Automotive

11/05/2014

2015 International Car Award Finalists Revealed

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Road & Travel Magazine Announces Top 5 Finalists for 2015 International Car of the Year

Road & Travel Magazine Announces Top 5 Finalists for
2015 International Car of the Year

Los Angeles, CA – November 4, 2014 - Road & Travel  Magazine (RTM) is proud to announce its top 5 finalists for the 2015  International Car of the Year (ICOTY). Listed alphabetically, they are the BMW i3;  Hyundai Genesis; Kia K900; Kia Soul EV; and the Mazda Mazda6.

The mission of the ICOTY Award is to put emphasis on the  emotional connection between car and consumer in addition to how well  automakers achieve that goal through the marketing of their vehicles directly to  consumers through international and national campaigns. [Click here for full release]

02/17/2014

2014 Green SUV & CUV Buyer's Guide

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2014-13 Earth Aware CUV/SUV Buyer's Guide written by Martha Hindes

2014 Green SUV & CUV Buyer's Guide

written by Martha Hindes

The year 2014 could  be a fantastic or frustrating one for hypermiling crossover vehicle fans —  those who specialize in wringing every possible bit of energy, and distance,  from a vehicle fuel source. A tantalizing group of cutting edge, fuel-starving  green SUVs and CUVs peeks out from the pages of glossy automotive magazines.  They leap off the fluid screens of internet blog sites. They highlight conversations  of tree hugging enthusiasts over their water filtering bottles as they travel,  with tender footsteps, across fields, ford streams, climb rocks and breathe in  the essence of the clean air they are determined to protect. Those futuristic  vehicles—that might have made the Jetsons green with envy—hint at the  extraordinary research, development, and cost, from car companies trying to  find new, previously unimaginable ways to cut the energy footprint of getting  from here to there.

Combined with the  promise of an ecologically sound means of transport, they seem to be the  perfect answer for an increasingly clogged environment that conservationists  avow desperately needs cleaner, less earth sullying vehicles. These trendy,  coveted and ultimately usable people haulers seem to have it all — the perfect  size and shape for a number of travel needs from hauling some goods to carrying  a small group of people to subbing as a mobile office or at times a service  vehicle, such as a green taxi.

[See Which Green Vehicles for 2014 Made the Top 10 List]

02/12/2014

2014 Audi Q5 Wins Most Earth Aware SUV of the Year

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2014 Audi Q5 Diesel Named 6th Annual Earth, Wind & Power SUV of the Year - Most Earth Aware

2014 Audi Q5 Named

2014 Earth, Wind & Power's

~ Most Earth Aware - SUV of the Year ~

Earth, Wind & Power Awards - Most Earth Friendly Car of the Year
sponsored by

Bridgestone Tire Sponsors 2013 International Car of the Year Awards - Presented by Road & Travel Magazine

Review by Martha Hindes | Press Release

We were smitten at first sight of the sassy, sporty 2014 Audi turbo-diesel when it showed up at our doorstep. Our test model was Glacier White Metallic and sported a large "TDI" on each front door for a sophisticated, no-nonsense announcement of its capabilities. So much for not blowing one's own horn.

A flared front end with sultry headlamp "eyes," anchored by those famed four interlocking grille hoops sniffing down the road balances the trim tush in the rear and announces in no uncertain terms this is a coveted Audi.

For those who need to transport five in luxurious comfort, the Q5 could be an ideal choice. The priciest of the fuel conscious versions (which seems like a no-brainer) is the hybrid Q5 that uses a 2.0-liter 245-horsepower inline four engine paired with an electric motor for a combined 245-horsepower and 254-lb. ft. of torque. It clocks in with a $51,300 base price, earning EPA ratings of 24 city/30 highway miles.

Those high ticket items point out what every wannabe Audi owner certainly knows—that no matter how environmentally conscious one might be in choosing a vehicle, when you're paying premium prices you expect to get premium perks out of the deal.

So what can the Q5 offer in the way of amenities, both in driving manners and the way it strokes the owner on the upmarket side?

