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Opel Astra OPC revealed

2012 Opel Astra OPC

After a few months of preliminary information, we now have the complete details about the upcoming Opel Astra OPC (Vauxhall Astra VXR). The car will be motivated by a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that develops 277 hp (280 PS / 206 kW) and a peak torque of 295 lb.-ft (400 Nm), which makes it the most powerful Astra in all its history, capable of reaching a top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h).

2012 Vauxhall Astra VXR

The powerful bigger brother of the Astra GTC comes with a few chassis modifications in order to handle that entire horsepower that goes to the front axle. The OPC comes with a mechanical limited slip differential on the front axle to diminish as much as possible the problem of torque steer.

2012 Vauxhall Astra VXR

The front suspension of the Astra OPC is a High Performance Strut, just like the one on the GTC. Other than that, Opel has installed its own adaptive suspension FlexRide system that comes with a Sport and an OPC/VXR button.

2012 Vauxhall Astra VXR

Design-wise, the sport hatch features a new body kit that includes sculpted front & rear bumpers, a roof spoiler and side skirts. As for the dual exhaust system, this has a trapezoidal shape. Inside the cabin of the Opel Astra OPC (Vauxhall Astra VXR) we find a bespoke instrument panel and a flat OPC sport steering wheel wrapped around in leather.

2012 Vauxhall Astra VXR

Source: Opel/Vauxhall via WCF

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Top Fuel Efficient Cars On Sale Now

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Yesterday we talked about the least efficient cars available right now while today we do a top five of the highest mpg cars that you can buy. There are a lot of fuel-efficient cars out there, including gasoline-powered and diesels, as well as natural gas and EVs, plus those range-extended EVs and hybrids.

We begin with the most efficient of them all which is the 2012 Mitsubishi that tops the EPA’s leaderboard of fuel efficiency, managing to return an impressive average of 112 MPGe. We know that it isn’t the prettiest car out there but if MPG is your top priority, this is the model to get.

2011 Nissan Leaf

On the second place we find the 2011 Nissan Leaf that is considerably more popular than the Mitsubishi I and it can return 99 mpg. Why? Because it’s bigger, better to drive and more refined. In addition, it’s also more usable on a daily basis since it has a range of up to 73 miles while the Mitsubishi can do only 62 miles.

2012 Chevrolet Volt

We continue with the 2012 Chevrolet Volt which has two ratings since it has two separate modes of running. According to EPA, the Volt can do 35 miles on electric mode and 94 MPGe, but after the conventional gasoline engine is activated it extends the range of the car to 344 miles while the MPG figure is 37.

2011 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

On fourth place we have the funky 2011 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive which is able to do 87 mpg and can return 87 mpg. One great thing about it is that it drives better than the standard version of the car. In addition, the 2012MY will probably be more efficient than this one but we have no official figures.

2012 Toyota Prius

Last but certainly not least, the 2012 Toyota Prius that can return 50 mpg on the combined cycle. You probably know everything about the Prius, how good it is to drive and how reliable is the hybrid technology developed for this model.

2012 Honda Civic Hybrid

If we were to name other efficient cars that you can buy today, you have the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid (44  mpg), 2012 Toyota Prius V (42 mpg), 2012 Lexus CT 200h (42 mpg), 2011 Honda Insight (41 mpg), along with the 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Lincoln MkZ that are both able to return 39 mpg.

Source: Green Car Reports

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Top 5 Best F1 Drivers

It is quite hard to narrow down the list of the best F1 drivers to just five because throughout the history of the competition there were a lot of great drivers. In addition, it is rather difficult to compare a pilot that raced during the 70s with one of today’s contenders. As a consequence, we fully understand if you do not agree with some of the pilots we’ll name.

Nigel Mansell

05. Nigel Mansell - born in UK, he participated in 187 GPs, winning 31 of them and one championship in 1992. He managed to win his only title while driving a Williams and after that he went to Ferrari where after his first victory was hailed by fans as “Il Leone” (the Lion). After leaving the world of F1 he went into the United States where he won the IndyCar title, managing to become the only driver in the world to win both an F1 title and an IndyCar championship.

Juan Manuel Fangio

04. Juan Manuel Fangio - one of the greatest drivers Argentina gave to the world of F1. He raced in 51 GPs and won 24 of them. In 48 of these races he started from the front of the grid and ended up winning almost half of them. What’s even more impressive is that he has five world championships which he won in 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956 and 1957. His first victory came when he was 47 years old.

