If there is one thing that always makes people more squeamish than standing up to speak in front of a group of people, it is buying a used car. Pass the antacids, we all could be in for a night full of indigestion and pain. But the fact is some of today’s smartest vehicle shoppers are buying used cars that serve them (and their bank accounts) very well. Many used cars sale experts agree: There has never been a better time to buy a used car. Read more . . .

So just what the heck is a “crossover”? Not only is it among the hottest vehicle types in a decidedly not-so-hot market this year, but it is also essentially a cross between an SUV and a car. More accurately, it is a high-profile vehicle that looks and behaves much like a sport-utility vehicle but is based on a car platform rather than a truck platform. Though nobody in the industry talks about the crossover craze the way they did about the SUV craze of the ’90s, the new vehicle type has proven to be among the most popular of the decade. Read more . . .

Wrecked  frontal view of a blue sedan

flic.kr/p/4Toeoj

Frontal offset crash tests conducted by the Institute since 1995 have prompted huge improvements in how vehicles protect people in frontal crashes. Now this consumer information program is undergoing a major change.

The Institute evaluates the crashworthiness of passenger vehicles based on 40 mph frontal offset crash  tests in which the driver side of the front of a vehicle strikes a deformable barrier. Read more . . .

Two cars crashed

flic.kr/p/axFPp5

Mismatch of the front ends of the vehicles in this crash test is a problem.  The SUV’s front-end energy-absorbing structure rides of the car’s.  In a real crash, this could increase injury risks for the car occupants, which is why auto manufacturers have been committed since 2003 to designing the front ends of light trucks (SUVs and pickups) so their energy-absorbing structures overlap those of cars (see Status Report, Jan. 3, 2004; on the web at www.iihs.org).

“Compliance with these voluntary commitments already is making a difference, even Read more . . .

Which do you dread the most: buying a new car or visiting the dentist? For the average person, they may be equally painful. Buying a new truck or car can be very stressful and challenging; there is a lot to consider and a lot of money on the line.

Blue sedan“Most people say it’s like having a tooth extracted,” says John Davis, host and executive producer of MotorWeek, the critically acclaimed PBS weekly automotive magazine. “Nobody enjoys it.”

Davis and his staff want to change that. “We look at how people actually buy cars,” says Davis, whose team test drives more than 150 vehicles a year and evaluates them on handling, maneuverability, power, Read more . . .