10 Top Reasons Why People Buy Specific Cars

My brother is a money guy. He knows how to squeeze value out of every single penny he earns. At work, he uses his personal car for business, for which he receives a mileage allowance. He also spends plenty of time on clogged Southern California freeways. A couple of years ago, when the time came to get a new car, he determined that a plug-in hybrid vehicle would actually pay for itself while giving him a carpool lane access sticker. Ultimately, he chose a Ford Fusion Energi. The main reason was for it’s electric driving range and that carpool lane sticker, but it was the Fusion’s attractive styling that sold him on the Ford and not a different model. He’s not alone. Styling is one of the biggest reasons people buy the vehicle they drive, according to J.D. Power. Each year, the market research firm surveys tens of thousands of new-vehicle owners to collect information about their ownership experiences, and from this data the company learns why people buy and why people avoid specific makes and models. Have you ever wondered why people choose the type of car, truck, SUV, or minivan that they drive? In 2015, these were the top 10 reasons, listed in descending order. Keep in mind that J.D. Power allows survey respondents to choose more than one reason. 10.) 4WD/AWD That’s surprising, isn’t it? According to J.D. Power, 30 percent of people said that availability of a 4-wheel-drive or an all-wheel-drive system was a key consideration when deciding which vehicle to buy. What’s important to remember here is that the survey was conducted during the brutal winter of 2014/2015, when heavily populated parts of the country were repeatedly buried in deep snow. When J.D. Power releases the results of this year’s research, following a comparatively mild winter, the traction of 4WD and AWD may drop off the list of the top 10 reasons people buy a specific vehicle. 9.) Quality of Workmanship You may have Continue Reading

First Drive: 2017 Audi A4 is awesomeness in disguise

The new A4? Its styling is evolutionary at best, although closer examination reveals that not a single part and detail has been carried over from the predecessor. Audi's mid-size sedan has been entirely redesigned for the 2017 model year, and we had a chance to spend time behind the wheel of the new model on its European home turf. If you care to see just how new it is, step inside and be ready to enter an entirely different world. With horizontal and angular lines, metal decor and extremely narrow gaps, it is a design revelation, possibly the segment's new benchmark - next to the more sensual and more elegant, but less techno-futuristic Mercedes-Benz C-class. FOLLOW DAILY NEWS AUTOS ON FACEBOOK. 'LIKE' US HERE.  The Audi's instrument cluster looks as futuristic as the center screen, which is now fixed. That’s because once the car has started, everyone leaves it up anyway. A motorized screen would also have been virtually impossible to fit into the A4's super-slim dashboard design. Unlike the subtle exterior changes, the A4's interior makeover represents cutting-edge technology and modernism. Thankfully, the rest of this Audi also delivers on these forward-thinking themes. Even the Europe-only 1.4 TFSI engine, a four cylinder with just 150-horsepower, manages to move the A4 with gusto. This is essentially the U.S.-market, entry-level VW Jetta engine, and the fact that it feels so zippy is testament to the A4's low weight and engineering excellence. U.S. customers have it even better: The base engine here will be the 2.0-liter TFSI four with 190-horsepower, and there is an uplevel version with 252-horsepower. The lively nature of these powertrains helps the A4 stand out amongst many other luxury sedan rivals. Audi's horses are agile and ever-present, they work extremely well with the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, an ultra-quick gearbox tailored for sporty driving. READ ABOUT THE 2016 AUDI A4 IN OUR Continue Reading