Alain Prost

03. Alain Prost – probably the best French F1 driver ever, he raced for 199 in the competition, managing to grab 51 wins and four titles: 1985, 1986, 1989 and 1993. Nicknamed “The Professor”, he will always be remembered for the way in which he meticulously prepared his victories, refusing to take any sort of risks and getting involved in altercations with other F1 drivers. One commentator said something which purely defines Prost’s style of driving: “the faster he went, the slower he looked.”

Michael Schumacher

02. Michael Schumacher - if naming the best F1 driver in the world would be done by the numbers of wins and championships, the German would be the king. He won 91 races so far, out of almost 300 GPs and he has been the champion of the competition for seven times: in 1994 and 1995 with Benetton Renault, while the other five consecutive titles (2000-2005) were obtained while he was at Ferrari. Fully dedicated to this sport, he is still capable of winning a championship if he has the appropriate car and  hopefully he will get it next year so that he could put an end to Vettel’s domination.

Ayrton Senna

01. Ayrton Senna – we can write dozens of articles about him but words can’t describe how epic Senna was. He raced in 161 GPs, managing to win 41 of them and three world championships: 1988, 1990 and 1991. Some consider him as being the forerunner of the modern grand-prix car as he was fully dedicated to building the perfect F1 and his technical abilities were exceptional. He truly was a complete driver: fast, skillful, brave, daring and capable of offering a lot of excitement. Unfortunately, he died in 1994 in what could have been probably the most interesting F1 season in all its history, with Senna and Schumacher going head-to-head for the trophy.

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2012 Audi S6 / S6 Avant, En Route To Frankfurt Motor Show

2012 Audi S6

The trio of S models from Audi that will make an appearance at Frankfurt next month includes the S6 / S6 Avant, which will be powered by a V8 twin-turbocharged 4.0 TFSI engine that produces 420 hp (309 kW) and a peak torque of 405 lb.-ft (550 Nm), the same engine you will find in the S7 Sportback as well as the flagship S8.

2012 Audi S6

With the engine under its hood, the S6 will need only 4.8 seconds in order to hit 62 mph from start, on its way to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h). Taking into consideration that the Avant version is a little bit heavier, it needs 4.9 seconds to do the sprint.

2012 Audi S6

According to the German automaker, the S6 will be able to return 24 mpg (9.8 liters / 100 km), while the Avant will return 24.25 mpg (9.7 liters / 100 km). To lower the fuel consumption, the engineers have fitted the engine with a stop/start system and a so-called “cylinder on demand” management system that can deactivate four of the eight cylinders.

2012 Audi S6 Avant

Another interesting feature is going to be the ANC – Active Noise Cancellation that is able to monitor the sound level in the interior cabin and when the volume is too high, it is capable of broadcasting an antiphase sound through the car’s speakers in order to cancel it out.

2012 Audi S6 Avant

Both the S6 and the S6 Avant will feature a 7-speed S-tronic gearbox, a self-locking center differential, torque vectoring and the company’s famous quattro AWD system. The car will ride on a new adaptive air suspension that has variable damping and brings the S6 closer to the ground by 10 mm. In addition, it gets black calipers, optional carbon ceramic brakes as well as a bunch of S6 logos.

2012 Audi S6 Avant

The sedan version has a curb weight of 4,177 lb (1,895 kg) while the Avant tips the scale at 4,299 lb (1,950 kg). The S6 sedan is 16 mm longer than the regular A6, while the Avant is also longer by 8 mm than the A6 Avant. Both of the cars ride on either 19- or 20-inch rims, available in different styles.

2012 Audi S6

Inside the cabin, you will find aluminum shift paddles, a leather sport steering wheel, height-adjustable sport seats that have lumbar support. In addition, there are a whole bunch of aluminum trim and carbon fiber parts spread all over the interior cabin.

2012 Audi S6

Some of the optional features available on both versions include an impressive 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System, MMI and driver information system, LEDs and others as well. If you want plenty of luggage space, get the S6 Avant as it offers 59.33 cu ft. (1,680 liters) to store all of your stuff.

2012 Audi S6

No word at the moment regarding the price tag of the 2012 Audi S6 / S6 Avant, but most likely we’ll find out these details in a couple of weeks at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show so stay tuned for additional information.

Source: Audi

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2012 Toyota Camry Revealed

2012 Toyota Camry

We’ve seen some spy shots, we’ve heard some rumors, and now we finally get to see it – the 2012 Toyota Camry, officially revealed by the Japanese automaker this week. This would have to be the 7th generation of the model and it scheduled to go on sale in the United States at the start of October.

2012 Toyota Camry

Clients will be able to choose from three engines. The entry-level unit will be an updated 4-cylinder 2.5-liter with 178 hp, which is 9 hp more over the old one, and a peak torque of 170 lb.-ft. According to the manufacturer, the model fitted with this engine will return 25 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway (28 mpg combined), which is a good 2 mpg more in comparison to the outgoing model.

