The Word about Electric Cars

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It seems that many manufacturers are looking at electric cars to save the car industry, but what do the people who drive vehicles say about it? Does it look like a viable option?

Here are the pluses and minuses according to Debate.org.

PLUSES

It seems to be relatively cheaper to charge a car than to fill up a tank of gas. An average tank of gas costs $45 but an electric car takes $10 to charge.

Operating an EV puts out no toxic engine toxins emissions which improves are quality—an environmental plus.

Apparently electric cars look better than gas powered cars. This must be taken with a grain of salt based upon the particular audience polled for this debate It’s surely possible to make gas powered cars look as good as the electric version, but one can certainly observe that the intent of manufacturers to create a certain aesthetic.

Because there isn’t engine noise, EVs don’t create noise pollution.

Some believe that environmental practices need to change across the board and starting anywhere is a first step to a better world. That putting the cart before the horse for a time is okay because the horse will catch up eventually.

MINUSES

It is probably unlikely that electric vehicles will stop pollution as the electricity needs to come from somewhere. Many people acknowledge that you are just changing what you’re contaminating the environment with.

They also have a greater risk of breaking down in the middle of the street. This means the national transportation grid is weaker by the amount of EVs on the road. What is the cost financially and environmentally for having to roll more tow trucks out each day? No one knows because it’s not PC to ask.

Another uncomfortable truth is that it takes from thirty minutes to eight hours to charge the car up. This is all right if you want to use the car just to head out to the work; it’s not quite so good if you want to use the car throughout the day.

On the topic of refuelling–there currently isn’t an extensive infrastructure to support refuelling. In order to overcome the time factor, many grocery stores are creating charging stations so you can refuel while the car would be sitting idle anyway. This begs the question, how are state and local governments going to recoup the road tax on these vehicles?

EVs have a limited range. So do ICE cars. But with the time to refuel it’s more of an issue to run out. Also you can’t walk to the closest station and bring some electricity back with you. You essentially turn every out of gas experience into a costly tow.

Many people feel that “green washing” draws money and focus away from really dealing with transportation issues on a larger scale.

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The result of the Debate.org’s poll was 65% of people were pro electric cars, while 35% of people were against them. As Jack Gillis of the Washington Post experimented with owning and operating an EV and concluded that, though there was a significant tax advantage to buying an EV they weren’t more intrinsically cost effective. Once Congress discontinues the tax incentives the market could vanish. The real answer is to create a sustainable market for EVs but it’s difficult to manufacture consumer demand. It’s also likely that oil companies will mettle with any attempt get this industry to function on its own.

But whether you back the gas side or the electric side things do seem to be up in the air at the moment. So what about the best of both worlds, the hybrid?

The hybrid’s ability to generate it’s own electricity unchains it from the long charge time and short range. It takes the need for a tow back to normal levels. It does away with the short mileage issues and you won’t need to create an entire special infrastructure to accommodate its need to charge. Then again if you don’t force people to use electric will they build the infrastructure and are you really saving the environment? Well it’s a step in the right direction, a baby step, but perhaps a sustainable baby step.

It may be that, or back to the drawing board.

 

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Free Spirit and Cars

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Advertisers tend to have a problem marketing products to the free spirited, but not so much with cars. It’s understandable, the idea of having a car and obtaining your freedom.

kombi-2400356_1920No one likes to think they are susceptible to advertising, least of all the Free Spirit. That’s why advertisers go to what they call “the Sage” or “the Yoda.”

When selling to the average car consumer its all about luxury, so the standard advice is “sex sells.” The Free Spirit tends to desire living within your means—not they always do so, but its an ideal to hold up to. So this needs a work around in any campaign.

Honda’s Power of Dreams campaign might be one such example. It is based on making our dreams a reality, which is slightly different campaign from just marketing to a free spirit but is still in the same ballpark. It uses 3,000 illustrations in a flip book animation of an engine turning into a real car in the hopes of inspiring innovators to come and work for Honda. Many innovators can be found among Free Spirits.

It’s always nice when you can advertise a job and reinforce your brand at the same time. But does Honda’s Power of Dreams work? It probably depends on what you’re measuring. For sales, yes, Honda is the most sold car in many markets, including the U.S. Not so much on the race course, it seems. In the recent Red Bull race, Honda took third place.

