The Crossover Vehicle and Three Other Cars of the New Millennium

The new millennium has seen a revival in the popularity of several older types of cars, as well as innovation in new directions. Read about a few of the models that have helped to shape consumer tastes since 2000.

The Crossover Vehicle

Also called a crossover utility vehicle (or CUV), the crossover vehicle includes many of the features associated with an SUV or hatchback. Such features might include the rear door and shared passenger/baggage space. Unlike an SUV, however, a crossover vehicle has a unibody construction instead of being built on top of a frame. While a few cars that meet the CUV specifications have been around for decades, the term was actually invented by marketers in 2008. The coinage of the new term corresponds to a large uptick in the production of these in-between automobiles, a compromise between SUVs, station wagons, and sedans.

The Hybrid Car

Despite an increased awareness of global warming, the driving force behind the growing popularity of hybrids is gas prices. Sporty sedans were first produced by only a couple of manufacturers, but now every major brand seems to push its own gas-efficient electric machine. While electrical outlets for charging cars are not yet commonplace, hybrids have the major advantage of being able to also use gasoline. This makes the vehicle more conducive to road trips, and it also paved the way for hybrids to find their way into the hearts and driveways of average Americans.

The Mini

Produced in Great Britain, the Mini has been around since the 1960s. In 2000, the classic car began being produced by a subsidiary company. While the original manufacturer maintains control to this day, the offshoot represented an adjustment in the image. A convertible version and five-door crossover vehicle were also introduced. The Mini also skyrocketed in popularity with the 2003 release of the remake of The Italian Job. Seeing Minis powering down stairways and dominating cityscapes made Americans appreciate these spunky automobiles.

The HMMWV

The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) was vital for America’s military presence in the War on Terror. As the American demand for these giant automobiles became apparent, the manufacturer began to produce everyday versions. These versions used a different acronym, and three different models (“1,” “2,” and “3”) were produced before the economic downturn caused consumers to question the brand. Without a hybrid option, gas mileage made this vehicle an expensive choice.

Ultimately, these brands and models represent a diverse range of consumer interests. One could argue that the new millennium has seen a polarization in car buyers as well as politics. From tail fins to scissor doors, manufacturers and consumers want to stand out from the rest.

Cheap Rental Cars – 5 Tips for Saving Money on Your Next Vehicle Rental

There is never any need to spend money on a luxury rental car, no matter what your travel plans may be. As long as it’s comfortable, safe, and capable of decent mileage, what more could anyone want? Whether you’re going out of town for a weekend business trip, want to spend a few nights in a big city like Vegas, or heading for the beach with your family, here are a few things you need to know about finding cheap rental cars:

1. Unless you have no choice, don’t rent a vehicle right at the airport. More often than not, it’s a lot cheaper to rent one at an “off-airport” site. Compare the rates of various rental companies throughout the city carefully. Consider other transportation methods to get to your hotel from the airport until you are able to get to the rental car center.

2. Find out if you eligible for any club / membership discounts. A lot of corporations have a company code that can be used for getting travel-related discounts. There are also perks for club members, government employees, etc.

3. Beware of hidden fees. A deal might sound nice on the offer page, but after you’ve begun the checkout process, the price could go up a lot more than what you calculated due to sales tax, “vehicle license fees”, “arena fee”, or any number of hidden fees. This is especially likely to occur for deals that sound too good to e true, such as “Less than $20 a day” type of offers. Also, find out before hand if you will be required to return the car with a full tank of gas, as you might be charged a penalty if you do not. If it is a requirement, then make sure it’s filled up for you once you arrive.

4. Don’t fall for “horror stories” the clerks will try to tell you in order to get you buy insurance. For most drivers, it’s an unnecessary add-on. All you have to do is call your own insurance company beforehand and confirm that you are already covered for rental cars. Some credit card companies also provide collision coverage. However, if you are traveling outside of the country, the chances of your auto insurance and/or credit card company providing you with international car rental insurance are reduced. In this instance, you might have to have it included in your rental agreement.

5. Use online price comparison tools to show you a list of all available vehicle rentals at once for your planned travel dates. It’s a lot easier to do this than to check with each rental company one at a time just to see if they are offering cheap rental cars on the dates you need one.

Conclusions

The ideal place to find and compare rental car prices is online. There are sites that help you find deals on everything from pickup trucks to convertibles. If you’re not picky and just want to check out some cheap rental cars, you’ll find plenty.