Crazy camping cars – BMW electrics to all-wheel-drive Lamborghinis

What does it take to go camping these days? Die-hard campers swear by nothing more than a tent and a swath of multi-tools, while some outdoor enthusiasts prefer hauling everything they own atop a camper. When a clean toilet and the occasional connection to a 4G network are seen as luxury amenities, it’s vital that your choice of camping vehicle be well thought-out. FOLLOW DAILY NEWS AUTOS ON FACEBOOK. 'LIKE US HERE.' Whether your camp site is in the hinterlands, or in your very own backyard (stocked with scary stories and a bag of marshmallows), consider these choices for a most memorable experience: All-in-one glamping: 2015 Airstream Interstate Grand Tour Who says that all camping trips must conform to be down-and-dirty affairs? After spending a limited amount of time with the Airstream Interstate Grand Tour, we can confirm that there is plenty of joy in stylishly arriving, parking, and relaxing. Although the Interstate shares fun-to-drive attributes with the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van, upon which it’s based, the real pleasure is luxuriating in the rear compartment. A full kitchen offers a world of possibilities at the camp site, as does an airplane-size bathroom with a working shower. Rent or buy one, and instantly become the darling of the van contingent at every campsite. Vital Stats: 2015 Airstream Interstate Grand Tour Price: $155,060 (excluding destination fee, includes donor Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500) Powertrain: Rear-wheel drive, 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine, 188-hp, 325 lb.-ft. of torque, 5-speed automatic transmission Best camping feature: Enhancing the greater outdoors, from within. Haul any trailer: 2016 Chevrolet Colorado diesel If your idea of camping involves tailgating and long nights staring at the stars, there are few pickup trucks that do it better than the Chevrolet Colorado diesel. The standard Colorado – and its sibling, the Continue Reading

Kia Trail’ster Concept adds an all-wheel-drive kick to the Chicago Auto Show

At a glance, you’d pass the Kia Trail’ster Concept off as a Soul with more attitude. The fog lights are fancier, the wheels have red metallic trim, and there is a sun-loving folding canvas top – perfect for the wintry Chicago Auto Show, right? But the real news with Kia’s new concept here in the Windy City is what’s lurking under the toughened up exterior. That’s because the Trail’ster comes powered by a 185-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, which works in conjunction with a 6-speed automatic gearbox and rear-mounted electric motor. FOLLOW DAILY NEWS AUTOS ON FACEBOOK. 'LIKE' US HERE. Not only does this give the Soul (sorry, we meant the Trail’ster) a newfound all-wheel-drive element, that electric motor helps boost overall output to 220-horsepower. Working at low speeds, and to help minimize turbo lag when on the move, the electric engine also manages to help this concept post some very impressive fuel mileage gains. According to Kia, the Trail’ster Concept theoretically achieves 25-30 percent better fuel economy than the current Kia Soul. That would equate to nearly 40-mpg during highway driving, when you consider today’s 164-horsepower Soul posts an EPA certified 23 city/31 highway economy average. LEARN MORE ABOUT KIA HERE. We think the Trail’ster previews a (modest) makeover for the Soul, especially with the concept’s slightly slimmer front grille and trimmer rear taillights. Don’t be surprised if that canvas roof makes it to production, at least as an option. As for the powertrain, we highly doubt Kia is showing off this hybrid engine/motor combination just for fun. Even with gas currently cheap, a few more MPGs – and a quicker sprint from 0-60 mph – is always going to prove very popular with car buyers. We Continue Reading

2015 Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 is a ray of light streaking across the horizon

“Dusk and dawn.” This was the motto surrounding the launch of Lamborghini’s latest creation, the Huracán. It represents the luxury automaker’s closing the book on one of its most successful eras with the Gallardo, and opening a new one with a brand new supercar. It also speaks to the duality of the Huracán: comfortable on the road, but capable on the track. Having taken the latest Lambo on both, and in sunny southern Spain, no less, I can vouch that the future looks very bright. The Gallardo has been the most successful car Lamborghini has ever produced. In its 11 year production run, more than 14,000 were sold across the globe in multiple variations. These included the lightweight Superleggera model, along with 2013’s Squadra Corse, the final Gallardo iteration. It was time to wipe the slate clean, however, and usher in a new chapter in Lamborghini’s history with a new vehicle. The goal was based on a very specific direction given by Automobili Lamborghini’s president Stephan Winkelmann: “Instinctive technology.”This dictum has worked its way throughout design and the engineering of the Huracán in many tangible ways. The dangers of doing a sequel are about retaining what people loved about the original, but changing enough to be progressive. In that regard, elements of the Gallardo are apparent, but the similarities are subtle. The Huracán’s silhouette, inspired by the legendary Countach, reveals a much cleaner overall body shape. There are more feminine curves and less harsh angles. Horizontal LED headlamps accentuate the aggressive face of the Huracán more than the vertical lamps of the Gallardo. The trapezoidal front dual intakes are now connected, to emphasize the width of the 1,924 millimeter-wide sports car. Lamborghini set out to make a car that makes you feel like a fantastic driver, and I can say unequivocally that Continue Reading

