7 of the most reliable cars you can buy – CBS News #car #sales #websites


#most reliable cars
#

7 of the most reliable cars you can buy

Seven of the most reliable cars you can buy

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Styling, handling and gas mileage all loom large when you are shopping for a new car. But don’t forget reliability — knowing that there is only a slim chance you will face frequent and costly repairs with that vehicle.

To help with that, we have compiled a list of seven of the most reliable cars you can buy — from subcompacts to luxury sedans. To make our list, a model had to appear among the top three in its class in the recently-released J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study. In addition, the car or SUV had to have a strong reliability record in Consumer Reports’ annual auto issue. Both rankings involve surveys of people who own a specific vehicle and so reflect real-world experience.

While our list is heavy with Japanese and Korean brands, Buick does get two vehicles on the list. That General Motors division has fared the best among U.S. brands, ranking number two for reliability in the Power study. Buick also finishes seventh in the Consumer Reports brand rankings — a broader rating of how many of a brand’s vehicles make the CR recommended list.

For a model that combines high reliability with very high gas mileage, take a look at Toyota’s hybrid Prius V (pictured above).

Here’s a closer look at our picks in seven categories.

Subcompact: Honda Fit

Close

Small SUV: Kia Sportage

For drivers who like brisk acceleration and sharp handling, the Sportage is a good choice. Reviewers advise taking the optional turbocharged four-cylinder engine over the less lively standard four. The mileage trade off to get that turbo boost isn’t too bad (20 MPG city 26 highway for the turbo vs. 21 city, 28 highway for the standard four). And if you accelerate a little too much, reviewers praise the Sportage’s braking response. At a time when many new car owners complain of confusing controls, test drivers found the controls in the Sportage straightforward and easy to use. List price for the Sportage ranges from $21,900 to $29,600.

Midsize SUV: Buick Enclave

For families needing three rows of seats, Enclave offers good value in this high-priced category with list prices ranging from $39,050 to $49,305. With seating for up to eight, some reviewers cite Enclave as an especially good example of Buick’s transformation to a modern line of vehicles. And they praise its comfortable ride and stable handling. Enclave comes with a V-6 engine rated by the EPA for 17 MPG in city driving and 24 on the highway — about standard among its competitors. And if it is cargo you need to carry instead of people, the Enclave boasts 115 cubic feet of space with the second and third-row seats folded down.

Luxury car: Mercedes-Benz E-Class



7 of the most reliable cars you can buy – CBS News #used #car #price #calculator


#most reliable cars
#

7 of the most reliable cars you can buy

Seven of the most reliable cars you can buy

Close

Styling, handling and gas mileage all loom large when you are shopping for a new car. But don’t forget reliability — knowing that there is only a slim chance you will face frequent and costly repairs with that vehicle.

To help with that, we have compiled a list of seven of the most reliable cars you can buy — from subcompacts to luxury sedans. To make our list, a model had to appear among the top three in its class in the recently-released J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study. In addition, the car or SUV had to have a strong reliability record in Consumer Reports’ annual auto issue. Both rankings involve surveys of people who own a specific vehicle and so reflect real-world experience.

While our list is heavy with Japanese and Korean brands, Buick does get two vehicles on the list. That General Motors division has fared the best among U.S. brands, ranking number two for reliability in the Power study. Buick also finishes seventh in the Consumer Reports brand rankings — a broader rating of how many of a brand’s vehicles make the CR recommended list.

For a model that combines high reliability with very high gas mileage, take a look at Toyota’s hybrid Prius V (pictured above).

Here’s a closer look at our picks in seven categories.

Subcompact: Honda Fit

Close

Small SUV: Kia Sportage

For drivers who like brisk acceleration and sharp handling, the Sportage is a good choice. Reviewers advise taking the optional turbocharged four-cylinder engine over the less lively standard four. The mileage trade off to get that turbo boost isn’t too bad (20 MPG city 26 highway for the turbo vs. 21 city, 28 highway for the standard four). And if you accelerate a little too much, reviewers praise the Sportage’s braking response. At a time when many new car owners complain of confusing controls, test drivers found the controls in the Sportage straightforward and easy to use. List price for the Sportage ranges from $21,900 to $29,600.

Midsize SUV: Buick Enclave

For families needing three rows of seats, Enclave offers good value in this high-priced category with list prices ranging from $39,050 to $49,305. With seating for up to eight, some reviewers cite Enclave as an especially good example of Buick’s transformation to a modern line of vehicles. And they praise its comfortable ride and stable handling. Enclave comes with a V-6 engine rated by the EPA for 17 MPG in city driving and 24 on the highway — about standard among its competitors. And if it is cargo you need to carry instead of people, the Enclave boasts 115 cubic feet of space with the second and third-row seats folded down.

Luxury car: Mercedes-Benz E-Class



Avoid These 5 Used Cars (Plus 5 to Buy) – CBS News #economy #cars


#buy used car
#

Avoid These 5 Used Cars (Plus 5 to Buy)

Last Updated Jul 19, 2011 11:49 AM EDT

This story is based on 2010 data. For the 2011 version, click here .

Used car shopping used to be a scary maze of breakdown-prone models, but reliability has gained sharply. Auto manufacturing quality and dependability studies have shown steady gains this decade. But exceptions do exist and if you’re in the market for a used car, you want to steer clear of them.

So CBS MoneyWatch.com has compiled a list of used cars to avoid in five categories, focusing on 2007 models-the year from the latest J.D. Power and Associates dependability study. Buying a three-year-old car also lets you shop after the bulk of depreciation has taken place. If you’re considering a more recent model used car, study the comparisons in Flash: New Cars Cost Less than Used Cars which take into account new car financing deals vs. one-year old certified used cars.

To make our list of used-car rejects, a model had to score the minimum two out of five in the J.D. Power “circle ratings ” for dependability–a below-average ranking. It also had to be ranked below average as a used car by Consumer Reports in its annual April car issue and online car rankings.

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If you’re shopping for a car, you’ll find dealers aren’t offering as many bargains as in the past. Jill Schlesinger has 3 ways to find a good dea.

Here are our used cars to avoid, by category, plus better used car alternatives:

Small Used Car to Avoid: Volkswagen New Beetle. Sure, it’s adorable, but the 2007 New Beetle is also trouble-prone. Owners who responded to the Consumer Reports reliability survey reported problems with the fuel and electrical systems, the suspension, brakes, power windows, and other power equipment. The convertible model sells on dealers’ lots for $17,055, according to Kelley Blue Book at kbb.com.

Small Used Car Alternative: Ford Focus . It may not be as stylish as the Beetle, but it’s a lot more reliable. In fact, the Focus got the J.D. Power award as most reliable compact car. Owners of the 2007 Focus who responded to Consumer Reports reported no major trouble spots. And it’s much cheaper than the Beetle. The Kelley Blue Book dealer price is $10,905.

Mid-Size Used Car to Avoid: Chrysler Sebring. The 2007 Sebring sedan not only got just two circles from J.D. Power, Consumer Reports reported a laundry list of problems: engine cooling, minor transmission problems, the drive system, suspension, brakes and more. The low $12,365 dealer price isn’t worth it.

Mid-Size Used Car Alternative: Buick LaCrosse. Winner of the J.D. Power dependability award in this category, the 2007 LaCrosse got an above-average used-car rating from Consumer Reports. It’s a good value at a dealer price for the CX version at $14,430.

Small Used SUV to Avoid: Jeep Wrangler. King of the off-road, the 2007 Wrangler can climb over almost any obstacle except a reliability test. Owners of the two-door version responding to Consumer Reports reported major transmission problems and issues with the electrical system and brakes. And it’s selling on dealer lots at a relatively expensive $19,850.

Small Used SUV Alternative: Honda CR-V. A lot less noticeable than a Wrangler, the Honda CR-V is a lot less trouble, too. It won the J.D. Power dependability award in this category and is rated by Consumer Reports as a well-above-average used car prospect. As a used-car buyer, you are on the wrong side of Honda models’ strong ability to hold their value. But at a dealer price of $20,980, the four-wheel-drive version of the CR-V is still a decent value.

Mid-Size SUV to Avoid: GMC Acadia. The 2007 Acadia is a good example of the time-honored rule to avoid buying the first year of a model. It not only got a below-average two circles from J.D. Power, it received a much-worse-than-average used car rating from Consumer Reports. CR readers who owned the 2007 reported problems with the drive system, suspension, body integrity and power equipment. In addition, the all-wheel-drive version on dealers’ lots is priced at an expensive $28,435, according to Kelly Blue Book.

Mid-Size SUV Alternative-Honda Pilot. One of a handful of mid-size SUVs to get four circles from J.D. Power, the Pilot is rated well-above-average by Consumer Reports. (Its corporate stablemate, the Accord Crosstour, actually won the J.D. Power award. But many reviewers find its modified-sedan style not big enough to provide true SUV cargo or passenger room.) The Pilot is selling for $23,395-some $5,000 less than the GMC Acadia.

Used Minivan to Avoid: Nissan Quest. Never a strong contender in this category, the Quest gets a below-average used car rating from Consumer Reports and two circles from Power. Owners of the 2007 reported problems with the fuel and climate system, brakes and body integrity. The Quest is selling at $17,395.

Used Minivan alternative: Toyota Sienna. This van gets four J.D. Power circles and an above-average CR used car rating. Not part of the Toyota sudden-acceleration recall, the Sienna is selling at a dealers’ price of $20,280 for the CE trim level.

Photos courtesy of the manufacturers

More from MoneyWatch



Car Insurance – CBS News #car #rental #canada


#quinn car insurance
#

Car Insurance

Last Updated Feb 5, 2010 11:46 AM EST

What’s the best way to save on car insurance?

