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The life of a new graduate is expensive. There are student loans, rent, food and cell phone bills to pay for. Graduation is a transition for students from the comfortable life of class to working full-time. A cost effective car to get them to work and back while being stylish is important for new grads.

Moving up is an ideal time to move on and scrap the old clunker that may have sufficed for a student, but just seems shabby for an up and coming mover and/or shaker. Fortunately, the range of models in today’s new-car market is so broad, those entering a new-car dealer’s showroom for the first time can choose from an ample selection of affordable makes and models that can stir the soul and be kind to the pocketbook while transporting an owner from the proverbial Point A to Point B.

How affordable? The personal finance website GOBankingRates recently compiled a compelling list of 30 cars from the 2015 model year that can be purchased and financed for under $300 a month. Actually, most of the models on the list can be had for a monthly nut of less than $250, with a few – including the Nissan Versa, Chevrolet Spark and Mitsubishi Mirage coming in with payments under $200. That’s a new car for what is essentially the cost of stopping at Starbucks each day on the way to the office.

We’re featuring 30 2015/2016 cars GOBankingRates determined can be financed for less than $300 a month (at least in their base versions) in the accompanying slide show, with estimated payments noted for each.

These models run the gamut from the small and economical (Toyota Yaris, Kia Rio and Ford Fiesta) to the expressive (Dodge Dart, Kia Soul and Fiat 500) and the downright aggressive (Jeep Renegade, Nissan Frontier and Hyundai Veloster). The selection even includes a fuel-saving gas/electric-powered hybrid car, the Toyota Prius c.

Of course one doesn’t have to be a recent graduate to appreciate a new car at an affordable price, so each of these models possesses broad appeal for the budget minded of all ages.

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Lamborghini, Ferrari and Bugatti are some brands that create the most coveted and wanted cars in North America, however only a select few drivers can afford these types of cars. The Joneses set a high standard to follow when it comes to these select few.

Maybe a Hennessey Venom GT, for a suggested retail price of $1.2 million, would represent a step ahead of the Joneses. Hennessey says its 1,244-hp Venom GT set a Guinness World Book-sanctioned record time of 13.63 seconds from zero to 300 kilometers per hour, or 186 mph, in January 2013. However, anyone who wants to buy one better move fast, pun intended. The company plans to build a total of only 29 units, and 11 have already been sold, including just five in the United States.

No. 1 on our list of the 10 Most Expensive Cars for 2014 is the Lamborghini Veneno Roadster, which retails for $4.5 million — if you can get one. Lamborghini says it plans to build only nine of them in 2014.

Next year could be a good one for the exotic automobile industry. Wall Street bonuses could be 5% to 10% higher than last year when they are handed out in early 2014, according to Johnson Associates, and that’s a prime source of buyers for high-end automobiles. Exotic-car dealers keep close track of the stock markets, since that’s where many of their customers get their disposable income, whether those customers are shareholders or captains of industry.

The automotive upper-upper crust also includes traditional brands whose names ring a bell like Bugatti and Ferrari. British brands Rolls-Royce and Bentley are also traditional choices, although they are not in the business of hair-raising performance at all costs.

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The self-driving car looks to be the future of safer driving. Accidents due to road rage, speeding and distracted driving could drop drastically thanks to this new technology.

Self-driving cars could generate billions of dollars a year in revenue from mobile Internet services and products, even if occupants spend only a fraction of their free time on the web, according to a new study by McKinsey & Company.

The study, released Thursday, also projects that widespread adoption of self-driving cars could lead to a 90 percent reduction in U.S. vehicle crashes, with a potential savings of nearly $200 billion a year from significantly fewer injuries and deaths.

In addition, the McKinsey study warns of several risks to established companies, including vehicle manufacturers, dealers and even insurance companies.

McKinsey projects that future owners of self-driving cars could save up to 50 minutes a day, some of which is likely to be spent surfing the web.

The consulting firm estimates the additional free time in the car could generate about $5.6 billion a year in digital revenue for each additional minute that vehicle occupants spend on the internet – as much as $140 billion if half their free time in the car, or roughly 25 minutes, is devoted to daily web surfing and shopping.

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Is it time that good driving is rewarded for younger drivers too?

Car insurance is always expensive for new drivers, however that is all about to change. A UK insurance company called Ingenie will be arriving in Canada to revolutionize car insurance for the average young driver. This will allow people between the ages of 16- and 24 the opportunity to lower their insurance through technology.

The goal is to repeat the success the company had in the UK, evaluated by Aviva Insurance this is one of the first companies to use technology as a way to observe and correct young drivers through an Internet connected device. This allows the company to stand out from the many other who offer discounts based on driving habits and records, but this is the first in history to offer to young drivers.

I sat down with the company’s founder and CEO, Richard King, to learn more.

Plug the Smartbox into a port in your vehicle, install the accompanying app onto your iPhone or Android mobile device, and let the tracking begin. That’s the key here – you’re trading your driving information for lower rates.

Like ingenie’s tagline says: “drive well, pay less.”

Drivers get 10% off by signing up, and save up to 25% during the year by proving they’re driving safely. If they’re not, though, then the prices increase.

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During the winter everybody got excited as the gas prices continued to drop lower and lower. However, those prices influenced more than we realized. Due to the decrease in fuel prices, dealerships will begin to give bigger discounts, deals and incentives on new vehicles.

