Toyota Camry: Securing its lead

Every five or six years, Toyota trots out a new Camry and, almost without fail, it rockets to the top of the charts. The last all-new Camry landed in 2011. If convention held, the next new Camry wouldn’t have appeared until 2016 or 2017. But… Read more


Driverless cars headed forward

We’ll be able to see the results of modern motor vehicle manufacturing at the Spokane International Auto Show this year. Many advanced driver assist features will also be on exhibit there this February 13th, 14th and 15th. These assists (lane departure warning, adaptive braking, et… Read more

Rocky Mountain High

Once popular among younger truck buyers, demand for small pickups sputtered and stalled in the early 2000s. Stalwarts like Chevrolet, Ford, GMC and Jeep eventually exited the segment, leaving the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma, in recent years, as sole survivors. Buyers either migrated to truck-based SUVs and crossovers, or … Read more

Consumers Borrowing More to Cover Car Costs

While car sales continue their upward trend, consumers are apparently going deeper into debt than ever to pay for them. According to Experian Automotive in Schaumburg, Ill., the average new-vehicle loan was a record $27,799 during the third quarter of 2014, which represents an increase of $1,080 over the previous … Read more

Cold Weather, Bad MPG

Q: The return of cold weather reminds me of something. I’ve always had a sense that I get considerably worse mpg in the winter than in summer. I can’t really imagine why that would be, but it seems to be the case. Am I just dreaming? A: You are not … Read more

Price Drop

Percentage of its original value the average new car will retain after five years on the road. Source: Kelley Blue Book in Irvine, Calif. Read more

Semantics, semantics, semantics

When evaluating real estate, it’s regularly recommended, redundantly, to consider location, location, location. Concerning the dissection of the legalese within traffic laws, a similar, applicable mantra might be, semantics, semantics, semantics. In an earlier column, I wrote that “passing, by any other name, is still… Read more

Cheapest Cars With the Best Fuel Economy

While full-electric and gas/electric hybrid-power cars can get phenomenal fuel economy, they command stiff price premiums that are difficult to recover in savings at the pump, particularly with gas prices recently falling to their lowest levels in four years. Fortunately, budget-minded and environmentally conscious car shoppers don’t need to break … Read more

Most Car Shoppers Suffer Buyer’s Remorse

Though few consumers ever buy a car or truck on impulse, even the best-prepared shoppers will end up driving off a dealer’s lot packing a trunk-load of reservations and regrets. According to surveys hosted on the car shopping/research website AutoTrader.com, 69 percent of consumers have experienced buyer’s remorse after purchasing … Read more

Pooch Problems?

Q: I read your reply to the question about dogs being killed when airbags deploy. Seems logical but it’s not. In 30+ years of law enforcement, I never saw a dog injured by an airbag. People yes, dogs no. I checked data from collision investigation resources and found no reports … Read more

Big Ticket

The average new vehicle loan in the third quarter of 2014 - a record high. Source: Experian Automotive Read more

Resolutions: 2015 edition

Many of us use the beginning of a new calendar year as a prompt to make resolutions that might improve our lives. Diet and exercise are perennial faves, but try to think of some that might improve your driving this year. I have a few… Read more

Truck Sales Surge, Hybrids Fizzle

With gas prices dropping precipitously in late 2014, sales of full-size pickup trucks continued their upward path, while those of fuel-frugal hybrids were headed in the other direction. U.S. new-vehicle buyers purchased 10 percent more pickups this past October than they did over the same 30-day period in 2013, according … Read more

Identity Thefts and Stolen Cars

Car thieves are increasingly able to get their hands on purloined rides, not by hot-wiring the ignition or copying keyless entry codes, but by simply using stolen IDs to fraudulently lease or obtain loans to purchase them at dealerships. According to the National Insurance crime Bureau in Des Plaines, Ill., … Read more

High Drive

Readers comment: The debate/concern regarding driving while smoking marijuana is intensifying as a greater number of states consider legalizing the sale of recreational pot. So when I recently had column and follow-up related to the issue of whether legalizing marijuana leads to more driving while doped, and whether that might … Read more

Buyer Worries

Percentage of people who’ve experienced buyer’s remorse after purchasing a car. Source: AutoTrader.com Read more

Reexamining lane use

The emailed comments and questions regarding lane use are seemingly endless, so let’s reexamine the topic. Reader R.H. commented, “I would like to broaden the conversation with regard to your recent article on the use of the inside lane when driving on freeways. The law… Read more