Friday, January 30, 2009
This year GM and Ford introduced special packages for their full-size pickups that promise improved fuel economy. Sometimes the fuel economy estimates are mentioned in the same breath as the max towing capacity for the entire line. That can be misleading because no truck hauls 5½ tons and still gets 20 miles to the gallon. You have to equip a truck for one or the other, but not both.
First, here’s a quick review of the special fuel economy models from the competition:
Ford SFE (Superior Fuel Economy)
Available only on SuperCrew XL and XLT 4x2 w/ 5.5-foot cargo bed Includes 4.6-liter, 3-valve V8 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, 3.15:1 axle ratio
EPA estimated mileage: 15mpg city/21mpg highway; combined rating: 17mpg*
Engine power: 292 horsepower, 320 lb-ft torque; Max tow rating: 7,500 pounds
Chevrolet Silverado XFE and GMC Sierra XFE (Xtra Fuel Economy)
Available only on Crew Cab 4x2 w/ 5.8-foot bed (LT trim for Chevy, SLE for GMC)
Includes 5.3-liter V8, 6-speed automatic transmission, 3.08:1 axle ratio
EPA estimated mileage: 15mpg city/21mpg highway; combined rating: 17mpg*
Engine power: 315 horsepower, 338 lb-ft torque; Max tow rating: 7,000 pounds
GM and Ford say the improved mileage comes with the mid-level engine, improved aerodynamics, 6-speed automatic transmission, low-numerical axle ratio and reduced weight.
Look at the real tradeoff of owning one of these special editions when compared to a Tundra Double Cab 4x2 with a 6.5-foot cargo bed and equipped with a 5.7-liter V8, 6-speed automatic transmission and 4.30:1 axle ratio. The Tundra has an EPA estimated combined rating of 16mpg, just one mpg less than the Ford and Chevy special editions with smaller engines. Meanwhile, the Tundra's bigger i-Force engine is rated at 381 horsepower with 401 lb-ft of torque. This particular Tundra configuration is rated to tow 10,600 pounds when equipped with the factory tow package.
According to fueleconomy.gov, the Chevy and Ford's annual operating cost would be $1,596. The Tundra's would be $1,697. That's based on 15,000 miles driving with 45% on the highway and 55% in the city. Cost of gasoline for this calculation was $1.81 per gallon in mid-December. Overall, the Chevy and Ford would use 20.1 barrels of oil while the Tundra would use 21.4 barrels annually.
The bottom line for truckers is the trade off between operating cost and capability. The Tundra costs only $101 more each year in gasoline but can tow 3,600 pounds more than the Chevy and 3,100 pounds more than the Ford. Even when towing identical loads, the Tundra will accelerate quicker and pull harder on mountain roads, all for about 28 cents a day more in gasoline.
* 2009 EPA MPG estimates. Actual mileage will vary.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Under the AirCheckTexas Drive a Clean Machine program, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is offering to help qualified owners replace their older, polluting vehicles.
As many as 1.9 million households in 16 counties may be eligible for vouchers to help replace their older car or truck. Individual vouchers are in the amounts of $3,000 or $3,500, depending on the type and age of the replacement vehicle. All Texans who meet certain qualifications can apply.
“We are making a concerted effort to get older, heavy-polluting vehicles either repaired or removed from the road,” said Chairman Buddy Garcia. “To that end, the Legislature approved $90 million this biennium. It is a significant expansion of our effort to reduce onroad emissions in certain areas not complying with federal standards for ozone.”
To qualify for vouchers, motorists must have their vehicles registered in designated counties in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, (Denton Co. is included) and fit the income eligibility scale.
For example, DFW area family of four with an annual net income of $61,950 can apply.
The vouchers provide the following:
$3,000 for a car, current model year or up to three model years old
$3,000 for a truck, current model year or up to two model years old
$3,500 for a hybrid vehicle, current or previous model year
All of the vehicles being replaced will be scrapped to make sure they will no longer be used.
As newer cars and trucks are bought each year, the overall Texas fleet gets cleaner. That’s because newer cars and trucks are equipped with high-tech emission controls. Any vehicle that is model 1996 or newer has the benefit of onboard diagnostics.
