Wednesday, April 10, 2013

In the Market for a New Vehicle?

Every April issue of Consumer Reports magazine is devoted to automobiles, new and used.  The 2013 top picks include three Honda models, as well as models from Toyota, Scion, Hyundai, Subaru, BMW, and Audi.

This year's ratings section compares 281 new vehicles, from subcompacts to pickups.  The vehicles are rated on road test scores, owner cost, and fuel economy.  Following this section are short profiles of over 240 vehicles, including ratings for reliability, satisfaction, and owner cost.

The used cars section includes an article on the best and worst used cars, and an article on reliable used cars for every budget.  Another article discusses "Flood cars" (cars that were water damaged during a major storm), and the signs of water damage in vehicles.

One especially interesting article discussed the options new cars have for accessing music other than the standard AM and FM stations, including iPods and satellite radio.  It also discusses options for Bluetooth and GPS.  One of the latest trends is a full infotainment system--these integrate a vehicle's communication, navigation, audio, and climate systems.  So far, Ford and Lincoln have such systems.

Another interesting article notes cool new features available on some models--fatigue monitoring, inflatable safety belts, and a foot-operated trunk and tailgate release, among others.

Each branch of the Fauquier County Public Library has the print issues of Consumer Reports from 2009 up to the current issue.  The Find It Virginia databases have an index to the issues from February 1, 1976 to the current issue, and the full-text of the reviews from January 1, 1999 to June 1, 2009.  You can access Find It Virginia from any library computer, or from home with your valid Fauquier County Public Library card.

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