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The Safest Cars for the Most Common Drivers

The Safest Cars for the Most Common Drivers

The financial cost of automobile accidents every year in the United States averages around 230 billion dollars. , in combination with Consumer Reports and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, compiled a list of the five safest cars for all types of drives.

Luxury Seekers: Volvo S80

Drivers have become more concerned with safety features for head-on collisions, as they are the most common type of fatal traffic accident. Unfortunately, the laws of physics always win over fancy safety features. In other words, size matters.

SUVs and trucks are heavier by nature, but also take longer to stop and are more susceptible to rollovers, another leading type of fatal traffic accidents. Russ Rader, a spokesman for a Virginia based insurance institute, explains that “The single most important contributor to a vehicle’s crash survivability is its mass”.

Sedans are a leader in safety innovation, particularly Volvo’s. Spearing no expense, the Volvo S80 ranked among the four safest “large” cars that were collision-tested by the Insurance Institute. The size, design durability and advanced technological features allow the Volvo S80 to be considered as one of the safest cars ever built. Drives experience automatic alerts to help alleviate everything from lane drifting to common bind spots.

Budget Conscious: Subaru Impreza Outback Sport

Ideally, the most affordable cars would be just as safe as the biggest cars out on the road. Experts agree though that over the years the gap has begun to widen. In the current state of the economy, car buyers are forced to weight price alongside, or even above, safety. Thankfully, the Subaru Impreza Outback Sport holds a position of a lower-cost car with high safety ratings.

Some models are priced under $20,000 and are one of only two cars to appear on both the Consumer Reports and IIHS safest car lists. The vehicle features reliable brakes, electronic stability control, all-wheel drive and great handling.

Green Guru’s: Honda Civic

While some of the most fuel efficient cars have proven to have no sudden acceleration problems, they also do not turn up among the two dozen models on the Insurance Institute’s safest cars list. The next best thing, the Honda Civic. The Honda Civic is the institute’s top-ranked small car. It is fuel efficient and had the highest of four possible ratings (“good”, as opposed to, “acceptable”, “marginal”, or “poor”) in all four crash tests (front, rear, side, rollover).

For the City Dwellers: Volvo XC60

While it is hard to get rear-ended on the subway, some city folks still want their automobiles. The Volvo XC60 is the only car on the road today to feature automatic braking. In stop and go situations, if someone in front of you suddenly stops, the Volvo XC60 will stop automatically if the driver doesn’t hit the break fast enough.

Country Roads: Ford F150

Forget fuel efficiency and rollover concerns – some people will drive nothing other than a pickup truck. That being the case, experts agree that the Ford F150 is a good choice. It scored high in rollover survivability tests and has good breaking power.

Honorable Mentions

Automotive experts stress the difficulty of trying to pick the singularly safest vehicles on the road. With new innovations and growing safety concerns, there are numerous safe cars for buyers to consider. Among those include: Audi A6, Acura RL, Volkswagon Golf, Toyota Tundra and Tacoma and the Honda Ridgeline.…

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The 2010 Subaru WRX

The 2010 Subaru WRX

The base model 2010 Subaru WRX is now as formidable in the performance department as the upscale WRX STI of last season. The best part is that it is now almost $10,000 less in initial price than any STI model for ’10 and still offers great engines and body styles to choose from. The WRX has a very distinct look and has been heralded for almost a decade now as one of the best cars available for US consumers. The patented all wheel drive system Subaru has placed in these cars makes them ideal for practically any road condition.

Outside, Subaru has given the WRX another facelift making it as distinctive, if not more so than any previous model year. Out is the old sedan style with traditionally sloped rear trunk and body panels. Instead of an abrupt end to the cabin and start of the trunk, the 2010 Subaru WRX gently flows body panels between the two. It will have to be seen whether or not this is a step in the right direction. Most consumers do agree however that the interior is more than adequate and offers a lot of options for customization.