10 awesome ten-year-old used cars, trucks, and SUVs for under $10,000

The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that the average age of non-commercial vehicles on the road is 11.4 years. Clearly, Americans are keeping their cars longer, and buying used instead of new a large portion of the time. With this trend seemingly on the rise over the past decade, we’ve compiled a list of 10 excellent cars, trucks, and SUVs from ten years ago that can be had for the very reasonable price of $10,000 or less. From small cars to big trucks, there’s something for every prospective buyer. Small Car: 2005 Honda Civic The Civic has long been one of the most reliable, best value choices in the small sedan market, and the story was no different ten years ago. With up to 35-mpg on the highway, this perennial favorite is still on par with the fuel efficiency of modern gasoline and hybrid models. Top-spec examples can be had for around $7,500, and don’t worry about a high mileage figure, as Hondas from this generation can last for hundreds of thousands of miles. Midsize Car: 2005 Toyota Camry The world’s best-selling car certainly deserves its title, as Toyota Camry owners are some of the most satisfied on the road. The fifth generation Camry was one of Toyota’s best-selling models ever, and it’s no surprise, as even the top-spec XLE trim with the optional V-6 saw fuel economy figures of 26-mpg highway. Well-kept models can still be had today for around $9,000 depending on location. Large Car: 2005 Chrysler 300C Chrysler may not have been at their prime in 2005, but the resurrected 300C remains one of the best models they’ve released in decades. With a 340-hp 5.7-liter V-8 and styling that looks at home on cars with 5 times the price tag, the 300C is still a strong choice in the large sedan segment. Good condition models can be had for $10,000 or less. Station Wagon: 2005 Mazda6 Wagon Continue Reading

Citroën DS Wild Rubis luxury hybrid plug-in SUV concept revealed ahead of Shanghai Motor Show debut

The Citroën DS Wild Rubis concept is a distinctive take on an off-road vehicle. The plug-in hybrid, four-wheel-drive vehicle suggests the future design direction of the French automaker. Clearly conceived for the style-conscious executive, the DS Wild Rubis is Citroen's attempt to combine the rugged demands of an off-road vehicle with its own quirky design philosophy. The company is saving details about its interior specifications and performance for its official unveiling at the Shanghai Motor Show on April 21 but promises that it will be packed full of technological features. At 4.7m in length and standing 1.59m tall, the car is imposing and features a prodigious use of chrome plus huge 21-inch alloy wheels. Despite increasing environmental concerns, competition and choice in the SUV market appear to continue at pace. BMW will also be showcasing its X4 SUV at Shanghai and it's interesting that its dimensions are almost identical to those of the DS Wild Rubis. Rumor also has it that Land Rover, the undisputed king of the SUV market, is developing a "baby" Range Rover that could cost as little as €25,000. At the other end of the market, Bentley has confirmed that it is to start production on its own luxury SUV, expected to cost upwards of €150,000 which it aims to get on the road by 2015. AFP/Relaxnews Did you find this article helpful? If so, please share it using the "Join the Conversation" buttons below, and thank you for visiting Daily News Autos. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

The most stolen car in the country? The Cadillac Escalade

Beware of thieves if you’re behind the wheel of a Cadillac Escalade.The luxury auto (2007 to 2009 models) is the most frequently stolen car in the U.S., according to the Highway Loss Data Institute, as reported on Freep.com.Ford F-250 crew pickup, the Infiniti G37 luxury car and the Dodge Charger outfitted with a HEMI engine. They’re between three and five times as likely to be stolen as other vehicles, says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety affiliate.The group examined the number of drivers who filed insurance claims following a theft."Sedate family cars and fuel sippers aren’t on the hot list," Kim Hazelbaker, senior vice president of the Highway Loss Data Institute, told Freep.com. "Thieves are after chrome, horsepower, and HEMIs."For the past six years, the Escalade has ranked the worst in overall theft losses, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute. The Escalade EXT 4-door 4-wheel-drive has the highest theft losses of all the models.As a group, large luxury SUVs have the highest overall theft losses - losses for these cars come in at nearly six times as high as the average for all passenger vehicles. Very large pickups come in second highest in terms of overall theft losses, and 2-door mini cars have the lowest overall theft loss.New to this year’s "worst" list, the Chevrolet Corvette Z06, a high performance midsize sport car, isn’t stolen as often as other cars on this list, but when it does get stolen, claims are especially costly.The cars with the lowest losses include the Volvo S80, a large luxury car, the Saturn VUE 4-wheel drive midsize SUV, and the Nissan Murano midsize SUV. The hybrid Toyota Prius also is in the top 10 list of the cars with the lowest rate of being stolen.  Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Honda needs to bring back these cool cars

