Here's the Thing

2021 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Pinnacle — 'A modern living room on wheels'

By Jim Prueter

(January 28, 2021) Say what you will about the minivan and the stigma associated with owning and driving one, it’s undeniably the most versatile family-friendly vehicle you can buy. And, when it comes to flexibility, cargo and passenger capabilities along with ease of overall use, any three-row crossover — regardless of size — pales in comparison. And I haven’t even begun to laud plaudits regarding ease of mid- and third-row entry and exit seating.

Report examines unsettling trend of teen drivers speeding

(January 27, 2021) WASHINGTON, D.C.  — The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), in partnership with Ford Motor Company Fund, has released a new report that examines the significant role speeding plays in teen driver fatalities and offers practical tools to help parents rein in this lethal driving habit. The new analysis for GHSA found that from 2015 to 2019, teen drivers and passengers (16-19 years of age) accounted for a greater proportion of speeding-related fatalities (43%) than all other age groups (30%). During this five-year period, 4,930 teen drivers and passengers died in speeding-related crashes.

Why U.S. drivers prefer monochrome vehicles, and why that might change

(January 27, 2021) If you drove down an American street and looked only at the new vehicles, you might be forgiven for thinking you’re in a black-and-white movie. Last year, U.S. car buyers chose white more often than any other color, followed closely by silver and black, according to experts in automotive paints. That’s been the trend for a decade, part of a longer evolution toward muted shades in automotive exteriors stretching back 70 years. It’s one that Volkswagen experts see as likely to continue with a glimmer of hope for the color-curious.

Substantial increase in gasoline demand has little impact on prices

(January 26, 2021) WASHINGTON, D.C. — According to the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) measurement, gasoline demand jumped from 7.53 million barrels a day to 8.11 million barrels a day. Typically a significant increase in demand results in a comparable decrease in supply, ultimately translating to more expensive pump prices. Surprisingly, the recent large jump in demand has had little impact on gasoline supply and minimal impact on pump prices.

Study finds majority of electric vehicle owners would purchase EV again

(January 25, 2021) Among the early adopters who own an electric vehicle (EV), 82% say they “definitely will” consider purchasing another EV in the future, according to the inaugural J.D. Power U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Ownership Study. However, satisfaction with the current ownership experience is a key influencer for whether owners will purchase the same brand of EV again.

Edmunds experts forecast 15.5 million new vehicles will be sold in 2021

(January 25, 2021) SANTA MONICA, Calif — The car shopping experts at Edmunds say that the auto industry is on track for greater stability and healthier sales this year, forecasting that 15.5 million new cars will be sold in 2021. Edmunds analysts note that this would represent a 6.5% lift compared to last year.

Subaru Crosstrek gets new trim, more powerful engine for 2021

By Paul Borden

(January 25, 2021) Fully redesigned for 2018, the Subaru Crosstrek gets some key updates for  2021 that include a new trim level and a major upgrade to what is under the hood for the upper half of the model portfolio. A new Sport model gives buyers the choice of four trims to choose, and the new model comes with a standard 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine featuring Subaru’s traditional Boxer layout and its horizontally moving pistons.

2021 Land Rover Defender 110 — Defender returns and it’s a sweetheart

By Jim Prueter

(January 21, 2021) With the large, expensive SUVs back en vogue, Land Rover decided that now would be a great time — after a 22-year hiatus — to bring the Land Rover Defender, one of the world’s most iconic nameplates, back to the U.S. market. It’s all-new, funky fresh, still boxy, and an off-road triumph of capability that more than lives up to its go-anywhere English heritage. And there was, indeed, a lot to live up to.

New year sees gas prices steadily increase

(January 20, 2021) WASHINGTON, D.C.  —  Since the beginning of the year, the national gas price average has increased 13 cents. Today’s average is $2.38. That's a nickel more than last week. However, still cheaper year-over-year by 17 cents. The last time the nation saw a substantial January pump price increase was in 2009. That year, the national gas price average jumped 23 cents inside of the first three weeks of the year. At that time U.S. gasoline demand and supply were lower and crude oil prices had been increasing, similar to today.

The best and worst states to drive in according to WalletHub study

(January 19, 2021) Everyone hates being stuck in traffic. It makes you late, and causes many people’s tempers to flare up. But it’s also quite bad for your wallet — in fact, congestion cost U.S. drivers $88 billion in 2019, as well as an average of 99 hours of their time. The U.S. also has five out of the world’s 25 worst cities for traffic, and 19 of the worst 25 in North America, according to statistics compiled by WalletHub.