Dependable & Efficient
The influential automotive research firm, J.D. Power and Associates, has just released their 2011 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, and for the first time, the Lincoln brand comes out on top. The annual survey looks at how many problems were reported on 2008 model-year vehicles after three years of service. Overall, industry-wide quality is up by 6 percent.
American makers continue to close the quality gap, especially in cars, but still lag behind Asian and European rivals when it comes to crossovers and SUV's. Lincoln edged out Lexus for that top spot, followed by Jaguar. Last year's winner, Porsche, fell to fourth place, while the rest of the top 10 are Toyota, Acura, Buick, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, and Hyundai. At the bottom of the list is Land Rover, Jeep, and MINI.
With fuel economy being more important than ever, General Motors has some advice for stretching your mileage. First is driving style.
ROBERT SINCLAIR JR.: Without a doubt, driving style plays a large roll in a person's saving gasoline. Whatever speed you're accustomed to driving at, lower it. Accelerate gently. Brake gently. When you're on the highway, lower that top speed.
Tests show that for every 5 miles-per-hour you drive above 60, fuel economy decreases by nearly 10 percent. As to air conditioning, GM says it's best to save it for speeds over 40 miles-per-hour when the aerodynamic drag of open windows becomes a factor. Third on their list is keeping your vehicle maintained.
Our own Pat Goss agrees, but adds, lighten your load. All of that junk in your trunk is extra weight that's hurting your mileage. And of course, you hear it everywhere yet most people still don't practice it, keep your tires properly inflated. So drive smart, and you'll save gas and money.