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Infotainment: Industry Roundup

Infotainment: Industry Roundup By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | May 2018 New cars these days are being filled with screens, from the central infotainment systems that sit atop the dash, to rear entertainment systems in family haulers. And screens that had previously been the domain of only luxury vehicles—like virtual instrument clusters and head-up displays (HUDs) that project an image within the driver’s sightlines—are now coming down to the less rarified air of mainstream vehicles. All of these screens are increasingly well-integrated so that they work together as a cohesive unit. With the growing number of ways we distract ourselves in our vehicles, car companies get a competitive advantage not only from creating systems that are a pleasure to interact with, but also from the ability to display information while minimizing diversion from the task of driving. The Motor Press Guild, a West Coast-based journalist group, recently gathered a host of cars together to give journalists and industry experts a chance to really fiddle around with their infotainment interfaces, and figure out how these systems really stack up. The day offered a nice mix of both mainstream and luxury systems, with a variety of features and unique selling propositions. Here’s a rundown of the infotainment systems we got to sample, and how they compare, including the following systems: Subaru STARLINK on the 2018 Crosstrek Mitsubishi Smartphone Link Thin Display Audio System on the 2018 Eclipse [...]

2018-05-30T19:23:38+00:00 May 2018|News, Research|

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

2019 Jaguar I-Pace A Worthy Adversary? By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | May 2018 The new Jaguar I-Pace kicks off a flurry of all-electric crossovers from luxury brands. It’s an exciting preview of things to come. What is this vehicle? With the prestige of the Tesla brand building so swiftly, and on the back of a single model, the luxury sector has taken notice. While the Model X crossover has not lived up to the high expectations, due to issues like cost and compromised utility, the consensus in the industry is still largely that whoever manages to create a vehicle that would combine a high-end battery-electric vehicle execution with SUV styling and space could be the first traditional brand to really break through in the electrified mobility race. And there are few brands more “traditional” than Jaguar. That’s not stopping them from putting forth a vehicle they believe will challenge Tesla for the EV crown, offering bold, sporty styling, an impeccable interior, and the type of range and performance that gets people excited about the EV experience. And because it’s been designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle, the I-Pace offers interior packaging that takes advantage of their inherent efficiencies, providing a bit more interior space and cargo room than similarly sized gas vehicles. Who is this vehicle for? The I-Pace is definitely aimed at the Tesla crowd, and other types [...]

2018-05-04T06:38:42+00:00 May 2018|Car Reviews, News|

JM Lexus – Women Leading the Luxury (Auto) Retailing Revolution

JM Lexus – Women Leading the Luxury (Auto) Retailing Revolution The Largest Lexus dealer in the country becomes a Lexus Plus dealer – to remain the best to customers and best for employees By Kevin Joostema, Partner, Car-ED.com / April 2018 Despite handling some of the largest luxury transactions any luxury customer may enter into, the luxury auto makers continue to sell and service vehicles like they have for generations.   While many other industries have seen tremendous innovations in luxury goods selling and  identifying ”experiences” for customers, particularly to attract the millennials to their brands, the luxury auto retailing giants remain a laggard. As new luxury brands come to exist and new challengers rise up once again, it is only through changing the customer experience that the brands can differentiate and create something new for buyers. Leadership by the JM Family Enterprises is across many fronts.   For one, they are leaders in recognizing that it all starts with the needs of customers and the workplace needs of employees – and how these two areas go hand-in-hand.  JM, as one of the largest private businesses in the US as well as one of Fortune’s Top 50 Best Places to Work, is obviously a leader on both fronts.  So customers should take note how JM is “running to the future” in luxury retailing. They have been the #1 Lexus dealer in the country in terms [...]