Maybe too much success is a bad thing, as noted by Honda’s advertisement called “Failure: The Secret of Success,” set in Honda’s race industry. It consists of many interviews with engineers, which doesn’t sound like a riveting advert to me, but then I’m not an advertiser.

adult-2822644_1920What kind of Ads you ask?

The free spirit and the open road are a theme on TV advertisements but also can be seen on billboards. One local billboard entitled “raise the roof convertible” depicted a man in sunglasses driving and a woman with a parasol sitting on the hood of the car. Talk about mixed imagery. So sex and free spirit work together in some adverts.

Cars names Free Spirit

On the subject of marketing a number of brands have used the Free Spirit name, though you might not have heard of any of them. The Buick Century Free Spirit Pace Car for example was created to celebrate the bicentenary of the United States. Obvious the colors were red and blue the design was wavy lines, bringing to mind the Stars and Stripes which almost everyone associates freedom—except Hippies, the biggest Free Spirits of them all. Rather something more associated with patriotism than “anything goes.” Ironically, despite being a “free spirit” car it seemed to be made for roads, rather than being an all-terrain vehicle. Definitely designed for someone tied to the system rather than a free soul.

 

Free spirit car movies

Linking a film about a free spirit and a car seems like a good idea, though as with most things nowadays it started off on social media. A road movie about a school dropout making the journey across America, the van has a fiery design with a symbolic coyote. If you haven’t heard of Free Spirit, that may be because it was a short film and wasn’t shown in most theaters. Nevertheless the use of vans with the Free Spirit images worked well as a promotion. It was especially popular at Universities.

So even if you are free, prepare to be targeted by car advertisers! And watch out for tricks by “the man.”

The Project

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OP-ED by Paul Wimsett and A.R. Bunch

The Project, or low buck car, is that vehicle in your driveway or garage that’s falling apart even as you try to get it running. It may need certain bits which are impossible to find, it may be lacking the right paperwork to go on the road. Or, maybe its lacking some bits which ARE possible to find, you just haven’t got round to them yet.

Maybe you have a project house, or a house full of projects really; it’s just something that consumes all your time and money. So it’s a good idea before you commit to buying the project car you work out how much it’s going to cost to restore—then add 25%.

So what kind of project do you want? Something vintage; something sporty; something a bit more obscure? There are so many choices, which is why you need to plan.

What type of car can become a project car?

Well any car, although a search online refers to Mustangs, Chevrolets, Buicks and old Fords. These may take a great deal of work but it seems that you’ll find the parts easier than more obscure car makes.

vehicle-2096104_1920One special type of project, called a rat rod, imitates the hot rods of the 40s, 50s and 60s. The idea is to create your own style using previous designs often leaving it rustic, or just rusty. The goal is to have a car which runs for a bit cheaper than a vintage restored 1940s hot rod, (in truth not much cheaper).

Where to do your Project?

Whether you chose to restore your project immediately or not, you’re probably in need of some off-road storage. Have you got somewhere permanent? It’s no good just storing at a friend’s garage because sooner or later they will want the space back.

Here’s a crazy mistake made way too often—is the garage too small for the car? Yes, it does sound obvious, and yes many a homebrew wrencher has moved their project across town only to find it won’t fit! The more time you spend making arrangements for you project the less time you have to work on your project.

Transporting your Project

When it comes to picking up the car you’ll need a trailer and (if you’ve thought about this carefully you’ve probably already realized this) another car. Could you lease a car and a trailer? That’s possible, but again it eats into your budget.

Time

The next part of it is time. You’ll need time to work on fixing the car true, but you’ll even need time to plan when things go wrong or circumstances change. You may need to say goodbye to your friends for a while. And how long really do want to spend fixing the car? After all, you might only be doing it to impress your circle of friends.

Speaking of which, have you told your spouse what you’re up to. How many hours will this project take per week? Is that the same number in your spouse’s brain? Don’t lose a partner over a car. Well maybe, but don’t lose it over not communicating about a car. There, that’s more like it.

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What will you use the car for?

When you do finally fix the car will it work on normal gas or does it need premium? If the latter there’s another debit you need to account for. Lots of people make vehicles they can’t really afford to show off. Do you need special insurance, or special licence plates?

