Should I buy or lease my next car? Tips for making the right decision.

The most common question I get asked after “What’s your favorite car?” undoubtedly is “should I buy or lease my car?”  The answer?  To quote my most entertaining school professor Ramon Febus “It depends.”  In this article, I’ll attempt to go over the factors that influence buying versus leasing.  While I don’t claim to be an expert on finance, I have looked at long term cost of leasing versus financing in many cases, and can give you some advice on how to make the right decision.

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2015 Chevrolet Colorado Short Take Review

Freshly redesigned, the new 2015 Chevrolet Colorado barely resembles the truck it replaces. The Colorado I tested was a comfortable Z71 off road package and 3.6 V6 equipped 4 door model, with a price of around $35,000.  The ride is comfortable and soft, the steering direct, well weighted, and the takeaway is that this truck feels somewhat more like a midsize SUV than it’s full size cousins.  The 3.6 liter V6 engine has good torque, but it’s at a fairly high RPM unlike a v8 or turbocharged engine.  The transmission is programmed to take advantage of this, and the only downside is the engine can sound a little buzzy when you’re trying to get moving.  Gas mileage was around 18mpg in mostly city traffic, which is quite good for a pickup with 4 doors and big off-road tires.

The utility of this truck is rather good, with an integrated bedliner that is amazingly durable in it’s somewhat small bed.  For 99% of people, a midsize like this will be just fine.  The interior usability is OK, but notably missing are a flat load floor in the rear seat area.  When the seats fold up, there are spaces for the jack and tool kit, but most of the space is taken up and cannot be used for storage.  The build quality isn’t amazing, with a few rattles, but nothing terrible.  What is definitely notable is the Bose stereo.  It sounds fantastic, with a great soundstage and good bass response, I was not expecting this from a pickup!

With my minor complaints aside, the only issue I see for the Colorado is that full size pickup prices overlap with it.  Most people will be drawn to the bigger Silverado over the Colorado out of sheer size and similar pricing.  GM has announced a 4 cylinder diesel for the Colorado which should improve mileage and low end torque even more, but I wish GM would put the 5.3 liter engine from the Silverado in the Colorado.  I have a feeling it would get very similar gas mileage, and make the truck that much more fun.  All in all, the Colorado is a very good midsize pickup, and until the new Tacoma comes out to customers (and I review it), the Colorado has no mid-size equal in the US.  When the diesel version comes, the competition will really have to work to keep up with it.

I like the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado a lot, but I would love it with more torque.  I can’t wait to test the diesel!

Vehicle provided by Chevrolet.

Ford's Legacy of Sustainability

Epiphany: 2015 Ford Fusion Energi Road Test Review

A 2015 Ford Fusion Energi came into my driveway one Friday, and I was immediately excited.  I knew enough about it, that it was a plug in hybrid version of the Fusion, and naturally would have pretty good driving dynamics, but I had no direct experience.  To be honest, its the first true plug-in hybrid car that I’ve spent any significant time in.  The result of my time?  The realization that things are changing, and that change is quite good.  Electricity is here to stay.

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McLaren 570S Unveiling at The Collection

McLaren 570S Unveiling at The Collection Miami

It seems like just yesterday that McLaren introduced the world-beating F1 in 1992.  This colossal achievement in engineering was the fastest car in the world for many years, with a top speed of 240 miles per hour, and was limited to just 64 vehicles. It also made the trip from 0-60mph in 3.2 seconds.  Fast forward to 2015,  and the recently-introduced McLaren 570S just two weeks ago, and it happens to do 0-60mph in, you guessed it, 3.2 seconds.

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2015.5 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Short Take Review

The new 2015.5 Volvo XC60 T6 solidifies the company’s latest efforts to match design and edginess to their already impressive safety record.  The exterior is very stylish and has flowing lines and good character.  The interior has high quality materials, a floating center stack, and very comfortable leather seats.  The infotainment system is extremely clunky to use and get used to, but the Harmon Kardon audio system sounds absolutely fantastic.  Imaging is very good, and aside from a lack of low bass, it’s one of the best car audio systems in the category.

