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There are a lot of good reasons to sell your clunker an... There are a lot of good reasons to sell your clunker and buy a new vehicle like this Ford Explorer. (Ford)
Remember when auto sales cratered in late 2008 when the rest of the financial markets tanked? Things were so desperate going into 2009 that the government stepped in with the Cash for Clunkers programs to pay people to buy new wheels.

Today, the picture is a lot different. The haze has cleared from consumers' eyes, wallets are opening, credit is easier to get and there are just a lot of good reasons to sell your clunker and buy a shiny new vehicle. There must be something to it. Sales of new cars and trucks last month were at their best since 2007.

Fuel Economy

Sales of hybrids and clean-diesel vehicles were up more than 35% in the first quarter. But you don't necessarily have to buy one of those vehicles to gain a lot of fuel economy and savings. The internal combustion engine has improved so much in the last ten years that even non hybrids will save you big money the longer you hold on to your new vehicle...if you choose well.

That ten-year old car or truck you are driving may have just 3 or 4 gears in the automatic transmission. Today, it is now common to see cars and trucks with 6 gears that boost fuel economy. And if you are driving an 8-cylinder or even 6-cylinder engine on your old car, you will realize a lot of fuel savings with today's peppy, fuel efficient 4-cylinder engines, many of which have turbo chargers or direct injection technology that will keep you from pining for the bigger more gas thirsty engines.

That 2000 Ford Explorer you have is probably not even getting the miserable 16 city/21 highway mpg it got when it was new off the dealer lot. A new Ford Explorer with the EcoBoost engine will get you 20 city/28 highway mpg. Keep your Explorer for ten years with the price of gas bouncing between $3.75 and $5.00 or higher per gallon and do the math. It's big money.

Power

While new engines and transmissions help deliver better fuel economy, newer vehicles also tend to be more powerful.

In many cases, changes to engines that improve fuel economy also increase horsepower. During the past decade, engineers have:

• Reduced internal friction so that engine components can move more freely.

• Increased the computing power of engine powertrain control modules (the computers that control engines) to enable fuel-saving modes of operation such as cylinder deactivation. That means some vehicles that are V8 or V6 can operate 4 or 3 cylinders respectively at highway speeds where less acceleration power is needed.

An example of increasing horsepower is the Chevrolet Camaro. In 2001, a Camaro with a 3.8-liter V-6 produced 200-horsepower. Today, a 2012 Camaro with a 3.6-liter V-6 produces 312-horsepower (more than the 5.7-liter V-8 from 2001) and gets better fuel economy!

Power trends are similar for family sedans, minivans and even compacts and sub-compacts.

Safety

Significant changes in technology make vehicle occupants safer than ever before. For instance, on the 2001 Toyota Camry, front airbags were standard. Side airbags for the driver and front passenger were optional. An anti-lock brake system (ABS) was standard on highly contented V-6 models, but traction control was optional across the board. Electronic stability control was still an exotic, not-available-on-affordable-car feature.

Today, the all-new 2012 Toyota Camry offers standard airbags in from and back, as well as side airbags in front and back, driver's knee airbag. Stability and traction control systems are standard, as are tire pressure monitors. Knowing when your tires are losing air can not only keep you out of a nasty accident, they can save you money since low air pressure costs you miles per gallon.

In addition to the basics, technologies such as lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, and various traffic warning systems are migrating down from luxury cars to the mass market.

To understand why you want some of these technologies and how they work, go to our Techsplanations Hub.

Tech

Not a single new 2001-model year vehicle sold in the US offered factory-installed iPod connectivity or the ability to play music off of a USB device. Are you trying to use your iPod or smart-phone while you drive? If so, you are likely braking the law.

Other technically advanced features you couldn't find in 2001 include power ventilated front seats (that cool or heat one's seat) Bluetooth wireless connections that enabled cell-phone integration into the vehicle's audio system, and even Satellite TV.

Options including head-up display, voice-controlled navigation systems and rear-view cameras - some available in 2001 and some not - are becoming more widely available today. Once you live with a back-up camera in your car, you will never want to go back.

Easier Credit

Back in 2008, 2009 and even 2010, it was ridiculously hard for consumers with even solid credit to get favorable terms from banks and finance companies. Now that banks have burned off a lot of their bad loans, credit terms are easier today than a year or two ago for people with solid, and even decent, credit.

You still have to be a smart consumer, though, in negotiating finance terms. Never just take the rate a dealer may offer. Scout your local bank and credit union for their best rates on new-car financing. Know what the best rate is you can get outside the dealer before you go in to the showroom. Chances are that if he says he can finance you at 6.9% and you got a better rate at the local credit union, the dealer will match your best rate.

Your homework doesn't end there, though. You have to do some math to find out if you might be better off taking a cash rebate from the dealer and the interest rate from the credit union rather than just a low finance rate from the dealer.

But the good news is that financing for buyers with good credit is pretty much back to normal.