The WRX comes in a base model, and STI package which is designed for ultimate performance. There is a substantial difference in price between the two, and the base model has been upgraded significantly since the previous model year. Base models are equipped with a 2.5 liter engine capable of 165 horsepower. They are offered with a five speed manual transmission or a four speed. STI models have a tweaked engine that is capable of even more horsepower and very pleasant performance.

Base WRX models come with practically every optional accessory imaginable. Of course, buyers can get a basic car that only comes with a few power accessories and limited amenities. Those looking to get the most out of their WRX are probably going to opt for quite a few interior additions that will more than likely see the price rise as well. Stereo systems, plush seats, friendly accessory panels, easy access to shift knobs and instrument clusters make these vehicles well loved by their owners. STI models come with slightly different body styles and interior accents. Again most of these can be customized in a wide variety of ways. On the outside a STI has body sills that may or may not add to performance.

As far as safety is concerned the all wheel drive system in these cars make them ideal for poor weather conditions. Though owners probably wouldn’t want to do too much off road driving with these vehicles, they are more than capable in situations where high clearance isn’t necessary. In crash test ratings these vehicles fair very well. Most tests have them receiving perfect scores in both front and side impact crash tests. Another bonus is the fact that these vehicles come with standard features like stability control, anti-lock brakes, front airbags, side airbags, full curtain airbags, head restraints, and a few other safety features. Drivers can be rather confident that they are in one of the safest vehicles in the class.

Consumers who are looking for a little extra performance out of a sedan may just find the WRX a true delight. The distinctive styling may be what keeps the 2010 Subaru WRX from becoming a mainstream vehicle however. The interior is one of the most well refined available and be customized in literally hundreds if not thousands of different ways. Under the hood, both the base WRX and STI models offer enough power to compete with the likes of a pony car.…

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Role of Hybrid Cars in the Current Auto Crisis

Role of Hybrid Cars in the Current Auto Crisis

The downfall of the economy has left a major effect on the automotive industry. The automotive industry crisis of 2008-2009 is just another of the unprecedented events in the car industry’s long history. The collapse of the economy and the consequent slowing down has affected the U.S. auto markets much more than the European or the Asian markets.

This fall started during the 2003-2008 energy crises that resulted in the collapse of poor fuel-efficient vehicles like sports utility vehicles and pickup trucks. The Big Three of the American market slowly had to admit their defeat when car sales began to slide. The rise in prices of raw materials that were essential for car manufacturing was another factor that led to its great plunge.

In the meantime, the Big Three, GM, Ford and Chrysler, were facing criticism for their irresponsible role in ignoring the impact their cars had on environmental politics. Al Gore, in the 2007 edition of his book, ‘An Inconvenient Truth”, said that these companies are “trying to sell large, inefficient gas-guzzlers” in spite of the poor demand for their products.

The U.S. auto’s fuel efficiency requirement was another critical aspect, which along with these other factors, made the market formulate a switch to European and Japanese cars for a solution. While the car manufacturers were striving for 45 mpg in Japan, 35 mpg in China, 52 mpg in the EU by 2012, this figure was a pitiful 25 mpg in the U.S. resulting in a public outcry. Moreover, the impact it would impose on the environment made it a major cause of worry for environmentalists and politicians alike.

As a result, in the middle of the auto crisis, some took this opportunity to present new potential options. These were hybrid cars. After the launch of the first hybrid car in 1999 in the U.S., the Honda Insight, there was no looking back. Statistics reveal that the first 17 sales in December 1999 was followed by the sale of 1.5 million hybrids.

Today the competition with hybrid car manufacturers has risen tremendously. Hybrid car manufacturers, like the 2010 Toyota Prius, 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid FWD and Honda Civic Hybrid 2010, aim at 51/48 mpg, 41/36 mpg and 40/45 mpg fuel efficiency, respectively, on both city roads and the highway. The increased efficiency of these cars brought down the cost to drive 125 miles to an amount between $1.71 and $1.31.

