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Guest post: 2014 GMC Acadia: Refreshed Design and Enhanced Safety for a Faithful Companion

August 20th, 2014 No comments

GMC Acadia 2015

The 2014 GMC Acadia sports a freshened up exterior and interior design, and offers enhanced safety features this year to boost its reputation as a jack-of-all-trades, full size crossover SUV. Always a faithful companion since the 2007 model year, the Acadia has evolved into what is now a plush, comfortable SUV with seating for up to eight in three rows of seats and enough cargo space to carry just about whatever your family needs to be carried. Let’s take a look at what the Acadia offers.

Innovative Safety Features The latest Acadia has a remarkable new safety item pioneered by General Motors and available only on GM vehicles—the front center airbag. This airbag deploys from the driver’s seat as a secondary airbag between the front seats to cushion impact between the driver and passenger in side collisions.

Also new to the Acadia for 2014 are a forward collision alert system and a lane departure warning system. These advancements helped the Acadia to receive a five-star overall safety rating, the highest rating given, from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as well as the highest safety rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Powerful Powertrain All Acadias have a 3.6-liter, V6 engine producing 288 horsepower coupled to a six-speed Hydra-Matic 6T75 transmission. Front wheel drive comes standard, with four-wheel drive as an option. The high tech engine has direct fuel injection, dual overhead camshafts, and variable valve timing to maximize fuel efficiency.

Spacious Luxury Interior The updated interior takes the luxury factor up a notch or two for 2014 with impressive build quality, an attractive layout and with most of the surfaces covered with soft, nice-to-the-touch materials. The standard seating holds up to eight people, but with the second row bench seat swapped out for two captain’s chairs, the seating is reduced to seven. Fold-flat second and third row seats give easy access to the cargo area. Speaking of the cargo area, there is 24.1 cu. ft. behind the third row of seats, 70.1 cu. ft. behind the second row, and a cavernous 116.1 cu. ft. behind the first row with the other rows folded flat

SUV Heritage The Acadia is a direct descendant of the original SUV created by General Motors in 1935 with the Chevrolet Suburban Carryall. GMC joined the party in 1937 with its own Carryall featuring an all-metal body, three rows of seats for eight people, and doors at the rear to provide easy access to the cargo storage area. GMC improved the Carryall over the years to include an automatic transmission, a V8 engine and four-wheel drive, eventually evolving it into to today’s SUVs.

Coolness Factor If you’re one of the many who would rather wear a paper bag over your head than be seen driving a minivan, the Acadia is for you. It will transport everything you could put in a minivan and you’ll be cool enough to actually roll down the windows and wave to all of your friends.

Bruce Troxell

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Sponsored post: A new Michelin tire that prolong wet traction

July 17th, 2014 1 comment

I don’t know about you but even though I have been driving for the best part of two decades I always get a tiny bit nervous in heavy rain conditions. Aqua-planning is not a great experience and there is nothing worse than not trusting its car’s behaviour when driving under the rain. But it all comes to tires in the end, not so much the car itself. Michelin has been at the forefront of tyre technologies for decades and their latest invention could have the potential to make me feel much better about driving under heavy rain.

Unlike conventional tires, the Michelin Premier A/S tire uses a new design combined with a unique set of features to prolong wet traction even as the tire becomes worn. 3 main elements provide this traction over time: high-traction rubber compound, expanding rain grooves and emerging grooves. What does it all mean I hear you ask.

Well the technology behind long-term wet traction is actually rather interesting. The high-traction rubber compound is a proprietary rubber compound with extreme amounts of silica and sunflower oil. The silica provides the bonding strength and adherence to keep the treads on the road for high traction in wet conditions. The sunflower oil allows the tire to grip on wet roads at lower temperatures. The new tire also has rain grooves with a specific geometric shape that gets wider as the tread wears, helping maintain the amount of water that the tire can channel away. Finally this tire has another set of grooves that are initially hidden when new but then emerge to maintain wet traction in the long run.

