Fuel Economy Is the Focus of Aerodynamics

1938 Delahaye Type 135M Roadster

While aerodynamics has long been put to work in automotive design to improve performance, the art and science of making motor vehicles “slippery” is now focused on miles per gallon, not miles per hour.

Compared with most of the vehicles on the road today, tomorrow’s cars and trucks are likely to be aerodynamic wonders. Yet many of the design features that will help them move through the air with more efficiency are things that you won’t be able to see.

Change Can Cost
The new focus of aerodynamics in cars will be the little details that create drag-inducing turbulence. It hasn’t been cost-effective to address these details in the past, but now smoother grilles, cleaner undercarriages and even the gaps between body panels are the things that car designers think about.

As Christopher Chapman, chief designer at Hyundai Design North America, tells us, when a designer sees an automobile these days, he sees an airplane. “In an airplane, all the surfaces are aerodynamic,” he says.

Like an airplane, the underside of an automobile is as important to its passage through the air as the top and sides. Chapman continues, “The car has

Five Myths About Stick Shifts: Manual vs Automatic Transmissions

The stick shift hasn’t yet gone the way of the passenger pigeon and the dodo, but it’s definitely an endangered species. As of August 2013, just 3.9 percent of new cars sold for the year had manual transmissions.

Cars with stick shifts and clutches have their ardent defenders, but some of the reasons they cite for their superiority and desirability aren’t supported by facts. Here are five myths about stick shifts:

1. Cars with manual transmissions always get better fuel economy than cars with automatics.
In the past it was pretty much a given that vehicles with manual transmissions would be more fuel-efficient than their automatic counterparts. But as automatics become more advanced and gain additional gears, they are often now overtaking manuals in terms of fuel economy.

For an example of when the myth is based in reality, there’s the fuel-sipping 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Eco. The manual version of this small Chevy gets 33 mpg combined (28 mpg in the city/42 mpg on the highway). Equipped with an automatic transmission, the Eco is slightly less fuel-efficient: 31 mpg combined (26 city/39 highway). The manual will cost you about $100 less per year in fuel, according

2 Steps to Selling Your Car

10 Steps to Selling Your Car

Here are 10 simple steps that will help you turn your used car into cash. Everything from pricing to advertising and negotiating is covered in this short, easy-to-follow process.

Step 1: Know the Market

Is your car going to be easy to sell? Is it a hot commodity? Or will you have to drop your price and search out additional avenues to sell it?

Here are a few general rules to answer these questions:

  • Family sedans, while unexciting to many, are in constant demand by people needing basic, inexpensive transportation.
  • The sale of convertibles and sports cars is seasonal. Sunny weather brings out the buyers. Fall and winter months will be slow.
  • Trucks and vans, used for work, are steady sellers and command competitive prices. Don’t underestimate their value.
  • Collector cars will take longer to sell and are often difficult to price. However, these cars can have unexpected value if you find the right buyer.

 

Your first step is to check on-line classified ads to see how much other sellers are asking for your type of car. Keep in mind that dealers will have different prices than private party listings. The eBay.com classifieds and other Internet

How to Choose the Right Lift Truck?

When it comes to moving heavy loads on a construction site, in a warehouse or in a storage facility, a lift truck is sure to be the most beneficial piece of equipment you can place money in. However, today there are a great many types and styles of forklifts to choose from, so it might be challenging to determine at once which one is the best option for your business and environment. Go on reading through this simple guide to learn more about the major lift truck types and their benefits.

Standard forklifts
Standard lift trucks come into two principal models – electric and internal combustion (IC). They represent the biggest potential for the weight capacity that ranges from 3,000 to 120,000 lbs (it depends on the particular model). These forklift trucks are so effective thanks to their counterbalance that compensates the load in front. Counterbalance is commonly presented in the form of batteries (for electric lifts) or a real weight built in the rear of the forklift’s body. Where are standard lift trucks used? You can find them in oil refineries, paper mills, agriculture, pipe yards, manufacturing and construction. Even within all these applications, the type

AutoPortal on Mahindra NuvoSport Price in India, Launch Date, Review

The Mahindra Nuvosport is the latest compact SUV ready for launching in India. The Mahindra and Mahindra limited (M & M) has been developing this vehicle to replace the not so popular Quanto in a highly competitive compact SUV segment. The M & M wants to launch the car on April 4.

nuvo6

Variants

The Mahindra Quanto is available only in four diesel variants with all the variants having manual transmission. The company has not made it clear whether the petrol variants will be made available initially. Diesel variants with 5-speed manual transmission in trims of N4, N4+, N6 and N8 are expected initially. The company may go for diesel AMT variants also.

