Jul 062017
 

Honda Odyssey

Latino Traffic Report (LTR) has just learned that Insure.com’s annual ranking of the least and most expensive vehicles to insure named the Honda Odyssey as the least expensive for the second year in a row, while Jeep set a new record with its models taking up a whopping 50 percent of the top 10. On the high side, the Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG convertible was the most expensive. The rankings were compiled from a recent review of insurance rates in every single state for more than 2,800 different vehicle models.

Insure.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to calculate average auto insurance rates for 2017 models. Averages were calculated using data from six large carriers, such as Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm, in ten zip codes per state. Not all models were available, especially exotic cars.

Least expensive rankings were based on the best-performing trim line of each model. The worst performing trim line of each model determined most expensive rankings.

Least Expensive Vehicles to Insure

Jeep Renegade Sport

When it comes to cheap vehicles to insure, nothing has changed with the Honda Odyssey LX remaining at the top of the list. According to Insure.com: “Minivans have always been popular on our inexpensive to insure list. In 2011, all four of the top spots were minivans and every year since at least one minivan has been in the top five, with the exception of 2013.

What minivans lack in sex appeal, they make up for in safety and for a family vehicle, that’s where the emphasis should be. Safety features, a great safety rating, and extra cautious drivers lead to fewer accidents, claims, and lower rates. The Odyssey has received an overall five-star crash rating from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Second place goes to the Jeep Renegade Sport, the Jeep Wrangler Black Bear ranks No. 3 with the Honda CR-V LX earning the number four spot and the Jeep Compass Sport rounding out the top five.

While some may be surprised to see Jeep included so heavily in the list—in addition to the ones listed above, the Jeep Cherokee Sport took the No. 7 spot and the Patriot Sport tied for eighth place—it’s not so odd, according to Penny Gusner, consumer analyst for Insure.com.

“When people think of Jeeps, they typically think about ruggedness, not bells and whistles. The Jeeps on the list are the entry-level and thus would cost less to repair or replace than a car that comes with lots of expensive luxury features,” notes Gusner.

Top 10 Cheapest Cars to Insure

Rank Make\Model Average annual premium
1 Honda Odyssey LX $1,112
2 Jeep Renegade Sport $1,138
3 Jeep Wrangler Black Bear $1,148
4 Honda CR-V LX $1,170
5 Jeep Compass $1,183
6 Subaru Outback 2.5l $1,187
7 Jeep Cherokee Sport $1,188
8 Buick Encore (tie) $1,190
8 Jeep Patriot Sport (tie) $1,190
10 Subaru Forester 2.5l $1,196

 

Most Expensive Vehicles to Insure

Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG cabriolet

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the most expensive cars to insure list is mainly made up of sports cars that are designed to be driven fast, or high-end luxury cars.

As usual, Mercedes-Benz dominates the most expensive to insure category with nine vehicles in the top 20. The Dodge Viper drops from No. 1 to 2 and Maserati breaks into the top 10 for the first time as the Quattroporte GTS slips into the fourth spot.

While most of the cars on the list are out of the average person’s price range, sticker price is not always a reliable indicator of insurance costs. In many cases, less expensive but higher performance cars cost more to insure.

Dodge Viper GTS

As an example, the most expensive car to insure (Mercedes S65 AMG convertible) is indeed the most expensive car on the list with an MSRP of $247,900. However, the second most expensive car to insure (Dodge GTS Viper) is a relative bargain with an MSRP of $87,895.

Six of the nine Mercedes models on the most expensive to insure list are convertibles. Prone to more theft and break-ins, a convertible’s insurance rates will typically also be higher, plus convertibles, as a body style, can cost more than their siblings.

It’s not just high performance that jacks up the rates though, a sky-high sticker price and the accompanying repair costs also impact premiums. “It’s no coincidence that many of the vehicles on the most expensive insurance list are more than just Mercedes models—they’re among the most expensive versions of those models, and consequently the most expensive to replace and possibly to repair,” points out Joe Wisenfelder, executive editor with Cars.com.