Once inside, besides keyless start, there's leather (luscious Milano leather when fitted with comfort seats), aluminum and all-natural walnut trim and a heated/cooled cup holder to ensure drinks are kept at optimal temperature. Driving at night is a kick even if the only reason is to see the glow of red from all those buttons and controls that jump to life when activated.

The hybrid version gets Audi's Bang & Olufsen 505-watt premium Sound System with 14 speakers as standard equipment. "Audi connect" can mate with as many as eight wireless devices at one time.

And the TDI gets something that's becoming a vanishing breed in many vehicles as precious interior space is diverted for heavy battery storage and a bit more cargo space. That's an actual compact space saver spare tire, designed for temporary use.

A Q5 biggie is "quattro" drive on all versions. That's Audi talk for its permanent all-wheel-drive system, and a clear indication this is a go almost anywhere vehicle when driving conditions get tough, such as during a Northern midwinter blizzard or blazing through pools of water on rain slicked roads. All Q5 power plants mate to an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic for smooth, supple handling and a stingier need for fuel in the process.

We can attest to the punch the diesel fuel-drinking TDI can deliver when rubber meets the road. It rates at an even feistier 0 to 60 in 6.5 seconds.

Mark Del Rosso, executive vice president and COO Audi America accepts Most Earth Aware SUV of the Year Award from Mike Martini, president Bridgestone OE America and Courtney Caldwell, editor in chief, Road & Travel Magazine
Presenting the 2014 Most Earth Aware SUV of the Year award to Mark Del Rosso, EVP & COO, Audi America, are Courtney Caldwell, editor, Road & Travel Magazine; and Mike Martini, president Bridgestone OE Americas, and EWP award sponsor.

Audi calls the Q5 "sporty and sophisticated, spacious and functional." We agree. Its green attributes and the strength of its Audi character were pointed out by Mark Del Rosso, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Audi of America. “In addition to its excellent fuel economy, the Audi Q5 combines the sportiness of a sedan with a variable interior and many practical solutions for everyday and recreational use. With 2013 year to date sales up 40.8% compared to 2012, it’s clear that consumers are continuing to respond positively to the Audi Q5’s sportiness and sophistication, spaciousness and functionality.”

“We are honored to accept the Earth, Wind & Power Award for Most Earth Aware SUV of the year, which recognizes the environmental friendliness and fuel economy of the Audi Q5.” said Del Rosso.

[Full story]

12/16/2012

2013 Crossover Vehicle Buyer's Guide

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Road & Travel Magazine's 2013 Crossover Vehicle Buyer's Guide by Martha Hindes with contributions from Bob Plunkett and Tim Healey

2013 Crossover Vehicle Buyer's Guide - Our Top 10 Picks
by Martha Hindes

With Contributions by Tim Healey and Bob Plunkett

When sport utility vehicles lost favor with a lot of American consumers a few years back and sedans didn't fill the need for flexibility and more space, auto makers came up with a new package to offer the best of both worlds. No one knew for sure what to call it until someone suggested “crossover or CUV” for crossover utility vehicle. The name stuck. For drivers ready for a new, more adaptable driving flavor, the idea also stuck. And the vehicle that some think of as a softened SUV or a wagon on steroids became a hit.

Since the CUV emerged as its own sub-classification it has continued to evolve, adding flash and dash to its utilitarian underpinnings, zip to its performance, comfort despite its expanded character and in many cases coddling its drivers with luxury details normally found in a premium auto. Let’s face it; the flexible CUV is getting lots of attention from the people who develop them and the people who buy them.

That transition has resulted in a number of new entries and redesigned vehicles for 2013 that are teasing potential buyers for attention with a deliciously appealing variety. At Road & Travel Magazine we chose our Top 10 CUV Picks for 2013, presenting those along with some other new or revived models that we expect to become “gotta haves” this coming year. Read on... 

11/03/2012

2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco Road Test Review

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2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco Road Test Review by Tim Healy

by Tim Healey

Earlier this year, we flew to Virginia to drive Chevrolet's much hyped Camaro ZL1. So, naturally, we're writing a review of the Malibu, Chevy's mainstream mid-size sedan.