2012 Toyota Camry

Your second option would have to be the mildly tweaked V6 3.5-liter power plant that churns 268 hp @ 6,200 rpm and a peak torque of 248 lb.-ft reached at 4,700 rpm. Toyota says that the car returns 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, while the old generation engine returned 20 mpg city and 29 mpg highway.

2012 Toyota Camry

These two engines are going to be mated to a 6-speed gearbox that comes with a sequential manual shift mode using the console shifter.

2012 Toyota Camry

The third one will be available for the Camry Hybrid and will benefit from a new version of the company’s Hybrid Synergy Drive engine, which includes a brand new 4-cylinder, 2.5-liter Atkinson power unit which will replace the outgoing 2.4-liter engine. The combined output will be of 200 hp, which will be enough for a 0-62 mph sprint in 7.6 seconds. According to Toyota, this greener Camry will do 43 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway, which is 30% better than the old one.

2012 Toyota Camry

A novelty for the Hybrid model will be the EV Drive mode which will allow the person behind the wheel to operate the vehicle solely on the electric motor for up to 1.6 miles at speeds of less than 25 mph.

2012 Toyota Camry

The hybrid variant of the 2012 Toyota Camry will be distinguished by the blue-hued logos of the brand as well as the bespoke alloys and the lower grill. Inside, the car will feature a model-specific trim and upholstery, plus a 3-dial Optitron gauge panel.

2012 Toyota Camry

The car has just about the same size as the model it replaces, but the Japanese car manufacturer said that the rear-knee room has been increased by 1.8 inches and the rear middle seat legroom is also up by two inches. They managed to do this by reshaping the front seatbacks, moving the front seats and the accelerator pedal a little bit forward and repositioning the rear-seat hip point rearward.

2012 Toyota Camry

The 7th generation of the Camry benefits from a more rigid body structure, along with an updated front suspension and a tweaked rear suspension. It is going to be the first model of the company that will come with EPS – electric power steering.

2012 Toyota Camry

Customers will be able to order the car in one of the six different trim levels. Some of the tech goodies offered include the company’s all-new Entune multimedia system that offers support for mobile applications like OpenTable, Bing, movietickets.com, live weather, traffic, stocks, fuel information and sports.

The entry-level 2012 Toyota Camry L fitted with the aforementioned 2.4-liter power unit will have a starting price of $21,955, which is $710 more in comparison to the outgoing model. The Hybrid LE version costs from $25,900, cheaper with $1,150 (4.3%) compared to the 2011MY.

Source: Toyota

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BMW i3 And i8, On Sale In 2013

BMW i3

2013 is going to be an important year for BMW as they are going to launch their first i-branded models: the i3 and the hot i8. The first one will feature a light yet very resilient CFRP body structure and it will have a chassis made out of aluminum. The German automaker says that the car will have a curb weight of 1270 kg, which is 265 kg more than the entry-level Mini One.

BMW i3

The 5-door i3 is going to measure 3845 mm (length), 2011 mm (width) and 1537 mm (height), making it 120 mm longer, 326 mm wider and 132 mm higher than the Mini One. It will have a 105 mm longer wheelbase, measuring 2570 mm as well as wider tracks, making it bigger than the Mini but at the same time smaller than any of the models that wear the BMW badge.

BMW i3

The company has stated that the car’s center of gravity will be lower in comparison to the 1-Series thanks to the fact that the liquid-cooled battery, which is a lithium-ion unit, will be installed within the central section of the floor. While the i8 will be a hybrid, the smaller i3 is going to be an all electric car and its durability is tested at the moment in a fleet of 1-Series Active-E prototypes.

BMW i3

The BMW i3 is going to feature a compact electric motor which will be installed over the rear axle and it will draw its energy from the battery in order to provide drive for the wheels in the back through a 6-speed gearbox. The car’s engine will output 168 hp and 184 lb.-ft of torque, which should be enough for a 0-37 mph time of 3.9 seconds and a 0-62 mph sprint in 7.9 seconds, which is just about the same as the 118d. For protecting the charge of the battery, the BMW i3 will be limited to a top speed of 93 mph.

BMW i3

The German automaker has mentioned that recharging the batteries takes six hours when using a conventional 220v and it needs only one hour in order to fill the battery at 80% of their capacity. The overall range of the i3 is estimated to be between 80 and 100 miles, but BMW has said that the car will be available with a range extender powertrain for those that need to take longer journeys.

