Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Top 10 Cars Costliest To Own And Operate 2009

If you just have to drive your idea of the best car in the world, feel the need to impress every friend and stranger in sight or just have more money than you know what to do with, these cars might capture your fancy. Here is a list of the 10 most expensive-to-own new vehicles, according to Edmunds.com. Four are from Mercedes-Benz and all but one are European imports. When you consider that the cars on our least-expensive-to-own list cost $0.39 per mile or less to own, the idea of paying $3 to $4 a mile is staggering.

In addition to the average market transaction price and financing rates, the estimates of what it truly costs to own these cars include factors such as fuel, insurance, repairs, maintenance and depreciation. The end result is a ballpark figure for the total cost over the first five years of ownership, as well as the cost per mile based on driving 15,000 miles per year.

All estimates come courtesy of Edmunds.com which features a "True Cost to Own" calculator.

1. Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series

Starting price: $301,750
5-year total: $364,471
Cost per mile: $4.86

What pushes the Black Series up the price ladder from the SL65 AMG is the wide use of carbon-fiber body parts and some under-the-hood enhancements. Its 670-horsepower, 6-liter twin-turbo V-12 slingshots this two-seater to 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds. It's also loaded to the gills with high-tech standard equipment.

2. Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG

Starting price: $202,825
5-year total: $244,363
Cost per mile: $3.26

Capable of reaching 60 miles per hour from a standstill in just over four seconds, the S65 AMG combines opulent interior appointments with outrageously aggressive performance. It uses the same 6-liter twin-turbo V-12 found in other high-end Mercedes models but in this application it develops 604 horsepower.

3. Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Starting price: $205,575
5-year total: $230,771
Cost per mile: $3.08

A strikingly handsome coupe, the CL65 AMG is more than a pretty face. Its 604-horsepower, 6-liter twin-turbo V-12 is capable of going from zero to 60 in just over four seconds. Standard gear includes a rearview camera and nighttime vision assist.

4. Audi R8

Starting price: $126,400
5-year total: $159,753
Cost per mile: $2.13

If your goal is to get noticed, there is no surer way to do it than behind the wheel of Audi's R8. Sleek, fast and decadent, the R8 uses a mid-mounted 420-horsepower 4.2-liter V-8 to turn all four wheels. It can dash from zero to 60 in just over four seconds. Sure it's expensive, but it is arguably the most accessible exotic on the market.

5. Porsche 911 Convertible Turbo

Starting price: $141,650
5-year total: $159,393
Cost per mile: $2.13

With an extra-cost options list as long as your arm, this two-seat drop-top offers an array of customizing choices. A 480-horsepower, 3.6-liter twin-turbo flat six-cylinder engine funnels output to all four wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. It gets to 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds.

6. Audi A8 L W12

Starting price: $122,625
5-year total: $153,588
Cost per mile: $2.05

The "L" in its name refers to this luxury sedan's stretched wheelbase, while the "W12" indicates it packs the potent 450-horsepower, 6-liter, W-12 engine under its hood. Fewer than six ticks of the clock are needed for the A8 L W12 to reach 60 miles per hour. Among its standard features are massaging front seats and four-zone automatic climate control.

7. Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

Starting price: $106,620
5-year total: $146,096
Cost per mile: $1.95

The Zeus of 'Vettes, the ZR1 is a supercar by any measure. Motivating it to a zero to 60 time of just over three seconds is a 638-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter, V-8. Although it doesn't possess the amount of high-end bric-a-brac many of the other entries on this list do, pound for pound and dollar for dollar it may just be the best sports car in the world.

8. Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

Starting price: $125,775
5-year total: $138,613
Cost per mile: $1.85

The only SUV on this list, the Cayenne Turbo S packs Porsche performance into an off-road-capable all-wheel-drive uber package. Turning all four wheels is a 550-horsepower, 4.8-liter, twin-turbo V-8. Reaching 60 miles per hour from a stop takes a hair less than five seconds. A 14-speaker surround-sound audio system and a hard-drive-based navigation system are standard.

9. BMW M6 Convertible

Starting price: $111,725
5-year total: $138,186
Cost per mile: $1.84

The high-performance version of the 6 Series, the M6 is fitted with a 500-horsepower 5-liter, V-10, providing this soft-top with zero to 60 sprints of less than five seconds. A 13-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system and adaptive xenon headlights are standard.

10. Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG

Starting price: $99,775
5-year total: $137,749
Cost per mile: $1.84

No sedan better captures the sleek flow of a coupe's styling than the Mercedes-Benz CLS. In its hopped-up guise as the CLS63 AMG, it complements its drop-dead curb appeal with an asphalt-chomping 507-horsepower, 6.2-liter, V-8 engine. Reaching 60 miles per hour requires just a bit more than four seconds with a top speed of more than 180 miles per hour.

Top 10 Cars Cheapest To Own And Operate 2009

Here are the top ten cheapest cars to own and operate. These are the most frugal types of cars to buy. A well-informed consumer will get a better deal when buying a vehicle.

Research is the key. Every additional piece of information you have increases the likelihood that you will negotiate a fair price, lock in the best financing available and drive away in a car or truck you can afford. The emphasis here is on "afford." Affordability involves much more than down payment and monthly installments. It encompasses other costs such as insurance, fuel, maintenance, repairs and depreciation. You must factor these costs into your annual vehicle-ownership budget as well as into that magical dollar amount you feel you can afford monthly.

All of these factors, of course, may vary depending on the way you use and maintain your car.

Edmunds.com, a leading automotive Web site, features an interactive tool it calls its True Cost to Own calculator, which computes an estimated total five-year cost and the cost per mile based on driving 15,000 miles per year.

Here are the 10 cars that top Edmunds' current list of the most frugal cars to own and operate:


Hyundai Accent GS:
Starting price: $10,690
5-year total cost: $25,958
Cost per mile: 35 cents

As basic transportation, the Accent GS three-door isn't so basic. Its 110-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine delivers decent fuel economy with an EPA estimated 27 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. The interior is relatively roomy and comes with power accessories and air conditioning.


Nissan Versa Base
Starting price: $10,710
5-year total cost: $27,196
Cost per mile: 36 cents

Nissan Versa: A sedan for the frugal, Versa's stingy fuel consumption earns it an EPA rating of 26 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. A five-speed manual transmission ushers the 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine's 107 horsepower to the front wheels. Its relatively roomy back seat is a major attraction in this segment; otherwise, its cabin is devoid of frills.


Chevrolet Aveo5 LS

Starting price: $12,685
5-year total cost: $28,360
Cost per mile: 38 cents
Chevrolet Aveo5 LS: Chevy beefed up the Aveo's 1.6-liter four-cylinder for 2009 and it now produces 107 horsepower. EPA estimated fuel economy is a very respectable 25 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. Among its short list of standard features is a four-speaker audio system with an auxiliary input jack.


Suzuki SX4 Sedan

Starting price: $13,994
5-year total cost: $28,965
Cost per mile: 39 cents

Suzuki SX4 Sedan: A number of trim levels let consumers increase content in smallish dollar increments. In its base form, though, the SX4 offers full-power accessories and a tilt steering wheel. EPA fuel economy estimates are 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway earned by a 143-horsepower, 2-liter four-cylinder engine.


Pontiac G3

Starting price: $15,055
5-year total cost: $29,049
Cost per mile: 39 cents

Pontiac G3: Compared to the first four entries on this list, the G3 is positively loaded with standard equipment. Air conditioning, a six-speaker audio system with CD player and auxiliary input jack, and a tilt steering wheel are all standard. A 106-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine mated with a five-speed manual transmission earns it an EPA rating of 27 mpg city/34 mpg highway.

6.Mazda3 iSport

Starting price: $15,360
5-year total cost: $29,271
Cost per mile: 39 cents

Mazda3 iSport: Six airbags, anti-lock brakes and a four-speaker audio system with CD player and auxiliary audio jack are all standard in this sedan. A 148-horsepower, 2-liter four-cylinder engine collaborates with a five-speed manual transmission to earn EPA estimates of 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.

7.Honda Fit

Starting price: $15,460
5-year total cost: $29,420
Cost per mile: 39 cents

Honda Fit: Nicely appointed, even the base Fit has air conditioning, full-power accessories and a four-speaker audio system with CD player and auxiliary input jack. Its performance is on par with this group and is provided by a 117-horsepower, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Its fuel economy is among the best with EPA estimates of 27 mpg city/33 mpg highway.