Compare prices: Here lies your single biggest shot at saving money. In any city or any zip code, some insurers charge twice as much as others for exactly the same coverage.

Insurers don’t advertise price, so you have to hunt for those that are lower cost. No single company always has the best rates. Each one prices differently, in different places, for different kinds of customers.

For quotes, begin online at sites such as InsWeb. Insure.com. Esurance. and InsureOne.com. Enter the coverage you want. You may have to give your name, phone number, and e-mail address to get quotes, but it’s a convenient, easy way of getting a good range of comparisons. It helps to keep a special e-mail address for online shopping so that junk doesn’t pile up in your personal account. Some quotes come instantly, others a couple of days later. A few companies sell online with no call from an agent. Some familiar companies, such as Allstate, Amica, Geico, Progressive, and State Farm Insurance, aren’t on the Web comparison sites. You have to log on to them separately.

With these prices in hand, ask an independent insurance agent if he or she can do better for you sometimes the agent can turn up a lower rate, perhaps from a regional company or a company that’s especially competitive for drivers of your age and sex. At the very least, the Web quotes tell you whether your agent is offering a competitive price.

Excerpted from Making the Most of Your Money Now by Jane Bryant Quinn

Copyright 1991, 1997, 2009, by Berrybrook Publishing, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Simon Schuster, Inc



7 of the most reliable cars you can buy – CBS News #usave #car #rental


#most reliable cars
#

7 of the most reliable cars you can buy

Seven of the most reliable cars you can buy

Close

Styling, handling and gas mileage all loom large when you are shopping for a new car. But don’t forget reliability — knowing that there is only a slim chance you will face frequent and costly repairs with that vehicle.

To help with that, we have compiled a list of seven of the most reliable cars you can buy — from subcompacts to luxury sedans. To make our list, a model had to appear among the top three in its class in the recently-released J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study. In addition, the car or SUV had to have a strong reliability record in Consumer Reports’ annual auto issue. Both rankings involve surveys of people who own a specific vehicle and so reflect real-world experience.

While our list is heavy with Japanese and Korean brands, Buick does get two vehicles on the list. That General Motors division has fared the best among U.S. brands, ranking number two for reliability in the Power study. Buick also finishes seventh in the Consumer Reports brand rankings — a broader rating of how many of a brand’s vehicles make the CR recommended list.

For a model that combines high reliability with very high gas mileage, take a look at Toyota’s hybrid Prius V (pictured above).

Here’s a closer look at our picks in seven categories.

Subcompact: Honda Fit

Close

Small SUV: Kia Sportage

For drivers who like brisk acceleration and sharp handling, the Sportage is a good choice. Reviewers advise taking the optional turbocharged four-cylinder engine over the less lively standard four. The mileage trade off to get that turbo boost isn’t too bad (20 MPG city 26 highway for the turbo vs. 21 city, 28 highway for the standard four). And if you accelerate a little too much, reviewers praise the Sportage’s braking response. At a time when many new car owners complain of confusing controls, test drivers found the controls in the Sportage straightforward and easy to use. List price for the Sportage ranges from $21,900 to $29,600.

Midsize SUV: Buick Enclave

For families needing three rows of seats, Enclave offers good value in this high-priced category with list prices ranging from $39,050 to $49,305. With seating for up to eight, some reviewers cite Enclave as an especially good example of Buick’s transformation to a modern line of vehicles. And they praise its comfortable ride and stable handling. Enclave comes with a V-6 engine rated by the EPA for 17 MPG in city driving and 24 on the highway — about standard among its competitors. And if it is cargo you need to carry instead of people, the Enclave boasts 115 cubic feet of space with the second and third-row seats folded down.

Luxury car: Mercedes-Benz E-Class



The pros and cons of leasing a car – CBS News #cars #for #sale #ni


#car leasing
#

The pros and cons of leasing a car

  • Ray Martin
  • MoneyWatch

Oct 4, 2012 9:55 AM EDT

2013 Ford Fusion Close

iStockphoto

(MoneyWatch) I continue to get a lot of questions from readers about whether they should lease or buy a new car. Personally, I favor buying a “slightly used” car — one that’s about two years old — with low mileage, good maintenance reviews and safety records. This typically results in the lowest cost of ownership and can save a lot of money over long periods of time. Of course buying a used car has disadvantages. You’ll bear the risk of paying for significant maintenance and repairs in later years when the warranty expires and you’ll have to wait for new technology, safety and efficiency enhancements that come with owning a new car every few years.

For people who are looking to always drive a new vehicle, and willing to live with the reality that they will always have a car payment because of this, then leasing can compare favorably.

But if you are going to lease a new vehicle, then just make sure you know that there are some downsides. Here a few of the most important things to keep in mind when you are considering leasing.

Leasing costs more over time. All thing being equal, for a given auto, the monthly payment for a two year lease is lower than a loan payment. This means that if are focusing just on the monthly payment, then the cash flow cost of lease payments is lower than buying. But when you compare the numbers, somewhere in the time between 24 and 36 months, leasing begins to cost the same as buying. Over a longer period of time, the total cost of leasing is almost always more than the cost of buying and driving the same vehicle.

The reason is that if you keep a car after paying off a loan and drive it for a few more years, the purchase cost is spread over a longer period of time. When you run the numbers, the cost of leasing a new car every two years — which amounts to five two-year leases over a period of 10 years — is more than the total cost of buying one car and driving it for 10 years.

Limits on mileage. Typically, lease contracts restrict the number of miles you can drive to between 12,000 and 15,000 miles per year. If you exceed this limit, you’re charged excess mileage fees of 10 to 25 cents per mile over the limit at the end of the lease.

Excess wear and tear. Leasing companies require that you return their cars at the end of the lease with no more than “normal wear and tear”. You’ll pay extra to repair excess wear on tires, brakes, scratches and door dings at lease end.

No customizing. A leased car doesn’t belong to you; it belongs to the leasing company. Therefore, if you make modifications like adding accessories, a sound system or custom painting, you’ll likely be charged for the cost of repairs to undo them.

Termination penalty. Lease contracts are purposely written to discourage and even prevent early termination. To do so usually means you’ll pay a termination penalty. The earlier you terminate a lease, the higher the penalty.

Finally, most dealers will offer lease financing through the manufacturers’ “captive leasing company”, which may or may not offer the most competitive deal. Check with your local bank, credit union or another independent leasing company for the best terms and deal for the car you are leasing.

2012 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.



How to get a lower rate on an auto loan – CBS News #cheap #car #leasing


#car loan interest rate
#

How to get a lower rate on an auto loan

(MoneyWatch) Strong auto sales this year have been boosted by the growth of auto loans obtained through dealers, Edmunds.com is reporting. That’s good news for the industry and the economy but means that as a car shopper you need to be careful not to overpay in high interest rates for your loan.

“Pent-up demand from consumers unable to get credit during the recession will continue to contribute to auto sales growth as these consumers get access to credit,” says Edmunds chief economist Lacey Plache in a just-published report. The expansion of credit has included growth in loans to consumers with subprime credit ratings — about one quarter of auto loans in the second quarter of this year.

But if you are fortunate enough not to be a subprime buyer, you still have other options beyond dealer financing. And even if you do wind up with a dealer loan, make sure you are not paying above-average rates.

Take these steps to make sure you are getting the best auto loan deal:

  • Know your credit score. Go to annualcreditreport.com and look over your report and take the one-time paid option to get your score. This is the key to what interest rate you will pay.
  • Check the average loan rate for your credit score. For instance, the Yahoo Autos financing page shows that prime borrowers with FICO scores above 720 are paying an average of just 3.75 percent. Scores between 690 and 719 have a 5.16 percent rate and borrowers between 660 and 689 pay 7.03 percent. These are broad averages, of course, but will give you a benchmark to see if the dealer-offered loan is a good deal.
  • Get outside financing if you possibly can. If you have a relatively strong credit score, you may be able to get pre-approval from your bank or credit union. With that financing in hand, you can compare a dealer financing offer and take it only if it is a better deal.
  • Keep each part of the transaction separate. Dealerships love “payment buyers” who focus only on the monthly payment. That lets them wrap all together the trade-in, if any, the price of the new car and the financing. Negotiate hard on the new-car price after checking on a typical selling price such as the Edmunds.com True Market Value.
  • With these precautions, you can upgrade your ride to something like the redesigned 2013 models Ford Fusion or Honda Accord without paying too much for your auto loan.

    2012 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.



    6 ways to boost your car s trade-in value – CBS News #trade #in #car #value


    #car trade in value
    #

    6 ways to boost your car’s trade-in value

    You’re finally in tip-top financial shape to purchase a new car, but there’s one problem: How will you get your existing set of wheels off your hands?

    You don’t have the time to deal with the hassle of a private sale, and you have no desire to auction it off.

    You decide a dealer trade is the best way to earn cash for your vehicle with no strings attached. Afraid of getting lowballed by the car salesman? Don’t fret. Conducting research on the trade-in process and your car’s value will equip you with the tools needed to demand top dollar for your ride.

    Let’s start with this video we did last year called “How to Sell Your Car for More Money.”

    How trade-in values are determined

    According to CarsDirect. five factors determine the trade-in value:

    • Year. Newer models get the most attention from used-car shoppers. “When a dealership anticipates a quick sale, they are more willing to pay a higher price for it,” CD says.
    • Make and model. If the model holds value or is in high demand, the resale amount will be decent.
    • Condition. Both the exterior and interior appearance are a component of the vehicle’s appraised value.
    • Mileage. The higher the mileage, the lower the trade-in value. “Even if the vehicle’s condition is impeccable, an odometer reflecting high mileage may make a consumer less willing to purchase a car at a price acceptable to the dealership,” CD says.
    • Desirability. If your car is popular among consumers, you’re in luck.