We like Honda, a lot. From the economical Civic and family-minded Accord, to the Acura brand’s suave MDX sport-utility and upcoming NSX supercar; when it comes to product, Honda has a lot of great stuff. But from time to time, when we’re feeling especially sentimental, the Daily News Autos team looks back on some of the cars that Honda inexplicably brushed aside. FOLLOW DAILY NEWS AUTOS ON FACEBOOK. ‘LIKE’ US HERE. The legendary little CRX, famed for its frugality and razor-sharp handling, was supposed to be reborn with the similarly petite CR-Z. But with more of a focus on hybrid tech and EPA economy numbers, the CR-Z lacked the sparkle and sizzle of its much loved ancestor. With that being said, allow us to present a wide range of cars that Honda should consider reviving, to help regain the brand’s legendary engineering edge, along with the youthful appeal that made Honda the darling of everyone from suburban families on a budget, to metro-based tuners with a need for speed. S2000 The S2000 was like a Mazda MX-5 Miata, but with much more of a Sega Genesis look and feel to it. The first models were famous for having an insatiable appetite for revs. In other words, you had to ping that digital tachometer all the way to 9,000 rpm to get the most of the S2000’s wild and wonderful little 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. In fact, when it was new, this naturally-aspirated engine had the highest horsepower output in terms of power-per-displacement of any car on the planet. Double wishbone suspension, a rigid chassis, and precise 6-speed manual all made the S2000 convertible a driving delight with unlimited headroom. CRX We’re not going to lie; the Honda CRX is no beauty queen! That truncated tail isn’t everyone’s idea of automotive seduction, but the real charm of the CRX is found inside, specifically from the perspective of the driver’s Continue Reading

10 Most Important New Cars of 2016

Take a deep breath. Ah, there’s nothing quite like the smell of a new car, and for the 2016 model year there are about 50 new, redesigned, or significantly updated and upgraded models rolling into showrooms. Our team of auto experts has reviewed the full list of upcoming debuts, and decided that these are the 10 most important new vehicles of 2016. Check ‘em out! FOLLOW DAILY NEWS AUTOS ON FACEBOOK. 'LIKE' US HERE. Acura NSX Acura desperately needs the new NSX sports car. Having lacked a true halo model for a decade, following the cancellation of the first-generation NSX, this upscale brand from Honda has struggled with how best to communicate what Acura means and why Americans should pay more for a car or SUV wearing its silver caliper emblems. Representative of the meticulous engineering that goes into every Acura, and as worn on the new NSX, those calipers signal the most sophisticated vehicle the brand has ever built, a twin-turbocharged, sport-hybrid, all-wheel-drive sports car wrapped in aluminum, carbon-fiber, and high-strength steel. Starting in 2016, the NSX once again defines Acura. Cadillac CT6 Based on what people actually buy, Cadillac is now a purveyor of SUVs, not luxury sedans. While the ATS and CTS are dynamic automobiles, and the overpriced ELR nevertheless provides an innovative alternative to traditional expressions of luxury, it is Escalade and SRX that sell in the greatest quantities. Cadillac pivots with the new CT6. This luxury sports sedan introduces the company’s new naming convention for cars, refines Cadillac’s design language, debuts new powertrains (including a plug-in hybrid), and serves as the automaker’s first credible flagship car in decades. Chevrolet Camaro Redesigned for 2016, the smaller and lighter Camaro sits on the same critically acclaimed platform that Cadillac uses for the ATS and CTS sport sedans. This change, Continue Reading