Variants

There are six variants – N4, N4+, N6, N6 AMT, N8 and N8 AMT.

Prices in India

The NuvoSport is slotted between the KUV100 and the TUV300. There are popular vehicles like the Ford EcoSport, the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza and the Mahindra TUV300 in the segment. The six petrol variants of the EcoSport are priced Rupees 6.69 to 9.62 lakh and the five diesel variants Rupees 7.29 to 9.75 lakh. The Brezza is priced

Engine Stop-Start Systems Save Fuel at Low Cost

The rumble of idling cars and trucks is a familiar noise at America’s intersections. But it’s a sound that’s likely to begin fading away in coming years: More and more automakers are using engine stop-start systems to boost fuel efficiency at relatively low cost.

The system, which shuts down a vehicle’s engine at idle and immediately restarts it when the driver presses the accelerator or lifts off the brake or clutch pedals, is a feature of every conventional hybrid vehicle in the market. But now stop-start systems are beginning to appear as stand-alone features on conventionally powered cars. Up to 40 percent of all new cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. in 2015 could be equipped with engine stop-start systems, according to Johnson Controls, a major global manufacturer and supplier of the advanced batteries used in stop-start systems.

Fuel Savers
Stop-start systems can cut combined city-highway fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 3-10 percent, and even more when they’re combined with hybrid drive systems. By eliminating engine idling, stop-start systems also reduce toxic and smog-causing tailpipe emissions. The systems deliver their fuel economy improvements in city situations that involve lots of stop-and-go driving. And they can do

Electric Charging Station Etiquette for Plug-In Cars

With only a handful of electric vehicle and plug-in hybrids roaming the streets these days, confrontations at public chargers over who goes first are rare. But confusion and conflict at the car-charging station are bound to become more prevalent soon. At least 18 new car and SUV models with rechargeable battery packs are coming into the U.S. market over the next three years, increasing demand for access to public chargers.

Will there be confusion? Yes, over the best way to handle the conflicts that can arise when more than one power-needy motorist at a time wants to use the parking lot’s only public electric vehicle (EV) charging station.

Will there be conflict? Yes, over who goes first and whether it’s OK to unplug someone else’s car to get your charging session started. Expect problems over what to do about the drivers of plugless hybrids or internal-combustion engine vehicles who think that empty EV charging spots are perfect parking spaces.

There are lots of reports in EV driver forums about plug-in cars being kept out of charging spots by unknowing or inconsiderate drivers of plugless cars who are using the charging spots as parking spaces. The complaining hasn’t devolved into pushing, shoving

What Will That Electric Car Cost?

Most people know that buyers pay a premium for electric cars. But what are the additional expenses, such as the charging station installation and the cost of the electricity to recharge the battery? And are there savings on such things as vehicle maintenance?

It’s somewhat difficult to give a single answer to these questions since there are many choices for charging stations and many, many different rate schedules for purchasing electricity. However, we will try to provide some general guidelines for estimating these costs.

Electric Car Charging Options
For home charging, there are two options: 120 and 240 volts. Most electric cars come with a charging cord that will plug into a standard 120-volt outlet, which is widely available. However, this is extremely slow charging, taking up to 20 hours. Consequently, most EV owners will want to recharge at 240 volts, which will cut the time to about 6 hours.

A number of home recharging stations are available, and EV makers are offering more options all the time. To save money, some EV owners will simply have an electrician install a 240-volt outlet and modify the standard cord to allow the higher voltage.