BMW i3

No word about the capacity of this gasoline engine but what we can tell you is that it will be installed along with the electric motor at the rear axle and it will be used for powering a generator that will maintain the battery charge. This engine won’t provide direct drive for the wheels in the back as opposed to the one in the sportier i8, which means that it will only serve to generate the necessary electricity for running the electric motor.

BMW i8

Moving on to the aforementioned i8 model, this one is also set to go on sale in 2013 and it will feature an all-new gasoline-electric hybrid configuration, which will allow the driver to choose between running the car on electric mode or a combination of the traditional combustion engine and the electric motor.

BMW i8

The i8 won’t feature the 1.5-liter 3-cylinder diesel power unit that we saw in the Vision ED concept as the German engineers have opted for a 1.5-liter gasoline engine with direct-injection, which will be found in the next generation of the Mini lineup as well as the FWD 1-Series which will be launched sometime in 2014.

BMW i8

This engine is going to output 220 hp and a peak torque of 221 lb.-ft and will work in tandem with an electric motor that provides 129 hp and 184 lb.-ft, creating a total output of 349 hp and 405 lb.-ft. Just like the Vision ED concept, the i8’s gasoline engine is going to be installed at the rear and it will drive the wheels in the back through a dual-clutch gearbox while the electric motor is mounted up front and provides juice for the front wheels via a twin-speed transmission.

BMW i8

The BMW i8 will be able to drive on electric mode for a distance of up to 20 miles and after that the gasoline engine will kick in. It will have a 0-62 mph sprint time of just 4.6 seconds, which is 0.3 quicker than the hot M3 coupe. It will need only 4.0 seconds to reach 75 mph from 50, on its way to an impressive top speed of 155 mph.

BMW i8

One of the major reasons why the i8 is going to be so fast is due to its low curb weight of approximately 1480 kg, providing a power-to-weight ratio of 236 hp / tone. They managed to keep the weight down to a minimum by using CFRP – carbonfibre reinforced plastic. Aside from this, BMW has implemented a very low aerodynamic and mechanical drag, which should be enough for a combined fuel economy of 104 mpg (UK) and CO2 emissions of only 66 g/km.

BMW i8

Taking into consideration that this will be a hybrid car, it will need a smaller battery in comparison to the all-electric i3 we’ve talked about. Charging time for this unit will be of about 105 minutes.

BMW i8

As far as the dimensions are concerned, we can compare the i8 with the coupe version of the 3-Series as it measures 4632 mm in length, 1955 mm in width and 1280 mm in height. The car is expected to have a 50:50 weight distribution and its center of gravity will be the lowest in all BMW’s current lineup. No details have been released as far as the overall range is concerned, but according to insiders the BMW i8 will be able to drive up to 400 miles, which is quite impressive.

Source: BMW

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Credit Score Necessary To Lease A Car

If you are one of those people that prefer to drive new cars frequently, it means that leasing is the option for you. If you can stay within the pre-established mileage limit and take good care of the car, you’ll be able to get a new one every three years. However, it isn’t as simple as it sounds as in order to become eligible for such a leasing contract, your credit score must be in a good shape. The minimum limit can vary so we cannot give you a figure, but if yours is on the lower end of the scale, you’ll either be refused the lease or if they’ll give it to you they are going to ask for a high interest rate.

Most of the car leases are closed end types. This means that you drive the vehicle for a certain amount of time, like three years for example. When the lease is over, you can return the car and walk away with no strings attached. However, if the vehicle shows signs of more than normal wear & tear or you drove it over your mileage limit, prepare to pay additional fees. You have the option of buying the car for good by paying its residual value as well as a processing fee. If you choose to buy it, you don’t have to worry anymore about those additional fees regarding over mileage or excessive wear and tear.

As most of you probably know, the credit score consists of a three-digit number and it is complied based on your credit history. Fair Issac Corp., who is in charge of compiling the FICO credit score, says that the factors that determine the credit score are credit limits, how much money you owe, bill payment history, the types of accounts you have and the length of credit history.

Lease Guide says that in order to become eligible for leasing a car, your credit score must be at least 640 although some can qualify even if their score is 600. You will get the best interest rates if your score is anything about the 700 mark. You have to understand that the lower the score is, the more money you will pay for the interest rate in order to offset the risk that the lender takes when borrowing you. Those that choose to put down a bigger security deposit can get lower rates.

If the level of your credit score is in between good and bad, you might have a few ways of raising it to get qualified for affordable rates. What you must do is get a free copy of your credit report from Equifax, Transunion or Experian. Once you get it, check out if there are any unverifiable negative items and if you find these, you’ll have to file a dispute. If these items cannot be verified, the credit bureaus must remove them which will raise your credit score and hopefully you will get the credit score necessary to lease a car.