The math makes perfect sense. When the prices of gas start to drop, consumers looking to purchase a new car will tend to choose a larger ride due to the savings on gas allowing for a bigger budget. Larger purchases mean more profit for car makers and dealers to put into sales incentives and sweeteners.

Of course dealers and carmakers do not always put every penny of their new-found riches into the deal-making side of the business. They also look to book healthier profits.

But with more money sloshing around in the system, notes auto analyst Dennis DesRosiers of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, it is fair to expect a new wave of offers and enticements in the Canadian light vehicle marketplace. We are seeing this now.

There’s more to this story, too. Lower pump prices are acting as an economic windfall for the average car owner. DesRosiers estimates that the typical Canadian uses about 1,820 litres of fuel a year. A 30-cent drop at the pump puts $546 into the pocket of every driver – and nation-wide amounts to a $13 billion economic stimulus.

What we have here is a country of enriched drivers being chased by an army of dealers and manufacturers with more money to spend on incentives.

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When you go to buy a car, incentives and sales sweeteners are all part of your decision-making process. When these incentives begin to decrease and disappear, will you still want to buy that new car? Will there be more competition between car brands in price and features when incentives no longer separate them from one another?

This is the decision that new car buyers and prospects will have to make one day soon. Prices of incentives have been dropping as the sweetener on a new light vehicle $5,041 which is 17.2 % less than the average $29,312 transaction price before.

That’s about as rich in real dollars as the average in 2013, when the incentive money represented 17.6 per cent of a average transaction price of $28,259 — or $4,973.58. Thus, for more than two years now, carmakers and their dealers have used $5,000 to lure Canadians to pull the trigger on a new ride.

The incentive money certainly lit a fire under buyers. In 2014, Canadians bought a record 1.85 million new cars and light trucks. That sales boom broke the previous all-time record set in 2013. As J.D. Power put it in a note to clients, “the doldrums of the recession years are clearly in the rear-view mirror, albeit perhaps closer than they appear.”

We’ll call that a cryptic caveat. That is, J.D. Power and auto analyst Dennis DesRosiers of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants both see reasons to be optimistic about what lies ahead for 2015 – but it’s a cautious optimism. 

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Entering North America is the new Touran, offering ample storage and the largest compartment for luggage in its category. This stylish version is lighter and more spacious than the classic minivan while still being cost effective. Don’t forget the state-of-the-art safety features and seamless connection to smartphones, including Apple and Android versions, which make the Volkswagon Touran one-of-a-kind.

The Touran is the first minivan and third VW brand model after the Golf and Passat underpinned by the automaker’s highly flexible MQB architecture. The new platform allowed VW to reduce the Touran’s weight and lengthen its wheelbase to increase interior space, VW said in a statement.

The latest Touran, which will be made in Wolfsburg, will go on sale in Europe in September. It will not be sold in the U.S. but it will also be built in Shanghai for China with a launch scheduled for the end of this year.

VW gave no details on prices for the third-generation minivan but a spokesman said they would not be much different from the base 23,250 euro price tag in Germany of the current model despite new added content.

The Touran will debut at the Geneva auto show on March 3. It will face new competition from another Geneva debut, the BMW 2 series Gran Tourer, an all-new model that BMW hopes will poach new customers for its brand from rivals such as the Touran and Mercedes-Benz B class.

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Apple’s loss of hundreds of engineers is now yesterday’s news. This is because, just one week later Apple flips the situation with a report from Financial Times. Apple now declares that they tend to hire many in the automotive industry to develop a secret, new feature with Mercedes-Benz. This story has grown due to WST and Reuters fanning the flame.

Among those hires? Johann Jungwirth, who until very recently was President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America. His arrival, plus talk of other automotive engineers joining the ranks more quietly, has a lot of people speculating that Apple’s next one more thing will be a car.

I won’t rule out Apple rolling out something on wheels sometime down the road, but for now, the most likely applications of this vehicular know-how are a lot more subtle — but potentially a lot more interesting.

Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, or MBRDNA as it’s more tersely known, is the Silicon Valley epicenter for M-B’s fancy thinking. I toured the facility when it opened in late 2013, and it is quite a place. Big and open and full of glass and brushed metal and, indeed, feeling very Apple-like.

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Danica Patrick has proven herself time and time that she race with the big boys. As she is about to start her third season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the pressure is on and now she needs to show that she is fully capable of winning.

“I believe y’all are making that story,” Patrick said. “I feel like every year is a pivotal year. … So it can happen in Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, Year 4. I feel like every year is an important year, and I care the same every year to do well.

“The most important thing for me is that my sponsor (GoDaddy, a website domain name company) is happy and that GoDaddy is getting what they need from the relationship, and then on the other side, that my team feels my desire and knows how determined I am, sees improvement and wants me to be a part of their team.”

Patrick, 32, has participated in 82 races over the past three years — the first on a limited schedule — with zero wins. She has four Top-10 finishes and has earned the pole position once.

Read the full story here.

The Canadian International AutoShow is a fun and interesting celebration of what’s new, now and what’s exciting in the car industry. It’s also a place where you can find the car buffs checking out the past, and reflecting on what has been. For more than a decades the Cruise Nationals has showcased the best of the best custom vintage restored cars and trucks.

This year, a concours-quality classic-car display is being added to the mix: The Art and the Automobile exhibit, sponsored by the Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the CBC television drama Murdoch Mysteries.

Nineteen classic cars will be featured, including Canada’s oldest car, a Seth Taylor steam buggy from 1867.

Read more here.