News & Features


It's a gas for son to carry on dad's pump museum

He may not self-identify as a philosopher, since he's a proud gearhead and gas-station grease monkey at heart, but Mark Mendenhall was nothing if not profound when he looked around and took stock of all he surveyed.

By Sam McManis September 2, 2014

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Why you'll look forward to adding a backup camera

Of all the tech features you can add to your car, one stands out as a real lifesaver: a backup camera.

By Linda Hughes August 31, 2014

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Lab develops innovative vehicle technology

Nestled in the rolling Tennessee hills and forests, the secretive lab that developed power for the Manhattan Project is working to change the auto industry and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign fuel.

By Mark Phelan August 29, 2014

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Hyundai's top SUV is making sales gains

The 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe midsize sport utility vehicle stands out from the crowd for its attractive styling, comfortable ride, value pricing, surprising standard features and warranty.

By Ann M. Job August 28, 2014

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Sorry, convertible, Lexus IS 350 saves its drama for sedan

When we drove the redesigned Lexus IS 250 last year, we were impressed with the new look, but were left wanting a bit more power under the hood. The IS 350 F Sport, with more power, may be our answer.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek August 27, 2014

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Road Glide fans are glad Harley bike is back

Jay Johnson has been on many journeys with his Harley-Davidson Road Glide, including a 600-mile round trip to Marquette, Mich., for a Big Boy hamburger that he couldn't find any closer to home.

By Rick Barrett August 26, 2014

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Performance driving can help you master 'street survival'

After buying an Audi A4 sedan, Alex Schenkar was eager to learn the proper driving techniques for his sporty new car. So he enrolled in a performance-driving class at ProFormance Racing School in Kent.

By Gene Stout August 24, 2014

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Passion drives Jay Leno's 130-car collection

On a sunny day in California's Burbank hills, Jay Leno's canary-yellow McLaren supercar shatters the silence.

By David Undercoffler August 22, 2014

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Auto review: Infiniti SUV offers luxury for the 3-row family

Families who need a vehicle with three rows of seats have a new, roomy and plush sport utility choice this year that's high in government fuel-economy ratings.

By Ann M. Job August 21, 2014

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Auto review: Subaru revs up features of Legacy, Outback

For decades, Subaru's all-wheel-drive vehicles have delivered people to the trail head, campground and ski slope safely. Now the brand is turning to technology to give drivers an extra measure of security.

By David Undercoffler August 20, 2014

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Pebble Beach brings together rare Ruxtons

With its pioneering front-wheel drive, low-slung silhouette and cat's-eye headlamps, the multicolored Ruxton automobile seemed destined for greatness in 1929.

By Robert C. Yeager August 19, 2014

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Motorcycle Meetup groups offer riders camaraderie, support

At first glance, Lisa Hasegawa, of Columbia City, doesn't seem like your typical motorcycle enthusiast. She has a slight build, seems a little bit nervous and sports a Honda Rebel that she's been riding for less than a year.

By Jeff Layton August 17, 2014

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Tips to help you buy a used car

By now, most used-car dealers have done two-thirds of their business for the year, according to one industry expert. So if you're in the market for a car and want to buy used, it may be a good time to start doing your research with an eye toward buying in the fall.

By Nedra Rhone August 15, 2014

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Auto review: M235i revives classic BMW memories

The 2014 BMW M235i is the best temptation yet for American car buyers to get back into sporty, two-door coupes.

By Ann M. Job August 14, 2014

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Auto review: Mercedes SL65 mixes style and swagger

We drove the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 roadster in 2012 when it first came out, and were impressed by its design and ride. Now, after driving the performance version, the fully loaded SL65 AMG, we're even more impressed.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek August 13, 2014

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Making fast engines fulfills racer's Bonneville dreams

Dave "Hayseed" Thomssen is 79 years old, a retired geologist, who, thanks to recent back surgery, walks with a cane.

By Jeff Korbelik August 12, 2014

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No matter what size, SUVs and crossovers are big with buyers

There was the Apollo 11 moon landing, President Nixon's resignation and the fall of the Berlin Wall — and now this piece of history: For the first time ever, SUVs and crossovers outsold sedans in the U.S.

By Tom Voelk August 10, 2014

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Pebble Beach Motoring Classic kicks off in Kirkland

Driving straight through, it'd take a little more than 15 hours to go from Kirkland to Pebble Beach, Calif. But the auto enthusiasts who took off from the Woodmark Hotel courtyard Tuesday will make it there in eight days, taking time to savor the trip in their thoroughbred cars.

Story and photos by Linda Hughes August 8, 2014

Auto review: 2015 Chevy Tahoe remains a rare breed of SUV

The big, 2015 Tahoe sport utility vehicle is thriving at Chevrolet, thanks to updated styling, a more powerful V-8, improved second-row legroom, more towing capacity and new features.

By Ann M. Job August 7, 2014

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Auto review: Toyota brings bolder look to Highlander

When Toyota introduced the Highlander in 2001, it was one of the first true ''crossovers,'' and the midsize SUV has had a long and successful run. For 2014, the Highlander has been redesigned with a bolder look and higher-quality cabin. Our tester was the hybrid version, which gave us a case of sticker shock for a nonluxury family hauler.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek August 6, 2014

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J.D. Powers quality study: Automakers care, but do buyers?

Should you care whether a new Chevrolet is less than 1 percent more likely to have a problem than a new Toyota? Whether a new Honda is 2.8 percent more likely to have a problem than either?

By Mark Phelan August 5, 2014

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Seattle's SEVA club pitches the thrill of electric vehicles

Stephen Johnsen calls it the "EV grin." It happens when a driver first gets behind the wheel of an electric vehicle and steps on the gas, er, the accelerator.

By Scott McCredie August 3, 2014

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Your next car could be made of tomatoes, clothing and cash

Ford and Heinz are trying to turn tomato skins into floor mats.

By Charles Fleming August 1, 2014

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Auto review: Jeep Cherokee offers a grand, long ride

The flagship of the Jeep line — the five-passenger Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicle — is both a grand and high-mileage traveler for 2014.

By Ann M. Job July 31, 2014

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Auto review: A look at smaller, lighter, more-affordable BMWs

Here's a tire-kicking experiment: Pay a visit to your BMW dealer. Weave through the sleek wares on display — but tiptoe around that strange blobby thing called a 5 Series GT. Now, stop when you see a window sticker that's less than $40,000.

By Lawrence Ulrich July 30, 2014

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Despite $263K starting price, Rolls-Royce sales soar globally

They are rolling symbols of wealth and excess, starting at $263,000 a pop, with most buyers choosing custom options that can easily double that price. And they are more popular than ever before.

By Gregory Katz July 29, 2014

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Drive sunny side up in these convertibles under $40K

The Northwest might have the best summers on the planet. Where else can you find the combination of moderate temperatures, majestic landscapes and mercilessly few mosquitoes? The season practically demands transportation that puts wind in your hair. (And no, I don't mean a boat.)

By Tom Voelk July 27, 2014

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Harley's LiveWire amps up interest in electric motorcycles

When Maggie McNally-Bradshaw and her husband, Curt, hop on their electric motorcycles and twist the throttles, they get a rush like no other.

By John Kekis July 25, 2014

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Auto review: With plug-in Honda Accord, fuel stops are rare

The 2014 Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid sedan doesn't amaze and daze with its mainstream looks, nice cloth seats and pleasant ride. Its "wow" factor is, simply, how few times a driver may need to stop at a gasoline station in a year.

By Ann M. Job July 24, 2014

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Auto review: Honda Civic Hybrid approaches luxury status

Another fuel-sipping alternative is available to motorists weary of yo-yo pump prices: the gasoline-electric hybrid version of Honda's popular Civic compact sedan.

By G. Chambers Williams III July 23, 2014

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'Nostrils' add flair and air to the faces of cars

For years, auto designers lavished attention on the grilles of cars, both for their function and for their brand identity. Now designers seem to be lowering their sights.

By Phil Patton July 22, 2014

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Local auto enthusiasts share their top summer drives

When the sun is shining, it's a great feeling to roll down the car windows and set off for a day of exploring on scenic roads. Here, seven Seattle-area car buffs share where they like to let the highways take them.

July 20, 2014

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Navigation apps shift from commercial to crowdsourced

Think of it as the hive approach to car navigation systems: One driver, like a worker bee, finds the quickest way from Point A to Point B and then shares that route with other drivers. It's the basic idea behind all crowdsourcing, the sharing of free user-generated content to create information such as restaurant ratings and contractor recommendations. Now it's poised to become the main strategy for keeping the maps of route-guidance systems current. Fortunately, you don't have to wiggle and buzz to join in — just use your smartphone.

By John R. Quain July 18, 2014

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Auto review: Land Rover LR4 updated for fuel efficiency

Land Rover's capable and rugged LR4 mid-size sport utility vehicle is more fuel efficient for 2014 and has refreshed exterior front styling and new standard features such as a rear-view camera.

By Ann M. Job July 17, 2014

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Auto review: Civic Si gets sporty

We've driven a few generations of the Honda Civic Si coupe, but this is the first opportunity we've had to drive the four-door version. The Civic, of course, comes in several different trims, but the Si choice is simple: with navigation or without.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek July 16, 2014

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Ford restorer turns hobby into a career

To step into Kevin Marti's garage is to travel back in time, to reset the dial on the WABAC Machine for 1970 and the destination for the Ford dealership in Anytown, America.

By Larry Edsall July 15, 2014

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Readers share the kicks they've had on Route 66

Since 1926, Route 66 has been as much a tourist destination as a highway that stretches from Chicago to Santa Monica, Calif. The highway is being celebrated in the exhibit "Route 66: Dream of the Mother Road" at LeMay — America's Car Museum, in Tacoma, through the end of the year. In the spirit of summer driving, we asked readers to send in their favorite memories of the road. Here are some of their stories.

July 13, 2014

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How to take control when your car stalls

Faulty parts aren't the only reason a moving car can suddenly stall. It happened to Bill Van Tassel recently, as he was steering his Mazda Miata around a turn on an interstate on-ramp.

By Connie Cass July 11, 2014

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Auto review: Ford wrings mileage out of 3-cylinder Fiesta

There's a new little secret under the hoods of some 2014 Ford Fiesta small cars.

By Ann M. Job July 10, 2014

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Auto review: Chrysler adds style to its 200 sedan

Despite its love affair with trucks and its flirtation with Euro-style subcompacts, the United States is first a nation of family sedans. Of every five new-vehicle buyers, one will drive home in a practical, unpretentious midsize sedan like their parents and grandparents before them. At which point their children will say, "Oh, Dad. Another Toyota Camry?"

By Lawrence Ulrich July 9, 2014

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Cars really stand out in camouflage

Hot competition among pickups has inspired automakers to seek every possible edge, in style as well as technology. So like such disparate trendsetters as downtown club kids and "Duck Dynasty" fans, trucks are now stepping out in camouflage.

By Phil Patton July 8, 2014

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Interns give new life to old cars in local restoration program

While growing up in the Midwest, Josh Lloyd loved racing, repairing and restoring BMX bikes. But everything changed when Lloyd and his grandfather spotted a 1957 Thunderbird being rolled out of a college auto shop in McPherson, Kan., where students were learning about collector car restoration.

By Gene Stout July 6, 2014

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What it's like to ride in Google's self-driving car

Soon after I climbed into the back of a Google self-driving car recently, we drove through a yellow traffic light.

By Brandon Bailey July 4, 2014

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Auto review: Audi A3 boasts connectivity with 4G LTE

After just a few months on the U.S. market, Audi's new, entry luxury 2015 A3 sedan is on track to make the German brand fashionable with a new group of customers — young millennials.

By Ann M. Job July 3, 2014

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Auto review: Hyundai Genesis shifts quality into high gear

When Hyundai dipped a toe in the luxury-car waters in 2009, it followed an underdog formula set by Toyota's Lexus division two decades earlier: Mimic the established brands' design, undercut them on price and overdeliver on features.

By Lawrence Ulrich July 2, 2014

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Ford's upcoming F-150 endures extreme testing

The 2015 Ford F-150 may be a lightweight, but the automaker has gone to extremes to ensure the aluminum-bodied successor is more durable than the steel-bodied pickup it will replace.

By Alisa Priddle July 1, 2014

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How to protect your car inside and out from sun damage

Here in the Northwest, most of us rejoice whenever the sun makes an appearance. But if our cars could speak, they would tell a different story.

By Jeff Layton June 29, 2014

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Car windows don't offer sun protection equally

Car windows are designed to protect you in an accident. But they won't necessarily protect you from the sun.

By Dee-Ann Durbin June 27, 2014

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Auto review: Mazda's CX-9 SUV is a nimble handler

Mazda, the car company that gave the world the nimble, two-seat Miata roadster, makes a commendable seven-seat crossover sport utility vehicle, too.

By Ann M. Job June 26, 2014

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Auto review: Tech in Mercedes S550 only accents luxury

Pull up to the 7-Eleven in this car and you feel like Leonard Bernstein arriving at Lincoln Center. Ride in the back and you're escorting Julie Andrews to the Oscars. The doors are substantial enough to repel anything Occupy Wall Street throws at them, and it's effortlessly powerful enough to outrun any Securities Exchange Commission subpoena. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550 4Matic sedan is so advanced it should be in geosynchronous orbit over Gstaad, Switzerland.

By John Pearley Huffman June 25, 2014

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Horsepower and torque: What do they mean?

For most readers, understanding horsepower is easy; the bigger the number, the faster you go. Torque, however, is a figure that underlies horsepower. Once you understand what it is, and its relationship to horsepower, you'll find it an equally useful number to know.

By Larry Printz June 24, 2014

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More than 800 reasons to love the Greenwood Car Show

In "a mile and a half of classic rides," the Greenwood Car Show will showcase cars of all kinds. Parked side by side for 23 blocks, more than 800 street rods, customs, classics, antiques, electric vehicles, motorcycles, police cars, fire trucks and hydroplanes will line Greenwood Avenue North on Saturday.

By Gene Stout June 22, 2014

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Car collectors fuel rapidly rising value of Japanese classics

Eight years ago, Terry Yamaguchi paid $5,000 for a bright orange 1973 Datsun 240Z. A couple of years later, she sold the car for a little more than she paid for it.

By Charles Fleming June 20, 2014

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Auto review: 2015 Lexus RX doesn't miss a beat

Buyers of luxury sport utility vehicles keep choosing one SUV — the Lexus RX — in greater numbers than any other.

By Ann M. Job June 19, 2014

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Auto review: Honda updates Fit in all the right ways

If a building contractor arrived on time, performed heroically and charged a fair price — this is a New York fantasy, stay with me — would you complain that he wasn't good-looking? Would you refuse to hire him if he didn't come with a fashionable tool belt?

By Lawrence Ulrich June 18, 2014

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Three dads who passed down a love of cars through restorations

Restoring a car together creates a special bond between a dad and child. In honor of Father's Day, here's a look at three dads who have passed down their love of cars.

By Ray Martinez June 15, 2014

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Ways to stay connected (and powered) on the road

On a recent road trip, an active app on my smartphone left me low on power. I got the low-battery warning just minutes before a critical business call.

By Myscha Theriault June 13, 2014

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Auto review: CLA is lowest-priced Mercedes

Mercedes-Benz's new entry-level car, the CLA, is a fun-to-drive, turbocharged, front-drive, compact sedan that looks more expensive than its $30,825 starting retail price.

By Ann M. Job June 12, 2014

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Auto review: First electric from Mercedes drives like a Mercedes

Electric cars, by the nature of how their motors function, are capable of dispensing right-now torque in big, satisfying jolts.

By Bradley Berman June 11, 2014

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Auto books look at legends, design and manners

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what about a book of pictures? Here are two books rich with images, plus two just for nostalgic reading. Readers of these auto-related books should find something of interest, either for themselves or as a Father's Day gift.

June 10, 2014

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Volunteers make local car museums, events possible

Shannon Elliott has been fascinated with cars since she was in fourth grade, and she hopes to study auto body and upholstery design through an apprenticeship or college program.

By Gene Stout June 8, 2014

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RVs are home sweet home to retirees seeking adventure

Jim and Jaylene Myers knew exactly what they wanted to do when they retired in 2008: Go wherever whim and chance might take them in their 45-foot recreational vehicle.

By J. Peder Zane June 6, 2014

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Auto review: Ghibli a Maserati below six figures

American roads are taking on a more Italian look these days.

By Ann M. Job June 5, 2014

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Auto review: Volvo leaves boxy behind in V60 wagon

Say "Volvo," and what image springs to mind? A station wagon, right? And not just any wagon, but one as square and imperishable as a Saltine, and as much a staple of the suburbs.

By Lawrence Ulrich June 4, 2014

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Mobile services come to you to repair wheels

Jennifer Franz scraped a wheel on her 3-year-old Honda Accord last August in an encounter with a curb. To keep her mother from finding the damage, she made an appointment with Kelly Wheel Repair, a local business that travels to its customers in the Sacramento, Calif., area.

By Marcia Biederman June 3, 2014

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Why older cars are more valuable to thieves

While standing in line at Starbucks a few months ago, I overheard a woman say to her friend, "I can't believe my old car was stolen last night." Instantly, I thought she must have a '90s Honda. Sure enough, her next sentence was: "Why not steal a Mercedes? My Civic can't be worth much."

By Tom Voelk June 1, 2014

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Students create new directions in auto design

Cars should be more like smartphones: socially engaging, highly customizable and simple to use, yet technologically sophisticated. At least that's how David Day Lee sees it.

By Susan Carpenter May 30, 2014

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Auto review: Lincoln MKZ Hybrid a mpg leader in luxury

Despite the common perception that Toyota and its luxury brand, Lexus, are best in fuel economy, it is the gasoline-electric hybrid version of Lincoln's 2014 MKZ that ranks as the top luxury car in fuel mileage.

By Ann M. Job May 29, 2014

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Auto review: Toyota Highlander evolves with third generation

While there are many delights in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the potholes, broken pavement and launching ramps known as "frost heaves" are not among them. But the reworked 2014 Toyota Highlander offers succor, deflecting impacts and protecting its occupants from the North Country's rough-rider roads.

By Christopher Jensen May 28, 2014

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Local class lets you take a Model T for a spin

In this era of cruise control, backup cameras, blind-spot monitoring and other driver assists, the Ford Model T seems primitive.

By Gene Stout May 25, 2014

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More pro athletes shun gas hogs for green rides

Jeremy Guthrie considers himself easygoing and comfortable with his beliefs, including how he feels about the environment.

By Ken Belson May 23, 2014

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Auto review: Ford injects spirit into Focus ST hatchback

The Ford Focus ST earned five out of five stars in federal government safety tests. (Ford) The 2014 Ford Focus ST is a fun-to-drive, spirited hatchback with turbo power, European-style...

By Ann M. Job May 22, 2014

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Auto review: Dodge Durango has same name, nicer ride

After spending a week in the latest version of the Dodge Durango, I would urge Dodge to give it a new name. It doesn't have the best history.

By Larry Printz May 21, 2014

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A look at the most fuel-efficient cars

If you need to know how drastically the car market has changed, consider the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2014 list of the 10 most fuel-efficient vehicles: They're all powered by electricity, not gasoline.

By Larry Printz May 18, 2014

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Why truck buyers increasingly opt for 6 cylinders over 8

It's much too soon for a retirement party, but the V-8 engine seems to be losing its clout with buyers of full-size pickup trucks. For the first time in about 50 years, many big-truck customers no longer consider a six-cylinder engine to be a downgrade.

By Tudor Van Hampton May 16, 2014

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Auto review: CTS a bright spot for Cadillac

A dozen years after its start as an edgy, luxury sedan, the mid-size Cadillac CTS is evolving into a handsome, less edgy and decidedly German-feeling car with improved handling.

By Ann M. Job May 15, 2014

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Auto review: A preview of the good things to come in BMW i8

Attention eco-chic speed freaks: Set aside your Teslas, you have a new toy to covet.

By David Undercoffler May 14, 2014

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Luxury brands tap into abundance of young buyers in China

At age 32, Jason Jia already is the kind of customer luxury automakers are seeking as competition grows in China's lucrative but crowded market.

By Didi Tang May 13, 2014

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Scores of exotic cars are closer than you think

Maseratis, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Alfa Romeos, Lotuses and other exotic cars have a special place to shine on Saturday mornings.

Story and photos by Linda Hughes May 11, 2014

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Exotic-car rentals let you live the dream — by the day

There's a chance now for the middle class to feel like movie stars.

By Michelle Rindels May 9, 2014

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Auto review: Miata marks 25 years of fun driving

Twenty-five years after its debut as a lightweight, fun-to-drive, sporty roadster, the Mazda MX-5 Miata still travels a road all its own.

By Ann M. Job May 8, 2014

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Auto review: Ram ProMaster delivers on updates

If there's a 2014 Ram ProMaster van in the meatpacking district, it's packed with meat. In the garment district, it's moving garments. Nothing about this giant box is designed for comfort, style or driving pleasure. But as a commercial vehicle it's destined to become a familiar sight.

By John Pearley Huffman May 7, 2014

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Camry, Sonata redesigns heat up sedan segment

The battle for buyers of family sedans — already the most competitive U.S. auto segment — will heat up this fall when Toyota and Hyundai launch dramatically restyled versions of their respective offerings, the Camry and the Sonata.

By Jerry Hirsch May 6, 2014

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How likely are buyers to follow auto reviewers' advice?

When you buy anything expensive, you probably consult experts. Searching for a house? Call a real estate agent. Need help with stock market investing? Chat up a broker. Into wine? A sommelier can advise you on a rare find.

By Tom Voelk May 4, 2014

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Comfort, safety features older drivers should look for

Clockwise from top left: a large trunk, thicker steering wheel, easy-to-read gauges and leather seats add to comfort for older drivers. While many pundits would tell you that old age...

By Larry Printz May 2, 2014

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Auto review: Spacious Honda Odyssey leads in van fuel efficiency

The roomy and comfortable riding Honda Odyssey family van is starting 2014 much the way it finished 2013 — on top.

By Ann M. Job May 1, 2014

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Auto review: Audi Q5 fuel efficiency improves with clean-diesel option

For Audi's Q5, the big news for 2014 is that the compact luxury crossover gets a turbo-diesel option, which is the model we drove. We're fans of the TDI engines — Audi calls them "clean diesels" — and this Q5 did nothing to change our opinion.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek April 30, 2014

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Technology advances add up for auto shops

Changing technology might make car owners' driving experiences easier, but some auto repair shop owners' expenses have increased as they add new equipment to their business.

By Andrew Wyrich April 29, 2014

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The area's best party places for auto enthusiasts

When Justin Osmer hosts his Formula 1 season-opener party each spring, he pulls out all the stops: flags, checkered plates, homemade car-shaped cookies, European car magazines as party favors — even racing attire.

By Allison Ellis April 27, 2014

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Get your car springtime-shiny with these cleaning tips

It's officially spring, and you know what that means: time for spring cleaning. If your vehicle qualifies as a Superfund site, it's the perfect time to make your ride really shine. You can do it yourself in just an hour or two without paying hundreds for a car detailer.

By Larry Printz April 25, 2014

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Auto review: Buick Regal worthy of double-takes

The television ads where neighbors, friends and family can't identify a new car as a Buick are true to life.

By Ann M. Job April 24, 2014

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Auto review: Corvette performs as sports car and daily driver

From the moment Chevy announced that the all-new 2014 Corvette would carry the Stingray name, the expectations were high.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek April 23, 2014

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Honda's prototype house taps into car battery for power

A modified Honda Fit EV accepts energy from solar panels at a prototype home in Davis, Calif. (Thor Swift / The New York Times) As more homeowners generate their own...

By Todd Woody April 22, 2014

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Where to get free repairs, recycling, car checkups

Thinking green isn't just for Earth Day. You can save some green by taking advantage of free services that'll help you protect the environment and keep your car running efficiently.

By Scott McCredie April 20, 2014

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In-car connectivity, communications shift into high gear

When the sleek 2015 Hyundai Genesis goes on sale this spring, the automaker will put an ambitious new telematics and customer service program on the road with it.

By Mark Phelan April 18, 2014

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Auto review: VW Beetle keeps upping its offerings

Sixty-five years after the first Volkswagen Beetle arrived in the United States as a distinctively shaped, little car, the Beetle keeps attracting buyers with its more-spacious-than-ever, flexible interior, turbo engine power and modernized iconic look.

By Ann M. Job April 17, 2014

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Auto review: Subaru WRX is an understated performer

Chances are, motorists who roll up next to a redesigned-for-2015 Subaru WRX won't give it a second look. Unlike the STI, a higher-performance version of the compact sedan, this WRX has no ready-for-takeoff rear wing to announce its capabilities. The wow factor comes when you drive it.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek April 16, 2014

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Design VP sees a sexy future for Chrysler

Modern car design is a difficult balancing act that weighs style against substance and price against performance. Safety, fuel efficiency and other government regulations also must be considered, resulting in vehicles that too often fail to inspire.

By Susan Carpenter April 15, 2014

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Mustang at 50: Its popularity shows no signs of slowing down

The Ford Mustang is turning 50 on Thursday. Already? It seems like only yesterday that the pony car was grabbing the attention of rebellious teenagers who wanted an affordable muscle car.

By Jeff Layton April 13, 2014

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$63K paint jobs? Supercar options for the super-rich

Up a flight of stairs from the Porsche Personal Design Studio on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Calif. — in a room of modernist sofas and chairs, low white coffee tables and oversize video monitors — is the Porsche Exclusive suite. Prospective car buyers come to this luxury lounge to optimize their accessories. Here, they can choose precisely the right options to maximize their vehicular happiness.

By John Pearley Huffman April 11, 2014

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Auto review: Audi's RS 7 delivers a powerful ride

The 2014 Audi RS 7 checks all the boxes and then some for wealthy car buyers who want a stylish, luxury sedan that looks like a coupe, delivers 500-plus turbocharged V-8 horsepower and comes with a high-brow German pedigree.

By Ann M. Job April 10, 2014

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Auto review: VW Jetta gets dressed up for 2014

When the Volkswagen Jetta was redesigned for the 2011 model year, it took a big step back from the carefully honed upscale aspirations of its predecessors.

By Ezra Dyer April 9, 2014

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Ford Fairlane transformed from stinker to stunner

Don Antilla still remembers the smell. Penned up in a barn in Indiana for 16 years, the remarkably well-conditioned 1966 Ford Fairlane 500 carried its own pungent vapor trail when Antilla had it trucked to Southbury, Conn., in 1988.

By Chris Gardner April 8, 2014

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Auto-show season gears up with annual classics, new events

Summer wouldn't be summer without a pilgrimage to an auto show. Thousands of glittering marvels await Seattle-area car enthusiasts in the months ahead.

By Jeff Layton April 6, 2014

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How to make sure your new car's stereo is music to your ears

When it comes to test-driving a new car or truck, there's one component that few drivers consider: the audio system.

By Larry Printz April 4, 2014

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Auto review: Toyota 4Runner keeps rugged charm

Thirty years after its U.S. debut as a utilitarian, four-wheel-drive truck with a fiberglass cover on the back, the Toyota 4Runner remains a different kind of family sport utility vehicle.

By Ann M. Job April 3, 2014

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Auto review: Lexus GX 460 blends comfort and off-road capability

The GX 460 sits between the sleek RX crossover and the giant LX 570 in the Lexus lineup. The seven-seat GX seems more suited for the dimensions of city driving than does its big brother. The interior design may seem a bit dated, but then it is a traditional SUV that can handle light off-roading while doing so in Lexus luxury.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek April 2, 2014

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How to outsmart wet weather — a necessity in the Northwest

We Gore-Tex-swaddled Northwesterners are well-equipped to handle rainy weather. But do our cars pass the same muster when spring rains bluster?

By Tom Voelk March 30, 2014

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Gesture technology lets drivers control features with a wave

Hand gestures from other drivers are a lot like trash talk at playground basketball games: provocative distractions from an otherwise engaging activity.

By Jim Nash March 28, 2014

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Auto review: Cadillac plugs in with ELR

Finally, there's an electric car that rivals Tesla's eye-catching Model S.

By Ann M. Job March 27, 2014

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Auto review: Toyota goes for sleek in Avalon makeover

The Toyota Avalon is a full-size sedan that can average 31 mpg on the highway. (Toyota) Peter was at a Toyota dealer not long after the redesigned 2013 Avalon hit...

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek March 26, 2014

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Eyes on me: Seattleite tests pay-as-you-drive

Would you allow your auto insurance company to ride along every time you drive? What if doing so could save you up to 30 percent off your premiums?

By Kristi Barnes March 23, 2014

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Tracking devices pitch insurance savings but cost privacy

Car insurers tout savings of up to 50 percent if drivers stick a gizmo in the car that tracks driving habits. But drivers can be left wondering what companies are monitoring and what they do with the data.

By Charles Elmore March 21, 2014

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Auto review: Kia Soul's upgrades hit the mark

The animated and dapper hamsters in Kia's television ads aren't the only ones who ride comfortably in Kia's newly revamped Soul five-door hatchback.

By Ann M. Job March 20, 2014

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Auto review: VW Touareg radiates tasteful sportiness

The 2014 Volkswagen Touareg has top-notch finishes inside and out. (Volkswagen) For 2014, Volkswagen's Touareg gains a sporty R-Line trim — one of almost a dozen models — as the...

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek March 19, 2014

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Quadski gains ground as a land-water vehicle

Autonomous cars are all the talk these days. But what about cars and trucks that float on water and can race at high speeds on land and sea?

By Alisa Priddle March 18, 2014

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Younger car buyers value price over technology

Young, educated and upwardly mobile, Kristin Winn represents the ideal target for automakers trying to reach young buyers. Winn, a 24-year-old technician for an ophthalmologist, says she plans to replace her 9-year-old Chevrolet Cobalt this year.

By Jaclyn Trop March 16, 2014

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Thinking of refinancing your auto loan? It could cost you

What's not to like about a lower car payment? It's an enticing proposition, but refinancing your auto loan can often significantly increase the amount you have to pay over the life of a loan.

By Alex Veiga March 14, 2014

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Auto review: Nissan's Z car appeal continues

Nissan's well-known "Z'' rear-drive sports car that started in the 1970s still pulls at the heart strings of driving enthusiasts with its sporty, two-seat cabin, low-to-the-pavement stance, race-track-ready stiff ride and strong V-6 power.

By Ann M. Job March 13, 2014

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Auot review: Viper is coiled and ready

One thing about the Viper, its reputation — difficult to drive and even unforgiving — precedes it. Having never driven Chrysler's super snake, which returned in 2013 as an SRT brand instead of a Dodge after a two-year hiatus, we were pleasantly surprised by its sophistication and refinement. But it still deserves your respect.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek March 12, 2014

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Battery types, tips to help you get the most for your money

The only time you're likely to think about your car battery is when you turn the ignition key and nothing happens. But a little knowledge about batteries can help you get more life out of them.

By Scott McCredie March 9, 2014

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Tracking can improve teens' driving but raises trust questions

When Chloe Olier started driving last summer, her parents, Dany and Virginie, installed a DriveCam, a monitoring device that records video whenever she makes driving mistakes.

By Lydia Mulvany March 7, 2014

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Auto review: Passat stands out for its fuel economy

Don't be fooled by the mild-looking exterior of the Volkswagen Passat sedan. This mid-size four door comes with a solid, stable ride, European-style handling, exceptional back-seat legroom and superlative fuel economy.

By Ann M. Job March 5, 2014

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Auto review: Eight can ride in comfort in a Lexus LX 570

The five-door Lexus LX 570 is a 2014 model, but it seems to belong to another era — one when bigger was better and pump prices weren't a concern. The imposing, full-size SUV is a luxury version of parent Toyota's venerable Land Cruiser.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek March 5, 2014

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Volvo's new strategy: one-size-fits-all architecture

In an audacious reinvention of itself, Volvo Cars will replace its entire model line over the next few years, staking its immediate future on a single chassis architecture with one basic engine and transmission.

By Dexter Ford March 4, 2014

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User interfaces: Get to know these high-tech helpers

Unless you've bought or shopped for a new car lately, chances are you're unfamiliar with a technology popping up in nearly every new vehicle — the user interface.

By Tom Voelk March 2, 2014

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The best way to calculate your car's mpgs

The way many of us calculate our fuel economy is wrong, but there's an easy way to get accurate figures for how much fuel you use.

By Mark Phelan February 28, 2014

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Auto review: There's nothing mini about Toyota's Sienna van

Remember when Toyota's quintessential family vehicle, the Sienna, was called a minivan? Today, the Sienna stretches nearly 17 feet in length, and with generous seating for seven or eight people and impressive cargo space, the Sienna no longer is mini.

By Ann M. Job February 27, 2014

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Auto review: Audi RS 7 blends performance and practicality

Peter is a big fan of Audi's ''four-door coupe,'' the A7, which we drove when it first came out. He liked its luxury and hatchback practicality, as did Lyra, who was less enthusiastic about the car's profile. Now, Audi adds performance to the A7's portfolio with the all-new RS 7, which is a product of quattro GmbH, its tuner division.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek February 26, 2014

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Intricate auto-show displays reveal anatomy of motors

In the Motor City, some of the most popular models at the Detroit auto show were, in fact, motors. Models of motors were stripped down, enhanced and made-up before hitting the show where thousands ogled their anatomy.

By Alisa Priddle February 25, 2014

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Catch a monthly flick surrounded by classic cars in Kirkland

Who goes out on a cold weeknight to watch a movie in a warehouse just off I-405 in Kirkland — and not a premiere, but a 15-year-old movie they've seen before? Some pretty revved car nuts ... er, enthusiasts.

By Ray Martinez February 23, 2014

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8 features your new car won't have

The next time you test drive a new car, you might be in for a shock. If you expect a place to stash your stogie or a slot to slip in your copy of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," you're in for a surprise. Most likely, that new car won't accommodate you. Call it the march of time or the onslaught of technology, but here are eight features your next new car most likely won't have.

By Larry Printz February 21, 2014

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Auto review: Sleek, nimble FR-S is sportiest Scion

The sportiest car in Toyota's Scion family, the 2014 FR-S, is a fun-to-drive, four-cylinder, rear-wheel drive coupe that looks more expensive than its $25,455 starting price tag.

By Ann M. Job February 20, 2014

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Auto review: Honda Accord combines comfort and fuel efficiency in hybrid

The hybrid version of the 2014 Honda Accord gets up to 50 mpg in city driving. (Honda) We'll be the first to admit that we don't readily associate ''Honda'' and...

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek February 19, 2014

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Sharing the road with each other drives these couples closer

Today, couples will be taking a little time to celebrate romance. But some local couples make sparks fly throughout the year by sharing their connection with cars and the open road.

By Allison Ellis February 14, 2014

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Auto review: Stylish Kia Forte pampers with luxury touches

Heated front and rear seats are some of the optional luxury features of the 2014 Kia Forte. (Kia) The 2014 Kia Forte sedan is a stylish and roomier-than-expected four-door car...

By Ann M. Job February 13, 2014

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Auto review: Dodge Caravan has versatile storage

The 2014 Dodge Caravan starts at $19,995. (Chrysler) Can a minivan really be sinister? Dodge, the pioneer of the modern minivan, thinks so. Maybe that's why the Grand Caravan SXT...

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek February 12, 2014

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Aluminum takes on steel for automotive weight loss

Mustang versus Camaro. BMW versus Mercedes. Camry versus Accord. These are among the biggest rivalries in the automobile world. Get ready for the next epic battle: aluminum versus steel.

By Jerry Hirsch February 9, 2014

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As auto shows try to connect with women, both genders get something to see

Women now buy nearly half of the new cars in the U.S., a sharp increase compared with a generation ago, and the auto industry is trying to demonstrate that it's keeping up with the times when it showcases the latest models to the public.

By Dee-Ann Durbin and Jeff Karoub February 7, 2014

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RV Doctor to deliver a dose of advice at Seattle RV Show

Anyone who has owned an RV has probably turned to Gary Bunzer for advice at some point. Bunzer — aka The RV Doctor — dishes out advice to owners of the estimated 9 million RVs in the U.S. The Seattle man is the guru who can help you figure out why your propane stove isn't working, why the roof leaks or where that awful smell is coming from.

By Jeff Layton February 6, 2014

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Auto review: Dodge Durango is a worthy three-row SUV

Already a commendable family vehicle with three rows of seats, the Dodge Durango gets even better for 2014 with improved fuel economy, an impressively easy touch screen and voice control dashboard system and attractively updated interior and exterior.

By Ann M. Job February 6, 2014

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Auto review: Sleek Mazda3 an understated overachiever

The new Mazda3 gets a redesign that brings the compact in line with the midsize Mazda6 and the CX-5 crossover with a wider body, longer wheelbase and, most importantly, no more Joker grin up front. In its place is the more sophisticated grille found on the 6. It's now time for this oft-overlooked compact to draw more attention.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek February 5, 2014

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Drivers return in droves to the high-end auto market

Matt Hlavin, an entrepreneur in Cleveland who owns seven businesses — mostly in manufacturing — bought three Mercedes-Benzes last year: a $237,000 SLS AMG and a $165,000 S63 AMG for himself, and a $97,000 GL550 SUV for his wife.

By Jaclyn Trop January 31, 2014

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Auto review: Hyundai's premium Equus delivers a lot for the money

For the first time since its late 2010 introduction, Hyundai's flagship Equus luxury sedan is subtly restyled for a more premium appearance and adds more safety equipment, more amenities and a retuned suspension for improved ride.

By Ann M. Job January 30, 2014

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Auto review: Mazda CX-5 adds power

Just last year, Mazda added a new compact crossover — the five-passenger CX-5. It returns for 2014 with just one major change: a new, more-powerful engine for all but the base grade.

By G. Chambers Williams January 29, 2014

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Automakers tout lighter vehicles at Detroit auto show

Lightweight and luxury are watchwords at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. From the 2015 Ford F-150's nearly all-aluminum body to a Mercedes-Benz C-Class that simultaneously grew larger and lighter to the Honda Fit subcompact, automakers showed they are working harder than ever to reduce the weight of every new vehicle they introduce.

