Thursday, December 27, 2012

Meguire's Wash & Wax - Put to the test!!

As you can see my car was rotten from our messy Newfoundland winter.  I can't seem to get any satisfaction from an automated wash and our hose is frozen so I broke out the Meguire's Waterless Wash & Wax.  When I used it previously it was easy to apply and did  great job, of course that was on a much less grimy car.  I was ready with three microfibre cloths and one towel for drying and buffing.

After I had started the first quarter panel I could tell I was going to be in for a rough time.  I had already gone through one microfibre cloth and a good bit of cleaner and I was only about 1/4 done. On top of the it was freezing (literally) out and I was finding several contaminants in my paint that would need to be clay barred out in the spring.

You can see that the product does work well, it just takes a lot of cleaning, wiping, drying and buffing to get the car looking good with no streaks.  If you don't clean a section thoroughly and then go to dry it, any dirt picked up leaves mean streaks.  Due to the heavy dirt on the vehicle I had to use a lot of spray, and subsequently lots of microfibre cloths.  I ruined 4 cloths and used almost half a bottle of spray.  Once it was cleaned there was still a lot of work to get all the cleaner residue off and dry the vehicle thoroughly.

Then once I was done after about an hour cleaning the vehicle I had to clean the windows, because they were still very dirty, using my Invisible Glass from Costco.  That only took about 5 minutes.  Then of course I looked down and the wheels were covered in grime so I had to break out the No Touch All Wheel Care.  This worked very well after spraying and leaving for 2 minutes.  I just used some water and a sponge to get the rims and wheels squeaky clean.  So after about an hour and a half in total I had a beautiful looking car again as seen in the pics below.

Then the next day it looked like the pictures above again....... I give up.


I decided to learn something new..... how to play guitar, you can check it all out on my new blog:

Monday, December 24, 2012 - Compact Car Comparison

Read about the Comparison Test: Compact Cars had another great comparison article today on compact cars, you can read it here:

Unfortunately the Kia Forte wasn't included in the comparison but the winner was surprising for me, also surprising (but made me quite happy) was the fact that the Corolla came dead last.  I mean this has to be the most boring car ever created, I have no idea why anyone buys them??  Maybe 10 years ago they were more reliable than most but these days there really is no such thing as an unreliable car.... well maybe Mitsubishi.  Also notable was the second to last Honda Civic, also boring but has gotten quite the refreshening for 2013, they also totally ripped off the Kia honeycomb grill for 2013.  If you are interested in compacts you should give this article a read, it is well worth it.

Also, since I mentioned it, also had an in depth article on the 2013 civic today which can be found here:

The new Civic looks to be a massive improvement..... could spell trouble (more so than usual) for the competition.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - Best cars of 2013

Read about the Feature: 2013 Top Picks

On today there was an article on the best 2013 model year vehicles in their opinion.  You can read the article here:

I agree with most of their picks but not when it comes to mid-sized sedans.  Why do they have to pick the Accord..... of all things the Accord.  It may be the best mid-sized sedan based on all the individual factors but I just don't think it is the best package when you factor in the intangibles.  It comes only in shades of grey, has a CVT transmission and is just plain boring.

Now the new Ford Fusion is a thing of beauty and comes with 4 engine choices along with all the Ford technology, looks to be a great vehicle.  I haven't seen one driving around yet but I bet there will be lots in the next couple of years.

One of the cars I would love to test out is the Scion FR-S, they are sold here at the local Toyota dealership.  It's an affordable rear wheel drive sports car that looks great.  They also have a very simple but effective website

In the compact luxury category you will find the new Cadillac ATS that is getting great reviews and the Mercedes C Series, but no BMW.  The BMW 5 series does get the nod in the luxury high end category but with the new 3 series coming out this year I'm sure they expected to dominate Cadillac and Mercedes in the compact luxury category as well.

Anyway check out the article, lots of great cars there!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Suzuki Kizashi - Final Update

I could have called this update #2, but this is probably the last time I will ever discuss a Suzuki Kizashi.  I emailed back to the salesguy thinking the the $210 / biweekly for 5 years was too good to be true and sure enough.... it was.  He told me the $210 was over six years at 5.99% interest, still not a horrible deal but not half the deal it was if it was over five years.

