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How To Know When It’s Time To Get A New Family Car

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Whether you have a sensible sedan, a standard minivan, or a versatile SUV, you place a lot of trust in your family car. However, no matter how reliable your vehicle is, you’ll have to replace it with a new model eventually. How do know when it’s the right time to upgrade? Here are some of the top signs it’s a good time to buy a new family car.

1. You’re Paying Expensive Repair Costs

No matter how well you look after your vehicle, time, wear and tear, and age eventually take their toll. When you find yourself having to make minor repairs often or taking your car into the shop several times a year for substantial and expensive fixes, it may be time to consider moving on.

Keeping a car past its prime can cost a lot of money in terms of repair costs. Older cars are generally less efficient as well, so you could be overspending on gas. Mileage is another important factor to consider. Some makes and models can be reliable past 200,000 miles, whereas others become unstable before this milestone. Do some research on your car to determine how likely it is that you’ll run into constant problems if you continue driving it.

2. Your Family Is Growing

Your compact car may have worked fine when you had your first child, but squeezing multiple car seats in the back can be a challenge. If your family is growing in number, or simply growing up, chances are you have more car seats, luggage, backpacks, and sports gear you need to fit in your vehicle. If you’re constantly trying to maneuver things around to make riding in your car comfortable, it may be time to consider an upgrade.

If you choose to upgrade your family car, you can look forward to several benefits beyond just having more space. Newer cars generally have more features, and models designed for families (such as minivans) may have numerous helpful additions. You may find that having a new car with more cupholders, configurable seats, automatic doors, and entertainment systems makes your time driving with the family exponentially more comfortable.

3. You’re Moving to a Different Location

If you are moving to a place with a drastically different climate, it could be wise to buy a new family car. For example, if you’re moving to a sunny coastal climate, you may want to trade in your four-wheel-drive for something smaller and more efficient. Alternately, if you’re moving to a mountain state, it’s probably a good idea to consider switching your convertible out for a reliable and maneuverable SUV.

4. You’re Financially Ready

One of the most challenging parts of upgrading your family car is the financial burden. Whether you buy new or used, chances are taking home a new vehicle will require paying a hefty chunk of cash or signing a big loan. Either way, your personal financial status plays a large part in deciding when it’s time to buy a new car.

However, you can look at it the other way as well. If you are in a good financial spot with excellent credit and a comfortable safety net in the bank, you may want to think about investing in a new car. Buying at a time when you can afford a large down payment and qualify for a favorable loan can make more financial sense than waiting until repairs force you to buy a new car quickly. If you wait, you may not be in such sound financial waters as you are now.

Being able to afford a new car or qualify for a good loan also gives you the flexibility to choose the best option for your family. Maybe you want to move to an electric car to save money on gas and help the environment. Perhaps you want to get an SUV to make it easier and safer to spend weekends camping in the mountains. When you have the time and resources to do all the research and choose the best model for your family, it can take a lot of stress out of the whole process.

Deciding when to upgrade your family car can require a lot of thought. However, there are some standard signs that can indicate it’s time to start considering a new vehicle. Mounting repair costs can make it financially more affordable to get a new car. You may also want to consider upgrading when you’re in a good financial spot with the assets to either pay cash or secure a favorable loan.

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The 335HP Ford Edge ST Is The Perfect Choice For Enthusiasts With Kids

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2019 Ford Edge ST

When Ford first announced plans for a 335-horsepower performance SUV that would wear the iconic ST badge, I was.. surprised, as I didn’t see much of a market for a souped-up Ford Edge. Turns out, I was looking at it from the wrong perspective.

The majority of my friends with kids have SUVs or crossovers. According to them, it’s a must, as they need the extra room to shuttle their kids (and their friends) around to soccer practice. While many of them are gearheads who would love to drive something fun like a Mustang GT or Focus RS, “life” forced them to choose something more practical.

Enter the new 2019 Ford Edge ST, a potent yet practical crossover SUV that delivers the best of both worlds, satisfying your need for speed while passing the wife test. The first SUV from Ford Performance, the Edge ST builds upon last year’s Edge Sport, with a 2.7-liter twin turbo V6 that puts out 335 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque (an increase of 20HP and 30 lb-ft).

