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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 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Is Muscle Car Mayhem

The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye officially shatters the automotive barrier that used to define muscle cars from supercars.

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2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

With its seemingly inexhaustible limit to horsepower and tire-smoking supercharger trickery, Dodge continues to get maximum mileage out of the Challenger coupe. First, the Hellcat nudged the muscle car goalposts beyond 700 horsepower, much to the annoyance of Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang fans. Then along came the Dodge Demon, an 840-horsepower speed machine built for drag racing. Among its other attributes, the Demon proved that folks will pay loads of cash for a car that comes with only a driver’s seat as standard.

The good news, at least for Demon owners with some friends and family to haul around, was that the front passenger seat and entire rear seat could be optioned back for one buck, apiece.

The 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye now blends of these two extreme vehicles. On one hand, the 797-horsepower supercharged Hemi V-8 is a no-excuses monster with a top speed of 203 mph and, according to Dodge’s stopwatch, the capability to run from 0-60 mph in only 3.4 seconds. But the fact that it’s so easy to drive under normal circumstances (note, the operative word here is “normal”) only makes this Dodge more endearing, in a huggable-gorilla kind of way.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

Just never forget that this car is also capable of shredding its rear tires – and your driver’s license – at pretty much any moment, courtesy of its supercharged 6.2-liter engine. In fact, the Redeye’s 2.7-liter supercharger has a larger total displacement than entire engines fitted to many popular cars and SUVs. A wild motor like this one needs plenty of air so, with this in mind, Dodge fitted a new twin-snorkel hood to help keep the Hemi breathing freely. This hood also keeps the Hellcat Redeye more stable at its 200+mph top speed, which is substantially more than the 168-mph maximum provided by the now-discontinued Demon.

While Dodge provided a wide range of funky exterior hues during our test drive in Portland, Maine. Yet at a glance, it’s almost impossible to spot a Redeye from a standard Hellcat. The side badges on the Redeye are now black, rather than the silver used on Hellcat models. When you look closely, the eyes of that angry kitty logo are now fashioned out of red cloisonné. (And yes, for the record, your author did initially wonder why Dodge had named its latest muscle car after the most horrible of flight options.)

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

Dodge engineers on-hand during our drive explained the horsepower gap to the Demon is due to a variety of factors. Remember, the Demon’s 840 horsepower figure was only achievable when the car was running on race fuel. We still have the nagging suspicion part of the reason for this difference in output was done simply to appease Demon owners, who can rest easy knowing their version of the Challenger retains top horsepower bragging rights.

Honestly, with this much power, who cares?

A few extra ponies were the last thing we needed when hustling the Hellcat Redeye on the sublime Club Motorsports race track, located in Tamworth, New Hampshire. This brand-new facility has sweeping turns and dramatic elevation changes that showcase the sheer grunt of the Redeye. With instructions to leave the traction control on – advice we didn’t mind heeding – the Dodge gobbled up the road with alarming speed, but it didn’t fall to pieces when heavy doses of braking were needed.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

Credit the massive Brembo calipers, not to mention an overall ride and handling balance that’s surprisingly docile given this car’s capabilities. If anything, the Hellcat Redeye feels a little too heavy and roly-poly in corners. Ironically, this can be an attribute on public roads, where it happily settles into a relaxed cruise when you’re not in the mood to terrify everyone with a gratuitous display of chest-thumping power.

If you want the ultimate in muscle car soundtracks, however, you might want to check out the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt we recently test drove. While the Ford’s 480-horsepower V-8 sounds incredible and is retro-fantastic, the 797-horsepower engine in the Redeye is…well, dominated by a whole lot of supercharger whine. Purists might also wince at the fact the Redeye is only available with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The gearbox does a great job when it comes to power delivery, though the car itself can be difficult to transition smoothly, simply because the throttle pedal can unleash such a torrent of thrust with so little effort.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

One particularly cool feature is what Dodge refers to as the SRT Power Chiller. This system routes the car’s A/C coolant to the supercharger, where it helps lower the temperature of incoming air and then flows to the system’s heat exchangers. We’re also fans of the optional “Widebody” exterior, which bumps out the fenders and gives the Redeye and even more menacing stance.

There is a price to be paid for all this lunacy, of course. The Hellcat Redeye carries a starting price of $70,000, though that’s before factoring in a $1,700 gas guzzler penalty, not to mention a supercar-like destination charge of around $1,300. Really?!

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

We drove several examples of the Hellcat Redeye and, with a few options, the price usually hovered around $80,000. That’s big money for an old-school American muscle car, though you could argue that on a dollar-per-horsepower scale, the Redeye is an absolute steal.

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Top 5 Used Cars That Are Sure To Put A Smile On Any Enthusiast’s Face

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Before making the decision to purchase a new car, there are several questions you need to ask yourself. Perhaps the most important one is whether it needs to be a “brand new” car at all, as a car tends to depreciate pretty substantially in the first few years of ownership.

Instead, you might want to consider finding a used car that offers more bang for the buck than a new one, while saving some much-needed cash in the process. Below are a few car deals that will be good on your pocket and still satisfy your needs:

1. Ford Mustang GT

Need For Speed Mustang

There’s no question that the new Mustang GT is one of the best muscle cars around. But if you can’t quite swing the $50K price tag, consider one from the previous generation. The 2013-14 Mustang GTs are going for dirt cheap, with low mileage examples for as little as $20K. Spend some of that money you saved on mods, and pocket the rest!