Pontiac Vibe

Starting price: $16,735
5-year total cost: $29,512
Cost per mile: 39 cents

Pontiac Vibe: Fraternal twin to the Toyota Matrix, the Vibe in its base form is fairly Spartan. It does come with a four-speaker audio system with CD player and auxiliary input jack, and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel. Power arrives via a 132-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. Fuel economy is acceptable, with an EPA rating of 26 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.


Toyota Yaris

Starting price: $12,955
5-year total cost: $29,595
Cost per mile: 39 cents

Toyota Yaris: You have to step up a trim level to get an audio system, but the base Yaris three-door hatchback does have air conditioning and a tilt steering column. Its power comes from a 106-horsepower, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. With an EPA rating of 29 mpg city and 36 mpg highway, its outstanding fuel economy earned it a spot on our list of top 10 fuel misers.


Nissan Sentra

Starting price: $16,070
5-year total cost: $29,623
Cost per mile: 39 cents

Nissan Sentra: With the most standard equipment of any entry on this list, the Sentra sedan comes with air conditioning, a four-speaker audio system with CD player and auxiliary input jack, and power windows and locks. Its 2-liter four-cylinder engine generates 140 horsepower. Its EPA rating is 25 mpg city and 33 mpg highway.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Top 10 "Cash For Clunkers" Trade-ins and New Cars

Here are the top ten Trade-ins and New cars bought as a result of Obama's "Cash For Clunkers" program which may end this Friday (August 7, 2009) if Congress doesn't provide an extension of the program at a price tag of another $2.5 billion. As stated in Sean Tucker's article for Yahoo.com:
"America has a lot fewer functioning Ford Explorers these days.
The number one vehicle destroyed under the Cash for Clunkers program, the Transportation Department says, was the Ford Explorer (1998 edition). Number two, the Ford Explorer (1997). Number Three...you guessed it. The '96 model. The top eight, Jalopnik reports, were all SUVs. In fact, they were all various editions of the Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee. A pair late ‘90s of minivans, the ‘97 Ford Windstar and '99 Dodge Grand Caravan, round out the top ten. All ten were domestic vehicles.

Domestics claimed a decent share of the new vehicle sales generated by the program as well. The Detroit News notes, "Detroit's automakers accounted for 47 percent of the first 80,000 ‘Cash for Clunkers' sales, the Obama administration said today...which is above their overall share in the auto market of about 45 percent." The top-selling vehicle under the program so far is the
Ford Focus. "Four of the top 10-selling vehicles are manufactured by Detroit's Big Three. Of non-Big Three purchases, the Transportation Department's preliminary analysis suggests that more than half of these new vehicles were manufactured in the United States."

Autoblog adds, "White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says the average fuel economy increase so far is 9.4 mpg; a 61% increase." Based on the first 80,000 sales, "83% of the vehicles traded in have been trucks, while 60% of the vehicles purchased under the program have been cars."

The Top Ten Cash for Clunkers Trade-Ins:
1. 1998 Ford Explorer
2. 1997 Ford Explorer
3. 1996 Ford Explorer
4. 1999 Ford Explorer
5. Jeep Grand Cherokee
6. Jeep Cherokee
7. 1995 Ford Explorer
8. 1994 Ford Explorer
9. 1997 Ford Windstar
10. 1999 Dodge Caravan

The Top Ten Cash for Clunkers New Cars:
1. Ford Focus
Honda Civic
Toyota Corolla
Toyota Prius
Ford Escape
Toyota Camry
Dodge Caliber
Hyundai Elantra
Honda Fit
Chevy Cobalt

Friday, February 6, 2009

Top 10 Most Ticketed / Least Ticketed Cars 2009

The top ten most traffic ticketed and least traffic ticketed cars for 2009 are gleaned from data that is a result of a survey conducted by ISO Quality Planning.
The company helps insurers spot risks or another way of looking at it, helping insurance companies spot you.

10 Most Ticketed Cars

1. Hummer H2

People who love the Hummer H2 probably love its bold, imposing looks. Apparently, cops love the H2 because it helps them meet their ticket quotas. Here's a tip: If you have an H2, maybe you shouldn't drive it near then end of the month when traffic cops are scrambling to make their numbers.

2. Scion tC

Seeing the tC on the most-ticketed list makes sense, given its popularity with young people. Its sporty performance, which comes at a price that makes affording tickets easy, probably helps tempt some drivers as well.

