Toyota Prius repeats as Consumer Reports best car value

The 2014 Toyota Prius once again gives the most overall value as ranked by Consumer Reports.  The worst value is the Nissan Armada big SUV. Toyota and its luxury division Lexus topped in rankings in three categories and Subaru and Mazda won in two segments each. “The Prius’ 44 MPG overall is the best fuel economy for any non-plug-in car that Consumer Reports has tested,” says Rik Paul, the magazine’s automotive editor. “Though it is not particularly cheap to buy, the Prius’ depreciation is so low that it costs less to own over the first five years than its initial MSRP. We call that a bargain.” The Prius last year replaced the Honda Fit, which had held the overall title for the four  previous years. Consumer Reports calculates the best and worst values by taking their estimated cost to own a car for five years, their engineers’ road test scores and the car's estimated reliability. The cost of ownership factors in depreciation, fuel, insurance premiums, interest on financing maintenance and repairs. Depreciation is by far the largest cost To see the contrast, the Prius is estimated to cost 47 cents per mile. The Nissan Armada, rated at only 13 MPG overall, is estimated to cost $1.20 per mile.   Here are the Consumer Reports picks for best and worst in each of 10 categories: -  Compact /Subcompact Cars: Best, Toyota Prius Four; Worst, Volkswagen Beetle 2.5L -  Midsized Cars: Best, Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium; Worst, Nissan Altima 3.5 SL   -  Large Cars: Best, Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited; Worst, Ford Taurus Limited -  Luxury Cars: Best, Lexus ES 300h; Worst, BMW 750Li  -  Sports Cars/Convertibles: Best: Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring; Worst, Chevrolet Camaro convertible 2SS (V8)  -  Wagons/Minivans: Best, Mazda5 Grand Touring; Worst, Chrysler Town & Country Touring-L -  Small SUVs: Best, Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium; Worst, Ford Escape SE Continue Reading

Rapper Big Sean is coming to Sugar Land

By Joey Guerra Published 1:25 pm, Wednesday, February 7, 2018 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-10', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 10', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-15', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 15', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-20', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 20', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-25', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 25', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-30', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 30', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-35', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 35', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-40', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 40', target_type: 'mix' }); Continue Reading

Consumer Reports has named the 10 most reliable car brands in America, and Buick’s performance is the big surprise this year

Adjustments to the methodology used by Consumer Reports to predict the reliability of new vehicles has yielded changes to the organization’s 2017 brand rankings. Most notably, Buick rises to the number 3 slot behind Toyota and Lexus, the first time an American brand has been included in the trio of top-rated marques. Infiniti showed the largest improvement over last year, followed by Acura and Chevrolet. In recent years, new vehicle technology has a negative impact on vehicle reliability ratings. Often, when new models are redesigned or new technologies debut, owners report a greater number of problems with their vehicles. That’s why Consumer Reports advises you to perform deeper research on individual models that you’re considering because even car companies with a long history of building dependable cars, trucks, and SUVs occasionally prove fallible. Based on the latest data from Consumer Reports, these are the vehicle brands most likely to sell you a reliable vehicle, listed in descending order to the top-ranked manufacturer. See the full report on the Consumer Reports website. #10: Honda Among car brands, Honda is ranked tenth in terms of reliability. For the 2017 model year, one of Honda’s most popular vehicles, the CR-V, is completely redesigned. The company has also re-introduced the Ridgeline pickup truck and Honda Accord Hybridand debuted a new 5-door hatchback version of the Civic that will soon be offered in sport-tuned Si and performance-oriented Type R trims. A redesigned Odyssey minivan is on the way, along with an all-new Clarity offering plug-in hybrid, electric and fuel-cell drivetrains. #9: BMW According to Consumer Reports, BMW is the ninth most reliable vehicle brand. The big news from BMW in 2017 is a redesigned 5 Series sedan, while the Z4 roadster is discontinued. Other models receive a range of updates, most of which are Continue Reading

2013 Ford F-150 beats the Toyota Camry in ‘American-Made Index’ ranking

That an American-built pick-up truck has been judged the most American-made vehicle might not come as a shocker. But the fact that it bumped a Japanese family sedan from first place – a spot the Toyota Camry held consecutively for four years – might leave you scratching your head. That’s because the annual ‘American-Made Index’ compiled by does much more than look at an automaker’s country of origin. Deciding factors include where a vehicle is manufactured, how much of the car or truck is built using U.S. parts, and overall sales volumes. Ford You might not know how much heavy-hauling the F-150 can do, judging purely from its luxurious interior. Ford has spent a lot of time and money making its perennial best-seller more refined, while keeping it as rugged and capable as any other work truck. This explains why five of the ten vehicles listed in the AMI rankings come from Japanese automakers. These included three vehicles from the Toyota stable, including the Camry, Sienna minivan and Tundra pick-up truck. Honda is represented by the Accord sedan, along with the Odyssey minivan. RELATED: FORD F-150, CHEVY SILVERADO PLAY DOUBLE-DUTY Any vehicle comprised of less than 75-percent of U.S. content automatically gets booted from the competition. So do vehicles that are not built in the U.S., of course. This automatic disqualification is also enforced upon any car or truck which is about to be discontinued and lacks an immediate successor model. Ford The 365-hp turbocharged EcoBoost V-6 engine has proven to be a popular choice with F-150 buyers. Ford also offers a base 3.7-liter V-6, along with a choice of two optional V-8s. While the F-150 has been the best-selling truck in the U.S. for 36 years, it was the Ford’s recent sales surge that helped propel it to the top of the AMI ranking system (a spot the Ford truck previously held from 2006-2008). “We’ve increased sales volume year over Continue Reading

