- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Blue Book picks Civic best redesign for ‘06

Kelley Blue Book editors have named the Honda Civic “Best Redesigned Vehicle of 2006.”

The automotive information resource (www.kbb.com) says the latest Civic has made significant strides in exterior design, interior accommodations and mechanical excellence. The Blue Book has been naming a best redesigned vehicle since 2003. This year, the editors added the consumer’s voice to the selection process.

Kelley Blue Book chose 10 semifinalists before asking consumers to pick the “best redesigned” 2006 model when compared with the maker’s previous model. The poll results were:

• 20 percent for Honda Civic

• 18 percent for Lexus GS 300

• 13 percent for BMW 3 Series

• 11 percent for Mitsubishi Eclipse

• 9 percent for Hyundai Sonata

• 7 percent for Volkswagen Passat

• 7 percent for Infiniti M45

• 7 percent for Mazda MX-5 Miata

• 5 percent for Mercedes ML-Class

• 2 percent for Kia Rio

Kiplinger’s picks best car values

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine has chosen its best cars for the new year.

The selections were made with an eye to price: Honda Civic in the under-$18,000 category; Hyundai Sonata for $18,000 to $23,000; Dodge Charger R/T for $23,000 to $30,000; Buick Lucerne CXS for $30,000 to $45,000; and Mercedes-Benz CLS55 AMG for $45,000 or more.

Consumer Reports gives car-buying tips

Shoppers can call Consumer Reports New Car Price Service for information about the cost of various vehicles.

Armed with the wholesale, invoice and sticker prices, buyers can then negotiate up from the wholesale price, rather than down from the sticker price: In other words, they can decide how much profit to give the dealer.

Smart buyers also should be knowledgeable about the extra costs of undercoating, rust-proofing, fabric protection and an extended warranty.

Also, they should wait until after agreeing on the purchase price of a new vehicle before talking about a trade-in deal. Consumer Reports provides estimated values of used cars at 800/509-9376.

Nissan develops self-repairing paint

Nissan Motor Co. has come up with a new car paint that automatically repairs minor scratches and scuffs.

Scratch Guard Coat is a clear paint that Nissan says is the first of its kind.

It contains elastic resin that can repair slight scratches caused by washing, off-road driving and fingernails.

The coating initially will be offered on some Japanese models of the X-Trail sport utility vehicle, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Muscle, classic car calendars for 2006

Muscle car and American classic car fanciers can get 2006 color wall calendars online that feature their favorite models.

The calendars are sold by Avalanche Publishers. They are the work of photographer Dan Lyons.

He uses Ford, Dodge, Chevrolet and Pontiac models for the muscle car calendar, and includes specifications and under-the-hood shots.

The classic car calendar features Ford, Chevrolet, Plymouth and Chrysler models, along with historical information and close-up shots.

For pricing and ordering information on the 16-month calendars, visit www.avalanche pub.com or call 800/888-6421.

Try BookFinder.comfor car research

The Internet can assist auto enthusiasts looking for hard-to-find books and other material on the subject.

Try the online book search engine www.BookFinder.com.

BookFinder is a free service that scans an estimated 40 million books on any subject and connects searchers with a network of thousands of booksellers.

“Shoppers can order directly from the bookseller of their choice,” says Anirvan Chatterjee, founder of the service.

The young entrepreneur developed BookFinder.com in 1996 as a class project at the University of California at Berkeley.

Touting the value of his service to auto enthusiasts, Mr. Chatterjee says: “You may not be able to afford a vintage vehicle, but you can always read about it.”

Fax or mail items of interest to Bill O’Brien, Auto Notes, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002. Use fax number 202/832-2167.

The deadline is 5 p.m. on the Monday before publication on Friday.



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