Those of you that have a credit rating that is in a bad shape and there is no way of improving it in order to become eligible for a lease, still have a chance. What you can do is take over someone else’s lease. In other words, you will have to find someone that wants to get out of his lease and you will agree to take his vehicle and the payments. In this case, the leasing companies don’t have as much restrictions and requirements so you will have more chances of signing a deal.

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Refinance Used Car Loan

Due to the fact that interest rates drop, many people start thinking about refinancing their home loans. But what about doing the same thing with a car loan? In fact, it will be easier to refinance a used car loan and you will save a significant amount of money.

How much you ask? Imagine the following scenario. You purchased a car about six months ago and the dealer said that there are some issues with your credit and your car loan would be 11% on a 5-year loan for a car that’s worth $23,000, which means that your monthly payments are $500. Now, you are searching all over the Internet to find a company where you will be able to refinance this loan. If you do your homework right, you could refinance the balance of the loan and lower your monthly payments to approximately $400 which over the life of the loan means almost $6,000.

If you want to refinance your car loan, you should opt for one of the followings websites: Bankrate.com, Up2Drive.com or CapitalOne.com. The first one refinances vehicles on a “referral” basis by taking the loan applications and then matching them with banks.

This online car refinancing will allow you to head down to a dealership as a cash buyer, which means that you will have more protection or better said, be less vulnerable to the salespeople who only what to obtain the maximum profit by confusing clients with monthly payments and interest rates.

If you don’t know if refinancing your used car loan is for you, here are the situations which are suitable for such a decision:

You are the lessor. There are many people out there that decide that they want to keep the car after the lease is over. It certainly is a major plus knowing the maintenance history, reliability and the performance of the car so this decision is completely understandable. However, you should know that in some cases the dealer can’t help you with the loan so a smart move would be to do a “buyout”. In other words, buy the car and set up a loan.

You are the budgeter. The client acquired the vehicle on a short-term loan, agreeing to make the high yet affordable payments. Later on, his financial situation changes and the monthly expenses rise. In this case, it would be a wise idea to spread the payments over a more comfortable amount of time. How? By refinancing the car loan.

You are the saver. In this situation, the buyer is always attentive at the Federal Reserve and whenever the interest rates go down, he starts looking for a method to improve his financial situation. In addition, if he’s credit score has improved, he might want to consider refinancing as to become eligible for lower rates.

You are the newly educated remorseful. Imagine this. You have acquired a brand new car and financed it via the dealership. After that, one of your friends asks you about what interest rate they gave you. You then grab the contract and read it carefully, finding out that the dealer made some serious money by marking up the interest rate. Now, you probably want to find a solution to refinance your loan.

If refinancing a used car loan has so many advantages, you are probably wondering why people don’t do it as often as they should. The answer for this question is somewhat unclear; maybe they are concerned about the uncomfortable process that they had to go through when they refinanced the loan for their house. Of course, other people are simply not aware of this possibility.

All in all, keep in mind at all times that whenever the federal interest rate drops, so will the auto loan rates. We’re sure that you don’t want to lose money by paying more interest than you should. Right?

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Questions To Ask When Buying A Used Car From Dealer

In our previous article we’ve talked about some of the questions that you should ask a private seller whenever you want to buy a used car. In this article, we are going to share ten questions that you might want to ask a used car dealer so that you will avoid getting scammed. Regardless of what questions you ask him, never buy a car without taking it for a test drive.

Here are the ten questions that you need to ask a used car dealer:

1. Can I look over the mechanic’s pre-certification inspection? – Ask this question if the vehicle that you want to buy has been certified. These vehicles go through an in depth inspection before they can be certified which is why you could ask the dealer if he is willing to show you the papers in order to find out what sort of repairs have been done. This document will come in hand later on when other problems will occur, that is if you decide to buy the car;

2. Who certified the car? – The single certification that is indeed relevant would have to be the manufacturer certified pre-owned car. The rest of the lot consists of insurance-backed programs and you’d better avoid them, needless to say why;

3. From who did you acquired the car? – You’ll have to ask about the maintenance records if the car was part of a trade-in. If the car was bought from an auction, you’ll have to verify that it has been thoroughly inspected, preferably by someone who is an expert in verifying used cars;

4. Can I get a CarFax report before buying the car? – If you are at a reputable dealership, they will give you one right away while other dealers will hand you a “customized” report or won’t give you one at all. When you have a look in this report, remember to verify if the VIN on the car matches the one in the paper;

5. For how long will I be allowed to test drive the vehicle? – Some dealers will let you take the car overnight so that you can test drive it extensively. You’ll have to write down that you won’t use the car for more than 100 miles and also prove that you have insurance and the gas level will be the same after the test drive is over;