Toyota moving U.S. headquarters to Texas

LOS ANGELES — Toyota announced on Monday that it will move its national headquarters to Plano, Texas, after a half-century in the Los Angeles suburbs.The company will create a campus north of Dallas that will bring together 4,000 employees from manufacturing, sales and marketing and corporate operations around the country. Also moving will be Toyota Financial, its financing arm.A company statement said the automaker is trying to create a "One Toyota" vision for the U.S. and Canada.With its worldwide headquarters in Japan, Toyota's U.S. operation has headquartered in Southern California for more than 50 years. Most employees affected by the move, which begins in 2016, work on a sprawling campus in Torrance."This is the most significant change we've made to our North American operations in the past 50 years, and we're excited for what the future holds," says Jim Lentz, Toyota's U.S. CEO.Southern California once was the U.S. home to Japan's Big 3 — Toyota, Nissan and Honda. Then Nissan announced in 2005 that it was leaving for Tennessee. It initially moved to Nashville, then to Smyrna, Tenn., where it also has manufacturing operations. Honda last year started relocating its North America corporate headquarters to Ohio, near its Marysville plant.Though Texas has been aggressive in luring companies, it seems, on the surface, an unusual move for Toyota. It makes its Tundra pickup trucks there, at a plant in San Antonio, but its largest manufacturing facility is in Kentucky. Also, as a company known for its hybrids and other "green" technologies, Toyota's spiritual home seemed to be firmly rooted in Southern California.But over the years, Toyota has gone from an importer of vehicles from Japan to a company that makes most of its U.S.-market vehicles in North America. Texas will put it closer to its key plants in a location with a lower cost of living and tax structure than in California.Texas Gov. Rick Perry hailed the news. "Over the past decade, Texas and Continue Reading

Toyota sales leaving Big Three in the dust

Toyota's U.S. sales jumped 11.7% last month, boosted by re-cord hybrid sales and strong over-all car sales, and fellow Japanese automakers Honda and Nissan both reported solid gains.On the flip side, GM, Ford and Chrysler all reported declining numbers. GM posted a 4% drop, Ford was down 9% and Chrysler fell 4.1%.Domestic automakers have seen Asian rivals led by Toyota capture growing shares of the U.S. market.But despite its decline, Ford stillheld off Toyota for the No. 2 U.S. sales spot for the month.Also, Ford regained from GM the claim of having the nation's top-selling pickup truck even though F-series sales fell 15.1%. GM's Silverado knocked it out of first place for the first time in 20 months in February.So far this year, Toyota has sold 61,635 hybrids in the U.S., up 68% from the first three months of last year. That includes 28,453 hybrids last month. It said Camry sales were up more than 8% for the month. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Taliban free 2 South Korean hostages

GHAZNI, Afghanistan — Two South Korean women kidnapped by the Taliban burst into tears Monday after being turned over to the Red Cross on a desert road where the body of one of the original 23 hostages was dumped. The women's release was the first breakthrough in a drama that began more than three weeks ago when a busload of Korean church volunteers was seized. A second male captive also was shot to death in late July, meaning 14 women and five men are still being held. The handover came after two days of face-to-face talks between the Taliban and a South Korean delegation. A spokesman for the hardline Islamic militants said the group released the women as a show of good will during negotiations that he said were going well. The spokesman, Qari Yousef Ahmadi, also reiterated the militants' demand that Taliban prisoners be released in exchange for the remaining 19 hostages. The Afghan government has ruled out any prisoner swap. A few hours later, a German engineer kidnapped last month said in a telephone conversation orchestrated by his captors that he was ill and had been threatened with death. The man identified himself as Rudolf Blechschmidt and spoke stiffly and with frequent pauses, as though reading from prepared remarks. The talk came about when the hostage takers phoned an Associated Press reporter and unexpectedly put Blechschmidt on the line. In recent weeks, the Taliban have offered interviews with foreign hostages, apparently hoping to pressure the Afghan and U.S. governments into freeing Taliban prisoners. The hostages' comments are controlled by the captors and their statements are made in that context. A Taliban spokesman has claimed the group kidnapped Blechschmidt and a colleague July 18 and threatened to kill them unless Germany withdraws its troops from Afghanistan. Afghan officials, however, have suggested the men were taken by an unaffiliated criminal group. The second engineer, Ruediger Diedrich, was found dead of gunshot Continue Reading