Volvo’s LCD instrument cluster is among the best in the business.  You can choose from 3 themes, but the best is the performance theme with the center mounted tachometer with digital speedometer readout inside, with temperature flanking it.  The execution of the digital gauges is fantastic and seamless.  They’re easy to read, day or night, and very responsive.  Everything in the Volvo just works.  It’s usable and easy to live with in all conditions.

With 300 horsepower and 325 foot pounds of torque on tap, the Volvo XC60 T6 is downright fast.  Traction is great, and the responsive and virtually lag-free nature of the turbocharged six cylinder makes it a joy to drive.  The transmission is generally very good, though occasionally it has issues picking gears.  Luckily the broad torque band of the engine more than makes up for it.  The suspension is sporty but not overly so- it handles bumps and road imperfections rather well without feeling floaty or uncontrolled.

Every person I took in the Volvo was impressed, and so was I.  Sporty, roomy, well built, and well priced, this Volvo is definitely a great choice for a 5 passenger midsize SUV.  I’m glad people are starting to notice the brand for something other than safety:  this Volvo XC60 T6 definitely pushes the brand’s new image as an exciting AND safe car manufacturer.

Vehicle provided by Volvo Car Corporation.

2015 Infiniti Q60S exterior

2015 Infiniti Q60S Road Test Review

I’ve always been a fan of the Infiniti G series, so it wasn’t a shock that I was excited to see a 2015 Infiniti Q60S in my driveway one Friday.  With a manual transmission, naturally.  While Infiniti’s new naming conventions confuse me, did the name change dilute what already was a good sports car?  Hardly.

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2015 Lincoln MKC 2.3 Ecoboost Short Take Review

After the MKZ, could the next new Lincoln come close?  Think of the 2015 Lincoln MKC as the compact SUV version of the MKZ.  The 2.3 ecoboost version as tested is downright fast, and there is never a lack of passing power.  The transmission shifts smoothly and authoritatively when called upon to do so.  The suspension is sporty but not overkill, and the optional all wheel drive system provides exemplary traction on all surfaces. The steering has good weight, good feedback, and feels well matched to the vehicle.

The interior is quite nice.  Leather and soft touch materials adorn the panels, and MyLincolnTouch works as intuitively as ever.  Voice commands are easy to use, as are the physical buttons on the console, as well as the touchscreen.  The instrument cluster has it’s own small color information screen that is simple and easy to use as well.  Front seat passengers are always comfortable, with heated and cooled seats.  3 adults fit in the back seat in relative comfort, but this is still small SUV, so there is limited rear legroom, as is typical for all vehicles in this class.  Cargo space is adequate, certainly up there with the best in its class as well.

Fuel mileage is very competitive and the feature set is good on this new crossover.  Ecoboost turbocharged direct injection engines are really setting Ford apart.  The response, power, and relative fuel efficiency are pretty staggering considering how inefficient small SUVs were even a few years ago.  Should you upgrade to the 2.3 liter?  Honestly, you may not need anything more than the peppy 2.0 Ecoboost that comes standard in the 2015 Lincoln MKC.

Overall, the Lincoln MKC is a lovely little SUV that further solidifies Lincoln’s new image and reputation.  In fact, I recommended one of my good friends go look at one with his wife when he asked me about it.  “A Lincoln? Really?” he said, and I assured him he wouldn’t be disappointed.  He drove off the lot with one that day.  Keep up the good work, Lincoln.

Vehicle provided by Lincoln Motor Company.


2014 Scion FRS Road Test Review

Coming down off of the Jaguar F-type review was going to be hard, but I was pleasantly surprised when a Scion FRS appeared in my driveway.  It’s MSRP of just under $27k is very reasonable, and a simple, light, rear wheel drive sports car is never a bad thing.  Was it everything I’d hoped for?

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2014 Jaguar F-Type V8 S Road Test Review

When the Jaguar F-Type V8 S first came out, I wasn’t quite sure it was up to the monumental task of it’s name:  following in the steps of the legendary Jaguar E-Type, which Enzo Ferrari once called “The most beautiful car ever made.”  It also had quite a sporting pedigree, and the sonorous and powerful inline six and V12 engines were nothing short of amazing for their time.  Could any modern car possibly be worthy of succeeding that storied automobile?

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