Say what? How does a trip to a track end up with us behind the wheel of a totally different car than the one we intended to drive? Simple: blame Mother Nature. Torrential downpours washed out our scheduled track time with the Camaro, and since we didn't feel like cooling our heels all day, we grabbed the keys to a Malibu that Chevy had on hand and set out to explore Virginia and North Carolina. We got ourselves good and lost on several local back roads (maps? We don't need no stinkin' maps) and got well acquainted with both the Malibu and tobacco country.

Features & Prices

The first of the redesigned 2013 Chevrolet Malibus to hit dealerships were Eco models, and that's what we drove through the backwoods along the Virginia-Carolina border. Eco models come with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that's matched with an electric motor for a combined 182 horsepower, and the electric motor is unable to run on its own. GM's eAssist system gives the car start/stop capability, meaning that the engine shuts down at a stop before firing back up when the brake is released, with the intent of reducing idling time. Read full review...

07/10/2012

Why Now is the Best Time to Shop for a New Car

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Why Now is the Best Time to Shop For & Buy a New Vehicle

People often ask when the best time is to buy a new car. There are many different answers. It all depends on your needs. Below are some of the factors to consider...

Winter
The colder, nastier months are typically the low point of the year for auto sales. Since business is slow, you may find some excellent deals. However, since customers are scarce, you may find some very hungry salespeople who could be a bit pushy. If you are in the market for a convertible, buy during the winter. 

Spring/Early Summer
The beginning of the season. President's day starts the real upswing in automotive salesafter the winter. Dealerships try and get the season started with the holiday sale, and you will find the industry is getting busy.

Late Summer/Fall
Late summer and early fall is when dealers push great deals and sales the hardest because they need to make room on the lot for the upcoming new-year models. Look for plenty of television commercials starting from July through October each year offering much lower prices, higher rebates, and other great deals. 

Click here to link to full story! 

 

05/17/2012

U-Haul & Bridgestone Sponsor Women Traveling Alone Safety Tour

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Women Traveling Alone - Focusing on Your Personal Safety

Traveling Alone – What Women Need to Know Before They Go!

Sponsored by U-Haul & Bridgestone Tires

by Courtney Caldwell

Driving around town is an everyday occurrence for most of us. Errands, going to and from work, picking up kids at school or soccer, grocery shopping, visiting family and friends, a girls’ night out… you know your area like the back of your hand.

But, what about driving into territory beyond your borders? Do you have a fear of driving outside your comfort zone? Do you worry about getting lost or even worse, followed?

The number one reason women stick close to home is fear of the unknown, what to do, what not to do, how to keep yourself safe on the road in unknown territory, never ming where to begin in the planning process of a big road trip. Whether you’re planning an across-country or across-town move, the very first place to begin your journey is with your homework and advanced planning.

I’m about to embark on a 3200-mile cross-country journey, driving a 17' U-Haul truck, and yes, all by myself. When I tell people of the road trip, they look at me dazed and confused, and then after a short pause ask, ‘you’re driving alone?’ That one question in itself speaks volumes to how much education is needed for women, and many men, on how to plan a road trip with fun, not fear.

Doing your homework and pre-planning are essential in making your journey safe and sane… whether across town or across country. It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 80, as long as you carefully plan out every detail of your trip's route, hotel stays, gas stops, navigation, and every detail of your trip, you'll arrive at your destination safely.

U-Haul Moving TrucksIt is such an honor to have U-Haul as our ‘Women Traveling Alone’ road trip safety sponsor for a variety of reasons one of which is their connection and support to a young Shoshone Indian girl named Sacajawea, who served as an interpreter and guide on the famed Lewis & Clark Expedition in 1804. Her heroism in numerous life-saving contributions helped lead their two-year journey to a safe and successful conclusion.

