We haven’t heard much about the Toyota RAV4. How does it compare to its competitors?

2014-toyota-rav4-limited-front-three-quarters (2)I’m glad you asked about the RAV4! The RAV4 is receiving many accolades in the small SUV category for its overall value, the many features that come standard in the RAV4 as compared to the six main competitors in this product category.

One reviewer commented that RAV4’s “active-safety acceleration, handling and cornering performance on snow” is better than all of its competitors. Both Kelly Blue Book and Consumer Reports gave accolades for the RAV4’s smooth ride, fuel economy, transmission and roominess. It’s one of Toyota’s many models that has stood the test of time (over 20 years) and continues to improve thanks to Toyota’s ongoing technological advancements.

According to the most objective source, Consumer Reports, “The RAV4 uses an energetic 2.5-liter four-cylinder and a smooth six-speed automatic that combined to return 24-mpg overall in tests of the AWD version. Handling is quite nimble and very secure. Though the ride is firm and well-controlled…”

The six competitors of the RAV4 include the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Jeep Cherokee or Patriot, Subaru Forester and Nissan Rogue. When researching vehicles, it is important to FIRST define what features are important to you and your driving needs and preferences. This can be very helpful to protect your wallet while also ensuring you remain focused on evaluating makes and models that include what you are really looking for.

The following are standard features in the RAV4: (Note these same features are not standard in the RAV4’s primary competition. They are available in some at an additional cost or not available at all.)

  • 6 transmission speeds in automatic mode
  • Front knee airbags
  • Front fog lights
  • Heated exterior mirrors
  • Power sun /moon roof
  • 15.9 gallon fuel capacity
  • Voice-activated control
  • The widest body at 72.6 inches
  • Integrated back-up bumper
  • Fold-flat second row seat.

Kelly Blue Book rated the RAV4 high in the performance category because of its “Dynamic torque-control AWD (all-wheel drive) which makes other SUVs just feel like UVs.”

What features did KBB like best?

  • Rear view aids — “As fashion and safety rules emphasize thicker pillars, cars are getting harder and harder to see out of. The RAV4 comes standard with a backup camera, and ups the ante with available blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, warning you when other vehicles are approaching as you reverse.”
  • Cargo capacity – “Despite being a compact crossover SUV, the Toyota RAV4 offers up a lot of cargo space behind the second row. If that’s not enough, fold those seats and you’ll get a class-leading 73.4 cubic feet, all of it usable thanks to a flat load floor.”
  • Technology — It offers “Entune App Suite mobile apps you want, integrated with the vehicle you love.”

The RAV4 has a lot to offer and is fun to drive. Seating 5, choose from 8 exterior color options. Come to Jaffarian Toyota Scion and test drive one if you’re thinking that an SUV will meet your needs. If you’re not sure, we can help you make that decision based on your input and the opportunity to drive an SUV, especially if you haven’t owned one before.

Welcome spring! Now perhaps it time for that long-awaited test drive…

Ask Gary Jaffarian

Categories: Ask Gary

Do men still make most of the car-buying decisions?

WomenDrivers.comA resounding NO to that question! Many people will be surprised by that answer. Some people still remember the single or married woman shopping for a vehicle with a man by her side to help her make the decision. And with that scenario, the all-male sales staff would be making eye contact and speaking to the man, even if the car was for the woman. I hope those days are long-gone everywhere, but I can tell you that scenario does not exist at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion.

In many cases, women come in alone as the sole decision-maker and couples come in where the woman is the decision-maker for the family vehicle. Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion is aware that “women buy 52% of all new cars sold in the U.S., influence more than 85% of all car purchases and are the fastest growing segment of buyers for new and used cars. All told, women have full or partial say over a staggering $80 billion worth of spending on cars,” according to Forbes.

Additionally, research shows that 65% of all customers taking their vehicles in for service are women. With so many women in the workplace and those with kids to tote around to school and activities, women have specific needs for the type of vehicles they want to buy. They tend to make practical decisions – it’s less about image.