    So, make note of the mileage and condition of your car. Then, visit a site such as Kelley Blue Book to get an idea of what the trade-in value will be. Note: These sites often offer several different prices, including the trade-in value and one for private sales, so make sure you’re checking the right one.

    Other sites that provide trade-in values include Edmunds. NADA Guides. CarsDirect and Black Book. Check several of them.

    Edmunds says the trade-in value will be less than that for a private sale, which requires more effort on the owner’s part.

    Keep in mind that values can also be different based on where you live and what’s popular in your area. So be sure to look at what similar vehicles are selling for in your community or state. Check newspaper ads and other local sources.

    So now you’re prepared to negotiate a decent price. Is the offer you’re getting from the dealership fair? Scott Painter, CEO of California-based automotive search company Zag, told Bankrate :

    For a resale, the average dealer is looking to make between 2 and 4 percent on a transaction. So take whatever your car’s value is and add in whatever cost it would take to refurbish the vehicle. Then, add in 2 to 4 percent, and as long as the trade-in price you’re given is in that window, it’s probably a fair deal.

    Now let’s look at some ways to improve your trade-in’s value.

    1. Bring the maintenance up to speed

    I’m not suggesting you spend a load of cash and give the car a complete makeover. But the better the condition, the more money you’ll make. AutoTrader notes :

    When it comes to making repairs to your used car, you need to determine whether or not the repairs will actually increase the value of the vehicle at resale time. Most importantly, you need to determine if you’ll be able to increase the selling price of the car enough to recoup the cost of those repairs.

    2. Don’t forget about the body work

    Too many dents, dings and scratches can be hard on the eye. So, suck it up and fork over the cash to have them repaired.

    Said Dan Ingle of Kelley Blue Book. “Dent removal experts can be very affordable — often charging only $100 to remove several dings. You will be saving the buyer the headache of taking it to the body shop.”

    “For a major dent where a panel needs to be repaired, it makes even better financial sense to fix it,” Ingle advises.

    3. Provide service documentation

    This information should be present on the Carfax report, if one is acquired, but don’t take any chances. “Any and all fluid changes, tire rotations, paint or body repairs, engine repairs and service and any other related maintenance documentation is important to have because it demonstrates to a dealer the care the vehicle has received during the time you owned it,” says AutoTrader .

    If you didn’t keep the receipts, ask the shop you used for the documents.

    4. Detail your ride

    Some consumers are more interested in a visually appealing vehicle than they are with what’s under the hood. Sheronde Glover, founder and CEO of Car-Buy-Her, told Bankrate:

    “Make sure your car is clean. A good detailing job might cost about $50, but it could increase your car’s value by several hundred dollars.”

    Want to do it yourself? Check out AutoTrader’s comprehensive auto-detailing checklist here.

    5. Negotiate the selling price separately

    Don’t mention your trade-in until you’ve negotiated the purchase price of your new vehicle. Otherwise, the salesman will talk about them as a package and make the deal you’re getting a source of confusion. NewCars.com advises. “If the dealer asks if you plan on trading in your car, do not say yes or no, just say ‘Possibly, but let’s just talk about the new car price first.'”

    Not satisfied with the final offer for your trade-in? Shop around at a few more dealerships, and you may be able to get more than you were initially quoted because the demand varies by location. If a vehicle identical to yours has been sitting on the lot for a month, don’t expect to get top dollar for your trade-in, Bankrate says.

    What tricks have you used to boost your car’s trade-in value?

    2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.



    Best Family Cars of 2010 – CBS News #used #auto #dealers


    #best cars 2010
    #

    Best Family Cars of 2010

    After judging hundreds of vehicles for performance, reliability, safety, and family-friendly features, they narrowed it down to 15 vehicles in five categories.

    Parents Editor in Chief Dana Points showcased three of them on “The Early Show on Saturday Morning.”

    And we have the complete list for you, as well.

    All the cars on the list are budget-friendly: Five start at less than $20,000 and one starts at just $13,300. The Best Family Cars of 2010 feature will appear in the June 2010 issue of Parents magazine, which hits newsstands on May 15.

    SEEN ON THE SHOW

    From the Crossover category:

    Honda CR-V

    Starts at $21,545

    MPG: 21 city/28 highway

    Call it a compromise free crossover. The CR-V has a breezy, carlike feel and excellent handling. Its cozy cabin has two glove boxes and handy under-seat compartments to keep all your kids’ stuff organized. The rear seats fold down in various configurations, with minimal effort, to fit double strollers and science projects, and loading bulky gear is less laborious thanks to the superlight lift gate and low rear deck. We also like that even the base model comes with a folding center storage tray, front and rear power outlets, and a conversation mirror (which lets you see what’s going on in the backseat without having to turn around).

    Features:

    Compromise-free crossover

    One of the best choices available in the all important areas of on-road drivability and practicality

    Breezy, carlike feel and excellent handling

    Our readers love the way it drives in all weather conditions

    Cozy cabin with two glove boxes and handy under-seat compartments to keep all the kids’ stuff organized

    Rear seats fold down in various configurations with minimal effort. Perfect to fit double strollers and other bulky gear.

    Even the base model has: folding rear storage tray, front and rear power outlets and a conversation mirror which lets you see what’s going on in the backseat without turning around

    From the Big Car Category:

    Chevrolet Traverse

    Starts at $29,224

    MPG: 16 city/24 highway

    It’s just as versatile as a minivan, but this sporty SUV has way more street cred. The Traverse is remarkably spacious, with seating for up to eight passengers and a third row that’s comfy even for grownups. The second row seats slide forward (perfect positioning for handing your kid his sippy) and back (for tweens who need more legroom). You can get a week’s vacation worth of luggage into the rear cargo well, and with the seats folded down this vehicle could almost double as a delivery van. Still, the sure handling will make you forget all about its size.

    Feartures:

    Its nimble handling almost makes you forget how big it is, until you realize that it’s .

    Remarkably spacious with seating for up to 8 and a third row that’s comfortable enough for grown ups

    The second row slides forward to put kids in perfect position for moms to easily hand back sippy cups or toys

    If you’re heading out on a road trip, you could easily fit a week’s vacation worth of luggage into the rear cargo area

    Base LS models come with OnStar, satellite radio, a six-speaker CD/MP3 player with an auxiliary audio jack and folding second and third row seats

    From the Hybrid category:

    Ford Fusion Hybrid

    Starts at $27,625

    MPG: 41 city/36 highway

    Looking for a larger, plusher hybrid? Try the new Fusion, which was named 2010 North American Car of the Year at the Detroit auto show. The ride is luxurious, and the snazzy cabin has power seats and soft ambient lighting. Your kids will love the voice activated Sync audio system, which plays music on command. You’ll appreciate the capless gas tank, which keeps your hands clean when you refuel. If you want to spend less, the non-hybrid Fusion starts at an affordable $20,000.

    Features:

    Great for green minded families who don’t want to sacrifice style, comfort or safety

    Sportier than you expect a hybrid sedan to be

    Can run on battery power alone up to 47 mph

    Luxurious ride

    Comfortable power seats

    Soft ambient interior lighting

    Keyless entry pad

    Kids and parents will love the voice activated Sync system which plays music on command (this is a standard feature)

    Volkswagen Jetta TDI, Price Starts at $22,830, MPG 30 city/41 highway

    BUDGET

    Honda Fit, Price Starts at $14,900, MPG 27 city/35 highway

    Mazda 5, Price Starts at $18,510, MPG 21 city/28 highway

    Kia Soul, Price Starts at $13,300, MPG 24 city/31 highway

    CROSSOVERS

    Chevrolet Equinox, Price Starts at $22,615, MPG 17 city/32 highway

    Honda CR-V, Price Starts at $21,545, MPG 21 city/28 highway

    Toyota RAV4, Price Starts at $21,675, MPG 19 city/28 highway

    *Toyota has addressed the accelerator problem (which resulted in a recall for this model last January) in all new RAV4s being sold; we feel comfortable recommending it.

    HYBRIDS

    Toyota Prius, Price Starts at $22,800, MPG 51 city/48 highway

    Honda Insight, Price Starts at $19,800, MPG 40 city/43 highway

    * Toyota has addressed the braking problem (which resulted in a recall in February) in all new Prius models being sold; we feel comfortable recommending it.

    BIG CARS

    Ford Flex, Price Starts at $28,950, MPG 16 city/24 highway

    Honda Odyssey, Price Starts at $26,805, MPG 16 city/24 highway

    Chevrolet Traverse, Price Starts at $29,224, MPG 16 city



    The 10 best family cars – CBS News #city #car


    #family cars
    #

    The 10 best family cars

    File. David McNew/Getty Images

    No matter their car-shopping budgets, families are looking for cars that are safe and reliable and get good gas mileage. From subcompacts to big SUVs, ParentsMagazine and Edmunds.com are releasing today their top 10 family vehicles for 2014.

    “Whether they’re taking a summer road trip or just making a grocery run, families expect a lot from their vehicles,” says Dana Points, Parents Magazine’s editor-in-chief. “Safety is every parent’s top priority, and we’re excited by how many manufacturers are now offering blind-spot mirrors and collision avoidance systems in addition to multiple airbags and government-required electronic stability control.”

    Mazda was represented especially well in this year’s list, with two of the 10 top vehicles — even though the company has only about a two percent market share of U.S. sales. Honda also had two models on the list.