By Mark Phelan January 28, 2014

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Local replica business recreates cars from the big screen

For some, the dream of owning a car from a movie just won't quit. In the early '80s, Michael Hughes of Bethel Island, Calif., saw the film "The Road Warrior" and knew that he wanted the Ford Falcon Interceptor featured in the movie.

By Jeff Layton January 26, 2014

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5 trends you need to know from the Detroit auto show

A race-worthy Chevrolet Corvette, a sumptuous Mercedes-Benz C-Class and other glitzy new models caught the eye at this year's North American International Auto Show, but larger trends in the auto industry were also on display.

By Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher January 24, 2014

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Auto review: Toyota Tundra updated for 2014

In its first major update since 2007, the full-size Toyota Tundra pickup truck is redesigned with a bold, American-style exterior, a refined, quieter interior and standard backup camera and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity.

By Ann M. Job January 23, 2014

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Auto review: Jeep Cherokee's thirst is quenched by diesel

The Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel got 33 mpg during test drives. (Chrysler) Like any jerky-chewing, flannel-wrapped woodsman, authentic four-wheel-drive vehicles were resistant to change. But the Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel proves...

By Lawrence Ulrich January 22, 2014

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Doctor recreates his childhood love: Batmobile

Holy Adam West! Somebody's been driving around Sumter, S.C., in a '73 Lincoln Continental that's been remodeled into an exact replica of the Batmobile from the 1960s Batman television show.

By Tyler Simpson January 21, 2014

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Inside look: 10 great car interiors

Everyone wants a great-looking car. But really, you only see the exterior as you walk toward it. You live with the interior, especially when stuck in traffic.

By Tom Voelk January 19, 2014

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'Rehab' can help seniors drive longer, more safely

Robert Cullon, 80, has a neurological condition that makes his feet numb and forces him to rely on a walker. He thought he was driving just fine, but his six children were worried. "They kept saying, 'Are you sure you're doing all right?'" he says. "They broke me down."

By Alina Tugend January 17, 2014

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Auto review: Acura refines its MDX SUV

Acura's luxury MDX sport utility vehicle is redesigned for 2014 with quieter interior, more cargo space, a new, more powerful engine, better fuel economy and improved handling.

By Ann M. Job January 16, 2014

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Auto review: Chevrolet Silverado evolves as a pleasing pickup

Last summer, we drove the redesigned 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 and found it to be a smooth-riding, well-appointed and practical full-size pickup. The new Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is its nearly identical General Motors cousin, and we were no less pleased with it.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek January 15, 2014

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Last piece of the puzzle for collectors: Vintage license plates

For some car collectors, completing a vehicle restoration with tires, wheels and paint that look period-correct is just not enough. Even such details as the license plates must be the correct vintage.

By Tudor Van Hampton January 14, 2014

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Mobile dent-repair services offer quick fixes, low prices

When Dan Putnam, a Woodinville-based IT professional, had a ding in the door of his 2011 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, he knew exactly how he wanted it repaired — and it wasn't through a traditional auto body shop. He used a mobile dent-repair service.

By Allison Ellis January 12, 2014

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Automakers get serious about a fuel-cell future

Like thick-rim glasses, Doc Martens and so many other things that fell out of favor only to spring back to popularity years later, fuel-cell cars have resurfaced.

By Bradley Berman January 10, 2014

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Auto review: Toyota Corolla adds style and space for 2014

The Toyota Corolla, the fifth best-selling nameplate in the United States, is a larger, roomier sedan for 2014 with improved ride and better gasoline mileage than its predecessor.

By Ann M. Job January 9, 2014

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Auto review: Jaguar F-Type makes noise about its excellence

For car lovers, the first reaction to news that Jaguar was again introducing a proper sports car must have been, "What took so long?"

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek January 8, 2014

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Big chill: Tips for dealing with icy conditions

If you wake up to find a layer of ice on your car and on the road, your action plan shouldn't venture down a slippery slope. Here's the 411 on tackling icy conditions.

By Allison Ellis January 5, 2014

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Online services let family and friends crowdfund your car

When Lindsay Frandsen thought about registering for gifts for her wedding, she realized that what she and her husband-to-be really needed was a car. Frandsen and Christian Burris opened an account with a startup crowdfunding platform that lets potential car buyers reach out to their social networks for gifts.

By Jaclyn Trop January 3, 2014

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Auto review: Malibu marks a first with stop-start engine

The 2014 Chevrolet Malibu starts at $22,965. (Chevrolet) The 2014 Chevrolet Malibu packs a surprise: It's the first mainstream mid-size sedan sold in the United States with standard automatic engine...

By Ann M. Job January 2, 2014

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Auto review: Range Rovers get a makeover

Land Rover's vehicles have a well-deserved reputation for both luxury and off-road capability. For most of us city dwellers, however, we just want the comfort and the cachet. Land Rover ups the ante for 2014, especially with the all-new Ranger Rover Sport. Both the Sport and the larger Range Rover are handsome and powerful performers.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek January 1, 2014

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New auto books: The open road to a good read

As temperatures drop and daylight becomes more precious, there's no better time to catch up on a little reading. If a favorite topic is cars, here are a few new volumes from which to choose.

By Larry Printz December 31, 2013

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New year brings new hybrids, electrics from high-end makes

Good things are more certain in the automotive world next year. Automakers are under pressure to raise their corporate average fuel economy (or CAFE) levels; that means a lot more hybrids and electrics are coming from unexpected brands.

By Tom Voelk December 29, 2013

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End of the line: Several car models become history

It happens every year. As the new model year dawns, various automobiles pass away — some fondly remembered, some ridiculed and reviled.

By Larry Printz December 27, 2013

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Auto review: Ford Fiesta a peppy fuel sipper

Ford's smallest car in the United States, the Fiesta, doesn't have a hybrid powerplant and it doesn't plug into an electric outlet. The 2014 Fiesta doesn't even come with a fuel-conscious continuously variable transmission.

By Ann M. Job December 26, 2013

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Auto review: Sonata hybrid is solid

Like other successful midsize sedans, Hyundai's stylish Sonata has a hybrid counterpart.

By Peter Couture And Lyra Solochek December 25, 2013

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Aston Martin marks a century on a high note

From its founding a century ago, Aston Martin created cars meant to appeal to the sporting instincts of upper-class Britons who appreciated their design, exclusivity and, perhaps, scarcity. Judging by today's models, which start at more than $115,000 and stretch to the brink of $300,000, the formula has proved durable.

By Paul Duchene December 24, 2013

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Kids can bond with cars and family at LeMay workshops

Chuck and Marsha West are always looking for educational opportunities for their children. Their teenage daughter wants to be a race-car driver, Chuck West says, raising a pair of air quotes. "That's this week. Last week she wanted to be a diva."

By Ray Martinez December 22, 2013

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High inventory, low interest rates mean great deals on wheels

If the spirit of giving — or treating yourself — has inspired you to buy a car this holiday season, you're in luck. Many auto dealerships are overflowing with sedans, trucks and SUVs, so there are deals to be had.

By Tom Krisher December 20, 2013

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Auto review: Revamped Lexus IS gains modern flair

The compact, entry-level Lexus IS sedan is redesigned for 2014 with an edgy attitude.

By Ann M. Job December 19, 2013

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Auto review: Refreshed Rav4 is raring to go

The Toyota RAV4 is credited with being the first compact crossover SUV. Now, Toyota has given it a makeover befitting the fourth generation of the RAV4, with a sleeker, contemporary look and more modern features.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek December 18, 2013

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Parking downtown: It's easier, cheaper than you might think

Jan Foster, of Yakima, was about to put her credit card into a pay station for $4-an-hour street parking near the downtown Seattle waterfront. But when she heard that she could park in a garage across the street for $3 an hour, she put away her credit card and hopped back into her truck.

By Linda Hughes December 15, 2013

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What your parents drive affects your car choice, study says

Automakers and dealers spend nearly $33 billion a year to help you decide what kind of car to drive. But do all of those ads have any more influence than your parents' Chevrolet? Or Ford? Or Chrysler, Mazda or Buick, for that matter?

By Michael A. Fletcher December 13, 2013

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Auto review: BMW 4-Series Coupe has fine handling

Officials at German automaker BMW did a fine job differentiating their new-for-2014 smallish coupe from last year's 3-Series coupe.

By Ann M. Job December 12, 2013

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Auto review: Ford presents Mustang makeover for 2015

For the Ford Mustang and its loyal fans, there's only one question: Where has the time gone? A 22-year-old college graduate wowed by the first, illustrious Mustang in April 1964 would be roughly 72 today.

By Lawrence Ulrich December 11, 2013

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Local graphic artist sees his concept come to life on a Lexus

Like many people who are into cars and have a talent for art, Seattle's Rob Evans loves to draw far-out, futuristic automobiles.

By Jeff Layton December 8, 2013

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A woman's touch still a rarity in car design

For Monika Zych and Sandy McGill, becoming car designers for BMW started with Matchbox toy cars, racing the tiny replicas around the living room as little girls.

By Caitlin Kelly December 6, 2013

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Auto review: New Jeep Cherokee is full of pleasant surprises

The Jeep Cherokee is back, though no one recognizes the 2014 model — with sleek, modern styling, a long list of safety features, pleasant handling and comfortable on-road ride — as a Cherokee.

By Ann M. Job December 5, 2013

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Auto review: Mitsubishi ups its game with safety leader Outlander

Mitsubishi has given the 2014 Outlander a redesign from the ground up. The gaping trapezoidal grille, which still adorns the Outlander Sport five-seater, is gone. More important: The Outlander has earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and it's clear that Mitsubishi — in both its marketing and in the SUV's available options — is making safety the big selling point.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek December 4, 2013

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Dealers entice new-car buyers with creative perks

In the not-so-distant past, you'd be lucky to get complimentary floor mats, a full tank of gas and a cup of coffee to go with your new-car purchase. Nowadays, you can drive off with not only the floor mats, but also other freebies such as roadside assistance, car washes, scheduled maintenance, made-to-order lattes and even a pair of skis.

By Allison Ellis December 1, 2013

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Automakers go high-tech, 3-D in appeal to online shoppers

Automakers trying to reach young buyers face a conundrum: How do they sell a car to people who stay away from a showroom?

By Jaclyn Trop November 29, 2013

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Auto review: Mazda3 shines as a driver's car

Since debuting as a new, third-generation model, the 2014 Mazda3 has been racking up the accolades -- and with good reason.

By Ann M. Job November 28, 2013

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Auto-inspired gifts for the driving fans on your list

Whether the car lovers on your holiday list like rides big or small, are the practical type or are more adventurous, these gifts are sure to rev some holiday engines.

By Cody Ellerd Bay November 24, 2013

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More than 50 new vehicles debut at L.A. Auto Show

The Los Angeles Auto Show opens to the public today. Here are some of the most buzz-worthy vehicles being introduced at this year's show.

November 22, 2013

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Auto review: Nissan Versa Note a thrifty, roomy ride

The Nissan Versa's name is Versa Note for 2014 models. (Nissan) Nissan's small Versa hatchback, renamed the Versa Note for 2014, is a low-priced, high-utility car with an attractive, fresh...

By Ann M. Job November 21, 2013

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Auto review: Toyota's Tundra has flex appeal

The 2014 Toyota Tundra starts at $25,920. (Toyota) Toyota has long been trying to lure buyers with macho images of its Tundra: There's the truck climbing a flame-engulfed ramp in...

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek November 20, 2013

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Tall drivers can find plenty of rides that fit the bill

Tall is highly regarded in America. It's part of the beverage sizes on Starbucks' menu. Women tend to like their men tall, dark and handsome. Few people aspire to be shorter -- unless they're tall people buying a car.

By Tom Voelk November 17, 2013

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New-car demand pushes down used-car prices

On a recent morning at Manheim Riverside, a wholesale auto auction in Riverside, Calif., more than a thousand used-car dealers gathered. Over a collective din that drowned out the auctioneers, the dealers winked, nodded or, for the less stealthy, raised a hand to indicate their bid.

By Jaclyn Trop November 15, 2013

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Auto review: Ford Escape is roaring back

Pleasantly styled inside and out and offering fuel-savvy, turbocharged power, the Ford Escape sport utility vehicle is threatening to dethrone the Honda CR-V as America's top-selling compact SUV.

By Ann M. Job November 14, 2013

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Auto review: New Jaguar a cat that's ready to rumble

The 2014 Jaguar F-Type starts at $92,895. (Jaguar) Firesand Orange is what Jaguar calls the paint that flashed from the F-Type sports car that I recently drove. The crowd-pleasing shade...

By Lawrence Ulrich November 13, 2013

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A decade later, Ford's living roof is still growing strong

Ten years after Ford planted vegetation atop a massive truck-assembly plant, the largest living roof in the U.S. is flourishing and others have followed the automaker's lead.

By Alisa Priddle November 12, 2013

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Harley-Davidson listens to customers, revs up sales

Road hogs are getting high-tech. Harley-Davidson's newest models feature a voice-activated and touch-screen GPS system, the first on a production motorcycle. When the bike is getting low on fuel, the system finds the nearest filling station and maps out directions on a 6.5-inch screen the rider can control by voice, touch or joystick.

By Mark Clothier November 10, 2013

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Customizing amps small, eco-friendly rides

When Craig Hoi Pong darts around in his car, fellow motorists stop and stare. They check out his 17-inch rims, lowered suspension, LED blue-hued lights and yellow rear spoiler. His isn't a muscle car, classic car or hot rod. It's a two-seat Smart car -- on steroids.

By Johnny Diaz November 8, 2013

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Auto review: Infiniti QX80 delivers a luxurious ride

With the new name of QX80 for 2014, Infiniti's largest sport utility vehicle packs some of the softest-feeling leather, shiniest burl wood and a host of other luxury items into a big, nicely crafted interior.

By Ann M. Job November 7, 2013

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Auto review: Attractive Lancer a Mitsubishi mainstay

The Mitsubishi Lancer starts at $17,195. (Mitsubishi) The Lancer has long been a mainstay in Mitsubishi's dwindling U.S. lineup, from its no-frills economy model to the coveted high-performance Evolution. Even...

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek November 6, 2013

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Paykan revival stirs nostalgic feelings in Iran

Taxi driver Abbas Ayoubi uses a 1971 Paykan for work in Tehran, Iran. (Kaveh Kazemi / The New York Times) On a recent Friday afternoon, in the upscale Shahrak-e Gharb...

By Thomas Erdbrink November 5, 2013

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Get your car's interior clean while keeping it green

The Pacific Northwest is a harsh environment for auto interiors. Mud gets tracked onto carpets, mold and mildew grow under floor mats, dogs slobber on windows and shed on seats. Then there's the spilled coffee, the fast-food remnants and all the weird things that kids leave behind: gum wads, crushed cereal and Lord knows what else.

By Scott McCredie November 3, 2013

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Large SUVs still in demand despite high gas prices

The big SUV rolls on. Five years ago, when gas hit $4 per gallon, auto industry analysts boldly predicted that enormous SUVs would vanish like the automobile tail fin.

By Tom Krisher November 1, 2013

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Auto review: Chevrolet Silverado adds plenty of creature comforts

Don't let appearances fool you. While Chevrolet's 2014 Silverado looks a lot like its predecessor on the outside, major changes give the new Silverado better ride and handling, improved safety and a more luxurious, quiet interior with features that rival some offices.

By Ann M. Job October 31, 2013

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Auto review: Redesign of Lexus IS pushes looks, maintains power

It has always seemed to us as if Lexus' IS models were aimed at the buyer for whom comfort trumped style and, especially, performance. So for 2014, Lexus has redesigned its entry-level luxury sedans. Would more performance follow? We were eager to drive the redesigned IS 250 to find out.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek October 30, 2013

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Pagani's supercar success is in the handcrafted detail

Don't be fooled by the building's homely exterior of brown tile and glass, or by its location in a nondescript industrial area some 20 miles northwest of Bologna, Italy. Inside is the two-story workshop of Pagani Automobili, maker of some of the world's most advanced — and most expensive — cars.

By Elisabetta Povoledo October 29, 2013

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Short order: Tips for finding a car that's the perfect fit

My wife, Mariko, is 5 feet tall. No, the editor did not lop off the inches part. Mariko is as petite as she is intelligent and beautiful. I hope she's reading this.

By Tom Voelk October 27, 2013

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Online research benefits both car buyers and dealers

When Jennifer Williams walked into the Nalley Lexus dealership in Georgia recently, all she needed was a salesperson to provide her a good deal on her trade-in, the keys to her RX 350 SUV and a happy wave goodbye.

By Leon Stafford October 25, 2013

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Auto review: Why the Enclave is Buick's most popular ride

The best-selling Buick in America, the Enclave, is a roomy, smooth-riding, sizable family SUV with top safety scores and a novel center air bag that deploys between the front seats in certain side crashes.

By Ann M. Job October 24, 2013

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Auto review: Cadillac adds youthful zip with XTS

So Cadillac disposes of the Grandpa-like STS and DTS and arrives with a smart, more youthful and athletic idea: the XTS.

By Barry Spyker October 23, 2013

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First all-Porsche exhibit shows off 'rolling sculpture'

Ken Gross is the curator for the show "Porsche by Design: Seducing Speed." (Gerry Broome / The Associated Press) Curator Ken Gross had his first encounter with Porsches in college,...

By Martha Waggoner October 22, 2013

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Teen safety: Drivers' ed teaches perils of distracted driving

It's 8:10 a.m., first period at King's High School in Shoreline, and the subject of the day's drivers' education class is the brain.

By Ray Martinez October 20, 2013

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Slideshow: Highlights from the 2014 Seattle Auto Show

The Seattle Auto Show runs through Sunday at CenturyLink Field Event Center

Photos by Barry Gibbons October 18, 2013

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Auto review: Audi adds diesel to compact SUV

The diesel Audi Q5 TDI gets better mileage than the gasoline-electric hybrid version. (Audi) Audi's best-selling sport utility vehicle, the Q5, gets even better in 2014 with the addition of...

By Ann M. Job October 17, 2013

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Auto review: Santa Fe a comfortable family hauler from Hyundai

Hyundai offers two models of its redesigned flagship crossover SUV for 2013: the long-wheelbase Santa Fe and the smaller Santa Fe Sport. The Sport is a five-seater. The slightly bigger Santa Fe can seat up to seven, and replaces the three-row Veracruz. Our tester was the Santa Fe configured for six passengers.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek October 16, 2013

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Auction winners ponder washing vintage dirt away

So your winning bid at the Lambrecht auction in Pierce, Neb., put a treasure on your trailer, and you've brought it home. Now what?

By Dave Kinney October 15, 2013

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Seattle Auto Show preview: luxury cars, latest technologies

Whether you're in the market for a new vehicle or you just love to witness the future of the automotive world, there's only one place for you this week.

By Jeff Layton October 13, 2013

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New models and major changes for 2014 (Part 3: Maserati to Volvo)

Drivers can expect to see some common threads among 2014 vehicles: soft-touch armrests and dashboards replacing hard plastic, larger touch screens and more ways to access smartphones. Here are the 2014 highlights, by brand.

By Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher October 11, 2013

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Auto review: Fiat 500L a surprisingly roomy small car

The Fiat 500L gets 33 mpg in highway driving. (Chrysler) It doesn't sound like much: An extra 27.7 inches of length, nearly 6 more inches of height, two additional doors...

By Ann M. Job October 10, 2013

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Auto review: Mercedes E350 has looks and smarts

The Mercedes-Benz E350 Cabriolet is a car that can impress even the most jaded valet. It's elegant but understated. Classic yet modern. And did we mention it's a convertible? For 2014, Mercedes has given the midsize E-Class sleeker styling and significant technology upgrades. It adds up to luxury further refined.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek October 9, 2013

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Spark is a surprise hit for Chevrolet

The tiny Chevrolet Spark from General Motors is about as bare bones as cars come these days, with hand-crank windows, no floor mats and one of the smallest engines of any car. Air-conditioning is optional. But to the surprise of even GM itself, which has traditionally struggled to sell small cars, the Spark has become an unlikely hit as many American buyers warm to a car that is cheap to buy and to operate.

By Jaclyn Trop October 8, 2013

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Buyers' agents do the wheeling and dealing for you

Search tools and build-your-own-vehicle options online make it seem as if the car-buying process should be as easy as browse, click and buy. Some buyers relish the thrill of an online search or going through a dealership.

By Allison Ellis October 6, 2013

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New models and major changes for 2014 (Part 2: Ford to Lincoln)

Dozens of U.S. car models will be introduced or refreshed in the 2014 model year. Here are the 2014 highlights, by brand.

By Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher October 4, 2013

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Auto review: Economy meets luxury in Kia Cadenza

The 2014 Kia Cadenza starts below $36,000. (Kia) Kia reportedly has high aspirations — luxury car aspirations. So for 2014, the Korean automaker has rolled out a full-size sedan, the...

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek October 2, 2013

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Automakers' strollers get little ones rolling

Let's make one thing clear: McLaren, the British maker of race cars and supercars like the new P1, is not the same company as Maclaren, the British manufacturer of premium baby strollers, known for its 1965 innovation of the folding umbrella model.

By Phil Patton October 1, 2013

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Buyers embrace hybrids as the fuel-efficient alternative

When automakers rolled out their electric cars three years ago, they had big plans. Even President Barack Obama, in his State of the Union address in 2011, predicted there would be as many as a million of them on the nation's roads by the middle of the decade.

By Jaclyn Trop and Bill Vlasic September 29, 2013

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New models and major changes for 2014 (Part 1: Acura to Fiat)

Dozens of U.S. car models will be introduced or refreshed in the 2014 model year, from big-selling mainstream cars such as the Toyota Corolla to rarefied supercars such as Ferrari's $1.3 million LaFerrari.

By Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher September 27, 2013

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Auto review: Mazda CX-5 has zoom factor

In its first year, the Mazda CX-5 crossover sport utility vehicle won over auto critics with its driver-pleasing handling, comfortable interior and sporty looks.

By Ann M. Job September 26, 2013

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Auto reviews: Driving fun in three rear-wheel-drive sports cars

Allow us to extol the joy of rear-wheel-drive sports cars, which long have been the favorites of enthusiasts for sheer driving fun and their propensity for oversteer (the rear end stepping out). Here are three we've driven recently.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek September 25, 2013

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Dealer's nest egg of about 500 vintage Chevys up for auction

A 1958 Chevrolet Biscayne is lined up with other vintage cars and trucks at a field near the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. (Nati Harnick / The...

By Grant Schulte September 24, 2013

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Free Green Checkups can help drivers boost gas mileage

I drive a 1991 Nissan Sentra SER that carries a few scars earned in two decades and 160,000 miles of trustworthy service. It's white ... but is it green?

By Scott McCredie September 22, 2013

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More car buyers stretching loans up to 10 years to cut payments

Scott Greenberg could have handled a bigger car payment. But with a baby on the way and the dealership offering a rock-bottom interest rate, Greenberg stretched the loan to 72 months, or six years — about as long as the average American keeps a new car. At 2.64 percent interest, the long term cut about $100 from his monthly payment on the Volkswagen Touareg SUV.

By Jerry Hirsch September 20, 2013

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Auto review: Consumer Reports loves 2014 Chevy Impala

The re-engineered 2014 Chevrolet Impala isn't just new, attractively styled and comfortable to ride in.

By Ann M. Job September 19, 2013

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Auto review: Acura MDX does just about everything well

Maybe you've seen Acura's conceptual "Made for Mankind" commercial that claims its quest was to build the "world's smartest luxury SUV for mankind." Wow, that's a lot of baggage for a midsize SUV to carry. We found this new-generation MDX's many strengths to be a little more down to earth.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek September 18, 2013

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Dad uses app, bus to warn teen drivers of texting dangers

Wayne Irving's daughter was 15 when she asked to get her driver's permit. "I was already frustrated at how addicted to texting my daughter was," says the San Clemente, Calif., father of four, who at the time had just learned a grim statistic: More than 7,000 Americans had died from texting and driving the previous year.

By Susan Carpenter September 17, 2013

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Bottom line: Auto seating is a tall (and short) order

Pull up a chair and let's talk about automotive seating. Of all the things people take for granted in a car, seats are probably the least appreciated. More than just a comfy place to park your backside, seats can improve safety, help drivers perform better, increase fuel efficiency and even help to sell the vehicle. There are ways to tell if a seat is right for you.

By Tom Voelk September 15, 2013

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Black-box mandate for new cars raises privacy concerns

An accident reconstructionist removes the air bag control module from a test-crash training session for New York State Police investigators. (Heather Ainsworth / The New York Times) When Timothy...

By Jaclyn Trop September 13, 2013

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Auto review: Lexus GS 450h is a luxury hybrid with power

Technology, handling, styling and quiet ride are all noteworthy in the Lexus GS 450h hybrid, the top model of the GS line in both horsepower and price.

By Ann M. Job September 12, 2013

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Auto review: Honda Odyssey, Nissan Quest practical for families

It seems there's always a new "minivan alternative" on the market, so it's easy to overlook the venerable family hauler. We drove two updated vans, which reinforced our view of them as the practical choice for many families.

Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek September 11, 2013

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Drivers' ed adapts to new dangers on the road

The drivers' education simulator lab in Des Plaines, Ill., seems straight from the 1970s: A dozen teenagers tucked into low-slung black vinyl drivers' seats, their steering wheels creaking in unison as a grainy movie plays and a narrator's grandfatherly voice gently asks, "Are you identifying the potential signs of conflict?"

By Karen Ann Cullotta September 10, 2013

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Sodo's open spaces, lower prices lure auto dealers south

There's a growing sense of team spirit in Sodo, but it's not coming just from the Mariners, Sounders and Seahawks. The neighborhood is evolving into an auto dealership destination: Mercedes-Benz of Seattle joined BMW there last month, and Tesla, Honda and Toyota dealers also are planning to move to Sodo.

By Linda Hughes September 8, 2013

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It sounds like sci-fi, but driverless cars could reshape cities

Seeing one of Google's experimental, driverless cars zipping down Silicon Valley's Highway 101 or parking itself on a San Francisco street is not all that unusual. As automakers such as Audi, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz make plans for self-driving vehicles, it is only a matter of time before these cars become a big part of the great American traffic jam.

By Nick Bilton September 6, 2013

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Auto review: Toyota Avalon adds fuel-thrifty hybrid

Move over, Toyota Camry. It's time for Toyota's other sizable sedan, the Avalon, to get some well-deserved attention.

By Ann M. Job September 5, 2013

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Auto review: Subaru WRX has the power to perform

The WRX has long been on our bucket list. That's because the performance version of Subaru's Impreza has been a favorite of enthusiasts and on the pro rally circuit. For 2013, the WRX is unchanged. Maybe that's why fans were so excited when Subaru showed off a striking WRX concept at the New York auto show. Well, we can all dream.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek September 4, 2013

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Rare beauties make Kirkland Concours special

Some of the most exceptional vehicles in automotive history are coming to a car show in Tacoma next weekend. But it's not just any car show — the annual Kirkland Concours d' Elegance has a reputation for drawing some of the most obscure and valuable autos from private collections in North America.

By Jeff Layton September 1, 2013

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Top tips, sites to study before buying a car for a student

It's time to head back to school. For some students (or their parents), this means more than buying a laptop — it means buying a new set of wheels. Before deciding on a car, here are some things to consider.

By Larry Printz August 30, 2013

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Auto review: Mazda6 updates create a solid sedan

Agile and poised, the new-for-2014 Mazda6 mid-size sedan is a major leap over its predecessor in styling, features and fuel economy.

By Ann M. Job August 29, 2013

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Auto review: Sporty Nissan Juke is eye-catching

You have to give Nissan credit — the carmaker isn't afraid to think outside the box when it comes to design. To wit: the Seussian-looking Cube and the Murano CrossCabriolet SUV convertible. The most recent addition to that mix is the Juke crossover, which was introduced as a 2011 model. We finally got our chance to try one with the new Juke Nismo.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek August 28, 2013

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Higher premium-gas costs can offset fuel-economy savings

The math seems so straightforward: As engines get smaller and fuel economy improves, the cost of driving will fall, right?

By Tudor Van Hampton August 25, 2013

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Domestic automakers step up battle for best-connected cars

General Motors is the pioneer, Ford the innovator and Chrysler the sleeper in the battle for the best infotainment system among domestic automakers.

By Alisa Priddle August 23, 2013

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Auto review: There is more to love in 2014 Kia Sorento

For 2014, Kia's top-selling Sorento sport utility vehicle is all about "more." The restyled Sorento with attractive new face has a more upscale interior, a more powerful V-6, a more comfortable ride and more available features and safety equipment than its predecessor.

By Ann M. Job August 22, 2013

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Auto review: Updated GMC Sierra among top pickups

Today's full-size truck market offers an abundance of feature-laden models, so making a decision isn't an easy one for buyers. And the truck wars among the Detroit automakers are only heating up. General Motors has upped the ante with the GMC Sierra 1500 (and its cousin Chevrolet Silverado), the last of the three domestic trucks to get an overhaul.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek August 21, 2013

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Woman kick-starts her dream of becoming a motorcyclist

"Everyone on the road hates you and wants to kill you." That was a warning I heard repeatedly as I began motorcycle training this spring. It made me pause and wonder: What was I doing?

By Rachel Shimp August 18, 2013

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Pebble Beach Concours has humble roots

The birth of this country's classic-car Olympics took place at Pebble Beach, Calif., on the scenic Monterey Peninsula, in the simpler, quieter time of November 1950.

By Leo Levine August 17, 2013

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Tesla's Model S, plans for new models drive company to next level

There are many ways to measure Tesla Motors' remarkable progress in the three years since the electric-car maker launched its initial public offering: The first-ever profitable quarter this past spring. The 99 out of 100 score in Consumer Reports' review of the Model S sedan. The stock price, up more than 500 percent since June 2010.

By Dana Hull August 16, 2013

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Auto review: Cadillac CTS-V Wagon a rare breed

The 2013 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon — the only V-8-powered station wagon factory built in the United States — is a rare blend of awesome acceleration, luxury accoutrements, sporty handling and station-wagon functionality.

By Ann M. Job August 15, 2013

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Auto review: BMW's Gran Coupe has decadent style

It's the screwiest name on any new car, a name that seems swiped from the mid-1970s heyday of the Ford Gran Torino Brougham, the Dodge Royal Monaco Brougham and the Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Brougham.

By John Pearley Huffman August 14, 2013

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States eye EV fees to counter gas-tax losses

Are drivers of electric and hybrid cars saints who reduce fuel use, emissions and global warming? Or are they freeloaders who aren't doing their part to pay for the roads and bridges they use?

By Mark Phelan August 13, 2013

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Luxury features aren't limited to premium brands anymore

The modern luxury automobile is an astonishing piece of engineering and design. Bells and whistles can include radar-assisted cruise control, Michelangelo-grade sheet metal, Starship Enterprise-grade interfaces, even pedestrian-detection systems that apply the brakes automatically.

By Tom Voelk August 11, 2013

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Robots take the hazardous jobs in durability testing

A Ford Transit van slams its way over concrete obstacles in a test of durability at the automaker's proving grounds in Romeo, Mich., some 40 miles north of Detroit. The continuous on-road torture is punishing and could wreak havoc on both chassis components and a driver's spine, but the test driver doesn't mind.

By Paul Stenquist August 9, 2013

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Auto review: New Nissan Sentra looks like Altima

Restyled for a new, upscale look, Nissan's Sentra small sedan for 2013 is more fuel efficient than ever and so roomy inside the government no longer ranks it as a compact sedan.

By Ann M. Job August 8, 2013

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Auto review: Nissan Altima update a big improvement

The 2013 Nissan Altima starts at $27,600. (Nissan) Competition is steep in the midsize sedan segment. So it's no surprise that Nissan has completely overhauled the Altima for 2013. With...

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek August 7, 2013

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AAA: Hands-free communication still distracts drivers

Dashboard technology that lets drivers text and email with voice commands -- marketed as a safer alternative -- actually is more distracting than simply talking on a cellphone, says a AAA study.

By Joan Lowy August 6, 2013

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Local shows celebrate Corvette's sweet 60

America's most iconic sports car — the Chevrolet Corvette — is having a major birthday this year, and enthusiasts are celebrating the car's milestone in a big way this summer.

By Jeff Layton August 4, 2013

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Chevy Malibu's stop-start tech can't be stopped

Imagine shutting off your engine at every red light or stop sign, then turning on the ignition when the light turns green. Chevrolet is betting on a fuel-saving system that does that automatically.

By Mark Phelan August 2, 2013

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Auto review: Toyota Highlander is comfortable family vehicle

With three rows of seats, a comfortably functional interior and pleasant looks, Toyota's 2013 Highlander is a right-sized, no-fuss vehicle for families.

By Ann M. Job August 1, 2013

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Auto review: Audi S4 delivers family appeal and thrills

The S4 is the performance version of Audi's A4. As such, the midsize sedan is more stealthy than flashy; at first glance there appears to be little to distinguish it from it's more staid cousin. But once behind the wheel, it quickly becomes apparent that this isn't a normal A4 when you step on the gas.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek July 31, 2013

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Ford eyes Atlas as next step toward keeping F-150 sales on top

Ford Motor Co. figures that Atlas — a titan standing for strength and endurance — is just the right code name for the effort to create the next-generation F-150, the country's best-selling pickup truck.

By Steve Everly July 30, 2013

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Enjoy rugged summer adventures in these SUVs and crossovers

Call me crazy, but here's a thought: What if people actually used their rugged SUVs and crossovers to do rugged things?

By Tom Voelk July 28, 2013

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Instrument panels simplified: more technology but fewer buttons

The engineers working on Honda's new Acura MDX luxury SUV were obsessed with giving customers more — more space in the rear seat, more fuel economy from a high-tech engine and, above all, more apps, maps and connectivity. But there was one feature they wanted less of: buttons.

By Bill Vlasic July 26, 2013

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Auto review: Rich-looking Sonata excels on so many levels

The smooth and powerful Hyundai Sonata is a four-cylinder car that feels like it's really a V-6. (Hyundai) Family sedan buyers are moving upscale, and they're doing it by buying...

By Ann M. Job July 25, 2013

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Auto review: Porsche Cayenne Diesel racks up the mpgs

You won't get altitude sickness in Sacramento, where 20 feet of elevation is considered high ground. Drive 100 miles east, though, and you'll be in Truckee, a Wild West-flavored ski town perched in the Sierra Nevada at about 6,000 feet. Sacramento-to-Truckee is the kind of drive that can strain cooling systems and test the nerves of truckers once Interstate 80 starts heading back downhill. Over this route, with its mile-plus of sheer vertical ascent, the 2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel averaged 26 miles per gallon. If you're wondering why Porsche now makes a diesel, that number probably answers your question.

By Ezra Dyer July 24, 2013

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Tire innovations to be pumped about

The steady flow of reminders to keep tires at the automaker's suggested inflation levels — even President Barack Obama chimed in — demonstrates just how far the demands of auto maintenance have diminished. With spark plugs that seem to last forever and oil-change intervals stretching to 10,000 miles and more, many owners continue to slack off when it comes to looking after tire pressure.

By Steven Ashley July 23, 2013

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MOHAI showcases car from drag-racing champ Al Young

All summer long, a green-and-black Dodge Challenger will sit in the atrium of the Museum of History & Industry. It's eye candy for car lovers, worth more than half a million dollars. More important, it's a piece of the region's racing history.

By Rachel Shimp July 21, 2013

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Some tips for surviving this hot summer without air conditioning

My stiflingly hot hell on wheels started in the summer of 2011. The air conditioning in my 14-year-old Saturn was dead. It was too expensive to fix. So I decided to suffer the consequences.

By Andrea Ball July 19, 2013

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Auto review: Hybrid version of Lexus ES sedan a winner

The best-selling Lexus car, the ES entry-luxury sedan, now comes as a gasoline-electric hybrid, and what a fine hybrid it is.

By Ann M. Job July 18, 2013

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Auto review: Cadenza shows how much Kia has matured

Automakers are sometimes pilloried, even in this space, for being too cautious with their designs. But a conservative design can suggest confidence. Perennial favorites from the Honda Accord to the Chevrolet Silverado are evidence that long-term value isn't about the flashiest body or the latest trend. The Kia Cadenza demonstrates the point.

By Lawrence Ulrich July 17, 2013

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U.S. lags in push for hydrogen-powered cars

Hyundai rolled out the first 15 of its hydrogen-powered ix35 sport utility vehicles headed to Copenhagen recently. But part of the news for U.S. drivers interested in the technology was the fact that the event was in Europe and not here.

By Ronald D. White July 16, 2013

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Superstorm Sandy fallout: Steer clear of flood-damaged cars

If you're shopping for a used vehicle, there's a major item you need to check for besides price, color, make and model. It's something you don't want: evidence of water damage from a flood.

By Susan Salisbury July 14, 2013

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Six tips for getting the best deal on a lease

Even with low interest rates that make buying a car more affordable, many consumers are leasing a new car or truck instead. Here are six tips to get a good deal when leasing a new car or truck.

By Alex Veiga July 12, 2013

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Auto review: Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV a special ride

It's easy to look down on Toyota Prius drivers — if you're driving the newest and most special Mercedes-Benz G-Class sport utility vehicle.

By Ann M. Job July 11, 2013

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Auto review: Porsche Carrera an improvement on greatness

It sometimes can seem that there are as many variants of Porsche's 911 as there are Crayola crayons. But for 2013, Porsche has winnowed down the seventh-generation model, which it introduced last year, to six versions. We drove the Carrera 4S Cabriolet — convertible — that is the new-for-'13 all-wheel-drive version.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek July 10, 2013

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For some mechanics, vintage cars are a calling

Not everyone aspires to own a shiny new car. For some, allure is found in a '67 Corvette, a '49 Merc, a rocking '32 deuce coupe. For them, a car is as much testimony as transportation. Their mechanics understand that.

By Mark Davis July 9, 2013

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Greenwood Auto Show gets hot in the city

Crowds braved temperatures in the 80s to attend the Greenwood Auto Show on June 29.

Photos by Barry Gibbons July 7, 2013

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Safety features that weren't standard — or even available — not so long ago

It's hard to imagine, but most items on the long list of safety features offered on modern cars were developed only in the past 50 years.