3. Scion xB

Like the Scion tC, the xB is aimed at younger drivers. Still, when you look at the xB's less-than-stellar performance, it's safe to assume that all the tickets xB drivers are getting aren't moving violations.

4. Mercedes Benz CLK63 AMG

If you're lucky enough to have a Mercedes AMG -- any AMG -- then a few tickets are worth unleashing this luxurious beast. Besides, if you've got a Mercedes, you can probably afford a few traffic citations.

5. Toyota Solara Coupe

Now, here's a surprise. The fifth most ticketed car is the Toyota Solara Coupe. Essentially a two-door Camry, the Solara isn't known for road-thrashing performance. Maybe Solara drivers just get a lot of parking tickets.

6. Mercedes Benz CLS63 AMG

The CLS63 AMG is another luxury performance car, so it's no shocker to see its drivers among the most ticketed. The question is: With all that power, why aren't more CLS63 AMG drivers outrunning the cops?

7. Scion xA

With the xA taking the seventh spot on the ten most ticketed cars list, Scion completes the traffic-ticket hat trick. Toyota's upstart little brand has only come out with four models over its entire lifespan -- and three of them will likely get you a date in traffic court.

8. Subaru Outback

Subarus have a reputation of being yuppie grocery getters, but the Outback manages to prove that stereotype wrong by being one of the top ten most ticketed cars. Apparently, the Outback is the car of choice for people who need to get to Whole Foods in a hurry, and maybe park illegally once they're there.

9. Audi A4

Audi often finds itself in the shadows of Mercedes and BMW, but not when it comes to getting tickets. The Audi A4 is the ninth most ticketed car in America.

10. Toyota Matrix

The Toyota Matrix is often credited for bringing SUV styling to small cars. Now it can also be credited to bringing insurance rate increases to thousands of its owners.

10 Least Ticketed Cars

1. Jaguar XJ

The Jaguar XJ gives drivers a smooth ride and an opulent interior. As the least- ticketed car in America, it also seems to provide the ability to fly under radar guns. There's a feature they won't tell you about at the dealership.

2. Chevrolet Suburban

Suburban drivers tend to need their large SUVs for hauling people or towing trailers, not breaking land speed records. So it's not surprising to see it on the list of least-ticketed cars.

3. Chevrolet Tahoe

The Tahoe shares some architecture with the Hummer H2, the most-ticketed car in America. Despite the two having similar sizes, the Tahoe manages not to attract as much police attention.

4. Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and 3500

It's no shocker to find Chevrolet's heavy-duty trucks among the least-ticketed vehicles. These trucks are usually bought for their towing ability, not for impromptu drag races.

5. Buick Park Avenue

While Buick has recently begun to increase the oomph in their cars, the now- discontinued Park Avenue helped solidify the brand's image as cars for the senior set. No wonder Park Avenue drivers tend not to get very many tickets.

6. Mazda6

The largest car in Mazda's line up, the Mazda6 has plenty of the brand's zoom-zoom, yet still manages to be among the least-ticketed cars. If you love driving sporty sedans but can't take seeing any more red and blue lights in your rearview mirror, the Mazda6 may be just the car for you.

7. Buick Rainier

The now-discontinued Buick Rainier is a largely forgettable attempt at a near- luxury SUV. Maybe that forgettable nature keeps cops from noticing when one commits a traffic offense.

8. Oldsmobile Silhouette

Finding a minivan from Oldsmobile on the list of least-ticketed cars isn't surprising. What's surprising is that anyone is still driving a Silhouette.

9. Buick Lucerne

The Buick Lucerne offers a near-luxury experience at an affordable large car price. Being one of the least-ticketed cars means that the Lucerne's affordability continues after it's bought, thanks to fewer fines and lower insurance rates.

10. GMC Sierra 1500

The GMC Sierra is an attractive truck for work or play. With its ability to haul or tow heavy loads, this truck will do anything you ask it to, including avoiding traffic citations.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Convert The Age Of Your Car Into People Years

Cars age differently than humans, giving us a skewed perception of car age. But now there's a formula to tell us how old your car is in people-years. The website Blue Donut put together this interesting formula for determining age:
There's a simple formula for calculating this (a formula I invented). Take the mileage on the car's odometer and divide by the model year. The result is your car's age if it were a person.

Example: a 1994 Chevrolet Cavalier with 131,824 miles on it. Do the math:

131824/1994 = 66.1.

That car would be a 66 year old person.


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