2018-05-03T00:27:07+00:00 Apr 2018|News|

Subaru Forester

Subaru Forester Staying a Successful Course By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | April 2018 Subaru unveiled its redesigned Forester at the New York International Auto Show recently. It's an important launch for a brand that seeks to continue its momentum in the hottest segment in the industry. What is this vehicle? The Forester is Subaru’s number-two selling nameplate, a compact crossover that is entering its fifth generation. Subaru is relying heavily on the Forester to keep its sales momentum going in the U.S. market, which have been growing for 10 years straight, so its redesign in the hottest segment is definitely something to watch. Subaru keeps the same formula, while making tweaks to size and specs to help its competitiveness against segment leaders like the Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue, and especially the Toyota RAV4, which also debuted at the New York Auto Show. Who is this vehicle for? Compact SUVs are taking over as the default choice for families, and indeed for many different types of consumers. One of the biggest flows of consumers between segments involves midsize sedan drivers trading into compact utilities, which offer similar interior room and pricing, but with better cargo space, a higher view of traffic and available all-wheel drive. This segment may have one of the most diverse buyer groups out there, attracting everyone from young people with active lifestyles who want to load it up [...]

2018-04-19T16:20:47+00:00 Apr 2018|Car Reviews, News|

Battery Electric Vehicles: What You Need To Know

Battery Electric Vehicles: What You Need To Know By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | April 2018 Over the years we’ve been taught to evaluate vehicles based on a few well-known metrics. Horsepower and fuel economy are two of the most familiar, with drivers fantasizing about the day when they draw upon the 500 horses under the hood on the way to getting 50 miles per gallon. But it was always a tradeoff, and this combination seemed beyond the realm of possibility. With our move toward electrification, however, we’re being asked to look at vehicles differently. Indeed, Tesla will sell you a Model S with over 500 hp that gets the equivalent of around 100 mpg. But there are other trade-offs now asked of us, particularly when it comes to refueling. It’s not possible to jump out of a battery electric vehicle (the category of EVs that lacks a “range extender” internal combustion engine) and restore its full range in a matter of a few minutes. But of course there are some positives, too. You can’t have your gas tank refilled overnight while you sleep, and each mile of range for your internal combustion car comes at a much higher price. With these differences in mind, we’ll lay out what the most important metrics are for evaluating BEVs, and how each one now available in new-car dealers stacks up. Range: How far can I go [...]

2018-04-11T20:14:47+00:00 Apr 2018|News, Research|

Toyota RAV4 & Corolla Hatchback

Toyota RAV4 & Corolla Hatchback Cores of the Brand By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | April 2018 Toyota debuted the new RAV4 and Corolla Hatchback at the New York International Auto Show on Wednesday. As Toyota's best-selling vehicle, the RAV4 is a particularly important launch. What is this vehicle? The RAV4 is a compact crossover, which follows a pretty similar formula to the outgoing model. It does, however, add some new features and a new approach to its trim lineup. The RAV4 invented the compact crossover segment, but as Toyota pointed out in its press conference, it wasn’t until the 3rd-generation model—when the brand really nailed the size equation, following the lead of the Honda CR-V—that sales really took off. The 2006 RAV4, which grew by nearly 15 inches in length, also more than doubled the sales of the 2005 model. The length has stayed nearly identical since then, with this new fifth generation coming down just 0.2 inches from the third- and fourth-gen vehicles—Toyota bragged that the RAV4 keeps its compact dimensions, unlike some competitors that have grown a bit unwieldy. The vehicle is now slightly lower and wider, and with a stiffer structure it should provide improved handling. Who is this vehicle for? Realistically, the new RAV4 will have wide-ranging appeal. It was the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. in 2017, aside from the domestic pickups, which indicates how complete the [...]

2018-04-05T16:47:58+00:00 Apr 2018|Car Reviews, News|

Electrified Vehicles: The Basics

Electrified Vehicles: The Basics By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | March 2018 With so many different categories, there is understandably some confusion among consumers about electrified vehicles. When we talk about “EVs” we usually mean vehicles that run only on electricity—the industry calls these Battery-Electric Vehicles (BEVs). But there are many categories of vehicles that have various degrees of electrification, and there can be overlap. If you’re thinking of electrifying your lifestyle, we’re here to help cut through the haze! What is an electrified vehicle? Before we get into the differences between all these categories, let’s talk about the similarities. Nearly all electrified vehicles have the goal of improving efficiency—there are a few that are just about performance, but you probably can’t afford one of those. Mostly they do this by keeping your car from giving off a bunch of heat, which would just be energy lost to the environment. If instead of creating heat the vehicle can use that energy in other ways, it can be much more efficient. Photo credit: Brembo Brakes are one great example. Most cars brake using friction, which heats up the calipers and rotors. Electrified cars use “regenerative braking,” which basically turns your brakes into little generators powered by the car’s momentum. While they’re slowing the car down, they’re also pumping that energy into a battery for later use. But the biggest creator of heat in [...]