By Larry Printz July 5, 2013

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Auto review: Audi RS 5 comes to America, finally

American Audi fans finally can get their hands on a few — just a few — Audi RS 5 Coupes and Cabriolets.

By Ann M. Job July 4, 2013

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Auto review: Kia Sorento gets an inner-beauty boost

At first glance, it doesn't look like the 2014 Kia Sorento has changed much since last year. But under the sheet metal, it is new, with changes to the chassis and suspension that have smoothed out the ride and improved handling. Our tester was the mid-level EX trim with all-wheel drive.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek July 3, 2013

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Ural motorcyles with sidecar make the leap from Russia to Redmond

"We'll turn you into a monkey," Seattleite Steven Austin tells me as we chat on the phone about his new Ural motorcycle.

By Scott McCredie June 30, 2013

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Octane differences can lower gas mileage, damage engine

Let the driver beware: Not all gasoline is created equal. As the summer-vacation driving season begins, paying attention at the pump can add miles per gallon to your fuel economy, and protect your engine.

By Mark Phelan June 28, 2013

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Auto review: Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio is powerfully fun

Introduced this year in time for warm weather stateside, the 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio is a fun little car for hard-charging drivers.

By Ann M. Job June 27, 2013

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Auto review: Mazda CX-9 a spacious, fun crossover

Mazda has refreshed its large crossover, the CX-9, for 2013, essentially giving the family hauler a new front end that carries the "Kodo" design philosophy seen in the rest of the automaker's lineup, especially the all-new Mazda 6 sedan.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek June 26, 2013

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Car-seat safety for kids starts with age and weight

As the summer driving season gets underway, it's a good time to look at car-seat, booster-seat and seat-belt safety for all road trips — from cross-country sightseeing to a trip to the grocery store.

By Nicole Villalpando June 25, 2013

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Amuse the family with road-trip games using license plates

Any parent knows that license plates aren't just a way for the state to keep track of cars. They provide hours of amusement for families on long road trips. Consider these license-plate games.

By Helen Anders June 23, 2013

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Wheelchair user who couldn't find vehicle starts a company to build one

Stacy Zoern, the co-owner of Community Cars, poses with a Kenguru car in April. (Ben Sklar / The New York Times) For years, Stacey Zoern, a Texas lawyer who lives...

By Caitlin Kelly June 21, 2013

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Auto review: Ford Flex styling is standout feature

The bold, boxy exterior of the Ford Flex is such a forceful statement, it can distract from the other notable features of this generously sized, six- to seven-passenger crossover vehicle.

By Ann M. Job June 20, 2013

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Auto review: This Cherokee is one powerful ride

The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT has 470 horsepower and a luxurious interior. (Chrysler) There's a new Jeep Grand Cherokee from Street and Racing Technology (SRT), which has become Chrysler's...

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek June 19, 2013

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Tires that cut rolling resistance are gas savers

The engineers who create gallon-squeezing cars like the Toyota Prius use every available method to comply with the ever-tightening fuel-economy standards they must meet. Those solutions may include the use of hybrid powertrains, adopting lightweight materials, cutting aerodynamic drag and minimizing the friction losses of moving parts.

By Stuart F. Brown June 18, 2013

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Automakers keep fueling Americans' love for big trucks

I've been fortunate to have traveled the world: Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia. Exotic islands, too. Wherever I go, I'm struck by one undeniable truth — Americans love their full-size pickup trucks like no other country on planet Earth.

By Tom Voelk June 16, 2013

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Diesel offerings boom as automakers strive for fuel efficiency

This year brings an unprecedented proliferation of diesel engines, a technology traditionally offered by German automakers.

By Susan Carpenter June 14, 2013

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Auto review: Dodge Avenger stands out for affordability

The 2013 midsize sedan with the lowest starting price in the United States isn't a Kia or Hyundai. It's the Dodge Avenger, which has seats for five, a good-sized trunk and distinctive Dodge front styling — all for $20,390 including destination charge.

By Ann M. Job June 13, 2013

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Auto review: Refreshed Honda Civic marries performance and practicality

Honda rolled out the ninth-generation Civic for 2012, and it met with a lukewarm reception. Critics found fault with its interior quality and its new 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. (We detected some cost-cutting in cabin materials, but still thought it a solid sport compact.) As a result of the criticism, Honda quickly refreshed the Civic for 2013. Our tester was the performance Si Coupe. Having driven previous Si models, we were eager to try it.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek June 12, 2013

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Home chargers have powerful appeal for EV drivers

Shinya Fujimoto bought his Nissan Leaf during heady times for electric-vehicle fans.

By Deborah Petersen June 11, 2013

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Drive home your love on Father's Day with fun auto-related gifts

Clockwise from top left: Firebird T-Shirt, $38; Silverlit Bluetooth Porsche, $80; Craftsman Socket Organizer Set, $12.50; Griot's Garage Starter Car Care Kit, $65; Authentic European License Plate, $30 (center). Dads...

By Sara Kennedy June 9, 2013

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A first: Infiniti Q50's steering wheel has no mechanical connection to wheels

So long as their car moves when the pedal is pressed, there is little reason for drivers of newer cars to care whether electronics have replaced the physical connection between the accelerator and the engine.

By Ian Austen June 7, 2013

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Auto review: New Mini Cooper Paceman fights 'cute' label

If you're weary of Mini Coopers described as "cute," the new-for-2013 Mini Cooper Paceman is for you.

By Ann M. Job June 6, 2013

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Auto review: New Lexus holding its own vs. nonhybrids

The Lexus GS450h, redesigned for the 2013 model year, demonstrates how far Toyota has come in the two decades it has spent trying to electrify the automobile.

By Jerry Garrett June 5, 2013

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Drag racer for a day: It's not as easy as it looks

Mash the gas pedal the moment the light changes, race to the next signal and hit the brakes. That's a typical commute for some drivers. How different could drag racing be? I found out recently during a one-day session with Doug Foley's Drag Racing Experience at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.

By Viv Bernstein June 4, 2013

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LeMay museum leads restoration of first Avanti

After two years, a project to restore the first Studebaker Avanti ever sold is nearing completion. Volunteers and staff working on the car for the LeMay auto museum say that it has been fun — and a challenge.

By Rachel Shimp June 2, 2013

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Competition among midsize cars is driving style and deals

For nearly two decades, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord have ruled the midsize car market. But now, cars such as the Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima and Kia Optima are cutting into sales of the Camry and Accord by offering combinations of sleeker designs, luxury-car features and better gas mileage.

By Tom Krisher May 31, 2013

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Auto review: Subaru Forester remains smartly sized

The Subaru Forester gets up to 32 mpg in highway driving. (Subaru) The Subaru Forester, well known as a durable and eminently functional compact sport utility vehicle, adds more power,...

By Ann M. Job May 30, 2013

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Auto review: i-MiEV made for city driving

Perhaps it's telling that Mitsubishi's all-electric acronym, the city car known as the i-MiEV (Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle), was trucked to us from Miami.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek May 29, 2013

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Buicks refreshed to catch eye of younger buyers

Stop me if you've heard this one before: There's this famous car brand whose average driver is more familiar with Social Security than social media.

By Tom Krisher May 28, 2013

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Auto-show season gears up with annual classics, new events

Passionate car collectors — and those who appreciate and enjoy looking at their hard work — will fill local auto shows this spring and summer. Here are some highlights.

By Scott McCredie May 26, 2013

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Auto review: New Chevy Sonic is a stylish hatchback 


The newest Chevrolet Sonic is a peppy, stylish, versatile and good handling RS hatchback with standard turbo engine, leather-trimmed seats and smartphone infotainment link — all for a starting price tag of less $21,000.

By Ann M. Job May 24, 2013

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Audis, Ducatis lead cast of vehicles starring in movies this summer

"Iron Man 3" kicks off a summer blockbuster season that will see hundreds of speeding, squealing, exploding, airborne, rolling and smoking vehicles in dozens of high-adrenaline films.

By Susan Carpenter May 23, 2013

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Auto review: A crossover jostling to fit in showrooms already full

Subaru has created a new Forester for 2014 that offers more room, new features and better fuel economy, all based on the underpinnings of the redesigned Impreza introduced in 2011.

May 22, 2013

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Cars meld with smartphones as automakers add access to apps

Two new factors are increasingly influencing buyers' auto choice: The kind of wireless connection a car has, and the kinds of mobile applications it runs.Noting the popularity of smartphones and the apps that run on them, carmakers are moving to make their vehicles "smarter" and more connected.

By Troy Wolverton May 17, 2013

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Auto review: Mercedes-Benz GL350 is in demand

The high mark for sales of big sport utility vehicles came years ago, but don't tell that to Mercedes-Benz customers.

By Ann M. Job May 16, 2013

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Auto review: Aston Martin Vanquish a supercar that can stand on its own

As if playing musical chairs, ultraluxury carmakers have scampered to find a safe perch within the global automaking giants.

By Lawrence Ulrich May 15, 2013

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Propane gaining ground as alternative vehicle fuel

Most people stare blankly when Bret Chandler starts talking about using propane as an alternate vehicle fuel. But most people haven't spent the past three years working with companies that convert cars and trucks to run on propane and setting up networks of filling stations all over California, Texas and Colorado.

By Rusty Marks May 14, 2013

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Top auto picks for Northwest road trips this summer

Northwesterners are definitely fun hogs. Our vehicles get us to ski slopes, coastlines, mountain-bike trails and wine-country getaways. We're blessed with more recreation per square mile than nearly anyplace on the planet, and the roads that get us there are truly spectacular.

By Tom Voelk May 12, 2013

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New Odyssey adds built-in vacuum to draw more minivan moms

A vacuum cleaner is built into the trunk of the 2014 Honda Odyssey minivan. (Mary Altaffer / The Associated Press) Stray Cheerios, beware. The new Honda Odyssey minivan is here...

By Dee-Ann Durbin May 10, 2013

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Auto review: Base Ford C-Max Energi is well-equipped

The Ford C-Max Energi can travel up to 21 miles in all-electric mode. (Ford) Ford's newest C-Max is the ultimate plug-in gasoline-electric hatchback for fuel- and environmentally conscious drivers yearning...

By Ann M. Job May 9, 2013

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Auto review: Mitsubishi Outlander Sport starts below $20K

Mitsubishi's Outlander Sport is neither an Outlander, like its bigger SUV sibling of the same name, nor sporty. But the Outlander Sport, which has been updated for 2013, is a compact SUV that can be had for slightly less than $20,000 in its base trim.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek May 8, 2013

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All wheels add to the handling of Acura RLX

The notion of making vehicles turn better by steering all four of their wheels has inspired engineers for decades. The U.S. Army experimented with all-wheel-steering jeeps during World War II, and the benefits to maneuverability of rear steering have long been known to firefighters assigned to hook-and-ladder trucks.

By Aaron Robinson May 7, 2013

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Hybrid sales heat up as selection improves

When Ferrari's biggest and baddest supercar is a hybrid, you know the world has changed. Once considered the province of techies and the eco-friendly, hybrids are catching on in almost every vehicle segment.

By Jerry Hirsch May 5, 2013

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Super savers: What does $15K buy? There are plenty of choices

There are nine new cars with prices starting at less than $15,000. They come with unexpected standard equipment, and all of them possess an impressive safety list.

By Larry Printz May 3, 2013

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Auto review: Jeep Patriot is low-priced SUV

Buyers with a small-car budget don't have to settle for a small car when they would rather drive a sport utility vehicle. In fact, they can get a new Jeep for less than the retail price of a 2013 Toyota Corolla sedan.

By Ann M. Job May 2, 2013

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Auto review: Mazda6 not your average family hauler

This is the golden age of the midsize sedan. The family car is the most competitive class in the auto industry, and consumers reap the benefits of this one-upmanship. The latest proof of this is the stylish all-new Mazda6.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek May 1, 2013

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Why they're wooing Chinese buyers in Shanghai

Global and Chinese automakers showcased family-friendly sedans and SUVs targeting coveted urban buyers at China's biggest auto show recently as competition intensifies in this huge but crowded market.

By Joe McDonald April 30, 2013

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Metropolitan owners say the cute cars can be a bargain

The members of the Pacific Northwest Metropolitan Owners Club are out to prove that collector cars don't always come in big packages — or with expensive price tags.

By Jeff Layton April 28, 2013

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Spring clean: 5 ways to shake winter off of your car

Winter can do a number on your car. Slush, salt and cold temperatures take a toll on everything from the tires to the wiper blades. As spring approaches, it's a good idea to give your car a thorough once-over to undo winter's damage.

By Dee-Ann Durbin April 26, 2013

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Auto review: Chevrolet Volt a high-tech drive

The 2013 Chevrolet Volt has a lot going for it. It can travel up to 50 miles on all-electric power and has a backup gasoline engine for longer trips, is a recommended buy of Consumer Reports magazine and adds new features, including a new Hold mode that lets drivers set the Volt for gasoline-engine operation only, thereby saving the electric range for later in the trip, if needed.

By Ann M. Job April 25, 2013

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Auto review: Porsche spices up SUV world with Cayenne

Forget what you know about diesels. Forget the arguments about whether Porsche should be making SUVs. The Cayenne Diesel, especially if you can ante up for the pricey options, will change any preconceived notions.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek April 24, 2013

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Luxury-auto sales rise as economy rebounds

With the luxury-vehicle market booming, automakers are rushing to fill their showrooms with expensive new models found at the New York auto show in March.

By Bill Vlasic April 23, 2013

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Tricks to get maximum mileage from hybrids, EVs

It's a no-brainer that electric vehicles get great mileage compared with cars powered by internal-combustion engines. Even so, many drivers of EVs and plug-in hybrids tweak their driving habits to achieve longer ranges on a single charge.

By Scott McCredie April 21, 2013

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If you're not afraid, DIY vehicle repairs can save you money

(Thinkstock) A common theme when trying to save money is "do it yourself," but many car owners are hesitant to take that advice and attempt basic maintenance and repairs on...

By Gregory Karp April 19, 2013

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Auto review: Kia Forte an exciting family car

Sometimes, we get as excited over a modestly priced car as we do over the latest exotic. We're serious. An economy car has to provide more bang for the buck in areas that matter to busy families. So we appreciate when a car delivers. Kia's all-new 2014 Forte sedan does this surprisingly well. It should hit dealerships any day now.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek April 17, 2013

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ABCs of tires: The right ones can help your car get a grip

If you find yourself in need of a new set of tires and don't know what all of those letters and numbers on the sides of tires mean, here's...

By Larry Printz April 16, 2013

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More to consider: Convertibles that deserve a look

The spotlight of popularity can also divert attention away from other things that deserve it. Take convertibles. Ask people to name three, and nearly everyone answers Mustang, Miata and "the Chrysler you rent on vacation in Hawaii." You already know about the top three in top-down motoring; it's time to shed some sunshine on some lesser-known drop-tops.

By Tom Voelk April 14, 2013

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Peugeot's Hybrid Air holds promise of 81 mpg by 2015

What's that car that just breezed past? It's a Hybrid Air — an experimental vehicle that French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen has been trumpeting as an exemplar of energy efficiency. While some skeptics wonder whether the Hybrid Air is truly a breakthrough technology, the Peugeot and Citroen research cars powered by it were some of the more intriguing models on display at the Geneva auto show in March.

By David Jolly April 12, 2013

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Auto review: BMW adds small crossover, the X1

Finally, American car shoppers can get a small crossover sport utility vehicle from BMW that has a starting retail price of less than $32,000. In fact, the new-for-2013 BMW X1 five door has the lowest starting retail price of any BMW car or SUV — $31,695. The well-proportioned X1 looks pricier on the outside than it is and has great cargo- and people-hauling functionality.

By Ann M. Job April 11, 2013

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Auto review: Open the top and up mpg with diesel VW Beetle

In 2006, I drove a Saab 9-3 diesel convertible in Italy. Aside from an unfortunate incident when a bird guano-bombed my head near Lake Como, the top-down experience was remarkably pleasant.

By Ezra Dyer April 10, 2013

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Catholic Church all for evolution — of popemobile

As the newly installed pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis will often be seen greeting the world from the back of a rather peculiar vehicle. It's taken many shapes over the past three decades, but the classification is one we've become pretty accustomed to: the popemobile.

By Benjamin Preston April 9, 2013

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Vinyl wraps let car owners customize their rides with color, graphics

Local companies, such as NorthWest Auto Salon in Lynnwood, are taking vinyl wraps to protect and transform luxury vehicles and sports cars such as Ferraris and Lamborghinis.

By Jeff Layton April 7, 2013

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Eight compact luxury cars that have high style for less than $35K

Can a small car be a luxury car? It might sound like an oxymoron, but high-end manufacturers don't think so. In an effort to meet future federal fuel economy requirements, premium automakers are creating some of their smallest vehicles ever.

By Larry Printz April 5, 2013

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Auto review: Turbo creates a spirited Buick Verano

The 2013 Buick Verano Turbo is a stealth car. It looks pretty and rides comfortably. But stomp on the accelerator and this newest Verano sedan takes off.

By Ann M. Job April 4, 2013

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Auto review: Hyundai Genesis has bolder look

The Hyundai Genesis Coupe has more horsepower and a sportier look than previous versions. (Hyundai) Hyundai introduced its Genesis coupe in 2010 as a traditional rear-wheel-drive performance car for the...

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek April 3, 2013

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Oddball autos: They don't make 'em like they used to

In this age of mass production and global distribution, have we seen the last taillights of cars with personality?

By Jason H. Harper March 31, 2013 1 Comment

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Why speedometers' top speeds exceed reality

The speedometer on the Toyota Yaris says the tiny car can go 140 miles per hour. In reality, the subcompact's 106-horsepower engine and automatic transmission can't push it any faster than 109.

By Tom Krisher March 29, 2013

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Auto review: Spirit of Carroll Shelby lives in 2013 Mustang

Nearly a year after race car driver and car designer Carroll Shelby died, his spirit lives on in a 2013 Ford Mustang with the most powerful series production V-8 in the world and unmistakable Shelby Mustang styling.

By Ann M. Job March 28, 2013

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Auto review: Buick stakes a claim in Munchkinland

Buick's image is so ingrained in the national consciousness that the name has become shorthand for a U.S. road barge with ample proportions. That moose, someone might say, "is as big as a Buick."

By Cheryl Jensen March 27, 2013

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And to think we could all be driving Washingtons

As someone who grew up in a series of Lincoln automobiles, I am heartened at Ford Motor Company's belated attempt to revive this legendary luxury brand, even if it's odd that they use the former U.S. president in its advertising. And while there have been some remarkable Lincoln automobiles, you can't say the same for Washington, a name one associates with character and strength, but not for memorable cars.

By Larry Printz March 26, 2013

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Local drag racer aims to defend her crown at Northwest Nationals

Megan Ellingson, who had never won a divisional race, last year took first in the Sportsman's Class at the National Hot Rod Association's Northwest Nationals drag races. With that win, she became a part of racing history: part of a three-woman sweep of a national NHRA event.

By Laura Pierce March 24, 2013

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Technologies in the works to make driving safer, less frustrating

During a frustrating rush-hour jam, drivers of an experimental car from Audi will be able to take their hands off the wheel, lift their feet from the pedals and focus on things other than the road, such as a movie or a newspaper. The car will take care of the driving.

By Cecilia Kang March 22, 2013

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Auto review: Refreshed Buick Enclave has smooth ride

The 2013 Buick Enclave is a V-6 with more than 115 cubic feet of cargo space. (General Motors) The Buick Enclave, the best-selling, seven-seat, premium- or luxury-branded sport utility vehicle...

By Ann M. Job March 21, 2013

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Auto review: XC60 has that Volvo va-va-voom

The 2013 Volvo XC60 has a high stance, elegant roofline and a curvy rear end. (Volvo) The stylish XC60 puts Volvo's Scandinavian style into a small luxury crossover SUV. The...

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek March 20, 2013

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Japanese brands rush to add N. American plants

Japanese automakers are building North American assembly plants at a breakneck pace to regain lost U.S. market share and reduce their dependence on a homeland that's become prohibitively costly.

By Mark Phelan March 19, 2013

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Plug-in protocol: etiquette for EV charging stations

As more electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids hit the streets — and with at least a dozen new models poised to enter showrooms this year — the competition to "fill up" at the more than 300 public charging stations in Washington state could send sparks flying and tempers flaring.

By Scott McCredie March 17, 2013 11 Comments

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Would you rent your vehicle to a stranger?

I, like many owners of the country's 260 million registered vehicles, rarely drive. Yet the bills keep on coming. I lease my car for about $200 a month. Add in the costs of fuel (electricity in my case), insurance and AAA coverage in case I crash, and the monthly bill is closer to $450.

By Susan Carpenter March 15, 2013

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Auto review: New Cadillac ATS chases BMW 3-Series

The 2013 ATS is Cadillac's smallest and lightest-weight car. (The Associated Press) The smallest and lightest-weight car from Cadillac, the ATS, is a sharp-looking, smart-handling, rear- or all-wheel drive sedan...

By Ann M. Job March 14, 2013

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Auto review: Toyota's bottom feeder finally makes some waves

The Toyota Yaris now comes as a two- or four-door hatchback, starting at $15,165. (Toyota) Considering Toyota's expertise in democratic, affordable transportation — Corolla, Camry, Prius — you'd think it...

By Lawrence Ulrich March 13, 2013 2 Comments

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High-priced vehicles wow at Geneva auto show

While mass-market automakers are struggling in Europe with bloated inventories, falling sales and red ink, many luxury brands are reporting record sales and profits. Hence an unprecedented number of ultraexpensive new cars are mixed among the 130 or so premieres at the 83rd International Motor Show in Geneva.

By Jerry Garrett March 12, 2013

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Informed decision: It pays to know what's new before you buy

If it's been a few years since you last shopped for a new car or truck, there are technologies that have changed the way a car operates, sounds and feels. Misunderstand them and you could make a buying mistake.

By Tom Voelk March 10, 2013

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Turbos have their critics, but they outsell hybrids 4 to 1

While electric vehicles continue to grab the green-car spotlight, an older technology has quietly emerged as a player in the fuel-economy wars: turbocharging.

By Brian Thevenot March 8, 2013

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Auto review: Toyota Avalon takes sleek turn in '13

The 2013 Toyota Avalon's base retail price is some $2,200 less than the starting retail price for last year's Avalon. (Toyota) Toyota's flagship sedan, the Avalon, is stylishly elegant for...

By Ann M. Job March 7, 2013

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Auto review: Well-done do-over raises final grade on Civic

The 2013 Honda Civic looks more like its bigger sibling, the Accord. (Honda) The 2012 Honda Civic was a goof: a dull all-new car that wasn't better, in any significant...

By John Pearley Huffman March 6, 2013

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GM, Ford leaders share technology, EV insights

Mark Reuss, president of General Motors Co.'s North American operations, and Mark Fields, the newly appointed chief operating officer of Ford Motor Co., address key issues facing the industry, including the future of in-dash technology, fuel economy, electric cars and the prospects for the industry at large.

By Jerry Hirsch March 5, 2013

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High-tech innovations make cars smarter and safer

The future has arrived for innovative safety technology, making cars smarter and safer.

By Jeff Layton March 3, 2013

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Owners enjoy the sights, sounds and speed of Triumph

OWNER: Karen and Eugene Penix, Quincy OCCUPATION: Retired CAR'S MAKE AND MODEL: 1960 Triumph TR3A "I LOVE MY CAR BECAUSE ... I love the old-school sports-car feel, the sound...

March 3, 2013 2 Comments

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Halo effect: Big names poised to kick off supercar battle

Production for the Porsche 918 Spyder is expected to start in September. The hybrid, which offers nearly 800 horsepower, will cost $845,000. (Porsche) An $845,000 Porsche. A McLaren supercar likely...

By Jason H. Harper March 1, 2013

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Auto review: Turbo Taurus is tops in fuel mileage

For 2013, Ford's full-size and attractively restyled Taurus includes an optional, turbocharged, EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. (Ford) Don't expect to find a four-cylinder engine in a big, roomy, 17-foot-long sedan? You're...

By Ann M. Job February 28, 2013

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Auto review: A hatchback marinated in hot sauce

The 2013 Ford Focus ST shown here features a roof spoiler, 18-inch wheels and a paint color called Tangerine Scream. (Ford) About a decade after sparking up its fondly recalled...

By Lawrence Ulrich February 27, 2013

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Let others buy the Dodge Dart for you on registry

Aimed at young buyers, the Dodge Dart Registry allows potential Dart owners to solicit donations toward the purchase of a new car. That's right, you can get other people to buy the car for you.

By Benjamin Preston February 26, 2013

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Big Three bank on loyalty to pickup trucks as competition heats up

When it comes to pickups, loyalty runs deep. There is no model more important or more zealously defended by Detroit.

By Keith Naughton, Craig Trudell and Tim Higgins February 24, 2013

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Automakers show renewed interest in efficient diesel engines

Drivers in the U.S. are discovering what Europeans have known for years: Diesel engines are powerful and still get eye-popping fuel economy, especially at highway speeds.

By Jerry Hirsch February 22, 2013 1 Comment

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Auto review: Acura RLX replaces brand's RL flagship

The 2014 RLX luxury sedan replaces Acura's flagship RL sedan this year. (Honda) The 2014 RLX luxury sedan is the most sophisticated Acura production car in history, topping even the...

By Ann M. Job February 21, 2013

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Auto review: Fresh prince of full-size pickups

The 2013 Ram 1500 offers an efficient new V-6 engine and other significant refinements. (Chrysler Group) Some latter-day puritans contend that excess is a moral abomination and just plain wrong....

By Christopher Jensen February 20, 2013

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A look at the vehicles that won critics' hearts in 2012

The year 2012 is over, but one last vestige of it will linger deep into 2013 -- the "best of" automotive lists. Winners of the more prestigious titles will brag for months, if not the entire year. Modesty is not a virtue in the automotive world.

By Tom Voelk February 17, 2013

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New crash-test dummies do a better job gauging safety

Engineers from General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and other companies have been working together to develop advanced crash-test dummies that can more accurately gauge vehicle safety. Their efforts are close to producing smarter dummies.

By Nathan Bomey February 15, 2013

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Auto review: Honda Civic sedan back as a smart buy

The 2013 Honda Civic EX-L Sedan has been redesigned after last year's updated version was criticized by reviewers and consumers. (Honda) The Honda Civic is back as a smart-to-buy compact...

By Ann M. Job February 14, 2013

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Auto review: Like an aging Elvis, star retains its power

Now 275 pounds lighter, the new SL-Class has the first mass-produced aluminum structure on a Mercedes-Benz production car. (Mercedes-Benz USA) Mercedes-Benz couldn't have known it at the time. But from...

By Lawrence Ulrich February 13, 2013

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A test-drive of monitor for lower auto insurance rates

(New York Times News Service) Irecently installed a small wireless gadget under my car's dashboard that would monitor my driving. I wanted to see how it felt to have my...

By Randall Stross February 12, 2013 1 Comment

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A road trip could put turbo boost in your relationship

I have here on my computer unbiased, definitive data about how to enhance your love life. It comes to me compliments of a company called YourTango, which bills itself as "the digital leader in love and relationships." I know, not exactly Masters and Johnson, but better than Click and Clack. Maybe.

By Sean O’Connor February 10, 2013

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Technology push brings challenges for automakers

Automakers are racing to ramp up their digital offerings, linking in-dash systems to smartphones and services such as traffic monitors faster than you can say Pandora.

By John R. Quain February 8, 2013

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Auto review: Pamper yourself in a Lexus LS 460

After decades of top reliability ratings, the Lexus LS 460 remains the quintessential serene, no-fuss, pampering, large, luxury sedan.

By Ann M. Job February 7, 2013

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Auto review: Fiat Abarth fun despite the rough edges

The 2013 Fiat Abarth is colorful and stylish. (Chrysler) We've driven a few different models of the Fiat 500 since its U.S. debut in 2011 and enjoyed the little Italian...

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek February 6, 2013

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Fuel-efficiency panels make trucks less of a drag

The TrailerTail is designed to reduce the aerodynamic drag generated at the rear of trailers. The reduction in turbulence can raise gas mileage. (ATDynamics) Perhaps you've recently been surprised to...

By John R. Quain February 5, 2013

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Seattle RV Show a showcase for latest industry trends

Offering summer-fun inspiration, the upcoming Seattle RV Show promises to be a respite from the damp Northwest winter.

By Linda Hughes February 3, 2013

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Automakers return to Super Bowl in full force

This year, automakers will return to the Super Bowl in full force, hoping to make big impressions with their cars. Here's a rundown of who's selling what during the big game.

By Brent Snavely February 1, 2013

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Auto review: 2013 Nissan Altima is dressed up and thrifty

The 2013 Nissan Altima is slightly larger and has more power than its predecessor and is restyled inside and out for a more upscale appearance.

By Ann M. Job January 31, 2013

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Auto review: Any engine you like, but only if it's a hybrid

The Ford C-Max comes in two flavors: a plug-in version, called the C-Max Energi, and a standard gas-electric C-Max Hybrid. (Ford) For many Americans, the basic compact car stands as...

By Bradley Berman January 30, 2013

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Green-car devotion strong at Detroit auto show

The Tesla Model X was among the new electric options at the recent North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (The Associated Press) The greenest cars on the market --...

By Bill Vlasic January 29, 2013

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Father-son project yields two roadsters, several life lessons

Despite having no experience, one father ordered a British roadster kit, purchased an engine hoist plus a few basic tools, and, with his teenage son, spent 160 hours during the next six months figuring out the instructions.

By Jeff Layton January 27, 2013 5 Comments

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Fuel economy adds big savings to new-vehicle purchase

The cost of fueling a new car should be a major consideration while shopping for a new car. These tips can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

By Larry Printz January 25, 2013

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Auto review: Gas Jetta hybrid trumps diesel model

Volkswagen's newest Jetta has the highest mileage rating ever -- a combined 45 miles per gallon in city and highway travel. But, it doesn't use diesel fuel, as previous high-mileage Jettas have.

By Ann M. Job January 24, 2013

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A parade of positive thinking, paced by a new Corvette

Cobo Center in Detroit has 723,000 square feet of exhibition space, enough to spotlight hundreds of new cars. Mysteriously, as journalists gathered there last week for press previews of the North American International Auto Show, it seemed as if there was room for only one vehicle: the 2014 Corvette.

By Lawrence Ulrich January 23, 2013

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Corvette grabs attention through its 60 years

The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray was revealed at the Detroit auto show last week. (Paul Sancya / The Associated Press) As automotive events go, the arrival of a new Corvette...

By Larry Printz January 22, 2013 2 Comments

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Detroit darlings: A sampling of hot cars from the Detroit auto show

The North American International Auto Show began last week in Detroit. Here are some of the exciting new cars and experimental concept vehicles unveiled at the show.

The Associated Press January 20, 2013 1 Comment

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The next big thing: Mini-crossovers that offer gas savings, ample room

Mini-crossovers — small SUV-styled vehicles that share parts and systems with compact and subcompact cars — could be the auto industry's next boom.

By Mark Phelan January 18, 2013

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Auto review: Nissan Pathfinder goes easy on gas

For 2013, the Nissan Pathfinder sport utility vehicle is longer, wider and has a roomier interior than its predecessor. At the same time, this new Pathfinder is 500 pounds lighter. And with a 30 percent boost in fuel economy, it tops all other mid-size crosso

By Ann M. Job January 17, 2013

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Auto review: Mercedes GL350 Bluetec lives up to its price

"Put it in low range," says the guy at the starting line of the off-road racecourse. "It doesn't have low range," I reply, gesturing vaguely toward the console of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL350 Bluetec.

By Ezra Dyer January 16, 2013

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Chrysler marketing chief generates buzz

In a scene that could have come from the television series "Mad Men" — except Don Draper didn't have the large flat-screen monitor — Olivier Francois is puffing on a cigarette and reaching for a mouse to unleash a blitz of images.

By Brent Snavely January 15, 2013

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13 for '13: Outstanding cars that'll make it a year to remember

Since the apocalypse didn't happen last month, perhaps you're planning to celebrate humanity's survival by buying a new car. Being 2013, it seems appropriate to look at a baker's dozen of the most significant models arriving this year. Some are in showrooms, some will be out soon. Be patient — it's not the end of the world.

By Tom Voelk January 13, 2013

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Bright ideas: Technology elevates lighting from functional to stylish

Lighting is the stuff of drama, in cars as well as on stage. More and more, dramatic lighting seeps from under dashboards and seats or gives a glow to the door sills. The 2013 Cadillac XTS has illuminated exterior door handles. A glowing ring surrounds the recharging port of the Ford Focus Electric.

By Phil Patton January 11, 2013 1 Comment

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Auto review: Chevy Spark looks electric but runs on gasoline

Don't be surprised if some people assume the 2013 Chevrolet Spark is another newfangled electric car. Just 12 feet long and with an aerodynamic front end and abruptly chopped-off rear, the South Korean-built Spark could pass for an electric car.

By Ann M. Job January 10, 2013

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Auto review: Chevy Malibu an all-around decent car

My, my, late for the morning commute. Just a quick slurp of coffee; don't spill it on the tie again, and darn it, where did I leave those car keys? Oh, that's right: I don't actually have an office to go to. But with a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu waiting at the curb — Detroit's gray-flannel, workaday answer to the Toyota Camry — you'll forgive me for overlooking that fact.

By Lawrence Ulrich January 9, 2013 2 Comments

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Porsche and Tesla among the best of 2012

Automobiles occupy an outsized chunk of my time. When you drive as many as three new cars a week, every week, slamming doors, pinching leather, evaluating gas mileage and figuring out how the radio works, the small stuff matters. I love the smart, outrageous and practical, and am exasperated by the wrongheaded, timid and abstruse.

By Jason H. Harper January 8, 2013

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Sedan sizzle: Competition heats up among midsize models

Six big automakers are ready to slug it out over the next year or two in what is shaping up to be a heated competition for a prime slice of the American car market — the midsize family sedan.

By Bob Cox January 4, 2013

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Auto review: Roomy 2013 Honda Pilot is award winner

The Honda Pilot remains the most fuel-efficient eight-passenger sport utility vehicle for 2013, is rated above average in predicted reliability and offers a comfortable ride and versatile cargo hauling.

By Ann M. Job January 3, 2013

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Auto review: Turbo kicks up appeal of Hyundai Veloster

When we drove the new Hyundai Veloster last year, we immediately took to the little hatchback with the odd number of doors and even odder name. We liked its funky design, but were disappointed with the "sporty" coupe's obvious lack of power. Now comes a turbo model, and all is right in the Veloster's world.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek January 2, 2013

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GM pickups get a much-needed makeover

General Motors is giving its big pickups a much-needed makeover. The company unveiled new versions of its top-selling Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra recently, aiming to get them to showrooms by late spring or early summer.

By Tom Krisher January 1, 2013 1 Comment

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Lightweights: Three materials compete to reduce vehicle weight

Thanks to tough new federal fuel-efficiency rules, automakers must meet a fleet average of 54.5 mpg by 2025. More efficient engines and electric powertrains can't carry the whole load, so carmakers and the federal government are pouring resources into "lightweighting" cars to meet the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards.

By Jim Motavalli December 30, 2012

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In-car systems increasingly tap into apps and smartphones

The love affair with the automobile has nearly been matched by consumers' passion for smartphones. So what could be better than joining the two? Automakers are introducing connected in-car systems that bring apps to the dashboard.

By John R. Quain December 28, 2012

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Auto review: Ford Explorer is a changed SUV

Wow, the Ford Explorer sure has changed. No longer a truck-based sport utility vehicle, the Explorer rides comfortably and is generously sized, with noticeable roominess.

By Ann M. Job December 27, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto year in review: A year of few dull moments

In a year full of comebacks (and a few setbacks), memorable anecdotes were plentiful. Here are some automotive highlights of 2012.

The New York Times News Service December 26, 2012

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Bidders battle it out over vintage war vehicles

An auction of World War II-era vehicles from the collection of the National Military History Center drew a surprisingly wide spectrum of auto enthusiasts.

By Tudor Van Hampton December 25, 2012

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It's the end of the line for these 2012 vehicles

For 2013, more than a dozen nameplates will not be returning, and two automotive brands have expired. Here are some of the more notable vehicles that are disappearing after the 2012 model year.

By Nick Kurczewski December 23, 2012 2 Comments

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Ones to watch: Cars and trucks that'll bring intrigue to 2013

Here's a handful of new and upcoming cars and trucks that stand out for being the most important and intriguing vehicles in showrooms now and into the new year.

By Mark Phelan December 21, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: Mitsubishi Lancer features all-wheel drive

Often overshadowed by its showier Lancer Evolution rally car sibling, the Mitsubishi Lancer sedan is a nimble-handling, decently powered and competitive compact four door in its own right.

By Ann M. Job December 20, 2012

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Auto review: Once more, with shrinkage, for BMW

The BMW X1 is based on the solid 1 Series, and it may easily outstrip the popularity of that small but costly coupe. And the X1 is much more practical.

By Lawrence Ulrich December 19, 2012

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More boomers switch from bikes to trikes

In his nearly 50 years as an avid motorcyclist, Grady Howard has roared down the tobacco roads of North Carolina and through the mountains of old Kentucky, all with his wife, Barbara, tucked behind him. But with a balky left leg and myriad other maladies, he knew the only way to stay wild was to add a wheel.

By Jesse McKinley December 18, 2012 4 Comments

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Auto trends of 2012 may shape our purchases next year

While auto manufacturers are itching to drive into the future, let's look back at this year's major themes to help understand where they're headed.

By Tom Voelk December 16, 2012

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Sliding doors and seven seats, but don't call it a minivan

It looks like a minivan. It has sliding doors like a minivan. So why isn't Ford calling its new seven-seater -- the Transit Connect Wagon -- a minivan?

By Dee-Ann Durbin December 14, 2012 2 Comments

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Auto review: Ford Taurus proves sometimes less is more

With the smaller, turbocharged engine, the Ford Taurus is now the country's most fuel-efficient large traditional sedan, even with a curb weight of almost two tons.

By Christopher Jensen December 12, 2012

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More boomers switch from bikes to trikes

A legion of aging bikers -- suffering from aching joints and slowing reflexes -- have abandoned their traditional two-wheel motorcycles in favor of three-wheelers, the super-steady and seemingly safer machines commonly known as trikes.

