On the weekend before Thanksgiving, Bryan Jennings and myself, Max Katsarelas rented a couple of cars and took road trips. Bryan drove to Virginia Beach in a Mazda3 sedan and I went to East Lansing, Michigan in a Chevrolet Cruz. For Bryan, it would be a round trip of about 800 miles. For me, it would be a round trip of about 1700 miles. Total driving time for the two of us combined was over 40 hours.
That was a lot of time to get to know our respective cars. We broke down our reviews into five categories: gas mileage, ride comfort, review of Hertz rental agency, tech gadgetry and the overall experience. Make the jump to see the Mazda3 square off against the Chevy Cruz in the first edition of Battling Rental Cars. [keep reading]
Automotive News reported recently that the Wuling minivan in China is selling like bingzis or whatever the Chinese call hotcakes. Translation: this means they’re selling really darn good. Whilst Americans continue to buy up big trucks, SUV’s and crossovers, don’t be surprised if there’s a renaissance of the minivan. But wait, then why would Dodge drop the Grand Caravan or why would Ford stop building minivans in America altogether? To focus on crossovers where there might be more money to be made.
This might be a premature shift in strategy because there’s still a market for the minivan. Sure, the number of people buying minivans has dropped from about 1.3 million in 2000 to 540,000 in 2011, but so far in 2012, AutoData reports 10.6% growth. Two months the L.A. Times reported that fuel efficiency is what car buyers care about most after a Consumer Reports found 37% of shoppers care about fuel economy. Quality of the car, which should probably be more important came in second at a measly 17%. Gas mileage alone is reason enough why minivans should make a comeback, but keep reading for more. [keep reading]