Ideal Replacement Vehicles for Volkswagen Diesel Scandal Customers


Although the Takata air bag recall may have stolen some of its buzz, the Volkswagen Diesel scandal is still far from over. Unlike Takata, which seems ready to implode under the weight of its fines and sanctions any day now, VW is one of the largest companies in the world, and is offering U.S. owners some pretty impressive buyback options on affected vehicles. We aren’t going to forget VW’s deception any time soon, and since we imagine many of you won’t, either, we’ve come up with a list of alternatives to four of the most popular affected VW vehicles.

Recalled Vehicle: Volkswagen Jetta

Although its bland styling and responsible reputation aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, the Jetta TDI was a seriously efficient, relatively fun sedan. So what’s a former Jetta owner to do with that VW refund?

Ideal Replacement: Kia Optima Hybrid

The Kia Optima Hybrid is about as long as the Jetta, and manages to get very similar gas mileage despite having an engine that passed emissions tests without cheating the system. Being one of the best-looking non-luxury cars on the road certainly doesn’t hurt the Optima’s case here.

Recalled Vehicle: Volkswagen Golf

You don’t have to be a VW dealer to appreciate the Golf. A well-executed hatchback is a thing of beauty, and not many hatches are hotter than VW’s Golf. Looking for a hatchback that will give you the Golf’s joie de vivre without also giving you a defeat device?

Ideal Replacement: Hyundai Elantra GT

This was a tough one. While the Elantra GT isn’t able to match the Golf TDI’s fuel economy numbers, it gives you an extra 25-or-so horsepower, and the extra money it might end up costing you at the pump is offset by its lower buying price.

Recalled Vehicle: Volkswagen Beetle

VW’s most iconic vehicle is also one of its hardest to replace. It isn’t particularly powerful, zippy, or inexpensive, it’s hard to find a car with as much personality as the Beetle. Well, except maybe the…

Ideal Replacement: Kia Soul  

The Kia Soul !, pronounced Kia Soul Exclaim, has personality for days, a fuel-sipping 2-liter engine, and more car for your money than the Cheetle at a better price point. That’s a pretty good way to ease your TDI regrets.

Recalled Vehicle: Audi A3

The lone member of VW’s luxury badge to be recalled stateside, the A3 is a beautiful car that manages to balance style, fuel economy, and drivability. How do you beat that, even when accounting for the dirty diesel dilemma?

Ideal Replacement: Ford Fusion Hybrid Titanium

More horsepower. More torque. Better looking. More fuel efficient. Less expensive. More loaded. The only thing the Fusion doesn’t have is a luxury badge, and if that’s why you bought an A3 to begin with, logic probably isn’t going to win you over now. That said, the Fusion Hybrid in the Titanium trim package blows the A3 out of the water all day.

We know that trading in a car you liked because of a company’s deceptive business practices is not the most fun experience, but we would love to help you find the right replacement. We hope this little rundown has helped, and if it hasn’t, feel free to call us up and ask for more suggestions!


Can You Dinghy? Maybe You Can


So you’re thinking about buying a Class A motorhome. It isn’t hard to see why the idea would cross your mind: they’re more luxurious and sturdy than many houses, yet they’re constructed on super-strong, heavy-duty frames favored by big rigs and commercial buses. That’s a pretty surefire recipe for an impressive vehicle.

But when you’re out on the road, enjoying the perfect mix of highway-speed freedom and at-home comfort, what will become of the family car? After all, your rolling palace is perfect for a lot of things, but crowded streets and drive-through windows? Not so much.

Enter dinghy towing, also known as flat towing or four-on-the-road towing. If you’ve ever seen an RV towing a vehicle with all four of its tires on the road, you’ve seen someone enjoying the quintessential American experience of dinghy towing.

So what’s the big deal? Well, there was a time when practically anything with a manual transmission could be flat towed, but the rise of the automatic transmission coupled with the challenges of engineering modern cars and trucks means that fewer cars than ever can be safely dinghy towed without voiding the manufacturer’s warranty.

One of the many reasons your car’s transmission is able to do so much without experiencing serious issues is the fact that a running car is designed to keep all the parts that need lubrication running smoothly. Simply put, unless a vehicle is designed to be dinghy towed, its transmission could take a beating, and so could your warranty.

So what vehicles can be flat-towed without voiding the warranty? We’ll be back to answer that question and a few more next week!

