cars

DragonImages/Fotolia

Buying a car may be one of the most stressful things you ever do. Whether it’s new or used, a car is one of the most expensive items you will ever buy.

While the internet has helped consumers arrive at a dealership armed with more information, that hasn’t really changed the overall dealership experience. And depending on that experience, it’s very easy to feel you’ve gotten a bad deal.

2018-chevy-volt-plugin-hybrid-car-
Dan Harmon

It’s hard to imagine the world without hybrid cars.

More than 20 years ago in Japan, the Toyota Prius was the first of these cars produced for the mass market. Two years later, the Honda Insight was available in both the United States and Japan. Today, not only are there more hybrid options available, they also have a significant place in the automotive market.

ligier-battery-power-car
Mitch Teich

Occasionally, a tiny yellow car can be seen tooling around the UW-Milwaukee campus. That car is a battery-powered Ligier.

Gonzo Couto-Lain, the man who's the oldest graduate (at 59-years-old) of the engineering school at UWM, worked with a team to convert the tiny French car to run on battery power.

Jamrooferpix / Fotolia

If you walked into a car dealership today and asked the salesperson which vehicles had anti-lock brakes, you would be in for a puzzled look. If you asked the same question 30 years ago, their reaction would be entirely different.

scaleautomag.com

Lake Effect speaks with contributor and car writer Mark Savage every month about trends in the automotive industry - from the minutiae to the bigger picture. But Savage also writes about much smaller cars - model cars, in fact.

"It's kind of creating your own special world in miniature because it's smaller and it's easier to deal with and you can fill a room or a house with it," he says.

Dan Harmon

The Swedish automaker Volvo made headlines last year - twice. The car company, already known for its safety, stepped up its game by asserting that "no one riding in their cars made after 2020 will die in a crash."

"Our idea is to avoid the collision in the first place, so that all those other things, like body rigidity, airbags, seat belts, become a safety net," says Volvo USA spokesman Russell Datz.

Bill Pugliano / Stringer / Getty Images News

General Motors’ entry into the zero emissions vehicle landscape started more than 20 years ago with its EV1 project.  The effort was, by most accounts, successful.  But the vehicles were all leased, and when the leases ran out, they were all returned to Chevrolet and unceremoniously destroyed.

Perfect Vectors / Fotolia

Although the general public may have reservations about the future of electric cars, car makers are plowing forward.  Chevrolet announced earlier this month that the company is moving towards an all-electric future.  That word comes as Tesla continues to scale up production of a growing line of cars.

1xpert / Fotolia

The 4th of July is just around the corner, and many of us will mark it with fireworks and barbecues and family get-togethers.  But don’t overlook the great American road trip – whether it’s a cross-country sojourn, a long weekend, or even an afternoon.

It’s those latter two ideas – the shorter road trip that got contributors Dan Harmon and Mark Savage talking.  Normally, they talk about cars, but both contributors are encouraging people to actually sit and enjoy using their cars through a classic American pastime.

zapp2photo / Fotolia

We live in an increasingly automated world. What used to take many physical steps can often be taken care of by a click of a mouse or a swipe of a finger across a screen.

However, there are still many things that require human intervention. For now we still have to drive our cars - but for how long? Lake Effect auto contributor Mark Savage notes that the market is changing quicker than expected. A younger target audience, Savage says, view cars as an appliance. "It does what you want it to do, and now you shouldn't even have to drive it," he says.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Diesel passenger cars have had a tumultuous past in the United States. In the last 15 years, they gained some acceptance among American consumers before a recent downturn. But in the pursuit of increased gas mileage, an increasing number of car makers are now offering diesel models in this country.

But a notable absence today is Volkswagen, which once sold the most diesels vehicles in this country. After VW was slapped with a huge penalty for rigging emission test results, the company pulled its diesels off the market.

tesla.com

For a long time, electric vehicles were neither practical nor especially affordable. To add insult to injury, you also couldn’t go very far in them before you needed an often hard to find charging station.

But Tesla’s newest Model 3 is the first mass produced electric car. It will also be the company’s most affordable car to date with a list price starting at $35,000. And the distance you can go between charges has improved to 215 miles.

Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

Long gone are the days of compact pickup trucks where the fanciest gadget you may have inside the cab is a radio. Today, pickup trucks are the top 3 selling vehicles in the North American market. But even as their sales numbers have risen, they’re used less and less for work and more as a luxury family vehicle.

New trucks are able to seat up to six adults, have a multitude of gadgets, and can easily cost up to $50,000.

Philipp Lücke / Flickr

Not all that long ago - at least in automotive history - luxury cars were promoted in a lot of ways. There was the rich, Corinthian leather. The comfortable passenger space and the huge trunk. And of course, there was the soft - sometimes practically squishy ride.

That's not the way Cadillac, Lincoln, or really any luxury manufacturers advertise their cars any more. It's all about speed and performance, and maybe passenger space, too. But it's a trend that caught the eye of  Lake Effect automotive contributor, Mark Savage.

Photos.com

Car thefts have been all over the Milwaukee news lately, and with good reason. Data point to an 11 percent increase last year, and numbers continuing to grow in 2016. The jump is one reason why the city’s Public Safety Committee has scheduled a half-dozen special meetings.

 Members are also concerned about homicides. They are tracking below 2015, but it was a violent year. The Wisconsin Department of Justice was the latest on Monday to testify on why the state’s largest city is seeing a surge in certain crimes.

Pages