Is it Time to Buy American Cars?
By The Car Family
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http://www.motorists.org/new/carreviews/index.htmlJust in time for the holidays are some remarkably good vehicles made by what used to be called the Big Three of Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler. To that end The Car Family tested some of the more traditional models and came up with two distinct findings. First, you get a lot of value with “American” automobiles. Secondly, American vehicles are improving in quality. For example, according to J.D. Power and Associates’ 2006 Vehicle Dependability Study American brands finished second (Ford), third (Buick), and fourth (Cadillac). In addition, in most cases American cars are cheaper to buy when similarly equipped and are kept longer. As for customer satisfaction, The American Consumer Satisfaction Index showed that owners ranked their newly purchased vehicles in a essentially the same order with Buick finishing second, Cadillac fourth, Lincoln/Mercury fifth, and Chevrolet seventh, with Chrysler and Saturn next.
If you are considering a the gift of a car this season here are some that would make excellent American stocking stuffers:
For those who like a lot of car for the money try the Buick Lucerne that ranges in price from $25,515 to $34,545. This high quality large sedan is loaded with extras such as alloy wheels, keyless entry, full power accessories, OnStar, lots of airbags, a CD player and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls even in base trim. Of note are the remote vehicle starting system and heated and cooled seats, a V-8 producing 275-horsepower and a heated windshield washer system that’s perfect for those North Pole winters.
For the fast Santas on your list the Cadillac’s CTS-V has 400 earth pounding horsepower and a manual transmission for those who want sporty luxury. But, for most Santas the DTS is the model of choice with up to 290 horsepower and every electronic doodad known to man. If you really want to make a jolly entrance try the STS-V with a supercharged 469-hp, 4.4-liter V-8 backed by a new six-speed automatic. You can even get the STS in all wheel drive in the six-cylinder model. There’s also an XLR-V, which has a 443-hp supercharged engine for those who like its sports car appearance and sharp looks. And a much sharper looking CTS is coming shortly.
Thrifty on fuel and operating costs, the Chevrolet Cobalt is a hoot to drive and even comes with an optional supercharger for those who want to feel the force. Priced from $13,050 to $20,850 this is a handy vehicle that doesn’t take up much out of your garage or payment book. For twice as much you get twice as much as the Corvette can be under your roof for $44,000. As good as any sports car twice this price, the Vette is perfect for those who enjoy driving the best American sports car value. On the other hand the retro looking HHR sells for about $16,000 and is incredibly handy and easy to customize. It has enough power and room and has an option list the enables it to be individualized at the dealers. If you want practicality with a little poke the Chevrolet Impala starts at $21,000 and is relaxing to drive, comfortably, roomy, and is very easy to maintain. The Impala is a great back to college car with a low theft rate, insurance rate, and repair rate.
Chrysler has its bargain priced 300s ready for surprise giving and with their snowplow front grills fits the December season perfectly. Starting at $23,880 the 300 comes in a variety of styles and even as a wagon for impulsive mall sprees. There is also a new styled Chrysler Sebring for $18,320 that has enough options to make that letter to Santa need additional postage. Can you say Bluetooth, heated and cooled front cupholders, GPS, real time traffic updates via satellite radio and, hold on to your babushkas, a 20GB hard drive that enables drivers to rip their own CDs or download MP3 files from a jump drive using a USB connection. See if you can get that in your foreign made sedan for under $20,000.
It would take a book the size of the old Sears catalog to go through the fun options on the Dodge Caliber. This sort of station wagon, sort of small SUV, sort of cool looking what ever it is goes for just under $14,000. There is even a high performance engine should you feel the need to give chase to the owner of the reindeer tramping down your favorite Poinsettias. The rear seats can be reclined or folded flat and don’t forget the Music Gate speaker package.
Keeping with the current makeover trend Saturn has updated its line-up and the result are a two-seater sports car, the Sky, and the stylish Aura sedan. The Sky is the best-looking sports car to be produced anywhere in eons and can be ordered with both a high performance engine and sporty suspension. Try a ride in the hotted-up Red Line to see what it must feel like to fly for about $26,000. Meanwhile the Aura is no slouch in the attractive department as this midsized four-door has plenty of performance options and such unique available features as power adjustable pedals and a four panel panoramic sunroof. Besides how can you ignore an American company that has given its newest entries such astronomical titles just in time for the reopening of the Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles?
Ford has its Mustang in several degrees of excitement from Egg Nog to a Cosmopolitan, but the big news is the Fusion with its starting price of $18,000. It does everything asked of it and isn’t bad looking either. Of course, if you really care the Lincoln Zephyr rides on the same chassis and has a much more extensive list of features. The Lincoln comes with alloy rims, dual zone climate control, an array of audio features, and a split folding back seat. The THX-II audio system must be heard with its 600-watt amplifier and 14 vibrating speakers. Very lady friendly, the Lincoln is easy to park and has a spiffy interior.
Pontiac shows its American side with the Solstice roadster for about $20,000. This two seater is similar to the Saturn Sky and merits a test drive on a sunny day. Pontiac’s Grand Prix GXP is now powered by a 303-hp V-8, something that hasn’t happened since the winter of 1987. They also have the G6 sales leader and it comes as a coupe and hardtop convertible and is very well priced. You aren’t going to find a less expensive hardtop convertible anywhere.
So this season looking for an American car as a gift might be the easiest ever with convertibles, hot roadsters, powerful sedans, optional onboard CD rippers, and gas sipping compact cars catering to most every taste. Besides it would also make Santa happy to know that he doesn’t’ have to use his currency converter so often.
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