Car Words for Car Nerds


We use so many strange terms when talking about cars that it’s easy to not even consider where those words come from and why we use them. But at Butler Automotive, we’ve never been about doing what is easy. So without further ado, here is the first installment in a series of blogs that dive into the ‘why’ behind the car-words we take for granted.

And what better place to start than the word “car?”

It’s hard to say exactly where most words come from with complete certainty, but the case for the origin of the word “car” seems pretty ironclad. We English-speakers use words that can be traced back to languages from all over the world, but our language has a special fondness for Latin and Greek words (automobile, for example, borrows its halves from both.) So it isn’t much of a stretch to see the Latin word carrus, meaning a wheeled vehicle, and see where we get “car” from. We wonder if people a couple thousand years ago got anxious about carrus dealerships…

And what about the word we use for unusually bad cars, “lemons?”

We like the lemon fruit as much as anyone, especially when you attach “-ade” to it, so how did it come to be associated with the worst cars on the road? Simply put, because the face you make when your new, beautiful car suddenly stops moving is similar to the face you make when you bite into a lemon. In the early 20th-century, bad products were called lemons because they left a sour taste in your mouth. Volkswagen brought the term to the masses with a wildly successful ad campaign in the 1960s, and the U.S. passed “lemon laws” to protect consumers just a few years later. Just don’t tell European carmaker Citroen, whose name means “lemon” in Dutch.

Thus concludes the first run of our car etymology showcase – what car words have you always wondered about?

Why Do We Care About 0-60 Times?

546b4a49988e1_-_pcoty_091114_1313-lgWhen you think of ways that a car’s speed and performance are measured, what’s the first statistic that comes to mind?

For many drivers, it’s the amount of time a vehicle takes to get to 60 miles-per-hour from a dead stop. 0-60 times have been the bread and butter of car enthusiasts’ arguments for decades, but why? How many drivers actually ever accelerate to 60 mph from a complete stop? And even if we accept the value of comparing cars’ acceleration times, how are those figures determined?

First, the obvious: virtually no-one actually accelerates from 0 to 60. Even stop signs leading to highway on-ramps typically require more work than simply punching the throttle, and if we accept on-ramps as the sole instance where such an acceleration might be beneficial, there’s no reason to really prefer a faster time; as long as you get up to highway speed before you merge, it doesn’t really matter how long it took you to get there.

That doesn’t mean that 0-60 times don’t have their place. You can glean good information about a car’s speed and power-to-weight ratio from 0-60 times, as long as you don’t take tenth-of-a-second differences as gospel.

Assuming the hubbub about 0-60 times is related to highway driving, the number that would best inform the average driver is a car’s 40-70 time. The only time when most drivers are truly “gunning it” is passing other drivers on the highway, and a car’s ability to get up and go from a stop tells you very little about how easily it can get past the Dodge Caravan going 20 miles under the speed limit with its blinker on.

But 0-60 is the number people care about, so that’s the number car companies test for. How do they reach that number?

Generally speaking, by doing everything they can to get the best number possible. The amount of fuel in a vehicle, the condition of the road, wind conditions, air pressure, temperature, and even the ability and weight of the driver behind the wheel can affect how quickly a car accelerates from zero. So if you were to get your car on a track and have a go at your vehicle’s advertised 0-60 time, the chances are good you would come up short of the pros.

So when shopping for a vehicle, consider leaving 0-60 numbers to the kind of folks who start fights on internet forums. The way that a car drives can’t be quantified by a cold, hard number, and a simple test-drive will be more informative than a car’s listed specifications any day.

What Rental Car Would the Rental Manager Rent?


Chris Hansen, our Super Saver Rentals manager, is a man of many cars. Beyond the cars he’s owned personally, beyond the many cars he’s driven in his career in the car industry, Chris oversees a fleet of 99 rental cars every day. The specific vehicles that he rents out change over time – he’s recently introduced more trucks and vans, for example – but no matter how his fleet changes, his love of cars remains the same. So when we asked Chris if he had a favorite rental car of all time, we were surprised to find that not only did he have an obvious favorite, but that it is currently parked on our lot!

The Kia Cadenza may not be the vehicle that comes to mind when you think of high-end rental cars. But when someone who wants the most luxurious rental vehicle we have comes in, Chris hands them a key that says “Kia” on it.

