Black Enterprise Auto Guide

Reviews of 36 new vehicles arriving in 1999

for those who want the most bang for the buck, the Camaro still reigns supreme. Even the base car has 200 horsepower. But add the V-8 with either the six-speed manual or four-speed automatic, and you truly have one fast car. You’ll need the traction control to keep those rear tires under control.

Over the years, the Camaro’s performance has become well rounded, with good handling and powerful brakes. The compromise is in the materials, which can be forgotten with one good stomp on the throttle.

CHRYSLER SEBRING CONVERTIBLE
When it comes to convertibles, Chrysler’s Sebring Convertible is among the most practical and affordable. Starting out just above $20,000 and fully loaded for around $27,000, this remains among the rare ragtops that can actually fit four and offer enough trunk space for a tolerable vacation. When visiting one of our sunshine states, what could be a more enticing short-term investment than an open-top car that can squeeze in your family and luggage?

As a potential purchase, the Sebring Convertible makes reasonable sense. This is among Chrysler’s better built cars. It bears less family ties with the Sebring coupe than it does with the larger Cirrus sedan.

Powered by either a somewhat raspy yet adequate 150-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, the car keeps up with traffic. Go for the optional 168-horsepower 2.5-liter V-6 and things pick up and become much smoother.

With a ride quality aimed more at comfort, you’ll find that this isn’t among the spottiest convertibles. With the power top up, wind noise still intrudes. But relatively few sacrifices are required to enjoy the open air. ..RJ.- www.chrysler.com

Does a car model = car insurance cost?
Okay. You’ve picked out your top two choices for that new car you want to buy. All that’s left is choosing the car and signing on the dotted line, right? Not until you compare your insurance premiums.

While demographics–age, sex, location where the vehicle is registered (highly dense area vs. rural), even your personal driving record–an all affect rates, so can the kind of car you choose. “Choice of car is really important,” says Jeanne Salvatore, director of public relations and consumer affairs for the Insurance Information Institute in New York, New York. “Auto rates are not always a direct correlation because there are several factors that go into costs, including theft, accident rate, litigation and medical costs. But some of the rate is also based on the cost of the car and how expensive it is to repair or replace,” she explains.

Salvatore advises shopping around with different insurance agents or an independent agent representing more than one company. The amount you pay varies substantially between insurers and cars.

FORD SVT CONTOUR
When Ford brought the Contour to the U.S., it was received with a yawn. Although successful in Europe, it has become such a target among critics for its cost that Ford no longer reports money spent on the development of a car.

The reason the Contour sells poorly in the U.S. is that it replaced the popular Tempo with a car that was more

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