By Jesse McKinley December 11, 2012 1 Comment

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Could long-range Tesla Model S change the way we view e-cars?

Hailed as a game-changing vehicle that erases the drawbacks of previous electric cars, the Tesla Model S has been highly anticipated by local electric car buffs, environmentalists and techno-geeks.

By Scott McCredie December 9, 2012 9 Comments

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Time to prepare your vehicle before winter starts

As the sun sets earlier and temperatures fall, it's time to think about preparing your car for winter driving. Make sure your vehicle is ready for the onslaught that may come.

December 7, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: 2013 XTS is a different Cadillac

Don't let the words "large, luxury sedan" fool you. The largest sedan in Cadillac's lineup, the 2013 XTS, handles with the poise and competence of a smaller car and with a smoothness not typically found in high-end, sporty sedans.

By Ann M. Job December 6, 2012

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Auto review: Hyundai Azera keeps going with a good thing

Hyundai's Azera may not come to mind when you think of a full-size sedan, but it would be a shame to overlook it, especially because it has been stylishly redesigned for 2012. (The '13 has no major changes.)

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek December 5, 2012

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Dealers not surprised by Suzuki's demise

A 2013 Ozark 250 quad is among the products that Suzuki dealers will continue to sell in the U.S. (Suzuki) To Thomas Joynt Sr., who opened his first used-car...

By Larry Printz December 4, 2012 2 Comments

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Local racing fan restores a legend from the track

John Nelson of Shoreline didn't just restore an old car. He restored a piece of racing history -- the 1955 Zink Championship Race Car.

By Jeff Layton December 2, 2012 1 Comment

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More than 40 new vehicles debut at L.A. Auto Show

The Los Angeles Auto Show opens to the public today. Here are some of the most talked-about vehicles that will be making their world debuts at the event.

By Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher November 30, 2012

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Auto review: FR-S is Scion's sexy flagship release

The secret is out: You don't have to be a fanatical driving enthusiast to love Scion's new-for-2013 FR-S sport coupe.

By Ann M. Job November 29, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: Infiniti's FX37 the sporty side of SUVs

For 2013, the FX37 replaces the F35 as Infiniti's midsize sport-luxury crossover, bringing a slightly bigger engine to its already carlike performance. It's a stylish way to set yourself apart from the SUV pack in the school car line or the company parking lot.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek November 28, 2012

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Family soldiers on to open tank museum

Tanks at the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation museum in Portola Valley, Calif. (Peter DaSilva / The New York Times) A tank museum anywhere is a strange spectacle. It documents humanity's...

By Greg Beato November 27, 2012 1 Comment

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Car shopping: Holiday gifts for the auto fans on your list

Treat the car lovers or power commuters in your life to a holiday gift that caters to their passion, whether it's classic cars, planning the ultimate road trip or finding ways to make the journey a little easier.

By Karen Gaudette November 25, 2012

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Tomorrow's classics? Auto experts pick future favorites

A car's attaining collector status often has less to do with its monetary value than with mojo. If a machine can make hearts sing, then there will always be a devoted following, regardless of the depreciation curve. The fact that there are still pristine Corvairs on the road speaks to the power of charisma. So which of today's cars will defy the call of the salvage yard?

November 23, 2012

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Auto review: Eco hybrid is most fuel-efficient Malibu ever

While it may not be apparent from pictures, the new Chevrolet Malibu Eco has significantly new styling, including a taller hood, wider track and a 4.5-inch shorter wheelbase from the 2012 model. The styling and platform changes sweep through the entire 2013 lineup, marking the launch of the eighth-generation.

By Ann M. Job November 22, 2012

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Auto review: Subaru BRZ, Scion FR-S are fun, sporty twins

It's a word that nowadays seems to appear only in reviews of Broadway shows followed by four to eight exclamation points. It's the sort of word that, if you hear it spoken at all, is often uttered with resigned sarcasm. Maybe it's hokey and a bit archaic, but the word terrific perfectly describes the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S, twin sports cars only recently delivered and then sent to live with separate families.

By John Pearley Huffman November 21, 2012 1 Comment

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It's hot: Porsche Spyder excels on desert test run

When a troupe of Porsche engineers arrived in Las Vegas last month, their cars — prototypes of the 918 Spyder, a supercar that is more than a year from its market debut — barely distracted tourists from their preoccupations. Instead of stopping the show, the two otherworldly supercars slipped unobtrusively into a hotel driveway.

By Ronald Ahrens November 20, 2012

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Auto appreciation: The amazing qualities of our modern vehicles

You'll probably use a computer, washing machine, copier or smartphone today. But nothing is more complex and amazing than the modern automobile. It's easy to take its brilliance and durability for granted. They're so reliable these days, they seldom call attention to themselves.

By Tom Voelk November 18, 2012

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Slideshow: Highlights from the 2013 Seattle Auto Show

The Seattle Auto Show runs through Sunday at CenturyLink Field Event Center.

Photos by Barry Gibbons November 16, 2012

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Auto review: Honda Accord more high-tech for 2013

Honda's 2013 Accord sedan is handsomely restyled and re-engineered to be more fuel efficient and refined than its predecessor, and it offers more technology, including a standard rearview camera that's an option on major competing sedans.

By Ann M. Job November 15, 2012

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Auto review: Nissan GT-R has supercar speed, performance at bargain price

After my first, shall we say, spirited ride in Nissan's top performance animal, the GT-R, I sat in the driveway for a moment waiting for that nasty grin on my face to disappear. Shutting down this twin-turbo beast sounded like a jet engine as it whirs slowly to a halt.

By Barry Spyker November 14, 2012

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GM designer recalls Riviera as '63 style setter

Fifty years ago, General Motors cast off the overchromed, tailfinned excesses of its postwar auto designs and shocked the Paris auto salon by slipping into a clean, crisply tailored new suit. The 1963 Buick Riviera made its world debut, winning rave reviews even from Europeans who had been scornful of Detroit's irrational exuberance in the 1950s.

By Phil Patton November 13, 2012

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Seattle Auto Show lets visitors spend time with cars of their dreams

Each year, the Seattle Auto Show displays cars that are rarely seen in person. Lamborghinis, Porsches and Ferraris can be found in the same venue as the latest fuel-efficient family cars. This mix is a main draw of the show, organizers say, because people can shop and dream at the same time.

By Jeff Layton November 11, 2012

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The few electric-car owners say they love their cars

Although sales of electric cars have remained slow since they came to the U.S. mass market in late 2010, early buyers tend to be true believers and quite likely to give their new vehicles the benefit of the doubt. For many, the honeymoon period is still on.

By Jim Motavalli November 9, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: Ford's Fusion is prettiest hybrid

Who says that fuel-thrifty gasoline-electric hybrid cars have to be snub-nosed, rounded and ho-hum to look at? Not designers at Ford Motor Co., whose 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid is arguably the prettiest hybrid car in the U.S. market.

By Ann M. Job November 8, 2012

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Auto review: Lincoln MKX tweaks tech and style

Lincoln's MKX is essentially the luxury version of Ford's Edge, a midsized crossover that we like. There's no doubt that Ford is seeking to carve out a new identity for its Lincoln brand and to remain relevant in the luxury-car marketplace. The question here: Is the MKX distinguished enough to stand out from its luxury competition?

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek November 7, 2012

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When restored cars take a backseat to original

Among the rows of gleaming classics at collector-car exhibitions like the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, a few clusters of vehicles seem decidedly out of place. These cars are not white-glove spotless, and they lack the perfect paint, flawless upholstery and brilliant chrome seen on almost every other vehicle awaiting the judges' inspection.

By Fred Heiler November 6, 2012

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Brake basics: Bone up before your next inspection

You've probably heard ads for free brake inspections, and you may be wondering what the companies check for and how to know if you're being sold the correct services once they make a diagnosis. Here's a primer on brakes so you can make an informed decision.

By Brad Bergholdt November 4, 2012

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Ceding the wheel: Self-driving cars are approaching fast

Having a hard time parallel parking? Press a button on a touch screen and let the car park itself.

By Jerry Hirsch November 2, 2012

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Auto review: Hyundai adds new Elantra hatchback

The new-for-2013 Hyundai Elantra GT hatchback is a stylish, fuel-sipping, nimble car with surprisingly quiet interior and luxury touches that include a huge panoramic sunroof and a sliding center armrest.

By Ann M. Job November 1, 2012

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Auto review: Touareg a diesel rhino, reborn for suburbia

The last time I drove a Touareg TDI, it was the muscle-bound 10-cylinder version that VW slipped into the country for a few months at the end of 2006. A rhinoceros with a saddle, that Touareg had a twin-turbo diesel that was perhaps overqualified for the duties of a luxury SUV in contemporary America.

By Ezra Dyer October 31, 2012

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Electric Brammo bikes gear up to go global

The drive to become the world's top electric motorcycle maker has led Craig Bramscher around the globe -- up twisting roads, off-road and face-to-face with corporate heads who share belief in the future of Brammo Motorsports' Enertia and Empulse.

By Greg Stiles October 30, 2012

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Ones to watch: Some of the top 2013 vehicles

There's much in the automotive world for buyers to get excited about in 2013. A quick industry review: Quality and fuel efficiency are at all-time highs across the board. Technology is delivering new levels of safety, comfort and entertainment. White-hot competition makes us all winners.

By Tom Voelk October 28, 2012

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New models and major changes for 2013 (Part 3: Mercedes to Volvo)

After a blitz of new models hit the United States last year, automakers have slowed down this year, at least on the surface. But the new models for 2013 are in key parts of the auto market and will have a bigger impact on car buyers. Here's a rundown of what's new for the 2013 model year.

By Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher October 26, 2012

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Auto review: Subaru Crosstrek blends new look, utility

Fitted with a raised suspension, unique wheels and some bold paint colors, Subaru's new XV Crosstrek five-door hatchback gets attention.

By Ann M. Job October 25, 2012 5 Comments

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Supercharger makes Tesla road trips possible

I recently drove the Model S, a full-size sedan just introduced by Tesla, the California electric-car startup, from Lake Tahoe to Los Angeles. I covered 531 miles and the drive took 11.5 hours, during which the car consumed zero gasoline and produced no tailpipe emissions.

By Bradley Berman October 24, 2012

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Auto review: Scion FR-S a strong return to sport segment

Toyota's return to the affordable-performance realm has arrived in the form of the all-new, rear-wheel-drive 2013 Scion FR-S sports car.

By G. Chambers Williams III October 24, 2012

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Road rules: Know the latest in traffic safety

Chances are, it's been a few years (or decades) since you last cracked a driver's manual or took driver's ed. Are you keeping up with the latest laws and rules of the road?

By Karen Gaudette October 21, 2012 1 Comment

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New models and major changes for 2013 (Part 2: Ferrari to Mazda)

The new models for 2013 are in key parts of the auto market and will have a bigger impact on car buyers. Here's a rundown of what's new for the 2013 model year.

By Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher October 19, 2012

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Auto review: CC remains a distinctive Volkswagen

Volkswagen's upscale CC compact sedan is nicely put together with a coupe silhouette, pretty lines, a taut, refined ride, well-crafted interior and for 2013, seats for five.

By Ann M. Job October 18, 2012

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Auto review: Ford refines its Flex

Recently, Automobile magazine included the Ford Flex on its list of the ''best cars that nobody buys.'' We've been fans of the crossover since we drove one for our first Daily Drivers review, and we certainly understand how its boxy styling -- not to mention its sticker price -- can limit its audience. For 2013, the Flex gets cosmetic changes.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek October 17, 2012

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The best new features under the hood

There are so many cool features on new cars that listing them all would take too long, but here are some that could benefit from an explanation.

By Brad Bergholdt October 16, 2012

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Local company supplies fleets of used vehicles for lease

Northwest Fleet Lease Vice President Ron Carlsen poses with vehicles available for lease. (Jeff Layton / Special to NWautos) When local businessman Steve Brown needs a replacement pickup truck for...

By Jeff Layton October 14, 2012

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New models and major changes for 2013 (Part 1: Acura to Dodge)

The new models for 2013 are in key parts of the auto market and will have a bigger impact on car buyers. Here's a rundown of what's new for the 2013 model year.

By Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher October 12, 2012

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Auto review: Ford C-Max Hybrid a Prius challenger

Ford's newest gasoline-electric vehicle, the C-Max Hybrid, is so roomy, stylish and smart, it's likely to attract buyers before they see the noteworthy 47 miles-per-gallon fuel rating on the window sticker.

By Ann M. Job October 11, 2012

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Auto review: Mitsubishi Lancer a decent compact sedan

No, the 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer SE sedan is not the fun-to-drive Ralliart we've driven in the past, or the uber-sporty Evolution. This compact sedan is more pedestrian than performance, but the rally background helps.

By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek October 10, 2012

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Oh, the thrill of driving an untamed car

Driving a 1951 Allard K2 roadster is an exciting test of a driver's skill. (Allard Motor Works) If you're not the sort of person who enjoys old cars, you might...

By Larry Printz October 9, 2012

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These autos, priced below $20,000, offer fun and value

Even if your new-car budget is small — say, $20,000 or less — you can still drive a vehicle that meets your needs and makes you smile every time you climb behind the wheel. Consider this sampling of (relatively) cheap fun.

By Larry Printz October 7, 2012

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More is less: For good deals on new cars, look for high supply

Yet there are still some simple ways to get a great car at a relatively low price. It's all supply and demand. First, figure out what size and type of car you want, then find the cars in that segment that aren't selling.

By Tom Krisher October 5, 2012

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Auto review: A more fuel-efficient Ram pickup

The full-size Ram pickup truck, revamped for 2013, still has its Hemi V-8. But a new and impressively powered V-6, with best-in-class fuel economy plus towing might, is getting all the attention.

By Ann M. Job October 4, 2012

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Auto review: One big step for Tesla, one giant leap for EVs

The 2012 Model S, a versatile sedan that succeeds the company's two-seat Roadster, is simultaneously stylish, efficient, roomy, crazy fast, high-tech and all electric. It defies the notion that electric cars are range-limited conveyances.

By Bradley Berman October 3, 2012 3 Comments

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A new motocross track has brought the sport back to the area

After a three-year absence, motocross has a home again in King County. In August, Pacific Raceways in Kent opened its newly revamped dirt-bike track.

By Jeff Layton September 30, 2012

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Beep beep! Expanding global auto market spurs updates to car horns

Cars have gotten a lot more advanced in the past few decades, but at least one part — the humble car horn — has remained virtually untouched. Until now.

By Dee-Ann Durbin September 28, 2012

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Auto review: New Audi allroad wagon not so much an off-roader

Some seven years after it left American shores, the Audi allroad returns as a more fuel efficient and quicker wagon with proper German road manners and toned-down off-road capability.

By Ann M. Job September 27, 2012

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Auto review: Mazda CX-5 takes fuel efficiency seriously

There is no vehicle more important to Mazda right now than the CX-5. The five-seat crossover wagon, which went on sale in February, has been the main beneficiary of the company's research and development efforts over the past three years, making it something of a showcase for Mazda's strategy and intentions.

By Cheryl Jensen September 26, 2012

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Kia casts net 'wider and wider' as fun brand

Kia Motors America is finding it harder to operate under the radar these days. This year, the company, known as the other Korean carmaker, likely will sell more than 500,000 cars and crossovers in the United States for the first time since entering the market in 1994.

By Brent Snavely September 25, 2012

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Hashing out the confusing species that is hybrids

In the 15 years since Toyota introduced the Prius hybrid in Japan, the public's understanding of how these automotive wonders work their magic has generally ranked right alongside its comprehension of DNA sequencing.

By Lindsay Brooke September 23, 2012

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Safety stance: States tighten restrictions on teen drivers

It is a rite of American teendom, celebrated in popular culture by "American Graffiti" and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High": a teenager with a driver's license piling as many friends as will fit into the car for a ride. But increasingly, states are legislating away that carefree cruise, passing laws that restrict when, how and with whom teenagers can get behind the wheel.

By Kate Zernike September 21, 2012

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2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 roadster is high-tech and fast

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 roadster is faster, more fuel efficient, bigger and yet significantly lighter than its predecessor and aggressively styled on the outside to evoke SLs of the 1950s. But the high-tech and luxury features of this new, sixth-generation SL could bring buyers to showrooms, too.

By Ann M. Job September 20, 2012

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Auto review: Honda Accord maintains no-nonsense reliability

Since 1976, the Honda Accord has been the car for people who don't want their car to say anything about them. It doesn't boast or gossip or tell lies. It's not glamorous, showy or racy. It's a stalwart car that does everything well except call attention to itself.

By John Pearley Huffman September 19, 2012

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Bonneville Salt Flats: A wonder in need of friends

Any number of racetracks hold claim to colorful back stories, their heritage of championships battled fiercely to the finish. But it is doubtful that any racecourse has a history to match that of the Bonneville Salt Flats.

By Fred Heiler September 18, 2012

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Motos meetup: Lovers of vintage two-wheelers gather each month

On a glowing August afternoon, the rumbles and sputters of vintage motorcycles blast down Elliott Avenue in regular intervals. Commuters eye the bikers, unencumbered by stuffy interiors, as they cruise to the corner of 17th and Leary avenues in Ballard.

By Rachel Shimp September 16, 2012

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3-D modeling helps Chrysler speed up production

The ability to map out the intricate machinery and processes of a powertrain plant in 3-D is saving Chrysler money and development time while improving quality, says Brian Harlow, company vice president and head of its NAFTA powertrain operations and global powertrain manufacturing engineering.

By Alisa Priddle September 14, 2012

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Auto Review: Infiniti adds smart SUV, the JX35

The new-for-2013 Infiniti JX35 is a nicely sized, well-appointed, luxury crossover sport utility vehicle with impressive room for seven people and combined government fuel economy rating that equals or is better than that of some five-passenger luxury SUVs.

By Ann M. Job September 13, 2012

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Auto review: Chevy Spark is thrifty and city-smart

At the 2001 Detroit auto show, before he was pulled back into the family business like the movie mobster Michael Corleone, General Motors' godfather-for-hire, Robert A. Lutz, gravely assessed the design studies on display: "A whole family of angry kitchen appliances, demented toasters, furious bread machines and vengeful trash compactors."

By Lawrence Ulrich September 12, 2012

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Toyota squares off with Volkswagen in Brazil

Toyota Motor Corp. is scheduled to launch production this month of locally assembled small vehicles at a new factory in Brazil as part of its quest to unseat rival Volkswagen, the top manufacturer in the Latin American country.

By Hajime Yamagishi September 11, 2012

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Car shopping? Think like an auto reviewer

The question automotive writers get asked most by car buyers is "What do you drive?" To which I answer, "It doesn't matter."

By Tom Voelk September 9, 2012

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Volkswagen amps its focus on U.S. market

Volkswagen is planning to step up its presence in the crossover-SUV market in a big way as the automaker attempts to elbow its way into the mainstream of the U.S. car market.

By Mark Phelan September 7, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: Acura's RDX moves mainstream

Redesigned for 2013, the Acura RDX compact sport utility vehicle is slightly larger, with a more compliant ride, than its predecessor and has more power than ever while beating the popular Lexus RX 350 in fuel-economy ratings.

By Ann M. Job September 6, 2012

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Auto review: Honda Fit EV plays hard to get

As the original owner of a fuel-frugal 2007 Honda Fit that has largely justified my faith in it, I've long wanted to get behind the wheel of its even more environmentally friendly electric sibling, the 2013 Fit EV.

By Jim Motavalli September 5, 2012

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EV charge of the future could be wireless

One reason electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles have hit the market with a thud is that there are strings attached: Drivers of models such as the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf must plug in to recharge the battery.

By Mark Clothier September 4, 2012

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Distinctive Studebaker Avanti is once again up for sale

A breakthrough design introduced 50 years ago in a last-ditch attempt to salvage a gasping automaker, the Studebaker Avanti has been called the car that never dies.

By Tudor Van Hampton September 2, 2012 1 Comment

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New travel trailers bring innovation to RVs

For a long time, travel trailers came in two basic varieties: the big white shoebox or the Chiclet-shape pop-up. Airstream's iconic aluminum bubble was a notable exception.

By Jim Nash August 31, 2012

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Auto review: Ford Fiesta is a snappy subcompact

The Ford Fiesta is a versatile, budget-conscious small car with a stylish interior and upscale car options such as heated leather seats and voice-recognition controls. The Fiesta also has higher U.S. government fuel-economy ratings than does a gasoline-powered Honda Fit.

By Ann M. Job August 30, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: Cadillac XTS a luxury workhorse

It will be the black car waiting to pick you up at the airport. It's the Cadillac upon which hearses and limousines will be based. When Hertz runs out of midsize cars, it is the luxury sedan into which you'll upgrade.

By John Pearley Huffman August 29, 2012

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Alphabet soup of auto names stirs hunger for creativity

Where have all the car names gone? I looked into my driveway recently and saw a Cadillac XTS, Scion FR-S and Jaguar XKR-S.

By Mark Phelan August 28, 2012

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Is it a boat? A car? Local Amphicar owners get two in one

What has a frog's face and a shark's body, and can move with ease across land and sea? It's the Amphicar — perhaps the best way to cruise on summer's more pleasant days.

By Rachel Shimp August 26, 2012 1 Comment

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Big luxury: More trucks filled with high-end amenities

Chrysler and Ford are testing the limits of truck buyers' appetite for pickups loaded with leather, chrome and heated seats at price tags that can top $50,000.

By Craig Trudell August 24, 2012

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Auto review: Fiat 500 Abarth small but wicked

Auto enthusiasts lusting for something new, exotic and fun to drive but relatively inexpensive have a new choice this year.

By Ann M. Job August 23, 2012

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Auto review: Porsche's revamp of Boxter pays off

Porsche doesn't like to be rushed. But while it took the company's lab-coated obsessives 16 years to fully redesign the Boxster, the two-seat convertible has steadily evolved into one of the world's best sports cars.

By Lawrence Ulrich August 22, 2012

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Ford CEO succession in the planning stages

Ford CEO Alan Mulally, who orchestrated a financial, cultural and product-led turnaround at Ford, turned 67 this month. Mulally -- the former CEO of Boeing -- is not expected to retire for at least 18 months, and Executive Chairman Bill Ford jokes that the architect of Ford's turnaround can continue to work as long as he likes.

By Alisa Priddle August 21, 2012 1 Comment

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EV drivers say 'range anxiety' fight is worth the reward

Picture it: You've just bought the electric car of your dreams, but you lost track of your charge and are now stranded miles away from home or an electrical outlet. This concern is called "range anxiety," and it's the No. 1 reason consumers give for not wanting to purchase an electric vehicle.

By Scott McCredie August 19, 2012 3 Comments

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Looking for an electric car? Here are some things to consider

If you're thinking about purchasing a new vehicle, an electric car might be worthy of consideration for the first time since the Turkey Trot was a national craze. While the thought of never visiting a gas station again holds appeal, there are things to consider before you take the plunge.

By Larry Printz August 17, 2012 2 Comments

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Auto review: Range Rover a blend of luxury and ruggedness

The 2012 Land Rover Range Rover, which is the quintessential, large British sport utility vehicle that has chauffeured Queen Elizabeth on occasion, remains a proper and luxurious expression of British transport.

By Ann M. Job August 16, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: McLaren MP4-12C not guilty of understatement

I'm driving along a residential street in a Boston suburb when a woman steps off the sidewalk and beckons for me to stop. "What is that car?" she asks. I tell her it's a McLaren, the new MP4-12C.

By Ezra Dyer August 15, 2012

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Sand drag strip draws racers to Oregon dunes

The 300-foot sand drag strip at the Oregon Dunes Raceway in North Bend has been packed with competitors this year, growing in popularity since its opening race on New Year's Eve.

By Rachel Finney August 14, 2012

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More to come: Hotly anticipated cars still to roll out this year

Good things come to those who wait: That's sage advice for car shoppers. Many of the most anticipated new and redesigned 2013 model-year cars are arriving now or in the next six months.

By Tom Voelk August 12, 2012

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Automakers rush to add apps, but regulators fear distractions

There have been the sexy horsepower wars and dull best-in-class fuel-efficiency battles. Now automakers are fighting an undeclared, escalating war over in-dash apps, worrying regulators about even more distracted driving.

By John R. Quain August 10, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: Room is key to Chrysler 200 Convertible

Buyers of Chrysler's 200 Convertible get a lot of room and style for the money.

By Ann M. Job August 9, 2012

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Auto review: Lotus Evora S excels at handling

How deep is Lotus's obsession with handling? Well, the Evora S media materials note that relative to the nonsupercharged Evora, this car uses a larger-diameter rear antiroll bar -- a whole half-millimeter larger.

By Ezra Dyer August 8, 2012

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There's a familiar ring to the 2013 Dodge Dart name

It is entirely possible that young shoppers poking around Dodge showrooms for a view of the brand's just-arriving 2013 compact sedans will have no idea of the half-century history behind the car's nameplate.

By Jim Koscs August 7, 2012 3 Comments

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Traffic relief: Crowd-sourcing offers insight on road conditions

Everybody complains about the traffic, like the weather, but hardly anyone does anything about it. That may finally be changing as new technology to track cars becomes more widely used.

By John R. Quain August 5, 2012

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Clubs, marketing grow as more women turn to motorcycles

Cris Baldwin was 7 when she commandeered her brother's minibike on their Wisconsin dairy farm and first felt the wind in her face. More than 250,000 miles and 42 years later, it's still two wheels and a gas tank for the school administrator.

By Leanne Italie August 3, 2012

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Auto review: Acura adds entry-level compact

Acura's newest sedan, the 2013 ILX, looks good, is fuel-conscious and has a controlled, comfortable ride.

By Ann M. Job August 2, 2012

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Motorcycle review: Suzuki V-Strom unremarkable, in a nice way

It is far too easy to underappreciate the Suzuki V-Strom 650 Adventure.

By Roy Furchgott August 1, 2012

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'Untippable' motorcycle nears production

Reporter Susan Carpenter takes the C-1 out for a slow spin in San Francisco, flanked by a designer and engineer from Lit Motors. (Don Kelson / Los Angeles Times) Lit...

By Susan Carpenter July 31, 2012 4 Comments

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Local metal shop specializes in improvisation to build hot rods

Joe Maxwell, owner of Maxwell's Metal Works, has been quietly pumping out some of the nation's finest hot rods and vintage vehicles for more than 20 years.

By Jeff Layton July 29, 2012

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Life in the fast lane: driving three of the fastest supercars

Life is different driving 200 miles an hour. The magnitude of what you're doing -- traveling fast enough to lift a loaded Boeing 747 off the ground -- is belied by a surprisingly calm environment. Yet at the risk of stating the obvious, a 200-mph car needs things the family sedan does not.

By David Undercoffler July 27, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: Smaller Prius is gas stingy

Not counting plug-in cars, the 2012 Toyota Prius c is the most gasoline-stingy auto on the U.S. market, with a combined city/highway rating of 50 miles a gallon, according to the federal government.

By Ann M. Job July 26, 2012

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Auto review: Dodge Dart a higher-caliber small car

Dodge engineers and designers seem to have retained the best of the Alfa, including precise steering and driving dynamics, while improving on features that may matter most to Americans, like comfort, roominess and utility.

By Jerry Garrett July 25, 2012

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Dangerous for kids: a parked car on a hot day

Nationwide, 125 youngsters have died of vehicular heat stroke since 2009, including 10 this summer, according to KidsAndCars.org, a child advocacy group. More than half were inadvertently left in the car and a third got into the vehicle by themselves.

By Barbara Jones July 24, 2012

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Cars that let the summer sun shine in — for less than $50,000

Top: The Volkswagen Eos' hardtop convertible top also contains a sunroof. Above, left: The Hyundai Veloster features panoramic glass. Right, the Mazda Miata comes in hard or soft tops. Northwest...

By Tom Voelk July 22, 2012

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Chill out: Air conditioning has come a long way

Air conditioning would not become a big player in automobiles until 1953, when GM, Chrysler and Packard introduced new air-conditioning systems.

By Larry Printz July 20, 2012

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Auto review: Subaru Impreza an all-wheel-drive star

The Impreza's standout quality is its handling. The car took to curves with confidence and managed turns securely.

By Ann M. Job July 19, 2012

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Honeymoon package: Bride, Benz and sunshine

It appeared from nowhere, as if a wand had been waved: a steel-gray Mercedes-Benz E550 Cabriolet, practically glowing among the dusty airport vans and rental-car shuttles. We stood by our suitcases, gaping like two rubes at a state fair.

By Robert Peele July 18, 2012

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Auto loans break from lending norms

Millions of Americans have found that it's becoming surprisingly easy to borrow money to buy a car.

By Brad Plumer July 17, 2012

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Road test: A Seattleite tries an all-electric car for a week

When I sat down in the driver's seat of the Wheego Whip that Seattle's MC Electric Vehicles loaned me for a week, I thought this little game would be fun. I could enjoy a short reprieve from ballooning summer gas prices and give myself a pat on the back for spewing fewer emissions — and then go back to my perfectly satisfied life as a Subaru Outback owner.

By Cody Ellerd Bay July 15, 2012 2 Comments

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Tips for making your summer road trip one for the memory book

Summer road-trip time is upon us. Here are some tips to help ensure that your next outing is one you'll always remember, rather than one you'll want to forget.

By Larry Printz July 13, 2012

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Auto review: Mitsubishi's electric car sells for less than $30,000

The five-door Mitsubishi i-MiEV has an eye-popping, 126 miles-per-gallon-equivalent rating from the federal government in city driving.

By Ann M. Job July 12, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: Chevy Malibu Eco's battery brings few benefits

Most people aren't aware of this, but since the late 1990s the Chevrolet Malibu's success has roughly tracked the career of Robert Downey Jr.

By Ezra Dyer July 11, 2012 1 Comment

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Incentives for drivers who avoid traffic jams

A Stanford professor is betting there's more than one way to get drivers to change their behavior. Congestion charges are sticks; why not try a carrot?

By John Markoff July 10, 2012

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Summer school: Tips for a trip that's more fun, less frustrating

Lately, I've been thinking about how to make summer driving even better. Here are some tips for navigating the twists and turns the season brings.

By Sean O'Connor July 8, 2012

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Top family-friendly wheels for road trips to remember

While everyone loves the destination — whether it's the Grand Canyon or the beach a few hours from home — not many people relish the time spent in the car. But the type of car you choose can help ease that discomfort.

By Dee-Ann Durbin July 6, 2012

Auto review: Jeep Grand Cherokee shows why SUVs aren't dead

Buyers will find the 2012 Grand Cherokee is an American-built, handsome and comfortable five-seater that offers a surprisingly refined and free-of-wind-noise ride on pavement while retaining its off-road chops.

By Ann M. Job July 5, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: Coda electric has the mileage, but no amenities

The all-electric Coda sedan carries an official range rating of 88 miles on a charge and proves sufficient for highway needs. But the ride is harsh and, inside, positions and proportions are out of whack.

By Bradley Berman July 5, 2012

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Driving annoyances have storied histories

Driving annoyances didn't happen overnight. In fact, it's taken centuries. So, as you sit in traffic, remember that your misfortune is far from unique. Your ancestors suffered too.

By Larry Printz July 3, 2012

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Area brothers are living their dream as monster-truck drivers

Travis and Tyler Groth, identical twins from Gig Harbor, have always wanted to race monster trucks. Now, the brothers — better known as the drivers of Captain USA (Travis) and Double Trouble (Tyler) — are living their boyhood dreams at shows around the country.

By Jeff Layton July 1, 2012

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'Talking' vehicles may be future of accident prevention

A safety demonstration at a recent transportation conference was a peek into the future of automotive safety: cars that talk to each other and warn drivers of impending collisions. This summer, the government is launching a yearlong, real-world test involving nearly 3,000 cars, trucks and buses using volunteer drivers in Ann Arbor, Mich.

By Joan Lowy June 29, 2012

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Auto review: Nissan Xterra is an old-school SUV ready to play

To SUV purists, the five-door Nissan Xterra can be a refreshing vehicle that provides an old-school ride along with a new-car warranty.

By Ann M. Job June 28, 2012

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Auto review: Jaguar XKR-S pushes aside British reserve

The new XKR-S is the fastest series production car in Jaguar's history. It's another model certain to lift Jaguar's esteem, if not its bottom line.

By Lawrence Ulrich June 27, 2012

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E-car owners may find other savings — on insurance

Early adopters of electric vehicles have to dig deep into their wallets to make the purchase, but some are reaping unexpected savings on their insurance bills.

By Nathan Bomey June 26, 2012

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Greenwood Car Show is a chance for collectors to show and tell

The Greenwood Car Show, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Saturday, June 30, is a 1.5-mile stretch of collector cars and hot rods along Greenwood Avenue North in Seattle. It draws thousands of spectators and is the biggest one-day car show in the state.

By Allen Cox June 24, 2012 3 Comments

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Chrysler leads the minivan market, but where will it go next?

Almost 30 years after the minivan was introduced, after attacks from all sides, Chrysler remains on top. Now, CEO Sergio Marchionne will have to decide how best to sustain the success.

By Craig Trudell June 22, 2012

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Auto review: BMW X3 is SUV that drives like a sports car

The 2012 BMW X3 is a handsome, compact crossover sport utility vehicle that stands out from the pack because of its honest-to-goodness, sports car-like handling, strong turbo power and premium interior.

By Ann M. Job June 21, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: VW Up is a small wonder — for rest of world

To see what we're missing, I tested Volkswagen's Up, fresh from having been named the World Car of the Year at the New York auto show. And this cute-as-a-bug VW proceeded to charm me: buzzing through traffic, topping 50 mpg on the highway and delivering improbable four-passenger space in a car seven inches shorter than a Mini Cooper.

By Lawrence Ulrich June 19, 2012 1 Comment

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To stand out in the crowd, automakers are improving interiors

Everyone makes quality cars in the low- to mid-price range. Fuel economy is soaring across the board. Even affordable brands have designer sheet metal. So how do manufacturers attract new buyers? Many have begun to think about interiors.

By Tom Voelk June 17, 2012

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Automakers aim to make your next car your favorite gadget

Your next car might be able to read your text messages, adjust the suspension on a windy day or recharge itself wirelessly. Here are some of the high-tech options you'll find on upcoming cars and trucks.

By Larry Printz June 15, 2012

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Commentary: The secret genius of 'Car Talk'

For those of us who spent the boom years mostly in a car, in traffic, going nowhere memorable, news that Tom and Ray Magliozzi would retire from the airwaves in September comes as less a disappointment than a kind of reckoning.

By Nathan Heller June 14, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: Honda Civic Si gets sporty engine, fresh looks

Honda's sportiest and most fun-to-drive Civic, the 2012 Si, has freshened interior and exterior, more power than ever and higher fuel economy ratings than its predecessor.

By Ann M. Job June 14, 2012

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Auto review: Infiniti JX35 lacks in styling and sportiness

The JX35 is a rare seven-passenger hauler that's not a minivan. (Infiniti) Infiniti's advertising tagline is "Inspired Performance." And the mission statement of the Nissan luxury brand has long been...

By Lawrence Ulrich June 13, 2012

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Rarefied air creates draw for Japan's forbidden models

Chris Collins is among a group of enthusiasts who covet Japanese cars configured just as they would be in a Tokyo showroom. His Corolla is equipped as only the home-market models were, down to the steering wheel on the right side. He estimates that there are fewer than two dozen such cars in the U.S.

By Roy Furchgott June 12, 2012

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Make it a Father's Day to remember with auto-related gear

Father's Day is fast approaching. Don't get caught in the slow lane without a fun — or at least practical — gift to show how much you love him. These auto-related items will get him on his way to becoming king of the road.

NWautos staff, Wheelbase Communications June 10, 2012

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'Car Talk' radio show to end; print column will continue

"Car Talk" hosts Tom and Ray Magliozzi said Friday they will stop making new episodes of their comic auto advice show at the end of September. Their print column will continue.

By David Bauder June 8, 2012 1 Comment

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30 years ago, Honda made a daring move — that paid off

When Honda Motor in 1980 announced its then-radical decision to build cars in the U.S., the industry collectively said, "What?" While auto buyers now take for granted that many European- or Asian-brand vehicles are made in the heart of the U.S., 30 years ago, it was a stunning notion.

By James R. Healey June 8, 2012

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Auto review: Volvo S70 is a convertible for summer and beyond

Summer may be the usual time for convertibles, but the stylish, capable Volvo C70 is a car for all seasons.

By Ann M. Job June 7, 2012

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Auto review: Ferrari FF is a spendy, fantastic family car

The Ferrari FF's mandate is to meld the performance of a Ferrari supercar with the four-season utility of an all-wheel-drive luxury wagon. Thus the hatchback body, which identifies the FF with a once-popular class of sporting wagon known as the shooting brake.

By Ezra Dyer June 6, 2012 1 Comment

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Buyers' appetites for small cars getting bigger

Compact cars are on track to outsell midsize ones this year, says J.D. Power and Associates, a marketing information firm. That hasn't happened in at least two decades.

By Dee-Ann Durbin June 5, 2012 1 Comment

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Automakers redo full-size cars for those looking for V-6 power

Although still optional on some midsize models, the V-6 engine is becoming scarce on smaller cars. So if you prefer a V-6, you may have to opt for a large car. Several automakers have revealed newly revamped large cars that add a needed dose of style, technology and fuel economy in an effort to woo younger buyers.

By Larry Printz June 3, 2012

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Buyers paying more for autos as carmakers find sweet spots

Buyers are opting for more expensive options and trim levels, driving up average car costs. (Associated Press file photo) Vehicles are fetching record average prices of $30,748, up 6.9 percent...

By Alisa Priddle June 1, 2012

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Auto review: Buick Enclave comfortable, with some design flaws

It may be hard to believe, but Buick sold more sport utility vehicles last year than it did Regal, LaCross or Lucerne sedans. All the SUVs were Enclaves — a high-riding, upscale family vehicle with seating for at least seven, a quiet interior, pleasant ride and decent power.

By Ann M. Job May 31, 2012

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Auto review: Chevy Camaro ZL 1 is a race car for the road

When I first heard rumors that Chevrolet was going to produce the 2012 Camaro ZL1, I thought, "Fine, GM is building a Camaro with a supercharger and more horsepower. Big deal." Now I've driven it and I know better.