6. What is the return policy? – While some dealers will start laughing when hearing this question, others will give you a brief period to rethink your purchase and give you something else of equal value. Don’t expect to get the money back as no dealer in the world will do that;

7. What is the cash price tag of the car? – Simply put, cash rules. Most of the dealers make a nice profit by convincing clients to take financing but if you have enough cash, you’ll get a better price tag. In most cases, the dealers are willing to shave off about 5% of the price if you pay in cash;

8. What can I get if I buy the car? – Check to see if the dealer will throw in a timing belt, a new set of tires or other similar equipment;

9. Do you accept trade-ins? – If you hate selling, your best bet would be to find a used car dealer that accepts trade-ins. We all know how frustrating it can be to sell a used car;

10. What sort of service did the car get after you bought it? – The answer you will get will allow you to find out a more accurate value of what you are about to purchase. If it went through a comprehensive overhaul, it means that for some time you won’t have to pay to fix or replace a component.

These would have to be the ten questions to ask when buying a used car from dealer in order to make sure that what you are about to purchase is a good investment. Take your time and do your homework as in most cases we are talking about a significant amount of money.

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Questions To Ask When Buying A Used Car From A Private Seller

Buying a car is considered one of the most significant expenses that a person has to make in its entire life. Those of us that cannot afford to buy a brand new vehicle have to settle for a used one, which can be acquired either from a private seller or from a used car dealer. This article will guide you through some of the questions that you must ask a private seller.

Here are the ten questions that you need to ask a private seller:

1. How many miles are on the odometer? – The reason why you should ask this is in order to find out a value before actually seeing the car. When you obtain this information it would be wise to visit Edmunds.com so that you can find out the approximate value of the vehicle that you plan on buying;

2. How would you describe the condition of the car? – If he says excellent, it means that either the vehicle is in great shape or he is being dishonest. We highly recommend that you search for another one if the car isn’t as “excellent” as its seller promised;

3. Why are you selling it? – If the answer is “I just bought a new one” it usually means that he is anxious to get rid of the old one. If he answers “It was my dad’s (mom’s)” then you are in an excellent situation because there aren’t many people that would want to hold on to the vehicle in this situation and they’ll want to sell it for cash as fast as possible;

4. From who did you bought the car from? – The perfect situation for you would be that the seller is also the original owner. Regardless of the answer you get, always get a report from CarFax;

5. Where did you buy the car? – This is a very important question taking into consideration that some states in the U.S. are lenient regarding what defines a salvage title or it permits cars to be sold from state to state without issues concerning the past history of the vehicle;

6. What sort of oil you have used for the car? – Most likely, the seller will answer in one of the following three ways:

a) Right away. Which shows that most likely he changed the oil himself so the car has been well-maintained;
b) After a brief pause. In this case, ask if he can look at the records. This also means in most cases that the car has been well-maintained, but we advise you to ask him to verify the oil change records so that you will know for sure;
c) “I don’t know” or he gives a wrong answer. In this case, make sure that your personal mechanic has a close look at the engine;

7. For how much money are you willing to sell the vehicle? – By asking him this question, he will understand that you don’t plan on paying the asking price;

8. For how long can I take the car for a test drive? – Needless to say, never buy a car that you haven’t driven. If he’s a reputable seller, he will let you drive the car. If he’ll deny you this, you’d better walk away as most likely there’s something wrong with it. Most of the sellers that will allow you to take it for a spin will limit the test drive to about half an hour, which is plenty of time to figure out how the car handles and feels;

9. Can I get the car inspected by my personal mechanic? – After you have taken the car for a test drive, ask him this question. If he hesitates to give you an answer, it means that something is wrong. All you’ll ever want to hear is “Yes”. Any other answer won’t do it;

10. What was the last car that you have sold? – You need to know that there are lots of people who sell cars just to get a nice profit. They usually buy them dirt cheap, fix them up here and there and after that sell them to get a nice and tidy profit. However, there are some people that will fix the vehicles just enough so that they can get rid of them.

These would have to be the questions to ask when buying a used car from a private seller. Needless to say, aside from asking these questions, always inspect the car and if you can, get a mechanic to have a closer look at it in order to find out if anything is wrong with it. All the defects that he or you will find during the inspection can be used as weapons during the negotiation process.

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Car Lease Agreement

Obtaining a lease on a car is a major financial investment and for this reason you need to be very attentive with the car lease agreement before signing the deal. We highly recommend that you get a blank lease contract from the car dealer before signing up a lease so that you can have enough time to examine it and find out all the ins and outs. You should know that the federal law in the United States requires that car lease contracts must contain certain sections in which specific figures and facts are disclosed to you. Some of the sections that you will find are:

a)      The amount of money you will have to pay when signing the deal;

b)      Information regarding the monthly installments;

c)       Other fees and charges;

d)      The total of payments;

e)      The total of finance charges;

f)       How the monthly payment is determined;

g)      The early termination statement;

h)      Wear & tear explanation.