Top 10 Most Expensive Cars to Insure

Rank Make/Model Average annual premium
1 Mercedes S65 AMG (convertible) $3,835
2 Dodge GTS Viper $3,779
3 Mercedes S63 AMG 4Matic (convertible) $3,624
4 Maserati Quattroporte GTS $3,547
5 Mercedes S550 (convertible) $3,502
6 Mercedes C43 4Matic (convertible) $3,418
7 Mercedes Maybach S600 $3,355
8 Mercedes SL65 AMG (convertible) $3,322
9 Nissan GT-R Nismo $3,313
10 Audi R8 5.2L V10 Quattro $3,267

What Affects Insurance Rates

According to Insure.com, the three factors that most affect insurance costs are repair costs, claim rates, and vehicle type. Accident avoidance features, like airbags and restraint systems all impact rates. Anything that reduces the risk of damage to the vehicle and injury to the people inside, results in less expensive insurance.

The good news is that affordable insurance no longer exists only in the compact or family sedan category. It’s now possible to affordably insure minivans, SUVs, and pick-ups.

The common dominator in the least expensive to insure category is safe drivers. “Notice that all of these are essentially family vehicles that, overwhelmingly, will be subjected to normal driving in the hands of responsible parental types,” observes Wiesenfelder.

While SUVs had their problems in the past, mainly with rollovers, the safety ratings of SUVs have improved dramatically over the years. Safety features and accident rates have made a big impact on rates. Still, average rates are for comparative purposes only. Your own rate will depend on personal factors.

Jan 062017
 

2015 ML250

Latino Traffic Report has learned that Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC. (MBUSA) is recalling certain model year 2015 GL350 4Matic Blutec, GL450 4Matic, GL550 4Matic, ML250 Blutec, ML350, ML350 4Matic, ML400 4Matic and 2015-2016 GL63 AMG 4Matic vehicles manufactured September 29, 2014 through March 27, 2015.

GL 350

The affected vehicles have axle bolts on the front and/or rear drive axle carriers that may not have been assembled correctly. As a result, the remaining bolts may fracture.

If any of the remaining front or rear axle bolts fracture, the vehicle may be unstable, reducing the handling capability and increasing the risk of a crash.

MBUSA will notify owners, and dealers will replace the axle carrier bolts, free of charge.

Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG.

The recall is expected to begin in February 2017. Owners may contact MBUSA customer service at 1-800-367-6372.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236, or go to www.safercar.gov.

May 042016
 

mercedes-benz-slk300-1

Latino Traffic Report has learned that Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (MBUSA) is recalling certain model year 2016 SLK300 vehicles manufactured June 2, 2015 to July 14, 2015 and equipped with a nine-speed automatic transmission. The backup power supply for the ignition switch in the affected vehicles may not have been properly connected. As a result, if the vehicle is being driven and there is a loss of power from the main vehicle battery, the transmission cannot be shifted to “Park” nor can the electric parking brake be applied.

In this situation, without the backup power supply, the only way to keep the vehicle from moving is to press the brake pedal. As soon as the driver attempts to exit the vehicle, the vehicle may roll, increasing the risk of injury.

MBUSA will notify owners, and dealers will correct the ignition switch wiring and perform a software update, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in May 2016. Owners may contact MBUSA customer service at 1-800-367-6372.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Sep 132015
 

2015-05-19 MB.E-400topPowerful, nimble, and fast, sports cars embody the meaning of “fun to drive.” Not limited to a certain segment, however, these models can be found throughout any lineup, making them available in a wide price range. Here’s an overview of vehicles driven by Latino Traffic Report that meet as well as defy expectations of what a sports car should or can be.

 

2015-05-19 MB-E400.licMercedes Benz E400 Cabriolet

A Mercedes-Benz can’t help but “look” sporty. Happily, the E400 Cabriolet brings power under its sheet metal, namely a 3.0-liter biturbo V6 matched to a seven-speed automatic transmission, to support that impression.

Oh yeah, it accelerates from zero–60 miles per hour (mph) in 6.3 seconds.

The two-door cabriolet (convertible) version of the E400 (it’s also available in a hardtop) can accommodate four, technically, with seating made of topstitched leather fitted by hand in any of 16 leathers and a choice of eight colors, like the optional Red and Black Nappa leather on the test model. The triple-layer fabric top reclined with the push of a button in about 28 seconds on the test drive.2015-05-19 MB-E400.seats

Sustainably forested, hand‑finished wood trim accents the dash, doors and console. The E400 also came with dual-zone climate control and heated front seats, among other features.

While nice to look at, sit in, and drive, the E400 places a premium on technology.

Equipment usually included at this price point, like a blind spot monitor or rearview camera, were optional. In fact, there were five option packages on this model that added $10,510 to the base price of $62,275.