Currently, 77 percent of the vehicles registered in the Houston, DFW, Austin, and El Paso areas are model 1996 or newer. This segment is expected to grow to 89 percent by 2010. (El Paso has not joined the Drive a Clean Machine program.)
“What we’re doing is trying to speed up the process by helping owners of older vehicles buy cars and trucks that are at least a little cleaner,” said program coordinator Bob Wierzowiecki of TCEQ’s Air Quality Division. “Not everyone can afford a new car. But driving a new car, or a qualifying used car, is better for air quality than driving a vehicle that’s 10 years or older.”
Thanks to technological advances, today’s new vehicles can be up to 98 percent cleaner than those produced 10 years ago, he added.
With the state-funded incentives, 15,000 to 30,000 polluting vehicles could be permanently removed from Texas roads in the next two years, according to TCEQ estimates.
Jim McNatt Toyota is registered with the State of Texas to accept vouchers under this program for people in Denton and other qualifying counties.
Interested in the program? Download the electronic application in a .pdf file to apply for the program in the DFW area. You may also call 940-239-6401 and we will help walk you through the application process.
Visit: http://www.driveacleanmachine.org/ for all of the details.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Karen Severance has worked for Jim McNatt since 2005. She lives in the neighborhood behind the dealership. She has a degree in recreational therapy. Karen is a mother hen! And I mean that in the best possible way. She takes care of her chicks (customers) as no one else can. In just three short years Karen has developed an extensive client list that keeps her busy. Approximately 80% of her business is repeat or referral.
Anyone that works in other departments at the dealership needing a car comes straight to her because they know that she will do what is best for them. What’s most impressive to me is that when Jim or Al McNatt has a friend in need of a new car they call Karen first. It was great to watch this transformation grow. At first Jim would call my cell and let me know he had a personal friend coming and describe their personality to me so we could pick the best person to help them. Once he started getting feedback from his friends on Karen, he started calling her first! Then he would call my cell or send an email to let me know that they were going to ask for her. Now that is confidence from the boss!
Once we had a lady drove in from Nocona on Al’s recommendation and she asked for Karen. She was busy assisting another customer so another salesperson helped her. (All of our salespeople are great by the way.) Things were going great. The customer picked out a new Sequoia and then called her dad back in Nocona to let him know. Everything went fine until he asked if Karen was helping her. She replied that she had someone else because Karen was with another customer. Dad’s response was, "Come back home, we will do this tomorrow when Karen is available."
Here is a short video of Karen in action so that you can see what we are talking about.
Thank you for watching.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Tundra & Tacoma are Top Safety Picks - Tundra is a repeat winner! And Tacoma is the only compact pickup to receive this honor!
Both Tundra and Tacoma have been named a 2009 Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). According to an IIHS news release, dated November 25, 2008, only 72 vehicles were given this honor.
Last year the Tundra was the first and only pickup to earn the IIHS Top Safety Pick. This year Tacoma joins the group and is the only compact pickup listed. Other pickups making the list for the first time include the Ford F-150 and Honda Ridgeline. FJ Cruiser, Highlander and RAV4 also made the list.
According to the IIHS, a Top Safety Pick recognizes vehicles that "do the best job of protecting people in front, side and rear crashes based on good ratings in the Institute tests." All winning vehicles must also have electronic stability control (ESC). The Tundra and Tacoma have Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)--which is Toyota's version of ESC--as standard equipment. VSC is a component of the more comprehensive Star Safety System wich is standard equipment on many of Toyota's vehicles.
The Institute also acknowledges the benefits of side airbags in side-impact crashes. The Tundra and Tacoma offer seat-mounted side airbags and front and rear side-curtain airbags as standard equipment. According to the Institute, only 23% of pickups have standard side airbags with head protection, and only 37% of pickups have ESC.
The Tundra and Tacoma were also equipped with active front head-restraint designs. The Institute said more than 25 vehicles had the required crash-test ratings and ESC but came with "inadequate head restraint designs" and didn't make the final list.
Last summer, Tacoma was the only 2008 compact pickup tested to earn a "good" on side-impact crashes. The other trucks earned either a "marginal" or "poor." Tacoma was also rated "good," which is the Institutes top rating, in frontal impact testing.
To learn more: http://www.iihs.org/