How to take the stress out of buying a new car

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Buying a new car can be a very stressful experience. There’s a lot riding on the outcome: even an inexpensive car can be a significant financial investment. Ideally, you and your car will be together for a long time, so there’s a lot of pressure to choose the right one. In addition, buyers, particularly first-time buyers, find themselves bombarded by information. This car costs less, but might be more costly to run, while another might be more expensive but help you save money over the long run. How do you sort through all the available information to find the right vehicle for you? Fortunately, there are a few ways to reduce some of the stress of buying a new car.

Decide what you’re looking for

Knowing what you want in advance can save you a lot of stress before you get to the dealership. A lot of the stress of car shopping comes from uncertainty; it’s much easier to decide what you want and then see if a dealership has it than to decide what you want while a salesman is trying to pressure you. Consider your budget and the features you need. Don’t just consider the car, but other factors such as insurance. Choosing the right car can not only save money on operating costs but also keep the price of new drivers insurance down.

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Top 5 stylish cars

Like any top 5 or best of list – greatest songs, Ashton Kutchers worst rom-com, most delightful hamburger combination – there is always, without a doubt, a hot debate over the dinner table which usually results in someone with a sausage and a spoonful of potato mash in the face. There is one debate that has been raging on for years and probably will for years to come: The top five stylish rides. We don’t care about the performance or the power, this is all about cars that are dripping in cool factor. Rides that make you want to don your finest suit and tie. Ones that make you want to roll down the windows are glare at the common folk. And in return they’d think, wow that guy is a douche. We are talking cars that, as Top Gears James May Esq would say, make you all a bit fizzy. So without further a-do here is our pick for the top five stylish rides.

1964 Aston Martin DB5

Article Aston Martin DB5 James Bond

Can’t think of a better way to spend that $4 million you’ve got stashed in your secret underground garage? Yeah? Me either. Might as well spend it on that dream you’ve always had to own a 1964 Aston Martin DB5 – the quintessential ride for any would-be James Bond. Use your newly acquired suit and tie to re-create one of the most legendary images in cinematic history – Sean Connery resting on the side of the the bonnet; your smouldering gaze not giving away a single emotion. Of course, on the inside you’re absolutely giddy!

1932 Bugatti Royale

Taking a stroll through the cobble-stoned alleyways just ain’t what it used to be. The young’uns have no respect for your good ol’ fashioned monocle and pipe. How uncouth! Show them how common they are with a 1932 Bugatti Royale. Those darn kids won’t be taking up your cobblestones anymore, this twenty one foot beast is big enough to force them off the roads.

Jaguar F Type Coupe

Jaguar F-Type Coupe

Ok, so we had to add a vehicle to this list that was actually attainable – to some degree (I don’t know your fiscal situation.) This bad boy is hot off the press, and by press I mean manufacturers line. It asserts itself as the most dynamic model built by Jaguar. It’s set to be released for the showrooms early 2015, so you’ve got plenty of time to scrap together your pennies and put a deposit on Jaguars new bloodline, otherwise you can get your heart racing and test drive a Jaguar at any dealer.

Ferrari La Ferrari

4 Ferrari LaFerrari

Ferrari La Ferrari may not get the award for most creative model name (Italian for The Ferrari) but what it lacks in name, it makes up for in sheer style. While we didn’t want to discuss power or performance, you can’t ever prepare yourself for feeling when you hit the defibrillator on this bad boy and boost yourself up to 950 horse power. Once again, I have to disappoint, Ferrari is only handing out these vehicles to the rich and elite. However, a casual scroll through Dubai Craiglist and you might pick yourself up a second hand one.

Mercedes 300SL Gullwing

Perfect for cruising around the cliffs in the countryside, the Mercedes 300SL Gullwing is by far the sexiest and most stylish coupe ever. If ever you wanted to make the ladies swoon, this is the car to do it in. So what if the brakes are poor, or the chassis is unstable. That doesn’t matter when you are driving the first car to ever receive gullwing doors.

Did your favourite car make this list? Let us know what your dream car is in the comments below.