How safe will the car be on the road? Remember, it’s unlikely you will have all the proper paperwork about the car. Even if you do fix some problems will the car be as safe as a regular car? Check your local DMV’s website or talk to other restoration specialists to learn the local process for getting your car declared roadworthy.

It’s definitely a commitment and not for the faint-hearted. If you stick it out to the end you may have the car you always dreamed of for the price of sweat equity. But if you pick your project because it’s a good deal and you haven’t yet thought up how you’re going to use it, well, you could end up with a black hole that absorbs your money and time.

What is it with America and Pickups?

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OP-ED by A. R. Bunch & P. Wimsett

When you talk about the all-American car you might picture the Cadillac, but really it’s the pickup.

pinup-girl-1967007_1920The American romance with a pickup began, no doubt, with our roots in farming. Actually a lot of the world has farms, but in America they’re spread out. The distance between farms and the condition of the roads are a factor when you have a lot of privately owned farms spread about the less populated areas. You need a vehicle that can transport a variety of goods for long distances but can also traverse rural roads. They are the successor to the horse and wagon really.

The original roads in America were long but incredibly muddy and full of potholes, so early features desirable in a truck were 4×4 and V8 power. The 8 valve engine allowed for power, and fast acceleration and it became the most commercially successful engine for decades.

classic-pickup-4215684_1920Could manufacturers have gone to V10? Sure but the added weight didn’t boost the power enough justify the added cost to build. The V12 did become a thing, but usually in sports cars, because the only reason for a vehicle to have 12 valves was for the smoother operation. If you needed more power than a V8 gas engine, then buy a V8 diesel.

As technology improved the power you could get per valve and gas prices climbed, we got the V6 truck and eventually the “four banger,” but that’s a topic for later in the post.

Why are Pickups more Popular than Ever?

Whereas the old pickup trucks which simply about basic transport, the modern type look more to luxury, one example being the GMC Canyon which Caranddriver.com believe the manufacturers have a model which “spruces up the interior and imbues the exterior with some bling.”

Clearly the buyer is not just the rural yokel, anymore.

In 2018, sales of “large pickups rose by 2.1%, according to Carsalesbase.com. A “large pickups” has a carrying capacity of one half-ton or more. The basic size categories of large pickup are half-ton, three-quarter-ton, and one-ton.

Examples of the large pickup include the Chevrolet Silverado and the RAM 1500. The biggest seller remains the Ford F-series.

pickup-2699155_1920A new player in the market is the Nissan Titan. Although launched about fifteen years ago sales have yet to reach the heights of the Chevrolet, much less Ford. It may be that people associate the name Nissan with vans more than pickups. The Titan is not without its good points, apparently, comfortable seats and a new “infotainment unit” as they call the audio/video system.

My sources are confused as to whether the Frontier is a large pickup (Carmax.com) or a small pickup (Forbes.com); let’s call it mid-sized.  The sales seem to be stalling and the automatic transmission of the Frontier and the choice of three different color schemes might not be enough to save it. While it is floundering in the US market, it should be noted that it wasn’t especially targeted to garner US sales.

Nissan may have felt it the psychology of a US truck-buyer was probably not going to buy a non-US truck, no matter how affordable they make it.

Speaking of Mid-sized and Small Pickups

The fact that smaller pickups exist makes it even more confusing as to why Americans are still snapping up large trucks. While the fuel economy of pickups has radically improved there are still more practical options for urban drivers.

Why are so many city dwellers giving themselves heartburn trying to find a parking spot? Why are they making King Cab pickups so a family can use them, when a minivan is a clearly better fit?

pickup-truck-3566293_1920The answer may be that a pickups true competition is the sports car. This is counter intuitive, but a pickup is primarily a second vehicle (that’s brain twister I know). Someone in the nuclear family must drive a primary vehicle, which will either be a family transporter or a small fuel efficient car. That leaves the second person to choose between a small ports car or a truck. As nice as it is to save gas on a sporty little vehicle most people would rather have a nice truck then the third favourite sports car (which is the one they can afford).

Since the truck comes in handy for fetching furniture or moving your home, etc. it becomes the more practical choice.

PS: What about an SUV though? Well, the SUV is really todays version of the 90s minivan, which is in turn the remake of a70’s & 80’s station wagon, which only exists because car-makers shrank the sedan.

LOL, now that we’ve offended just about everyone, let’s end this post. Ya’ll have a good night, ya’hear?

