Do We Need Ms. Manners to Visit Driver’s Ed?

Unfortunately the “rude driver” has become a parody onto itself in the United States – the image of the road raging whoever cutting people off in traffic; laying on the horn if the person in front of them doesn’t leap of the line the moment the light turns green; blasting through a traffic signal that turned red when they were fifty feet back from it – all these have become a daily reality of the commute. Lampooned by television and movies and the fodder of stand up comedians, the rude driver can seemingly be found in every state in the Union. Insure.com dared to do a study, questioning about two thousand Americans, to rank the states by rudest drivers. Ohio came in at 24th, right in the middle, with only fairly rude drivers.

I think you’ll be surprised and maybe even giggle about the surprising top ten and some tidbits about what earned these states their rude, but prestigious rankings.

Number 10 Utah
According to a Utah resident interviewed by Insure.com, the whole state of Utah is a giant raceway where people often drive way over the speed (15 MPH or more!) and that drivers don’t use their turn signals because “they wouldn’t want anyone to know their next move”. Yield signs translate to mean: don’t bother to stop and look. And drivers treat parking lot lanes like pacing laps at a stock car race.

Number 9 Nevada
One interviewee of the survey from Nevada claims that Nevada and specifically Las Vegas she sees accidents almost every time she is on the road. The favorite rude driving practice and a dangerous one is when there is a left turn signal turning red or a red light in general many vehicles barrel through the light, having long turned red.

Number 8 New Jersey
New Jersey is apparently the state where drivers like to turn out onto roads with only just enough space not to cause a major accident. A Jersey resident also describes the “Jersey Slide” where drivers like to “slide” across two to three freeway lanes with a single use of their turn signal (if they use one at all).

Tied for Number 6 Delaware and Vermont
In Delaware drivers love to tailgate people driving the speed limit so closely the victim cannot decide the make of the car because the hood emblem is hidden somewhere under their bumper! Also, Delaware drivers treat neighborhood roads like a Formula 1 track—all while texting and talking on cellphones.

Vermont boasts the funniest story, but the most tragic statistic. Apparently the state installed an unmanned “Your Speed Is” digital sign in a particularly bad area to ward off Speed Demons. Before the $3,200 sign could even be insured, it was stolen! Vermont may also be the most dangerous state to drive in – citing another study, we are told the rate of fatality increases per distance driven more than any other state!

Number 5 Massachusetts
Massachusetts, frankly, sounds like a terrible place to drive – interviewees claim these drivers are guilty of all our favorites: extreme tail gating, road rage, driving while distracted by food, cell phones, make-up. A motorcyclist even claimed he saw a man smoking a cigar and trying to use an iPad while driving!

Next week we will look at the top finalists for the rudest drivers in the United States.

Joe Victor

Cutting Edge Hybrid Searching For Thrill Seekers

In this the term “hybrid” is referring to yet another vehicle running on a combination of gasoline and battery power. This time Polaris is at the wheel and has taken their years of ATV, motorcycle and snowmobile engineering to present a street vehicle that combines a bit of them all.

The Victor crew found The Slingshot, a three-wheeled street vehicle, is clearly targeting thrill seekers who are looking for something a little safer than a motorcycle. The vehicles angled, armor-like side panels and tube-framing make it look like something out of the newest Batman incarnations. The front is composed of a double-wishbone suspension, coil-over shocks and a sway bar while the back sports a single aluminum swing arm.

Although it is driven like a car (it really looks like some kind of sci-fi dune buggy) operators will require a motorcycle license as it doesn’t meet crash test standards or have air bags. It does, however, have lateral seating, stability control, antilock breaks. And last, but not least, a glove box. Oh, and you’ll have to wear a helmet while operating it. It is a far different animal than the up and coming Can-Am Spyder and is more on par in size with a Mazda MX-5 Miata. The standard version will come in around 19K while the “luxury version” will come in around 24K—it will include wind screen, larger wheels, an entertainment system with Bluetooth and a backup camera. The Slingshot is strictly a topless roadster, making it a fair-weather ride. But, just in case, the seats are waterproof and there are lockable bins in the rear for storage.

It is good to see Polaris innovating in area of the recreational production vehicles as there are is a market for forward thinking thrill seekers who are looking for something a little bit different.

Joe Victor

A Tire for All Seasons or Marketing Myth?

After abusing their tires all winter driving over the crater filled terrain most Ohioans know as their local roads, some will be thinking about replacing their tires this spring. Many of us will choose what appears to be the sensible option. An “all-season” tire.

Since their inception in the late 1970’s “All-Weather” or “All-Season” tires have been a less expensive and convenient solution to America’s tread-based trepidations. While the name suggests a tire your vehicle can wear year round, Popular Mechanics suggests otherwise.