Marry Barra and a new era at General Motors

1 2015 Cadillac Escalade

What a difference a couple of years makes. GM was left for dead by many after the 2008 economic meltdown. In our polarized political climate, it seemed that watching GM collapse was essential to validate their view of the world. The notion that the government would extend a lifeline and not let GM and Chrysler liquidate was heresy in many circles. Never mind that it would have decimated countless auto suppliers as well and destroyed hundreds of thousands of jobs.

The auto bailout, however, was much more than a government handout. It was an event that made it possible to make stryctural changes to GM that were necessary for the company’s survival and long term health. But even after the bailout, many were skeptical that GM could survive, let alone thrive. This is where the new management team found itself, and they deserve credit for moving the company forward. BusinessWeek noted the progress as GM made the hsitoric announcement that Mary Barra would take over as the new CEO:

As Barra takes charge, GM is looking stronger than it has in decades. It’s in its third straight profitable year and feasting on the fruits of bankruptcy, which in its case include lower labor costs, less debt, and the elimination of weak brands and redundant dealers. Brian Johnson, an analyst with Barclays (BCS), expects it to earn about $6 billion in 2013. As the automaker sees the benefits of all the products it’s launching and additional cost reductions, its profit could reach $10 billion in 2017, according to Johnson. In 2010, GM had the second-biggest initial public offering in U.S. history; shares are trading at a high; the company returned to the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index; and it won back an investment-grade credit rating for the first time in eight years from Moody’s (MCO). Warren Buffett has been buying the stock. China, where Buick is a status symbol—it was the ride of China’s last emperor—is now the company’s biggest market.

And GM is no longer “Government Motors.” On Dec. 9, the day before Akerson announced his retirement, the Department of the Treasury, which had been selling about 1 million GM shares a day as the year was ending, declared it had sold the last. The federal government will recoup about $39 billion of its $50 billion investment. Supporters of the Obama administration’s decision to take over GM, who now include Akerson, contend that the jobs saved at both the company and its huge network of suppliers more than repaid U.S. taxpayers. According to the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., the takeover preserved 2.6 million jobs in 2009 at automakers and companies that depend on the industry. The center calculates that a collapse would have eliminated $284 billion in personal income in 2009 and 2010 and cost the federal government $105 billion in unemployment benefits and reduced Social Security contributions. GM says it has invested $8.8 billion in U.S. facilities since 2009 and created 25,500 jobs for new and existing workers.

Barra’s promotion is historic given her gender, but it also marks a new era in the history of GM. The bailout years are now behind the company, and Barra has an opportunity to continue the progress made over the past 5 years. Read the entire article, as she seems particularly qualified to lead this effort.

Ford reveals 50th Anniversary Mustang

The wait is finally over. Ford has revealed the all-new 2015 Mustang which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of this iconic nameplate. Ford had achieved great success with the current version of the Mustang with its retro design, so the bar was set very high with this new redesign. Opinions will likely vary, especially among purists who are very hard to please. In many ways this design is more evolutionary and incremental as opposed to something radical. It looks like the current body style was simply modified to look more modern and more like the rest of the current Ford lineup. Still, it’s unmistakably a Mustang, and that should please many fans.

The front view of the vehicle offers the most noticeable design change with the more modern looking headlamps. The front facia still looks like a Mustang, but now we’re seeing something more like the uninspired looks of the car from the 1990s. Meanwhile, the fastback rear end seems like the most aggressive part of the new vehicle and may save the overall design.

Some on the fan message boards are deriding the new design as looking like an Accord Coupe, but there was no way Ford was going to get a more modern design without getting some of this negative criticism. The retro Mustang was a massive hit, but it had lost its sales lead to the new, retro Camaro. Ford had to move on and the 50th anniversary offered the ideal opportunity.

The design provides a lower, wider stance with a reduction in roof height and wider rear fender. The return of Mustang fastback with a sleeker profile enabled by more steeply sloped windshield and rear glass.

Ford sees the new Mustang as a world car, so they will be aggressive about marketing this American icon overseas. Also, there are plenty of improvements to the vehicle as well that will please consumers.

