Cars Blog

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 9:55 am
By Claes Bell, CFA · Bankrate.com

Last week product research firm J.D. Power released some surprising news: Not only did the initial quality of U.S. cars increase less than the usual 3 percent, but the lackluster performance overall was attributed to Japanese automakers, particularly Toyota. J.D. Power uses a simple formula to measure a car’s initial quality — it divides the

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Tags: Cars, Toyota
Saturday, June 19, 2010 9:25 am
By Claes Bell, CFA · Bankrate.com

Writing about the new Ford Explorer got me wondering about how I became so shamefully biased toward hatchbacks and station wagons over SUVs. Part of it, I’m sure, is that one side of my family, including my mom, is Swedish. Euros are completely head-over-heals in love with hatchback cars and station wagons. In Europe, “estates,”

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 11:03 am
By Claes Bell, CFA · Bankrate.com

Trying to decide between buying new car and buying used can be difficult. I bought my first — and probably last — new car a little over two and a half years ago. I paid around $22,000 for my 2008 Mazdaspeed 3 in the fall of 2007. At the time I was living in a

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Tags: Cars
Wednesday, June 16, 2010 2:52 pm
By Claes Bell, CFA · Bankrate.com

I’ve been doing some research on the history of auto recalls for an article that will be coming out soon, and what struck me was how far the U.S. has come in holding auto companies accountable for car safety. I’m not saying it’s perfect by any means, but it’s a heck of a lot better

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Saturday, June 12, 2010 9:25 am
By Claes Bell, CFA · Bankrate.com

The upcoming 2011 Ford Explorer, far from being the traditional SUV it appears to be, is actually leading a double life. It’s public face is a flagship American SUV, posturing about off-roading, mountain biking and kayaking in ads. But truth be told, it would rather be driving sedately down a nice suburban road somewhere, loaded

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Tags: Ford, SUV
Thursday, June 10, 2010 11:21 am
By Claes Bell, CFA · Bankrate.com

With the approaching debut of its Equus model, Hyundai is headed farther down a path taken by many foreign automakers with varying levels of success: creating a luxury line of cars to compete in the U.S. premium market. The Korean automaker is betting big — it spent $260 million just developing the all-aluminum V-8 that

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010 12:53 pm
By Claes Bell, CFA · Bankrate.com

Planning on buying a car soon? Like it or not, your purchasing decision, whatever it ends up being, will probably be influenced in some form by advertising. Car advertising is so ubiquitous and sophisticated that even the most hard-nosed, comparison-shopping frugality expert can’t completely discount its effects on his or her car buying process. Just

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Friday, June 4, 2010 2:20 pm
By Claes Bell, CFA · Bankrate.com

I took a long road trip up to Tennessee over the Memorial Day weekend, and one thing that struck me was how much the Gulf oil spill has changed the way I think about cars. There’s always been a tension between my love of cars (especially cars with powerful engines) and my conviction that our

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Thursday, June 3, 2010 10:40 am
By Claes Bell, CFA · Bankrate.com

Mercury had all the hallmarks of an American car brand on death’s door: a frumpy image, declining sales, a thin lineup of models and no clear path toward relevance. And so, in the wake of another disappointing sales month (down 10.7 percent to 9,128 vehicles), Ford has decided to shutter it for good. I have

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Tags: Cars, Ford, Mercury
Saturday, May 29, 2010 12:03 pm
By Claes Bell, CFA · Bankrate.com

I’ve been writing about the economic viability of electric cars lately. I’ve wondered whether Americans will accept cars with substantially shorter range than conventional cars, and whether the infrastructure needed to support electric cars would ever become a national reality. I’ve hoped the answer is yes, because there are a lot of things I like

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