    Mazda3

    The 2014 Mazda3. File. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

    Ranging from $16,945 to $26,495, the Mazda3 also ranks as the number one affordable small car among reviewers as compiled by U.S.News. Those reviewers praise the Mazda3 for crisp handling that makes it fun to drive. They also like its sleek interior design. Mazda’s mileage-boosting SkyActiv technology results in an EPA rating of 30 MPG in city driving and 41 on the highway.



    The pros and cons of leasing a car – CBS News #diesel #cars


    #car leasing
    #

    The pros and cons of leasing a car

    • Ray Martin
    • MoneyWatch

    Oct 4, 2012 9:55 AM EDT

    2013 Ford Fusion Close

    iStockphoto

    (MoneyWatch) I continue to get a lot of questions from readers about whether they should lease or buy a new car. Personally, I favor buying a “slightly used” car — one that’s about two years old — with low mileage, good maintenance reviews and safety records. This typically results in the lowest cost of ownership and can save a lot of money over long periods of time. Of course buying a used car has disadvantages. You’ll bear the risk of paying for significant maintenance and repairs in later years when the warranty expires and you’ll have to wait for new technology, safety and efficiency enhancements that come with owning a new car every few years.

    For people who are looking to always drive a new vehicle, and willing to live with the reality that they will always have a car payment because of this, then leasing can compare favorably.

    But if you are going to lease a new vehicle, then just make sure you know that there are some downsides. Here a few of the most important things to keep in mind when you are considering leasing.

    Leasing costs more over time. All thing being equal, for a given auto, the monthly payment for a two year lease is lower than a loan payment. This means that if are focusing just on the monthly payment, then the cash flow cost of lease payments is lower than buying. But when you compare the numbers, somewhere in the time between 24 and 36 months, leasing begins to cost the same as buying. Over a longer period of time, the total cost of leasing is almost always more than the cost of buying and driving the same vehicle.

    The reason is that if you keep a car after paying off a loan and drive it for a few more years, the purchase cost is spread over a longer period of time. When you run the numbers, the cost of leasing a new car every two years — which amounts to five two-year leases over a period of 10 years — is more than the total cost of buying one car and driving it for 10 years.

    Limits on mileage. Typically, lease contracts restrict the number of miles you can drive to between 12,000 and 15,000 miles per year. If you exceed this limit, you’re charged excess mileage fees of 10 to 25 cents per mile over the limit at the end of the lease.

    Excess wear and tear. Leasing companies require that you return their cars at the end of the lease with no more than “normal wear and tear”. You’ll pay extra to repair excess wear on tires, brakes, scratches and door dings at lease end.

    No customizing. A leased car doesn’t belong to you; it belongs to the leasing company. Therefore, if you make modifications like adding accessories, a sound system or custom painting, you’ll likely be charged for the cost of repairs to undo them.

    Termination penalty. Lease contracts are purposely written to discourage and even prevent early termination. To do so usually means you’ll pay a termination penalty. The earlier you terminate a lease, the higher the penalty.

    Finally, most dealers will offer lease financing through the manufacturers’ “captive leasing company”, which may or may not offer the most competitive deal. Check with your local bank, credit union or another independent leasing company for the best terms and deal for the car you are leasing.

    2012 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.



    Best Family Cars of 2010 – CBS News #car #3000


    #best cars 2010
    #

    Best Family Cars of 2010

    After judging hundreds of vehicles for performance, reliability, safety, and family-friendly features, they narrowed it down to 15 vehicles in five categories.

    Parents Editor in Chief Dana Points showcased three of them on “The Early Show on Saturday Morning.”

    And we have the complete list for you, as well.

    All the cars on the list are budget-friendly: Five start at less than $20,000 and one starts at just $13,300. The Best Family Cars of 2010 feature will appear in the June 2010 issue of Parents magazine, which hits newsstands on May 15.

    SEEN ON THE SHOW

    From the Crossover category:

    Honda CR-V

    Starts at $21,545

    MPG: 21 city/28 highway

    Call it a compromise free crossover. The CR-V has a breezy, carlike feel and excellent handling. Its cozy cabin has two glove boxes and handy under-seat compartments to keep all your kids’ stuff organized. The rear seats fold down in various configurations, with minimal effort, to fit double strollers and science projects, and loading bulky gear is less laborious thanks to the superlight lift gate and low rear deck. We also like that even the base model comes with a folding center storage tray, front and rear power outlets, and a conversation mirror (which lets you see what’s going on in the backseat without having to turn around).

    Features:

    Compromise-free crossover

    One of the best choices available in the all important areas of on-road drivability and practicality

    Breezy, carlike feel and excellent handling

    Our readers love the way it drives in all weather conditions

    Cozy cabin with two glove boxes and handy under-seat compartments to keep all the kids’ stuff organized

    Rear seats fold down in various configurations with minimal effort. Perfect to fit double strollers and other bulky gear.

    Even the base model has: folding rear storage tray, front and rear power outlets and a conversation mirror which lets you see what’s going on in the backseat without turning around

    From the Big Car Category:

    Chevrolet Traverse

    Starts at $29,224

    MPG: 16 city/24 highway

    It’s just as versatile as a minivan, but this sporty SUV has way more street cred. The Traverse is remarkably spacious, with seating for up to eight passengers and a third row that’s comfy even for grownups. The second row seats slide forward (perfect positioning for handing your kid his sippy) and back (for tweens who need more legroom). You can get a week’s vacation worth of luggage into the rear cargo well, and with the seats folded down this vehicle could almost double as a delivery van. Still, the sure handling will make you forget all about its size.

    Feartures:

    Its nimble handling almost makes you forget how big it is, until you realize that it’s .

    Remarkably spacious with seating for up to 8 and a third row that’s comfortable enough for grown ups

    The second row slides forward to put kids in perfect position for moms to easily hand back sippy cups or toys

    If you’re heading out on a road trip, you could easily fit a week’s vacation worth of luggage into the rear cargo area

    Base LS models come with OnStar, satellite radio, a six-speaker CD/MP3 player with an auxiliary audio jack and folding second and third row seats

    From the Hybrid category:

    Ford Fusion Hybrid

    Starts at $27,625

    MPG: 41 city/36 highway

    Looking for a larger, plusher hybrid? Try the new Fusion, which was named 2010 North American Car of the Year at the Detroit auto show. The ride is luxurious, and the snazzy cabin has power seats and soft ambient lighting. Your kids will love the voice activated Sync audio system, which plays music on command. You’ll appreciate the capless gas tank, which keeps your hands clean when you refuel. If you want to spend less, the non-hybrid Fusion starts at an affordable $20,000.

    Features:

    Great for green minded families who don’t want to sacrifice style, comfort or safety

    Sportier than you expect a hybrid sedan to be

    Can run on battery power alone up to 47 mph

    Luxurious ride

    Comfortable power seats

    Soft ambient interior lighting

    Keyless entry pad

    Kids and parents will love the voice activated Sync system which plays music on command (this is a standard feature)

    Volkswagen Jetta TDI, Price Starts at $22,830, MPG 30 city/41 highway

    BUDGET

    Honda Fit, Price Starts at $14,900, MPG 27 city/35 highway

    Mazda 5, Price Starts at $18,510, MPG 21 city/28 highway

    Kia Soul, Price Starts at $13,300, MPG 24 city/31 highway

    CROSSOVERS

    Chevrolet Equinox, Price Starts at $22,615, MPG 17 city/32 highway

    Honda CR-V, Price Starts at $21,545, MPG 21 city/28 highway

    Toyota RAV4, Price Starts at $21,675, MPG 19 city/28 highway

    *Toyota has addressed the accelerator problem (which resulted in a recall for this model last January) in all new RAV4s being sold; we feel comfortable recommending it.

    HYBRIDS

    Toyota Prius, Price Starts at $22,800, MPG 51 city/48 highway

    Honda Insight, Price Starts at $19,800, MPG 40 city/43 highway

    * Toyota has addressed the braking problem (which resulted in a recall in February) in all new Prius models being sold; we feel comfortable recommending it.

    BIG CARS

    Ford Flex, Price Starts at $28,950, MPG 16 city/24 highway

    Honda Odyssey, Price Starts at $26,805, MPG 16 city/24 highway

    Chevrolet Traverse, Price Starts at $29,224, MPG 16 city



    Best Labor Day car deals – CBS News #car #battery


    #new car deals
    #

    Labor Day means special deals for car buyers

    Last Updated Aug 29, 2014 10:00 AM EDT

    With Labor Day traditionally tolling the end of summer, you may want to take advantage of another tradition: holiday deals on new cars.

    “Labor Day marks the time when dealers move inventory for new vehicles, which means you can find some great deals on existing models,” says Michelle Naranjo, editor-in-chief of car-shopping website Autobytel.com. From low or zero interest loans to big cash rebates, deals that cut the price of 2014 models are plentiful because 2015 models already have begun arriving at most dealers’ lots.

    To point consumers in the right direction, Autobytel, in partnership with loan information site GoBankingRates.com. compiled a list of the best Labor Day deals in various categories. Here are five of the most interesting:

    Hyundai Sonata Reviewers at U.S. News Best Cars like the Sonata as a spacious sedan with strong fuel economy, rated at 24 MPG in city driving and 35 on the highway. The Sonata comes with either a basic four-cylinder engine or a turbocharged four for better boost. Hyundai is offering a $2,000 rebate on the Sonata or zero percent financing for up to six years if your credit rating is high enough to qualify. List price on the Sonata ranges from $21,450 for the base model up to $28,650 for the best-equipped.