The Mustang will now be available with three engines – a more powerful 5.0-liter V8, a 3.7-liter V6 and an all-new fuel-efficient 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine. With the emphasis these days on gas mileage that should help the vehicle appeal to a broader audience. The robust 5.0-liter V8 available in the Mustang GT will feature an upgraded valvetrain and cylinder heads that yield more than 420 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque. The standard 3.7-liter V6 will have at least 300 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. Meanwhile, the Mustang EcoBoost engine uses direct injection, variable cam timing and turbocharging to provide both power and projected segment-leading fuel efficiency. Output is projected at more than 305 horsepower and 300 lb.-ft. of torque. It will be interesting to see the sales breakdown and how these engines feel in terms of power.

Ford is emphasizing that the new Mustang will be more nimble with better handling. The goal was to surpass the handling dynamics achieved in the recent Boss 302. Ford explains that the new Mustang features all-new front and rear suspension systems. At the front, a new perimeter subframe helps to stiffen the structure while reducing mass, providing a better foundation for more predictable wheel control that benefits handling, steering and ride. At the rear is an all-new integral-link independent rear suspension which might not please some of the purists. The vihicle has been modified and tuned for this high-performance application.

This new Mustang will generate considerable buzz and we’ll see how fans react when it goes on sale next year.

Throwback Thursday: Marisa Miller in a vintage Thunderbird

Here’s a great pairing – the beautiful Marisa Miller driving a vintage Ford Thunderbird convertible!

Happy Thanksgiving!

1994 Viper on eBay for $37,000?

This one caught our eye on Twitter.

Valvoline commercial features some great classic cars

This Valvoline commercial released several months ago is definitely cool as it celebrates anyone looking for more speed from their cars. Here’s a list of the vehicles you’ll see in the commercial and the connection to Valvoline:

- Early 1900’s Model T – 1920. When the Model-T is mass produced with a side-valve 4-cyluinder engine, only one motor oils is recommended to keep them all running… Valvoline In face, each car has a plaque mounted on the dash panel that reads, “This car is filled with Valvoline light motor oil. We recommend its use. No other oil should be used in this car.”

- 1950’s Hot Rod – With the economy in high gear, hot rods are all the rage and people are driving them more often. Automakers shift to the powerful overhead valve V8 engine. Valvoline responds with its all-climate oil, so people don’t have to switch oils every season

- 1970’s Dodge Charger – 1978. As more drivers hit the road, they become more comfortable in their own garages. Valvoline gives DIY car guys a leg up by posting oil change instructions on its labels.

- 1980’s Pontiac Firebird – 1985. Overhead cams and electronic fuel injection systems start appearing in many cars, making them more reliable and their engines longer lasting. To withstand increasingly hotter engine temperatures, Valvoline introduces its first synthetic blend of motor oil.

- Modern Day Mustang – In response to the aging population of cars from the 80s and 90s, Valvoline develops MaxLife, which restores lost horsepower in cars with over 75,000 miles

Check it out.

Volvo ad featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme goes viral

This new Volvo commercial featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme has become an online sensation. Watch it and you’ll figure out why. The commercial is intended to promote Volvo Dynamic Steering. I’m not sure how many people will get that message, but Van Damme will certainly benefit from this.

Muscle cars are stolen most often

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The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released statistics regarding the most stolen “sporty” cars and topping the list were the Chevy Camaro, the Ford Mustang and the Dodge Challenger in that order. Given the number of these cars of the street these numbers shouldn’t be surprising. If you have one of these muscle cars you need to make sure your car insurance is in order and covers theft along with general liability as you’d be foolish to risk losing everything.

The retro designs for these three vehicles have been huge hits over the past decade. The Mustang was the sales leader but then the retro Camaro took the top spot. Now Ford is redesigning the Mustang for the 50th anniversary in one of the most anticipated redesigns in recent memory. Let’s see if the new one generates as much passion.

Another Tesla Model S fire

Here’s the latest news on the third fire reported for the Tesla Model S. Tesla has sold over 19,000 of the all-electric Model S sedans but this news threatens to change the mostly positive image the company has created over the years.