This post has been sponsored by Michelin, but concerns our own opinion.
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Guest post: 6 ways to accessorise the car of the woman you love

June 27th, 2014 No comments

It is the one car I want! Beautiful young couple standing at the dealership choosing the car to buy

Whether your partner has been playing the ‘Soccer Mom” for years, or she has just recently learned how to drive, the least you can do as the man in her life is to acknowledge the hard work she has put in by accessorizing her car which makes for a perfect gift and also makes her time on the road a lot more beautiful and comfortable.

A Navigation System

While most women will argue that their sense of direction is impeccable, a reliable navigation system is always a boon to have in the car. Whether she is expected to drive long-distance for work, on a regular basis or transport your children around town all day, a good navigation system can help her beat the traffic and make it to places in time.

A portable navigation system can be rather convenient for her even when she rents out a vehicle on her travels.

MP3 player with AUX Connection

Make sure your partner stays entertained at all times by installing an AUX enabled music system in your car. Gift her a MP3 player on which she can upload all her favorite music and audio books to keep her entertained during her time on the road.

finger pointing at car GPS navigation system

Personalised Bumper Stickers

Nothing says ‘I Love You’ like a personalised bumper sticker. Customising a bumper sticker for her is a great way to let her feel some ownership for the family vehicle. The sticker could come with a funny one liner or a sweet quote that represents her unique personality.

Car Fragrance

Another great way to make her feel like the family car is hers to use is by installing a car fragrance with her favourite aromas.

Miscellaneous Accessories

In addition to these, you could also gift her a hamper of miscellaneous car accessories such as travel kits, Bluetooth wireless communication systems, a mixed CD with her favorite songs and car seat covers that enhance her on road comfort.

Special Lessons at the Driving School

Chances are that in spite of having driven around your neighborhood for years, your partner is still wary about venturing out on long distance drives on her own. Liberate her from this fear by gifting her driving lessons that help her build the courage of venturing into high speed roads all over the country. If your partner is a car enthusiast just like you, you may also be able to sign her up for adventure driving lessons for your next off road trip.

Finally, a highly impressive solution would be to surprise her with her very own car! Consider looking up Hertz Car Sales that offer a variety of well maintained used vehicles at highly affordable rates. By gifting her a car of her own, you can give your partner a sense of individuality and independence. Not only will you be able to make a great impression, but this can be an excellent way to show how you feel for her!

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Worldwide Photo Snapshot – June 2014

June 21st, 2014 No comments

Kabul Afghanistan June 2014. Picture courtesy of Paul LehmannKabul laughter. Picture courtesy of Paul Lehmann, Kabul Afghanistan June 2014

Just a quick Photo Snapshot from around the world today: 3 pictures taken this week at very different locations. It’s not all doom and gloom in Kabul, Afghanistan where 4 men somehow managing to fit on one motorbike can’t stop laughing. A delicious olive green Lotus Evora was snapped up by my friend Audrey in Paris, and I spotted my first Australian Jeep Cherokee today in Sydney, Australia. Click on the pictures to enlarge and enjoy!

Lotus Evora France June 2014. Picture courtesy Audrey FrancLotus Evora in Paris, France. Picture courtesy of Audrey Franc

Jeep Cherokee Sydney June 2014The all-new Jeep Cherokee has arrived in Australia! In Paddington, Sydney – June 2014 

 

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Collaboration post: Buying new or used?

June 20th, 2014 No comments

VW Golf GTI mk1 mk7. Picture courtesy of caricos.comVW Golf GTI old and new (US versions shown)

This question is as old as the automobile itself and different populations behave in very varied ways when it comes to responding to the ‘buying new or used’ question. For example in France, for each new car sold, 3 used cars are purchased whereas in India trust levels are so low that used car purchase is still relatively rare. Within each country each consumer also has its preferences but sometimes the question is very hard to answer and it can be a difficult decision to make. The pros and cons of each possibility do not change though, and it’s worthwhile going through them again so we can ensure we make the right purchase decision.