The Future of Cars – Steel Or Silicon? (Part 1)

Steel or Silicon

Donald Trump seems to think the future of car production in this country is all about controlling the price of steel and aluminium, but it might come down to silicon instead. This first article will cover what’s happening in the US. Part 2 will go into the changes in Asia and elsewhere.

How long has computer technology been linked to cars? Amazingly, an automated navigation device was first placed in a car in the 1930s, but it mainly consisted of a map on a roll. As you journeyed along the road, you could adjust the dial and travel along the map. Presumably if you traveled the other way along the road, you could adjust the dial the other way. (The real problem was if you went on a road that wasn’t important enough to have one of these maps.)

The first SatNav as we would understand it happened in 1985 with the Etak Navigator. Like most tech at the time the drive was stored on a cassette tape. It still didn’t give you directions; it showed you what the road should be like according to the records. The city of LA could only be stored in four cassettes. The first SatNav with a voice to guide you was created by Mazda in 1990.

Surprisingly, a radios wasn’t even stock in most cars during the 1960 but it didn’t take long to go from radio to 8-track, to cassette. The first Compact Disc device installed in a car was the CD-X in 1984. We can’t find a record of which manufacturer first to install a mobile download system, but it was sometime around the beginnings of 2010.

look-out-of-the-window-2121134_1920We are so used to opening our windows electronically that we rarely think of it as technology at all. The power window seems to go back all the way to 1947 to the Cadillac Fleetwood. However the system was not (still is not) fool-proof. Power windows have produced injuries and even fatalities when obstacles got caught up in the window.

The early concern was that a power window wouldn’t go down if a car became submerged, thereby preventing occupants from being able to equalize pressure and open the door. But think about trying to crank down a manual window while your car sinks slowly into the murky darkness and water pours in on you…truth be told you are best off to keep a device nearby that can smash your window out.

The US government is trying to make these windows safer with items like a lockout switch but safety campaigners warn that injuries can still occur. See the Wikipedia article on Power Windows. As regards automatic sunroofs, well there are so many different types that they deserve an article on their own.

Of course self-driving (AVs) might seem an obvious thing to talk about next, but at this time they’re only for display purposes. The Aptiv for instance although operating in Las Vegas has a real human behind the wheel and the same thing with the Chevy Bolt.

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Power assisted steering comes from 1951 from a Chrysler model, this however used hydraulics. The first electrical power steering was created for the Porsche 911 in 1963. The great advantage for electrics over hydraulics in the lack of wires making it much more efficient and less likely to overheat.

So “The Donald’s” efforts to promote jobs in the legacy American Auto Industry with heavy metal will have some impact on frame-and-body but there’s already a lot more going on inside the automotive brain, which could be a better source of jobs.

 

Patriotic Cars

 

alexandria-3773138_1920Op-Ed by Staff

When it comes to giving cars a paint job, you can do worse than choosing the stars and stripes design, it has been used on giant diesel trucks, on VW buses, even on the iconic pickup. Some designs use a static style flag; others choose a dynamic design which looks as if the flag is waving in the breeze.

It is not necessary to stick a stars and stripes design all over a car, sometimes only the hood is painted, sometimes only the roof. It all depends on individual tastes. It’s certainly possible to go too far.

If you don’t want to actually paint the flag on your car you could use a vinyl wrap. Wraps work like a sticker and cover a car in a way that’s durable and cost-effective. NASCAR uses wraps to decorate their cars since they often change sponsors and often take damage.

Should you not wish to paint or wrap your car you can invest in a window screen with the American flag on it, or a stars and stripes style license plate holder. It is a very lucrative market and many car accessories sellers can assist you.

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(https://www.motor1.com/news/98578/corvette-ferrari-le-mans-feature/)

The famous red racing Corvette shows how you can have a design which hints on the stars and stripes without going overboard. Instead of having a flag there are banners which resemble a stripe on the hood as well as one which forms a cross shape on the roof. These banners have stars on them. Most of the rest of the car is red, as stated above.

As well as stars and stripes some cars have bald eagles or even a Civil War battle. It comes down to people’s imagination. A symbol of the USA which often appears on car designs, Captain America is believed by many people to date from the 2011 movie. But in the comic world, he goes all the way back to 1941. The actual symbol doesn’t seem to matter as much as the patriotism evoked.

