Hot Car: Summer in the Civic

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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.

Yes Butler Ford, There Is A Santa Claus

Mustang-reindeer-grillThe other day, our marketing department was having a (holiday) spirited debate. When, we wondered, should we wait to celebrate the Holiday season until after Thanksgiving, like Nordstrom’s just made news for doing? Or should we embrace the near-freezing temperatures and begin our festivities? As it turns out, two customers at Butler Ford settled the debate for us.

These two particular customers, Jim and Bertie, were from the North. More specifically, they were from the North Pole. Our jaws dropped. We were sending a Super Duty to the same place kids send their Christmas lists? Were Jim and Bertie the Claus family in disguise? Would it be more appropriate to list the F-250’s 385 horsepower in terms of reindeer-power?

As it turned out, the couple that was kind enough to answer our awe-struck questions denied being Mr. and Mrs. Claus (not that we’re convinced), and it would perhaps be more accurate to say they were from a North Pole, not the North Pole. The town of North Pole, Alaska is technically 1,700 miles south of the earth’s magnetic pole, but there may not be a place on earth that looks more like the North Pole than our guests’ hometown.

North Pole, Alaska is small town with a tremendous amount of holiday character. Boasting Christmas-themed architecture and more than a little Christmas spirit (there is a non-profit organization in town that responds to children’s Santa letters,) Jim and Bertie have called the North Pole home for over 40 years. Yet just like we always imagined the Clauses would like to do during the off-season, Jim and Bertie are preparing for life as snowbirds, and their Super Duty will journey with them as they adjust to life far away from the Arctic Circle.

We love hearing our customers’ stories, and our two guests from the land of caribou and candy canes made our day. We guess it’s officially okay to start decking the halls, even if we don’t put our carols on until Thanksgiving.

Why All-Wheel Drive Isn’t Always Enough for Winter Weather

15F150SnowPlow_8946Fall can be a funny time of year in the Rogue Valley. School is back in session, kids and grown-ups alike are gearing up for Halloween, but the crisp, cool air that many associate with the arrival of autumn is, at least so far, absent almost halfway through the month of October. But no matter how long it takes for an unusually-hot summer to fade, one thing is for certain: winter is coming, and with it driving conditions that could spell danger for drivers and their vehicles.

Icy roads are annually more deadly than tornadoes in the United States. Understandably, providing drivers with a safe solution to driving in winter weather has been a priority to car manufacturers for a long time. One long-time industry standby has been all-wheel drive (AWD), which is heralded by commercials every winter as an essential feature on a daily driver for those confronted by sleet, slush, ice, or snow. In reality, all-wheel drive can prove very helpful to drivers looking to start forward on slippery roads, but a study by Consumer Reports sheds light on the real answer to driving safely in inclement weather: winter tires.

Consumer Reports’ study is full of useful information, but if one fact jumps out as its most important takeaway, it’s that all-wheel drive doesn’t improve vehicles’ braking or cornering in rough winter weather. We as consumers have been trained to imagine an all-wheel drive truck or SUV as the ideal vehicle to make it through ice and snow, but Consumer Reports found that a front-wheel drive car and an all-wheel drive SUV both came to a stop equally well when equipped with winter tires.

It may seem hard to justify buying a set of tires that will only see the road for a few months every year, but along with staying alert and practicing safe driving techniques, winter tires present the best solution available to drivers looking to stay safe on snowy or icy roads. All-wheel drive shines in getting vehicles up steep, unplowed driveways; winter tires excel in keeping drivers on the road.

On the Road in the 2014 Ford Flex

2014 Ford Flex

2014 Ford Flex

In a world where car names may or may not even be real words, the Flex represents truth in advertising. Shannon and Butler Ford Sales Manager Joel Nickerson take a 2014 Ford Flex for a spin to find out just how flexible it really is.

Which of the 16 Super Bowl Auto Ads Was Your Favorite?

Some years the commercials truly are the best part of the Super Bowl and, we regret to say, this year might be one of them.  And with 16 ads for cars alone you’re bound to have had at least one favorite.  It most likely comes as no surprise that we’re partial to the Hyundai and Kia ads (all 7 of them) but your opinion may vary.  So, head on over to autoblog.com and vote on your favorite!  Who knows, maybe your vote will help advertisers shape next year’s Super Bowl campaign!

Debut of the Hyundai Elantra Zombie Survival Machine

A few weeks ago we highlighted one of the features to appear at this year’s Comic Con in Southern California: The Hyundai Elantra Zombie Survival Machine. At that point we only had sketches to show you. But Comic Con is come and gone and now we have clear shots of the 2013 Elantra outfitted in armor and sporting a wicked plow. The vehicle was a partnership between Hyundai and author Robert Kirkman of the “Walking Dead” series (for more on the collaboration visit http://butlerhyundai.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/hyundai-elantra-zombie-survival-machine/). Perhaps the Survival Machine will show up in his next novel…

Meet Kia “Ray”

Hey, Kia fans, meet Ray, the newest member of the Kia family. Ray looks a whole lot like his cousin, Kia Soul, but he’s actually 30% smaller and boasts a unique door configuration. Front and back doors on the driver side open like normal. But the rear door on the passenger side slides open. Kia says the design will make it easier to get in and out in small places.

There’s a lot we still don’t know about Ray … like, what the engine options will be or when he’ll be released. But we do know, at this point, that Ray will only be offered in Korea. Hmmm, guess the U.S. will have to wait to see whether Kia will deliver a similar sized sibling on this side of the Pacific.