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  • 185 Comments
      ppllaanntt
      • 3 Years Ago
      What a bunch of crap...dont buy a new car,its a waste of money.The market is flooded with good cars out there for sale.I bought a mid 90's Lincoln.Go ahead laugh.I got a big car,,comfortable,24 mpg on the highway,,20 around town.Haul my boat with it,I can fit 8ft 2x4's INSIDE,,,and it cost me 1300.00 3 years ago.And I havent had to FIX A THING IN THREE YEARS.A new car is a waste of money.
      LL
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wasn't even aware of the existence of penny auctions until about 6 weeks ago. Now I can't imagine buying anything other than food or clothing anyplace else. My favorite is at ( http://tinyurl.com/TopBargains ) It took me a few days to figure out how to bid but now I am savings big bucks there. How they can sell iPads, Macbooks, HDTVs, Digital Cameras, Gaming Consoles, and more for steep discounts of 75%, 80%, or even 85% off retail price, I don't know. I do know that I bought my son an iPad there for less than $100 and my husband a $250 Lowe's gift card for $48. Why would I shop anyplace else?
      dbp7
      • 3 Years Ago
      I intend to buy a couple new cars this year, but none of them will be GMC or Chrysler. I have purchased 7 new GMC vehicles over the last 10 years, but no more as long as Obama and the Unions have control of GM. I will buy Toyota or Ford before I will put a dime of my money willingly into them. GMC = Government Motors Communisim
        grtsch6134
        • 3 Years Ago
        @dbp7
        what is better for america, and your grandchildren? that GM prevails and thrives, or toyota thrives?
        sdowns1470
        • 3 Years Ago
        @dbp7
        Buy a Ford and you my friend will not be the least bit disappointed. My mom's last two cars before this were Ford and they lasted us a LONG time. This last Ford was a Focus ZTW wagon it was just shy of nine years old when we traded it in. The one before that was an Escort LX wagon and it was 8 years old whne we traded it in. Now, this beautiful new car is also a Ford, it is a Ford Focus Super Fuel Efficent sedan, its color is Frosted Glass metallic. This car has gottnen us as high as 41 MPG and with the price of gas, you definitely want something fuel efficent. Also, another good one is a Ford Fiesta or a Ford Fusion. Good luck on getting something new and remember it takes HOURS to buy a new car once you decide on one you like the most.
      theCarAddict
      • 3 Years Ago
      I like this one more! http://www.the-car-addict.com/2012/04/airstage-when-cars-learn-to-fly.html
      adika3z
      • 3 Years Ago
      secondly, people are laidoff / no jobs and lose their vehicles, truck towing away to junkie autos backyards, gas too high pricy, autos / motorcycles / trucks / RVs / motorhomes advertisement commericals on the TV shows, magazines, books, newspapers, big sign on near freeways / highways are NOT important and NOT worth it, NOT need it, any vehicles advertisement commericals are waste waste waste time for nothing,
      • 3 Years Ago
      I can give you 100 reasons *not* to buy a new car. First, the first mile you drive will cost you anything from 10-20% of the value you just paid in the dealership. Why be the sucker to pay the new car premium...? Second, the incredible advances in auto quality men that the risks associated with buying a used car, esp with only 20-30k miles, are minimal. Finally, the dealers are still making their margins soaking you on extras, service plans, and financing gimmicks. Why deal with those guys ? You can get twice the car for less, simply by working the new sales distribution channels, like eBay ! So do you research, be patient, search for what you really want, and negotiate a good used car. It's not hard anymore.
      LL
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wasn't even aware of the existence of penny auctions until about 6 weeks ago. Now I can't imagine buying anything other than food or clothing anyplace else. My favorite is at ( http://tinyurl.com/TopBargains ) It took me a few days to figure out how to bid but now I am savings big bucks there. How they can sell iPads, Macbooks, HDTVs, Digital Cameras, Gaming Consoles, and more for steep discounts of 75%, 80%, or even 85% off retail price, I don't know. I do know that I bought my son an iPad there for less than $100 and my husband a $250 Lowe's gift card for $48. Why would I shop anyplace else?
      • 3 Years Ago
      ════════════════════════════╮ S u g a r mommy date .C O M ╰══════════════════════════╯ch¬at with a beautiful and rich sugar mommy or handsome and sweet sugar baby......
      Scotty
      • 3 Years Ago
      The very worst financial decision you can make is to buy a brand new car in this economy. The depreciation is terrible the first year.
      • 3 Years Ago
      It is "breaking" not "braking."
      joejoegolfn
      • 3 Years Ago
      I will only buy fords. Since Obama I had had to take a job 80 miles away. I bought the Ford Fiesta and get 45 mpg with the 5 Speed. The car cost me 14K. I set the cruse at 70 and it stays there up and down the hills. The next car I will buy will be a ford. I'm waiting for the 3 cylinder engine to come out. I still drive my F150 around my hometown.
      • 3 Years Ago
      People writing online car blogs think they have a clue about automotive economics. After 270,000 miles on my explorer (my 2nd one I have owned I might add) which came loaded to the hilt, the motor was way spent. three weeks ago I found a 60,000 mile motor from a crash off craiglist, paid a guy to install it, and today for $1000 or parts and labor combined I have a new vehicle again. Tell me why would anyone in their right mind pay $29,000 for a new bare bones model to get a couple more miles per gallon, and pay full coverage insurance, finance charges, etc. The break even point on that scenario is way over the top. Turn a wrench, care for your vehicle and ride it until the wheels fall off. Never waste good money on a new one and flip cars in 3 years... if you do you are a fool.
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