By Ezra Dyer May 30, 2012

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Automakers on the fast track to more apps

Just as apps have transformed smartphones and tablets, car console screens are the next frontier. The number of apps available in vehicles is expected to multiply to dozens or perhaps hundreds over the next few years, just as they proliferated for smartphones.

By Chris Woodyard May 29, 2012

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Sweeping auto improvements making for a lack of lemons

Car shoppers today are less likely to end up with a lemon. In the past five years, global competition has forced automakers to improve the quality and reliability of their vehicles — everything from inexpensive mini-cars to decked-out luxury SUVs.

By Dee-Ann Durbin May 27, 2012 1 Comment

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LeMay's grand opening will be a celebration of Americana

The new LeMay auto museum, a $60 million, 165,000-square-foot structure that sits next to the Tacoma Dome, opens to the public on June 2.

By Jeff Layton May 25, 2012 2 Comments

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Auto review: Nissan Rouge is an SUV that's just right

The Rogue is Nissan's top-selling SUV. (Nissan) Americans still love riding high above the ground in their vehicles, but have been opting for smaller SUVs to save on gasoline costs....

May 24, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: Prius c takes on San Fran hills with gas to spare

The 2012 Prius c, the newest, smallest and — with a base price of $19,710 — least expensive member of Toyota's expanding Prius family of hybrids is aimed at young, budget-wary city dwellers. This more petite Prius (the c is for city) deploys Toyota's gas-electric drivetrain in a sporty-looking four-door hatchback.

By Nick Czap May 23, 2012

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In today's world, concepts are more mild than wild

In their day, the jaw-dropping looks of concept cars merited rock-star treatment at auto shows. Today, in a more cynical age of downsized dreams and tight development budgets, the wild concept car — auto show eye candy — is becoming rarer.

By Chris Woodyard May 22, 2012

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Myth busters: Dispelling common auto-related misinformation

Some misinformation, such as the idea that the Ford Mustang is named for the horse, is unlikely to affect you. Other myths, however, can cost you money or invite injury. Here are some common myths debunked.

By Tom Voelk May 20, 2012

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The split between e-car design that blends in or stands out

The Ford Focus Electric blends in. A century ago, when electric cars were popular, they looked discernibly different from gasoline-powered automobiles. They looked more like carriages than "horseless carriages." Those...

By Phil Patton May 18, 2012

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Auto review: Porsche 911 drives and sounds like a dream

The new-generation, 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera has the familiar, sexy shape of its forebears. But it's tastefully redone with a wider front track, a body that's a bit longer and lighter, a holistically designed interior and modern touches like light-emitting diode tail lamps.

By Ann M. Job May 17, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: Lexus GS 350 looks, drives like a predator

More important than its looks, the fourth-generation Lexus GS is the most entertaining midrange Lexus sedan in memory. It defies the current midrange trend in which carmakers are prioritizing luxury over performance.

By Lawrence Ulrich May 16, 2012 1 Comment

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Big SUVs still selling to those who want space

In 2008, when gas prices first reached $4 a gallon, Americans could not trade in their hulking trucks and SUVs fast enough. But today, dealers and analysts say demand for the vehicles is steady and inventories are low, causing their values to stabilize or even increase.

By Susan Carpenter May 15, 2012

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The hottest garage-door trends are elegant, exhibitionist

Carriage-house doors have been the leading style choice in garage doors for the past few years. (Clopay) It's often the first thing you notice as you pull into a driveway:...

By Linda Hughes May 13, 2012

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Before your teen's first driving lesson, talk about auto financials

Thinkstock Molly Helm didn't want to give her oldest son a brand-new car when he started driving. So the Enid, Okla., mom spent $500 on a 1990 Chevrolet Suburban. "We...

By Eileen AJ Connelly May 11, 2012

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Auto review: Dodge Dart comes back as modern sedan

After 36 years, the Dodge Dart is back, and it's no retro model. The 2013 Dart five-seat sedan is modern and stylish, with European handling and heritage, fun features, 10 air bags and fuel-thrifty engines, including two turbos.

By Ann M. Job May 10, 2012

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Auto Review: Ford Focus Electric breaks mold of goofy looks

The Focus Electric looks nearly identical to the gas version, a small "Electric" badge the only clue that internal combustion has been supplanted by swift and silent electric propulsion. Sit in the low-slung, well-conforming seats and you feel oh-so normal. There are no circuit-board motifs, techno start-up sounds, weird shifter knobs or special Eco modes.

By Bradley Berman May 9, 2012 1 Comment

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Kit takes custom motorcycles to the masses

It's been a bumpy ride for the custom motorcycle business as sales of pricey, blinged-out bikes skidded with the economy. But one bike scene is thriving, and that's been a boon for Ryca Motors in Whittier, Calif.

By Susan Carpenter May 8, 2012 1 Comment

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Shop shopping: Tips for finding a reliable mechanic

Whether it's replacing a headlight, a battery or something more serious, asking the right questions before choosing a repair shop is essential. Here are some basic tips to help ensure that the mechanic jacks up your car and not your bill.

By David Pitt May 6, 2012

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More than toys: Vintage vehicles are main attraction at toy show

Chuck Saul is one of about 200 vendors that gather three times a year for The Greater Seattle Toy Show at Kent Commons Community Center. The show, which has been operating around the area for more than two decades, is a marketplace for collectible toys made before 1975, focusing on toy cars.

By Cody Ellerd Bay May 4, 2012

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Auto review: 2013 Ford Escape gets sleeker, more European

With European-style handling, luxury looks, surprising refinement and new features for 2013, Ford's compact sport utility vehicle, the Escape, doesn't seem like an Escape anymore.

By Ann M. Job May 3, 2012

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Auto review: 2012 Toyota Camry still a popular, safe bet

As a car-buying choice, the Toyota Camry is like the "ask the audience" lifeline on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" The Camry, the best-selling car in America for 13 of the last 14 years, represents the wisdom of the crowd, a safe harbor for those who just aren't that interested in cars.

By Ezra Dyer May 2, 2012

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The full-contact Destruction Derby league encourages aggression

As the 40th anniversary of the Kitsap Destruction Derby approaches, Patrick Duncan, Robert Kirkland and Dan Harthorn are busy turning 1970s Chryslers into ramming machines.

By Jeff Layton April 29, 2012 1 Comment

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Three-peat: 3-cylinder engines are returning to the U.S.

Get ready for a new generation of cars equipped with surprisingly powerful three-cylinder engines that, according to early reviews out of Europe, have both the zip and zoom Americans expect in the four-cylinder compact sedans they buy today.

By Jerry Hirsch April 27, 2012 4 Comments

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Auto review: Lexus GS 350 may steal some BMW buyers

The re-engineered-for-2013 Lexus GS 350 shows that a Lexus sedan can have an overtly sporty ride, a snarly-looking front end and a noticeable exhaust note, all while hewing to the brand's high fit-and-finish reputation.

By Ann M. Job April 26, 2012

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Auto review: Volkswagen Golf R is best hatch in VW history

But take it from someone who has owned several underdog Volkswagens: The Golf R is the most exciting, capable VW hatch ever; a stealth fighter that will strafe many highfalutin' cars.

By Lawrence Ulrich April 25, 2012

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Automakers aim to impress Chinese at Beijing auto show

Ford's SUVs, from left, the Edge, the EcoSport, the Kuga and the Explorer are introduced at the Beijing auto show on April 22. (Alexander F. Yuan/The Associated Press) BEIJING —...

April 24, 2012 1 Comment

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What's in a name? Auto naming is a big decision for carmakers

Assigning a name to a new vehicle is a behind-the-scenes process, often aided by outside branding agencies, that starts as much as two years before the car hits showroom floors. It must tell the story of the car, jibe with the design and styling, and sound pleasant to the ear, marketing experts say.

By Zlati Meyer April 22, 2012 1 Comment

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Family sedans, SUVs steal the show in New York

Sobriety, not showiness, prevailed in the aisles of the 2012 New York International Auto Show. The vehicles that typically attract less attention — sedans and crossovers — were the real news at the last of this season's major auto shows.

By Larry Printz April 21, 2012

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Auto review: Fiat 500 Abarth is an atomic bomblet of fun

Hop in the new Fiat 500 Abarth, start the engine, stab the throttle and revel in the burbling growl of its exhaust. That subversively flatulent tailpipe emanation is an attention-getter, as bracing as a slap in the face, and proof that Abarth engineers have worked their mischief on the otherwise mild-mannered little Fiat.

By Jerry Garrett April 21, 2012

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A slew of luxury autos are downsizing to lure in new customers

A bare-knuckles fight is about to begin for low-end luxury-car buyers. Most of the cars will be smaller, to boost mileage, and lower-priced, in an attempt to draw a new crowd of younger buyers who'll stay with the brands long-term.

By James R. Healey April 20, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: Chevy Malibu Eco is a pretty fuel-sipper

Chevrolet's Malibu mid-size sedan is a welcoming family car — revamped for 2013 with handsome styling, a quieter, refined interior and a pleasant ride.

By Ann M. Job April 19, 2012

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Auto review: Hyundai Accent is perfectly perfectly ordinary

Hyundai's redesigned subcompact, the 2012 Accent, is a simple, inexpensive sedan that works well, actually communicates with its driver and doesn't flaunt its compromises.

By John Pearley Huffman April 18, 2012

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The fantastical concepts at the World's Fair had lasting impact

For many, the only thing more thrilling than the concept cars at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair was catching a glimpse of Elvis. Production automobiles already had modern monikers such as Futura, Starfire, Nova and Galaxie. But with the concepts, automakers promised that true space-age innovation was in our future.

By Tom Voelk April 15, 2012 1 Comment

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Spring: A time for flowers, high gasoline prices

The price of regular unleaded gasoline stays just under $4 a gallon at a gas station in Breezewood, Pa., Monday. (Gene J. Puskar/The Associated Press) Ahh, spring. The days get...

By Jonathan Fahey April 14, 2012

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Staying amped: The electrics and plug-in hybrids due out soon

Left column, top to bottom: Tesla Model S, Mitsubishi i, Cadillac ELR. Right column, top to bottom: Fisker Karma, Honda Fit EV, Audi R8 e-tron. Less than a year ago,...

By Lawrence Ulrich April 13, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: Buick LaCrosse's new eAssist boosts mileage

The 2012 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist gets 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. (General Motors) Finally, there's a Buick LaCrosse sedan that puts many of...

By Ann M. Job April 12, 2012

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Auto review: Infiniti FX35 is still a bionic cheetah

The Infiniti FX35 is a fundamentally strange beast, a crossover that shares its rear-wheel-drive platform with Nissan and Infiniti sports cars. After nine years, the styling is familiar, but let's not forget that Infiniti once described the FX as a "bionic cheetah." I think it looks like a jacked-up extraterrestrial insect, and I mean that as a compliment.

By Ezra Dyer April 11, 2012

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Kid powered: Area karting tracks thrill young and young at heart

As spring break approaches, plan to give your kids the thrill of the (semi-)open road with a trip to an area go-kart track.

By Linda Hughes April 8, 2012

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Options optional: Automakers cut down on complex configurations

(Illustration by Sara Kennedy / NWautos staff) When it comes to ordering new cars, buyers are finding you can't always get what you want. But that may not be a...

By Chris Woodyard April 6, 2012

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Small cars are the stars at the New York auto show

The New York auto show opened to the public Friday with spring in the air — and not just because of the weather. The North American automobile market is experiencing a springlike rebirth this year, and the optimism is evident at the show: More high-profile vehicles are being introduced in New York than in recent memory.

By Jerry Garrett April 6, 2012

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Auto review: Lexus LS combines luxury and value

With a starting retail price of $68,505, the 2012 Lexus LS sedan is bargain-priced compared to European competitors.

By Ann M. Job April 5, 2012

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Auto review: Fiat 500 cabrio is big on economy and cuteness

The Fiat 500C is the drop-top version of the 500 hatchback, a small and exceptionally cute car that's big on style and economy, though rather short on rear legroom.

By Nick Kurczewski April 4, 2012

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Hatchbacks are on the road to a comeback

The Ford Focus comes in a hatchback version. (Ford) The Hyundai Accent hatchback. (Hyundai) Hatchbacks are back. The hatchback — a car with a top-hinged rear door, or hatch, instead...

By Chris Woodyard and Alisa Priddle April 3, 2012

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This time, Detroit's small cars are ready for gas-price hikes

Clockwise from top: The 2013 Dodge Dart, the 2012 Ford Focus and the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. Gas prices are spiking. But this time, Detroit is ready. When prices soared in...

By Dee-Ann Durbin April 1, 2012

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For good or ill, some cars scream 'male' or 'female'

It's obvious that some cars skew female or male, in terms of both audience and overall aesthetic. Most of us can easily identify in which camp a car sits.

by Jason H. Harper March 30, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: Infiniti hybrid has power and gadgets galore

The new-for-2012 INfiniti M35 Hybrid pairs a gasoline V-6 to an electric motor and lithium ion battery pack and manages the power through a seven-speed automatic transmission. There's no continuously variable transmission here.

By Ann M. Job March 29, 2012

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Auto review: Mercedes ML350 is a top pick, if you have the funds

With this third-generation M-Class, Mercedes' confidence that its SUV values are the right ones has never been clearer. This is a subtle but enormously skilled contender in the midsize luxury class.

By Lawrence Ulrich March 28, 2012

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Safety group: Parents still failing child-seat test

Most parents aren't using child seats correctly, says the nonprofit group Safe Kids USA. Only 30 percent are using the tether straps that keep the tops of child seats — and children's heads — secured in crashes, and many are not using the safest seats for their children's ages.

By Jayne O’Donnell March 27, 2012

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Super local: The next big supercar is rolling out of the Tri-Cities

SSC North America is gearing up for production of the 1,350-horsepower Tuatara, a futuristic-looking machine with a luxury interior, priced at $1.3 million. SSC in January broke ground on its new world headquarters, a 36,000-square-foot facility in West Richland that will open to the public this summer.

By Cody Ellerd Bay March 25, 2012 1 Comment

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Diesel boom: Wave of new releases could cause spike in sales

The 2013 Beetle TDI goes on sale this summer. (Volkswagen) After hyping hybrids and electrics as fuel savers, automakers are about to kick off a wave of new fuel-saving diesel...

By Chris Woodyard and James R. Healey March 23, 2012 3 Comments

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Auto review: Hyundai Azera gives luxury for less

The new Hyunday Azera also has so many standard luxury features, including 293-horsepower V-6, light-emitting diode headlight accents, navigation system and rearview camera with large, 7-inch, in-dashboard screen display, that it might be confused with a high-tech, luxury sedan.

By Ann M. Job March 22, 2012 2 Comments

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Auto review: Azera is another sign of Hyundai's dominance

Tacking $6,600 onto the price of any new car — let alone a Korean family sedan — doesn't usually enhance its prospects. But a move to the $33,000 neighborhood seems to suit the Hyundai Azera just fine.

By Lawrence Ulrich March 21, 2012 1 Comment

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Three SUV crossovers that are big on space, easy on gas

Three small crossover SUVs unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November point to the future of the family hauler. The Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V are all strong players for their respective brands.

By Chris Woodyard March 20, 2012

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New technology means a safe vehicle doesn't have to be huge

Twenty-five years ago, purchasing a safe car meant buying a land yacht. But it's time to rethink what makes a vehicle safe. Huge vehicles aren't necessary for protection anymore, as sophisticated electronics, warning systems and multiple airbags are becoming commonplace.

By Tom Voelk March 18, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: Ford Edge gets EcoBoost engine just in time

The 2012 Edge gets 21 mpg city, 30 mpg highway. (Ford) Talk about perfect timing. For 2012, Ford added a fuel-thrifty, EcoBoost four-cylinder engine to its mid-size Edge sport utility...

By Ann M. Job March 15, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: Nissan Murano looks, rides like a luxury SUV

With the Murano, Nissan has struck a nice balance between a smooth ride and responsive handling, a crucial compromise that has tripped up many an automaker.

By Cheryl Jensen March 14, 2012

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Good things come in small packages at Europe's big auto show

View image « previous | next » « previous | next » Flashy new models are vying for attention at the Geneva auto show this week. Europe's automakers are holding...

By Mark Phelan March 12, 2012

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Geneva auto show has dream rides (for those with money)

View image « previous | next » « previous | next » GENEVA — Some people go to auto shows because they're looking to buy a new car. Others want...

By Frank Jordans March 12, 2012

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A local company adds the shine of chrome to car parts

Queen City Plating owner Richard Frisch (in red) and head plater Dean Peterson show a chrome bumper at the Mukilteo shop. (Jeff Layton) Here's a sampling of what you'll find...

By Jeff Layton March 11, 2012

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Family feud: Competition is heating up the midsize-car segment

Shoppers looking for family passenger cars could be the winners of a war breaking out in the auto industry. Over the next year, rival automakers are planning to roll out at least four revamped midsize sedans packed with new features and boasting better fuel economy.

By Jerry Hirsch March 9, 2012

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Auto review: Volvo S60 may be safe, but it's not boring

It's no surprise that another Volvo, the 2012 S60 sedan, earned top safety ratings in U.S. government crash testing. The big surprise is the newest, high-performance version of the car has an exhilarating ride.

By Ann M. Job March 8, 2012

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Auto review: Zero DS is a motorcycle ride on the quiet side

The new Zero DS, one of five models in Zero Motorcycles' revamped 2012 lineup of battery-powered bikes, is 95 percent new. It's immediately apparent: The 2012 DS feels like a genuine production motorcycle, while the earlier version felt as if it had been built in your neighbor's garage.

By Daniel McDermon March 7, 2012

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Disney's new driving track sure to be a wild ride

Richard Petty Driving Experience is expanding its offering with the new Exotic Driving Experience at the Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, Fla. The new attraction puts you behind the wheel of a performance car for a fraction of the cost of ownership.

By Lyra Solochek March 6, 2012 1 Comment

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Fight rising fuel prices with these money-saving tips

If the surge in gas prices has you hyperventilating, well, you're not alone. And the experts are predicting it won't be over for a while, what with the price...

By Marla Jo Fisher March 4, 2012 5 Comments

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Gen Y could be the group that makes 'green' vehicles the norm

When it comes to their autos, members of Generation Y want hybrid cars stuffed with technology.

By Jerry Hirsch March 2, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: Buick Regal no longer a 'grandpa' car

Today's top-of-the-line Regal GS is a 270-horsepower, turbocharged four door with a fine manual transmission, European-style handling, noteworthy road manners, pretty exterior and a heritage of Buick performance.

By Ann M. Job March 1, 2012

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Driver's licenses: Teens hold off while seniors hold on

In an era of expensive gasoline and a threadbare economy, fewer young people are getting driver's licenses and more older people are holding on to them as long as possible.

By Ronald D. White February 28, 2012 2 Comments

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Auto review: Fisker Karma is ready for its close up

At first sight, the Karma seems a concept car come to life — and, in fact, it is. Little of the design has changed since it was unveiled at the 2008 Detroit auto show.

By Jerry Garrett February 28, 2012 4 Comments

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Rally up: A local school teaches the sport of rally-car racing

You've seen it in the movies: A car flies down a gravel road, hits a patch of mud and slides sideways through a tight corner. Wheels spin. Pebbles spray. The driver pulls out of the turn and roars away. What you might not know is that it's possible to drive like that on a professional course only minutes from Seattle.

By Jeff Layton February 26, 2012 1 Comment

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Dare to repair: Tips for newbies on DIY car fixes

I'm not mechanically inclined. While I still go to the dealer for major repairs, here I am, willing to roll up my sleeves and do my own work if it will save a couple of hundred dollars. Here are tips for others who want to do their own repairs.

By Douglas E. Jessmer February 24, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: Dodge Charger is a stand-out sedan

Forget about retro, nostalgia stuff. The 2012 Dodge Charger is an impressive, large, rear-wheel drive sedan for today's buyers who want to stand out from the crowd.

By Ann M. Job February 23, 2012 2 Comments

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Auto review: BMW's first electric is all a Bimmer should be

The BMW ActiveE, even in full sprint, has absolutely no exhaust noise. That's because the car doesn't have a tailpipe — or an engine, for that matter. It's the first 100-percent electric Bimmer, offered to 700 Americans who will help BMW evaluate its electric technology.

By Bradley Berman February 22, 2012

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Americans still have strong hunger for muscle cars

The Dodge Challenger SRT 392, left, and Dodge Charger SRT8 for 2012. (Chrysler) America is flexing its muscle. Sales of modern-day muscle cars are surprisingly strong despite gas price spikes...

By Alisa Priddle February 21, 2012

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Family values: Well-priced alternatives to the minivan

Maybe a minivan is too big for you, or you need all-wheel drive (though the Toyota Sienna has it). Or maybe boxy just isn't the fashion statement you're aiming for. Fortunately, there are plenty of non-van family vehicles to choose from.

By Tom Voelk February 19, 2012

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Car ads that scored before, during and after the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is over, but there's still time on the clock for the auto ads that ran during the game. They can all still be viewed online.

February 17, 2012

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Auto review: Centennial Corvette is a beauty in black

The Corvette Centennial Special Edition comes in one color: black on black. (Chevrolet) The Corvette wasn't around 100 years ago when Chevrolet was born. But for 2012, the iconic two-seater...

By Ann M. Job February 16, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: Dodge Charger is a powerful bargain

In the midst of the creeping price inflation that seems to afflict all cars, the Dodge Charger stands out as a notable bargain, the lone rear-wheel-drive sedan (along with its cousin, the Chrysler 300) that's priced comfortably below $30,000.

By Ezra Dyer February 15, 2012

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As autos get better, a look back at the worst of all time

The Los Angeles Times asked the editors at auto information company Edmunds.com, senior director of Consumer Reports' automotive test center and readers to put together a list of the 10 worst cars ever sold in America.

By Jerry Hirsch February 14, 2012 3 Comments

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China's goals for electric cars stuck on idle

Workers train to demonstrate a battery-switching platform at the China Southern Power Grid center in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China. (Forbes Conrad / The New York Times) Three years ago, as...

By Keith Bradsher February 14, 2012

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Shaking up the competitive order of the auto world

A handful of cars and SUVs hitting the road this year could shake up the competitive balance among the world's top automakers.

By Mark Phelan February 10, 2012

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Auto review: Hyundai Veloster is a good-looking miser

The Veloster's looks and starting price are intended to draw younger buyers. (Hyundai) With sporty styling and standard high-tech features, the Hyundai Veloster — the automaker's fourth new car that...

By Ann M. Job February 9, 2012

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Auto review: VW Bug doesn't want to be cute anymore

The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle abandons the iconic arched silhouette of its predecessor and in the process shifts its style and personality. It is also more macho. "More power, less flower" is the slogan.

By Phil Patton February 8, 2012

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New safety rules aim to reduce ejection danger

A safety standard issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Jan. 13 is intended to prevent occupants from being ejected through the side windows in accidents. The rule requires automakers to incorporate technology designed to protect both belted and unbelted passengers.

By Paul Stenquist February 7, 2012

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Coping with a commute: Use your time in the car to feel better

(Thinkstock and NWautos staff) For commuters, sometimes getting from Point A to Point B is easier said than done. Seattle's rush-hour traffic has been ranked between second- and fourth-worst in...

Darla Carter February 5, 2012

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Detroit auto show serves up engineering wonders

Under the shapely sheet metal and ultraglossy finishes of the vehicles introduced at the Detroit auto show last month were technical details just as captivating as the visual attractions. The advances ranged from minor interior convenience features to entirely new approaches in structural design.

By Paul Stenquist February 3, 2012

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Auto review: Mazda3 makes fun more fuel efficient

Mazda, the car company known for its "zoom-zoom" marketing campaign, is selling fuel efficiency now, too. The company is applying SkyActiv, its package of fuel-saving equipment and upgrades, to the Mazda3 sedan and five-door hatchback.

By Ann M. Job February 2, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: Honda CR-V gets mild updates in crowded market

Honda is meeting new competition in the compact crossover market with a carefully graduated step forward rather than a shoot-for-the-moon upgrade of its top-selling CR-V.

By Csaba Csere February 1, 2012 3 Comments

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Lance Lambert shares the love on 'The Vintage Vehicle Show'

"Vintage Vehicle Show" host Lance Lambert's garage is a reflection of his love for collector cars. (Linda Hughes/Special to NWautos) Even after almost 20 years of hosting "The Vintage Vehicle...

By Linda Hughes January 29, 2012 4 Comments

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Ford museum's 'Driving America' exhibit debuts

The suburban Detroit museum founded by auto pioneer Henry Ford is revamping its automotive displays, offering a fresh look at its rich collection and showcasing the enormous influence of the automobile on culture and daily life in the United States.

By David Runk January 28, 2012

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Downloads to help your car's computers stay up to date

In a world where technologies quickly come and go, automakers are pressed to keep pace. To ensure that the growing array of electronics do not become obsolete before the car's first oil change, engineers are creating vehicles that can adapt to new technologies and are flexible enough to accommodate future developments.

By John R. Quain January 27, 2012

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Auto review: Nissan Quest minivan has unique touches

Nissan's Quest is a nice minivan that many people may not know about. (Nissan) Do buyers know there is a minivan again at Nissan? The Nissan Quest, which had been...

By Ann M. Job January 26, 2012

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Auto review: VW Eos sunroof is an engineering marvel

The Eos has a sunroof within its convertible top — an industry first. (Volkswagen) The 2012 Volkswagen Eos has an 8-cylinder. Not under the hood, but beneath the luggage compartment, behind...

By Ezra Dyer January 25, 2012

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Award winners: A roundup of the most-lauded autos for 2012

A roundup of the most-lauded autos for 2012.

NW autos staff January 22, 2012

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Auto industry celebrates its turn-around in Detroit

The relief and sense of accomplishment among automakers was palpable at this year's North American International Auto Show, which opened to the public Jan. 14, as automakers rolled out an impressive wave of spit-shined recruits for showrooms.

By Lawrence Ulrich January 21, 2012

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Behind on your 'green' car knowledge? We'll catch you up

Hybrids and electric cars are hot, but what if you, well, haven't really been paying attention? Here's a primer on where we stand, so you can figure out where you're headed.

Wire and staff reports January 20, 2012 2 Comments

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Auto review: Scion tC's sporty styling draws young buyers

Young male drivers lock onto the 2012 Scion tC like heat-seeking missiles. Judging from the attention the test tC attracted, these guys love getting 180 horsepower at a starting retail price of less than $20,000.

By Ann M. Job January 19, 2012

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Auto review: Hyundai Accent offers inexpensive style

Shop wisely, and you can find a small car that offers a lot of bang for the buck. Even better news for those on a budget but who still consider themselves automotive appreciators: It's possible to find such a car that offers a degree of fun. The Hyundai Accent is just that.

By Matt Degen January 17, 2012

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With so many vehicles due in 2012, it may be hard to choose

Didn't make a New Year's resolution? Here's one for car shoppers: Do some deep research.

By Tom Voelk January 15, 2012

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Three trends to watch for at the Detroit auto show

Here are three trends to look for when the North American International Auto Show in Detroit opens to the public Jan. 14.

By Dee-Ann Durbin January 13, 2012

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More hybrids, electrics debut at Detroit auto show

The Toyota NS4 plug-in hybrid concept was unveiled at the Detroit auto show Jan. 9. (The Associated Press) Automakers aren't easing off the throttle in unveiling new electric vehicles and...

By David Shepardson January 13, 2012

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Auto review: Camry remains top seller for several good reasons

There are three thrifty reasons why the best-selling car in the United States for the past 10 years, the Toyota Camry, is likely to stay on top.

By Ann M. Job January 12, 2012 1 Comment

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Auto review: Porsche Panamera Turbo S is a show-off

In keeping with the Porsche tradition, the Panamera Turbo S is like a Panamera Turbo that's having a really good day. The S is a little bit brighter, a little bit sharper and a lot more expensive.

By Ezra Dyer January 11, 2012

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Ford eager to show off redesigned luxury Lincoln

Ford is hoping high-tech features married with elegant designs will soon give its Lincoln brand an identity for which consumers will pay a premium.

By Bill Vlasic January 10, 2012 1 Comment

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Innovative garage-door products offer safety and convenience

They tell your garage door to go up and down; not too complicated. But garage-door openers have seen innovations lately that make up and down downright high-tech.

By Linda Hughes January 8, 2012

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Insurance check: Evaluate your auto insurance to save money

Examining your car insurance makes a lot of sense. Prices vary widely and, on average, car insurance cost Americans $789 per vehicle annually in 2008. Here are some ways to save.

By Gregory Karp January 6, 2012

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Auto review: New Range Rover Evoque is sleekest SUV

Boldly forsaking a history of boxy, gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles, England's Land Rover now sells a compact SUV that's so stylish former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham is consulting on a special edition model.

By Ann M. Job January 5, 2012

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Auto review: 2012 Mazda5 right-sizes the minivan

The refreshed Mazda5 minivan has a friendly face on its smaller-than-average body. (Mazda) When Chrysler created the market for minivans back in 1983, the Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager and Chrysler...

By Larry Printz January 4, 2012

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Eating? Shaving? You're a distracted driver too

Perhaps you never have texted or talked on a cellphone while operating a motor vehicle. But there are plenty of other activities that can make you just as guilty of distracted driving.

By Jane E. Brody January 3, 2012

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Clouds ahead: Systems give drivers access to media anywhere

The goal of some automakers is make it easy for drivers to seamlessly access movies, music and other content always available via the Internet from central servers -- the so-called digital cloud -- instead of storing it on board or having to bring it with them on a personal device.

By Chris Woodyard January 1, 2012

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End of the road: 17 vehicles that won't return in 2012

The turn of the automotive model year usually brings a host of discontinued cars, and this go-round is no exception. As 2011 winds down, some 17 models have gotten the ax, from market weaklings to long-running strong sellers.

By Sam Smith December 30, 2011 3 Comments

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Auto review: Chrysler 300 turns heads, guzzles gas

The Chrysler 300 flagship sedan offers style on a grand scale and a roomy interior reminiscent of the big American sedans of yesteryear. But the V-8-powered SRT8 version of the 300 provides another, less nostalgic blast from the past: It guzzles gas.

By Ann M. Job December 29, 2011 2 Comments

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Monster match: boy rides out his love for monster trucks

Kaid Jaret Olson-Weston can barely see over the steering wheel, but at 8 years old, he is the youngest monster-truck driver.

By Suzette Laboy December 28, 2011 1 Comment

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Auto review: BMW 6 Series is still a gentleman's ride

The type of car embodied by the BMW 6 Series once commanded the highest levels of respect. Provocatively styled and emitting satisfied burps from a V-8, the classic two-plus-two luxury liner proclaimed its owner to be a lover of the good life and the fast lane.

By Lawrence Ulrich December 28, 2011

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Buy before you try: Shoppers purchase cars without a test drive

At a time when consumers have become accustomed to buying flat-screen televisions from Amazon without seeing the picture quality and ordering shoes from Zappos without trying them on, is it any wonder that some would buy a vehicle without ever taking a test drive?

By Alan Rider December 25, 2011 1 Comment

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Dream machines continue to roll out for super-rich car fans

The automotive world finds itself awash in the kind of extreme two-seaters that are so quick, light and expensive that they are called supercars. More than a dozen choices, some costing upwards of $2 million, are here and more are on the way.

By Chris Woodyard December 23, 2011 1 Comment

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Auto review: Soul is top-selling Kia car for good reason

For 2012, the youthful Kia Soul is restyled for a more high-tech look, has more powerful, yet more fuel-efficient engines, new six-speed transmissions and more features, including an infotainment system with voice recognition.

By Ann M. Job December 22, 2011

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Auto review: Buick Verano is luxury compact worth noting

There are signs that Buick is on the upswing, and the Verano luxury compact is the latest indication that corporate confidence is back, along with a new willingness to take a gamble.

By Christopher Jensen December 21, 2011

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Get your car ready for holiday travel season

An ill-prepared vehicle can not only jeopardize your holiday trip, but also the safety of you and your passengers. And on-the-road repairs are seldom cheap or convenient. A pre-trip check-up will ensure safe travels.

By Steven Cole Smith December 20, 2011

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Halfway home: A look at the LeMay's stunning expansion

View image « previous | next » « previous | next »...

Photos by Barry Gibbons December 18, 2011 1 Comment

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Very slick: Automakers strive to reduce engine friction

Internal-combustion engines are by nature high-friction devices. Friction nibbles away at engine power, producing heat that is lost to the atmosphere. Limiting those losses is a goal of every automaker, with huge efforts directed toward tiny returns.

By Paul Stenquist December 16, 2011 1 Comment

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Auto review: Prius v rides like a fuel-efficient minivan

Toyota's biggest Prius, the 2012 Prius v, has arrived as a minivan-styled vehicle with 58 percent more cargo space than the current Prius and more room for passengers.

By Ann M. Job December 15, 2011

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Auto review: New Subaru Impreza benefits from a mpg boost

The new Subaru Impreza sedan with an automatic transmission is rated at 36 miles per gallon on the highway, a whopping 38 percent increase from last year's figure of 26 mpg.

By Christopher Jensen December 13, 2011

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Technology, fuel-sippers take the spotlight at Japan auto show

"Green" cars and futuristic concepts rolled into the spotlight at the Tokyo auto show as Japan's automakers look to technological innovation to reinvigorate growth after tough times.

By Yuri Kageyama December 12, 2011

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Classic autos can be a hobby and an education for kids

The Pacific Northwest's classic-car clubs and meetups aren't just populated by adults; kids and teens have a similar passion for antique autos. And when all the age groups come together, it can be a learning and bonding experience for everyone.

By Allen Cox December 11, 2011

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The quest for better gas mileage may make spare tires extinct

This year, more than 14 percent of new models on sale in the United States came with liquid tire sealant and a portable electric air pump instead of a spare, a trend that is growing as automakers try to shed pounds and boost gas mileage.

December 9, 2011 1 Comment

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Auto review: Verano is a Buick that feels like a Lincoln

The 2012 Verano is a decidedly nice car with pleasing styling, quiet interior, decent fuel mileage and noteworthy ride and handling.

By Ann M. Job December 8, 2011

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Auto review: New VW Passat ready to challenge midsize leaders

The redesigned, U.S.-built 2012 Volkswagen Passat has arrived — and appears to be a solid entry in the midsize-sedan segment, ready to challenge the dominance of the longtime leaders in the class, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

By G. Chambers Williams III December 7, 2011

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Need for speed keeps supercharger maker's business humming

Vortech Engineering has built a business helping drivers satisfy their need for speed. The Oxnard, Calif., company manufactures superchargers that force more air into an automotive engine, providing a boost of additional horsepower.

December 5, 2011 1 Comment

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Best of 2011: Year of change brings beauty, innovation to cars

This year may go down as one of the most exciting and unpredictable in automotive history.

December 4, 2011

Time, deals make the week after Christmas a big time to buy

Despite ads showing a brand-new car (complete with big red bow) in the driveway on Christmas morning, one of the biggest sales periods of the year actually comes after Santa has headed back to the North Pole.

By Jayne O’Donnell December 2, 2011 1 Comment

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Auto Review: Civic Natural Gas available to more consumers

Thirteen years after launching its natural gas-powered Civic as a low-emission, low-fuel-price vehicle for public utilities and other business fleets, Honda is expanding availability to more consumers than ever.

By Ann M. Job December 1, 2011

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Auto Review: For new Buick LaCrosse, smugness comes standard

Easing along the New York State Thruway in a Buick LaCrosse, I am enjoying the hushed cabin and technological amenities of an entry-level luxury car as I keep an eye out for diminutive gas hogs like the Honda Fit and the Mazda 2.

Christopher Jensen November 29, 2011 1 Comment

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Through the roof: Dual-pane, panoramic sunroofs are hot sellers

Americans have repeatedly indulged in big views: picture windows in the ranch house, CinemaScope at the drive-in, wide-screen television in the media room.

By Phil Patton November 27, 2011

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Pickups downshift: Some buyers swap V-8 engines for V-6s

Jim Leath has driven pickup trucks since the 1960s, always powered by V-8 engines beefy enough to tow a boat or carry a load of concrete blocks.

By Steve Everly November 25, 2011

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Auto Review: Rugged Jeep Wrangler popular again

Taming America's sport utility vehicles and turning them into new-day minivans for mainstream buyers took a toll on most classic SUVs. But the iconic Jeep Wrangler escaped the trend.

By Ann M. Job November 23, 2011 3 Comments

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Auto Review: Throwing caution to the wine despite a chilly economy

Barricaded against the financial storms, Americans aren't exactly whistling "Here Comes the Sun."

By Lawrence Ulrich November 22, 2011

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Wish list: Play Santa with auto-inspired gifts for the holidays

Brighten the holidays for the car nut on your list with gifts that show you've been paying attention.

By Karen Gaudette November 20, 2011

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War legend: At 70, the Jeep has a place in American history

The Willys-Overland Jeep had a fast start. It was invented as the U.S. prepared to enter World War II, and nearly 650,000 were used by the time the war ended.

By Scott Burgess November 18, 2011 2 Comments

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Auto Review: Mustang Boss 302 races back

After 42 years, the Mustang Boss 302 is back, channeling race car driver Parnelli Jones and his exhilarating 1970 Trans Am series win at Laguna Seca raceway in California.

By Ann M. Job November 16, 2011

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Been a while since you bought a new car? Big advances are coming

Whether it's due to improved vehicle quality or the lousy economy, the U.S. Department of Transportation says we're keeping our rides longer than ever. These days, the average car lasts about 13 years and 145,000 miles.

By Tom Voelk / Special to NWautos November 13, 2011

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Winter wiles: Head off rain and snow with these cold-weather car tips

Is your car ready for the cold? Here are some tips to keep in mind.

By Steven Cole Smith / The Orlando Sentinel November 11, 2011

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Auto Review: Camaro Convertible is a head-turner

Thank goodness you don't need one of the 100 special-edition Neiman Marcus Chevrolet Camaro Convertibles to enjoy a special open-top Camaro ride.

By Ann M. Job November 9, 2011 2 Comments

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Auto Review: 2012 Audi A6: Actor in a supporting role

The new Audi A6 has arrived. And from its debut on the luxury stage until the end of its days, this sedan will be the William Mapother of the Audi lineup.

