Insurance

Major cities in Texas have higher-than-average car insurance rates, study says

Car insurance rates in the state of Texas are rising, bucking the national trend.

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Annual car insurance rates have gone up 24 percent nationwide since 2011, but in 2021 have fallen nationally for the first time since 2013. Texas hasn't been so lucky. It's one of the few states where rates have actually increased year-over-year for 2021, according to a new report by TheZebra.com.

The company's fifth annual national study explored 83 million car insurance premiums across every zip code in the U.S. as impacted by common variables such as driver age, gender, driving record, financial behaviors, and the cars themselves.

Rates in the State of Texas top the national average, far exceeding it in some major cities. In Houston, the average annual cost for car insurance is $1,598. Dallas-Fort Worth is close behind with $1,506. Rates for Austin and San Antonio are below the state average of $1,498 annually, coming in at $1,465 and $1,477 respectively.

Maven Austin TexasAnnual car insurance rates in Austin, Texas are below the state average.Photo courtesy of Maven

"Despite a drop in driving with COVID-19 related lockdowns, Houston car insurance rates defied the trend and rose more than five percent," said Nicole Beck, licensed insurance agent and Head of Communications at The Zebra. "Flash flooding and an increase in risky driving behavior could be the culprit. An increase in claims in Houston means an increase in insurance rates for all. Drivers should continue to be safe behind the wheel and protect their vehicles from snow and other hazards to prevent individual rates from rising."

Aldine, Texas, just north of Houston, has the highest car insurance rates in the state, averaging $1,852 per year. Langtry, Texas, which sits near where the Pecos River meets the Rio Grande, has the lowest rate, just $1,281 annually. Other low-cost areas for insurance include Kenney, Edna, Port O'Connor, Alleyton, and Chappell Hill, all cities that are west of Houston but east of Austin.

Texas is near the top when it comes to annual car insurance costs though the state average of $1,498 is not nearly as high as it is in the three most expensive states for car insurance: Louisiana ($2,304), Florida ($2,324), and Michigan ($2,535).

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The 2023 Sequoia is all-new and a huge improvement over its predecessor.

Toyota

The Toyota Tundra and Sequoia were two of the oldest vehicles on the market, but that's all different now. The new Tundra is already on the streets, and today Toyota released a load of specs and details on the all-new 2023 Sequoia. The full-size SUV gets a major update for the new model year with completely fresh styling, impressive new tech, and a powerful standard engine. We don't have pricing details yet, but Toyota says the 2023 Sequoia will be available starting in summer 2022.

2023 Toyota SequoiaIn addition to new styling, the SUV gets a twin-turbo hybrid V6 powertrain and a load of updated tech.Toyota

Five trims of the Texas-built SUV will be offered: SR5, Limited, Platinum, TRD Pro, and Capstone. All 2023 Sequoia models get the impressive twin-turbo V6 hybrid i-Force Max engine from the all-new Tundra. It makes 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque, and sends it to the rear or all four wheels through a ten-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain delivers a max towing rating of up to 9,000 pounds, which is a solid number and a massive increase over the previous Sequoia.

Toyota offers automatic-leveling air suspension and adaptive suspension settings with modes for Comfort, Sport S+, and Custom. The Sport drive modes also improve throttle response and changes transmission shift points. The electric motor handles most propulsion duties below 18 mph, but after that the gas engine steps in. The motor is constantly involved when the truck is in Tow/Haul mode.

2023 Toyota SequoiaTRD Pro models get under-body cladding and beefier tires.Toyota

Similar to the high-end treatment given to the Tundra, Toyota will offer a Capstone trim for the new Sequoia that brings unique upholstery and trim materials, 22-inch chrome wheels, power side steps, American Walnut inlays, and more. That said, even the standard Sequoia SR5 offers plenty of standard gear. A 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster is standard, along with heated seats and more. An available Premium Package adds an enormous 14-inch infotainment display, power third-row seats, a hands-free liftgate, and additional power outlets.

Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 will also be standard for the SUV. The system includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and daytime cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and rear seat reminders. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts is also standard.

2023 Toyota SequoiaThe new Capstone trim is a super-plush trim with an interior rivaling those in many luxury brands.

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New luxury car

BMW sends its V12 engine off in style

BMW will build its final V12 engine this June.

BMW

Most automakers are focused on building EVs and extracting the best fuel economy from gas engines possible, so it’s not surprising to hear that BMW is pulling the plug on one of its biggest and most iconic engines. In June 2022, BMW will build its very last V12 engine for use in a super-limited-production special edition 7 Series model. The ultra-rare cars will carry a starting price of $200,995.

BMW 760i xDriveThe last V12 will power a very special (and very expensive) 7 Series car.BMW

Only twelve lucky customers will have the option to nab a V12-powered BMW, which will be called the M760i xDrive. Displacing 6.6 liters, the twin-turbocharged beast produces a massive 601 horsepower. An eight-speed sport automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard. BMW says the powertrain is strong enough to push the hefty 7 Series car to 60 mph from a standstill in just 3.6 seconds.

The final-run cars will feature little more than a special “V12” badge at the rear to differentiate them from standard 7 Series models. Inside, the car features a serialized plaque with the car’s production number out of the 12 units planned. The engine itself features a nameplate with “The Final V12.”

Beyond the badges, BMW’s 12-cylinder last-hurrah will come standard with 20-inch M double-spoke wheels, a choice of any available BMW full Merino leather color, M Sport brakes with black or blue calipers, a panoramic LED roof, remote control parking, a Bowers & Wilkins surround-sound system, and adaptive LED headlights.

BMW 760i xDriveOnly 12 of the cars will be built, with a starting price of more than $200,000.BMW

Though it hasn’t been BMW’s most popular engine over the years, the V12 has been a part of the automaker’s catalog for 35 years. The first 12-cylinder engine showed up in 1987, producing 295 horsepower in the original 750iL sedan.

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