2018-03-21T00:56:47+00:00 Mar 2018|News, Research|

Electric Vehicles: What’s the Deal?

Electric Vehicles: What's the Deal? By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | March 2018 The current moment seems to be quite the debutant ball for electric vehicles. Auto manufacturers have all, in turn, announced major commitments to electrifying their fleets, as a growing number of countries—largely in Europe, but including China and India—publicize plans to phase out internal combustion engines. But the picture is complicated by the demand side, where there seem to remain significant barriers to mass EV adoption. Here we’ll take a look at these developments and tease out some insights about what the future of the EV market might look like. Who’s banning traditional engines? Several countries have come out with policy stances that essentially aim to put internal combustion engines (ICEs) in the rear-view mirror. Norway is the most aggressive here, banning them by 2025, while India and the Netherlands peg the date at 2030 (this has also been proposed in Germany). Britain and France are more relaxed, with a target of 2040. China has yet to plant its own stake in the ground for a total ban, but the largest car market in the world has made regulatory moves that require its sales to comprise 10% EVs by next year and 12% by the following year. These are big jumps, considering the EV penetration in China in 2017 probably didn’t break 2%. Country Internal Combustion Ban Starts Norway 2025 [...]

2018-03-12T20:57:43+00:00 Mar 2018|News, Research|

2019 Volkswagen Arteon

2019 Volkswagen Arteon Can this new “Four-Door Coupe” stand out when all sedans now have this style? By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | Feb 2018 Among the handful of new model unveilings at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, the Volkswagen Arteon was among the most anticipated. The Arteon is the key to both VW’s design evolution and value proposition at a critical juncture for the brand. We were on hand for the Arteon’s official reveal and got a close-up look at this new flagship. Here are the details on the all-new VW Arteon. What is this vehicle? The Arteon is Volkswagen’s newest entry to the entry luxury midsize segment, intended to be the brand’s “halo car” and a “spiritual successor” to the CC. Though the Arteon is billed as a replacement for the CC, it’s quite a bit larger. The body is longer and wider, anchored by a wheelbase that is more than 5 inches longer than the CC. Volkswagen says the Arteon is “a true fastback,” due to its sloping rear roofline, but this car is functionally a midsize sedan, and that’s where it will compete. Who is this vehicle for? If you are planning to buy a midsize car in the near future, the Arteon is worth a look. Since VW hasn’t yet provided pricing, it’s tough to compare the Arteon to specific competitors, but we know the Arteon is [...]

2018-03-12T21:27:09+00:00 Feb 2018|News|

Ram 1500 MOPAR Accessories Overview

Ram 1500 MOPAR Accessories Overview MOPAR Unleashes the Most Customizable Truck Ever By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | Feb 2018 The MOPAR performance brand may be most closely associated with Dodge, but the Ram truck family has made it clear that it wants and will get a piece of that action. Ram unveiled the redesigned 1500 pickup in January at the Detroit Auto Show, but came to Chicago with even more to show off. The MOPAR line was the highlight of the brand’s presentation at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show. The Ram 1500 has the highest customer loyalty in the 1500 segment, beating out heavyweights like the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado. What is this vehicle? The 2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Sport 4x4 truck unveiled at the launch was finished in flame Red paint and customized with an outdoor enthusiast in mind. This model showed off the all-new Ram Rack adjustable storage system, designed specifically for cargo that doesn’t fit in the bed. In this case, two kayaks were secured to the rack, with the front ends strapped over the cab and the backs supported above the bed. This design leaves the bed open for more storage, and enables users to stand in the bed to secure and retrieve items on the rack. This item isn’t available yet, but MOPAR says it is on the way soon. The 1500 also showed off [...]

2018-03-12T20:23:09+00:00 Feb 2018|News|
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