In the current economic crunch where every penny counts, hybrid cars ensure maximum service to its customers. Toyota, for example, offers a 100,000 mile warranty on the battery pack and emission components, and Honda offers an 80,000 mile warranty. The reduction in wear and tear results in better savings for consumers.

Annual greenhouse gas emissions are significantly lower, with the Honda Accord claiming 6.8 tons, and the Honda Civic Hybrid showing 4.4 tons annually, and an annual 8 tons for premier gasoline engine.

In short, with better fuel efficiency, interesting price ranges, attractive features and a faster payback period, these hybrid cars play a great role in the modern economic scenario.…

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Nissan GT-R – The Epoch-Making Car

Nissan GT-R – The Epoch-Making Car

When the Prince Automobile Company merged with Nissan-Datsun in 1967, it gave way to the beginning of new GT-R legend series. Though the super car came from the humble Nissan Skyline family saloon, it was right at the time when the FIA GT series was making waves in the market. Nissan wanted to take on the Porsche 904 in the Japanese Grand Prix since the earliest predecessor of the GTR, the S54 2000 GT-B, came second in the very first race in 1964. So in 1969, Nissan premiered its first race-spec GT-R and it overtook the Porsche 904 in the race. That was the beginning of the legend of the GTR Skyline.

Nissan rolled out the next generation of the GTR, a four-door sedan PGC10 2000 GTR. It was good enough to achieve 33 victories in a short span of one and a half year. In 1972, the Skyline GTR, which had 1000 victories, was discontinued by the company. The next year, it brought out a better version of Skyline GT-R, a 2-litre engine driving the rear wheels. The production was suddenly stopped in 1977 due to poor sales. The last of the original GTRs from the Nissan saloon was the KPGC110 2000GTR. But it was never used for race and is still kept at a unit as historical reference in Zama.

The setback of 1973 Skyline GT-R, which was powered by a 1989cc engine, was due to the oil crisis and it smothered the enthusiasm for high-performance cars in the market. Sixteen years later, in 1989 the new GT-R version of Skyline with advanced technologies like four-wheel drive system ‘Attesa-ETS’ and the Super-Hicas four-wheel steering was launched. It progressed from 1989 until 2002 in R32, R33 and R34 specifications. In 2007, Nissan displayed a redesigned concept. The new Nissan GT-R was based on this concept and did not carry the Skyline badge. Thus the Nissan Skyline GT-R, which has achieved great success on the race track, is still forms the heritage of Nissan.

In 2009, the Nissan reached an agreement with Federation Internationale de l’Automobile GT Championship (FIA GT1) to fine tune its performance to market the car to racing team. And in 2010, Nissan was declared the Official Vehicle Supplier for the new FIA GT1 World Championship in which it will supply four GT-R cars for each SRO event and one of its high performance vehicles will take the Official Safety Car role at each event.…

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The LFA – A New GREED of Lexus?

The LFA – A New GREED of Lexus?

So a long time friend of mine and I were having a discussion the other day while he was graciously helping me with a front end alignment on my Maxima. Side note: I have this issue with paying for anything I know I can do myself. Problem is, doing a quality front end alignment with today’s wheel and tire specs would require special, expensive equipment. Hence, I have my good friend graciously help! But I digress…

Our discussion steered onto the path of the Lexus LFA. I had mentioned the recent marketing machine Lexus has unleashed on mainstream media, most notably television and online. You all have seen the commercial; the LFA sits on a dyno inside of what appears to be a clean room designed by someone from TLC. Harmonics from the admittedly gorgeous sounding engine decimate a champagne flute which has been oddly placed in front of a microphone relaying the mechanical tune.

Much less obvious is the subliminal marketing message that is actually being sent; You can’t afford this, but you might be able to afford one of our IS F’s or LS’s. Come in and see… The focal point of our conversation was the lofty price tag of the LFA, which I could not believe was $375,000. That’s right… nearly 400,000 one dollar bills. This number alone flooded my mind with countless question after question. What type of F1 tech did Toyota (Lexus’ parent) incorporate? What secret skunk works laboratory developed this thing? And of course, how fast could this car go? I was a little surprised at what I found.