There is a bit of money to be had from painting your vehicle and displaying the results in events on days such as Independence Day and Veteran’s Day. It might even be a viable business, though you undoubtedly have a great deal of competition out there.

What about the backlash though? Yes, there is a backlash. Some online journalists complain about the number of patriotic vehicles out there. After all, having the stars-and-stripes on your truck proves nothing. Is it better to say, join the military, or run for office? Where some of us appreciate these cars for their aesthetic sense, critics see them as “rather gaudy.” Each to their own.

To many people, the most innately patriotic vehicle is the Jeep, though opinion is divided. Next in line is probably Cadillac.

action-asphalt-blur-315938.jpgYou don’t have to be a dealership owner to know that every car business based in this country wants to be associated with patriotism. The automotive industry is deeply connected to our country. Prior to the space race, cars were the driving technology of the future and the daily bread of the youngest and most innovative new country in the world. Even the aviation industry never toppled cars in the hearts of most Americans.

Why it’s as American as Apple Pie and Baseball!

 

Taking Time Over Cars

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It seems we spend most of our lives in cars but is that factually true? According to Donald Shoupe, a car’s “natural” state is being parked, it’s like that 95% of the time, which accounts for 165 hours in a week. Though just because it’s parked doesn’t mean you’re not in it!

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When we are in the car we’re generally taking a journey of less than a mile, this accounts for 28% of trips. We take 18 of these trips per week.

We say, “time is money” in this case it is true because using the car can be the most efficient way from getting from A to B. Then again the real reason we’re taking a car might be some other factors such as rain, shopping or other luggage which makes taking mass transit less convenient.

Time is Certainly Money on the Dealer’s Lots.

What people don’t know is that the more expensive the car the more likely that it will be stuck on your lot for longer. Other factors such as being a sedan also mean it’s slower to sell. If the goal is just inventory turnover it is better to stock reasonably priced cars and hatchbacks. In reality, most dealers go for a range of cars.

Time is Tricky in the Rental Business

end-of-the-world-560859_1920For the car rental market, it is important that a car is returned on time. Unfortunately, due to the pressures of work or family, this might not be all that convenient, so drivers may decide to pay more (or just forget to return the car at the appointed time).

What consumers don’t tend to know is that a rental company doesn’t necessarily want you to return to the car early as they may not have anywhere to store it.

On the Road

delorean-38103_1280Many people don’t like those who take their time driving, calling them Sunday Driver…or worse. Taking your time after the light turns green, for example, could well cause an accident. It is probably not as dangerous as most of us shout at the moment, but slow drivers do cause accidents. The actual association might be that slow drivers are driving slow for another reason entirely, like being tired, and it’s the sluggish reaction time, not the sluggish speed that creates an accident. Although most accidents are about a “perfect storm” of circumstances – the weather, the time of day, the amount of coffee drunk and so on, not your lack of fast-twitch reaction.

The other problem about slow drivers is that, particularly on single lane roads, they create a bottleneck which slows down the flow of traffic.

Time in Car Advertising

road-1030789_1920Following some drivers on the road might feel like following a funeral procession! No wonder car advertisements always show the vehicle on empty roads, but seldom going fast. The goal is to show a car-free commute. Sure it’s strange to hear the voice-over talk about how fast the car accelerates from zero to sixty while watching a car mosey down a country lane at maybe 30 MPH.

Perhaps for the first time ever, let’s conclude that we should be more like a commercial. Enjoy your time on the road, drive well and not too slowly. And make sure that you take advantage of the bargains on the car lot, it kind of makes sense that you do.

What is a Car Geek?

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(Special Note: Happy Birthday to the Biggest Geek we know, Managing Editor of The Kicker Blog, Andy Bunch)

When we say someone is a car geek what do we mean? How geeky is geeky? Do we mean someone who occasionally looks under the hood, someone who has named their car and loves to mess around with it or someone even more obsessed? Let’s look the source of all things geek, nerd, or bazaar–the internet.

Fictional & Family Friendly Car Geeks

800px-Mr_Toad's_Wild_RideThe most famous car geek was the literary character Mr. Toad in Wind in the Willows. It would be difficult to take the obsession for motorcars away from the character, though he has a few more obsessions such as caravans, hot air balloons and according to one film airplanes. In the Disney film, he appears hypnotized by the sight of his first car. Although other versions don’t go that far it could be implied that all versions of Mr. Toad are super geeky.

