Here's the Thing

Sticker Shock: Owning a new vehicle costs nearly $10,000 annually

(August 25, 2021) According to the latest research from AAA, the average annual cost of new vehicle ownership is $9,666, or $805.50 per month. The biggest factor pushing the nearly $10,000 annual price tag is depreciation. It accounts for 40% of all ownership expenses outpacing additional costs like fuel and maintenance. With low inventory at dealerships due to the semi-conductor chip shortage, AAA urges new car buyers to be aware of all the expenses associated with ownership so that they can negotiate the best deal for their budget.

2021 VW Jetta R-Line — Solid choice for budget-minded car shoppers

By Jim Prueter

(August 21, 2021) The latest generation of the Volkswagen Jetta is the seventh-generation that was all-new when it was introduced for 2019. It wasn’t just a refresh of the then-current Jetta, rather it was a complete redesign, no longer built on the Golf platform. Rather, it is now built on the MQB platform that serves duty for almost all VW models, including SUVs and crossovers.

2021 Lexus LS 500 — Flagship luxury the Lexus way

By Jim Prueter

(August 19, 2021) Last year we drove and tested the 2020 hybrid model of the Lexus flagship LS sedan and noted few changes since it was redesigned for the 2018 model year. That redesign was flush with the style, substance and presence expected for a top-tier luxury sedan, with evidence that the Japanese automaker went to great lengths with state-of-the-art advanced technology throughout the vehicle.

Automobile prices hit all-time high in July; incentives continue to drop

(August 18, 2021) IRVINE, Calif. — The average transaction price (ATP) for a new automobile in July hit a new record high in the United States at $42,736, according to the analysts at Kelley Blue Book. Transaction prices were up $3,223 (8.2%) from July 2020 and increased $402 (0.9%) from June 2021.

Hyundai kicks subcompact Venue up a notch with 2021 upgrades

By Paul Borden

(August 17, 2021) After loading up the initial version with a pretty long list of standard features, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, lane-keeping assist, and automatic emergency braking, Hyundai took its subcompact Venue SUV up another notch for 2021.

Pump prices stabilize yet remain high

(August 17, 2021) WASHINGTON, D.C.  — New data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed that gas demand and supply decreased. Moving from 9.78 million barrels a day to 9.43 million barrels a day last week, the latest demand measurement is 500,000 barrels a day lower than the rate at this time in 2019, signaling that summer gas demand is likely softening as the school year starts and concerns about transmission of COVID-19 grow as infection rates continue to increase. Additionally, total domestic gas stocks declined by 1.3 million barrels to 227.5 million barrels.

Traveling soon? AAA offers tips for end of summer travel

(August 13, 2021) ORLANDO, Fla. — Americans returned to travel in droves this summer, with recent AAA Travel bookings up at least 11% over 2019 levels, and even more people excitedly planning trips for 2022 and beyond. As summer comes to a close, travel volumes around Labor Day are expected to remain high. Though, with a resurgence of COVID-19 cases attributed to the delta variant, some travelers are wondering if they should take that last summer trip — or continue with their future travel plans. AAA reminds travelers it’s important to remain informed and be flexible as policies and guidelines continue to evolve.

BMW offers upgraded hybrid version for its X5 Sports Activity Vehicle

By Paul Borden

(August 11, 2021) The 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e represents the company’s second go at a plugin hybrid-powered SUV and offers up more power and a longer range for all-electric than its predecessor, the xDrive40e that debuted for 2016. But that isn’t to say you are going to be going for long, quiet cruises and snubbing gas stations for the rest of your life. The key phrase here is “longer range,” not “long range.”

Second quarter sales boom shows the minivan is back in style; sales up 84%

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

(August 10, 2021) ATLANTA — The minivan has shed being runner-up to other segments and is basking in the spotlight of popularity once again, according to a recent report from Cox Automotive. During the second quarter of 2021, minivan sales grew by a whopping 84%. While nearly every new-car segment showed gains in Q2 2021 versus the prior dismal Q2 2020, few high-volume segments grew at the same rapid pace as minivans — a remarkable feat considering the segment consists of just five choices in the United States (two Chrysler vans, a Honda, a Kia and a Toyota).

Gas prices remain high amid growing COVID concerns

(August 10, 2021) WASHINGTON, D.C.  — Crude oil prices dropped below $70 a barrel at the end of last week in reaction to concerns about the delta variant, growing COVID case numbers and the possibility of potential lockdowns. While crude is a little cheaper, gas prices are still positioned to remain high in August.