Most drivers are mistaken in believing that all-season tires provide superior performance to that of summer tires, or more accurately three-season tires, in spring and fall rainy seasons.
All-season, in reality, means a compromise. The designer has chosen a tread type and tread compound that give drivers acceptable performance in all-seasons or all-weather. However this is not the same, obviously, as great performance in all seasons. In matters of traction, all-season tires only outperform three-season or summer tires during one season, winter.

Popular Mechanics tells provides a pretty simple explanation of how this all works out for the consumer:

  • In damp or lightly wet road conditions the tread compound is the biggest traction factor. A soft, sticky compound will give you the best grip.
  • In high water, higher speed conditions the tread pattern and there-by the tire’s ability to disperse water matters most.
  • Good and bad high water tread patterns are found on all types of tires. And worn tread or improperly inflated, but expensive tires may be outperformed by newer, properly inflated tires of lesser quality.
  • Summer or three-season tires get great dry/damp traction for exactly the reason the perform poorly in the snow: a soft, grippy compound, which hardens too easily in the cold. The all-season tire trades road grip for a compound that remains flexible at colder temperatures.

So Jody, you will have to decide which type of tire you feel is best for your vehicle and when you want to drive it. Maybe keep a winter car and another car for the other seasons? Ha ha.

~ Joe Victor

Check out the new Bentley Flying Spur

Bentley Motors has just introduced the Flying Spur, a new luxury sedan. The car comes with a 6 litre W12 engine that goes 0-60 in 4.3 seconds to a top speed of 200 mph. It has specially-designed soundproofing in the floor and doors.

It has an optional wifi hub for internet access. It comes with 64 GB internal hardrive for sharing. Rear seats include DVD players, wireless headphones and LCD screens along with port enabling to connect consoles, tablets, cameras, music players and phones.

You can find the full specifications here.

Joe and Jody Victor

How many cars have you had?

Hey Jody, most people go through more than 1 car in their lifetime. Some may even lease a new car and trade it in 2 years later for the newest model. Not Irv Gordon. He bought a brand new red Volvo P1800 in 1966. On September 15, he passed the 3 million mark. That’s right 3,000,000 miles on one car. That’s an average of over 63,000 miles per year. He set a world record for the most miles driven by a single person in a noncommercial vehicle in 1998 when he reached 1.69 million, but that didn’t stop him from continuing. The car still has its original engine!

Irv Gordon has driven through every state except Hawaii and 5 European countries with this car.

~ Joe Victor

For the economy-minded: Here are the 10 Coolest Cars under $18,000

Kelly Blue Book has a list of the 10 Coolest cars under $18,000.

  1. 2013 Chevrolet Spark
  2. 2013 Honda Civic
  3. 2013 Volkswagen Jetta
  4. 2013 Fiat 500
  5. 2013 Mazda MAZDA3
  6. 2013 Dodge Dart
  7. 2013 Honda Fit
  8. 2013 Kia Soul
  9. 2013 Ford Focus
  10. 2013 Hyundai Veloster

(When you go the Kelly Blue Book site (link above) you will be asked for your zip code so you will get the current pricing for your area.)

~ The Victor crew

Joe asks Jody Victor: 10 Best Values In Used Cars, 2012, Part II

When you start looking for a car, used or new, it helps to get some ideas about value, reliability, and safety. Here’s Jody Victor® with the second half taken from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger and msn.com.

Jody Victor®: Hey Joe, you are absolutely right! Having some info to go on gets you started and helps you make an informed decision when it comes to buying a new or used vehicle. Here’s the rest of the article.

2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i

Price when new: $25,240 (automatic)
Dealer used price: $15,218
Private-party price: $14,068
Certified used price: $16,256
MPG (city/hwy): 20/26

The Outback offers the best of both worlds: car-like construction to aid in maneuverability and fuel economy, plus the utility of all-wheel drive, copious amounts of cargo room (34 cubic feet) and a higher stance that improves visibility. Six airbags are standard, and it was an IIHS Top Safety Pick, too.

2009 Ford Taurus Limited

Price when new: $31,495
Dealer used price: $16,634
Private-party price: $15,271
Certified used price: $17,653
MPG (city/hwy): 18/28

Just a year after Ford revived the Taurus nameplate, it added standard stability control and earned a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Limited trim comes with Ford’s voice-activated SYNC system, which allows you to connect music devices with USB and phones via Bluetooth, making them easier to use safely.

