for eco-vehicle drivers. Widespread availability still may be some time away, but HEVO will be testing the new stations – which look like, yes, manhole covers (see image) – beginning early next year with New… Read More

The best new cars for shoppers on a budget
New cars average around $30,000, but that’s a budget-buster for many buyers who just need basic transportation as a first or even second vehicle. So we went looking for 2014 bargain cars to meet that need and came up with 15 of the best, along with a bonus four vehicles that didn’t make the best-of lists we consulted. The top new car – the Chevrolet Sonic – was named by and and also was “recommended” by Consumer Reports’ New Car Preview 2014. Three other vehicles listed under $17,000 by and… Read More

Foreign-made new cars or made in the USA?
Drive around much and you’re sure to see what I see – a plethora of pickup trucks and seemingly foreign-made vehicles. I say seemingly with good reason. A lot of those “foreign-made” new cars actually are American-made, according to (Kelley Blue Book), albeit by U.S. operations of foreign automakers. “You wouldn't be shocked to find out that 6 of the 10 best-selling vehicles in the country are from foreign automakers,” says in an introduction to an online article on the subject. “But you might be surprised to learn that all 10 are… Read More