Lets look at a few numbers and facts about the LFA in order to present its case: Specs? Just a 4.8 Liter V10 rated at 552 HP redlining at 9,000 RPM, rolling on 60% carbon fiber construction. Performance? Only 0-60 in 3.7 seconds with a top speed of 202 MPH. Okay, not too shabby; not too shabby at all. And certainly don’t forget about the huge ceramic brakes and the one of a kind LCD instrument screen to add to the wow factor. What’s not to like?

Getting back to the point at hand, I thought it only fair to compare my findings to other vehicles carrying similar bloodlines. The car that kept turning up was the Nissan GT-R, of the Japanese Skyline legacy. The Nissan GT-R was released for sale in the US in 2009, and despite rumors of market saturation and expensive dealer requirements, is none the less a performance power to be reckoned with. So how does the GT-R stack up against the incumbent LFA? Lets first take a look at the tale of the tape with the Nissan numbers. Specs include a 3.8 liter twin turbocharged 24 valve V6 rated at 485 HP spinning up to a respectable 7,000 RPM. Performance measures up too; 0-60 in 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 193 MPH. Not a whole lot left to be desired here either. Not to mention all four of the 20″ ultra-lightweight forged alloy wheels get power. You are correct sir, the GT-R is all wheel drive.

Interestingly there was one enormous feature I did not find on the Nissan GT-R in my comparison to the Lexus LFA: the price tag. While the performance and technical specifications of the LFA and GT-R stack up very closely, the cost of the vehicles differ drastically. The new 2011 model year GT-R is listed at $84,060, less than one fourth the cost of the upcoming 2012 Lexus supercar. So while you may be light years from affording the newest addition to the Lexus lineup, you can take heart knowing that you are much closer to owning a worthy adversary. In fact, you are closer to owning a fleet of them.…

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Save Money Long Term by Buying a Honda Civic

Save Money Long Term by Buying a Honda Civic

You look in the fridge for something to eat but you remember that the price of your favorite breakfast dish had risen so you didn’t purchase enough during your last shopping trip. You go to the garage, start your car and thankfully you are on your way to work and you won’t be late this time round. Just to add some spice to your morning, the fuel gauge shows the tank is almost empty and you have to hope that your car can get to the next gas station.

Times are tough and things don’t seem to be getting any better. Fuel prices shot up and so did almost everything else. To make matters even worse there is talk of a looming economic recession. Credit cards are no longer popular and many are opting to use them as sparingly as possible.

Transportation takes a big chunk of our income these days. Most people have to use a car or some other means of transportation to get to work. Some even live in one city and must commute to work in another. Personal vehicles are therefore a basic need. With the current fuel prices though, owning a personal vehicle is slowly becoming more of a luxury. It is now clear that due to the current financial crisis as a result of the biting credit crunch many Americans are opting to use other means of transport instead of their cars.

This doesn’t have to be true for all owners of personal vehicles. With a Honda civic you don’t have to worry about the trends in fuel prices. The original two door coupe Honda Civic was introduced into the American market in 1972. Other models were introduced later and were found to be popular in the market as well. The fast growing popularity of the cars mainly was due to their fuel efficiency. The cars were also known to be environmentally friendly and reliable cars.

Honda civic models still hold a reputation for cost efficient fuel consumption. It is widely known that in 2008 due to high fuel prices, models of Honda civic cars were the top-selling vehicles in Canada. Following the weak economic trends, the vehicles also topped the sales lists in June 2008 in the United States.

If you are like everyone else, and want to save money in every possible way go to your nearest car dealer and ask about the Honda civic models in stock. Investing in a car that is fuel efficient will help you cut costs and save money for use elsewhere. You don’t need to worry about how much money you need to save for your fuel. This is an investment that will show returns in your finances in terms of how much you will save now since the car is environmentally friendly and in the future since the car is reliable.…

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Honda Cars

Honda Cars

Honda are one of the most recognised names in the world of motor car manufacturing and have earned a well deserved reputation for building quality vehicles that motorists around the world just love to drive.