    Chrysler 300 For drivers who want a large sedan with a little attitude, Chrysler’s entry (pictured above) has sleek styling combined with crisp handling. Its V-6 provides plenty of acceleration and is rated at 19 MPG city, 31 highway. Chrysler is offering cash rebates of up to $4,250 on the 300 and loans with low and zero interest. List prices for the 300 ranges very widely from $30,995 up to $48,900.

    Ford Mustang If you feel a need for speed, the Mustang is one of the most affordable cars to deliver that performance. The base V-6 engine provides quick acceleration and the V-8 version even quicker boost. The base model with the V-6, rated at 19 MPG city, 29 highway, starts at $22,510. The V-8 version, starting at $32,035, is rated at 15 MPG city, 26 highway. Ford is offering zero percent loans for to six years if you qualify. If you opt for the $36,135 GT Premium version, you can get a $4,750 rebate.

    Mazda CX-9 reviewers praise it as one of the most fun-to-drive SUVs with quick, responsive handling. The V-6 engine, rated for 17 MPG city, 24 highway, provides plenty of power for highway passing. The CX-9 list price ranges from $29,985 to $36,625. For Labor Day, Mazda is offering a $3,500 rebate or zero percent financing for up to five years.

    Ford Expedition With gas prices down, big SUVs like the Expedition are selling strongly again. Nonetheless, Ford is offering rebates of up to $6,000 or zero percent financing for five years if you qualify, plus a$2,500 rebate. The Expedition big-ticket list prices range from $41,995 to $58,855.

    If you have a choice between low-rate financing and a rebate, the rebate often is the better deal. But to do that, you need pre-approved financing from an outside source like a bank or credit union.

    2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.



    The safest cars on the road – CBS News #used #car #price #calculator


    #safest cars
    #

    The safest cars on the road

    • Jerry Edgerton
    • MoneyWatch

    Dec 19, 2013 5:45 AM EST

    Close

    It s tougher than ever to make the list of safest U.S. cars on the road. In its annual rankings from its crash tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave only 22 vehicles its highest rating, compared with 130 last year.

    To achieve the organization’s new Top Safety Pick Plus rating, a 2014 model car had to have good ratings in its crash tests. That includes the institute’s tough new “small overlap” test, which simulates hitting a tree or light pole with one corner of the car.

    In addition, top-rated vehicles must offer a crash prevention system at least as an option, including automatic braking or front collision warning. An additional 17 vehicles that performed well in crash tests but did not offer accident-prevention technology got the second-level ranking of Top Safety Pick (without the plus).

    Consumers who want crash-prevention technology and the latest in occupant protection have a fair number of vehicles to choose from, said IIHS President Adrian Lund. We hope manufacturers will continue to incorporate front crash prevention, developing more robust systems and adding them to more trim levels or, better yet, making them standard equipment.

    Some of the highlights of the institute’s latest car safety rankings:

    Tough new test. The new small overlap crash test posed a problem for vehicles that otherwise did well in the front, side and roof strength rollover tests. This was especially true among small SUVs.

    Of the 13 2013 and 2014 models tested, only the 2014 Subaru Forester got the instituite’s top good rating. The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport got a second-level acceptable rating. Several other popular crossovers including the Ford Escape, BMW X1 and Hyundai Tucson got marginal or poor ratings. The Honda CR-V also got a marginal rating, Honda s only poor performance on this test.

    Honda scored well. The Japanese automaker and its corporate sibling Acura did the best among manufacturers, with six models earning rated as a Top Safety Pick Plus two as a Top Safety Pick. Subaru had three models with the top ranking and two at the second level.

    Camry improved. This top-selling Toyota sedan dropped from the safety rankings last year because of poor performance in the small overlap test. But a partial structural redesign won the 2014 Camry an Acceptable rating in that test and an overall Top Safety Pick. The 2014 Toyota Prius moved up to a Top Safety Pick Plus.

    Here are the full listings of the IIHS top two rankings. Some cars were tweaked and retested with higher scores, so those rankings stipulate only those built after a certain date.

    TOP SAFETY PICKS PLUS

    Small Cars

    – Honda Civic Hybrid

    – Mazda 3 built after October 2013

    – Toyota Prius built after November 2013

    Midsize, Moderately Priced Cars

    – Ford Fusion

    – Honda Accord 2- and 4-door



    5 of the safest cars on the road – CBS News #new #and #used #cars


    #safest cars
    #

    5 of the safest cars on the road

    5 of the safest cars on the road

    Close

    In its latest round of testing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has cited five models, including two from General Motors, for keeping occupants safe in case of a crash.

    In addition, IIHS now is rewarding new vehicles that have accident prevention systems. As a result, the 2016 Audi A6 (shown above in a crash test) gets the Top Safety Pick Plus rating for its technology that hits the brakes if it senses an imminent crash with the vehicle ahead.

    Vehicles with top crash test ratings but without such automatic braking get a Top Safety Pick (without the plus) rating. That includes GM’s small SUVs Chevrolet Trax and Buick Encore as well as the Kia Sorento SUV and Nissan Sentra compact car.

    IIHS President Adrian Lund said earlier in explaining the new ratings that favor automatic braking: “Systems that don’t require a driver response to avoid or mitigate a crash have the most potential for reducing crashes.”

    Click here for a closer look at the vehicles that rated tops for crash protection.

    Audi A6

    Close

    The redesigned 2016 A6 got the top “good” rating in all of the IIHS crash tests, including the difficult small overlap tests, which approximates hitting a tree or light pole with one corner of the car. IIHS engineers commented that the test dummy’s position after the small overlap crash indicated good protection of the driver. Other tests include a broader front crash, side crash and roof strength in a rollover crash. The crash prevention equipment on the A6, some of it optional, includes automatic braking plus so-called adaptive cruise control that uses radar to keep the car a certain distance from the vehicle ahead.

    In an early review of the 2016 A6, Car and Driver praised the car for its tech features, handsome interior and power and handling. “The A6 does almost everything well whether carving corners or highway cruising,” the reviewer said. The list price for this midsize luxury car ranges from $46,200 up to$70,900.

    Chevrolet Trax

    The Trax, one of a new generation of very small subcompact SUVs, also got the top “good” rating in all of the IIHS crash tests. Engineers noted that the knee airbag helped protect against leg and foot injuries, while the side airbag protected the driver’s head in a side collision. Just introduced this year by General Motors, the Trax includes another important standard safety feature — a rearview camera to help avoid backup accidents.

    The Trax has EPA ratings of 26 MPG in city driving, 34 on the highway — among the highest in its class. But reviewers surveyed by U.S.News criticized the Trax for sluggish acceleration and cheap interior materials. The Trax list price ranges from $20,120 to $26,530.

    Buick Encore

    A GM corporate sibling to the Chevrolet Trax, the Encore also was top-rated in all the IIHS crash tests. Engineers noted that in the small overlap front crash the front and side curtain airbags worked well together to keep the test dummy’s head away from injury-threatening stiff structures of the small SUV.

    The Encore’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine is rated at 25 MPG city, 33 highway. Even with the turbo boost, reviewers found the Encore’s acceleration a bit sluggish. But they praised its comfortable upscale interior and quiet ride, as well as good handling through turns. The Encore list price ranges from $24,065 to $30,935.

    Kia Sorento

    The Sorento, a mid-size SUV, has been completely redesigned with the 2016 model. Like the other vehicles on this list, it scored a top-rated “good” on all the IIHS crash tests. The Sorento scored very well in the roof strength test approximating a rollover — in which the roof must bear four times the vehicle’s weight before crumbling.

    Test drivers found the standard four-cylinder engine, rated for 21MPG city and 29 highway a little sluggish. You can get much better acceleration with the V-6 option. But there is a mileage penalty with ratings of 18 city, 26 highway. Reviewers do praise the Sorento’s stylish and roomy interior and ample cargo room. The Sorento’s list price ranges from $24,900 to $43,100.

    Nissan Sentra

    The Sentra, the only compact car on this list, also got top ratings in all crash tests. Test engineers noted that in the side crash test, side curtain air bags protected the heads of both driver and passenger.

    Reviewers recommend the Sentra as a good daily commuter car because of its spacious cabin and good gas mileage, rated at 29 MPG city, 39 highway with an automatic transmission. But test drivers found the Sentra underpowered for passing on the highway. Sentra’s list price ranges from $16,480 to $20,760.



    Car Donations: Beware Scams and Tax Pitfalls – CBS News #online #car #insurance #quotes


    #donate your car
    #

    Car Donations: Beware Scams and Tax Pitfalls

    Last Updated Jun 21, 2010 1:08 PM EDT

    Donate your car to charity and get a tax break. That popular radio and TV pitch seems enticing. But as the recently-announced car-donation investigation by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo shows, you need to watch out before giving up your car for a write-off. Otherwise, you might get scammed and could face serious tax pitfalls.

    Cuomo, who is running for New York Governor, sued to shut down the car-donation charity, Feed the Hungry Inc. (not affliated with Feed the Hungry Inc. in Leesburg, Va. which provides assistance to the Phillipines.) He said the charity’s director kept 98% of the funds for himself instead of spending it to feed the homeless.The charity has declined all comment through its lawyer.

    If you want to donate your old car, take these steps to help ensure the proceeds go to good works and that you’ll get a bona fide tax deduction:

    Checking Out a Charity

    Make sure the charity is legitimate. Check the online version of IRS Publication 78 to see that the group is a registered charity eligible to take such donations. Only organizations listed as having 501 (c) (3) status can. Additionally, you can check with your state attorney general’s office, which keep files on charities in most states. Documents often are online.

    Check how much goes to good works. Documents on file with the attorney general also should state what percentage of funds go to charitable work vs. running the charitable organization. Well-run charities typically spend 15% or less administering their program. You can also check the efficiency of the charitable organization with Charity Navigator .