Sacajawea, just a young teen at the time, not only provided guidance for hundreds of miles through the tough terrain of the northwest Rockies, then known as the Louisiana Purchase territory, she also demonstrated extraordinary courage and strength during numerous life-threatening events, often emerging as the hero who saving lives and supplies from devastating weather, potential enemy threats, and from capsized canoes. Sacajawea became known as the first woman to be included in a democratic vote on the all-male crew, sharing her knowledge and experience as to which route to take for most access to hunting for food and safe shelter in the wild.

In honor of Sacajawea, U-Haul has painted her mural on both sides of our moving truck to celebrate her accomplishments and help shed light on her exceptional contributions to the beginning of what shaped the U.S. today. Her story is one of bravery and the true meaning of persistence.

Her contributions were chronicled by Lewis & Clark in their personal diaries naming Sacajawea as the only person on the expedition who never complained or panicked when confronted with dangerous or devastating circumstances. Level-headed and fierce, she faced each event as it came, contributing significantly to a successful and safe outcome.

Sacajawea was married to a Frenchman twice her age, who had traded her for goods and supplies with a tribe who had kidnapped her at 12 (away from her Shoshone family and friends). While little is known about her husband’s contributions to the Lewis & Clark Expedition, Sacajawea’s accomplishments earned her a place in American history. Add to that, her journey included a pregnancy, childbirth in the wild, and then carrying her infant on her back during the expedition. The baby boy nicknamed Pompey, spent the first two years of his life living right along side his brave mother.

Sacajawea’s story is one of true courage and inspiration. It is with great pride that I have the opportunity to share her story as I traverse the U.S. in my 17’ U-Haul truck with her mural painted on each side, sharing her tale with everyone I meet along the way.

Bridgestone Tire Sponsors 2011 International Car and Truck of the Year Awards - Presented by Road & Travel MagazineWe'd also like to extend our deepest thanks and gratitude to long-time partner and sponsor, Bridgestone Tires, for their support of tire safety and helping people understand how to choose the right tires for their vehicle. As one of the leading tire companies in the world, Bridgestone is committed to not only helping women stay safe on the road but also to keeping our environment clean with their One Team One Planet message. Bridgestone Americas is dedicated to achieving a positive environmental impact in all of the communities it calls home. This commitment includes efforts such as developing tires with improved fuel economy, manufacturing products and providing services in an environmentally responsible way, and establishing wildlife habitat and education programs.

Reduce environmental footprint - Save gas: When driving long distances or larger vehicles it's important to remember that the faster you go the more gas you'll use. So keep in mind as you plan your route and how many miles you'll drive each day, also plan to stay within the speed limit and stay to the right on 2-or more lane roads to allow cars to pass on your left. By reducing your speed, starting and stopping slower, you'll not only achieve better gas mileage and save money, you'll also be reducing your environmental footprint. This issue is important to all of us but our sponsors, Bridgestone and U-Haul, are international companies contributing significantly to help this cause. 

For more information to keep yourself safe on the road, click here.

 

04/17/2012

2012 Most Earth-Friendly SUV Buyer's Guide

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2012 Green SUV Buyer's Guide by Martha Hindes

2012 Green SUV Buyer's Guide - Lighter Footprints on Land
by Martha Hindes

Let's face it. Driving isn't a color blind activity any longer. Besides the reds, blues, silvers and blacks that adorn the exterior of that new set of wheels we're coveting, green is emerging as an earth-friendly hue worthy of equal consideration. “Green” cars generally spew out fewer toxic emissions. They get more miles from the power source that propels them. And their more "bang for the buck" capability often comes from a downsized footprint.

But wait. What if you have a family of six, or you regularly haul a boatload of gear, or you need to travel on roads less friendly to tiny, subcompact autos? Or maybe you simply like riding higher than the crowd for its good visibility, feeling of security and sense of freedom? The technological geniuses who bring us those super small, environmentally friendly road runners haven't been sitting on the sidelines. While it may sound like an oxymoron, there are such things as green sport utility vehicles or their crossover utility siblings already around, with more on the near horizon. (So much for the standing "gas guzzling behemoth" jokes that are a favorite of some ecologically sensitive folks.) - Discover our Top 10 Picks for high mileage earth-friendly SUVs for 2012 - Note: If you are using Google Chrome and the fonts appear too small on our web page - go to settings at the top right (picture of wrench), left click to see drop down menu, then hit zoom to enlarge fonts.) 

