Archive for June, 2012


With gas prices on the rise the allure of buying an electric car and not having to ever see a gas station again definitely holds some appeal. Electric cars may not be for everyone but they are perfect for some people, so by evaluating a few key factors consumers can determine if electric vehicles are for them and furthermore which car is best for them.

The average American drives fewer than 40 miles per day, so if you fit into that category or your daily driving needs are modest, an electric car may be a perfect choice for you. Nissan Leaf can drive for 73 miles before it needs to be recharged, the Mitsubishi i goes 62 miles, and the Chevrolet Volt travels 35 miles before it needs to switch to its gas engine. The electric Ford Focus has the highest range with 100 miles.

Another point to consider is where and when you will be able to plug in your EV. If you are only able to charge it at home a Chevrolet Volt may be a better solution since you are able to run on gas if necessary. If you can charge it at work or anywhere else, the Leaf or an i could be perfect as a daily car.

All electric cars are charged by plugging them into an electrical outlet but the amount of time it requires varies with the cars battery size, how much charging it needs, and what size outlet being used. For instance a standard 120-volt electrical outlet is referred to as level one charging and can take about 20 hours to fully charge a depleted Nissan Leaf battery. Level two charging is faster but requires a 240-volt outlet and about 8 hours. The electric Ford Focus claims to only require half the time with four hours at level two, which could save up to $500 annually on electricity fees.

Just as mpg change among different gas powered cars, some electric cars vary with the distance per kilowatt-hour of electricity. Phoenix Mitsubishi i drivers found it the most efficient, using 0.3 kWh/mile which equates to about 112 mpg. The Leaf comes in second with 0.34 kWh/mile or 99 mpg and the Volt measures in at 0.36 kWh/mile or 94 mpg.

Also, while an electric vehicle may seem identical to a regular car outside of its power source there are some drastic differences that may take some getting used to. For example there is no noise or feeling when you start the car and there are no fixed gears. There is no meter to show engine speed and there is no engine braking or clutch pedal. Instead you simply have a gauge to show you your remaining charge and a continuously variable automatic transmission. All electric cars use regenerative breaking which helps keep the battery charged and can cause cars to decelerate quicker than standard cars. Of course you will also find a charge plug where a typical gas cap would be.

Overall in regards to the environment the impact and the savings of electrical vehicles over conventionally powered cars are obvious. While recharging an EV will raise your electric bill, it is still less costs than the price paid at the pump. So as long as driving within the limited driving range is realistic for the driver electric cars are worth looking into. For more information on EVs or for a test drive contact your local Chapman dealership.

With gas prices soaring and everyone concerned with environmental awareness, the SUV market is bigger and more popular than ever.

One in five vehicles that were sold during the so-called “SUV craze” that took place in the late 1990s and early 2000s, was a SUV; today one in three vehicles sold is an SUV.  Sport Utility Vehicles are here to stay and they have been modified from the huge, heavy and unsafe vehicles that were popular over a decade ago. Today ninety percent of the SUV market is mid-sized vehicles or smaller, and most are front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. To reduce rollover risk in SUVs, electronic stability control is now required by law. This feature helps prevent tipping or skidding. Phoenix used car drivers can also appreciate that the fuel economy has been improved due to consumer demand. For instance, the new Chevrolet Equinox gets a better combined city and highway mileage than a 2010 Honda Accord.

“There really aren’t any downsides to having an SUV considering most have improved fuel economy, ride quality, and handling.  Plus they offer flexibility and cargo space and they come with a dash of excitement,” said Chapman Chevrolet’s General Manager Tim Mort.

Small and mid-sized SUVs are becoming more and more popular as well; the overall market for small SUVs has more than doubled in the past seven years. They provide more options and convenience for both older and younger drivers.

Today the SUV market has expanded to fit the needs and wants of almost any consumer. For example, customers looking for a compact SUV with a roomy feeling and functionality would be happy with a Volkswagen Tiguan. The Tiguan has a conservative design and drives well while still getting 20 city mpg and 25 highway.

For those looking for a SUV with exceptional towing capacity and a V8 engine, the Dodge Durango is a perfect fit. The Dodge Durango has a towing capacity of 7,400 pounds and is functional with lots of places to stow and store items. This SUV has the best traits of both a full-sized SUV and a crossover.

If fuel economy is a top priority, a crossover like the Chevrolet Equinox has a mpg of 22 city and 32 highway. The back seats can be arranged to create cargo space or interior space as needed and the ride is nice and accelerates well.

For a SUV that is great on and off the road a good choice may be the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Jeep added two extra doors allowing this car to function as both a family car and a durable trail blazing vehicle.  The interior has also been upgraded to ensure a quiet experience and state-of-the-art safety features have been added.

Overall one of Chapman Automotive Group’s 22 dealerships will have an SUV that will please you, whether it is one mentioned above or one from our large onsite selection. For any questions on SUVs or  to schedule a test drive, contact your local Phoenix car dealer.