    Donate the car directly to the charity. Even legitimate charities may hire profit-making services to handle car-donation program. In such cases, these services get the majority of the money. So look for a charity that accepts the car directly.

    Knowing The Write-off Rules

    A few years back, the IRS became concerned that people were inflating the value of their auto donations. So a 2005 law made the rules tougher for deducting a car you donate. Here’s how to qualify for the tax break:

    Make sure the title is signed over to the charity. Any transfer to a for-profit service, even if it’s working with the charity, could jeopardize your deduction.

    Value your car correctly. Before the law changed, you could deduct the fair market value of your car calculated by a reputable service such as Kelley Blue Book. But now, if your car is worth more than $500, you generally can deduct only the amount the charity received when selling the car. You should get a statement from the charity showing the sales figure. If you don’t get the statement within a month of the sale, call the charity and insist on getting it.

    There’s one exception to this valuation rule: When the charity decides to keep your car and use it–to deliver meals to the needy, for instance. Then, you can still deduct the fair market value from a valuation guide. But you’ll need a statement from the charity confirming that it used the vehicle and for what purpose. Attach it to your tax return. Whatever the valuation, you’ll need to file IRS form 8283 with your itemized return. The donation is considered a charitable deduction, but has its own form.

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    Avoid These 5 Used Cars (Plus 5 to Buy) – CBS News #remote #car #starter


    #buy used car
    #

    Avoid These 5 Used Cars (Plus 5 to Buy)

    Last Updated Jul 19, 2011 11:49 AM EDT

    This story is based on 2010 data. For the 2011 version, click here .

    Used car shopping used to be a scary maze of breakdown-prone models, but reliability has gained sharply. Auto manufacturing quality and dependability studies have shown steady gains this decade. But exceptions do exist and if you’re in the market for a used car, you want to steer clear of them.

    So CBS MoneyWatch.com has compiled a list of used cars to avoid in five categories, focusing on 2007 models-the year from the latest J.D. Power and Associates dependability study. Buying a three-year-old car also lets you shop after the bulk of depreciation has taken place. If you’re considering a more recent model used car, study the comparisons in Flash: New Cars Cost Less than Used Cars which take into account new car financing deals vs. one-year old certified used cars.

    To make our list of used-car rejects, a model had to score the minimum two out of five in the J.D. Power “circle ratings ” for dependability–a below-average ranking. It also had to be ranked below average as a used car by Consumer Reports in its annual April car issue and online car rankings.

    Play Video

    MoneyWatch

    Save on Your Next Car

    If you’re shopping for a car, you’ll find dealers aren’t offering as many bargains as in the past. Jill Schlesinger has 3 ways to find a good dea.

    Here are our used cars to avoid, by category, plus better used car alternatives:

    Small Used Car to Avoid: Volkswagen New Beetle. Sure, it’s adorable, but the 2007 New Beetle is also trouble-prone. Owners who responded to the Consumer Reports reliability survey reported problems with the fuel and electrical systems, the suspension, brakes, power windows, and other power equipment. The convertible model sells on dealers’ lots for $17,055, according to Kelley Blue Book at kbb.com.

    Small Used Car Alternative: Ford Focus . It may not be as stylish as the Beetle, but it’s a lot more reliable. In fact, the Focus got the J.D. Power award as most reliable compact car. Owners of the 2007 Focus who responded to Consumer Reports reported no major trouble spots. And it’s much cheaper than the Beetle. The Kelley Blue Book dealer price is $10,905.

    Mid-Size Used Car to Avoid: Chrysler Sebring. The 2007 Sebring sedan not only got just two circles from J.D. Power, Consumer Reports reported a laundry list of problems: engine cooling, minor transmission problems, the drive system, suspension, brakes and more. The low $12,365 dealer price isn’t worth it.

    Mid-Size Used Car Alternative: Buick LaCrosse. Winner of the J.D. Power dependability award in this category, the 2007 LaCrosse got an above-average used-car rating from Consumer Reports. It’s a good value at a dealer price for the CX version at $14,430.

    Small Used SUV to Avoid: Jeep Wrangler. King of the off-road, the 2007 Wrangler can climb over almost any obstacle except a reliability test. Owners of the two-door version responding to Consumer Reports reported major transmission problems and issues with the electrical system and brakes. And it’s selling on dealer lots at a relatively expensive $19,850.

    Small Used SUV Alternative: Honda CR-V. A lot less noticeable than a Wrangler, the Honda CR-V is a lot less trouble, too. It won the J.D. Power dependability award in this category and is rated by Consumer Reports as a well-above-average used car prospect. As a used-car buyer, you are on the wrong side of Honda models’ strong ability to hold their value. But at a dealer price of $20,980, the four-wheel-drive version of the CR-V is still a decent value.

    Mid-Size SUV to Avoid: GMC Acadia. The 2007 Acadia is a good example of the time-honored rule to avoid buying the first year of a model. It not only got a below-average two circles from J.D. Power, it received a much-worse-than-average used car rating from Consumer Reports. CR readers who owned the 2007 reported problems with the drive system, suspension, body integrity and power equipment. In addition, the all-wheel-drive version on dealers’ lots is priced at an expensive $28,435, according to Kelly Blue Book.

    Mid-Size SUV Alternative-Honda Pilot. One of a handful of mid-size SUVs to get four circles from J.D. Power, the Pilot is rated well-above-average by Consumer Reports. (Its corporate stablemate, the Accord Crosstour, actually won the J.D. Power award. But many reviewers find its modified-sedan style not big enough to provide true SUV cargo or passenger room.) The Pilot is selling for $23,395-some $5,000 less than the GMC Acadia.

    Used Minivan to Avoid: Nissan Quest. Never a strong contender in this category, the Quest gets a below-average used car rating from Consumer Reports and two circles from Power. Owners of the 2007 reported problems with the fuel and climate system, brakes and body integrity. The Quest is selling at $17,395.

    Used Minivan alternative: Toyota Sienna. This van gets four J.D. Power circles and an above-average CR used car rating. Not part of the Toyota sudden-acceleration recall, the Sienna is selling at a dealers’ price of $20,280 for the CE trim level.

    Photos courtesy of the manufacturers

    More from MoneyWatch



    The safest cars on the road – CBS News #car #sales #ireland


    #safest cars
    #

    The safest cars on the road

    • Jerry Edgerton
    • MoneyWatch

    Dec 19, 2013 5:45 AM EST

    Close

    It s tougher than ever to make the list of safest U.S. cars on the road. In its annual rankings from its crash tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave only 22 vehicles its highest rating, compared with 130 last year.

    To achieve the organization’s new Top Safety Pick Plus rating, a 2014 model car had to have good ratings in its crash tests. That includes the institute’s tough new “small overlap” test, which simulates hitting a tree or light pole with one corner of the car.

    In addition, top-rated vehicles must offer a crash prevention system at least as an option, including automatic braking or front collision warning. An additional 17 vehicles that performed well in crash tests but did not offer accident-prevention technology got the second-level ranking of Top Safety Pick (without the plus).

    Consumers who want crash-prevention technology and the latest in occupant protection have a fair number of vehicles to choose from, said IIHS President Adrian Lund. We hope manufacturers will continue to incorporate front crash prevention, developing more robust systems and adding them to more trim levels or, better yet, making them standard equipment.

    Some of the highlights of the institute’s latest car safety rankings:

    Tough new test. The new small overlap crash test posed a problem for vehicles that otherwise did well in the front, side and roof strength rollover tests. This was especially true among small SUVs.

    Of the 13 2013 and 2014 models tested, only the 2014 Subaru Forester got the instituite’s top good rating. The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport got a second-level acceptable rating. Several other popular crossovers including the Ford Escape, BMW X1 and Hyundai Tucson got marginal or poor ratings. The Honda CR-V also got a marginal rating, Honda s only poor performance on this test.

    Honda scored well. The Japanese automaker and its corporate sibling Acura did the best among manufacturers, with six models earning rated as a Top Safety Pick Plus two as a Top Safety Pick. Subaru had three models with the top ranking and two at the second level.

    Camry improved. This top-selling Toyota sedan dropped from the safety rankings last year because of poor performance in the small overlap test. But a partial structural redesign won the 2014 Camry an Acceptable rating in that test and an overall Top Safety Pick. The 2014 Toyota Prius moved up to a Top Safety Pick Plus.

    Here are the full listings of the IIHS top two rankings. Some cars were tweaked and retested with higher scores, so those rankings stipulate only those built after a certain date.

    TOP SAFETY PICKS PLUS

    Small Cars

    – Honda Civic Hybrid

    – Mazda 3 built after October 2013

    – Toyota Prius built after November 2013

    Midsize, Moderately Priced Cars

    – Ford Fusion

    – Honda Accord 2- and 4-door



    The pros and cons of leasing a car – CBS News #used #car #trade #in #value


    #car leasing
    #

    The pros and cons of leasing a car

    • Ray Martin
    • MoneyWatch

    Oct 4, 2012 9:55 AM EDT

    2013 Ford Fusion Close

    iStockphoto

    (MoneyWatch) I continue to get a lot of questions from readers about whether they should lease or buy a new car. Personally, I favor buying a “slightly used” car — one that’s about two years old — with low mileage, good maintenance reviews and safety records. This typically results in the lowest cost of ownership and can save a lot of money over long periods of time. Of course buying a used car has disadvantages. You’ll bear the risk of paying for significant maintenance and repairs in later years when the warranty expires and you’ll have to wait for new technology, safety and efficiency enhancements that come with owning a new car every few years.