2. Volvo S60 R

If you’re looking for a race car in sheep’s clothing, look no further than the Volvo S60 R. With so few of them out there, you’re bound to stand out from the crowd with your unique ride. You can only get one with a manual, but honestly it’s more fun rowing the gears yourself anyway. And it’s a great asset to have for any emergency auto equity loan.

3. Honda Civic SI

The Civic SI has always been a fun ride, one that can pull double duty as a daily driver and a weekend racer. They’re also very durable, have well-tuned suspensions and powerful motors, making them an excellent choice for someone who’s looking for a budget ride that they can build up over time. Parts are reasonable cheap, and the sky’s the limit with them.

4. Mazda Miata

What can I say about the Miata? While new models can set you back $30K, there are plenty of used models that are super affordable. Find a well-cared for example, and prepare for the ride of your life, as these cars are SO MUCH FUN. Amazing handling (thanks to that 50/50 weight distribution), an amazing shifter, and a top that drops to let the sunlight in. If you like to keep it simple, this is the vehicle for you.

5. Saab 9-3 SportCombi Aero

Got a family, but still want to have some fun? The Saab 9-3 SportCombi Aero is just want you are looking for. Despite the fact that it’s a decade old, the wagon still looks great, and they’re highly reliable. They’re a bit harder to find, but do the legwork and you’ll be rewarded with a great car that you’ll look forward to driving each and every day.

With all of that said, the outward appearance should not be a significant factor when getting a car. Some may look good at first glance, but not nearly as good when you peek inside. Beware of shocking cheap used car from strong brands; they are cheap for a reason, which will end up being a more significant liability than it should be.

Take a good look at your finances too and set a reasonable budget putting into consideration all the factors that come after purchase like insurance and maintenance. Good luck!

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Channeling Our Inner Steve McQueen In The 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt

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2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt

Last week, Ford brought us out to San Francisco to drive the new 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt. A fitting venue, given that 50 years ago, one of the most iconic car chase scenes in Hollywood history was filmed there. Of course, I’m talking about 1968’s Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen.

In the movie, McQueen drove a Dark Highland Green ’68 Mustang GT fastback in an epic chase scene that spanned 12 minutes. And unlike today’s movies, it was the real deal, with no CGI to rely on back then. Cars were jumped, hubcaps were lost, and ultimately, one car went boom!

The 2019 Mustang Bullitt pays tribute to the original, painted in classic Dark Highland Green, equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission with rev matching (which can be disabled), and a gear shifter featuring a white cue ball shift knob.

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt

Other features paying tribute to the car McQueen drove are subtle chrome accents around a unique black honeycomb grille and side windows, 19-inch classic torque thrust aluminum wheels and red painted Brembo brakes. There’s minimal badging inside and out, with only a circular faux gas cap Bullitt logo emblem on the rear decklid adorning the exterior.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that the Bullitt is just an aesthetics package. Building off of the Mustang GT Performance Package, the new Mustang Bullitt gets a performance open air intake, Mustang Shelby GT350 intake manifold, plus a larger 87-mm throttle body and unique PCM calibrations. The exhaust has also been retuned to give the car its signature burble.

These changes give the Mustang Bullitt a nice bump in performance, with 480 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque, along with a top speed of 163 miles per hour. That’s 20 HP more than a standard Mustang GT, with an 8 mph increase on the top end!

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt

We took the Bullitt through the winding Skyline Boulevard at a pretty healthy clip, and the car felt fantastic, staying firmly planted in the twisties, never lacking in the power department. In fact, I kept it in 3rd gear for most of this stretch, as the car as torque for days. Could we notice that extra 20 HP? Not really. But it’s worth it just for that glorious exhaust note..

The following morning, I got up SUPER early with one goal in mind, To retrace Bullitt‘s iconic chase scene in the 2019 Mustang Bullitt. And with most of the city still asleep, I had free reign of the roads, barreling through town like I was Steve McQueen.

It was rather surreal pulling up to Bimbo’s 365, which looks the same as it did 50 years ago. We jumped out, grabbed a few photos, and then headed towards Taylor Street, where those sweet jumps happened. Much like in the movie, we drove up and down this street a few times, but at a slightly safer speed. The only thing missing? A green Volkswagen Beetle.

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt

From there, it was on to Filbert Street, the steepest street in San Francisco. Needless to say, I triple-checked the parking brake here before hopping out to take a few photos, as I didn’t need this car rolling away! Then it was off to Chestnut Street, where the Charger had a serious case of oversteer and slammed into a parked car. Steve missed the turn and is forced to do a smoky burnout in reverse. We may have left a few tire tracks of our own here as well. 🙂

Afterwards, we headed down Laguna Street, before hopping onto Marina Boulevard. And with that, our Bullitt chase scene had come to a close. Not many people can say that they drove in the footsteps (tire tracks?) of Steve McQueen, in a Mustang Bullitt no less!

“When making a Bullitt, there are certain things it absolutely must have,” said Carl Widmann, Mustang chief engineer. “It has to have the right attitude and it has to be unique in some way from a Mustang GT. More than anything, it has to be badass.”

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt

The 2019 Mustang Bullitt delivers badassness in spades, and you will definitely stand out from the rest of the Mustangs out there in one. We got LOTS of thumbs-up from people as we drove through, many who probably never even saw the movie. But there’s just something about the Bullitt that resonates with people. Must be that baddassness.

With a starting price of $46,595 and a fully-loaded price of $52,980, the new Bullitt might give some folks sticker shock. But trust me, you’re getting a lot of car for your money.

What do you think of the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt?

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt

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