By Lawrence Ulrich November 8, 2011

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Who needs handles? Auto designers are hiding door handles for a sleek look

Automobiles seem to want to lose their old-fashioned door handles.

By Phil Patton November 6, 2011

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Show stoppers: What to look for at the Seattle Auto Show this weekend

--> « previous | next » « previous | next » The 2012 Seattle Auto Show runs Nov. 2-6 at Century Link Field Event Center. To learn more, read...

Photos by Barry Gibbons November 4, 2011

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Auto Review: Rio still carries a low price

It's still called the Kia Rio. But the five-door hatchback for 2012 is a notable new model with sporty appearance, well-laid-out interior, a more refined and quiet ride and a government fuel economy rating of 40 miles a gallon on the highway.

By Ann M. Job November 2, 2011

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Auto review: From not so good to not so bad

Plain, ordinary and uninteresting were core competencies of the old Chrysler Corp. From Harry Truman's 1941 Chrysler Windsor, through four decades of the nearly indestructible Slant Six engine and on to, yes, the boring front-drive K-Cars of the 1980s, Chrysler delivered plain, affordable transportation for plain, budget-conscious people who saw that as a virtue. The Chrysler 200 sedan is in keeping with that tradition.

By John Pearley Huffman November 1, 2011

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2012 Seattle Auto Show vehicles are more efficient and more powerful

The vehicles at the 2012 Seattle Auto Show are a reflection of the times. Almost every automaker will be showing fuel-sipping hybrids, super-efficient compacts and zero-emission electrics.

By Cody Ellerd Bay October 30, 2011 1 Comment

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Chevy turns 100 | 1911-2011
Greatest hits: Chevrolet's 10 best define American automobiles

Chevrolet doesn't just build cars and trucks. It creates archetypes. Close your eyes and think of a type of car or truck. It's amazing how often the vehicle in your mind's eye will be a Chevrolet.

By Mark Phelan October 28, 2011

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Chevy turns 100 | 1911-2011
Chevy's history is a mix of economy, luxury and power

Like its famous bowtie badge, Chevrolet's past and present intersect at several ironic points.

By Zlati Meyer October 28, 2011 2 Comments

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Chevy turns 100 | 1911-2011
Iconic brand leaves pop culture imprint

In the 100 years that Chevrolets have roamed U.S. roads and byways, the car has been portrayed in movies, TV and music as the modest, everyman vehicle that anyone could afford, as well as a signifier of reckless speed, eternal youth and a persistent raffishness.

By Susan Whitall October 28, 2011

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Chevy turns 100 | 1911-2011
Celebrating Chevrolet in song

If you like both kinds of music -- songs about Chevrolets and songs about Chevys -- Pandora has the playlist for you.

By Mark Phelan October 28, 2011

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Auto Review: Smallest Scion ever debuts: iQ minicompact

Where is the rest of the car? Just about everyone asked this question when they saw Scion's newest car, the iQ.

By Ann M. Job October 26, 2011

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Auto Review: Throw practicality out the window with well-designed, tough Land Rover LR4

Some vehicles defy rhyme or reason. Carmakers count on that.

By Scott Burgess October 25, 2011

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Woodie worker: Local restorer brings exterior woodwork back to life

Rick Mack has owned woodie station wagons since the 1960s. Now he restores them. (Jeff Layton) Rick Mack shows the complicated cuts needed to replicate an original woodie exterior. He...

By Jeff Layton October 23, 2011

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What's in store: New models and major changes for 2012 (Part 3: Maserati to Volvo)

Revamped versions of some of America's best-known cars are out this year, along with new fuel-sippers, electrics and high-powered performance machines.

By Dee-Ann Durbin October 21, 2011

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Auto Review: Nissan's mid-size car is this year's big seller

Nissan's American-built mid-size car, the Altima, is catching on with car buyers this year.

By Ann M. Job October 19, 2011

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Auto Review: Despite intelligent design, Scion iQ doesn't ace the test

The Scion iQ stretches out just a tenth of an inch beyond 10 feet long, but it packs some slick engineering into that short space. Maybe too much slick engineering.

By John Pearly Huffman October 17, 2011

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Fixes by you: Self-serve car-repair shop lets you be the mechanic

Two years ago, George Patterson found himself faced with a routine car-maintenance problem that came with a big price tag. The high cost of labor in the repair shop's quote got him thinking that there must be a way to make the fix for less.

By Allen Cox October 16, 2011 12 Comments

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What's in store: New models and major changes for 2012 (Part 2: Fiat To Lexus)

Revamped versions of some of America's best-known cars are out this year, along with new fuel-sippers, electrics and high-powered performance machines. Here's a rundown of the 2012 cars on the market through next fall (all prices include shipping).

By Dee-Ann Durbin October 14, 2011 2 Comments

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Auto Review: New engine boosts 2012 Cadillac SRX

The SRX, the Cadillac of crossover sport utility vehicles, gets smart improvements for 2012 -- notably, a better engine and an "eco" mode to try to maximize fuel efficiency.

By Ann M. Job October 13, 2011

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Auto Review: Dusting off the recipe for a white-bread van

Everybody, it sometimes seems, complains about the minivan, or at least the bland, conservative image of the minivan. But despite the best efforts of marketing departments -- from Toyota's "Swagger Wagon" videos to Honda Odyssey ads pulsing with rock-concert fantasies -- tampering with the basic van formula is a dangerous business.

By Cheryl Jensen October 11, 2011

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Timing takeoff: The zero-to-60 measurement is a mysterious status symbol

One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Miss -- boom! Congratulations, you've just hit 60 miles an hour. Or would have if you were piloting a Bugatti Veyron.

By Jason H. Harper October 9, 2011

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What's in store: New models and major changes for 2012 (Part 1: Acura to Dodge)

Everything old is new again. Revamped versions of some of America's best-known cars -- the Toyota Camry, the Chevrolet Malibu, the Ford Taurus, the Volkswagen Beetle, the BMW 3 Series -- are all going on sale in the 2012 model year. The industry hopes that as buyers return after the economic slump, they'll be delighted by new styling, significantly better fuel economy and, in some cases, lower prices.

By Dee-Ann Durbin October 7, 2011 2 Comments

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Auto Review: Aveo out, Chevy Sonic in

Chevrolet improves its lineup substantially with the new-for-2012 Sonic compact sedan and five-door hatchback.

By Ann M. Job October 6, 2011

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Auto Review: Bentley's flagship a threat to chauffer job security

The Bentley Mulsanne, it turns out, is a pleasant car to drive. I can hear the snorts already: "Excuse me? Bentley's flagship costs $330,000. I should hope it's pleasing."

By Lawrence Ulrich October 5, 2011 2 Comments

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What's inside counts: These 2012 models have head-turning interior upgrades

It's easy to get excited about the launch of an all-new car. Fresh sheet metal is like a newborn baby -- it commands attention while the older sibling gets ignored.

By Tom Voelk October 2, 2011

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Automakers are making cars more aerodynamic and boosting mpgs

The government's tougher new fuel-economy standards are going to force automakers to go to new lengths to increase gas mileage, and many are already looking at fine details such as aerodynamics.

By Chris Woodyard September 30, 2011 1 Comment

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Auto Review: Infiniti adds first gas-electric hybrid

Luxury brand Infiniti finally joins the gasoline-electric hybrid car market with the 2012 M35h that's rated 38 percent more fuel efficient overall than its non-hybrid, V-6-powered M35 sibling.

By Ann M. Job September 29, 2011

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Auto Review: New Civic keeps hybrid weirdness at bay

BETHLEHEM, N.H. -- The goal in designing the 2012 Civic Hybrid, Honda executives say, was to incorporate the hybrid virtue of superior fuel economy in a vehicle that drives like a conventional car. For the most part, Honda has accomplished that.

By Christopher Jensen September 27, 2011

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Get charged: A guide to finding local EV charging stations

Electric-vehicle charging stations continue to pop up like mushrooms in the Seattle area, enabling drivers to extend their driving range as they catch a football game in Sodo, enjoy a latte in South Lake Union or see a movie at the Bellevue Collection.

By Karen Gaudette September 25, 2011 1 Comment

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Auto ABCs: Deciphering the alphabet soup of modern safety systems

When Carol Grubb bought her new car, the salesman told her that the "BA" on the invoice stood for brake assist. He wasn't able to tell her much more about what brake assist actually does, or why she needed it, though. The Kissimmee, Fla., resident didn't even ask about "BFD."

By Steven Cole Smith September 23, 2011

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Auto Review: Volkswagen Beetle looking for men

The Volkswagen Beetle is back as a new, larger car with a flatter roofline, wider track, shorter windshield, better fuel economy and no bud vase on the dashboard.

By Ann M. Job September 22, 2011 1 Comment

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Home delivery: Need a repair? Consider a mechanic who comes to you

When Alan Titus' car broke down, he thought about having it towed to a shop, as he usually did. But he was intrigued by a mobile mechanic's advertisement and called him instead.

By Linda Hughes September 18, 2011

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After a quarter-century in America, Hyundai is hitting its stride

As Hyundai celebrates its 25th anniversary selling cars in the United States, the brand that started out as a low-priced joke has become the fastest-growing automaker in the world.

By Mark Phelan September 16, 2011

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Auto review: Hyundai adds biggest V-8

In tough economic times, large premium cars aren't big sellers. But Hyundai is undeterred. The South Korea-based company is upgrading its 3-year-old, rear-wheel drive Genesis sedan with a new model that has Hyundai's most powerful engine -- a 5-liter, direct-injection V-8 generating 429 horsepower.

By Ann M. Job September 15, 2011 1 Comment

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Airstream mystique: Passionate local community grows with a new dealership

All it took was one camping trip in a borrowed trailer for Melanie and Lee Power to know that they wanted to get their own. And it took only about half a second for Melanie to know which kind she wanted.

By Cody Ellerd Bay September 11, 2011 3 Comments

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Less is more: RV sales are up, but sizes are shrinking

Not noticing the usual convoy of motor homes headed for vacation spots this summer? That may be because RVs are getting smaller.

By Chris Woodyard September 9, 2011

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Auto review: Comfort is nicely sized in Equinox

Chevrolet's best-selling sport utility vehicle, the Equinox, is comfortable, attractive inside and out, and roomy without being oversized.

By Ann M. Job September 7, 2011 2 Comments

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High mileage: Top new car picks nearing and surpassing 40 mpg

When it comes to birthdays, you may have heard that 40 is the new 30. That applies to automotive fuel efficiency, too. Every manufacturer is now gunning for the big 4-0.

By Tom Voelk September 4, 2011

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Luxury lighting: Entry-level cars get big style with LED headlight accents

Those twinkling lights on the fronts of luxury cars are starting to find their way into the mainstream.

By Chris Woodyard September 2, 2011 2 Comments

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Auto Review: The Escalade is still a status symbol

Not even major league hockey's shiny, big, Stanley Cup trophy dims the glitzy looks of the 2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV.

By Ann M. Job August 31, 2011

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Interior restorer brings history and style back to classic cars

Tony Miller sits in a 1957 Ford Fairlane he is restoring at his shop Stitches in Poulsbo. (Amanda Layton / Special to NWautos) When Tony Miller was in high school,...

By Jeff Layton August 28, 2011

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Big sales for U.S. carmakers as the best of the 2011 autos emerge

Clockwise from top left: The Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Elantra. It's the best summer in years for Detroit carmakers. New 2011 models are flying out of dealer showrooms,...

By Alisa Priddle August 26, 2011

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Auto Review: Kia adds mid-size hatchback

The newest Kia Forte is second-best in government fuel economy ratings among 2011 mid-size hatchbacks. Only the Toyota Prius, with hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain, does better.

By Ann M. Job August 24, 2011

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Wired buying: The Internet provides an alternate route into dealerships

Websites for individual dealerships (like Renton Kia's, top left), Costco Auto (right) and eBay Motors are giving consumers a new entry-point for buying a vehicle. Beth Volk had done all...

By Cody Ellerd Bay August 21, 2011 2 Comments

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A new crop of cars shows that inexpensive doesn't have to mean cheap

Priced at $10,990, the 2012 Nissan Versa is the epitome of the new value car. (Nissan) It would have been easy to overlook amid the shiny cars, fashion models and...

By James R. Healey and Chris Woodyard August 19, 2011

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Auto Review: VW Eos convertible is refreshed

It's easy to get people staring at the newly restyled, 2012 Volkwagen Eos -- particularly when the convertible hardtop is down and a nearly 4-foot-tall, bright yellow M&M's character is strapped into the back seat.

By Ann M. Job August 18, 2011

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Back-to-school 'uncool': Shopping for your teen? Forgo flash for safety

Clockwise from top left: The Kia Optima, Chevrolet Malibu, Hyundai Tuscon and Toyota Venza are Insurance Institute for Highway Safety top safety picks. Ford If your back-to-school shopping list includes...

By Tom Voelk August 14, 2011

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Train your teen driver with a good school and lots of road miles

(Thinkstock) In about two months my son will begin driving lessons, and I've realized that I have no idea how to choose a driving school. When I was a teen,...

By Alina Tugend August 12, 2011

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Auto Review: Big changes to Hyundai's small car

Hyundai's smallest auto, the Accent, is no longer the cheapest new car in America. Instead, it's a stylish compact with class-leading fuel mileage, notable features and an interior so quiet at stoplights you might think the engine has turned off.

By Ann M. Job August 10, 2011 1 Comment

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Gas-pump sticker shock? Meditate on these pricey comparisons

(Sara Kennedy / NWautos staff) "Have you seen the price of gas? It's almost five bucks a gallon!" OK, maybe it's only four bucks. Or $3.92. But whatever. If I...

By Sean O’Connor August 7, 2011

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Start-stop technology in U.S. vehicles could bring fuel savings

The stage is set for a relatively simple and inexpensive fuel-saving technology to proliferate on vehicles in North America.

New York Times News Service August 5, 2011

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Auto Review: Mazda minivan's a bargain

The 2012 Mazda5 is a pleasant bargain -- a nimble minivan that's smaller than others, yet has seats for six, best fuel mileage of any van, a value price and even an available manual transmission.

By Ann M. Job August 4, 2011

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Listen up: Three car noises that could mean trouble

(Thinkstock) When your car squeaks, squeals or groans, it's asking for help. Ignoring those noises can cost big bucks later, so it's best to check them now and fix any...

By Tom Krisher July 31, 2011

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Open season: Celebrate summer with the convertible of your dreams

Clockwise from top left: Audi A5; Chrysler 200; Mercedes-Benz SLK350; Volkswagen Eos. I'd argue that the Pacific Northwest is the best place in America to own a convertible. Don't wait...

By Tom Voelk July 29, 2011 1 Comment

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Auto Review: Acura's top car gets better

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) Acura's best-selling car, the mid-size TL sedan, is revised for 2012 with a new, modern transmission, interior upgrades and a toned-down grille design and rear end...

By Ann M. Job July 27, 2011 2 Comments

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Techno-tripping: Websites, apps and gadgets to make your road trip a success

An ever-growing number of road-trip-related apps, websites and gadgets help make plotting a summer adventure almost as fun as the journey itself. Whether you're bound for the ocean, mountains or desert, here are some high-tech ways to ease your expedition.

By Karen Gaudette July 24, 2011

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Cool off hot car interiors with these low- and high-tech ideas

(Thinkstock) The Baby Bee Cool car seat cover, left, uses ice packs to keep the seat cool. A folding window shade, right, is convenient and effective. On a hot summer...

Wire Reports July 22, 2011

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Auto review: Hyundai Elantra a real looker

The attractive 2011 Hyundai Elantra sedan is arguably the best-looking smallish sedan in the country.

By Ann M. Job July 20, 2011 1 Comment

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Rising star: Custom auto painting melds passions for young artist

Custom auto-painter Josh Jones practices free-hand pinstriping (Photos by Jeff Layton) When Josh Jones was in school, there were only two things that appealed to him: cars and art. At...

By Jeff Layton July 17, 2011

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Buy smart: Tips for getting the best deal on your summer ride

James Jensen checks out a Toyota Prius while car shopping in Braintree, Mass. Some Toyota models are in short supply this summer. (Jonathan Wiggs / New York Times News Service)...

By Jerry Hirsch July 15, 2011

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Auto Review: Honda Civic still a strong contender

(AP Photo/Honda) The new, ninth-generation Honda Civic sedan isn't the sexiest small car. But it's surprisingly roomy for a compact, has a quieter interior and a more compliant ride than...

By Ann M. Job July 13, 2011

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At one local rest area, everyone has a reason to be on the road

Summer will be prime time for these rest areas, and for every visitor there's a story.

By Cody Ellerd Bay July 10, 2011

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Art of the car: Road trip to these museums for auto inspiration

Leah Nash / New York Times News Service A 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante waits in the Portland Art Museum's sculpture garden after being unloaded for the "Allure of the...

Staff and wire reports July 8, 2011

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Auto Review: Acura adds station wagon

With stubbornly high gasoline prices, station wagons are suddenly appealing — and Acura's new-for-2011 TSX Sport Wagon should be especially so.

By Ann M. Job July 6, 2011 1 Comment

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A journey across a Cascade mountain pass is a road trip through history

This photo of the "Sunset Highway" over Snoqualmie Pass is estimated to be from 1917. (Washington State DOT) If you're heading over the Cascades for warm weather or mountain majesty...

By Allen Cox July 3, 2011 4 Comments

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Avoid common road-trip nightmares with the right preparation

(Thinkstock) Drive, drag, dash, motor, start, run, race, roll, travel, cruise, crawl, fire it up, lean on it, step on it, on your mark, get set, go! The summer road-trip...

By Larry Printz July 1, 2011

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Top summer drives from A to W

The Payette River Scenic Byway in Idaho (Peg Owens). Rugged mountains and crashing falls, towering forests and photo-worthy small towns are just some of the highlights on America's roads and...

Compiled by Laura Bly, Jayne Clark, Monica Hortobagyi and Kitty Bean Yancey July 1, 2011

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Auto Review: Hyundai's flagship sedan busts barriers

The only thing missing from the 2011 Hyundai Equus luxury sedan is a traditional luxury brand badge like a Mercedes star or a Jaguar leaping cat.

By Ann M. Job June 29, 2011

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Turn your car into a rolling canvas with these tips from the masters

A full-blown art car isn't for everyone, but anyone can add fun and personality to their ride with just a little creativity and a whole lotta hot glue. Here are some tips from participants in the Fremont Fair Art Car Blowout, held June 18-19, on how to add a piece of art to any car.

Photos and text by Barry Gibbons June 26, 2011 2 Comments

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Biggie smalls: New mini-crossovers meld the best of subcompacts and SUVs

Nissan's Juke has been on the market only since October, but it's started something: a new category of mini-crossover vehicles that are a sporty blend of subcompact cars and SUVs.

By James R. Healey June 24, 2011

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Auto Review: The best-looking hybrid is a Lexus

(AP Photo/Lexus) Are you tired of the look of the Toyota Prius and other sensibly styled gasoline-electric hybrid cars? With a sporty exterior and arguably the most attractive styling for...

By Ann M. Job June 22, 2011 1 Comment

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Auto renaissance: Is this the next great age for vehicle innovation?

The 1960s were a golden age for automobiles. Designs became dramatic. Horsepower wars raged. Americans were introduced to oddly named companies like Toyota and Datsun. Volvo proved that safety...

June 19, 2011

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The highest used-car prices in years make this an ideal time to sell

It's the best time in years to sell your car. People are holding on to cars and trucks for about a year longer than they did before the recession, which has created a tight supply of used vehicles. So few are on the market that prices have risen to their highest in at least 16 years.

June 17, 2011 2 Comments

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Auto Review: 2011 Honda CR-V 4WD EX-L Navi

(Honda) The five-seat Honda CR-V sport utility vehicle is well-mannered and easy to drive, comfortable to get into and attractive without being flashy. Best of all, it keeps earning awards....

By Ann M. Job June 15, 2011

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Help Dad celebrate Father's Day with one of these auto-related gifts

(NWautos staff) Whether he's a sports fanatic or a road-tripper, a classic-car enthusiast or a neatnik, let your dad know you're glad he's in the driver's seat this Father's Day...

By Karen Gaudette June 12, 2011

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The most common 'check engine' problems and how much they cost to repair

Drivers tend to get nervous whenever the "check engine" light illuminates on their dashboard.

By Dee-Ann Durbin June 10, 2011 2 Comments

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Auto Review: VW Passat is Americanized, almost

German automaker Volkswagen is making its mid-size Passat sedan affordable and accommodating for more American car buyers.

By Ann M. Job June 9, 2011

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Scooter style: Find a perfect match among these two-wheeled wonders

For many people, scooter experiences are limited to anemic vacation rentals.

By Tom Voelk June 5, 2011 1 Comment

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Braking free: An inventor combines gas and brake pedals for safety

Two pedals, inches apart, one for gas and the other for brakes. For years, a Japanese inventor has argued that this most basic of car designs is dangerously flawed.

By Hiroko Tabuchi / New York Times News Service June 3, 2011

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Auto Review: A small Lexus with big power

The 2011 IS F is a Lexus, but it feels more like a sports car than a luxury car.

By Ann M. Job June 2, 2011

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Summer-ready: A little prep work can save you cash and boost your fun

Whether or not gas prices are throwing a monkey wrench into your road-trip plans, it's still time to get your car ready for summer driving -- below the chassis, under the hood, in the trunk and on the dashboard.

By Cody Ellerd Bay May 29, 2011

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New technologies are poised to make cars more fuel-efficient than ever

The first modern mass-market electric cars -- the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf -- are causing a sensation, especially as gas prices top $4 a gallon. However, a quiet revolution in engines and transmissions promises to save vast amounts of oil in the decades before electric vehicles rule the road.

By Mark Phelan May 27, 2011 2 Comments

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The Toyota Tacoma keeps on truckin'

The Toyota Tacoma, America's best-selling compact pickup truck, continues to garner praise -- and sales.

By Ann M. Job May 25, 2011 1 Comment

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A Chevy car club offers a sociable starting place for new restorers

Last May, Vicki Sutton inherited her great-grandfather's 1957 Chevy 150. She knew she wanted to restore it, but she didn't know anything about classic cars or where to learn about them. After a search online, she discovered a local organization called the Northwest Classic Chevy Club (NWCCC), a group devoted to Tri-5s -- Chevys built from 1955-57.

By Jeff Layton May 22, 2011

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Car insurance companies provide breaks for drivers who stay close to home

A form of insurance that requires electronic verification of miles driven, in return for a discount, is gaining popularity. These so-called pay-as-you-drive policies -- miles are often tracked through a GPS system in the car -- are now offered in more than half of the states and are spreading, albeit slowly, despite privacy concerns.

By Roy Furchgott May 20, 2011 1 Comment

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Auto Review: Audi debuts the elegant 2012 A7

German automaker Audi keeps turning out elegant-looking cars, and the newest -- the 2012 A7 -- is no exception.

By Ann M. Job May 19, 2011 1 Comment

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Considering a motorcycle or scooter? Do your homework and some thinking

Save on gas. Spend more time outside. Meet a whole new community. Whatever the goal, Lisa Micone of Seattle Cycle Center has three words for would-be scooter and motorcycle riders: Get your endorsement.

By Karen Gaudette May 15, 2011 6 Comments

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Tracking systems give peace of mind -- and help get your stolen car back

Based on the advertisements, it would seem that technology has made it impossible to steal a car. Tracking systems with GPS can pinpoint any vehicle and direct the authorities straight to the crooks.

By John R. Quain May 13, 2011

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Auto Review: Euro-style Ford van has broad appeal

Maybe it was the bright Torch Red paint on the 2011 Ford Transit Connect van that attracted attention, or maybe it was how the very tall, yet small van moved nimbly into parking spaces labeled for compact cars.

By Ann M. Job May 11, 2011

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Want your car to go the distance? Regular maintenance is the key

There are high-mileage clubs for virtually every make of car, with members boasting from 200,000 to 1 million miles. Even though the average life span of a car is 145,000 miles, local auto mechanics say proper maintenance can extend that indefinitely.

By Cody Ellerd Bay May 8, 2011

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Legends of Motorsports series aims to recapture the magic of racing's past

Bobby Rahal and partners Peter Stoneberg and Zak Brown hope to boost interest in auto racing's past even more through Legends of Motorsports, a vintage racing series that started last year. The second season begins May 20 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.

By John Kekis May 6, 2011

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Auto review: Fiat is back in the US with the economical 500

The 2012 Fiat 500 hatchback is the newest and arguably the cutest small car in the United States, with federal government fuel mileage ratings that are at the top of the subcompact class.

By Ann M. Job May 5, 2011 2 Comments

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Cars vs. bikes in Seattle: Can't we all just get along?

Seattle's a great driving city -- just watch out for the belligerent bikers. It's also a great place to bike -- except for all the deranged drivers. ... This is Seattle's version of the Middle East conflict.

By Sean O’Connor May 1, 2011 5 Comments

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Spare yourself: Buying an extra key can save you big bucks down the road

Think it can't happen to you? Dealers and locksmiths say people frequently lose one or even two of their keys. It can cost more than $1,000 to replace both on some models. So it's a good idea to get a third as soon as you buy a new car.

By Tom Krisher April 29, 2011 2 Comments

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Auto Review: Cadillac powers up CTS

Cadillac's most powerful two-door model for 2011, the CTS-V Coupe, is a hard-charging gas guzzler that looks like a futuristic concept car that escaped from its auto show turntable.

By Ann M. Job April 28, 2011

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Kia, Chrysler, others prove high style doesn't have to mean high prices

Need proof that fine art exists outside museum walls? Check out a Jaguar. Sadly, like a Rodin sculpture, these cars are out of reach for the average Joe and Jane. There's good news for the paycheck-challenged, though -- refined automotive design is becoming democratized.

By Tom Voelk April 24, 2011

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Honda hopes to turn homes into hydrogen-refueling stations

Imagine a world where all it took to power a car was sunshine and tap water. That isn't a pipe dream but, rather, the reality of emerging technology that someday could turn your house into a personal, zero-emission gas station.

By Susan Carpenter April 22, 2011 2 Comments

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Auto Review: Nissan tames the Rogue

Nissan retained the best attributes of the five-passenger, five-door Rogue. At just over 15 feet long, it handles nimbly, has high seat positions for good views out the front, is nicely sized for city driving and parking and is comfortable to drive and ride in.

By Ann M. Job April 21, 2011

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Mechanic's hobby of splicing cars hatches some unique creations

John Walker's Seattle shop is filled with Porsches he fixes for clients, plus cars he modifies. (Jeff Layton) "That's the pickup they should have made," says John Walker, who has...

By Jeff Layton April 17, 2011 10 Comments

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Four is more: A V-6 for a midsize is no longer the obvious choice

When it came time for Ray Hancart to choose the engine he wanted in a new Honda Accord, he decided there was no need for the bigger V-6. He picked one with four cylinders. The marketing and public relations executive from Columbus, Ohio, joined a growing trend in U.S. auto sales toward smaller engines. The trend is starting to erase what once was conventional wisdom: that a four is too small to power a midsize car, especially when it's carrying a family. Fours, boosted by turbochargers, are starting to show up even in larger vehicles such as the new Ford Explorer SUV.

By Tom Krisher April 15, 2011 3 Comments

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Auto Review: Impressive second-generation BMW X3 arrives

I didn't build my own 2011 BMW X3 via the automaker's new custom order process, and television cameras didn't herald its arrival as they did when home maven Martha Stewart received her new X3. But the second-generation of BMW's smallish X3 crossover sport utility vehicle impressed just the same with its strong turbo power, standout road composure and quiet and upscale interior.

By Ann M. Job April 14, 2011

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Get the drift: Motorsport gains popularity in US, but don't call it racing

Drifting is a driving technique that requires controlling a car in a sideways angle at high speeds around a marked course. It's often called "drift racing," but insiders don't like the term because drifting isn't a race. Spectators often compare it to skateboarding, motocross and freestyle skating.

By Allen Cox April 10, 2011

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Today's cars have more power than ever -- but how much can drivers handle?

Performance cars have undergone stunning gains in horsepower. But the trend also raises a question: How much is too much in horses under the hood?

By Chris Woodyard April 8, 2011

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Auto Review: Chevy's Cruze is a small car contender

Chevrolet's new small car, the 2011 Cruze, is a pleasantly styled, good-handling sedan with an inviting interior and impressive government crash test results.

By Ann M. Job April 7, 2011

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See classics, customs, oddities and more at these events for car buffs

Whether you're a fan of vintage fire trucks, muscle cars, Model T's or DeLoreans, if it has wheels, there's probably a local show honoring it. More than just an opportunity for gearheads and collectors to show off their rides, many auto shows also offer food, music and plenty of other entertainment. Here are a few of the biggest and most interesting shows in the coming months, all of which promise a good time.

By Cody Ellerd Bay April 3, 2011

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MPG + e: Mileage measurements can be puzzling to electric-car shoppers

Mileage-equivalent ratings, meant to help potential buyers compare electric cars with others in their class, are befuddling to some consumers who see them as an automotive example of comparing apples and oranges.

By Tiffany Hsu April 1, 2011 1 Comment

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Auto Review: The Subaru Forester still garners praise

The Subaru Forester, a trailblazer in the car-sport utility crossover segment at its U.S. debut more than a dozen years ago, still garners praise for its durability, comfortable ride and sure-footed all-wheel drive character.

By Ann M. Job March 31, 2011

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Inner beauty: Automakers rev up interiors with design and technology

While it's the sheet metal that draws us to vehicles, the interiors are fast becoming as exciting as the exteriors. Few of us spend an afternoon gazing at an automobile's fender, but the dashboard can catch our eyes for hours during a long drive.

By Tom Voelk March 27, 2011

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Today's car washes are cleaner, greener and more convenient

Car washes while you shop. Car washes that come to your home or business. Greener washes. Softer cloths. Better computer technology. These are among the latest developments in the long, sudsy history of the car wash.

By Carole Feldman March 25, 2011

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Auto Review: Big BMW sedan adds a hybrid

Gasoline-electric hybrid versions of BMW's big, 2011 BMW 7-Series sedans come with the federal government's lowest fuel economy rating of all regular-production hybrids. But the 750i and 750iL ActiveHybrids are the quickest hybrid luxury sedans in showrooms, jetting from 0 to 60 miles an hour in a sports car-like 4.7 seconds.

By Ann M. Job March 24, 2011

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Parking space: reclaiming the garage for its original purpose

Take a look in your garage and you might find any number of things: the lawnmower, boxes filled with high school yearbooks, a hobby shop, your son's rock 'n' roll band -- maybe even your mother-in-law living there. But the one thing that seems to be conspicuously absent from many Seattle garages, oddly enough, is an actual car.

By Cody Ellerd Bay March 20, 2011

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'Superbrakes' are stronger, longer lasting and coming down the road

For more than 30 years, Formula One racecars have benefited from powerful brakes that vastly outperform the systems available on any showroom model. The gap may be narrowing, though: High-tech materials similar to those on the racetrack began showing up in exotic sports cars about 10 years ago, and some luxury models now offer them as well.

By Paul Stenquist March 18, 2011 1 Comment

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The new Mini Cooper Countryman isn't so mini

The biggest Mini in new-car showrooms isn't so mini in size and price. The new-for-2011 Mini Cooper Countryman is some 15 inches longer, from bumper to bumper, than the diminutive, 12-foot-long 2011 Mini Cooper hatchback. The five-door Countryman also is 6 inches taller and 4 inches wider than the three-door Mini Cooper hatchback.

By Ann M. Job March 17, 2011 1 Comment

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Area motorcycle-skills courses are part fun, part fundamentals

When Andrew Putnam enrolled in a motorcycle-skills class with 2Fast Motorcycle Track Days & Instruction, he thought it would be a fun way to push his Yamaha R6 to the limit. What surprised him was that the techniques he learned might have helped save his life.

By Jeff Layton March 13, 2011

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How to charge your new electric car without overcharging yourself

In addition to installing a charging station at home, like this one by ECOtality, buyers of electric cars should locate charging stations near work or around town. (ECOtality) Getting your...

By Jonathan Fahey March 11, 2011

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Auto Review: Ford's 2012 Focus gets 40 mpg

Just in time for $4-a-gallon gasoline prices, the 2012 Ford Focus compact arrives as a handsome new model with head-turning fuel mileage, comfortable ride and luxury options not usually found in small cars.

By Ann M. Job March 10, 2011

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Oil smarts: A guide to picking the best one for your car

Without oil to lubricate its many quick-moving metal parts, a car's engine eventually will wear down and literally grind to a halt. With more choices than ever on the market, here's a quick look at the benefits of the most common.

By Karen Gaudette March 6, 2011

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Extended mileage: Aging drivers stay mobile, with technical adjustments

More than one in five licensed drivers will be 65 or older within 15 years, the National Transportation Safety Board says. Smarter cars and better-designed roads may help keep them stay behind the wheel longer and more safely.

By Joan Lowy March 4, 2011

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Auto Review: Is Mercedes' R-Class a wagon, minivan or SUV?

With a newly styled front end for 2011, the six- to seven-passenger the Mercedes-Benz R-Class has more of a sport utility look than before. But from the side, it still looks like a minivan and station wagon.

By Ann M. Job March 3, 2011

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The problem with parking rates isn't the money -- it's the message

Katie Miller / Special to NWautos In my experience, the three most beaten-to-death topics of conversation in Seattle are the weather, the traffic and the parking (or lack thereof). And...

By Sean O’Connor February 27, 2011

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Remember hand-crank windows and road maps? Young drivers probably don't

Not long ago, I gave a ride to a kid in an old car with no air conditioning. It was a warm day, so I told him to roll down the window. He had no idea what that meant. Having grown up with power windows, he had never seen a crank handle and didn't know how to use one. It got me thinking about all the things today's kids take for granted that either didn't exist or were far less common when their parents were growing up. Here are five ways in which kids experience cars differently, starting with those windows.

By Beth J. Harpaz February 25, 2011

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Auto Review: Sleek new Volvo is fun to drive

(AP Photo/Volvo) Volvo's 2011 S60 T6 compact car is not cheap, and it's not the first or second car that shoppers think of when looking for a fun-to-drive sedan. But...

By Ann M. Job February 24, 2011

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The 'four-door coupe' trend keeps growing with more stylish models

Coupes look great, but aging baby boomers dislike the gymnastic moves needed to crawl into the back, making two-doors less popular these days. Therefore, the best way to jump-start coupe sales is to add two more doors -- but that makes it a sedan, right? Not according to Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes invented the "four-door coupe" segment when it unveiled the CLS500 to envious eyes in 2004.

By Tom Voelk February 20, 2011

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Ford's new dashboard design reflects the race to keep up with technology

Look inside the 2011 Ford Fiesta and you will see dashboard controls that have been modeled after the keypad of a cellphone. The automaker, recognizing the challenge of keeping its vehicles' controls and instruments up to date, began in 2006 to establish a set of design principles for its automotive interfaces, aiming to improve what it called the cabin experience.

By Phil Patton February 18, 2011

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Auto Review: Nissan's latest Quest minivan has some new ideas

Just when you think you've seen every version of minivan possible, Nissan debuts its fourth-generation Quest with a few new ideas.

By Ann M. Job February 17, 2011

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Special delivery: Buying a car abroad offers memories and savings

When I began shopping for a new car early in 2010, a European delivery was not in consideration. But during a visit to Habberstad BMW in Huntington, my salesman made the suggestion. Here was an excuse to travel, and it would be nifty to take possession of a new German car in its homeland, before it had been soiled by seawater and touched by strangers' hands at the port in Newark, N.J. Visions of autobahn motoring danced in my head.

By Stephen Williams February 11, 2011 2 Comments

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Auto Review: Kia Optima's four-cylinder engine provides great fuel mileage

The new-for-2011 Optima, featured in a multi-million dollar Super Bowl ad, is handsome and well-powered and longer and wider than its predecessor. It even has better fuel mileage ratings than the non-hybrid versions of Camry, Accord and Fusion.

By Ann M. Job February 10, 2011

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Small wonders: Seattle's racing league for radio-controlled cars is big fun

In the center of the hangar lay a large tract of carpet with a maze-like course plotted out across its surface. For the rest of the night, that course would be abuzz with fast and agile radio-controlled (RC) model cars. Seattle has long been a hotbed of RC racing because of its wealth of Boeing engineering types, says Todd Mason, founder and president of the Seattle RC Racers.

By Cody Ellerd Bay February 6, 2011

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Design nouveau: More women are finding their niche as car designers

Auto design has become a global profession, where Germans design Korean cars, Koreans design German cars and design studios look like U.N. lobbies. Now, with more women taking the primary role in auto purchases, auto companies are shining the spotlight on the women on their design staffs -- still a tiny percentage of the total -- and hiring new ones.

By Phil Patton February 4, 2011

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Auto Review: Honda Civic remains a top seller

Honda's 2011 Civic retains the successful formula that has made the Civic a perennial top 10 seller in the United States -- a reputation for reliability, good fit and finish, a selection of engines and transmissions, interior comfort and good fuel economy.

By Ann M. Job February 3, 2011

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As the first Nissan Leafs arrive, anticipation grows for those on waitlist

Jon Hoekstra and his wife, Jennifer Steele, were among the first in the country to drive home a Leaf, the first mass-produced sedan powered entirely by electricity. Several hundred others in the region are still eagerly awaiting a Leaf of their own.

By Karen Gaudette January 30, 2011 5 Comments

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Electric cars may be a new trend, but the concept is decades old

With the federal mandate that automakers' fleets average 35 mpg by 2020, many manufacturers are turning to electric and gas-electric hybrid cars as a solution. This may seem new and cutting edge, but, in reality, both ideas are as old as the automobile itself.

By Larry Printz January 28, 2011 3 Comments

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Auto Review: Chrysler 200 replaces the Sebring, with a new name and look

Chrysler's long-running Chrysler Sebring mid-size sedan is gone, sort of. The four-door, five-passenger, mid-size sedan is revamped for 2011 and given a new name -- Chrysler 200. New exterior styling gives the 200 the pleasing looks of other modern family cars. The interior is nicely upgraded, too, with better-looking plastics and other materials.