In 2014, a Forbes article stated, “For the first time in the history of the car industry, a Frost & Sullivan report finds that the number of women with driving licenses in the U.S. over took that of men, not just in one of the young age groups, but consistently across all age groups greater than 25… it is clear that 80 percent of the car buying decision is now influenced by women. While buying a new car, women are practical and tend to connect the purchase to the ideas of freedom and independence. They prefer small and maneuverable cars, but further give importance to design, spaciousness, safety, quality of materials, vehicle color and sustainability of the car. They like options like park assist, clear lighting for petrol and easy access, integrated systems for mobile devices, entertainment (especially moms) and everything that can make car-time easier and more intuitive.”

This can be part of the reason why so many women shop our brands. Women love the safety records of the Volvo and the safety and economy of Toyotas. Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion participates in the “Women Driver Friendly” certified dealer program where we receive online ratings and reviews, similar to dealerrater.com. Women-Drivers.com is the industry’s leading female online review service, connecting women car shoppers to Certified Women-Drivers Friendly® Car Dealers. Our Women Driver Friendly score is nearly perfect at 4.96 out of 5. This is based on the following breakdown:
 Shop 5.0
 Purchase 4.97
 Service 4.92
Overall 24-month rating = 4.96

The mission of Women-Drivers.com “is to shift the traditional women’s car buying experience and help to create a new marketplace and paradigm, where when a woman walks into any dealership she feels like she is walking into her favorite Target or Nordstrom’s. She will be satisfied with her experience, knowing that whoever assists her will be respectful, trustworthy, and knowledgeable… each and every time.” We are proud to live up to their standards with our high rating. We also have women on our internet sales staff.

Women — you can be sure from the moment you are greeted in either the showroom or in the service area, you are treated with the greatest respect and not any different than we treat men. This is also good for men to know, that the woman in your life will not be spoken to or treated any differently here; nor will you have to worry about her being taken advantage of, or taken for granted. We believe in building relationships with each and every customer. We want you to Demand the Best. Get the Best. You deserve better and we are here to earn your trust and your business with every interaction.

Ask Gary Jaffarian

Categories: Ask Gary

How do I get my car back to the way it looked in the fall? It’s been out in the snow all winter.

Toyota inCarwashThe most important thing is to keep up with cleaning your car off even between storms to help prevent rust, which is caused by the salt mixtures used on the roads. Because you may have waited for the better weather, don’t wait one moment longer to take care of the exterior of your vehicle.

Fortunately, the staff of Jaffarian Auto Spa at either Volvo or Toyota service areas at 600 River Street in Haverhill can treat your vehicle to a cleaning that is much needed this time of year. In Massachusetts, the State Highway Department does a great job of keeping roads clear and putting mixtures down according to the road conditions and temperature. Sodium chloride is the most readily available and at the lowest cost. It has some disadvantages, however, including its impact on the environment and its corrosive effect, especially on vehicles. It also doesn’t work well at low temperatures.

The State also takes into consideration reduced salt areas marked by road signs. In those areas and when the temperature is extremely cold, the road mixture includes a sodium chloride/calcium chloride blend which is better for the environment, but at a higher cost.

When to have your vehicle washed:

In washing salt off in wintertime, do so during the day so the vehicle has time to dry. You don’t want the water to freeze on your finish after temperatures fall. The outside temperature should preferably be around 40°F or higher. While your vehicle is still collecting slush, salt and sand, it’s recommended to wash your vehicle off every 10 days or so.

What services to look for at a car wash:

• Undercarriage wash – That is imperative during and after winter to clean out the salt mixtures from the roads. This is particularly important for trucks as the mixtures can actually get into the electrical components and promote decay of the brake lines.

• Evaluate the services provided – Did they dry the edges of the doors inside and out, including the undersides of door handles, all hinges, plus the hood and trunk edges. This helps keep them from freezing shut. (But let’s hope the cold is nearly over!)

• Wax and seal – After a winter washing (and in the fall) apply an additional coat of wax to all exposed metal. If you do it yourself, use a hand-held hair dryer to warm the metal surfaces before applying the wax and warm your buffing rags in a dryer to help the wax better adhere to the cold metal surfaces. But better yet, have it professionally waxed.

• Quality spray protectors should be used on all exterior rubber or vinyl surfaces. It may be best to spray it on an applicator instead of spraying the product directly onto the surface. This will avoid any overspray onto the paint.

• Carpet cleaning — If your vehicle’s carpets are stained from the salt mixture, the best treatment is hot water and white vinegar in a 50/50 mix put into a spray bottle, though it may not smell good. If you have your vehicle cleaned professionally on the inside, we will be sure to leave it smelling fresh!