2008 Mazda CX-9 Sport

Price when new: $30,035
Dealer used price: $18,315
Private-party price: $16,689
Certified used price: $20,424
MPG (city/hwy): 16/22

It seats seven and has 17 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third-row seats (48 cubic feet with the third row folded down), which helped the CX-9 win Kiplinger’s Best in Class award for this model year. Safety bragging rights include an optional blind-spot monitoring system — which will alert you if there’s something in your blind spot when you attempt to change lanes — and standard stability control.

2009 Toyota Sienna LE

Price when new: $26,865 (7-passenger)
Dealer used price: $18,463
Private-party price: $16,692
Certified used price: $19,882
MPG (city/hwy): 17/23

Multiple seating configurations make this minivan family- and cargo-friendly. In the seven-passenger Sienna, the removable second row captain’s chairs can be spaced out to give your brood elbow room, or arranged as a bench for easier access to the third row. The third row is split 60/40, and the sections fold over or completely flat. Even the front passenger seat folds down, should you have serious cargo needs.

2009 Infiniti G37x AWD

Price when new: $36,615
Dealer used price: $23,889
Private-party price: $22,308
Certified used price: $26,174
MPG (city/hwy): 18/25

The G Sedan gives German sedans like the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4 a run for their money, but it costs thousands less. The 2009 model got a larger, 3.7-liter V6 engine that puts out 328 horsepower, as well as a seven-speed automatic transmission — plus, it packs in essential safety features, such as head and side airbags and stability control.

 Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to check them out!

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor: 10 Best Values In Used Cars, 2012

If you are in the market for a used car, you may have trouble finding one. Here’s Jody Victor® telling us about it from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger.

Jody Victor®: Hey, Joe, sometimes a used car is the way to go, no matter what kind of vehicle you are looking for. But since the Great Recession, used cars have not been around – people are hanging on to their older cars longer. Here’s a list, in two parts, from msn.com  that will give you something to go on.

2008 Hyundai Sonata GLS

Price when new: $19,545 (automatic)
Dealer used price: $9,902
Private-party price: $8,731
Certified used price: $11,480
MPG (city/hwy): 21/30

Hyundai’s Sonata offers a thrifty 2.4-liter engine, standard stability control and six airbags. Plus, it keeps ownership costs low — the brand’s 5-year/60,000-miles new-car warranty and five-year no-charge roadside assistance transfer to new owners (they get the remainder of both). The famed 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, however, doesn’t transfer.

2009 Subaru Impreza 2.5i sedan

Price when new: $18,190
Dealer used price: $12,191
Private-party price: $10,967
Certified used price: $12,859
MPG (city/hwy): 20/27

Engaging driving dynamics and Subaru’s always-standard all-wheel drive are only part of the Impreza’s appeal. It garnered a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS and has side and side-curtain airbags. If a collision causes the front airbags to deploy, smart technology protects the driver and front-seat passenger. Sensors measure the driver’s proximity to the steering wheel, as well as the passenger’s weight (to determine whether a child or an adult is occupying the seat), and adjust the airbags’ force accordingly.

2009 Chevrolet Malibu 1LT

Price when new: $23,225
Dealer used price: $13,114
Private-party price: $11,937
Certified used price: $14,141
MPG (city/hwy): 22/33

With its 2008 redesign, the Malibu garnered a lot of accolades: Kiplinger’s Best New Car and Best in Class awards were just a cherry topping to the industry’s prestigious North American Car of the Year award. But to play it safe, we recommend buying a redesigned vehicle in the second year of production — the first year’s examples often have kinks to work out. For 2009, stability control became standard across the trim lineup, along with side and side-curtain airbags.

2009 Nissan Rogue S

Price when new: $21,020
Dealer used price: $14,971
Private-party price: $13,435
Certified used price: $16,123
MPG (city/hwy): 22/27

After a 2008 redesign, when we named it Best New Small Crossover, the Rogue ascended to Kiplinger’s Best in Class award for 2009. Its stylish exterior complements the value it holds inside — including a peppy 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, stability and traction control, and six airbags. Plus, it was rated a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.

2008 Honda CR-V LX

Price when new: $21,370
Dealer used price: $15,135
Private-party price: $14,089
Certified used price: $16,402
MPG (city/hwy): 20/27

A perennial Kiplinger’s Best New and Best Used pick, the CR-V keeps its value throughout its lifespan. It boasts fuel economy on par with a midsize sedan, but it has more than twice the cargo capacity (36 cubic feet behind the rear seats). Its standard stability control and six airbags helped win it a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS.

Thanks, Jody! More next time.

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: Best Quality Cars IV

Want a vehicle with the fewest annoying problems? I asked Jody Victor®  to finish up his list based on a survey of customer satisfaction in the first 90 days from J.D. Power and Associates.

Jody Victor®: Here we go! The last installment from an article by Clifford Atiyeh of msn.com.