Whatever route an EV owner selects, an electrician will

Electric Car Comparison Test

Back in 2006, filmmaker Chris Paine pondered Who Killed the Electric Car? Well, nearly seven years later, the answer is moot because electric cars are very much alive. True, they are definitely in their infancy, or whatever the nascent stage of a resurrection is called. However, those who wish to abandon the internal combustion engine can not only now do it, but actually have choices.

This comparison test is all about those choices. They run the gamut of size, body style and price. There are different ranges, charging times and battery technologies. There are big-time automakers and small-time startups. Given this diverse group, we won’t be crowning a winner. There were certainly those that stood out, but this is about describing what each EV brings to the table.

Besides our usual menu of instrumented performance testing, we also conducted extensive range and efficiency tests to see how far these cars can go in the real world. (For details on how we tested, plus charts with lots of additional information, check out our story titled “Testing EVs in the Real World.”) And since what you spend on any car doesn’t end at the purchase price, we also included a survey of

Used Cars That Get at Least 30 MPG

Great fuel efficiency and used cars are no longer mutually exclusive.

Scores of vehicles with combined mileage ratings of 30 mpg or greater have been entering the new-car market over the past few years, a result of increased consumer demand and automakers wanting to meet tougher federal fuel economy requirements. Now, from Acura to Volkswagen, those 30-mpg-plus vehicles are making an appearance in the used-car market.

There are conventional hybrids, EVs and plug-in hybrids — as you’d expect. But there also is an ever-growing selection of standard gasoline and diesel models as well.

Edmunds.com lists all the new models with great fuel efficiency in our regularly updated story, “Fuel-Efficiency Finds: Cars That Get at Least 30 MPG Combined.” Now we’re also bringing you a list of late-model used vehicles with excellent fuel economy.

This list is arranged by model year, manufacturer and model, with EPA fuel-efficiency ratings included at the end of each entry. It will help you tailor a search to just those models that are EPA-rated for at least 30 mpg in combined city and highway driving. Remember, of course, that in real life your mileage inevitably will vary. For vehicles that do not use gasoline or diesel, and for those that

8 Things You Need To Know About Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Cars

Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles have been around a while, but their introduction to car shoppers has long been held back by a chicken-or-egg dilemma: A successful retail launch of fuel-cell electric cars and SUVs requires a retail fueling system. And when was the last time you saw a hydrogen station?

Well, fuel-cell vehicles — and the stations that will power them — are about to become part of the landscape, a mere 12 years after American Honda began leasing a handful of hand-built cars to the city of Los Angeles.

The cars and stations will be a limited presence at first, confined to select areas of Southern California. But if some of the world’s major automakers and the U.S. and various state governments have anything to say about it, the stations ultimately will spread throughout the nation’s urban areas.

The first fuel-cell vehicles entered the retail market this spring in California’s Orange and Los Angeles counties, courtesy of South Korean automaker Hyundai. Japan’s Toyota will introduce the Mirai fuel cell sedan in late 2015, followed in 2016 by a Honda fuel-cell car. In 2017, General Motors and Mercedes-Benz are expected to enter the market. Ford, Nissan and Volkswagen also are developing electric-drive

How To Get the Best Home Charger for Your Plug-In Car

When the first plug-in vehicles hit the market, buyers had little choice in the home charging devices they got. General Motors, maker of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, and Nissan, maker of the Leaf battery-electric vehicle, each had partnered with a charging station manufacturer and installer.

Car buyers got a garage evaluation and installation quote before they took delivery of their vehicles. They bought the charging stations (usually through their car dealers) that the automaker recommended.

Fast-forward a few years and the marketplace has wrought its magic. Today, there are more than a dozen EV and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles on the market and more on the way. Owners and prospective owners of these plug-in vehicles can choose from dozens of home car-charging stations from more than a dozen manufacturers.

You can shop direct from the maker online, from various home-improvement retailers or via mass-marketing sites such as Amazon.com. Or you can do it old-school and go through your car dealer.