2019 Ford Edge ST

Coupled with a quick-shifting eight-speed transmission and a lower final drive ratio, the 2019 Edge ST rockets from 0-60 in 5.9 seconds, with a top speed of 130mph. That’s actually quicker than the Fiesta ST or Focus ST, which is really impressive given its size. And if you’re able to keep your foot out of it, the Edge ST returns a respectable 19 mpg / 26 mpg (city/hwy), thanks in part to Ford’s Intelligent AWD with AWD Disconnect system.

Ford recently brought us out to Park City, Utah to test out the 2019 Ford Edge ST, setting us loose on some winding roads up through the mountains, giving us a chance to put the SUV’s performance chops to the test. In a word.. impressive!

The ’19 Ford Edge ST gets going in a hurry, and shifts through the eight-speed automatic are absolutely seamless. Acceleration is so smooth and linear, it’s easy to think the car has a CVT. Switch into Sport mode, and the car is transformed even further, holding gears longer, with more aggressive shifts, and some added “noise” piped into the cabin.

2019 Ford Edge ST

As you might expect, the Edge ST suspension is retuned, with new shocks, firmer springs, and a thicker sway bar all working together to improve the car’s handling. The slow things down, the brakes get substantial upgrades as well. If that’s not enough, there’s even an optional ST performance brake package that takes things up another notch.

To show us just how capable the Edge ST is, Ford put together a tight autocross course for us to drive, where it performed incredibly well despite its larger size. Respect.

Visually, all 2019 Edge’s gets new front and rear styling, with the ST getting a wide mesh grille for optimal cooling, deep side skirts and dual-exhaust outlets. Unique 21-inch wheels are available (20-inch wheels are standard), with gloss black treatment that perfectly highlight the red calipers behind them. Inside, there’s an ST-specific instrument cluster, heavily bolstered seats to keep you in place, and gloss black and carbon fiber-style trim.

2019 Ford Edge ST

Technology has always been Ford’s strong suit, and they deliver it in spades in the Edge ST. Ford’s Co-Pilot360 safety technology package is standard, giving drivers forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, a lane-centering system, auto high beams and a backup camera standard. And the Edge ST keeps you connected with things like Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay / Android Auto, Amazon Alexa integration (“Alexa, start my car”), and more.

With a starting price of $43,350 (and a fully optioned model coming in at around $55K), the 2019 Ford Edge ST isn’t exactly cheap. But there’s really nothing else out there quite like it, and we think enthusiasts who have a growing family and want something a little edgier than the status quo will be drawn to the ST.

Overall, I think the 2019 Ford Edge ST is a fun yet practical performance vehicle that checks off all the boxes, and I think it’s going to be a hot seller for the Blue Oval.

2019 Ford Edge ST

What do you think of the 2019 Ford Edge ST?

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There’s No Better Car To Relive Your Youth Than The Camaro Hot Wheels Edition

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2018 Hot Wheels Camaro

Did you know that the first Hot Wheels car ever sold was a dark blue “Custom Camaro”, which went on sale on May 18, 1968? And that every generation (and nearly every variation) of the Camaro has been replicated in 1:64 scale by Hot Wheels?

So it should come as no surprise that Chevrolet and Hot Wheels partnered to celebrate their 50 year anniversary with an actually life-size Hot Wheels Camaro, the 2018 Camaro Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Edition, which looks like it rolled right off of the orange track and onto the streets. And as soon as I laid eyes on this bad boy, I felt like a kid again!

2018 Hot Wheels Camaro

Now, this was no ordinary review loaner for me. Instead, I was driving the Hot Wheels Camaro to Camp No Counselors, a summer camp for adults. Because what’s a better combination than driving a life-sized version of a toy sports car, and a weekend at sleepaway camp to relive your youth, right? And the 400-mile trip would give me plenty of time to evaluate the car.

When the car arrived, I was immediately smitten with the exclusive Orange Crush paint, which photos just don’t do justice. Now all of that orange would be too much by itself, but the satin graphite stripe (with silver ice metallic accents), satin graphite ground effects, and the black Chevrolet bowtie emblems help break things up and complete the look.

2018 Hot Wheels Camaro

Inside, it’s more of the same, with a Jet Black leather-appointed interior with orange inserts and orange accent stitching. The suede-wrapped steering wheel has orange accent stitching and a Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary badge. The floor mats have orange stitching and ghost stripes, and orange knee bolsters and seat belts complete the look. While it’s a lot of orange, they somehow pull off the look without looking tacky.