“They usually look at me like, ‘are you kidding?’” Chris says, laughing. “But I tell them, I’ve driven all kinds of high-end cars, Mercedes, BMW, heck, a boss I had in the 90s let me drive his Ferrari around for an afternoon. And this car impressed me more than any of them, because with the Ferrari, with almost any performance car, you get in expecting a lot, and then end up getting less car than you’d hoped. With the Cadenza, I got in not expecting much, and I got a ton. It’s the most underrated car I’ve ever driven.”

Chris’ love for Kia’s high-end sedan, which he first drove two years ago, has inspired him to bring a new Cadenza into his rental fleet every year. “The options on it are unreal, because Kia has to offer more for less to get people in a car they’ve maybe never heard of,” says Chris. “I literally had the cruise control on, the person in front of me braked, and the car braked, then when he took off from the light, so did I. Without doing a thing. It was like being in a self-driving car for stop-and-go traffic, until I got on some open road and let it loose again.”

While it may be his personal favorite, Chris’ fleet has several other gems that he holds near and dear. We’ll be getting in touch with him again soon to find out what else he recommends for rental.

Hot Car: Summer in the Civic


Summer is here, and our cars are scalding. Those beautiful, black leather seats that made us so happy in the fall have now become a seething reminder of the sun’s incomprehensible power. The wood-trim steering wheels we negotiated to get a deal on are wreaking their revenge on our fingers. The black-on-black beauty we put our hard-earned cash into modifying now laughs every time we unlock it, anticipating the speed with which we will drive it home to avoid succumbing to heatstroke.

It’s hot, folks. It’s don’t play with fireworks, don’t leave your dog in the car, don’t leave your chocolate outside the fridge hot. And if, in some small way, we can help you avoid the warm-weather mistakes we made when we bought our cars, if you value staying cool in your vehicle even more than you value looking cool in your vehicle, we’re here to help.

The biggest consideration to make if you want the ultimate summer weather warrior is color. Studies show that white cars can reflect as much as 60% of the sun’s rays, while black cars can only reflect as much as 5%. That’s a pretty dramatic gulf, and it bears out in real world settings as well. If you parked a black Mustang and a white Mustang side by side on a hot summer day, the black Mustang would likely be around 20 degrees hotter than the white one, and it would take longer to cool with AC as well!

Another element to consider is the color of the interior. Cloth or leather, light-colored interior retain less heat than dark-colored interiors. If interior temperature is a serious consideration for you, you’d do well to start liking light-colored vehicles.

You may prefer red cars because of your psychology. You may prefer dark interiors because of your aesthetic inclinations. But if you prefer cars that stay as cool as possible in the summer, you’ll want to go with something white – it’s just basic physics.

Rocky Moore Recognized by Ford – Again!


Oregon can sometimes feel like a small world unto itself, but by size the Beaver State is the ninth-largest in the U.S. We may not be the most populous state, but we more than make up what we lack in population with square-mileage. And when you live in a state that has the kind of wide open spaces and beautiful backroads that Oregon has, you also end up with your fair share of Ford dealerships.

Yet despite having Ford dealerships scattered all over the state, just three Oregon product specialists earned Ford’s coveted Employee Excellence (E2) Level-4 recognition. 2 of them are in the Portland area, where there are more car buyers than anywhere else in the state. The other is Rocky Moore.

Ford’s E2 recognition system is fairly straightforward. It honors the men and women who are the most productive while also maintaining the highest level of customer satisfaction. So incredibly kind, no-pressure product specialists who only see a handful of customers a year are out of the running, and product specialist who are masters of the car sale but aren’t exceptional with their customer car are also out of the running.

Those are the benchmarks for E2 recognition- the ability to help customers find the perfect car for their wants and needs with an eye towards the satisfaction of the customer over the completion of the sale. Rocky finds himself in even rarer air; to receive Level 4 recognition, you have to meet those benchmarks better than approximately 99% of every Ford dealership employee in the country. Rocky accomplished that feat in 2015, and the star next to his name tells an even more impressive story: he’s achieved this incredible standard of excellence multiple times.

If you ask Rocky about his achievement, he’s as humble as ever. He’s a man who went to college on a rodeo scholarship, gave guided tours of Hawaii on horseback, and helped oversee the expansion of Ralph Lauren men’s clothing west of the Rockies – he’s heard enough said about himself. He wants to hear the stories and experiences of the people who walk onto our lot. Maybe that’s why he’s unlike any Ford employee in Oregon.