New

Less research Choosing a new car means you are cutting the amount of research you have to do prior to your purchase. If you think about it, new car options are relatively limited compared to used cars where on top of the brand, model and variant you have to take into account the age, price and state of the car. Websites and car dealers offering similar models are much more numerous and varied than if you opt for a new car. But the crux of it is the condition of used vehicles as you can never be too sure about it…

No Antecedent There is no prior history with a brand new vehicle. Used cars always raise question marks, especially the issues that can be seen with the naked eye or can be hidden by the seller. History documentation can nowadays generally be obtained, but there can still be this nagging voice in the back of your head that something may have slipped through the cracks. One option is to bring a mechanic with you to inspect the used vehicle you are about to purchase. New cars are a much less stressful option, with no antecedent.

Warranty The warranty situation with a new car is pretty clearcut and can be one element of deciding between different brands as warranties can differ widely in what they cover. With used vehicles, a warranty is sometimes relatively rare.

Used

Price The number one reason behind almost every used car purchase. Depreciation of a new car is sudden and can put many people off buying new. Count on average almost half of the value of the new vehicle lost within the first 18 months, whereas a used vehicle is already depreciated and therefore will lose much less value over time. Plus keep in mind if you are buying a car for resale value, it is almost impossible to make a profit, whereas it can still be the case with used cars, especially if you purchase a classic car.

Insurance The cheaper and the older your car is, the less you have to pay to insure it. Therefore insurance for new cars is much more expensive than for used cars.

Regardless of whether you’ve decided to buy new or used, John Hughes is Western Australia’s most trusted car dealer since 1969, and the place to go for New and Used Cars in Perth. John Hughes is the only dealer in Australia to offer the ZX Auto Grand Tiger and the Geely MK as new and used.

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Collaboration Post: How to afford the car of your dreams

June 20th, 2014 No comments

Lamborghini Aventador. Picture courtesy of dexigner.comLamborghini Aventador

Everyone remotely interested in cars has one car they only see themselves driving in their wildest dreams. It can be easier to achieve than you previously thought.

Don’t dismiss used

If your dream car is a classic car, unless you purchased it when it was still on sale, you will have to buy it new and depending on exactly what you are after this can be a relatively affordable experience. When thinking of a supercar like a Ferrari or Lamborghini, it’s all about buying the car at the right time, after it has devaluated greatly and before it gains value as a classic. The ‘right time’ to buy is very different for each car but a bit of online research can help finding that golden moment. Be aware on the running costs of such a purchase though such as insurance.

How about lease

Driving your dream car does not have to be a day-in-day-out thing and you also have the option to lease your dream car short term or long term. This can end up being much cheaper than owning the car outright. More and more companies specialise in short-term luxury rentals and you can feel like a Hollywood superstar for a fraction of the price.

Financing options

Once you have settled on a model and ownership option, sometime nicely packaged financing can make all the difference. Westralian Auto Finance has expert finance consultants experienced in finding the right finance to best suit your needs in terms of car purchase. They can help anyone looking for a great deal on car finance, first-time loan applications and people who have been turned down by the banks. They offer access to a wide range of specialist lenders, including access to a lender specialising in credit issues.

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Media post: Can you afford to own your dream car?

June 12th, 2014 No comments

Lamborghini Huracan 3 Geneva 2014The answer is no (as far as I am concerned)

Take a stroll around the royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea or the posher parts of Notting Hill or Holland Park and you will quickly notice that the streets are lined with expensive cars: Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis, Porches, Aston Martins and Bentleys are as familiar a sight in many parts of London as wood pigeons or red phone boxes. Given the hefty price tags of these cars the conclusion would be that the capital is a wealthy place, a playground for the rich and famous from around the world.

Whilst this assumption is not without merit it is not the only explanation for the influx of Italian supercars on the streets of London. The fact is that owning your dream car is not as out of reach as you might think and many of those driving them aren’t famous actors or Russian Oligarchs, but normal nine to five guys and girls with a clear idea of what they want and how to get it. So what’s their secret?