    For people who are looking to always drive a new vehicle, and willing to live with the reality that they will always have a car payment because of this, then leasing can compare favorably.

    But if you are going to lease a new vehicle, then just make sure you know that there are some downsides. Here a few of the most important things to keep in mind when you are considering leasing.

    Leasing costs more over time. All thing being equal, for a given auto, the monthly payment for a two year lease is lower than a loan payment. This means that if are focusing just on the monthly payment, then the cash flow cost of lease payments is lower than buying. But when you compare the numbers, somewhere in the time between 24 and 36 months, leasing begins to cost the same as buying. Over a longer period of time, the total cost of leasing is almost always more than the cost of buying and driving the same vehicle.

    The reason is that if you keep a car after paying off a loan and drive it for a few more years, the purchase cost is spread over a longer period of time. When you run the numbers, the cost of leasing a new car every two years — which amounts to five two-year leases over a period of 10 years — is more than the total cost of buying one car and driving it for 10 years.

    Limits on mileage. Typically, lease contracts restrict the number of miles you can drive to between 12,000 and 15,000 miles per year. If you exceed this limit, you’re charged excess mileage fees of 10 to 25 cents per mile over the limit at the end of the lease.

    Excess wear and tear. Leasing companies require that you return their cars at the end of the lease with no more than “normal wear and tear”. You’ll pay extra to repair excess wear on tires, brakes, scratches and door dings at lease end.

    No customizing. A leased car doesn’t belong to you; it belongs to the leasing company. Therefore, if you make modifications like adding accessories, a sound system or custom painting, you’ll likely be charged for the cost of repairs to undo them.

    Termination penalty. Lease contracts are purposely written to discourage and even prevent early termination. To do so usually means you’ll pay a termination penalty. The earlier you terminate a lease, the higher the penalty.

    Finally, most dealers will offer lease financing through the manufacturers’ “captive leasing company”, which may or may not offer the most competitive deal. Check with your local bank, credit union or another independent leasing company for the best terms and deal for the car you are leasing.

    2012 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.



    Getting The Best Car Rental Rates – CBS News #floor #mats #for #cars


    #best rental car rates
    #

    Getting The Best Car Rental Rates

    In the rush to find bargain hotels and airfares, the thrifty traveler can overlook car-rental rates, an item for which the unwary can pay much higher prices.

    If you don’t shop around ahead of time, you may realize you are seriously overpaying for your car rental, financial adviser Ray Martin reports on The Early Show.

    Millions of U.S. vacationers rent vehicles at airports to get around the cities they are visiting. City dwellers who don’t own a car often rent one for weekend getaways. Still, renting a car isn’t something you do frequently and, if you don’t pay attention, you’ll pay too much, get stuck with extra fees or worse, owe thousands in damages caused by you or someone else.

    To be sure, there are lots of choices: Hertz, Avis, National, Enterprise, Budget and Dollar are just a few. With all the competition, prices for a given make and model can vary widely.

    Where you rent has as much to do with the price as what you rent, according to Runzeheimer International, a Wisconsin-based publisher of The Guide to Daily Travel Prices. Its survey found the most expensive locations include Cleveland, New York City and Newark, N.J. The least expensive cities include Honolulu, Fort Lauderdale and Sioux Falls, S. D.

    Apparently, the local mass transit prices have a lot to do with rental car prices. The rental companies know what travelers usually don’t: the taxi and parking fees at your destination.

    When looking for a rental deal, you have two options: Use the toll-free central reservation number or use the Internet. Most cars are rented through phone services, but some recent “secret shopping” surveys indicate you may not be fully informed about all fees, discounts and charges.

    In some cases, smart shoppers will find discounts on the Internet and all disclosures are there in black-and-white to read. Whatever route you take, here are the things you should know before you rent a car:

    • Comparison shop. Prices among the major companies in the same area can vary as much as 25 percent. Be careful to ask about availability; some companies can be short on local supply and pull a last-minute switch to a vehicle less to your liking. Also, compare prices online versus the phone reservation centers. Some companies will offer the same prices; some will provide discounts if you do the shopping and reservations on their Web site.
  • Get discounts. Almost anyone can get something knocked off the standard prices. The key is that you must ask. Discounts of 5 to 15 percent are offered with memberships in popular groups such as AAA, AARP, Costco, and Sam’s Club and even through certain credit cards.
  • Ask about upgrades. Ask about upgrading the size of your car. Occasionally, you may get this for free, or for as little as an additional $1 to $2 a day.
  • Buy insurance wisely. Car renters will gladly sell you additional personal accident, personl effects, collision-damage and loss-damage waiver coverage. Most individuals who have auto, homeowners or renters insurance may already have this coverage. Credit cards used to charge car rentals may do the same. It’s advisable to call your insurance agent and credit card companies to be sure the coverage you already have adequately protects you. This is particularly important when it comes to the cost of settling personal injury or property damage claims.

    The laws vary by state and even by counties within a state, sometimes holding renters liable for every dollar spent by the rental company on these claims. Even if the accident was not your fault, in some locations a car rental company can settle a personal injury suit and obtain full reimbursement from you.

  • Now let’s look at additional fees car renters sometimes charge. These can be the biggest snags of all.

    • Taxes and surcharges. These run an additional 10 percent and include charges such as airport fees, surcharges towards local projects such as convention centers and parking taxes. The extras can be stated as a percentage of the rental fee or in a flat dollar amounts.
  • Vehicle registration, recovery and drop-off. This always sets me off when I see this fee charged by some car rental companies. I’m the one returning the car and the cost of registering it should be built into the rental fees. The fact is that some stick this 3.5 percent charge to renters and some do not, so shop around.
  • Age-related surcharges. Drivers under 25 will pay more and have fewer choices in what they can rent. Most states require drivers to be at least 21 to rent a car, so it’s not an option for many college students. The surcharges for these drivers can be steep – an extra $20 to $80 a day. There are no reports of a maximum age for drivers in the U.S.
  • Second driver fees. These fees can range from $4 to $25 a day and can add up for couples who travel together and share a rented car.
  • Late-return fees. This is where you can really get stung. Return a car an hour late and you can get charged by the hour or for a full additional day. Avoiding this is simple enough: Stick to your travel plans and return your car on time.
  • Gas fill-up charges. Bring the car back with a partial tank of gas and you’ll pay dearly. Car rental companies will fill your tank for you for as much as double the cost of local gas prices. Alternatively, they’ll offer a fuel-purchase option, where they’ll charge you for the full tank of gas when you pick up the rental. This is a good deal for the car rental company, as they know most cars are returned with some gas in the tank and therefore they get to resell the same gas to another customer. Making a stop at a local gas station and filling up before you return the car will avoid this extra charge.
  • The bottom line is that you need to look carefully before you rent or you’ll rant when you return it.

    Copyright 2001 CBS. All rights reserved.



    5 of the safest cars on the road – CBS News #car #supermarket #london


    #safest cars
    #

    5 of the safest cars on the road

    5 of the safest cars on the road

    Close

    In its latest round of testing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has cited five models, including two from General Motors, for keeping occupants safe in case of a crash.

    In addition, IIHS now is rewarding new vehicles that have accident prevention systems. As a result, the 2016 Audi A6 (shown above in a crash test) gets the Top Safety Pick Plus rating for its technology that hits the brakes if it senses an imminent crash with the vehicle ahead.

    Vehicles with top crash test ratings but without such automatic braking get a Top Safety Pick (without the plus) rating. That includes GM’s small SUVs Chevrolet Trax and Buick Encore as well as the Kia Sorento SUV and Nissan Sentra compact car.

    IIHS President Adrian Lund said earlier in explaining the new ratings that favor automatic braking: “Systems that don’t require a driver response to avoid or mitigate a crash have the most potential for reducing crashes.”

    Click here for a closer look at the vehicles that rated tops for crash protection.

    Audi A6

    Close

    The redesigned 2016 A6 got the top “good” rating in all of the IIHS crash tests, including the difficult small overlap tests, which approximates hitting a tree or light pole with one corner of the car. IIHS engineers commented that the test dummy’s position after the small overlap crash indicated good protection of the driver. Other tests include a broader front crash, side crash and roof strength in a rollover crash. The crash prevention equipment on the A6, some of it optional, includes automatic braking plus so-called adaptive cruise control that uses radar to keep the car a certain distance from the vehicle ahead.

    In an early review of the 2016 A6, Car and Driver praised the car for its tech features, handsome interior and power and handling. “The A6 does almost everything well whether carving corners or highway cruising,” the reviewer said. The list price for this midsize luxury car ranges from $46,200 up to$70,900.

    Chevrolet Trax

    The Trax, one of a new generation of very small subcompact SUVs, also got the top “good” rating in all of the IIHS crash tests. Engineers noted that the knee airbag helped protect against leg and foot injuries, while the side airbag protected the driver’s head in a side collision. Just introduced this year by General Motors, the Trax includes another important standard safety feature — a rearview camera to help avoid backup accidents.

    The Trax has EPA ratings of 26 MPG in city driving, 34 on the highway — among the highest in its class. But reviewers surveyed by U.S.News criticized the Trax for sluggish acceleration and cheap interior materials. The Trax list price ranges from $20,120 to $26,530.

    Buick Encore

    A GM corporate sibling to the Chevrolet Trax, the Encore also was top-rated in all the IIHS crash tests. Engineers noted that in the small overlap front crash the front and side curtain airbags worked well together to keep the test dummy’s head away from injury-threatening stiff structures of the small SUV.

    The Encore’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine is rated at 25 MPG city, 33 highway. Even with the turbo boost, reviewers found the Encore’s acceleration a bit sluggish. But they praised its comfortable upscale interior and quiet ride, as well as good handling through turns. The Encore list price ranges from $24,065 to $30,935.