By Ann M. Job January 27, 2011 1 Comment

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As wrecking yards go online, locating used parts is more efficient

Finding used parts was once an epic adventure for do-it-yourself mechanics like Day. Buyers had to sift through printed ads, visit swap meets or spend hours on the phone tracking down rare components. But now, because many used-parts dealers in the Northwest list their wares online, searching can be done in seconds with the click of a mouse.

By Jeff Layton January 23, 2011 4 Comments

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Detroit's Big Three are pulling profits and winning over customers

It wasn't long ago that American consumers were wondering whether Detroit's troubled auto companies would survive, much less prosper again. Now, with Ford leading the way, Detroit is recapturing the interest of many consumers who ditched domestic brands in favor of Asian and European models.

By Bill Vlasic January 21, 2011

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Auto Review: Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart is a racy hatchback

The 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart is a turbocharged, sporty hatchback that's tantalizingly close to a bad boy racer.

By Ann M. Job January 20, 2011

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Stylish station wagons make this family car one to consider again

The station wagon is an automotive Rorschach test. Some people recall happy childhood memories of ricocheting around the cargo area while traveling to Grandma's house (no safety seats back then). Others remember the fake-wood cladding and cringe. Modern stations wagons have evolved from those 1960s and '70s styles, however, and should no longer be overlooked by car shoppers.

By Tom Voelk January 16, 2011 1 Comment

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Highlights from the 2011 North American International Auto Show

The biggest domestic auto show kicked off Monday, Jan. 10, in Detroit, with automakers displaying more cars and new models than in the past few years. Here are some visual highlights from the show.

January 16, 2011

Hidden dangers: New findings on teen-driving risks

Some of the findings were no-brainers: Drinking and driving is the deadliest combination for teen drivers. Others were more surprising, and even conflict with conventional wisdom about what's dangerous for teens.

By Jeanne Kever January 14, 2011 1 Comment

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Auto Review: The Chevrolet Volt is an electric car with a backup plan

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) The innovative Chevrolet Volt is getting lots of attention. But in my home garage, the car that can travel up to 50 miles on a full...

By Ann M. Job January 13, 2011

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One-wheel wonder: Portland inventor tries to launch futuristic machine

It's smaller than a bicycle, it motors you from point A to point B without gasoline and it would cost less than a new scooter. Chris Hoffmann, a laid-off machine designer turned inventor, thinks that his electric-powered "micro-cycle" could become the new urban commuter.

By Cody Ellerd Bay January 9, 2011 10 Comments

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The 'three months/3,000 miles' oil change rule is now outdated

Justin Williamson checks oil at Valvoline Oil Change in Albuquerque, N.M. (Rick Scibelli Jr. / New York Times News Service) I still remember learning from my father how to carefully...

By Alina Tugend January 7, 2011 4 Comments

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Auto Review: Honda Accord sedan's popularity endures

Even in troubled economic times, the long-running Honda Accord remains the second best-selling car in the United States. And no wonder it stays popular. The Accord sedan is a recommended buy of Consumer Reports magazine and earned top scores recently in newly revised, tougher crash testing by the federal government. With refreshed styling, the 2011 Accord gets better gasoline mileage than its 2010 predecessor, too.

By Ann M. Job January 6, 2011

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2011 brings more communication and convenience to cars

Every year brings further technological advancement, and 2011 is shaping up to be among the most innovative ever. Here are some highlights.

By Tom Voelk January 2, 2011

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Giving it away: Free maintenance plans hope to win buyers and loyalty

More automakers are offering free scheduled maintenance as an incentive for customers to choose their brand, and to encourage existing owners to remain loyal when they're ready for their next vehicle.

By Cheryl Jensen December 31, 2010 1 Comment

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Auto Review: 2011 Nissan Juke is decidedly different

The name isn't the only thing that's different about Nissan's new, small, tall Juke hatchback. The only engine in the relatively lightweight Juke is Nissan's first-in-the-United-States direct-injection, turbocharged four cylinder that generates an impressive 188 horsepower and uses premium gasoline.

By Ann M. Job December 29, 2010

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What will we do with all the dead batteries from electric cars?

But eco-conscious drivers will soon turn to the matter of a final resting place for their worn-out batteries. A bulky 500-pound lithium-ion battery pack will never be a candidate for curbside recycling. And improper disposal would undo the good accrued through years of zero-emissions motoring. This situation is years away, but battery suppliers and electric utilities are already working to establish a recycling stream.

By Don Sherman December 26, 2010 2 Comments

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A Christmas sale: A jolly, bearded man steps onto a car lot on Dec. 24

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the lot, not a model was moving -- sales were not hot. The keys were all hung in ignitions with care, in hopes that a customer soon would be there.

By Sean O’Connor December 24, 2010

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Auto review: Jaguar XJ Supersport is powerful, decadent

(AP Photo / Jaguar) The 2011 Jaguar XJ Supersport sedans are powerful, decadent -- and get the kind of gasoline mileage expected from a pickup truck. A very big...

By Ann M. Job December 23, 2010 4 Comments

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The hatch is back: Several new five-door models spark US interest

Ford has sold more of its 2011 Fiestas as hatchbacks than sedans. (Ford) Americans, for the most part, love European stuff. We covet their cuisine, swoon over their accents, follow...

By Tom Voelk December 19, 2010 3 Comments

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Movie magic: How many cars does it take to make a blockbuster?

One of 29 Chrysler Imperials used as The Black Beauty in the new movie "The Green Hornet" was displayed at Comic-Con in San Diego in July. (Mick Mayhew / New...

By John Pearley Huffman December 17, 2010

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Auto Review: 2011 Ford Explorer switches to a car platform

For the first time in its 20-year history, the Ford Explorer sport utility vehicle is changing into a softer SUV with an underlying platform that's used by a car for a smoother ride.

By Ann M. Job December 17, 2010 2 Comments

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Cash for clunkers: Donating a car gets you more than just a tax break

Everyone from cancer researchers to arts organizations -- especially at this time of year -- seems to be looking for vehicle donations. Vehicle-donation programs are an important source of revenue for many nonprofits. They also provide an easy way to get rid of a car, RV, boat or other vehicle and get a year-end tax break to boot.

By Cody Ellerd Bay December 12, 2010

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Pushing 100,000: tips for getting your odometer into the six digits

It was once a huge red flag: When a car's odometer would hit 100,000 miles, "it was almost a magic threshold that meant the car was probably worn out," says Kay Wynter, who runs an auto service center in Fort Myers, Fla., with her husband, Terry. But thanks to improvements in car design and maintenance, that milestone now means something very different.

By Melissa Rayworth December 10, 2010 1 Comment

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Auto Review: New Honda Odyssey is still tops in fuel economy

The redesigned-for-2011 Honda Odyssey is longer and wider than other major minivans, but it's still tops in fuel economy. With sleeker styling and lighter weight than its predecessor, the roomy, V-6-powered 2011 Odyssey with six-speed automatic transmission is rated at 19 miles per gallon in city driving and 28 mpg on the highway by the federal government.

By Ann M. Job December 8, 2010 1 Comment

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Learning curve: One father's effort to help his teenager be a good driver

Behind the wheel, my son Kevin was on one of his first outings after obtaining his instruction (or learner's) permit. At 15 years old, he was soon to begin his driver's education class, and I was giving him a crash course -- er, initial overview -- in the finer points of driving.

By John Merrill December 5, 2010 1 Comment

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Teen choice: How to get the safest first car for your new driver

Your teen is turning 16 and can't wait to get behind the wheel. For parents, though, it's time for a tough decision: What car should your child drive to be safe?

By Larry Printz December 3, 2010 1 Comment

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Auto Review: Nissan's electric Leaf is a trendsetter

The first all-electric car offered in the United States by a mainstream auto manufacturer since the early days of the automobile, the new-for-2011 Leaf has seats for five, a roomy, straightforward interior and a surprisingly solid, stable feel.

By Ann M. Job December 2, 2010 2 Comments

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Driven to give: Auto-themed holiday gifts for everyone on your list

Whether you're shopping for a general car enthusiast, a design wonk or a motorsports fan, auto-related gifts abound this holiday season. Here's some inspiration for all ages, from the practical to the whimsical to the extraordinary.

By Karen Gaudette November 28, 2010

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Goodbye, 'new-car smell'; trained teams are sniffing out odors

In the highly competitive auto industry, no detail can be overlooked. That includes odors. Ford, Toyota, General Motors and other companies have trained teams of sniffers who evaluate scents and reject or reformulate any unpleasant materials. It's a daunting task. Car interiors are made of dozens of odorous materials -- plastics, foams, rubbers, carpet, fabric, leather.

By Dee-Ann Durbin November 26, 2010

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Auto Review: Audi flagship sedan is sporty, not stodgy

(AP Photo/Audi) High-brow luxury sedan buyers who don't want to be stodgy or predictable have a newly updated choice, the 2011 Audi A8. Audi's flagship four door isn't just longer,...

By Ann M. Job November 24, 2010

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Along Route 66, a local group takes a road trip back in time

When five Seattle-area couples set out to drive Route 66 last month, they expected it to be a fun -- and maybe weird -- road trip. What they got, they say, was the trip of a lifetime, in which they found an Americana they thought was long lost.

By Jeff Layton November 21, 2010

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Roadside remedies: 10 items to stock in your car's emergency kit

As the days get shorter and the temperature drops, it's time to check your vehicle's emergency kit and make sure it has all the tools you need to get out of a winter roadside jam. If you're starting from scratch, you can put together a complete kit for about $60. Here are 10 basic items you should include.

By Dee-Ann Durbin November 19, 2010

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Auto Review: Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan

Luxury car buyers don't have to pay a premium to get a hybrid anymore. The first gasoline-electric-powered hybrid at Lincoln dealerships, the 2011 MKZ Hybrid, has the same sticker price as the gasoline-only, 2011 MKZ -- $35,180. But it's the hybrid version of MKZ that can deliver more miles from every gallon of gas. The newest MKZ, which is a sibling of the Ford Fusion Hybrid, also ranks as the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in America, even topping longtime hybrid seller Lexus.

By Ann M. Job November 18, 2010

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Stars of the show: A look at some of the best of the Seattle Auto Show

Highlights of the Seattle Auto Show, which runs through tonight at the Qwest Field Event Center.

Photos by Barry Gibbons November 14, 2010

Vroom lens: How to get the best photos at the Seattle Auto Show

Photographing cars looks easy. It isn't. The challenge can be even more pronounced in a cavernous hall like Qwest Field Event Center -- where the Seattle Auto Show continues through this weekend, and where conditions are beyond the control of the photographer. Ask professionals for some guidelines to documenting an auto show and you'll get a diversity of opinions.

By Stephen Williams November 12, 2010

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Auto Review: Buick's new Regal lives up to its name

The 2011 Regal -- the first Regal in U.S. showrooms since 2004 -- is attractive and modern, powered by four-cylinder engines, and it rides and handles with composure not traditionally expected of a Buick.

By Ann M. Job November 11, 2010 1 Comment

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Seattle Auto Show highlights the boom in electric vehicles and hybrid technologies

The Puget Sound region has been a leader in embracing hybrid and electric vehicles, and this year's Seattle Auto Show will reward "green" technology fans with five cutting-edge electric cars. The show, opening Wednesday at the Qwest Field Event Center, will feature the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, Smart ForTwo Passion ED and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Seattle company Wheego also will be showing the Whip LSV.

By Katie Miller November 7, 2010

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Online gaming service iRacing.com is so realistic even pro drivers play

How does it feel to go flat out into a turn at Indy with all four tires fighting for grip, or to pick your way through the traffic at Daytona with Dale Earnhardt Jr. inches off your rear bumper? In the world of virtual racing, aspiring champions -- few of whom have ever been behind the wheel of a real racecar -- are coming closer than ever to finding out.

By Robert Peele November 5, 2010

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Auto Review: 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet cruises in style

The new-for-2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolets are stylish cruisers -- but a bit old-fashioned.

By Ann M. Job November 4, 2010

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Comfort fit: Retooled 2011 minivans feature better looks and more technology

while many SUVs and crossovers can also hold seven or eight passengers, none of them are as supremely functional as the minivan. Fashion forward? Maybe not. But they're as comfortable as well-worn jeans. Six models will be available for 2011; three of the freshest are featured here.

By Tom Voelk October 31, 2010 1 Comment

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Minivans: The return of cool? Ad campaigns try to boost the family vehicle's image

The man behind the wheel of a minivan stuffed with children is probably doing more to announce his virility to the world than his Porsche-driving brethren. But the sliding doors, extra cup holders and all that room for child-safety seats have made the minivan a tough sell when the goal is manly cool. Sara Pines, spokeswoman for American Honda Motor Co., considers the main hurdle to be the misperception that "anything that offers so much function may not be as much fun. We think you can have both," Pines says. "I think most of our competitors in the market agree."

By Tara Dooley October 29, 2010

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Auto Review: 2011 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid SUV offers a smooth ride

Known for its fine, diesel-powered vehicles with noteworthy fuel economy, Germany's Volkswagen AG is adding a gasoline-electric hybrid sport utility model for 2011.

By Ann M. Job October 28, 2010 2 Comments

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Tips for finding cheap and easy parking in downtown Seattle this holiday season

There are probably oodles of things you'd rather do during the holidays than circle the block in search of an elusive downtown Seattle parking spot. Buy yourself some time (and save money) by heading out with a plan. Interactive maps, new electronic signs and other improvements make it easier than ever.

By Karen Gaudette October 24, 2010

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What's in store: New models and major changes for 2011 (Part 3: Mini to Volvo)

As the 2011 vehicles begin to roll out, we take a look at the model year's offerings. Part 1 covered Acura through Ford, and Part 2 covered GMC to Mercedes-Benz. This final installment covers Mini to Volvo.

By Dee-Ann Durbin October 22, 2010

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Auto Review: 2011 Jeep flagship Grand Cherokee rides like a luxury vehicle

Jeep's flagship Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicle is so improved for 2011, passengers might think they're riding in a luxury vehicle. The interior of the new Grand Cherokee is impressively quiet, with supportive seats and well-arranged controls. Exterior styling is more rounded and modern than before, and the new V-6 engine is more robust than its predecessor. Best of all, the vehicle rides in a nearly refined manner on pavement, while still capably handling rugged off-road duty when needed.

By Ann M. Job October 21, 2010

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For tuner car enthusiasts, inexpensive imports are the top pick for racing

By the time Chris Jeanneret finishes customizing his '97 Nissan 240SX, roughly a year and a half of his life will have passed. But for Jeanneret, a tuner enthusiast, customizing the car's engine, suspension, brakes and more is worth the time and labor.

By Allen Cox October 17, 2010 1 Comment

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What's in store: New models and major changes for 2011 (Part 2: GMC to Mercedes-Benz)

As the 2011 vehicles begin to roll out, we take a look at what the new model year offers. Last week, we introduced Part 1, covering Acura through Ford. Part 3 will run Oct. 22.

By Dee-Ann Durbin October 15, 2010

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Auto Review: 2011 BMW Z4 offers a powerful roadster ride

(AP Photo/BMW) If you envy folks who can enjoy autumn's scenery with the top down, you'll be positively jealous of anyone behind the wheel of BMW's 2011 top-level Z4 roadster....

October 14, 2010

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Teen trackers: An array of real-time devices can help keep an eye on young drivers

Teensurance, a vehicle-tracking device offered in partnership with Safeco Insurance, allows Denise Johnson and her husband to be notified by text message if their son, Chris, goes over a certain speed limit or stays out past midnight. The GPS function also allows them to see his whereabouts and know whether he really went where he said he was going.

By Cody Ellerd Bay October 10, 2010 1 Comment

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Auto Review: The 2011 Mazda2 Touring MT is fun to drive

(AP Photo/Mazda Motor Co.) The bright, neon-green exterior ensured no one missed my 2011 Mazda2 test car. But it was the hatchback's maneuverable small size and fuel economy that really...

By Ann M. Job October 8, 2010

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What's in store: New models and major changes for 2011 (Part 1: Acura to Ford)

It's electric! The 2011 model year brings some revolutionary electric cars to the U.S. market, as well as more hybrids from more companies than ever. Here's a roundup, in alphabetical order, of the big changes for the 2011 model year.

By Dee-Ann Durbin October 8, 2010

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High power, lower fuel: 2011 SUVs and crossovers that pair utility and efficiency

We're skiers, hikers and boaters in the Pacific Northwest, so our lifestyles are very active. To haul all that gear, we need vehicles with some size. But we also want fuel efficiency. Those dueling interests haven't gone unnoticed by auto manufacturers.

By Tom Voelk October 3, 2010

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Aiming for potholes: A new type of shock absorber converts road bumps into energy

We already harvest the power of the sun and the wind. Soon we may also harvest the power of potholes. A type of shock absorber under development by the Levant Power Corporation converts the bumps and jolts of vehicles on rough roads into usable electricity.

By Anne Eisenberg October 1, 2010 1 Comment

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Auto Review: Volvo's smallest US car is still a rare sight on the road

The Volvo C30 three-door, small hatchback sure isn't a "me-too" car. Three years after it came to the United States as Volvo's smallest vehicle here, the not-quite-14-foot-long C30 with distinctive, large rear liftgate glass and four seats has sold in such low volumes that it's still a rarity on most roads. And now that Volvo of Sweden has been sold to Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. of China, little is changing near term for the C30, except the price, a slight styling update and stiffer suspension for an uplevel model.

By Ann M. Job September 30, 2010

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Lowriders are a way of life for Seattle-area owners

South End Ryderz car club is a tight-knit group of locals who live and breathe lowriders -- cars with shortened suspensions that ride close to the ground.

By Jeff Layton September 26, 2010 4 Comments

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Auto Review: Mercedes-Benz releases a hybrid version of its flagship S-Class sedan

The new-for-2010 S400 Hybrid is the first mass-production car to use a lithium ion battery to store and supply electric power. The 120-volt battery is more compact and adds less weight to the car than do nickel metal hydride batteries and has high energy density for its size.

By Ann M. Job September 24, 2010

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Rare breeds: Looking for a bench seat? A small van? Options exist but are limited

Most of us start the car-buying journey expecting a lot of choices. When it comes to some types of cars, though, you might be surprised by the lack of choices. Want a midsize station wagon that starts at less than $30,000? There are two. Want a car with a bench seat? There are five, but soon only three will be available. And for an affordable two-seat roadster, you'll find just the Mazda MX-5 Miata. With that in mind, here's a look at some rare makes and styles.

By Larry Printz September 24, 2010

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GT PRSNL: Area drivers with personalized plates show some personality

Drivers who want to get creative with up to seven characters -- and who are willing to answer a lot of questions from fellow motorists -- are likely candidates for personalized plates. As of the end of August, Washington state has 81,993 cars registered with personalized plates, up from 81,143 last year.

By Katie Miller September 19, 2010

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Auto Review: 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty pickup trucks have super power and pull

Get ready to retrieve your jaw from the floor. The 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty pickup trucks generate a jaw-dropping 735 foot-pounds of torque -- enough to tow more than 20,000 pounds of trailers, heavy-duty equipment and the biggest, most impressive fifth-wheel campers around.

By Ann M. Job September 17, 2010

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Pickup trucks are now leaders in reliability, comfort and good looks

On a list of today's best-built vehicles, you might expect to find a sleek Mercedes sedan or an iconic Porsche convertible. Even a fuel-sipping minivan from Toyota. But a pickup? Probably not. Yet these workhorses are now among the highest-quality vehicles on the road, earning better marks in key quality studies than many cars, including some luxury models.

By Alisa Priddle September 17, 2010

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A trip for kicks: A local group drives the length of Route 66

This fall, 10 drivers from the area will caravan to Chicago, where they will begin driving the entire length of historic Route 66, ending in Santa Monica, Calif. They'll travel in four restored 1957 Ford Thunderbird convertibles and one 1956 hardtop Thunderbird.

By Jeff Layton September 12, 2010 4 Comments

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Automakers are working continuously to boost the fuel efficiency of sedans

Customers shopping for midsize cars generally have families and need space for children, yet they are budget-conscious. So to improve gas mileage, automakers are tweaking cars and trucks between model years -- especially in their midsize sedans.

By Tom Krisher September 10, 2010

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Auto Review: Toyota's largest sedan is so comfortable, even the back seats recline

The Avalon is, as Kelley Blue Book reports, eminently comfortable. At the same time, it's not ostentatious or overwhelming, the way some luxury-branded sedans are.

By Ann M. Job September 9, 2010

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Five soon-to-be-released cars likely to make a big impact

Clockwise from top left: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, 2011 Buick Regal, 2012 Ford Focus, 2011 Kia Optima. In the past, fall was the time when automakers theatrically unveiled their new models....

By Tom Voelk September 5, 2010

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Auto Review: 2011 Hyundai Sonata is one stylish family sedan

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata sedan is selling at a record pace, and why not? With styling that makes the new, sixth-generation Sonata look richer than its under-$20,000 base price, the Sonata is arguably the most stylish of America's mainstream family sedans.

By Ann M. Job September 3, 2010

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Meet the founders: The faces and stories behind the names on your nameplates

Top row: Charles Stewart Rolls, Frederick Henry Royce, Louis Chevrolet, Wilhelm Maybach, Karl Maybach, John and Horace Dodge. Center: David Dunbar Buick. Bottom row: Henry Ford, Ransom E. Olds, Kiichiro...

By Larry Printz September 3, 2010

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A local builder of the iconic sidecar ships his creations around the world

Pete Larsen has shipped hundreds of his hand-built motorcycle sidecars as far away as Indonesia. Billy Joel owns two of them. One even made an appearance in the 2007 film "Wild Hogs." Larsen, 62, has been building his retro-styled sidecars for nearly two decades, and still does most of the work himself inside his historic, 8,000-square-foot workshop on Rainier Avenue.

By Jeff Layton August 29, 2010

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Driverless vehicles are the stuff of sci-fi fantasies, but have real applications

A team of Italian engineers have launched what has been billed as the longest-ever test-drive of driverless vehicles: an 8,000-mile, three-month road trip from Italy to China, not in search of silk, but to test the limits of automotive technology.

By Colleen Barry August 27, 2010

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Auto Review: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta is built for American tastes

Perhaps more than any previous VW Jetta, the redesigned-for-2011 five-passenger sedan is built for American tastes. It's a bigger car with a bigger back seat for the kind of legroom that Americans demand, new sheet metal that makes the car look more upscale than before, and a lower starting retail price that puts the Jetta closer to top-selling compact sedans like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.

By Ann M. Job August 26, 2010

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The LeMay museum's annual auctions cater to classic collectors of all types

Next weekend's LeMay Car Show and Auction in Spanaway is expected to draw more than 6,000 car enthusiasts and collectors -- people who are looking for fixer-uppers and parts cars from the auto museum's extensive collection.

By Allen Cox August 22, 2010

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Tire makers are going eco-friendly with new efforts to cut petroleum use

Efforts to burnish the eco-friendliness of tires are growing, with an emphasis on reducing the use of raw materials -- particularly the five to 10 gallons of petroleum ingredients needed to manufacture a tire.

By Steven Ashley August 20, 2010

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Auto Review: Toyota Camry is still the top-selling car in the US

(AP Photo/Toyota, David Dewhurst) Toyota's top-quality reputation is tarnished these days because of a rash of safety recalls. But that's not stopping the Toyota Camry from outselling all other cars...

By Ann M. Job August 19, 2010

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WWU's X Prize car was cut in the final round, but for the team it was a victory

Twenty-one Western Washington University undergrads who built the Viking 45, a sporty and aerodynamic plug-in hybrid, surprised their competition and themselves by making it to the final round of the Progressive Automotive X Prize -- the only U.S. student team to do so. The team was eliminated from the contest on July 26, when it failed to make it through safety trials. But as the students returned from Detroit's Michigan International Speedway to a welcome-home celebration on campus the first week of August, they were anything but disappointed.

By Cody Ellerd Bay August 15, 2010

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Before you test-drive, shop around for competitive loan rates

If you have five kids, a big dog and a limited budget, even the most charismatic car salesperson probably won't persuade you to buy a Porsche. Especially now, when it's possible to go online and research every aspect of a vehicle -- from the manufacturer's suggested retail price to its safety record -- before you set foot in a dealer's showroom. But while many consumers spend hours searching for a vehicle that fits their lifestyle, they devote little thought to how they'll pay for it.

By Sandra Block August 13, 2010

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Concept Car: Electric Kia Venga EV has quick-charging batteries

(Kia) This concept, which debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March, is the same size as the gasoline-powered Venga available in Europe, but it runs on an electric powertrain....

August 13, 2010

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Auto Review: New Kia is the ritziest Sportage SUV yet

(AP Photo/Kia Motors) The 2011 Kia Sportage is the ritziest Sportage sport utility vehicle ever, and yet it only comes with a four-cylinder engine. It's not as odd a...

By Ann M. Job August 12, 2010

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Year of the cat: Jaguar owners celebrate the company's 75th birthday and reminisce

Jaguar built its brand by offering a vehicle with a mouthwatering aesthetic that looked far more expensive that it really was. The company celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, and Jaguars on the Green, the local Jaguar club's big bash on Aug. 14, will bring some 50 cars, as well as hundreds more classic and collector automobiles, from hot rods to Army tanks.

By Cody Ellerd Bay August 8, 2010

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Safe Spot: Keep your furry friends safe in the car with these simple devices

Keeping your kids buckled up is the law. But so far, only a handful of states require pets to be tethered when they're in the back of a pickup truck, and no states require them to be restrained in cars. Here are some accessories to help your pet travel securely and comfortably, whether you're in a hatchback or a Land, um, Rover.

By Dee-Ann Durbin August 6, 2010

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Auto Review: Thrifty Scion xD hatchback is still searching for attention

The Scion xD is a thrifty, nimble, small hatchback made by Toyota. It has more horsepower than its major competitors, and for 2010, it's a Consumer Reports recommended car with a strong reliability record. But sales are down 25.5 percent through the first seven months of 2010, and the xD is the slowest-selling of all non-luxury Toyota cars.

By Ann M. Job August 5, 2010

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If we love our pets so much, why don't we buckle them up?

Dogs are people, too -- according to some people. But when it comes time to hit the road, we hardly treat them with the care we give our children or take for ourselves.

By Sean O’Connor August 1, 2010 10 Comments

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Summer car care: 5 maintenance tips to make it through long, hot trips

Winter driving, with its icy roads and salt buildup, can be tough on cars. But summer has its hazards, too. The heat stresses the engine, wears down the tires and makes the car work harder to keep everything cool. Here are five steps to help your car make it through any late-summer road trips.

By Dee-Ann Durbin July 30, 2010 1 Comment

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Auto Review: BMW's 1-Series challenges small car stereotype

Leave it to Germany's performance car maker, BMW, to challenge small car stereotypes. BMW's entry model, the 1-Series, is a 14.3-foot-long, two-door, four-passenger subcompact car that's smaller than a Toyota Camry. But it's the 2010 1-Series -- not the bigger, five-passenger Camry sedan -- that comes only with six-cylinder engines rather than a fuel-thrifty four banger.

By Ann M. Job July 29, 2010

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Tested trails: Three favorite drives that make the most of the Pacific Northwest

No one knows the Pacific Northwest's best-kept touring secrets like the road warriors of our local car clubs. Three clubs -- the Horseless Carriage Club of America (Seattle-Tacoma region), the Puget Sound Region of the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America and the Puget Sound Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America -- have agreed to share their favorite routes with anyone looking for a satisfying summer drive.

By Cody Ellerd Bay July 25, 2010

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Family fun: Road-trip-ready vehicles for toting the whole crew coast to coast

It's a good summer to take the family on a road trip. Domestic airfares are expected to rise an average of 22 percent compared with last summer, but gas prices have stabilized -- and even dropped in some areas -- heading into the summer travel season. At the same time, an incentive war is still in full swing, holding down prices on new road-trip-ready cars and trucks. Whether you're hauling the family to Mount Rushmore or heading to the nearest lake for a picnic, here are some vehicles to consider.

By Dee-Ann Durbin July 23, 2010

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Auto Review: 2011 Sienna van is the first with a four-cylinder engine

It's time to stop calling the Toyota Sienna a minivan. There's nothing "mini" about the comfortable and roomy interior of this nearly 17-foot-long vehicle.

By Ann M. Job July 22, 2010

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Audio upgrade: Update your most important entertainment accessory before you travel

When John Rice gets an incoming call, the music on his new Kenwood stereo mutes and his hands-free Bluetooth works directly through his stereo. Car stereos are no longer about just the radio, explains Kyle Brehm, commercial district manager at Car Toys of Seattle. The new-generation stereos hitting stores this summer are loaded with some exciting technology. Here are some of the latest trends.

By Jeff Layton July 18, 2010

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Smartphone apps offer a new universe of music beyond the AM/FM dial

Rather than being shackled to the same old hits from local radio stations, drivers can more readily -- and more safely -- customize their music with new Internet-based technologies.

By John R. Quain July 16, 2010

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Auto Review: 2010 Panamera is a rare, first-ever Porsche sedan

Porsche's grand experiment -- a first-ever Porsche sedan styled in an elongated, yet familiar, sports car-looking body -- is doing well, even in a U.S. economy that's struggling to recover. Only about 4,700 of these rare cars have been sold in the United States so far, and the drive in a Panamera is special.

By Ann M. Job July 15, 2010 1 Comment

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Pro tips for staying comfortable and alert on your long summer road trip

If you're planning to hit the road for a long drive this summer, consider these tips from experienced drivers.

By DeAnn Rossetti July 11, 2010 2 Comments

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Fossilized fuel facts: Separate fuel-economy myths from reality and save money

Some of what you know about fuel economy may be wrong -- and it could cost you money every time you get behind the wheel. To set the record straight in time for summer driving season, the Environmental Protection Agency came up with the top 10 misconceptions about fuel economy. Here are some of the myths.

By Mark Phelan July 9, 2010

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Auto Review: 2011 Kia Sorento is a stylish, softer SUV

The 2011 Kia Sorento is the most stylish looking Sorento sport utility vehicle ever. It's also the first Sorento built in a U.S. factory, the first Sorento with unibody construction like that used for cars and it's the first offered in this country with a four-cylinder engine. But even shoppers who don't know or care about the big changes South Korea's Kia made for its 2011 mid-size Sorento sport utility vehicle are likely to be impressed.

By Ann M. Job July 8, 2010

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Put the car in camping: Let your vehicle do the work during summer camping trips

To most of us, "car camping" means driving to a destination rather than hiking in. It also means we get to listen to the stereo and, best of all, we get to bring more stuff. But are you really making the most out of having your vehicle within arm's reach? These products are designed to maximize the use you can get out of your vehicle when out in the wild.

By Cody Ellerd Bay July 4, 2010

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Renting on two wheels: Loaner motorcycles provide the ultimate open-air experience

If touring by motorcycle is on your to-do list this summer, but your destination is too far from home to take your bike, a rental may be the perfect alternative.

By Glenn Adams July 2, 2010

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Auto Review: Sporty and fuel-efficient, the 2010 BMW 335d has diesel power

Germany's BMW car company is known for its sporty cars and not for fuel efficiency. But buyers of the 2010 BMW 335d get sporty performance and the best fuel mileage of any mainstream BMW vehicle.

By Ann M. Job July 1, 2010

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Outrageous rides take center stage the Fremont Fair's Art Car Blowout

« previous | next » « previous | next » Build your own For more information on the Seattle art car community, go to seattleartcars.org Video: Art-car enthusiasts gather at...

Photos by Barry Gibbons June 27, 2010

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Look, Ma! No hands are needed to drive a high-tech car controlled by the eyes

Tired of spinning that steering wheel? Try this: German researchers have developed a new technology that lets drivers steer cars using only their eyes.

By Juergen Baetz June 25, 2010

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Auto Review: 2011 Honda CR-Z is the most affordable U.S. hybrid

With a starting retail price of $19,950, the new-for-2011 Honda CR-Z, coming to showrooms in August, is slated to have the lowest starting price for a hybrid in the United States from a major automaker.

By Ann M. Job June 24, 2010

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The DeLorean became a pop-culture icon in 1985, and its future is still bright

Next month marks the 25th anniversary of the release of "Back to the Future" -- a star vehicle for Michael J. Fox as the time-traveling teenager Marty McFly. But it was a literal vehicle that really stole the show: the gull-winged DeLorean DMC-12, which transported Marty from one decade to another with the help of a flux capacitor and 1.21 gigawatts of power.

By Cody Ellerd Bay June 20, 2010

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Good deals abound on car leases; here's a guide to help

Auto-leasing deals are back in a big way. How about a well-equipped Honda Accord for $250 a month with no down payment or any other drive-off fees? What's the catch? There isn't any if you know what you're getting into. To get the best deal, you need to learn the art of the lease transaction. Here are some steps to take and things to consider.

By Jerry Hirsch June 18, 2010

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Leasing a new car? Learn the lingo before you negotiate

Before you shop for an auto lease, familiarize yourself with these terms so that you understand what's being negotiated.

By Jerry Hirsch June 18, 2010

Auto Review: 2011 Ford Mustang V-6 is full of good surprises

There's value aplenty in the 2011 Ford Mustang. For a starting retail price of just $22,995, buyers get more than 300 horsepower, a six-speed transmission and the unmistakable sporty looks of one of America's favorite icons. The newest Mustang even has the best six-cylinder fuel economy rating ever in the car's 47-year history -- 19 miles per gallon in city driving and 31 mpg on the highway, according to the federal government.

By Ann M. Job June 17, 2010

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Father's Day finds: Car-driven gifts for all kinds of dads

Dad may be the hardest person in the family to buy for, but if he loves cars and driving, Father's Day gift giving will be a cinch this year. Here are a few ideas for all types of dads.

By Rebecca Garland June 13, 2010 1 Comment

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Performance fans have access to more power than ever -- at least for now

"Green" vehicles may be stealing the spotlight these days, but fans of performance cars are reaping rewards like never before. Consider the 2011 Ford Mustang. It has a new 3.7-liter V6 that produces 305 horsepower, only 10 less than the V8 in the 2010 Mustang GT. A step up, the 2011 GT's V8 generates 412 hp. For the ultimate in performance, there's the Shelby GT500, which also gets a new mill: an aluminum-block, 5.4-liter supercharged V8 rated at 550 hp.

By Larry Printz June 11, 2010

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Auto Review: The 2010 Acura TL offers a manual shift and sporty, spirited driving

Officials at luxury carmaker Acura aren't expecting shoppers to flock to the 2010 mid-size TL sedan because it has a new, six-speed manual. Maybe 5 percent of TL buyers will opt for the manual, they said. But the sporty transmission, combined with higher-power V-6 and retuned suspension for 2010, makes the TL a more compelling vehicle for drivers who need four-door room but want sporty, spirited driving.

By Ann M. Job June 9, 2010 4 Comments

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Swap-meet fans say in-person shopping is best when looking for specific items

An automotive swap meet is a garage sale on steroids, featuring tables full of hubcaps, chrome bumpers, old steering wheels, eight-track tapes -- even fishing poles and harmonicas. While there are usually some automotive companies at swap meets, the majority of buyers and sellers are individuals or mom-and-pop businesses.

By Jeff Layton June 6, 2010 1 Comment

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GM and Ford work to keep their momentum with an increased focus on reliability

In the past few months, GM and Ford have been handed a once-in-a-generation chance to make their case to an American buying public that is listening as never before. But are GM and Ford ready to answer? Absolutely, the companies say, and analysts and consumer surveys suggest that both automakers have made substantial strides in the last three years in improving vehicle reliability.

By David Segal June 4, 2010

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Auto Review: The 2010 Nissan GT-R Premium supercar is a rare and beautiful sight

In July, the Nissan GT-R supercar starts its third year for sale in the United States. But many Americans still haven't seen one on the road. The reason: The limited number of sleek, twin-turbocharged GT-Rs available for sale. Only about 3,600 have been delivered from the Japanese factory to eager U.S. customers since sales started in July 2008. Even if Nissan isn't ramping up shipments, it is ramping up prices and continuing to upgrade its most exclusive model.

By Ann M. Job June 3, 2010 1 Comment

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Local Pontiac fans share the love of their recently closed brand

General Motors' announcement last year that it was shuttering the Pontiac brand has united local enthusiasts who have banded together to preserve the Pontiac legacy. Their drive comes from personal histories with the brand and a passion to keep those memories alive.

By Rebecca Garland May 30, 2010

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Some questions and answers to help you through the gas price high season

Trying to understand pump prices is enough to make almost any driver's head spin -- from the guy who just watched prices leap 20 cents a gallon between the time he got to work and lunch, to the person looking for the best place to fill up for a weekend drive. What exactly determines the price of a gallon of gasoline, anyway? Some questions and answers about gas prices.

By Mark Williams May 28, 2010

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Auto Review: The 2010 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG has a powerful handcrafted V-8

AMG is the sports/racing brand of Mercedes, and its vehicles hold special status around the world because of the attention to performance and exclusivity. Basically, if you have a Mercedes AMG vehicle in your garage, you're part of a small club.

By Ann M. Job May 26, 2010 1 Comment

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For collectors of early cars, just getting on the road takes passion and patience

While fanatics of mid-century cars are easy enough to spot on the road, collectors of early automobiles from the 1910s and '20s are a rarer breed. They don't have a need for speed. What they do have is a lot of resourcefulness and patience.

By Cody Ellerd Bay May 23, 2010 3 Comments

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Throw the top back with these open-air rides that welcome warm weather

To celebrate the arrival of spring and get in tune with the season, it's time to look at cars that will raise your spirits when their tops go down.

By Larry Printz May 21, 2010

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Auto Review: The 2010 Ford Fiesta is a small car with big-car features

The 2011 Ford Fiesta is a small car with big-car features and technology and a top mileage rating of 40 miles per gallon on the highway. Best of all, the Fiesta gets the most out of every sip of gasoline without forcing buyers to pay a premium price for a hybrid powerplant or fuss with the inconvenience of finding diesel fuel in town.

By Ann M. Job May 19, 2010 4 Comments

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A little emergency-repair knowledge can get you back in the fast lane

Every car owner should know how to perform basic auto repairs and diagnostics, including changing a tire, jump-starting a battery, monitoring oil and fluid levels, and checking tire pressure, says Janet Ray, a spokeswoman for AAA Washington.