What Makes Someone a “Car Geek?”

According to the most common searches, a car geek looks for ‘how to’s’ and supercar events. They may be after specialist parts for their individual vehicles. A car geek’s obsession may go into other motor vehicles such as trucks or motorbikes. They may look for the best kind of vehicles or the most obscure. And know everything about them.

An obsession with cars can go as far as knowing the names of paint varieties for different cars, taking pictures of cars and linking places to specific cars that you have driven. In a way, they see the world through the eyes of their car (okay, a bit over the top but that’s the point, right?)

A Car Geek Would Know

aston-martin-3619204_1920Car geeks will certainly know what press car number plates are. These are the plates placed on cars when they are photographed in. It’s like when a movie or TV show has to say a phone number they always start it with 555. For a car example, it is 911 HUL for Porsche cars. In 2012 the number plate VE12 AML was used in press photographs for the Aston Martin Lagonda but has been since been sold off. It was the intention to sell it to an Aston Martin Lagonda owner but that may not have been the case.

Forward-Looking Geeks

Car geeks come in handy when trying to predict the future of cars and commuting. They may look at virtual reality for the latest way to design automobiles, whether electric cars or self-driving cars will catch on or the latest crazes such as LimePod. In case you are not a geek, LimePod is an idea for a car sharing service run in Seattle which has yet to find favor with the public at large.

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Or Looking Back

The geek certainly goes to museums and one of the most famous is the Henry Ford Museum of Dearborn, Michigan which includes a car from all the way back to 1865. The Nascar Hall of Fame might be also worth the journey if you are a speed freak as well as a car geek.

Who’s Looking for a Car Geek?

The geek is certainly a valuable market, with items such as car wax, auto accessories and general car care products advertised to them. The name might be a bit watered down with its use for any enterprise involving cars though.  The more a term is used the more watered down the meaning so it shouldn’t be overused?

Top Picks in Cars for Families in 2019

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When you have a family, you need a car that is roomy, comfortable, and safe. You want your children to have their own space to avoid those screaming fights and for the baby seat to buckle in with ease. So, what are the top picks for 2019? Here is a rundown of cars that are ideal for families in minivans and SUVs.

What Makes a Car Ideal?

You want to make sure that your vehicle is equipped with at least the standard features and that others are available should you choose. These features should include a rear camera, lane stay assist, and Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), among others.

family-932245_1920Safety testing is one of the most important parts of choosing any vehicle for your family. You want to know how it fares in an accident and how safe your family will be. Make sure you check the safety ranking for each vehicle that you look at. Specifics like crash rating and overall rating are a good place to start.

Convenience and Technology almost go hand in hand nowadays. Make sure that the vehicle you choose has the features you want or the option to add them. This can include things like remote start, remote door access, smartphone connections, touchless entry, heated seating, and more.

Following is the list of top family cars as rated by Kelly Blue Book, Cars.com, and Parents.com.

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Minivans

 

Honda Odyssey

With its top rate technology for safer driving including CMBS, Road Departure Mitigation System (RDM), Blind Spot Information System, and multi-angle rear camera, it is no wonder it has received Kelly Blue Book’s minivan best buy award. With ample seating allowing up to eight passengers and options for a rear entertainment center, your children will be happy and give you fewer distractions.

 

Chrysler Pacifica

The Chrysler Pacifica gives you the technology you are looking for and the comfort you need. This hybrid minivan has the safety features to help keep you safe like all around camera, Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) and adaptive cruise control. It also provides seven-passenger seating with stowaway seats for all of those necessities. It also has the option of dual entertainment screens and connection to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Again, keeping your children occupied while you stay in control.

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SUVs

 

Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester has standard-on-all safety features that include EyeSight to monitor traffic. It also features optimized cruise control, lane assist technology, and automatic pre-collision braking with full braking capabilities. It has memory seating for up to five drivers and adjusts to their preferences upon entering the car. The Forester also has different entertainment packages to choose from and space for the extra cargo you may be transporting to and from the game.