What Ford’s big news means for Michigan

Ford hosted more than 100 Wall Street analysts and investors in Dearborn on Wednesday and spent four hours explaining why they should buy into the automaker's vision for the future as it navigates a rapidly changing industry and expands into transportation services.The session was remarkable in terms of its scope and the level of detail the automaker presented about its strategic vision for the next several years.Here are some of the key things the automaker revealed:Moving to MexicoFord confirmed plans to move all small car production to Mexico and once again created a stir in the U.S. presidential campaign."Over the next two to three years, we will have migrated all of our small-car production to Mexico and out of the United States," said Ford CEO Mark Fields.►Related: Trump takes credit for the timing of Ford's Mexico announcementThis isn't exactly new, but it is jarring news for many. Ford said in April it would spend $1.6 billion to build a new plant in Mexico and will build small cars in that plant and said last year it would end production of the Ford Focus and Ford C-Max in Wayne in 2018.Does this mean there will be job losses?No. Ford made a commitment last fall to invest $9 billion in U.S. plants and create or retain more than 8,500 jobs as part of a new four-year contract with the UAW. Of that, $4.8 billion goes to 11 facilities in Michigan.Ford is doubling down on electric cars: Despite tepid industry sales of electric cars, Ford said it will spend $4.5 billion to develop more than a dozen new electrified models by 2020.Fields said the automaker is confident there is a big future for electric vehicles in part because the cost of lithium ion battery packs continues to drop significantly.Ford isn't worried about being late on autonomous vehicles:Ford has said it will introduce a fully autonomous vehicle by 2021. That's later than the time frame for other automakers. Meanwhile, ride-sharing company Uber has Continue Reading

Toyota testing three-wheel car in Tokyo

Tokyoites will get a chance to zip around town on Toyota's three-wheeled electric car-motorbike from Friday, in a trial aimed at crafting a global business model to reduce gridlock and pollution. The world's top-selling automaker will partner Japanese car-sharing service operator Park24 for a six-month experiment leasing the i-Road concept vehicle, with a view to setting up a green car-sharing business akin to Daimler AG's car2go service. FOLLOW DAILY NEWS AUTOS ON FACEBOOK. ‘LIKE’ US HERE. The pint-sized i-Road has two front wheels that move up and down independently of each other, allowing it to lean like a motorcycle but retain the stability of a car. Toyota has not yet decided whether to mass-produce it. "Our concept was to offer something that's both fun and convenient for city driving," i-Road chief engineer Akihiro Yanaka told Reuters. Devising smarter ways to get around — known in the industry as "smart mobility" — looks set to become a new battleground for automakers as urbanization grows, pollution worsens, and more cars clog up cities in emerging markets. LEARN MORE ABOUT TOYOTA HERE. Germany's Daimler has taken the lead with car2go, where its 1 million-plus members in 30 European and North American cities use a mobile app to reserve the tiny Smart Fortwo car, many of which are zero-emission. Drivers pay by the minute and can drop the car off at various spots around town. Ford Motor Co in January announced the Ford Smart Mobility initiative that would involve various types of trials around the world including a car-sharing service in London. Toyota also has car-sharing experiments underway in its namesake city as well as in France's Grenoble, but Tokyo would be its first in a major metropolis, which it says would benefit most from the i-Road. "Data shows that about 70% of cars in big cities are occupied by one person, with most traveling Continue Reading

Toyota Prius is the Swiss Army knife of hybrid cars

Full Car Details More Reviews Just before I sat down to write this review of the 2015 Toyota Prius, I got what little hair that remains on my head cut. Sylvia, the woman who has been chopping my noggin for years, is in the market for a new car. She’s going to drive it for a year, and then her 21-year-old son is going to take over the payments. Her budget is modest, and the son seems only to care that whatever she gets is a hybrid in order to save money on gas. My recommendation was easy: Get a Toyota Prius! I’ve long held the belief that the Toyota Prius is the perfect car for most of the people most of the time. The problem is that people have misconceptions about hybrid vehicles, and the Prius in particular. FOLLOW DAILY NEWS AUTOS ON FACEBOOK. 'LIKE' US HERE. “A Prius is too slow.” Not really. While it certainly won’t win any drag races, unless the car in the other lane is a Mini Countryman with an automatic transmission, a Prius actually feels peppy in the city because the powertrain’s electric assist motor supplies extra torque right from the moment the driver steps on the accelerator pedal. As speeds increase, the car’s ability to gain velocity decreases, but I’ve never had trouble merging onto a fast-flowing freeway in a Prius, maintaining a cruising speed of 80 mph (or more) in a Prius, or climbing a mountain grade in a Prius. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE 2015 TOYOTA PRIUS HERE. “A Prius is too small.” Au contrere, mon frère. According to the EPA, the Prius is a midsize car, and it supplies plenty of interior room for four adults. I’m a big boy, and I fit just fine behind the Prius’s steering wheel, or behind the driver’s seat when it is positioned for my comfort. Plus, the cargo area provides 21.6 cubic-feet of space behind the rear seats. To put that into perspective, that’s more room than the trunk in a Continue Reading