Jaffarian Auto Spa packages start at $39.95 and you can schedule an appointment by calling (888) 234-2854. Your vehicle deserves a trip to the spa after the winter we just experienced!

Ask Gary Jaffarian

Categories: Ask Gary

Did we miss the big car sales in February since Presidents’ Day weekend was a stormy one?

SnowCarsinLotPresidents’ Day weekend was a bust because of yet another snowstorm; but NO is the answer to your question. You did not miss out on great deals as we continue to offer great values! As President Washington said, “I cannot tell a lie!” In February we experienced record-breaking snowfall, so needless to say, car dealerships and other businesses had record-breaking low sales months. I am sure many read about the tough month that restaurants also experienced with the impact of the stormy weekend affecting Valentine’s Day dinners.

Since the first blizzard on January 27, the flow of traffic into the dealership has been light, as most people would not feel comfortable walking a snowy lot or test-driving a vehicle with the current road conditions. Consumers have also expressed not wanting to buy a new vehicle and then worry about protecting the interior and exterior from all the snow, ice and salt. We understand that and we are committed to offering great values and hope that at some point these continuous storms will come to an end!

According to a February 21 Boston Globe article, “…dealers across Massachusetts said new car sales and repair business have plunged this year, as snow-weary drivers put off buying new rides until spring. Cruelly, the latest blizzard hit over Presidents’ Day weekend, which dealers use to launch the sales season by offering steep discounts. Instead, customers were stuck at home, and salespeople spent the holiday weekend rearranging car lots to make way for plows.” We can relate!

Many people are submitting vehicle inquires on line as they do their research at home, in preparation for buying a new vehicle this spring. We see that as a positive—for educating consumers – and for brisk sales this spring! Dealerships know a certain number of vehicles will be purchased this year and we hope to make up the numbers. As it is trying on all of us cleaning our driveways and walkways and possibly dealing with ice dams and leaks, it is also trying on our team. The staff has been constantly moving vehicles, clearing out the snow and cleaning off vehicles. (That really is our lot after the blizzard in the photo above!) So we are very motivated to move vehicles off the lot this month!

In addition to low prices, consumers will get the historic low interest rates or great deals on leasing. For example, you can lease a Camry for $2899 due at signing, which can be covered by your trade and pay just $147 per month for 24 months or $149 a month for 36 months! If you purchase a new Camry, you can get an interest rate of .9% for 60 months. Corolla pricing is slightly lower. A new energy-efficient Prius comes with 0% financing for 60 months or you can lease it for $199 a month for either 24 or 36 months. A Sienna mini-van is available for .9% month for 60 months.

If you want to lease a Volvo, the S60 starts at $299 per month for 36 months with $2979 due at signing and interest rates on a purchase is 0% for 72 months. Check out the specials and incentives online as new incentives will be coming out shortly.

We are also trying to maximize the amount allotted for your trade-in. These lease prices and interest rates make vehicle-buying more affordable than ever! Come to Jaffarian Toyota or Jaffarian Volvo now that the weather is clearing and spring is just a couple of weeks away! We’d love the opportunity to help you find the best vehicle for your needs.

Ask Gary Jaffarian

Categories: Ask Gary

Is it true that Volvo is developing a self-driving car? How could this possibly be safe?

Autonomous drive - commutingYes it is true! An international press conference was just held in Sweden last Thursday with journalists participating from all over the globe, including the U.S. They announced they are working on a Volvo XC-90 that will make it possible to integrate self-driving or autonomous driving cars in real traffic – with ordinary people behind the wheel. But it still needs a lot of development. As most people know, Volvo is the world leader in automotive safety and therefore, the product will not be release to the general public until 2020, give or take a couple of years.

The pilot project is called “Drive Me” and Volvo will choose 100 people in 2017 to test these XC-90 vehicles in real traffic in Sweden initially. The drivers will need to be sitting in the driver’s seat and alert and sober, and be ready to take over at any time, even after the vehicles are marketed to consumers. The thought is that drivers will be able to do other things while at the wheel, especially during long distances or highway commutes, but they must be ready to take over at any time. (They don’t recommend holding up a newspaper and reading while in the driver’s seat.)

