Click the link below for the weekly auto rail, with car-buying tips, Car Q&A with Junior Damato and more. Or check out these other links.

Tip of the Week


The Internet has made it possible and practical to expand your car shopping search virtually across the country. What's more, shopping online offers unmatched convenience, selection and value - all without the pressure of making your decision on the spot in the dealership. Buying a new car online, however, is a lot different than other online purchases you might make, such as a book, music or movie. To help you in this, here are eight tips to successful online used-car shopping:


1. Find out about the vehicle's history.


2. Complete transactions through the purchase site.


3. Know what you're buying.


4. Check out the seller.


5. Review the vehicle title. If it appears to have been altered in any way, you may want to reconsider your decision to buy.


6. Never send payments through Western Union, MoneyGram or other wire services. If you plan to pay in cash, do so only in person and obtain a receipt.


7. Realize that if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.


8. If you encounter fraud during the car-shopping process, consider filing a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.


- ARA


The List


According to The Street, here are the most dependable trucks and SUVs of 2012:


Best compact multipurpose: Scion xB


Best compact crossover SUV: Chevrolet Equinox


Best midsize crossover: Ford Explorer (tie)


Best midsize crossover: Nissan Murano (tie)


Best midsize premium crossover: Lexus RX 350


Best midsize van: Toyota Sienna


Best midsize pickup: Nissan Frontier


Best large pickup: Toyota Tundra


Did You Know


The Chevrolet Volt recently was named the European Car of the Year.


Car Q&A


Q: I have heard a lot of people talking about new Ford products and I was thinking about buying my daughter a new Fiesta. Can you give me your thoughts on the new Ford vehicles, especially the Fiesta?


A: There is no question that the 2010 and later Ford vehicles seem to be wonderful vehicles in all areas. I had a new Fiesta for a week and it was great in every way. Our test car was a five-speed manual hatchback. The manual was easy to drive, and clutch pedal pressure was light. I was amazed to find it had heated seats as part of the comfort option at $795. Base price $17,120 plus $675 delivery. EPA 28 city, 37 highway. This is a car that is above an entry car and should give many years of great service.


- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist


GateHouse News Service