Top Midsize Premium Crossover/SUV: Lexus RX

Lexus pretty much invented the luxury crossover segment with the first RX 15 years ago. It had a level of quality and style that other automakers couldn’t match for many years. Today, it’s still one of the best. The RX’s ride is quiet and smooth, and the interior is posh. The mouse controller on the infotainment system is almost impossible to use, though.

Top Large Premium Crossover/SUV: Cadillac Escalade

This old-school Cadillac is huge and dripping with chrome all the way down to its 22-inch rims. It’s not even as nice as it could be inside for its $80,000 price tag. But high-tech features such as magnetic suspension give this rig outstanding poise for its supersize weight. Choosing an Escalade means you have little concern for gas prices or getting your car stolen, which insurance companies agree is likely to happen.

Top Large Pickup: GMC Sierra 1500

Tough construction, good reliability and above-average resale value make full-size General Motors pickups easy choices. Plus, they come in many configurations and styles to fit any budget and occupation. Denali models are especially well-trimmed and chromed without being gaudy. Plus, a natural-gas option is now available for those who have access to the cheap fuel.

Top Midsize Pickup: Nissan Frontier

American manufacturers aren’t paying much attention to smaller pickups anymore, so it goes without saying that Nissan has a good — if extremely basic — truck for this segment. The Frontier is short on refinement, but it offers a spacious bed and enough torque for most jobs. It’s a prime example that keeping things simple can pay off in the long run.

Top Minivan: Nissan Quest

If you can live with its funky, upright design, you’ll find the Nissan Quest perfectly capable for minivan duty. Folding seats, an under-floor cargo bin, available DVD entertainment systems, power doors, a dual glass moon-roof — it’s all here. That Nissan has beaten its more popular van rivals from Honda and Toyota is impressive, although we’re still partial to the Odyssey.

Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to check them all out!

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: Best Quality Cars III

Well, we’ve gone through quite a list, but coming up are some of my favorites. Here’s Jody Victor®  with the next installment of the best quality cars for 2012.

Jody Victor®: Hey Joe, some of these are my favorites too. Installment number 3 from an article by Cliffor Atiyeh of msn.com.

Top Premium Sport Car: Porsche 911

Somehow, Porsche ends up having fewer problems than Honda or Mercedes (we’ll chalk it up to lower production volume and fewer miles traveled). Whatever the reason, the 911 is a fantastic way to spend upwards of $80,000. It’s practical, conservative-looking, yet altogether badass when the time comes to push it on a favorite back road. Among sports cars, the 911 is an indisputable legend that’s been going strong for five decades.

Top Compact Crossover/SUV: Honda CR-V

In 1997, the CR-V was one of the few compact crossovers, and Honda got it right from the start. With its slim proportions, all-wheel drive and generous cargo room, the CR-V is about as utilitarian as anyone really needs. The 4-cylinder engines are snappy and good on fuel, and while the interiors need some improvement and the doors feel flimsy, there’s a lot of well-engineered car here.

Top Compact MPV: Kia Soul

While hip-hop hamsters drive it on TV, in real life the Kia Soul is driven by all sorts of people, much like how Scion has attracted buyers beyond its original “youth” demographic. The boxy Soul, with its pulsing speaker lights and oddball cloth textures, is fun to drive and invites stares. Generous cargo space, simple controls and Kia’s impressive powertrain warranty seal the deal.

Top Entry Premium Crossover/SUV: Infiniti EX

The EX crossover is essentially a G sedan with more headroom and a hatch. Therefore, it nearly matches the G’s aggressive attitude, with crisp handling and powerful acceleration that’s livelier than an Audi Q5. The interior is feeling a little old next to Infiniti’s other models, and the ride can be rough at times. But it’s nice to have a crossover exhibiting some old-fashioned soul.

Top Midsize Crossover/SUV: Buick Enclave

Among three-row SUVs, this Buick outsells them all. It’s a stylish, ultraquiet family hauler with all the trimmings — and unlike previous Buick SUVs, it’s not a carbon copy of a cheaper Chevrolet. For 2013, the Enclave gets a mild refresh with more soft-touch interior materials and other moderate improvements. If you can stand minivans, you won’t do much better for the price than this Buick.

Top Large Crossover/SUV: Ford Expedition

This is a weird choice, considering that the Expedition has been long forgotten in the Ford lineup in favor of smaller, more fuel-efficient SUVs. For its sheer towing capacity, living-room size and brute strength, it’s hard to argue with an Expedition or its luxury cousin, the Lincoln Navigator. We’d like to think that better, more modern V8-powered 3-row SUVs are available.

Thanks, Jody! More next time!

Joe Victor