Here's the Thing

90 percent of new Buicks sold are SUVs — Encore GX is the newest

By Jim Prueter

(October 21, 2021) Almost 90 percent of U.S. Buick sales come from SUVs, and the newest addition is the Encore GX first introduced for Buick for 2020. The Encore GX is not to be confused as yet another trim level for the subcompact Buick Encore. It’s its own Buick model that’s larger and positioned just below Buick’s compact Envision. It’s essentially a tarted-up version of the Chevrolet Trailblazer, which is also new for the bowtie division of GM, and mechanically shares much of the same DNA including its two available engines, both of which are turbocharged three-cylinder variants.

Honda launches new initiatives to support young driver safety

(October 20, 2021) With nearly one-third of annual traffic fatalities in the U.S. involving drivers under the age of 25, Honda is building on its “Safety For Everyone” approach with several new initiatives targeting young driver safety. The multi-pronged effort includes more than $2 million in safety-related financial support; driver safety education resources; and a targeted social media advertising campaign highlighting young crash survivors, starting during National Teen Driver Safety Week.

Sorry folks, but the cost of gasoline is still going up

(October 19, 2021) WASHINGTON, D.C. — The national average for a gallon of gasoline rose a nickel over the past week to hit $3.32. The primary driver of this surge remains the cost of crude oil, which is now closing daily above $80 a barrel. In August, the price of crude was in the low $60s per barrel.

MotorTend names Genesis GV70 '2022 SUV of the Year'

(October 18, 2021) LOS ANGELES — MotorTrend announced today the Genesis GV70 as the winner of its “Golden Calipers” for SUV of the Year. Besting more than two dozen candidates, this year’s SUV of the Year winner stood out from the formidable competition thanks to its strong value proposition, stellar driving experience, engaging design, and an expansive package of standard features.

Rained out — Vehicle safety systems struggle to 'see' in bad weather

(October 17, 2021) New research from AAA finds that moderate to heavy rain affects a vehicle safety system’s ability to “see,” which may result in performance issues. During closed course testing, AAA simulated rainfall and found that test vehicles equipped with automatic emergency braking traveling at 35 mph collided with a stopped vehicle one third (33%) of the time. Lane keeping assistance didn’t fare any better with test vehicles departing their lane 69% of the time.

Nissan gives Rogue crossover extensive remake for 2021

By Paul Borden

(October 16, 2021) Fully redesigned, the 2021 Nissan Rogue looks to continue its role as not only the company’s best seller but also as one of the most popular compact crossover SUVs on the market today. Through the first three quarters of the year, the Rogue holds a solid third place in U.S. sales as one of three in its class with over the 200,000 mark behind only Toyota’s RAV4 and Honda’s CR-V.

Good IIHS headlight ratings linked to lower crash rates

(October 15, 2021) The headlight ratings program developed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is reducing dangerous nighttime crashes in the real world, a recent study shows. Nighttime crash rates per mile are nearly 20 percent lower for vehicles with headlights that earn a good rating in the IIHS evaluation, compared with those with poor-rated headlights, the study found. For vehicles with acceptable or marginal headlights, crash rates are 15 percent and 10 percent lower than for those with poor ratings.

Average new-vehicle transaction prices top $45,000 for first time

(October 14, 2021) IRVINE, Calif. — New-vehicle prices hit another all-time high in September, marking the sixth straight record-setting month and surpassing $45,000 for the first time, according to a new report from Kelley Blue Book. At $45,031, the average transaction price (ATP) for a new vehicle was up 12.1% (or $4,872) from one year ago in September 2020 and up 3.7% (or $1,613) from August 2021.

Surging crude oil prices point to more pain at the pump

(October 12, 2021) WASHINGTON, D.C. — The national average price for a gallon of gas rose 8 cents on the week to reach $3.27.  This is the highest price since October 2014 and is primarily due to the surging price of crude oil, which crept above $80 a barrel before edging slightly lower.

Power upgrade on GT model gives performance boost to Kia's K5 sedan

By Paul Borden

(October 11, 2021) The 2021 Kia K5 GT isn’t billed as a “sports sedan,” but with a 290-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine rated at 314 pound-feet of torque it does a pretty good impersonation of one, especially when dialed into Sport mode for city environs.