Our 2018 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS Hot Wheels Edition came equipped with a 6.2L V8 that puts out an incredible 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. The LT1 engine is something else, capable of propelling our orange missile from 0-60 in 4 seconds flat. But keep your eyes peeled for cops, as this car is anything but inconspicuous.

2018 Hot Wheels Camaro

It also sounds the part, with an exhaust note that gave me goosebumps anytime I went wide open throttle with it (when passing other cars on the highway). Sure, those WOT romps will cost you in the gas department, but driving back home on cruise control, we managed to get an impressive 25.3 miles per gallon.

While an early rain storm got our car dirty in a hurry, that didn’t stop people from gawking at our car as we drove by, a child-like look of wonder and amazement on their faces. Clearly, Chevrolet and Hot Wheels knocked it out of the park in the styling department.

2018 Hot Wheels Camaro

That said, it takes quite an extroverted person to drive this car given the amount of attention it gets. Personally, I think the car is awesome, and if I were in the market for a Camaro, I’d definitely pony up the extra $4,995 for the Hot Wheels package. It looks like you’re driving around in a life-sized Hot Wheels, turning that childhood fantasy into reality.

Overall, it was a pretty awesome weekend, reliving my youth at sleepaway camp, and driving around in a life-sized Hot Wheels car, making those “Vroom Vroom” sounds for real with the gas pedal, instead of with my mouth. 🙂

What do you think of the 2018 Camaro Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Special Edition?

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The 2018 Subaru BRZ tS Is Exclusive Awesomeness

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2018 Subaru BRZ tS

We recently got to spend a week the 2018 Subaru BRZ tS, a special edition model of the little driver-oriented sport coupe, of which only 500 are being made. The verdict? Run out and get one before it’s too late!

Slip behind the wheel and it doesn’t take long to get amorous about the Subaru BRZ. The little car becomes fun quickly, with its ready-for-action appeal and genuine love of the road. While the naysayers will deride it for not having a turbocharged engine or “more power” in general, the rest of us see that this entry-level sport coupe is phenomenally awesome.

2018 Subaru BRZ tS

For the 2018 Subaru BRZ tS, Subaru dialed things up a notch, incorporating some fast-paced tuning from the company’s STI performance division.

The most noticeable addition to the BRZ is a large carbon fiber aero wing sitting on inverted V-shaped brackets. Those braces can be tuned to angle the spoiler for various performance tweaks, should you be headed to the track. Adding additional downforce at certain speed ranges, in corners, etc. is possible through those adjustments.

2018 Subaru BRZ tS

Larger wheels are also obvious on the BRZ tS model, as are added side skirts. Those 18-inch wheels are the largest yet on any Subaru BRZ and accommodate Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires that are measured at 215/40 (thin wall, wide track). The additional side skirts are the visible part of several aerodynamic tweaks made to the BRZ tS for added slipperiness in the wind.

The chassis of the 2018 BRZ tS now sports SACHS dampers and coil springs tuned by STI for the car. Flexible V-braces in the engine compartment add rigidity to the car. Draw stiffeners for the chassis and subframe have the same affect. Also of note are the Brembo brakes added to boost stopping power and reduce brake fade under heavy usage.

2018 Subaru BRZ tS interior

Inside, the 2018 Subaru BRZ tS is very similar to the BRZ Limited model, but with added tS and STI logos on the seats plus the STI hallmark of red seatbelts.

The powertrain for the little 2018 Subaru BRZ tS remains the same as it does in other versions of the sport coupe. The 2.0-liter boxer-style four puts out 205 honest horsepower and the six-speed manual transmission (in the tS, available in most other trims) exhibits short throws and a very positive clutch. It’s easy to fall in love with the tS, with its on-the-road feel and active driving engagement.

2018 Subaru BRZ tS seats

It’s also easy to get the BRZ tS to turn sideways almost at will.. Especially on a dirt surface. Jerking the wheel one way then the next usually results in some drift. Practice will make this easy. On pavement, more finesse is necessary to elicit the same response, but it can be done. All without turbos or complicated braking techniques. The Subaru BRZ tS loves curve carving, sharp corner drifting, and is a perfect learner car for heel-toe engagement.

The 2018 Subaru BRZ tS has a starting price of $33,495 and has three exclusive color options to match its STI roots. Toyota will offer similar enhancements to the BRZ’s twin, the Toyota 86, next year as the 86 TRD Special Edition.

2018 Subaru BRZ tS wing

What do you think of the 2018 Subaru BRZ tS?

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