A recent survey of plug-in vehicle buyers by Ford Motor Company found that about half still use the dealer-supplied, one-stop service that provides the charging station and installation for one price. The other half now do their own shopping, both for the home

Debunking the Alternative Fuels Myths

Alternative fuels are here to stay. Government policy and social pressure for improved fuel economy have pretty much determined that we need to reduce our use of oil for personal transportation fuels. And global demand, along with political unrest in key oil-producing regions, maintains upward pressure on petroleum prices to further underscore the need for reasonable alternatives.

But the advance of these “new” or alternative fuels in the U.S. market is sometimes hampered by myths that have grown up around them.

Some of these alternative-fuel myths are rooted in misinformation campaigns fostered by opponents (and sometimes by proponents) of a new fuel. Some are rooted in misunderstandings and others by the inability of new information to erase old images.

For example: When Southern California insurance agent Timothy Bush recently took possession of the keys to the first hydrogen-powered Hyundai Tucson fuel-cell SUV offered for lease in the U.S, one of the first questions he was asked was whether he feared being blown up. That was an uninformed cable news reporter’s attempt to link today’s hydrogen fuel to the hydrogen gas that played such a prominent role in the 1937 Hindenburg dirigible disaster.

To set the record straight, here’s a collection of some

Eight Steps to Buying a New Car

The following steps will show you how to locate, price and negotiate to buy the new car you want. Using this information could save you thousands of dollars on a new car and make the process quicker and enjoyable. It also puts you in charge of the deal-making process — and that feeling of empowerment is a good one.

But first things first: You need to decide what car you want to buy. If you haven’t done that yet, please check out our “10 Steps to Finding the Right Car for You.” Then head back here once you have chosen the right car.

And if you have any questions along the way, please reach out to the Edmunds.com Live Help team for free assistance. The team will work hard to make your car shopping experience the best one yet. You also can be paired with an Edmunds car-buying expert who can help you wherever you are in the shopping process. This service also is free from Edmunds.

Step 1: Get Approved for a Car Loan
A powerful first step in the car buying process is to get approved for a loan. (If you have decided to lease your new car, things proceed a little differently, so please read “10 Steps to

The High Cost of Losing Your Keys

Our car keys have an uncanny ability to get lost inside coat pockets or underneath couch cushions — or to disappear altogether. Prior to the 1990s, this wasn’t a big deal. You could get a spare key at any hardware store or locksmith shop, not to mention at the car dealership, of course. But because it was easy to copy a key, it was also easy for a thief to steal your car. These days, advances in key technology have made vehicles more difficult to steal, but the price has been costlier key replacements.

Here’s a rundown of what you’ll face in the way of cost if you have to replace your key, along with some alternatives that could lower the bill. The prices quoted here are for Santa Monica, California, and West Los Angeles, an area where an hour of labor at an auto dealership can cost more than $100. Labor costs in your region may vary.

Basic Keys and Fob
A basic car key, which was common up until the mid-to late-1990s, has no security feature other than its unique cut. The shank, which is the long metal part of the key, has cuts and grooves like a

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Auto Body Shop

It’s not uncommon for estimates from different body shops to vary wildly. One shop might give you an estimate for $500 while another wants $2,000 for the work. What’s the difference? And when is it OK to choose the cheaper shop?

John Mallette, owner of Burke Auto Body & Paint, in Long Beach, California, knows better than most people how to choose a reliable shop. Mallette started working on cars when he was 12 years old and has been in the body shop business for 24 years. Here are some of his tips for choosing the right shop to work on your car — particularly when you’re the one paying the bills.

1) Pay Attention to Word-of-Mouth
Any business can advertise, but you’ll do better with a shop that friends, family or acquaintances recommend. It’s a business that has proven it can satisfy customers. And it might not be the biggest or best-known shop in your area.

Mallette went to a shop years ago on such recommendations and found that the owner was a “real stand-up guy…. He doesn’t advertise on the Internet; it’s a family-owned shop,” Mallette says. “But, golly, if you take your car there, you’ll get a fair

Stop Changing Your Oil!

