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Week in Review: Practical Advice Edition

By Jacob Brown | June 23, 2012
Growing up is tough because of the harsh realization that you have to think about priorities. In terms of cars, it means no longer having parents pick up the tab for car costs. It means having to think about family sedans instead of six-figure supercars. And it means taking a little more responsibility, such as taking care of kids. This week's Week in Review focuses more on rational, practical-minded car news, from vehicle maintenance to keeping kids safe when riding in a car. None of it has anything to do with going 200 mph, but all of it's pretty interesting stuff that can genuinely help you through the joys of car ownership (and child-raising even). You can thank us later. Paragraphimage Monday, June 18 So you want a luxury car? Well, now's a good time to buy, as incentives for premium vehicles are pretty high at the moment. Take Lexus, for instance, which is advertising almost $3,000 on the hood for its cars and almost $4,000 for its SUVs. Or how about Mercedes-Benz, which is pushing incentives upwards to maintain its narrowest of sales margins over BMW. Long story short: If you're in the market for a new luxury car, you should get one while it's hot. Wait 'til the end of the month, though, as dealerships may be willing to drop even more off the price of a new vehicle. Paragraphimage Tuesday, June 19 In 2011, 33 kids died as a result of being left in hot cars; 49 met the same fate in the U.S. the previous year. In response, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently launched a campaign to prevent any further mishaps called "Where's baby? Look before you lock." These preventable deaths could have been avoided by bringing kids into places instead of leaving them in hot cars, no matter how uncool it may look, or the chances of your little one annoying another customer. A car can heat to more than 100 degrees inside during summer months in less than 10 minutes, so it's important to constantly think about keeping kids safe and taking them out of parked cars with the windows rolled up. Paragraphimage Wednesday, June 20 Another year, another first place in J.D. Power's annual Initial Quality Survey. Lexus topped every automaker, again posting the fewest defects per 100 vehicles—73 in all. The next-best were Jaguar and Porsche. Almost every automaker improved, but Ford, in particular, dropped a further two problems from last year to 118 per 100 vehicles. The reason? Infotainment, or the fact that many customers have been driving cars with essentially the same technology as they've always had. And, all of a sudden, they're getting monitors, Pandora, and smartphone apps. The times are a-changin'. Paragraphimage Thursday, June 21 Most car maintenance isn't cheap, but some states are more expensive to get car work in than others. CarMD, a poobah of car service records, says Wyoming is the most expensive state in the nation to get a car repaired. It attributes that to the state's sparse population, leaving fewer mechanics and lots of space between them. Because of that, cars get less general maintenance, and breakdowns are usually more severe. Of all repairs, CarMD says replacing the oxygen sensor is the most common. In the dusty West, it far and away takes the cake. Paragraphimage Friday, June 22 After seeing camouflaged pictures of the 2013 Honda Accord for several weeks, we now have a better look at what the car will look like when it reaches dealerships late this summer or in the early fall—at least on the inside. The new car will have a simplified interior with a multifunction infotainment system that may be on even the most basic models. It'll also have a Volvo-inspired speedometer, and it looks to even retain a manual transmission option, a rarity anymore. We'll see what the finished product looks like pretty soon, but we're pretty stoked about what we're seeing so far.