If you crunch the numbers 23,995 + tax @ 5.99% interest over 72 months works out to $208 biweekly.  I'm sure they add in a few hundred bucks admin fee which brings it up to a nice round $210.  You get to pay $5,300 in interest for the $6,500 cash discount...... so you actually save about $1,000 over the non-sale stated price at 0%.  Not so wonderful a deal any more, but car deals rarely are as they seem.

If I email back this time next year, I bet they still have those cars.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Suzuki Kizashi Update #1

I emailed the local Suzuki dealership and they have two Kizashi available.  One red S model and one white SX model.  When I was there a year ago coincidentally enough they had one red S and two white SX models, so I guess they managed to sell one of them.  I asked about pricing and they just emailed me back to say the S model is indeed $23,995 and it would be $210 bi-weekly after tax.

Lets check the numbers shall we:

If you were using a five year purchase with 0% the $23,995 + $3120 tax = 27,115 / 60 payments = $450 / mth or about $209 bi-weekly.  If the $210 is for five years then this is a very impressive deal, I am thinking there is a catch and I am gone back to get more details.  If you get $6,500 off and 0% then someone should go buy that vehicle.

Stay tuned for further updates!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Suzuki Kizashi - Great Deal?

Suzuki has a minor problem on it's hands...... they will no longer be sold in the US.  Actually that's a major problem for sales but they don't actually sell many vehicles in North America so it probably saves them money not to bother trying.

In any event mixed in with our weekly flyer batch was a glossy lime green one from Suzuki.  According to the ad you can save over $6,500 off a 2013 Kazashi S iAWD, which actually seems like a really good deal at 0% for 5 years.  On the bottom of the flyer it also says the price includes delivery, air tax and oil changes for three years.  When I was looking at these vehicles a year ago, the same one was $29,995 plus extras, this requires further investigation.... an email to Suzuki is in order.  If you go to the website and price one up with the automatic CVT transmission, the total comes to $29,645 with delivery so I am guessing it is $850 for the "free" oil changes, since the advertised price is $30,495.

As I dig into the small print, the $6,500 is off the cash purchase price, meaning if you go to your bank and pay about 6% interest or happen to have $25,000 hanging around you get $6,500 off otherwise you get nothing off but you do get 0% interest.  Obviously it is better to go with the $6,500 off on such a relatively low purchase price, you will end up saving about $50 a month or $3,000 over a 5 year purchase term as opposed to taking 0% at the full purchase price.

I am going to add an update to this once I get an email back from them.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

LA Auto Show - Follow Up

There were lots of great vehicles and interesting car articles from the LA Auto Show this year.  Very good article in the Globe and Mail today you should check out about it all, but just google LA Auto Show and there are tons of top notch articles out there, here is the link to Globe article:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Reality Check - Compact Luxury Sedans

Read about the Comparison Test: German Compact Luxury Sedans

Just read this great review article on compact luxury sedans on you should check it out.  It is surprising on a couple of fronts, firstly the BMW offering came in third behind the Merc and Audi and secondly, the new Cadillac would have placed second if it was included in the comparison.  Yes, Cadillac has a compact sports sedan that professional  auto reviewers rate higher than both the BMW and Mercedes.  It seems like the BMW is changing into the soft older person luxury sedan, a position firmly held by Mercedes in the past.  Cadillac wasn't even in the compact luxury segment last year but is now kicking some BMW butt...... go figure.  I might go test drive one just for the heck of it.

Another not insignificant point is the price of these vehicles.  The Mercedes came in "cheapest" at about $55,000 after tax, this for a vehicle with no HID headlights, satellite radio, heated rear seats or back up camera.  I know a certain beautiful Kia Optima that is $20,000 less expensive with all those options and then some.  Just think about it... $20,000 less with more stuff and a larger interior and in my opinion looks every bit as nice or nicer.  The only thing missing on the Optima of course is all wheel or rear wheel drive.  I'm not sure that's worth $20,000.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Compact Car Comparison - Price/power/fuel economy

Compact cars are very popular these days for a number of reasons; good fuel economy, affordability and ease of driving in the city.   I figured I would do some research to see which compact car actually is the best value these days.  These types of vehicles would be excellent for new drivers except of course insurance makes it almost impossible for new drivers to own a car these days.  For my son to be insured on his own vehicle would cost $3,500 as opposed to $1,400 to insure him on my vehicle..... but I digress.