Want to drive in style? Then consider the Honda Civic. The Civic comes as a 3-door, 5-door, Hybrid or Type R model. With a variety of options to choose from in the range as a whole the number of features which come as standard are mind boggling. They include SSD (solid state drive), an integrated satellite navigation system complete with traffic message channel and integrated Bluetooth on the top of the range Type S GT-T model.

Honda have learned valuable lessons from their involvement in Formula One motor racing to make the new Civic even better. Cruise control, audio, driver information and voice recognition satellite navigation have all combined to give what Honda call a “Dual Zone” drivers environment.

The Accord is one of Hondas top models and the latest range has added flair. The Accord comes in five options, the ES, ES GT, EX, EX GT and the top of the range Type S. The range comes with a choice of diesel or petrol engines and with manual or automatic transmission. The exception is the Type S which is powered via a 2.2 iDTEC engine with manual transmission.

Added to the Honda Accord range is the Tourer. The Accord Tourer offers the same choice of petrol engine as the rest of the Accord stable but for the first time offers automatic transmission with the diesel version.

The new CR-V range offers diesel performance as Honda have incorporated the 2.2 i-DTEC engine. The i-DTEC is a more powerful yet cleaner engine. It boasts enhanced acceleration and is hailed as one of the quietest diesel engines to have been developed. The CR-V also comes with a choice of automatic or manual transmission.

The Honda FR-V offers both style and comfort. The FR-V is a car built to carry up to six people. The style is exemplified by is chrome door handles, grille, and roof rails giving the car both a touch of elegance as well as a sporty look.

The company are rightly proud of their green credentials and they developed this a step further with the 1.3 IMA (Petrol Hybrid) CVT engine in their latest Honda Insight. This engine switches between electric and petrol power.

For those seeking a compact car the Honda Jazz is hard to beat. Compact it may be, but the Jazz offers plenty of space on the inside for both driver and passengers. The whole vehicle is a testament to the Honda design skills as they have managed to introduce a longer wheel base while compacting the engine space, to create more cabin and storage room.…

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1980’s Airwolf RC Helicopters

1980’s Airwolf RC Helicopters

Airwolf, the 1980’s hit show, took place in the Cold War Era and was based on a military crew and their Bell 222 helicopter which had a military code name of Airwolf hence the actual name of the show. The show was filled with action and espionage with the pilot on a mission to locate his brother who went missing in the Vietnam War.

The actual helicopter in the show was modeled after the real life Bell 222. This classic model developed by Bell in the early 1970’s could seat two pilots in the cabin and at least six additional passengers. It was made of light alloy and had the fuselage structured around the actual cabin. The fuel tank was an L-shape and was located at the back of the helicopter. It had turbo shaft engines and optional retractable undercarriage.

The actual helicopter in the show was grayish in color on the top and a silver whitish color beneath. For entertainment purpose there were many different props added to the plane which actually made it a very unrealistic aircraft. There was retractable machine guns, a retractable rocket launcher, prop twin turbo engines on the side, and a refueling nozzle on the inside which could be used to refuel while flying in the air.

On the show the helicopter was able to perform in ways that are not possible for such an aircraft. It could fly upside down and would travel at high speeds that are impossible for a helicopter to do. The name Airwolf came from the sound of the turbo boost engines made as the helicopter flew which sounded like a howling wolf flying across the sky.

In the mid 1980’s the series, Airwolf, was finished but helicopter that stared in the show lives on today. Many Airwolf RC helicopters are made to meet the demands of collectors and hobbyists. The Airwolf RC helicopters are made in all different sizes and at different levels for beginners or experienced users. They are all model Bell 222’s but with the added features or props that were used in the show such as the retractable machine guns, retractable rocket launcher, and twin turbo engines on the sides.…