Cars

A Diesel Tipping Point?

Posted on: February 7th, 2014 by Randy Lioz

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BMW debuted two new diesel models at the Chicago Auto Show, bringing the total lineup to six offerings from the Bavarian brand that rely on compression ignition. Having driven the 535d for the past week, it’s clear to me that BMW has put forth a rock-solid case for buying the diesel over the gas model, and I presume the same will be true of the 7 and X3 when the 740Ld xDrive and X3 xDrive28d hit the market. This experience behind the wheel combines with the relatively tight supply picture to create an environment of high retention for these vehicles in the used market. (more…)

Long Term: 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (Off-Roading)

Posted on: January 14th, 2014 by Editorial Staff

Wrangler

The ALG staff has enjoyed a few opportunities to test the Wrangler’s mettle in challenging settings, and it’s been a blast to use. One staff member had the following comments on his experience:

“I went off-roading on West Camino Cielo. I ran through a progression of 2WD, 4WD-high, 4WD-low and locked on a very steep, loose grade. It was awesome to see it go from stuck, to stuttering, to confident, to bored. All levels are easy to engage and make a noticeable difference in traction.”

He also found it very simple to remove the roof and doors, adding, “Turning this into an open off-road machine was one of my favorite experiences in an ALG Fleet car so far.”

The Ultimate Safari Vehicle

Posted on: December 11th, 2013 by Randy Lioz

ALG recently gave the Toyota Land Cruiser the Residual Value Award in the Premium Fullsize Utility segment. It’s a vehicle that doesn’t sell in big volumes, but the Land Cruiser nameplate goes a long way to explaining why Toyota won seven other segment awards for the 2014 model year, particularly in truck and utility segments.

I recently went on safari in Kenya and Tanzania. While I saw a few Land Rover Defenders that had been converted into Serengeti roamers, and the occasional Nissan Patrol, the safari industry is the unquestioned domain of the Toyota Land Cruiser, comprising probably around 95% of the vehicles that haul around the thousands of tourists that visit these countries each year.

A lone Land Rover Defender amid a line of Land Cruisers

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Apple’s Play for Valuable Automotive Real Estate

Posted on: May 9th, 2013 by Editorial Staff

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At ALG we are constantly exposed to the latest and greatest in automotive technology. While most consumers are happy with their smart phones, it’s surprising how often vehicle infotainment systems attempt to blaze their own path, with users often ending up frustrated. (more…)

Long-Term: 2013 Mercedes-Benz E350 (Check-in)

Posted on: February 28th, 2013 by Editorial Staff

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The 2013 E350 Wagon represents the last year in its lifecycle before its redesign for MY14. It carries over the same 3.5L V6 (302hp / 273lb-ft) engine as last year, along with the 4MATIC drivetrain.

Our E-Wagon is equipped with the Premium 1 Package ($3,500), Wheel Package ($760), and Driver Assistance Package ($2950), which includes the superb Mercedes adaptive cruise control (Distronic Plus).

Wagons haven’t typically done well in the US, but the staff here has a good appreciation for them. Everyone is quick to point out their excitement for the rear jump seats — maybe it’s because they remember making faces at others when they were kids. We don’t do that anymore..promise.

Long-Term: 2013 Audi S7 (Check-in)

Posted on: February 28th, 2013 by Editorial Staff

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This slick looking vehicle is the new 2013 Audi S7. The performance version of the A7 comes with a more powerful engine (420hp /406 lb-ft) and the usual S upgrades. The S7 also makes an effort to be efficient with start-stop, brake regeneration, and a cylinder-on-demand system. One of the first things noticed will be the diamond stitched leather seats, which combined with Active Noise Cancellation make for a very comforting ride.

It’s the little things in this Audi that you really end up enjoying. Take, for example, the red engine start button on the center console, or the retractable wing that leads to the question of “can you put the wing up?” any time someone is checking the car out in a parking lot.

Stay tuned for more.

Long-Term: 2013 Audi RS5 (Brake Rotors)

Posted on: January 31st, 2013 by Editorial Staff

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The ‘wave’ brake rotors were a constant source of attraction for people.  I went out to lunch with several people and they all noted the interesting difference from ‘normal’ brake rotors.  Only one of them actually knew the purpose and typical usage of such ‘wave’ rotors (motorcycles/mountain bikes) but all were impressed with the system that stood out of the crowd.

Long-Term: 2013 Cadillac XTS (Interior Lighting)

Posted on: January 30th, 2013 by Editorial Staff

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Whatever your personal preferences on ambient lighting, you can’t help but applaud Cadillac’s attention to detail. Cockpit lighting is well-shaped and super premium. The handles visibly light up as soon as you get close or touch the handle. Everything you’d typically use inside is lit in some fashion, even down to the blue ring around the USB plug on the inside.

ALG Outlook: Interior lighting strongly contributes to a luxurious execution, and Cadillac has nailed this detail. Although some might consider this a minor element, an accumulation of success with details helps elevate the brand and improve residual values.

First Drive: 2013 Toyota Avalon

Posted on: November 26th, 2012 by Daniel Sherman

Introduction

The all-new 2013 Avalon marks an important turning point for Toyota’s North American operations, as well as for globalization of the auto industry. This marks the first time a Toyota project has had an American “chief engineer”—in Japanese companies, the Presidential figure with final say on any decision. In addition, the Avalon is fully designed, engineered, manufactured, and marked in North America; it will only be exported to the Middle East and South Korea markets.

Even though Japan had virtually no influence on the Avalon, its platform is now shared with the Japanese-built Lexus ES. A longer, wider, stiffer version of the global Camry chassis, the Avalon is built on the same exact line as the Camry and shares floorpan stampings.

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SEMA 2012: ALG OEM Coverage

Posted on: November 26th, 2012 by Editorial Staff

One question ALG receives fairly often is how modifications and aftermarket equipment impact residual value.

In general, adding modifications reflects individual tastes, which is great for the owner — just don’t expect that investment to translate to a a majority of buyers. Additionally, some modifications can have a longer term impact.

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