Despite the fact that significant improvements have been made regarding these agreements, there are still plenty of issues to fix. Take for example the fact that the current law does not regulate the actual figures in these agreements, like the amount of money you are credited for the trade-in, the car’s price tag, and finance fees.

You have to understand that these car lease contracts are written by the dealers and you’d be surprised to find out how many mistakes they have, some legitimate while others intended and the bad thing is that at the moment there is no low that can punish these errors. Needless to say, you have to detect these discrepancies before signing the deal because after that, it will be virtually impossible to change anything. It is a common misconception among people that there is a three-day “right to cancel” law regarding automobile leases or purchases. Well, there isn’t one so be careful when analyzing the car lease agreement.

Nowadays, most of these auto lease agreements require that you maintain an insurance coverage: bodily injury / death liability is $100,000 / person, $300,000 / occurrence; property damage liability: $50,000, comprehensive and collision for the actual value with no more than $500 deductible. We know that most of you think that this is more than you would buy if you were given the opportunity, but you should know that it is always a smart choice to have maximum protection as we know how expensive car repairs are, not to mention how pricey lawsuits have become.

Another thing that you will find in just about every vehicle lease agreement is the one regarding the regular wear & tear. You will find within the contract that the car must be returned with no more than the “normal” wear and tear. However, not all agreements specify exactly what “normal” means. You’d be surprised to find out that this is one of the most important reasons why people decide not to sign a car lease, especially first-time leasers. They are afraid that after the lease is over and they have to return the car, the company will charge thousands of dollars as penalties for minor scratches and dings. You should know that this is not true, most of the times. They will allow these small scratches & dings because it is a normal thing when driving a car, especially in city traffic, but also on the highway. However, if the car suffers from serious scratches or the tires are worn out, it would be wise to fix these issues before returning the car. Otherwise, you’ll pay a lot in penalties.

Speaking of penalties, a typical car lease agreement mentions excessive mileage penalty. In other words, if you drive the car beyond the mileage limit mentioned in the contract, the company will charge you more money. In most cases, this limit is 15,000 miles / year, but there are lots of contracts where you are allowed to drive only 10,000 or 12,000 miles annually. For these reasons, figure out how much you will be using the car so that you can select the limit that you want. If you go beyond that limit, expect to pay up to $0.30 / mile. If you know for sure that you will be driving more than 15,000 miles (or whatever is mentioned in the contract), we recommend that you “purchase” extra miles so that you can avoid paying those nasty penalties.

You’ll also find in the contract something about early termination. These lease contracts mention the conditions in which you are allowed to terminate the agreement. However, keep in mind that most of the lease firms prohibit termination of the contract during the first few and last few months of the contract. We highly recommend that you avoid early termination as it can be very expensive.

Unless you have gap protection, if the car is stolen or destroyed, the company will consider this as an early termination of your contract. We know that this is totally unfair but there’s nothing you can do and you’ll be in the same situation as mentioned in the previous paragraph. This gap protection (aka gap waiver or gap insurance) will cover any additional amount of money that you might owe after your insurance company pays off. If the lease that you are about to sign does not come with this gap insurance, nor it is offered by the dealer, we highly recommend that you get in touch with the bank or the car insurance company.

As you can see, there are lots of issues to take into consideration when signing a car lease agreement. Never sign the contract if you don’t know what to expect from it. As we said at the beginning of the article, get a blank lease contract and analyze it thoroughly in order to find out all there is about this deal so that you won’t have any unpleasant surprises after signing the contract.

Source: leaseguide.com

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How To Price A Used Car To Sell

If you were wondering how to price a used car to sell, you have come to the right place as this article will guide to through the entire process. You probably know that valuing a car is both objective and subjective. Why objective? Simple, because we have to take into consideration the make and model of the vehicle, manufacturing date, along with other similar details. Why subjective? Take its appearance for example; while the seller considers that the car looks great, the potential buyers might have a different opinion. The same situation is applicable to the condition of the car.

When talking about used cars, you need to understand that there are three distinct price levels: trade-in, private party and retail.

The trade-in value is the amount of money that a car dealership will give you if you decide to trade-in or give the used car in exchange for a down payment on another car or for cash. Usually, this trade-in value is about 20% less than what you will get from a private party.

Speaking of private parties, this is the value which a private individual can expect to obtain when selling the car to another individual.