The goal is to make them feasible, affordable and to drive safer than the safest drivers in order to prevent accidents. The technology is so exciting! The technology includes 3-D maps more advanced than any GPS system that can sense other vehicles, debris, guardrails and the like.

This XC-90 prototype will combine multiple cameras with seven radar sensors and i-cloud technology and will even include a “black box” that only the driver can access. If there is ever an accident in these vehicles, they will be able to determine the cause, similar to that in an airplane from the flight recorder. Cameras will have various horizontal views to detect bicyclists and pedestrians and will be able to react if another vehicles cuts in to the lane. They will test it in night darkness, snow and rain. But they will always recommend in severe weather, such as snow storms, that the driver take over. It will have advanced technology in the brake and steering system, with back-up solutions to prevent accidents. The main reason they are investing in this technology is, first and foremost, to prevent accidents, but another important benefit of the Drive Me project will include improved fuel economy.

At the Swedish press conference, the Volvo executive said, “We think the U.S. market is an interesting market for autonomous drive. The customer demand is high” from commuters in big cities. They hope it then becomes a benefit in all traffic conditions. The interior design features, information and entertainment systems will initially be very similar to what the vehicle looks like now and the same maintenance will be required. When these vehicles do arrive, drivers will always be able to choose the automatic feature or drive in the standard manner.

We will keep you posted on this when the latest version of the XC-90 will be here at Jaffarian Volvo. With all of its safety features, this is an exciting time to be driving a Volvo!

Drive safely, stay warm and know that March is right around the corner.

Ask Gary Jaffarian

P.S. Thanks for the questions you’re sending in. If you don’t want to wait for your question to be answered in an Ask Gary column, please email me at askgaryj@gmail.com or invite you all to listen to my segment with John Paul, better known as the “Car Doctor” on WROL 950 AM – live this Saturday at 9 a.m.

Categories: Ask Gary

With this record-breaking snowfall, what are your best tips for winter safety and caring for my vehicle?

JaffarianLotinSnowWith the horrible conditions upon us with record-breaking snowfall in a short period of time, I am happy to give you my best tips, starting with staying off the road whenever possible during inclement weather.

On Sunday, after the roads were cleared, many people took to the major highways, thinking they were safe. While they may have been down to nearly-bare pavement, there was a major multi-vehicle crash on Route 128 in Waltham from white-out conditions caused by the wind blowing snow across the highway. I cannot emphasize enough to stay off the roads, even after major storms are over, until you know the roads and travel conditions are safe.

There are so many things in your control – your driving habits and keeping your vehicle maintenance schedule up-to-date. Here is a list of all the things you can do to maximize your safety.

1. This first tip is a matter of life or death – be sure you remove snow from your exhaust pipe(s).

2. Be sure to remove snow from the roof of your vehicle. Many people are complaining that snow from other vehicles, including commercial trucks, flies off roofs and hits their windshield, causing moments of blind driving. Please clean off your vehicle roof as much as possible.

3. If you get into a skid, turn your wheel into the skid. Never slam on the brakes.

4. If you’re stuck on a hill, downshift for better traction, whether you drive an automatic or standard. Don’t drive up icy or snowy hills by trying to over-accelerate. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. But don’t stop on the hill, or you may slide down. Get your momentum on the flat road and keep going as you approach the hill. As you reach the top of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down the hill as slowly as possible.

5. Be sure to carry the following as part of your own emergency kit: windshield washer, flashlight, water, snacks, snowbrush, ice scraper, small snow shovel, and a wool blanket. Consider purchasing jumper cables and an emergency roadside kit from an auto parts or department store. They can come in handy any time of year. Keep sand or cat litter in your trunk for traction in case you get stuck.
6. Choose your speed according to the weather conditions. Driving at the speed limit can be unsafe and dangerous. If special highway signs post new speed limits, as they often do on highways and the Mass. Pike, use that speed as your limit, or even slower.

7. Stay focused on driving, even more than usual – no talking on the cell, eating or doing anything that takes a hand off the wheel. Keep both hands on the wheel and focus.

8. Slow down to a very low speed before turning or going around a bend to keep control of your vehicle on icy roads. When turning from a side street onto a main street, inch out very slowly as the high snow banks totally impair ability to see around the corner. In this weather, allow extra travel time, as you cannot drive like you are accustomed to driving. Every turn is potentially dangerous because of the mountainous snow banks.