Find the right dealer

Finding a dealership and assessing your options is the first step to owning that dream car. Dealers such as HR Owen specialise in new and used Lamborghinis and will discuss the type of finance options available to you. As well as traditional car loans there are other alternatives that might work for you such as Lease Purchase agreements and Personal Contract Purchase agreements where a guaranteed minimum future value is agreed with the finance company. With the low-interest finance packages available that dream of owning a Lamborghini could potentially be within reach.

Consider used

One option is to buy used; where once Lamborghinis and other supercars were once built in small numbers, modern high tech production techniques and computers has meant that in the past 10 to 15 years very powerful cars have been built in relatively large numbers. As a result finding one on the second hand market is much easier, and because there are more of these cars around, prices are more affordable.

It is also worth remembering that these cars are always highly desirable and in time will increase in price, meaning buying one is a much shrewder investment than a Ford Mondeo. Of course buying the car is just part of it, the on-going running costs can be considerable and it is important that you do your homework before buying. Depending on your age and history insuring a Lamborghini is still manageable and it is a case of shopping around for the best deal and checking out the specialist insurance companies.

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Guest post: The tech smart way to better and more affordable chauffeur insurance

June 4th, 2014 No comments

Chauffeur Insurance. Picture courtesy of thecarexpert.co.uk

Striving hard to take over the established players in our regional chauffeur service marketplace? Well, it is going to be a battle of operational efficiency and strong cost control for you as you go about trying to edge past your competitors.  A chauffeur business can be a tough one to control, as much because of the fact that the revenue generation activity takes place away from your office and on the road as is because of the very nature of all the cost heads that make up the scary section of the profit and loss account. Right from accounting for the on-road efficiency of all the Mercedes and the Audis to ensuring that chauffeur insurance doesn’t leave lasting stains on the expense sheets, the job of a chauffeur insurance business manager is tough. Here, we intend to offer some actionable suggestions that can go a long way in ensuring that the premiums of chauffeur insurance for such businesses remain affordable.

Get those smart vehicles empowered with smart security gadgets

Vehicle security gadgets have been proven effective in reducing chances of thefts and vandalism, and have also been regarded highly for their effectiveness in enabling drivers to remain more alert while they are behind the steering wheel. Whether it’s a GPS based tracker that makes the vehicle’s location known at any time, or a strong anti-theft installation such as a camera or a siren, you can expect a multitude of benefits from your decision to go for security related gadget installations for your fleet of vehicles. Firstly, such installations lend you peace of mind about the safety your vehicles, and if you have a large fleet, chances are that they would come to the fore with visible results at least once every year. What’s more, the effect these devices have on the premiums that chauffeur insurance companies charge is amazing, and is to your benefit. Insurance companies consider such vehicles less risky, and are hence willing to offer you lesser premiums of chauffeur insurance. Also, the savings in terms of lesser insurance premiums will accumulate on a per year business for the operating time period of your vehicles, which will certainly pay off the devices in due course of time.

Leverage the reach of web to find the best prices

Does the idea of using the Internet to find the best price for your insurance sound laughable to you? Well, you’d not be laughing when your competitors save more than 20% every year on chauffeur insurance by smartly opting to do an online price comparison among different chauffeur insurance policy products. A couple of hours is all you need to ensure that you guard yourself against chauffeur insurance deals that pack unnecessary covers into the mix in order to inflate the premium rates. You will be easily able to invite free quotes for chauffeur insurance based upon the kind of your business and the fleet you have.

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Guest post: Pick-up trucks, utes or bakkies?

May 27th, 2014 No comments

The Ford F-Series became America’s best-selling vehicle in 1982 and never looked back…

Are they commercial vehicles, recreational vehicles or passenger cars? The frontier is becoming more and more blurry for this category of vehicles. But did you know they held different names depending on where they are sold? In the United Stated they are described as pick-ups and a categorised as ‘light trucks’ along with SUVs. Pick-ups have been extremely popular in the US for decades now, with the Ford F-Series being the overall best-seller in the country every single year since 1982 when it jumped into pole position for the first time. That’s 32 consecutive years on top! For now its highest annual sales were reached in 2004 when it peaked at 939,511 units.