 

Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V gives you room and style in one package. With convenient features like automatic adjusting wipers that sense the speed of the rain and adjust accordingly to hands-free rear entry, you will be hard pressed to find something you don’t like. Some of its safety features include lane change sensors that sense if cars are close when changing lanes, reverse sensors, multi-angle rear camera, and smart entry. The CR-V also comes with CMBS, RDM, lane assist, and adaptive cruise control. With plenty of space and stow away seats, you will be ready to go where ever the road calls.

 

Chevrolet Traverse

The Chevy Traverse gives you the comfort you want and the size that you need for a big family. With seating for eight, this SUV gives you convenience with hands-free rear entry, easy-slide seating, and hidden storage. It includes sixteen different safety features like forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, lane keep assisting, rear vision camera and alert, lane change assist and backup assist, among others. It also comes with connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to keep your children entertained and get you safely where you need to go.

 

Volkswagen Atlas

The Volkswagen Atlas comes with seating for seven and stowaway seats for comfort no matter how big your family is. The Atlas also comes with hands-free rear entry, remote doors, driver memory for four drivers, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay, and remote start. The safety features on the Atlas include pedestrian monitoring, overhead view camera, adaptive cruise control, LKAS, and blight spot detection, light assist, and rear traffic alert. The Volkswagen Atlas gives you space, comfort, and safety you need for your family’s road trips.

 

 

The Pros and Cons of Garages

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Many of us practically live in our car, which means the front door of our house is actually the garage door. The big exceptions are those who live in apartments and those who live further off the beaten track.

Not so Humble Origins

The tradition of a garage is as old as the car itself, as it began with wealthy people to store vehicles out of the weather. In the beginning, only the rich had cars and it was natural to keep them like they had the horses it replaced, in a stable where the maintenance, care and well, waste could be handled by household employees. So the first garages were repurposed “carriage houses”.

Apart from having money what kind of people would have a carriage house? Well, it depends on how you define one. If you think of it as a cart shed, then anyone with a horse or donkey probably had one. We’re not talking about people in slum areas, but everyone else. The posher ones had living space for staff and no doubt the first garages used the sleeping quarters for chauffeurs.

Modern racing fans know of pit row where cars pit-in for service, but we probably don’t think about the source of the name, which is a pit you dug in your garage so your chauffeur can perform regular maintenance on your vehicle. Now we use hydraulic lifts of course.

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The Evolution of the Garage

Garages haven’t changed much with one big exception–where they are in relation to the rest of your house. Most houses now have an attached garage. The big advantage is that you can drive right up to, and really into, your abode without getting out in the weather.

Of course, it goes without saying that you need some sort of shelter for a convertible but there are some advantages for any vehicle. Garaging your vehicle keeps its exterior in better condition, prolongs the paint job, and reduces creature infestations like mice in the engine or yellow jackets in the air intake.

Are there any disadvantages to an attached garage? There must be. How many of us park in front of our garage and use it as a large storage facility. You can try to make the garage double for storage of things and cars, but things like ladders pose a bigger threat to your paint job than the weather outside.

An attached garage also either takes up room from your house (under the roof) or from your yard. Most of us have come to accept the loss of front green space and perhaps even consider it an advantage to have less mowing to do. Still, the modern house, with it’s living quarters tucked behind an amorphous garage is less conducive to a neighborhood feel than say, a wraparound porch.

If you’ve ever lived in a situation where you needed to walk outside for a bit, in order to get in your car, you notice how much the air wakes you up in the morning. You might also notice a lack of smell. Cars have a lot of chemicals, etc. that can gather in the sale air of a garage. The material used for the car such as diesel and anti-freeze also whiff a bit. If you don’t use the car a rust smell will also develop. Many people might prefer these kinds of odors further from the house.

Note: Now that some of us have remote start on their cars, it’s a good idea to make sure the garage door is up before starting your car. That carbon monoxide is dangerous. Then there is the smell. A number of older cars smell especially diesel cars.

Safety

Another big advantage to a garage is the safety factor. Garages are thought by insurers to a safer place to keep a car than say the street. For an insurer, it’s all about managing risk in any case. Your pride and joy might not be perfectly safe in a garage but it is better than the alternatives. Many single people feel personally safer walking into a garage attached to their house than walking outside to get in their car.

Whatever you choose, and garage placement may not be a big factor in choosing where you live, there are some plusses and minuses to having a garage. It’s worth giving some thought to.