9. Check your tires for proper inflation and tread wear. Your tires (and brakes) are more important in this weather than anything else. Get new tires if the treads are worn. We can check the tire pressure and measure treads at Jaffarian’s Service Department.

10. Make sure your windshield wipers are in good working order. Heavy duty or winter blades are highly recommended.

11. Leave extra room between you and the vehicle ahead of you whether you are on side streets, main roads or the highway. With the streets being slushy and snowy, when you brake, you may find yourself sliding. Press brakes firmly and hold, but avoid slamming on the brakes. Tapping or pumping the brakes is not the best solution with anti-lock brakes, which most vehicles now have.

12. If your vehicle is about 5+ years old, check your battery.

13. Be sure to check your antifreeze with each oil change or service appointment.

14. Check your brakes and have your service technician check for leaks or worn hoses. Jaffarian’s Service Department is happy to perform these extra checks with each service visit.

Please follow all of the tips here to maximize your safety. As much as we’d like to think we couldn’t possibly get any more snow, there is another one or two snow events predicted for the coming week.

Drive safely and stay alert!

Ask Gary Jaffarian

Categories: Ask Gary

With gas prices down, are more people buying trucks?


Yes, that may be true, but for many reasons. With gas prices down and the inclement weather we’ve been experiencing, more people are buying trucks. Considering that trucks are generally purchased by males, the number of truck sales is quite astounding. For every 8 cars sold in January, there were 7 trucks sold! Light truck sales are up 19% from last January.

According to PickupTrucks.com, there are three factors that affect truck sales: gas mileage, innovation and technology – the same factors that affect car sales. We are happy to represent the Toyota line where all three factors are an attribute in both the Toyota Tundra and Tacoma.

According to the NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association), the 1.1 million vehicles sold last month, with the top three spots being trucks!  The Toyota Tacoma is among the top five selling trucks nationally; and the Toyota Tundra is the sixth best-selling truck nationally. (By the way, the top two selling cars nationally were the Toyota Corolla and Toyota Camry!)

The Toyota Tacoma and Tundra are economical and offer loads of options. The lighter-duty Tacoma 4×2 is a four-door vehicle that seats four, making it ideal for both work and families. It has a powerful available V6 engine, and handsome interior and steering wheel-mounted controls, so you can keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. The Tacoma has a payload capacity of 1440 and towing capacity of 3300 pounds. It has a hand-free blue-tooth and comes with the Toyota 60-month power train warranty and 36-month warranty. It offers 21/25 estimated mileage per gallon. New Tacoma models include the regular, access, and double cab. You can really customize and personalize your Tacoma.

The heavy-duty, full-size, half-ton Tundra 4×2 comes with a V-8 engine. This new truck has Dual Independent Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) that makes it as efficient as it is powerful. You can choose from the muscular 5.7L V8, the strong 4.6L V8, or the very capable 4.0L V6 and find a new truck that works for you – literally and figuratively.

The Tacoma has the highest towing capacity in its class of 10, 500 pounds, nearly twice as much as similar trucks. It has a payload capacity of 2090 pounds. This truck is available in regular cab seating up to four, and can seat up to six in the Double Cab and CrewMax models.

Both Toyota trucks offer the best of Toyota technology; and the comfort and interior of a luxury vehicle. They both have TRD-tuned suspension, with tuned front springs and remote-reservoir Bilstein® front and rear shocks to help you have a smooth ride, even on rough trails. They’re both great options for family fun and carrying those big items like skis, fishing poles or snowboards; or carrying work-related items for the professional contractor—very versatile vehicles any way you look at it!

They are both rugged, yet luxurious, as you can get them with leather-like and heated seats, as an option. Included is the Entune technology package that is standard in all Toyotas with Bluetooth, GPS and a suite of applications whereby  you can access Bing™, listen to iHeartRadio, purchase movie tickets through MovieTickets.com, make dinner reservations with OpenTable®, listen to Pandora® and more; and a variety of data services that can help keep you up on stocks, weather, traffic, fuel prices and sports.


If you’d like to test drive these trucks, come to Jaffarian Toyota to try them out. I promise you won’t be disappointed! They’re quite impressive for comfort, technology and utility.

Stay safe on those snowy roads! Trucks are a great way to travel in this winter weather!


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