Toyota Hilux Australia 20012001 Toyota Hilux

In Australia these vehicles are called ‘utes’, short for utilities. Over the years, their status has changed drastically from mere workhorses to gradually become the true family car: work during the week and fun at the weekend. This status change has been accompanied by a significant increase in size of the most successful utes in the country, now mainly manufactured in the one tonne pick-up factory of the world: Thailand. Embodying the increasing success of utes in Australia, the Toyota Hilux has enjoyed an almost uninterrupted climb on the local sales charts and almost snapped up the year-to-date top spot overall in 2012 as I described in my article Australia: The rise and rise of the Toyota Hilux where you can find annual sales of the Hilux in Australia since its original launch there in 1971.

Ford Ranger South Africa April 2014Ford Ranger

In South Africa, another country enamoured with this type of vehicles, pick-ups are called bakkies, from the Afrikaans bak ’container’ and the diminutive suffix -ie. The Toyota Hilux here too has been a contender to the overall models sales charts pole position for the past 10 years, fighting it out with the VW Polo and Polo Vivo. The Ford Ranger has also stepped up its game with the last generation, ranking among the 5 most popular vehicles in the country for the past 5 consecutive months.

This post is brought to you by Gumtree. Launched in 2000, Gumtree is the largest classified site in South Africa and the 6th most popular website overall in South Africa. Gumtree’s largest vertical is cars- with bakkies for sale being one of its largest inventory drivers. Automobiles comprise one third of the overall site’s inventory, totalling over 700,000 ads per month. Gumtree is also #1 in South Africa for Rentals, Pets, Jobs, and Services.

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Guest post: Tips for Long-term Car Storage

May 27th, 2014 No comments

If for whatever reason you won’t be using your car for months and months on end – perhaps you are travelling overseas, or you’ve undergone major surgery and won’t be able to drive safely for a while – car storage is the way to go. Here are some essential planning tips on how to store your car long-term.

Deciding on a Storage Destination

Obviously, the location in which you decide you store your car all depends on how long you plan to leave it unused. If you’re only going to be away a few days, storing your car in a securely locked garage such as your own wouldn’t be a concept too difficult to grasp, however in most cases where your absence exceeds a month or so, a storage facility would be ideal. Self-storage companies such as Fort Knox specialise in any storage scenario conceivable to an average human mind, one being the placement of vehicles in storage units. Storing your car in something like this would be ideal, as it would be safeguarded from the possibility of sun damage, or potential rodents that might be lurking around your garage.

Conditioning Your Car For the Big Move

Take your car in for servicing to make sure everything is running smoothly and will continue to do so when you are ready to reclaim it. But before you go as far as that even, you’ll want to clean the car inside and out. This means oiling all the hinges, waxing the outside, washing it down and dusting it from top to bottom. If you’re stretching these chores out over the course of days, or even weeks, make sure you dust right before covering the car, as a way of prevent additional dust particles from finding their way in. You might also want to open the windows ever so slightly, particularly if your car is being stored outside for the sun to grill, or in a tight and stuffy space.

Consider charging your car battery and topping it up with fuel before sending it off to be stored; if it’s been a while since you’ve sped down the highway with the radio turned up for the entire hemisphere to hear and love, you’ll want to be able to use it as soon as possible. It’s also important that you are fully covered by your current insurance policy, and that you renew your registration if you need to during that time. Unlike a bike, which can be positioned on its side, a car has no option other than to remain on its feet, day and night. With this in mind, it might be worth slightly deflating your car tires to avoid the risk of them failing on you when you return.

The overall motivation for going to all this effort is to feel that you are leaving your car in the best condition possible and in the safest of hands. This way you are not only ridding your mind of angst during your leave, you will being returning to your car as if you never left it, or as if your car was stolen and returned several months later in better condition than before it was stolen.

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