    Kia Sorento

    The Sorento, a mid-size SUV, has been completely redesigned with the 2016 model. Like the other vehicles on this list, it scored a top-rated “good” on all the IIHS crash tests. The Sorento scored very well in the roof strength test approximating a rollover — in which the roof must bear four times the vehicle’s weight before crumbling.

    Test drivers found the standard four-cylinder engine, rated for 21MPG city and 29 highway a little sluggish. You can get much better acceleration with the V-6 option. But there is a mileage penalty with ratings of 18 city, 26 highway. Reviewers do praise the Sorento’s stylish and roomy interior and ample cargo room. The Sorento’s list price ranges from $24,900 to $43,100.

    Nissan Sentra

    The Sentra, the only compact car on this list, also got top ratings in all crash tests. Test engineers noted that in the side crash test, side curtain air bags protected the heads of both driver and passenger.

    Reviewers recommend the Sentra as a good daily commuter car because of its spacious cabin and good gas mileage, rated at 29 MPG city, 39 highway with an automatic transmission. But test drivers found the Sentra underpowered for passing on the highway. Sentra’s list price ranges from $16,480 to $20,760.



    Best Labor Day car deals – CBS News #car #payment #estimator


    #new car deals
    #

    Labor Day means special deals for car buyers

    Last Updated Aug 29, 2014 10:00 AM EDT

    With Labor Day traditionally tolling the end of summer, you may want to take advantage of another tradition: holiday deals on new cars.

    “Labor Day marks the time when dealers move inventory for new vehicles, which means you can find some great deals on existing models,” says Michelle Naranjo, editor-in-chief of car-shopping website Autobytel.com. From low or zero interest loans to big cash rebates, deals that cut the price of 2014 models are plentiful because 2015 models already have begun arriving at most dealers’ lots.

    To point consumers in the right direction, Autobytel, in partnership with loan information site GoBankingRates.com. compiled a list of the best Labor Day deals in various categories. Here are five of the most interesting:

    Hyundai Sonata Reviewers at U.S. News Best Cars like the Sonata as a spacious sedan with strong fuel economy, rated at 24 MPG in city driving and 35 on the highway. The Sonata comes with either a basic four-cylinder engine or a turbocharged four for better boost. Hyundai is offering a $2,000 rebate on the Sonata or zero percent financing for up to six years if your credit rating is high enough to qualify. List price on the Sonata ranges from $21,450 for the base model up to $28,650 for the best-equipped.

    Chrysler 300 For drivers who want a large sedan with a little attitude, Chrysler’s entry (pictured above) has sleek styling combined with crisp handling. Its V-6 provides plenty of acceleration and is rated at 19 MPG city, 31 highway. Chrysler is offering cash rebates of up to $4,250 on the 300 and loans with low and zero interest. List prices for the 300 ranges very widely from $30,995 up to $48,900.

    Ford Mustang If you feel a need for speed, the Mustang is one of the most affordable cars to deliver that performance. The base V-6 engine provides quick acceleration and the V-8 version even quicker boost. The base model with the V-6, rated at 19 MPG city, 29 highway, starts at $22,510. The V-8 version, starting at $32,035, is rated at 15 MPG city, 26 highway. Ford is offering zero percent loans for to six years if you qualify. If you opt for the $36,135 GT Premium version, you can get a $4,750 rebate.

    Mazda CX-9 reviewers praise it as one of the most fun-to-drive SUVs with quick, responsive handling. The V-6 engine, rated for 17 MPG city, 24 highway, provides plenty of power for highway passing. The CX-9 list price ranges from $29,985 to $36,625. For Labor Day, Mazda is offering a $3,500 rebate or zero percent financing for up to five years.

    Ford Expedition With gas prices down, big SUVs like the Expedition are selling strongly again. Nonetheless, Ford is offering rebates of up to $6,000 or zero percent financing for five years if you qualify, plus a$2,500 rebate. The Expedition big-ticket list prices range from $41,995 to $58,855.

    If you have a choice between low-rate financing and a rebate, the rebate often is the better deal. But to do that, you need pre-approved financing from an outside source like a bank or credit union.

    2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.



    Car Insurance – CBS News #car #registration


    #quinn car insurance
    #

    Car Insurance

    Last Updated Feb 5, 2010 11:46 AM EST

    What’s the best way to save on car insurance?

    Compare prices: Here lies your single biggest shot at saving money. In any city or any zip code, some insurers charge twice as much as others for exactly the same coverage.

    Insurers don’t advertise price, so you have to hunt for those that are lower cost. No single company always has the best rates. Each one prices differently, in different places, for different kinds of customers.

    For quotes, begin online at sites such as InsWeb. Insure.com. Esurance. and InsureOne.com. Enter the coverage you want. You may have to give your name, phone number, and e-mail address to get quotes, but it’s a convenient, easy way of getting a good range of comparisons. It helps to keep a special e-mail address for online shopping so that junk doesn’t pile up in your personal account. Some quotes come instantly, others a couple of days later. A few companies sell online with no call from an agent. Some familiar companies, such as Allstate, Amica, Geico, Progressive, and State Farm Insurance, aren’t on the Web comparison sites. You have to log on to them separately.

    With these prices in hand, ask an independent insurance agent if he or she can do better for you sometimes the agent can turn up a lower rate, perhaps from a regional company or a company that’s especially competitive for drivers of your age and sex. At the very least, the Web quotes tell you whether your agent is offering a competitive price.

    Excerpted from Making the Most of Your Money Now by Jane Bryant Quinn

    Copyright 1991, 1997, 2009, by Berrybrook Publishing, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Simon Schuster, Inc



    The 10 best family cars – CBS News


    #family cars
    #

    The 10 best family cars

    File. David McNew/Getty Images

    No matter their car-shopping budgets, families are looking for cars that are safe and reliable and get good gas mileage. From subcompacts to big SUVs, ParentsMagazine and Edmunds.com are releasing today their top 10 family vehicles for 2014.

    “Whether they’re taking a summer road trip or just making a grocery run, families expect a lot from their vehicles,” says Dana Points, Parents Magazine’s editor-in-chief. “Safety is every parent’s top priority, and we’re excited by how many manufacturers are now offering blind-spot mirrors and collision avoidance systems in addition to multiple airbags and government-required electronic stability control.”

    Mazda was represented especially well in this year’s list, with two of the 10 top vehicles — even though the company has only about a two percent market share of U.S. sales. Honda also had two models on the list.

    Mazda3

    The 2014 Mazda3. File. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

    Ranging from $16,945 to $26,495, the Mazda3 also ranks as the number one affordable small car among reviewers as compiled by U.S.News. Those reviewers praise the Mazda3 for crisp handling that makes it fun to drive. They also like its sleek interior design. Mazda’s mileage-boosting SkyActiv technology results in an EPA rating of 30 MPG in city driving and 41 on the highway.



    The pros and cons of leasing a car – CBS News


    #car leasing
    #

    The pros and cons of leasing a car

    • Ray Martin
    • MoneyWatch

    Oct 4, 2012 9:55 AM EDT

    2013 Ford Fusion Close

    iStockphoto

    (MoneyWatch) I continue to get a lot of questions from readers about whether they should lease or buy a new car. Personally, I favor buying a “slightly used” car — one that’s about two years old — with low mileage, good maintenance reviews and safety records. This typically results in the lowest cost of ownership and can save a lot of money over long periods of time. Of course buying a used car has disadvantages. You’ll bear the risk of paying for significant maintenance and repairs in later years when the warranty expires and you’ll have to wait for new technology, safety and efficiency enhancements that come with owning a new car every few years.

    For people who are looking to always drive a new vehicle, and willing to live with the reality that they will always have a car payment because of this, then leasing can compare favorably.

    But if you are going to lease a new vehicle, then just make sure you know that there are some downsides. Here a few of the most important things to keep in mind when you are considering leasing.

    Leasing costs more over time. All thing being equal, for a given auto, the monthly payment for a two year lease is lower than a loan payment. This means that if are focusing just on the monthly payment, then the cash flow cost of lease payments is lower than buying. But when you compare the numbers, somewhere in the time between 24 and 36 months, leasing begins to cost the same as buying. Over a longer period of time, the total cost of leasing is almost always more than the cost of buying and driving the same vehicle.

    The reason is that if you keep a car after paying off a loan and drive it for a few more years, the purchase cost is spread over a longer period of time. When you run the numbers, the cost of leasing a new car every two years — which amounts to five two-year leases over a period of 10 years — is more than the total cost of buying one car and driving it for 10 years.

    Limits on mileage. Typically, lease contracts restrict the number of miles you can drive to between 12,000 and 15,000 miles per year. If you exceed this limit, you’re charged excess mileage fees of 10 to 25 cents per mile over the limit at the end of the lease.

    Excess wear and tear. Leasing companies require that you return their cars at the end of the lease with no more than “normal wear and tear”. You’ll pay extra to repair excess wear on tires, brakes, scratches and door dings at lease end.

    No customizing. A leased car doesn’t belong to you; it belongs to the leasing company. Therefore, if you make modifications like adding accessories, a sound system or custom painting, you’ll likely be charged for the cost of repairs to undo them.

    Termination penalty. Lease contracts are purposely written to discourage and even prevent early termination. To do so usually means you’ll pay a termination penalty. The earlier you terminate a lease, the higher the penalty.

    Finally, most dealers will offer lease financing through the manufacturers’ “captive leasing company”, which may or may not offer the most competitive deal. Check with your local bank, credit union or another independent leasing company for the best terms and deal for the car you are leasing.

    2012 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.