The as-tested price for the 2015 E400 Cabriolet came to $76,225.

2015-03-25 lr-rangerover

Range Rover Sport HSE

Land Rover first introduced this trim level in 2005 as a sporty alternative to its iconic Range Rover. Why would someone want a sporty SUV, one might ask? The simple answer is, why not?

Redesigned in 2014, the new Sport model reflects an 800-pound-cutting process to lighten the new model for better on-road agility, performance and fuel economy, from the new suspension to the aluminum unibody architecture.

Equipped with the second generation Terrain Response System that allows the driver to choose among five settings depending on road conditions, full-time four-wheel drive, and enhanced electronic air suspension, the Range Rover Sport also retains its off-road capability.

The supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine with 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque gives it more oomph, with a zero-to-60 mph acceleration of 6.9 seconds. A supercharged V8 is also available.2015-03-25 lr.license

The EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy is 17/22 mpg. I averaged 20.8 mpg.

This trim level adds $5,145 to the price tag as well as additional luxury features like Oxford perforated leather with heated and ventilated fronts seats, a sliding panoramic sunroof, 20-inch split spoke alloy wheels, Shadow Zebrano wood trim, and branded aluminum tread plates.

As tested pricing on the 2015 Range Rover Sport HSE came to $82,027.

2015-07-07 lex.rc350 front

Lexus RC 350 F Sport

Diving deeper into the sport sedan market, Lexus introduced the RC 350 for 2015.

The rear-wheel drive (RWD) two-door coupe bears a resemblance to the latest design DNA from Lexus, including the spindle grille, but with a more aggressive, lower stance as if ready to pounce.

As an F Sport trim level, the test-vehicle took the sporty experience even further.

Engineered as a stand-alone model, rather than as a two-door derivative of a sedan, it’s powered by a standard 306 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 paired with an eight-speed automatic with steering wheel shift paddles. It has an EPA estimated fuel economy of 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. I averaged 23.8 mpg.

2015-07-07 lex.rc350dashThe transmission also includes Sport, Normal, and Manual modes to improve performance, plus a Drive Mode Select dial for setting the suspension, steering wheel, powertrain, and air conditioning response to better suit a driver’s preference, including Normal, Eco, Sport S and Sport S+ on the F Sport for maximum handling performance.

Aside from performance technology, the F Sport package ($3,985) also adds a blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, and ventilated front leather seats. On the test model they were a beautiful shade of burgundy.

Pricing for the 2015 RC 350 starts at $43,715. The as-tested price came to $54,220.

2014-12-31 Genesis3

Hyundai Genesis 5.0

Winning the North American Car of the Year accolade when it was introduced in 2009, the Hyundai Genesis gets redesigned for 2015 and the second generation is just as bold as the first.

With a refined version of Hyundai’s fluidic sculpture design DNA on the outside, the Genesis reaffirms its sporty intentions with a RWD configuration. For the first time, however, an all-wheel-drive version is also available.

The spacious interior affords the Genesis best-in-class front headroom and rear shoulder room.

2014-12-31 genesisdashWhat’s more impressive, however, is the suite of features included on the Genesis 5.0, from the panoramic sunroof to the smart cruise control with stop and start capability. I especially appreciated the haptic warning in the steering wheel as part of the blind spot and lane departure warning systems.

Powered by a 5.0-liter V8 with 420 horses and 383 lb–ft of torque mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic simulated manual shifting and steering wheel paddle shifters, the Genesis performed like a champ. A 3.8-liter V6 is also available.

Continuous Damping Control suspension, included on the test model, allows drivers to choose between Sport and Normal modes to increase control of body motions and body roll, allowing sportier road holding.

Pricing for the 2015 Genesis starts at $38,950. The as-tested price came to $55,700.

2014-12-16 tlx2

Acura TLX 2.4L Tech

All new for 2015, the Acura TLX replaces the TL. Part of Acura’s re-envisioned performance-luxury sedan lineup, the TLX fulfills its objective via two available engines, two new transmissions, and new technology to improve ride and handling.

The test model came equipped with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder matched to an eight-speed dual clutch transmission. A 3.5-liter V6 matched to a nine-speed transmission is also available. It was also upgraded with the Technology Package that included navigation, the Acura-link Communication System, premium audio with haptic touch, perforated leather seats, a rear cross traffic monitor, forward collision warning, and a blind spot monitor among other features. Oddly, there was no parking sensor.