Oil chemistry and engine technology have evolved tremendously in recent years, but you’d never know it from the quick-change behavior of American car owners. Driven by an outdated 3,000-mile oil change commandment, they are unnecessarily spending millions of dollars and spilling an ocean of contaminated waste oil.

The majority of automakers today call for oil changes at either 7,500 or 10,000 miles, and the interval can go as high as 15,000 miles in some cars. Yet this wasteful cycle continues largely because the automotive service industry, while fully aware of the technological advances, continues to preach the 3,000-mile gospel as a way to keep the service bays busy. As a result, even the most cautious owners are dumping their engine oil twice as often as their service manuals recommend.

After interviews with oil experts, mechanics and automakers, one thing is clear: The 3,000-mile oil change is a myth that should be laid to rest. Failing to heed the service interval in your owner’s manual wastes oil and money, while compounding the environmental impact of illicit waste-oil dumping.

Scared Into Needless Service
Part of the blame for this over-servicing lies in our insecurities about increasingly complicated engines that are all but inaccessible

Oil Life Monitoring Systems

Until recently, the question of when to change your oil was usually answered by your local garage, which had a vested interest in servicing your car every 3,000 miles. Your alternative was to crack the owner’s manual to see whether your driving habits fell into the “severe” or “normal” category. And then you’d let the listed interval be your frequency guide.

But increasingly, the change-interval question is being answered by a vehicle’s oil life monitoring system, which signals the driver through the instrument panel. This alert usually arrives anywhere between 5,000 and 8,000 miles.

So how does the system know when it’s time for a change? Electronic sensors throughout the drivetrain send information about engine revolutions, temperature and driving time to the car’s computer. The data is run through a mathematical algorithm that predicts when the oil will begin to degrade. The light comes on well in advance, giving the owner time to get the car serviced.

Oil life monitoring systems have been around for several decades. They were introduced in General Motors vehicles in the late 1980s and have been phased in slowly, said Matt Snider, project engineer in GM’s Fuels and Lubricants Group. “We are very confident in the accuracy of

When Should You Change Your Oil?

If you are one of the many people who let a windshield reminder sticker govern when they get an oil change, here’s our advice to you: Drop that habit. Instead, follow the automaker’s recommended service intervals. In many modern cars, your best bet is to rely on the vehicle’s oil life monitoring system to let you know when it’s time for a change.

Let the Manual Guide You
Oil change information is in the maintenance chapter of your owner’s manual. If for some reason you’ve misplaced your owner’s manual, many automakers have put their manuals online. You can also search our Edmunds Maintenance Schedules. We have an extensive maintenance database on vehicles dating back to l980.

In many instances, you’ll find that the owner’s manual lists two service schedules. These are based on “normal” and “severe” or “special” driving conditions. Read the descriptions carefully to see which schedule reflects how you drive. In our experience, the vast majority of people fall into the normal schedule.

Trust Your Oil Life Monitor
In recent years, a number of automakers have installed oil life monitors of varying complexity in their vehicles. The more basic versions are more maintenance minders than actual systems. They’re based on mileage,

Online Tire-Buying

Some people might assume that buying tires online and having them shipped to you is too expensive, time-consuming and cumbersome. So they continue to schlep down to the corner tire store, or buy from a chain store and wind up paying more than is necessary.

However, thanks to easy-to-navigate Web sites, consumers can provide their car’s year, make and model and quickly be shown a wide selection of tires that fit their vehicle. The choices are easily sorted based on the driving requirements, prices or other factors. The tires are then “drop-shipped” to a local tire store for installation at an additional cost. Consumers we have talked with have been amazed at how smoothly the online tire-buying process works. In fact, one shopper called it, “One of my best online-shopping experiences.”

Advantages of Online Tire-Buying

The Internet route offers the following advantages over the traditional tire-buying experience:

  • Online tire prices are lower, particularly when compared to inflated costs at dealerships.
  • Consumer reviews help buyers make informed decisions.
  • Buyers avoid aggressive “upselling” found in many brick-and-mortar stores.
  • Some online tire-buying Web sites, such as Tirerack.com offer their own independent tire tests.
  • There is no state sales tax on most Internet purchases (depending on the laws in your