Anyway back to the job at hand.  I scoured all the popular car websites trying to find pricing on their latest compact offering with automatic transmission and air conditioning.  So keep in mind the prices I have could be further reduced if you could live with a manual transmission and no air conditioning.  A/C is actually quite an expensive option in many cases adding up to $1,500 to the price of the car because it often came as a package deal with a few other unnecessary items.  Now that I am thinking back I shouldn't have included A/C in my pricing..... ok I am going to go back and get some new prices without automatic or upgrades for A/C.

After going back for additional research it turns out you can save about $4,000 by going with total basic models of compact cars.  Since most people looking for compact cars are probably looking for good value then this would be significant savings.  The winner with both approaches is the Nissan Versa, coming in at just over $15,000 for the basic model (which does have air conditioning).  The Versa had 0% interest to go along with the lowest price after tax and delivery for a monthly payment of $255! It beat the next closest vehicle (Kia Rio) by $26 per month or $1,560 over the life of your car payments.

There were a couple of interesting differences between base model and automatic transmissions prices.  The Ford Fiesta had 0% interest on the automatic but 5.69% on the manual..... basically negating any savings you would get buying the cheaper model.  The Jetta rate of 0% for the automatic also increased to 2.9% with the standard, which had a surprisingly low price of $18,515.

Two other factors I looked at were fuel economy and HP.  Fuel economy was very similar for all the vehicles ranging from 30-33 MPG with the exception of the Jetta which had 27 MPG.  The Jetta was really out of the rest of these cars category anyway, I was just surprised at how cheap you could actually get one for so it's included.  HP was extremely low for most of these vehicles as expected.  The Dodge Dart had by far the highest at 160 but it was also the most expensive of the bunch by a mile.  The Rio, Accent and Sonic had a reasonable 138 but when you are getting down into low HP numbers like that does it really matter???  All these vehicles will get you around town perfectly fine but might take a but of careful looking ahead on the highway if you are planning to do a lot of passing.  The Versa came in at a whopping 109 HP, only to be outdone by the Mazda 2 with 100 but the versa has the best combined fuel economy numbers.

One other interesting thing to note is that you can get a base model Honda Civic cheaper than a base model Honda Fit, maybe that's why I never see a Honda Fit.

All the details of my review are below. The first chart is for the models with A/C and automatic transmissions and the second chart is for base models.  Sorry for the layout but excel does not copy well into this format.

Brand Model  Price inc tax and delivery      5 Yr                           Rate       Pmt         HP       MPG
Honda Fit LX            22,362 3.99% 412 117 30
Ford Fiesta SE            20,508 0.00% 342 120 33
Kia Rio LX+            20,660 0.90% 352 138 31
Hyundai Accent gl            19,819 2.95% 356 138 31
Toyota Yaris LE with conv pkg            20,972 1.90% 366 106 32
Nissan Versa SV            19,052 0.00% 318 122 33
Chevy Sonic LS Auto W A/C            21,035 ?   138 31
Dodge Dart SE            21,346 5.99% 414 160 31
Mazda 2 GS W A/C            20,430 0.00% 342 100 30
VW Jetta Trendline + 2.0 L            22,758 0.00% 379 115 27
Brand Model  Price inc tax   and delivery  5 Yr Rate        Pmt        HP      MPG
Honda Fit DX            18,181 3.99% 334 117 30
Ford Fiesta S            16,440 5.69% 315 120 33
Kia Rio LX            16,479 0.90% 281 138 31
Hyundai Accent L            16,253 2.95% 292 138 31
Toyota Yaris LE             17,876 1.90% 313 106 32
Nissan Versa S            15,333 0.00% 255 109 33
Chevy Sonic LS             17,136 ?   138 31
Dodge Dart SE            19,877 5.99% 384 160 31
Mazda 2 GX            17,780 0.00% 298 100 30
VW Jetta Trendline             18,515 2.90% 332 115 27

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Winter Tires - Bridgestone Blizzak Update

We had our first snowfall of the year this week so I got to try out my new winter tires.  Although we didn't have a lot of snow, it was enough to test out the tires quite well, about 10 cms.  I found them great on ice and hard packed snow, braking was also very impressive.  I found it better with my traction control off because with it on I would get a bit of wheel spin from a stop when turning out into traffic which is a bit scary when traction control takes over and cuts power to the front wheels.  Nothing like being half way out into an intersection and not able to move!

Just wanted to let you know the tires are great so far, I am very happy with my selection!