By Rebecca Garland May 16, 2010 2 Comments

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Disabled and aging drivers can stay on the road with help from specialty equipment

Life can throw anyone a curve ball, but when faced with diminishing faculties or a physical disability, retaining or regaining the independence afforded by driving is a priority. Chris Dailey knows. "I was stabbed three times and then I was shot," says the Virginia resident, now a paraplegic who drives a vehicle with modifications. Some fixes for modifying a vehicle are simple -- for example, for elderly drivers and passengers or for those with arthritis -- while others are extensive and involve cooperation with a doctor.

By Larry Printz May 14, 2010 2 Comments

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Auto Review: New 2010 heavy-duty Rams named Truck of the Year -- twice

Sales of large pickup trucks were hard hit as the U.S. economy slowed. Regardless, auto manufacturers are introducing new heavy-duty trucks this year with many improvements. The first out are the 2010 heavy-duty Rams from Chrysler Group LLC, and for the first time, Ram 2500 and 3500 models are offered as crew cabs. With four regular doors and two rows of seats, crew cabs account for nearly half the truck market.

By Ann M. Job May 12, 2010

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Smooth out scratches and dents with simple products and techniques

So you've given your car a nice spring bath and vacuum -- but how about a little face-lift to get it back to its old familiar glory? Getting rid of scratches and dents doesn't have to cost a lot and, in some cases, can be done in the driveway with common household items.

By Cody Ellerd Bay May 9, 2010 1 Comment

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This year's Beijing auto show went green, glamorous and -- above all -- global

April saw a flurry of new-vehicle launches at the Beijing auto show, as manufacturers from around the globe scramble for China's fast-growing market. In a reflection of China's new importance -- the country became the world's biggest auto market in 2009 -- global automakers showed 14 new vehicles at the event, while Chinese automakers displayed 75 new sedans, SUVs, experimental "green" cars and other vehicles.

The Associated Press May 7, 2010

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Auto Review: Chrysler's 2010 Sebring convertible seats 4, with plenty of legroom

Chrysler's Sebring convertible, with rear seats that can accommodate two adults and a generous trunk, languished in recent years as its manufacturer went bankrupt and was sold. But the Sebring is still around, with nicer front styling for 2010 and other minor revisions such as a new instrument cluster and anti-whiplash front-seat head restraints.

By Ann M. Job May 5, 2010 1 Comment

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Alfa Romeo's U.S. comeback started early and beautifully for an elite few

The recent buzz around Alfa Romeo has focused mostly on parent company Fiat's assertions that it will keep backing the struggling sports-car line, and that a return to the U.S. is imminent. But for a few elite Northwesterners, the Italian car company has been back in the States for years -- and the cars they're driving are more Ferrari or Maserati than the Alfas you might remember from the '70s and '80s.

By Scott McCredie May 2, 2010 6 Comments

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Retro already? These autos from 1985 become (gasp) antiques this year

A fresh batch of vehicles turns 25 years old this year, making them antiques in the eyes of regulators and eligible to participate in an Antique Automobile Club of America car show. Here, then, is the Class of 1985. Get ready -- you're about to feel a little older.

By Larry Printz April 30, 2010 4 Comments

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Auto Review: BMW's big 7-series sedans are executive rides

Bumper to bumper, the BMW 7-Series cars are as long as sport utility vehicles. They weigh as much as SUVs, too. In the first quarter of this year, 7-Series sales in the United States tripled from the year-earlier period to total nearly 3,000. The 7-Series' U.S. sales surpassed those of major competitors -- the Mercedes S-Class and Lexus LS sedans.

By Ann M. Job April 28, 2010

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Battery-operated car is Spokane high-schooler's senior project

If you happened to notice Dalton Fetsch's 1991 Geo Metro, you would see the peeling blue paint and a red hood that doesn't match the rest of the car. If he happened to be stopped with the back hatch open, you might notice he needs a pair of pliers to keep it open. But what you wouldn't notice was the motor. It doesn't make a sound. Fetsch has turned this car, which he bought for $150 after someone he knew blew out the engine, into a completely electric vehicle. He will be submitting it as his senior culminating project Thursday.

By Lisa Leinberger April 26, 2010

A rare car and a rare skill meet up in Michael Hall's Tacoma garage

Michael Hall is one of a shrinking group of people skilled at fixing legacy cars such as the Skyliner. Beginning in 1957, Skyliners became the first retractable hardtops ever mass-produced. Hall draws his clientele by specializing in a single feature: He has a reputation for being the guy in the Northwest -- perhaps the West Coast -- who fixes rare retractable roofs.

By Jeff Layton April 25, 2010 3 Comments

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The Transit Connect's success may signal a new age for the commercial van

The Ford Transit Connect has been a big seller as an urban business vehicle. (Ford) The Transit Connect, Ford's award-winning delivery van, is typically used to haul goods such as...

By Jeff Green April 23, 2010

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Auto Review: The Chevrolet Traverse crossover SUV rides like a car, not a minivan

The Chevrolet Traverse is helping people forget about minivans. The seven- to eight-passenger Traverse crossover sport utility vehicle with a car-like ride, SUV styling and high ride height offers the seating capacity and cargo-hauling capability of a minivan. But it looks more attractive than a boxy van and can tow up to 5,200 pounds -- way more than a typical minivan can.

By Ann M. Job April 21, 2010

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As car-show season heats up, owners and spectators get a chance to look back

Spring marks the return of car-show season, and for many who show and attend, the shows offer a chance to remember a different time, when the world was a simpler place, says Brian Canfield. He's the director of the Greenwood Car Show, held each June in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood.

By Terry Parkhurst April 18, 2010 5 Comments

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To hit fuel economy standards, U.S. car designers are getting foreign inspiration

It wasn't a particular look or style that dominated the conversations of designers at the 2010 Detroit auto show this January, and it wasn't a buzzword like retro or kinetic or flame-surfaced. It was the shadow of a number: 35.5. In miles per gallon, that's the required fleet average fuel economy that automakers must achieve in 2016 under the Obama administration's rules. It's a mandate that not just engineers, but designers as well, must deal with.

By Phil Patton April 16, 2010

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Auto Review: 2010 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab is a gem

2010 Nissan Frontier (AP Photo/Nissan, Mike Ditz) The Nissan Frontier Crew Cab can make even car lovers appreciate a pickup truck. Not too big and not too small, the mid-size...

By Ann M. Job April 14, 2010 5 Comments

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Cheap thrills: local families can find thrifty fun at the racetrack

Fans hang out in the grandstands or along the course during drag races at Pacific Raceways. (Jeff Layton) Entertaining the family can get expensive. Consider this: a family of four...

By Jeff Layton April 11, 2010 2 Comments

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Intricate photos of a model-car collection connect with people around the globe

The images on the Flickr slide show serve up a comforting slice of mid-20th-century Americana: the local banker's slinky '56 Lincoln Premiere reflects the summer sun outside the hardware store on Main Street. A spit-shined Divco truck delivers fresh milk from the Borden dairy. The memories, and the images on the Flickr photo-sharing site, belong to Michael Paul Smith. They've made his fictional town of Elgin Park a virtual tourist destination, attracting about 20 million views since January.

By Jim Koscs April 9, 2010

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Auto Review: Suzuki's SUV takes a different path

AP Photos / Suzuki The 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara looks like a mainstream, compact sport utility vehicle designed for paved roads. But it's a capable off-roader, too. Adding to the...

By Ann M. Job April 7, 2010 1 Comment

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A Ballard garage hopes to take classic Volvos into the 21st century

Vintage Volvos -- those sturdy Swedish cars that residents of Seattle's Ballard neighborhood still drive in droves -- are getting a 21st-century makeover.

By Peggy Sturdivant April 4, 2010 5 Comments

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Plastic has taken over modern cars, and one pioneer hopes the engine is next

When the Boeing 787 Dreamliner goes into commercial service this year, travelers will be transported on wings and fuselages made of advanced composite plastics This raises a logical question: If modern plastics are sturdy enough for 600-mph airplanes, why are car engines still made by pouring molten metal into molds, a 6,000-year-old process?

By Don Sherman April 2, 2010 1 Comment

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Auto Review: Honda's first truck is tops in reliability

Guess which pickup truck has the top reliability rating of any consumer truck sold in the United States. The answer: The Honda Ridgeline. Introduced in spring 2005 as Honda's first pickup, the Ridgeline isn't a brawny brute capable of towing 8,500 pounds and climbing over sizable rocks off road. Rather, the Ridgeline is a four-door, five-passenger, four-wheel drive, mid-size truck that's agile for everyday driving and comfortable for outdoor getaways on less-aggressive off-road terrain.

By Ann M. Job April 1, 2010 3 Comments

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Car campers: Travel trailers are getting smaller, cooler and more multifunctional

If you think of travel trailers as mobile motels for the retired set, think again. Their popularity is surging among families and adventurers wanting to make the most of the road-trip destinations available in our vast and beautiful backyard. This new generation of trailers is hipper, lighter and more agile than ever before. Here are four models to check out.

By Cody Ellerd Bay March 28, 2010 6 Comments

Sylvan Sport GO's tent

Tap into the secret language of car designers for instant auto credibility

Back in the 1950s, automotive stylists referred to the projectile shapes bulging from car bumpers as "dagmars" after a busty actress of the time. These days, the names car designers give to parts of the cars aren't always as imaginative and, in many cases, are rather obscure. Here are the terms used by car designers in styling studios around the world. Use a couple at auto shows this spring and you'll sound like a car maven.

By Larry Printz March 26, 2010

2010 Volvo XC60

Auto Review: Smallest Mercedes SUV is sales star

The compact GLK appeals with a starting retail price that's $11,800 lower than the previous lowest-priced and smallest Mercedes SUV, the M-Class. The five-seat GLK also is a recommended buy of Consumer Reports magazine and offers the status of a Mercedes, plentiful standard safety equipment and a comfortable ride without all the heft of the bigger Mercedes SUVs.

By Ann M. Job March 24, 2010

Mercedes-Benz

Taking it slow: Today's teens are in less of a rush to get their driver's licenses

Statistics and anecdotal evidence show that for today's teenagers, a driver's license may not be the coveted milestone of independence it was for their parents. Statewide, 39 percent of 16-year-olds received their driver's license last year compared with 48 percent in 2003, which is as far back as state Department of Licensing statistics go.

By Ross A. Courtney March 21, 2010

Slow to Drive jump

To debut an all-new car in less than a year, a group of engineers goes all out

From charging the Chevrolet Volt's revolutionary power system to washing the car, everything about the extended-range electric vehicle is new. But Volt owners also must find it familiar and easy to use. Racing to meet those twin goals on an unprecedentedly tight schedule, the engineering team working on the Volt has 25 to 30 of the cars on the road at all times. The deadline is the Volt's on-sale date in less than a year.

By Mark Phelan March 19, 2010 2 Comments

Chevy Volt

Auto Review: Grand Sport returns to Corvette line

Already bargain priced for the handling, power and iconic status it delivers, the Chevrolet Corvette ratchets up its value-for-the-dollar appeal this year with a new Grand Sport model.

By Ann M. Job March 18, 2010

Corvette

Regular drivers can train to corner like pros at performance-racing schools

Roman Brent is one of a growing number of drivers pushing their cars and skills to the limit, learning racing techniques without having to invest the time and money to become actual racecar drivers.

By Jeff Layton March 14, 2010

Schools jump

Think 1 year is the age to switch to forward-facing car seats? Think again

Anne Epperson thought little of it when she flipped her daughter's convertible car seat around so she could face forward after her first birthday. But if car seat advocates get their way, parents like Epperson will be delaying the switch, possibly for years.

By Heather Hollingsworth March 12, 2010 2 Comments

Car seat

Auto Review: First Cadillac wagon in North America

Station wagons have been passe in the United States for years, but this didn't stop Cadillac from launching its first U.S.-built wagon. The 2010 CTS Wagon is a nicely sized, comfortable, five-passenger car with cargo space that's easier to reach than that of a sport utility vehicle.

By Ann M. Job March 10, 2010 1 Comment

Cadillac

As more red-light cameras go up, one Seattleite makes a case for giving in

An unwelcome envelope recently landed on my desk. Inside were incriminating, time-lapse photos of what appeared to be me committing a crime. There I was -- my car, anyway -- running a red light, caught red-handed. I felt dirty. I felt spied upon. I felt like a teenager caught in a lie by my parents.

By Sean O’Connor March 7, 2010 39 Comments

Red light

Driving a jet: The first sports car powered by a microturbine has people talking

It could be a Ferrari, but it's nearly silent. It could be a Tesla, but it's juiced by a jet engine. It could even be a GM Volt, but it has double the range and speed. The CMT-380 is the world's first hybrid-electric sports car powered by a microturbine. Co-created by a video game designer, the wicked matte-black machine debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show in December.

By Dana Bartholomew March 5, 2010 6 Comments

Capstone Turbine

Auto Review: Audi puts fuel-sipping diesel in A3

Fuel-thrifty, smaller cars aren't always plain, utilitarian and boring. Audi's entry-level car, the A3, proves it. For the first time since its U.S. introduction in 2005, the five-door A3 adds a diesel-powered engine and now boasts a federal government fuel mileage rating of 30 miles per gallon in city driving and 42 mpg on the highway.

By Ann M. Job March 3, 2010

Audi A3

When picking your first collectible car, do your research and follow your heart

Ever since high school, you've driven a practical, utilitarian car that gets you from A to B without too much fuss. But now you'd like to own a car that gets your blood running a little faster, maybe one of those defining vehicles of its era -- a so-called classic or collectible.

By Scott McCredie February 28, 2010 2 Comments

Mustang

Beefing up: Aging bikers are turning to trikes to stay on the road

Arthur McCoy didn't let the amputation of a leg because of cancer stop him from riding motorcycles. The solution to his disability came in the form of a third wheel. McCoy is among a growing group of aging motorcyclists taking up trikes: three-wheeled motorcycles that provide the stability and nearly all the comforts of a car while still allowing riders to feel the wind in their face.

By Daisy Nguyen February 26, 2010 1 Comment

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Auto Review: Quietly, Mercury moves up in fuel economy

A roomy, attractive sedan with a four-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor, the 2010 Milan Hybrid is rated by the federal government at an impressive 41 miles per gallon in city driving and 36 mpg on the highway.

By Ann M. Job February 24, 2010

Mercury Milan

Racing's big shift: Drag racers discover the power and speed of electric vehicles

The drag-racing world is getting a serious wake-up call from what, on the surface, seems like an unlikely source: gas-free vehicles powered by batteries and electric motors. A new crop of grassroots racers are stretching traditional notions of the best automotive technology for racing by building electric cars and motorcycles at home on shoestring budgets.

By Jeff Layton February 21, 2010 6 Comments

White Zombie

Online on the road: HD video and Web access may soon be standard car equipment

Automakers and high-tech companies have found a new place to put sophisticated Internet-connected computers: the front seat. Last month at the Consumer Electronics Show, technology giants like Intel and Google demonstrated innovations such as 10-inch screens above the gearshift displaying high-definition videos, 3-D maps and Web pages.

By Ashlee Vance and Matt Richtel February 19, 2010

Online on Road (jump)

Auto Review: Suzuki positions SX4 as 'hot hatch'

Suzuki's SX4, known as the all-wheel drive car with the lowest starting retail price in America, adds a new, flashier model for 2010, and it doesn't come with all-wheel drive.

By Ann M. Job February 17, 2010

Suzuki SX4

Warm-car wars: Preheating your engine in cold weather is still a subject of debate

(Associated Press) There are three things you don't discuss over the dinner table: Religion, politics, and how long a car should warm up before driving in the cold. In December,...

By Rick Barrett February 12, 2010 3 Comments

Car warm jump

Auto Review: Land Rover holds on to iconic look

There's a new name on the mid-size Land Rover sport utility vehicle that looks like it just drove out of the Serengeti. The new-for-2010 LR4 also comes with improved ride and handling, prettier front styling and more power and luxury appointments than its predecessor.

By Ann M. Job February 10, 2010

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Thwarting thieves: New technologies, increased vigilance help owners cut car theft

Since 2005, the number of cars stolen in Seattle has plummeted by nearly 60 percent, due primarily to the creation of the Car Theft Initiative (CTI) Unit, a partnership between the King County Prosecutor's Office and area police departments that targets the most prolific car thieves.

By Cody Ellerd Bay February 7, 2010

The Club

Help when you can't help yourself: New technologies may curb distracted driving

A group of companies -- including ZoomSafer, Aegis Mobility and obdEdge -- assumes that some people know they can't help themselves and therefore want a service to automatically disable their cellphone when it is in a moving car.

By Sam Grobart February 5, 2010

ZoomSafer

Auto Review: Cadillac's small SUV is downsized

Cadillac's smaller sport utility vehicle, the SRX, is finally downsized enough to warrant the "smaller" label, and for 2010 seats just five people. The SRX's V-8 and rear-wheel drive platform are also gone.

By Ann M. Job February 3, 2010

Cadillac

Bold moves: A Pacific Northwest company sees an opening for its EV startup

It might not seem like a good time to start a car company. But the people at Arcimoto disagree. The Eugene, Ore.-based startup is one of several boutique automakers defying conventional wisdom and attempting to design revolutionary electric cars quickly and profitably.

By Jeff Layton January 31, 2010

Arcimoto

A hybrid that has 10 wheels and flies: New York introduces green garbage trucks

It sounded like a garbage truck and smelled like one, too. Aside from the giant pastoral scene on its side, it even looked like a standard-issue New York City garbage truck. But the 36-ton refuse collector that rumbled out of the Department of Sanitation's Central Repair Shop in Queens in November was equipped with a diesel-electric powertrain, one of just a handful of hybrid garbage trucks being tested around the country.

By Ken Belson January 29, 2010

Light truck hybrid

Auto Review: Honda Fit is small, smart package

Go figure. Even in a bad economic year like 2009, Honda surpassed its original sales projections for its compact Fit hatchback.

By Ann M. Job January 27, 2010

Honda Fit

Buckle up, kids! Hollywood's depiction of car safety for children is evolving

Characters in children's movies are wising up about personal safety -- increasingly using seat belts, bike helmets and crosswalks -- but many still aren't ideal role models, a government study says.

By Lindsey Tanner January 24, 2010

Are We There Yet?

Auto stop: Volvo goes futuristic with a system that can detect pedestrians

Volvo is testing a feature called the Pedestrian Safety system, which identifies pedestrians (and bike riders) in front of a vehicle using a video camera similar to those of lane-departure-warning systems. Volvo says the system can prevent a pedestrian collision at speeds of up to 15.5 mph.

By John R. Quain January 22, 2010

Auto stop

Auto Review: Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupe name returns

It's a Mercedes-Benz tradition to use letter and number combinations for car names. But somewhere along the line there came to be too many models starting with the letter "C." So, the Mercedes CLK coupe disappears for 2010 and is now the refined and comfortable E-Class Coupe, with new styling and features that tie it to the long-popular Mercedes E-Class sedans.

By Ann M. Job January 20, 2010

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

2010 trends: high-tech toys, safety features, enhanced eco-consciousness

This year promises to be a fun one to watch the evolution of the automobile, with manufacturers making big strides in technology, design and "green" innovation. Here are five trends to watch for as the 2010 models start rolling into town.

By Jeff Layton January 17, 2010 1 Comment

Trendspotting

Hold the salt: How to fight winter car corrosion no matter your budget

Got a scratch? You wouldn't put salt in that wound. And if your car gets a ding, you'd be wise to follow the same advice. Here are some simple, cost-effective ways to prevent corrosion during the season of road salt.

By Dan Strumpf January 14, 2010

Road salt

Auto Review: Honda Pilot is a top SUV seller

Honda is well known for its fuel-efficient cars. But the Japan-based automaker also sells America's second most popular sport utility vehicle that can accommodate at least seven people.

By Ann M. Job January 13, 2010

2010 Honda Pilot

Need a manual for a '75 Corvette? A small group of collectors just might have it

Most people probably will never want to know which upholstery colors were available for the 1964 Studebaker Avanti, or what types of lubricants the factory recommended for a 1960 Dodge Dart. But for those who do care about such matters, a lively cottage industry of auto-literature dealers has them covered.

By Cody Ellerd Bay January 10, 2010 3 Comments

Alex Voss

Old is new again: Automakers boost their use of recycled materials

Detroit's automakers are finding new uses for worn-out jeans, discarded plastic bottles and manufacturing rubbish -- they're recycling them for use in new vehicle parts.

By Christina Rogers January 8, 2010

Toyota Prius interior

Auto Review: Suzuki offers alternative to Camry, Accord

With exterior styling that is similar to a Volkswagen sedan, an unexpectedly upscale interior for a Suzuki, five-passenger seating and thrifty, four-cylinder fuel mileage, the mid-size 2010 Kizashi is Suzuki's competitor to America's long favorite Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

By Ann M. Job January 7, 2010

Suzuki Kizashi

Driving resolve: One Seattleite's New Year's resolutions for the road

I'll admit I'm critical behind the wheel. I'm sure you're doing the best you can, and I'm going to do better in 2010, too. My first resolution is to be less critical of your "not like me" driving. And because we all know that most resolutions are doomed to fail, I'm going to ask you for a little help, a little reciprocity, a little quid pro quo.

By Sean O’Connor January 3, 2010 5 Comments

Parking stickers

Rust in peace: A look back at some great cars fading away in the 2009 model year

These eight cars will disappear with the new model year, but they merit more than a footnote for what they say about the auto industry and its buyers.

By Larry Printz January 1, 2010

Honda S2000

Auto Review: Ford Transit Connect finally comes to America

The new Ford Transit Connect has a strange name, a compact European delivery van appearance and a ceiling that's so tall, someone sitting in the driver's seat might only reach it with fingertips. But these oddities are nearly endearing in one of the smartest and most practical vehicles for anyone -- including a small business owner, camping enthusiast or trend-eschewing individualist -- looking for something different to drive.

By Ann M. Job December 30, 2009 2 Comments

Ford Transit Connect

Sound silence: Test-drivers of the electric Nissan Leaf find it quietly powerful

Other than bumper cars at the state fair, getting behind the wheel of the new Nissan Leaf was my first experience driving an electric vehicle. I'm not sure what I expected, but it wasn't silence.

By Jeff Layton December 27, 2009

Leaf in Seattle

Reva has been making electric cars for years -- but its time may have come

Chetan Kumar Maini, the vice chairman and chief technology officer of Reva Electric Car Company, looks over his company's cars in Bangalore, India. (Photo by Kuni Takahashi / Associated Press)...

By Vikas Bajaj December 25, 2009 3 Comments

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Auto Review: Lincoln MKT: "Love or hate" appearance

Buyers looking for a luxurious new crossover sport utility vehicle that can seat up to seven people won't have to look beyond the 2010 Lincoln MKT. Bottom line: They love the look or hate it, but either way, the MKT makes a memorable impression.

By Ann M. Job December 23, 2009

Lincoln MKT

Giving big: Hoping for a new car this Christmas? It'll probably be a nice one

We've all seen those car commercials where some unsuspecting person opens the front door on Christmas morning to find a shiny new car sitting in the driveway with a monstrous red bow on top. It's an image burned into our fantasies by powerfully suggestive ad campaigns. But to whom does this actually happen?

By Cody Ellerd Bay December 20, 2009 13 Comments

Lexus

What's your color? Silver is still hot, but favorite car shades vary nationwide

Sometimes, color preferences are logical. Seattleites like the colors of the Northwest -- green and blue.

December 18, 2009

Car colors

Auto Review: Ford Mustang is still cool after all these years

If only we all could age as well as the Ford Mustang has. Now 45 years old and revamped for 2010 with new styling and more powerful V-8, the "pony car" that debuted in 1964 is strikingly muscular, more energetic than before and thoroughly cool for a modern buyer.

By Ann M. Job December 16, 2009

Ford Mustang

Detail-oriented: Deep-cleaning the car is a ritual to be practiced and refined

A clean car runs smoother, goes faster, handles better and gets better mileage. And there's just something cathartic about washing away the road grime to reveal your car's shiny metallic finish.

By Sean O’Connor December 13, 2009 3 Comments

Detailing seminar

Bigger, faster, greener: Bentley designs a supercar that's not a super guzzler

The 2010 Bentley Continental Supersports coupe is a car that embraces extremes -- maximum power and speed with a minimized contribution to global warming. Bentley's parent company, Volkswagen, wants to reduce the environmental burden of Bentley cars without harming the line's reputation for speed and handling.

By Warren Brown December 11, 2009 1 Comment

2010 Bentley Continental Supersports

Auto Review: 2010 Acura ZDX is more than distinctive

What's more important -- looks or practicality? It's a natural question for shoppers considering Acura's newest sport utility vehicle, the ZDX, whose sleek styling generates a few functional tradeoffs.

By Ann M. Job December 9, 2009 2 Comments

Acura ZDX

Passion play: Locals drive their sports cars for the thrill, not for the attention

It's not a stretch to say the course of Robert Durff's life has largely been directed by his love of Porsches. This type of passion is common among high-end car owners. Their cars are more than mere showpieces; they become extensions of themselves.

By Michelle Ma December 6, 2009 5 Comments

Dennis Montgomery Corvette

Crush on crossovers: The new family car is roomy, fuel-efficient and cool

The crossover -- a type of vehicle that's built like a car but looks like a downsized SUV -- is a good fit for families who need both space and fuel efficiency. it is also now among the fastest-growing segments in the auto industry, with U.S. market share nearly tripling since 2002.

By Kimberly S. Johnson December 4, 2009

Chevrolet Equinox

Auto Review: 2010 Buick LaCrosse looks like a Lexus

An attractive, premium-looking sedan pulled up, and for a moment I thought I had been given the wrong car -- a Lexus. But no, it was the 2010 Buick LaCrosse, with Lexus-like styling, that caused the confusion. Buick's newly revamped, mid-size sedan is surprisingly different from stereotypical Buicks. Styling is modern, and the interior in the top-of-the-line CXS has upscale appeal.

By Ann M. Job December 2, 2009 1 Comment

2010 Buick LaCrosse

Car shop: Holiday gifts for your favorite auto fan

Looking for the perfect gift for the car lover in your family? Here are a few ideas for various ages and interests.

Staff and wire reports November 29, 2009

Holiday car gifts

Trickle-down safety: High-end protective features are becoming available to all

The high-tech safety features long available on luxury vehicles are becoming more affordable, and automakers see a wide use for them across their lineups.

By Jewel Gopwani November 27, 2009

Safety features

Auto Review: 2010 Nissan Armada is one big SUV

Large sport utility vehicles aren't as fashionable as they once were. So today's buyers of big SUVs are apt to be the people who really need them -- for towing horse trailers, boats and motorhomes and for carrying large groups of people. The 2010 Nissan Armada handles all these tasks capably yet drives like a smaller vehicle than it is.

By Ann M. Job November 25, 2009

Nissan Armada

Less is more: Group rides, good gas mileage have led to a scooter swarm in Seattle

Local riders say they've seen a surge in scooter interest in recent years, mostly from people wanting another commuting option. Seattle now ranks as one of the top U.S. cities for scooter sales, and when compared with other metro areas, it offers riders a safe, enjoyable experience.

By Michelle Ma November 22, 2009 11 Comments

Scooters

Tire saver: Tips to get more for less on your next set of wheels

If you're cutting corners by canceling cable or clipping coupons, it might seem natural to skip replacing your tires, too. Don't. Worn treads can be dangerous, especially when they lose their grip as you're trying to brake or steer around danger. Here are some tips on how to get the most for your money when shopping for replacements.

By Tom Krisher November 20, 2009

Tires

Auto Review: 2010 BMW 650i convertible is a grand tourer

The model year on the BMW 650i is 2010, but this lengthy, smooth-riding, luxury coupe and convertible feel a bit like yesteryear.

By Ann M. Job November 18, 2009 1 Comment

BMW 650i

Seattle's love for 'green' cars pays off as the technology goes mainstream

Rich Costello works in Carkeek Park with one of the city's Neighborhood Electric Vehicles. (Photo by Barry Gibbons) For electric vehicle proponents, Seattle is a great place to be. The...

By Scott McCredie November 15, 2009 5 Comments

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To bring the love to their cars, auto designers put on a happy face

Even with all the bad news that has pounded the auto industry, carmakers are trying to put on happy faces. Literally: They are incorporating smiles and other cheerful characteristics into their designs, with hope that consumers will warm to vehicles that might reflect their own personalities and feelings.

By Samantha Critchell November 13, 2009 2 Comments

Happy

Auto Review: 2010 Chevrolet Equinox SUV refined, stylish

Chevrolet's sport utility vehicle named for the first day of spring had a rebirth this year, and the resulting 2010 Equinox is the best ever. A crossover SUV that's based on a car-like chassis, the Equinox has stylish new looks, a refined ride, handsome interior and new, more fuel efficient engines.

By Ann M. Job November 12, 2009 2 Comments

Chevy Equinox

Tech boom: The Seattle Auto Show will highlight a surge in eco-friendly technology

This year's Seattle Auto Show, which opens Wednesday at Qwest Field Event Center, will feature a wide variety of "green" innovations appearing for the first time.

By Jeff Layton November 8, 2009 4 Comments

Fisker Karma

Tax rush: There's still time to cash in with three ways to save on autos in 2009

Missed out on the "cash for clunkers" program? Uncle Sam still has a few bones to throw your way if you buy a car before the end of the year. Tax credits and deductions are available on new-car purchases made before Dec. 31.

By The Associated Press November 6, 2009

Mazda Tribute

Auto Review: Audi's performance S4 drops its V-8 for 2010

You don't see this very often: a car company dropping a V-8 engine from a performance car and replacing it with a V-6. But German automaker Audi does it in its 2010 S4 compact sedan. The move creates a more fuel-efficient vehicle during these times of concern for the environment and oil supplies, and it brings the price to an attractive midway point for buyers of compact, luxury sedans who want a sporty edge.

By Ann M. Job November 4, 2009 1 Comment

2010 audi S4

Home improvement: Tackling auto restoration allows you to make a classic your own

For longtime car junkies or collectors with an appreciation for older cars, restoring one yourself can be a rewarding endeavor. Those experienced in the process recommend taking time to research the car you want to purchase, then learning the process and planning your budget. If you decide to go for it, the project and finished car can be cherished for years.

By Michelle Ma November 1, 2009 9 Comments

Car restoration

Hydrogen holds on: Some automakers continue to see fuel cells in future green cars

Even as automakers fast-track battery-powered electric and hybrid vehicles, a quiet push for hydrogen power continues. Supporters see the fuel cell becoming a mainstream, eco-friendly alternative to petroleum-powered cars within the next decade.

By Carolyn Thompson October 30, 2009 3 Comments

Chevrolet Equinox

Auto Review: Iconic VW Golf revised for sixth generation

The sixth-generation Volkswagen Golf, heralded by European automotive media as World Car of the Year, finally comes to U.S. showrooms this fall and instantly is the most fuel-efficient, non-hybrid compact car for 2010.

By Ann M. Job October 28, 2009 2 Comments

VW Golf

Time to rally: A road race through Mexico provides no shortage of twists and turns

Seattle track-driving instructor Steve Schaeffer finds himself riding shotgun in a whirlwind seven-day rally race covering nearly 1,800 miles from southern Mexico to the U.S. border.

By Steve Schaeffer October 25, 2009 6 Comments

Rally car

Auto Review: Best-selling Lexus still refined, quiet

The 2010 Lexus RX sport utility vehicle is a bit bigger and heavier than its predecessor, quieter, a tad more fuel efficient and has more features. But the things people see first, such as exterior and interior styling, stay true to the popular, previous-generation model. The refined ride is still there, too.

By Ann M. Job October 21, 2009

2010 Lexus RX 350

What to know for snow: Get your auto ready for the worst of winter weather

Many Seattleites were caught off-guard by last December's storms. This year, don't let winter get the best of your vehicle. Here are five areas to focus on when preparing your car for the onset of harsh conditions.

By Jeff Layton October 18, 2009

Winter weather

Auto Review: Mazdaspeed3 is a hot, youthful hatchback

With new exterior styling, a turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that puts out as much horsepower as some V-6s, a "hot hatch" body shape and sport-tuned suspension, the 2010 Mazdaspeed3 is a fun-to-drive, youthful, five-passenger auto.

By Ann M. Job October 14, 2009

2010 Mazdaspeed3

All-weather riding: Stay safe on your motorcycle or scooter this fall and winter

When it comes to riding a motorcycle in inclement weather, the right equipment is critical, but good judgment and safe riding skills are just as important. Dave Wendell, who has been teaching motorcycle safety classes for 22 years, offers a few tips for fall and winter riding.

By Monica Fischer October 11, 2009

Motorcycle

What's in store: New models and major changes for 2010

Peruse a roundup of the details of the 2010 model year, carmaker by carmaker.

By Ann M. Job October 9, 2009

Volvo XC60

Auto Review: Lexus raises the roof with IS convertibles for 2010

The new-for-2010 Lexus IS 250C and IS 350C are convertibles and the first open-top models in the IS line. With styling reminiscent of the IS sedans, a power-operated hardtop roof that opens or closes in a scant 20 seconds, seats for four, V-6 engines and lots of features, the new convertibles are easy transporters that provide a bonus -- a suntan.

By Ann M. Job October 7, 2009

Lexus IS 2010

Go-karts grow up: Kent's new racetrack lets racers satisfy their need for speed

Zach McIntosh, 14, and Krystian Portmann, 13, of Maple Valley, are typical of teenage adrenaline junkies. That's why a recent Saturday afternoon found them suiting up at Pacific Grand Prix (PGP) at Pacific Raceways, anxious to test out Kent's newest outdoor karting track.

By Jeff Layton October 4, 2009 3 Comments

Pacific Grand Prix

Restoring luxury: Cadillac's success is key to GM's revival

When General Motors' top executives were choosing this year which brands to keep and which to ditch, the iconic Cadillac was unquestionably deemed a valuable asset that should be part of the new GM.

By Christine Tierney October 2, 2009

Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon

Auto Review: Toyota Prius stays on top in mileage

There's a little something extra for car buyers who have their hearts set on top fuel mileage in the Toyota Prius. But they'd better not get tired of the car's wedge shape.

By Ann M. Job September 30, 2009

Toyota Prius

Helping hand: Agents such as the Amazing Autowoman take pressure off car buyers

Heidi Hough is so good at buying cars that she does it for a living. Also known as the Amazing Autowoman, she is a buyer's agent: the person people go to when they would rather have someone else buy their car for them. Buyer's agents are licensed as dealers and can cover almost any aspect of auto buying, including new and used vehicles, leasing and financing options.

By Cody Ellerd Bay September 27, 2009 3 Comments

The Amazing Autowoman

Test drive: Take your dream car around the track from the comfort of your couch

Want to see if that 2010 model you have your eye on could race in Le Mans? The next installment of Microsoft's flagship racing franchise could give you a clue.

By Derrik J. Lang September 25, 2009 2 Comments

Forza Motorsport 3

Auto Review: Subaru's 2010 Legacy low in price, tops in mileage

Subaru's Legacy mid-size sedan grew for 2010, but its price tag didn't. In fact, the newly styled and enlarged five-passenger Legacy ranks as the lowest-priced, mid-size, all-wheel drive sedan on the U.S. market, and is also noteworthy for its fuel mileage rating.

By Ann M. Job September 24, 2009 8 Comments

2010 Subaru Legacy

All-star cars: Take your team spirit to the streets with a well-decorated ride

If you're a Seattle sports fan, then there's a good chance that your vehicle is wearing a bumper sticker, decal, flag or antenna ball. To a certain class of local folks, however, that level of devotion is, well, minor league.

By Monica Fischer September 20, 2009 2 Comments

Seahawks car

Staying fresh: U.S. automakers are trying to turn out new models faster than ever

Trying to stimulate demand and return to profitability, Detroit automakers are rushing to get new models into dealerships. Developing new vehicles can take several years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars, a process that adds more costs at a time when all three Detroit carmakers have dwindling cash reserves. Yet with so many brands to choose from, and with technology rapidly changing, analysts say that automakers cannot afford to let vehicles go stale.

By Nick Bunkley September 18, 2009 1 Comment

Fresh cars

Auto Review: Jaguar's fastest XF handsome, seductive, powerful

The 2010 Jaguar XFR is what a Jaguar should be -- sleek, fast and handsome. It's also seductive, with a 510-horsepower, supercharged and intercooled V-8 and constantly adjustable chassis serving up a ride that's both smooth and thrilling.

By Ann M. Job September 17, 2009 2 Comments

Jaguar XFR

Matchbox nation: Move over, road hogs -- small cars are more popular than ever

The small car has made a comeback, and there's no sign of consumers or automakers turning from the trend.

By Scott McCredie September 13, 2009 2 Comments

Chevy Aveo

Choices, choices: A guide to sorting out the overwhelming variety of 'green' cars

Automakers are working full-throttle to get electric vehicles on the market. But there are differences in the technology that's available. The systems, or powertrains, that drive hybrid and plug-in vehicles use electricity generated by batteries and electric motors to either supplement or largely take the place of internal-combustion engines. Here's a look at how the most common systems compare.

September 11, 2009

Green cars

Auto Review: Acura adds V-6 to TSX sedan for first time

What can be wrong with a car that's a Consumer Reports' recommended buy, earns top crash test ratings, delivers commendable fuel economy and is competitively priced? If the car is in the compact luxury sedan class, it better offer a six-cylinder engine in order to be considered a real contender. This is a key reason why Honda's luxury brand, Acura, adds a V-6 to its TSX for the first time in history.

By Ann M. Job September 9, 2009 5 Comments

Honda Acura TSX

Let's get along: Tips for drivers dealing with Seattle's mass-transit boom

Light rail, the streetcar and good old Joe Metro: Public transportation is hotter than this summer's heat wave, and Seattle is leading the country in ridership growth. This all looks great on paper, but the view from where many of us are sitting -- in our cars, stuck in traffic, yielding to everything not on four wheels -- is increasingly complicated. Here are some tips for sharing the road.

By Cody Ellerd September 6, 2009 2 Comments

Third Avenue

From guzzle to sip: Three tips for saving on fuel costs with your next car

There's one rule that all car owners learn, usually the hard way: Cheap gas doesn't stay cheap. So if you're counting on your next car to save you