We've browsed our favorite automotive blogs all week long to gather all the highlights from each so you can stay informed of everything that's happening in the automotive world. We've also included plenty of green content to celebrate the end of Earth Month!
Last year, Suzuki offered its "Free Gas for Summer" promotion on SX4 Sport and Crossover models. This summer, the automaker is not only reviving this campaign, but is spreading the promotion across its full model range (Kizashi, Grand Vitara, Equator and SX4 models). Since fuel prices commonly rise in the summer months, AutoBlog anticipates shoppers will be excited about any promotion that involves free fuel, and with the hot new Kizashi just now hitting dealers, this incentive could indeed boost sales of the hot new midsize sedan.
From time to time, the greenies over at AutoBlogGreen go head-over-heels over stuff that non-greenies would have no interest in. For example, they say they always thought that a great Google Earth app would be one that shows automotive plants across the globe, but why stop there? Throw in things like locations of wind farms, solar parks, and hyrdo-plants and those Greenies would start to drool. Well, General Motors either shares a similar vision or company officials were their reading our minds: witness the new GM Education Google Earth Project, which takes the power of Google Earth and transforms it into an educational tool that focuses on production of energy across the globe.
Kermit the Frog laments, "It's not easy being green," and LeftLaneNews agrees in their indepth search to find the most cost-effective hybrid money can buy. One of the major hurdles cost-sensitive buyers report when plunking down the cash for a hybrid is trying to calculate the amount of time it takes to pay off the additional cost over an equivalent non-hybrid model. With so many factors to consider, it's not easy to find out how to save the most green - while driving a green car. The results of their research might surprise you...
In recent years, Europe has been embracing stop-start systems--also known as "micro-hybrids"--but the US has been slow to adopt the technology. Until now. HybridCars shares a report predicting that Hyundai and Ford will begin offering stop-start systems on several of their models.
What's the latest trend in Green Car Technology? For Earth Day 2010, Automopedia takes a look at what's new and improved in the world of eco-friendly tech. Has the hybrid craze finally come to an end? Are we looking to a future of all electric- and alternative-fueled vehicles? While hybrid cars are still a top-selling subdivision of both import and domestic automakers, alternative methods are being tested. This report at Automopedia takes a look at other eco-friendly automotive options.
Think those tire-eating potholes and frost heaves along the commute--and all the rattles and squeaks they elicit from your car--are costing you big in extra repairs and vehicle wear? Well, according to TheCarConnection, you're right! Awful road conditions cost U.S. motorists $67 billion per year in additional repairs and operating costs--an average of $335 per motorist, nationally.
Ford rolled out its B-segment competitor in San Francisco last week, in both sedan and hatchback versions. Can the 2011 Ford Fiesta compete with the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, and Toyota Yaris? This first drive at AutomotiveTraveler gives the answer.
According to unscientific research at CarGurus, free scheduled maintenance programs are a nice perk, but not a big enough reason to consider a BMW (or, presumably, a Jaguar) over another make. Their article researches whether free schedule maintenance programs actually save you money...the verdict? Considering the cost of purchasing a BMW or Jag can range from $40K to $100K (or more), a more practical cost savings might be buying a top-end Honda, Toyota, Chevy, or Ford and following its recommended service schedule at a trusted independent shop.
If you're in the market for your child's first car, you're probably interested in an affordable model that is safe and reliable. Maybe you're even thinking of passing down a car that's already in the family. According to Consumer Reports, that's fine, as long as it is a relatively recent model, with all the latest safety features, rather than a worn-out, low-value clunker. Why? Safety and reliability are important when choosing a vehicle for a young, inexperienced driver, especially because car crashes are the number one killer of teens. What are the best cars for teen drivers? Find out at Consumer Reports.
While some concerning things have been happening in the automotive industry, good developments are also occurring in the area of automotive safety. The overall safety of our cars is much higher than ever before. In fact, last year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 33,963 automotive traffic fatalities, the lowest amount since 1954, with the percentage down by 8.9 percent compared to 2008. However, there are some anomalies in the overall progression of safety - and they include recent and popular vehicles. That's why Automoblog decided to compile this Top 10 list of some of the worst offenders. Glad those videos show crash test dummies!
Dontcha just love Jalopnik? They had a treasure trove of entertaining videos this week! First, they've got amazing footage of a Fiat Abarth Trofeo racing on two wheels! The driver gets sideways in a turn, runs across the curb, and bounces up onto two wheels, "Herbie, the Love Bug" style. Best of all? He saves it! And if that's not entertaining enough, the gentlemen at Jalopnik have also shared a short video showing what happens when you strap a car seat onto an exploding airbag. Good thing he was wearing a helmet, which is more than we can say for the guy in the video added to the comments. 'Nuff said. You've got to see it to believe it.
And with those three video segments to keep you focused on the computer screen, we thank you for joining us for this week's CARnival! Have you got something of interest you want us to include in a future carnival? Then fill out our online form so we can be notified of your interesting entry to our weekly blog CAR-nival. Check back next week for another installment!
Brandy Schaffels, autoMedia.com contributing editor