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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 17, 2001

CD fills you in on '01 automobile models

By Vicki Viotti
Advertiser Staff Writer

Just what you need when you're shopping for a new or used car: another excuse to blow $25.

Actually, "AAA Cars on CD" delivers a lot of mileage for the buck to those embarking on the bumpy road to auto ownership. It has comprehensive files on all the 2001 models available in the United States, as well as a smattering of 2001 specs. Worksheets enable buyers to figure out pricing, resale value and compute car loans, based on standard costs plus options. Reviews give the scoop on road testing.

It's not that all this data isn't available for free from manufacturers' Web sites; the Windows-compatible CD-ROM simply makes the hunt way more convenient for $24.95 (buy it through the local AAA office, or by phone: 1-877-AAA-BOOK). We paid Consumer Reports $20 for two fact sheets, which may have had more inside information on dealership pricing but for only two models.

The price also covers a year's subscription to the site for updated information; however, the site won't be launched until July.

There's some fun stuff, too. The multimedia section requires the free QuickTime program, which comes with the CD if you haven't already installed it. This lets you view selected models in "virtual showroom" images you can rotate, as well as videos and 3-D stills (glasses are included). The 3-D experience isn't that realistic — but neither is the idea that I'll be owning a Bentley or Humvee anytime this century.