*For those consumers looking to make some changes/improvements in their present set of wheels,Â NADAÂ offers the following:
Downsizing from a full-size SUV but with the advantages of space and features, there are a few fuel-efficient crossovers on the market thatÂ might fit the bill: 2011 Kia Sorento 2WD, 4-dr,Â I4 LX (25 mpg, $22,595); 2011 Nissan Rogue, FWD, 4-dr. SÂ (25 mpg., $21,210); and 2011 Scion xB 5-dr., Wgn Man (25 mpg., $16,000).
VANs for utility and convenience: 2011 Ford TransitConnect XL (23 mpg., $21,200); 2011 Honda Odyssey 5-dr. Touring (23 mpg., $40,755).
Wagons are a great alternative to the crossover vehicle for those who still need space: 2-11 VW Jetta Sportwagen, 4-dr, DSG TDI (35 mpg., $26,095); 2011 Ford Fiesta 4-dr, HB SEÂ (32 mpg., $15,520).
Sedans: Still the leading vehicle category of choice, sedans are plentiful, offering a lot of seating, trunk space and the most diversity: 2011 Audi A3, 4-dr,S Tronic FrontTrak 2.0 TDI Premium (35 mpg., $30,250); 2011 VW Golf 4-dr, HB Manual TDI (35 mpg., $23,885); 2011 VW Jetta Sedan 4-dr., Manual TDI LE (35 mpg., $22,095).
Luxury: Offering performance, style and comfort, you can’t beat the luxury boats for amenities: 2011 Audi A3 4-dr., HB S Tronic FrontTrak 2.0 TDI Premium (35 mpg., $30,250); 2011 BMW 3 Series 4-dr Sdn 335d RWD (29 mpg., $44,150).
Coupe: Great on the road or around town, the Coupe is smaller than a sedan and offers a little bit better fuel economy: 2011 Honda CR-Z 3-dr, CVT (37 mpg., $19,995); 2011 Smart fortwo 2-dr Cpe Pure (37 mpg., $12,490).
Sports Cars: Although not too practical, lots of fun to drive: 2011 Smart fortwo 2-dr., Cabriolet Passion (37 mpg., $17,690); 2011 Audi A3 r-dr., HB S tronic FrontTrak 2.0 TDI Premium Plus (35 mpg., $30,250); 2011 VW Jetta SportWagon 4-dr, DSG TDI (35 mpg., $26,095).
SUV: 2011 Kia Soul 5-dr., Wagn Man (28 mpg., $13,300); 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2W 4-dr., CVT ES (28 mpg., $19,495).
Truck: Need to haul, tow or work? 2011 Ford Ranger 2WD Reg Cab 112″ XL (24 mpg., $18,050); 2011 Toyota Tacoma 2WD Reg I4 MT (23 mpg., $16,365).
Hybrid: 2011 Toyota Prius 5-dr., HB I (50 mpg., $21,650); 2011 Nissan Leaf 4-dr., HB SV (47 mpg., $32,780).
*Eagle One. New product from Eagle One: Superior Nanowax. Spray on, wipe off, this wax is easy to use. No buffing, haze, white residueÂ or discoloring of trim, Nanowax provides a radiant shine. A patented carnaubaÂ based formula, Nanowax will give your ride a beautiful shine and water beading, as well as long-lasting protection. Nanowax even fills in scratches andÂ swirl marks and lasts six monthsÂ with conditioners, UV protectors and penetration of paint surfaces. Suggested retail $6.49 for a 23 oz. bottle. Find it in your favorite auto supply store, or go toÂ http://www.eagleone.com/.
*At last a new product toÂ help restore thoseÂ yellowing plasticÂ lenses on the headlights. 3M has comeÂ out with a headlight lens restoration system that’s easy to use and more effective than the liquid cleaner you buy in the autoÂ parts store. I’ve used the liquid cleaner-with a consistency much like a liquid wax-but it hasn’t made as much of an impact as I expected. Recently I had anÂ opportunity to try the new 3M restoration kit and itÂ has made a difference on the front headlight lens of my 1999 Mazda Miata. You simply attach your standard household drill (1200-1600 rpm), to the disc pad holder, tape around the headlight lens and keep a spray bottle of water near by. The kit includes one disc pad holder, 6 3M sanding discs, 4 3M finishing discs,Â 3M Trizact disc, 1 3M headlight lens polish/3M rubbing compound and 1 buffing bad. Step by step directions are included. Just like the pros, the DIYer will be able to restore the cloudy and dull headlight lenses, as well as buff out scratches on your ride. This handy new toy is so great, I’m passing it along to my carbuff brother to try out! For more information and an instructional video, go to 3Mcarcare.com.
*CarMDÂ (June 2010). The top five most common reasons for breakdowns on the road (according to ASE) include evaporative leak, engine hesitation or surge, overheating, flat tire/blow out, and no start. With CarMD ($98.99), drivers can finally get a little peace of mind before making that road trip by plugging the CarMD handheld device into your car’s computer. All 1996 and newer vehicles in the U.S. (foreign and domestic) are equipped with a computer that triggers a “check engine” light when one of the car’s systems is not running correctly. A diagnostic trouble code is set when a problem occurs, and CarMD catches these hidden prpoblems. Just plug the device into a port (often found right under the steering column), and a report will be run. CarMD provides a “fix,” including information about parts, costs by zip code, safety recalls and technical service bulletins. For more information or to purchase a CarMD, go toÂ www.CarMD.com.
*ASafeDriveÂ (March 2010).Â A Safe Drive has developed a unique iPhone driver safety application, available within the Apple App Store, iTunes or on their website, 222.asafedrive.com. Priced at $.99, the new app is driving GPS technology by eliminating unnecessary speeding tickets, as well as reducing accidents related to speeding. Updated daily with new speed limits, the iPhone app includes a viewable map screen that will tell the driver how fast a vehicle isÂ moving in relation to the current speed limit.Â Â
*LifeBelt. A new seat-belt management system is on the market, its goal: To remind drivers and passengers to wear their seat belt. The vehicle’s engine will not start if driver and passengers are not buckled up. And, if someone unbuckles while the car is in motion, the radio will shut off and an alarm will sound! For more information, go towww.autolifebelt.com.