01/23/2012

Toyota Camry Named 2012 International Sedan of the Year

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2012 International Sedan of the Year - Most Dependable by Road & Travel Magazine

2012 Toyota Camry Named International Sedan of the Year
- Most Dependable
-

by Road & Travel Magazine

2012 Toyota Camry Road Test Review
by Martha Hindes

Range Rover Evoque Named 2012 International Truck of the Year - Road & Travel MagazineSolid and safe. Smooth and dependable. For years, Toyota's Camry has stroked those family sedan needs with loyal, uncompromising predictability. So what's changed? For starters, like the few-days-old year of 2012, a 2012 Toyota Camry has been born as a new, seventh generation model. And like some previously highly-acclaimed versions, it again has won the hearts and minds of reviewers. For 2012, it won top honors as the 2012 International Sedan of the Year (ICOTY) for Most Dependable. Not bad for a re-born, right?

The 2012 Toyota Camry is indeed most dependable. And we love the safety and reliability it exudes, which is the reason it won in its category. According to ICOTY founder Courtney Caldwell (and publisher of Road & Travel Magazine), winning 2012 Toyota Camry Wins International Sedan of the Year - Road & Travel Magazine the honor of most dependable vehicle of the year is one of the most important as it lets consumers know in a word that this is a vehicle they can trust and rely upon to get their loved ones to their destinations safety. After all, the purpose of the ICOTY awards is to honor the qualities of new vehicles that best reflect our emotional needs at a specific time in our lives and lifestyles. Full Story

01/20/2012

Audi A7 Wins 2012 International Car of the Year

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2012 Audi A7 - 2012 International Car of the Year - Road & Travel Magazine

2012 Audi A7 Road Test Review
by Martha Hindes

Automotive prestige sometimes comes in surprising packages. A slim, coupe line that hides the reality this is really a sedan. The ability to change one's underlying driving experience with chameleon-like ease. A glaring set of unmistakably identifiable headlamp eyes that announce, in one's rear view mirror day or night, it's best to pull aside and let a "real" car go by. Put those together in the new Audi A7 along with a wealth of its other talents, and the result should be predictable. How could any other vehicle have earned top honors as International Car of the Year for 2012? It couldn't. And didn't.

Range Rover Evoque Named 2012 International Truck of the Year - Road & Travel MagazineThe ICOTY honors, awarded each year to the most appealing auto on the planet, are sought out for their ability to identify that soul factor in vehicles that goes beyond the stuff of mechanicals and into the realm of desire. We're sure you know the synonyms: Being smitten, love at first sight, the kind of passion one would eagerly do penance for -- all those adjectives that make us glom onto something we idolize while remaining oblivious to what else is around.

Courtney Caldwell, who founded the International Car of the Year Awards (ICOTY) that honor the passion, presence and emotional punch that new vehicles can bring couldn't agree more. As the awards' executive producer and Road & Travel Magazine Publisher, she knows how such an emotional connection can win an unmatched sense of loyalty from consumers that few products can claim.

"The ICOTY Awards are not about power and performance, but rather about personality, passion and personal lifestyle," said Caldwell. "People develop a real emotional connection to their car for any number of reasons some of whom even consider it a member of their family," she muses.

Bridgestone, longtime lead sponsor and supporter of the ICOTY Awards, recognizes the consumer-product relationship as critical to vehicle success.

Bridgestone is proud to support the ICOTY awards, and applauds the Bridgestone Tire - Proud Sponsor of the 2012 International Car of the Year Awards Presented by Road & Travel Magazineefforts of Audi that like our company demonstrates a strong commitment to innovative technology,” said Michael Martini, president, Consumer OE, Bridgestone Americas. “Through the combined efforts of everyone in the auto industry, and led by automakers like those being recognized in the 2012 International Car of the Year Awards, we will continue to meet and exceed the demands of the motoring public.” Full story