The retail value is what a used car lot or a dealership assigns to the car. The used cars that are sold at “retail value” usually carry a warranty, are reconditioned or even both. The prices in this situation are usually 20% higher in comparison to private party values.

In the following paragraphs we will explain how to price a used car to sell to a private party. First and foremost, get the following information about the vehicle: year of manufacturing, make & model, trim level, options and mileage. If you want to get a free vehicle history report, visit www.carfax.com where you will obtain all the necessary data.

Now, time has come to have a look at the car and figure out its current condition, which can be: excellent, good, fair or poor.

A car is in an “excellent” state if it is in perfect mechanical condition and its exterior appearance resembles to the one of a car that is being exhibited in a showroom. In other words, the vehicle has no body damage whatsoever, no dents, dings or other flaws. Inside the cabin, the upholstery and the carpets are in perfect condition. In addition, the tires are all the same and still have enough tread remaining.

Moving on, a car which is in a “good” shape it usually means that it has some minor electrical or mechanical problems. It exterior is pretty clean, but it does have some minor scratches and dings from the regular wear & tear. However, this doesn’t mean that it should show signs of rust. Regarding the upholstery and the carpets, they usually show minor wear, while the tires (all match) have a limited tread life.

A car that is in a “fair” condition has quite a few electrical and mechanical issues, but its engine works well and the vehicle can be driven without any major problems. Its exterior has scratches, dings and dents, which will have to be repaired by a professional. Signs of rust are noticeable and the tires might not match, while their tread life is very limited.

A vehicle which is in a “poor” condition comes with significant mechanical and electrical problems. The bodywork needs major repairs and there are significant signs of rust. The tires need urgent replacement. Cars that have a “branded title”, like: flood, salvage, etc., fall in this category.

Figuring out the price tag starts by doing a little bit of research regarding the local price levels. In addition, you will also have to check the Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com) to get a better understanding of how much you should ask for the car.

Of course, the value of the car will be higher if you have made upgrades to the vehicle, like applying a custom paint, installing a new stereo system or other aftermarket accessories. Minor dents and scratches will lower the value of your car, which means that you should put a price tag on your car according to the overall condition of the vehicle, taking into consideration all the good and bad things about it.

Source: usedcars.about.com

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IIHS reveals 2010 top safety picks: Subaru leads while BMW or Toyota are nowhere to be seen

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the US version of the Euro NCAP safety testing organization, has just revealed its picks for the safest cars of 2010, after subjecting to a grueling series of tests, including the brand new rollover protection evaluation, which helped trim narrow down the selection from 94 models in 2009 to just 27, arranged in five categories.

The cars needed to get a Good rating (the highest possible on the testing scale) in tests like front and side impacts, head restraint in rear crashes and to have Electronic Stability Control, alongside the aforementioned rollover test.

Among the big surprises this year, was the fact that reputed manufacturers like BMW or Toyota have no models in the safety picks, and that Subaru managed to be featured in every category it entered with its own models.

Hit the jump to see IIHS’s 2010 top safety picks in terms of large, medium and small cars, and medium or small SUVs.


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Tips on getting your car ready for the winter season

In most countries, the winter season is rapidly approaching, meaning that your precious car will be subjected to some serious wear and tear. In order to prevent it from breaking down or becoming seriously damaged, there are a few things you need to keep in mind and inspect, preferably before the snow starts falling or you’ll find yourself in the emergency lane of any road.

So in case you can’t borrow Ken Block’s TRAX STI Subaru-based snow cat, you might want to hit the jump and find out all of the tips on getting your car ready for the upcoming winter season.


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Joy is BMW campaign inspires Romanian artist to create BMW Z4 out of origami paper cranes

We’ve covered BMW’s newest marketing campaign “Joy is BMW” by revealing the ads that highlight the Bavarian carmaker’s newest attitude towards its customers by rewarding them with the best driving experiences on the market.

This campaign also contained a competition among artists from Romania, which challenged them to bring to life this interesting concept. One Alexandru Mirea had a truly unique approach to this, and chose to recreate his favorite model, the BMW Z4, by using paper.

Fine, what’s so special about making a paper car? Well how about decorating it with over 4,000 paper cranes made through the traditional Asian craft of origami? Alex, after spending 15 days and in 5 pulling all-nighters, managed to create a life-size replica of the hot Bavarian roadster. Midway through the assembly, he decided to recreate a more interesting scene, by making the car seem like it is sliding and accents the speed through the rear of it, which seems to disintegrate.

Overall, this is certainly a unique take on BMW models, and one which will leave a mark on many people. Hit the jump to see the video of how the assembly process went, and if you want more details on the build, you can check out this document, but it is in Romanian.


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