Affordably Upscale: Luxury Cars Leasing for Under $300 a Month

First Up 10/06/17

Toyota Granted Dismissal of U.S. Criminal Charge in Unintended-Acceleration Case
A U.S. judge on Thursday dismissed a criminal charge against Toyota Motor Corp. after the Japanese automaker completed three years of monitoring under a $1.2 billion settlement in which it admitted to misleading the public about sudden unintended acceleration in its vehicles. According to Automotive News, U.S. District Judge William Pauley in New York agreed to a U.S. Justice Department request to end the case stemming from Toyota's admission that it misled U.S. consumers by concealing and making deceptive statements about the extent of sudden acceleration problems in 2009 and 2010. Toyota had agreed to three years of oversight by an independent monitor that ended in August. Toyota spokesman Scott Vazin said on Thursday the company was pleased the court accepted the recommendation. "Over the past three years, we have worked hard in the spirit of continuous improvement to make Toyota a stronger company that serves its customers better," he said. Read more here

What's Your Car's MPG in the Real World?
According to The Detroit Free Press, U.S. car buyers now have access to real-world fuel economy and emissions data on new vehicles. Results, according to Nick Molden, founder and CEO of Emissions Analytics, found that some brands — Ford, Fiat, Porsche and Mini — routinely score as much as 10 percent better in real-world driving than the window-sticker fuel-economy ratings generated in lab tests. Others — including Lincoln, Volvo, Ram, Mazda, Audi and GMC — regularly use more fuel than the window sticker indicates. Bigger engines — 3.0-liter displacement and larger — are likely to outperform the window-sticker rating, while increasingly common small-displacement engines frequently underperform the window sticker. For more on real MPG figures, click here

Affordably Upscale: Luxury Cars Leasing for Under $300 a Month
You don’t have to be an executive with a corner office to drive a luxury car these days. Thanks to some sweet cut-rate lease deals, even middle managers and – dare we say – entry-level employees can afford to drive a brand new bona fide upscale ride. According to Forbes, these include models with true brand cachet from the likes of Acura, BMW, Buick, Mercedes Benz, Infiniti, Lexus, and Lincoln, including both stately sedans and family-friendly crossover SUVs. Forbes found 15 of them leasing for $299 or less per month with nominal down payments, and even a few going for as little $199 a month, which we’re featuring in the accompanying slide show. Most are year-end clearance deals on 2017 models, though we’re beginning to see promotions popping up on some of the latest cars and crossovers from the 2018 model year. Check out the list and read more here

4 Vehicles American Car Buyers Loved in September
Several vehicles found a welcome audience among American car buyers in September, as automakers reported strong sales gains for the month, reports USA Today. Crossovers and sport-utility vehicles continue to rule the showroom floor, drawing away U.S. buyers from midsize sedans and leading the ranks of hot sellers because of their high-riding stance and truck-topping fuel efficiency. Toyota’s RAV4 fit that mold, with sales surging 44 percent in September, making it the automaker's most popular vehicle. Despite tough competition, sales of the five-seater reached 42,395 last month, about 7,600 more than the company’s next most-popular model. Priced starting around $25,810, and getting 25 miles per gallon overall, the RAV4 was among the most-wanted vehicles for American shoppers. Like the RAV4, the Nissan Rogue was a crossover in high demand last month. Sales jumped 47 percent to 38,969. A combination of savvy design and some marketing good fortune have helped the vehicle win buyers. For more, click here

Nav Systems Among Infotainment Distractions, AAA Study Finds
Infotainment systems distract drivers, and navigation systems could be the biggest culprit, according to a new study. According to Automotive News, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety commissioned researchers from the University of Utah to investigate the visual and cognitive demands of the systems. The researchers examined infotainment systems in 30 vehicles from the 2017 model year. The study said programming a navigation system is the most distracting task – taking an average of 40 seconds. A car going 25 mph can travel the length of four football fields in that time. Twelve out of the 30 vehicle systems allowed navigation programming while the car was in motion. None of the systems put a "low" level of demand on drivers. Twenty-three put "high" or "very high" demand on drivers' attention. Previous AAA research indicates one in three U.S. adults use infotainment systems while driving. For more on which vehicle systems are contributing to driver distraction, click here

Around the Web

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