Here's the Thing

2020 Toyota Yaris XLE Hatchback — Subcompact Yaris is actually a Mazda

By Jim Prueter

(July 10, 2020) If you’ve always liked the Mazda2 or Scion iA and wanted one you’re out of luck — sort of. Both of these vehicles have been discontinued and are no longer available unless you move to Mexico where the Mazda2 is still sold. However, after Toyota said Scionara to Scion and through the magic of badge engineering and a partnership with Mazda you can still have your choice of either as a sedan or a just introduced hatchback branded as a Yaris. You see, the Scion iA which is really a Mazda2 became the Toyota Yaris. Confusing enough?

Autotrader names its 10 Best Used Cars of 2020

(July 10, 2020) ATLANTA — Finding yourself in the market for a new car during a pandemic might have you asking if now is even the right time to buy or how you can get a good deal on your next purchase. The all-new version of any given car will likely offer safety and technology improvements over the previous version, but if getting a "new to you" car at the lowest price is your goal, you might want to look at a lightly used car.

2019 Mazda CX-9 — An engaging driving experience

By Russ Heaps
Clanging Bell

(July 8, 2020) It's possible to sum up the 2020 Mazda CX-9 in a single paragraph. Here goes: There is nearly nothing about the CX-9 that will disappoint the typical SUV buyer beyond the stingy third-row seat and less-than-generous cargo area. There is plenty to like, though, including outstanding driving dynamics, smaller-SUV-like mileage, luxury-sedan-worthy interior and loads of standard safety/driver-assist technology. Plus, impressive connectivity and infotainment features reflected in either a 7- or 9-inch touchscreen. Basically, it checks almost every box any owner of a larger SUV would want. That's it. That pretty much covers it.

Edmunds experts say car shoppers turning to used car market

(July 8, 2020) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Unique market conditions due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic could be driving more consumers out of the new market and into used vehicles, according to the car shopping experts at Edmunds. Edmunds analysts note that June used vehicle finance figures and Edmunds website data indicate shifts in shopping behavior that are not usual for the used vehicle market and could point to more typical new car shoppers entering the fray:

Low volatility at the pump as gas prices push up a penny

(July 7, 2020) The national gas price average increased just one cent to $2.18 on the week despite a dip in U.S. demand for gasoline and gasoline stocks increasing by 1 million barrels. The slight drop in demand — 47,000 barrels a day — amid the increase in stocks comes as many states report increases in COVID-19 cases, potentially causing Americans to reconsider outings. However, for motorists who hit the road for the Independence Day holiday, gas prices were a welcome sight.

2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI — The brilliancy that is the Golf GTI

By Jim Prueter

(July 7, 2020) Over my several decades career as an automotive journalist, I’ve been very lucky to drive some very expensive and very high-performance cars. One of my all-time favorites is the Volkswagen GTI.

There are few cars at any price and in any segment that can check every box: affordable performance, practicality, precision build quality, safe, spacious and fun, and oh, Clark Plaid cloth seats and dimpled golf-ball-shaped gear shift knob.

2021 Kia Seltos shows good things can be found in small packages

By Paul Borden

(July 5, 2020) Kia has added another vehicle to its growing fleet, and to the surprise of nobody save, perhaps, a monk in far off Tibet, it is another crossover SUV. Classed as a subcompact, the 2021 Kia Seltos — Seltos comes from Greek mythology, Celtos being the son of Hercules — slots in between the company’s popular Soul and Sportage at about the same starting price point as the company’s Niro crossover.

Auto interest rates see slight rise in June, according to Edmunds

(July 3, 2020)  SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Interest rates for new vehicles increased slightly in June, according to the car shopping experts at Edmunds. The annual percentage rate (APR) on new financed vehicles averaged 4.2% in June, compared to 4% in May and 4.3% in April. Despite this slight month-over-month increase, analysts note that this is still the second-lowest average interest rate that Edmunds has on record since September 2015.

Certified pre-owned vehicles offer shoppers a good alternative

(July 2, 2020) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Consumers thinking about purchasing a new vehicle this Fourth of July holiday weekend should consider looking at the used vehicle market, according to the car shopping experts at Edmunds. Edmunds' experts note that selection and savings are currently limited in the new vehicle market because inventory levels for new vehicles are running low due to factory shutdowns during COVID-19 and that the generous financing incentives offered by automakers at the start of the pandemic are drying up since more shoppers have returned to the market.

Average new-vehicle prices up 3 percent year-over-year in June

(July 2, 2020) IRVINE, Calif. — The valuation analysts at Kelley Blue Book today reported the estimated average transaction price for a light vehicle in the United States was $38,530 in June 2020. New-vehicle prices increased $1,141 (up 3.1%) from June 2019, while rising $160 (up 0.4%) from last month.  

"Though Q2 sales are expected to be down 35% due to COVID-19 and the ensuing economic recession, transaction prices over this time strengthened more than normal," said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book.