Precision All-Wheel Steer improved handling while the Integrated Dynamics System and paddle shifters improved performance.2014-12-16 tlx.lic

As an added bonus, the four-cylinder improves fuel economy with an EPA estimated city/highway mpg of 24/35. I averaged 26.5 mpg.

Standard features include a moonroof, dual-zone climate control, keyless access with smart entry, heated front seats, a multiview rear camera, and push button start.

Offering one of the best bangs for the buck in its segment, pricing for the 2015 Acura TLX starts at $32,340. The as-tested pricing for the Acura TLX 2.4L Tech came to $35,920.

2015-05-03 mini3

MINI Cooper S Hardtop 4 Door

The MINI Cooper has been bringing smiles to anyone who drives it since it first crossed the pond in 2002, I mean, just look a that front fascia, it’s a cutie patootie! Many models have tried to emulate it ever since.

The Cooper S adds another dimension to this diminutive hatchback, sportiness, while the all-new 4 Door adds roominess and versatility.

The specially tuned suspension and engine give the Cooper S improved performance and acceleration.

The 2.0-liter twin turbo four-cylinder that powers the Cooper S produces 189 horses and 207 lb–ft of torque. This engine plus a six-speed manual transmission made the Cooper S exceptionally fun to drive. A six-speed automatic is available.2015-05-06 minidash

The added power, however, doesn’t come at the cost of fuel economy. The EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy is 24/34 mpg. I averaged 32 mpg. You can also choose among Mid, Green, or Sport mode for a more customized performance.

All new for 2015, the 4 Door’s oversized circular center display is now devoted to the infotainment system rather than the speedometer on previous MINIs, which just makes more sense.

Equipped with multiple packages added sport striping across the top of the car, 17-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, and a panoramic sunroof.

Pricing for the 2015 MINI Cooper starts at $21,550. The as-tested pricing came to $34,350.

 

2015-05-13 08.challenger

Dodge Challenger SXT

Muscle car enthusiasts heralded the return of the Dodge Challenger in 2008. The retro styling only added to the excitement.

Redesigned for 2015, Dodge decided not to mess with a good thing, opting to simply tweak the look by splitting the tail lamps and front grille.

The Challenger derives its power from a roaring 24-valve 3.6-liter V6 engine that generates 305 horses and 268 lb–ft of torque. Matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission helps push city/highway fuel economy to an estimated 19/30 mpg. I averaged 22.1 mpg.

This muscle car also offers a choice of two HEMI V8 engines, a 5.7-liter and 6.4-liter.

2015-05-13 chall.licSelecting the Sport mode can further enhance the sport suspension and ride.

With eight available trim levels, there are sportier Challenger models available, e.g. R/T, R/T Scat Pack, but even the base model that I drove reflected its performance DNA. I would pass, however, on the dull as dishwater Granite Crystal Metallic exterior paint.

Added equipment from the Sound Group ($495) and the Super Sport Group ($1,400) included 20-inch Satin Carbon Aluminum Wheels, steering wheel paddle shifters, a body color rear spoiler, and performance brakes.

Pricing for the 2015 Challenger starts at $27,990. The as-tested price came to $29,885.

 

 

 

 

Jul 212015
 
2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG.

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced that Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (MBUSA) is recalling certain model year 2014 CLA 250C vehicles manufactured September 10, 2014–September 11, 2014, 2014 CLA 250C 4Matic vehicles manufactured September 13, 2014–September 25, 2014, and 2014 CLA 45 AMG 4Matic vehicles manufactured September 10, 2014–September 25, 2014. The affected vehicles have fuses that may have been incorrectly installed in the passenger side interior fuse boxes.

If the fuses were not properly installed, they may lose electrical contact. In the event of a loss of electrical contact, certain systems may be impacted, including the function of the front passenger seat occupancy recognition system, the passenger side air bag indicator lamp, the instrument cluster and the windshield wipers. Should the function of the front passenger seat occupancy recognition system or the passenger side airbag indicator lamp be affected, the risk of injury for passengers in the event of a crash would be increased. Should the function of the instrument cluster and the windshield wipers be affected, the risk of a crash would be increased.

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250.

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250.

According to NHTSA, MBUSA will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the position and orientation of the fuses, and if necessary, replace the fuse box, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin August 7, 2015. Owners may contact MBUSA customer service at 1-800-367-6372. MBUSA’s number for this recall is 2015060007.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.