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DECISIV E o n i t a L The Best Source for Cultural and Consumer News

green 2010

La Verdad Verde Living Green & Saving The Planet

Our Experts Show You: > How to create natural beauty treatments. (p. 3) > How to choose organic food. (p. 4)

> How to save money on utility bills. (p. 5) > Where to find an eco-resort in Mexico. (p. 8)

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Who says an oasis has to be in the desert?

Inside MotorCity Casino Hotel, excitement, luxury, and pleasure are shaken together to create something truly unique. Come down and put yourself in the mix.

MotorCity Casino Hotel and MotorCity Casino Hotel design are trademarks of Detroit Entertainment, L.L.C. Š2010 Detroit Entertainment, L.L.C. All rights reserved.


yourchoices The Guide To What’s Inside Volume 2 | issue 1 | green 2010

Publisher: Randi Payton

Editor-in-Chief: Lyndon Conrad Bell. Editorial Director: Joyce Gates editor: Valerie Menard Art Director: Fran Sherman consumer editor: Tiffany Tilley contributing writers: Ruben Arvizu, Lillian Aviles, Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, Scott-Vincent Borba

Multimedia Managers: Thuan Ngo, Angel Giron Decisive Media Headquarters: 8201 Corporate Drive, Suite 500 Landover, MD 20785 Tel: 301-850-2858 • Fax: 301-390-1825 President & CEO: Randi Payton Vice President: Karen Payton Production/Distribution: Joyce Gates Business Manager: Damon Redmond Sales Director: Karen Payton

06 08

multimedia marketing: Rich Baron National Account Managers: Leonard Corbin

Content Specialist: David Payton Decisive Latino magazine © 2010 is published four times annually as a newspaper-delivered publication and digital e-magazine by Decisive Media Your complete resource for research and opinion on consumer products and services

La Verdad verde Our environmental expert, Ruben Arvizu, offers simple tips for lowering our carbon footprints to help save the planet.

A Natural Getaway

executive assistant: Shirley Bell

Event Director: Rosiland Triché

feature set: on the cover


Our travel expert, Lillian Aviles, exposes a Mexican hidden treasure, Hotel Eco Paraiso Xixim, an eco-resort in the Yucatan.

the usuals:

inside every issue 02 Saludos 03 Beauty 04 health 05 financial

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green 2010 |


saludos In 2011, we’re more dedicated than ever.

Happy 2011!!! I t’s the beginning of a new calendar, a clean slate. It’s not exactly a do-over, but a promise of a fresh start. It’s a chance to examine the events of the past year and think about how to make the next year better. As the first issue of 2011, I would like to start with a big THANK YOU to all of you for taking the time to pick up Decisive Latino Magazine (DAL). I don’t like to make resolutions, because I can’t keep them, but I do think about goals for the New Year. Last year one of my goals was to make our Decisive Latino digital property bilingual and getting it ready for this 2011 where we are running today. I am happy to say, I was able to do it. This 2011, my goal is to work with our editor, Valerie Menard, to build a solid product and make our DAL one of the best publications in the Hispanic market. I must take this chance to also congratulate the people who make it possible for the magazine to arrive in your hands with our tips and advice that can make your life easier. In this issue, we’re promoting a green lifestyle with tips for how to save on your utility bills (p. 5), create all-natural beauty treatments (p. 3), and shop for organic food (p. 4). Our environmental expert, Ruben Arvizu offers simple tips for green living (p. 6) and our travel expert, Lillian Aviles, takes you to a Mexican eco-paradise (p. 8).

DAL wants you to be able to make the most informed decisions while making purchases, no matter the season of the year. We provide you with decision-making information on a broad array of consumer products and services from a cultural perspective. I invite you to visit our new bilingual website, where you’ll find many exciting features, where the main protagonist is your decision. Please also join us on our social media sites at Facebook, (www.facebook. com/DecisiveLatino), Twitter ( decisivelatino) and qp/decisivelatinomag.html). Again, I’d like to say thank you for your continued support, and espero que nos encontremos de nuevo en la Primavera que se avecina.

—Angel R. Giron Multimedia Manager

Index to Advertisers Cover II: Decisive Magazine Green Car Show— pg. 10: Decisive Magazine Subscription—


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beauty by nature

by Scott-Vincent Borba

How to create natural beauty remedies

We all want to have naturally beautiful, flawless skin, but not everyone knows how to get it. Who says you need to spend a lot of money to look beautiful? I want to share tips for finding and using natural products in your pantry to help you look great. You can easily whip up skincare treatments using fruits and vegetables from your own garden or local farmers market.

Mask in Chocolate If you are a chocolate lover you will be thrilled about discovering this mask. Step 1. Combine a cup of lukewarm water, one tablespoon of honey, one tablespoon of your favorite chocolate syrup, and one cup of instant oatmeal. Step 2. Be sure to cleanse your face before beginning the treatment. Apply the mixture to your face with a clean, flat paintbrush, sponge or spoon, and let it dry for about fifteen minutes. Lightly scrub the mixture off with lukewarm water. The oatmeal will soak up excess oils and exfoliate when scrubbed away. The natural powers of honey work to refine your pores while killing surface bacteria. The chocolate polyphenols help with fine lines and wrinkles and sooth the senses.

Give Tired Eyes the Slip with Banana Peels The peel and fruit of the banana has natural intensive firming fibers and anti-inflammatory milky liquid extracts. It’s a ridiculously simple treatment that will take fifteen seconds to prepare and five minutes to reap the benefits. Step 1. Take a banana out of the peel and run a large spoon from top to bottom of the husk until you strip it of it internal fibers. Mix that with a quarter-size amount of super cold Vaseline. Apply to your lids and the top of the eyebrow. Allow to set for five minutes and gently tissue off. You will be astounded how the loose skin firms and how wide-eyed you look. Make certain prior to make-up application that you take an icy washcloth or a refrigerated make-up removing wipe to remove the excess Vaseline.

Step 2. Macerate the fruit gently in a small bowl. Add one-quarter size amount of Vaseline. Freeze it for five minutes. Apply it under eyes. Allow to set for five minutes and gently tissue off. Wrinkles, lines and swelling will be visibly reduced and your foundation and concealer will glide on. Make certain prior to make-up application that you take an icy washcloth or a refrigerated make-up remover to remove the excess Vaseline.

A Cucumber Smooth Silhouette Yes, you can chill and take wafers and place them on puffy eyes, but that is not the main benefit you will obtain when harnessing this magical veggie for it’s beauty benefits. Step 1. Peel the outer skin of the cucumber. Just like a band-aid, identify your deepest wrinkles and dab some honey on that area and lay the thin sliver on top. Allow about ten minutes for the plumping effect. Step 2. In the morning, puree the remaining cucumber and add its super anti-inflammatory benefits to a glass of fiber water (flavored or unflavored). Continue to drink water throughout the day. Stop hydrating one hour prior to dressing for a slim, svelte silhouette.

Find more tips from Scott-Vincent Borba in his new book Skintervention: The Personalized Solution for Healthier, Younger, and FlawlessLooking Skin.dD

green 2010 |




by Sylvia Melendez-Klinger

Is organic food worth the cost?

You have heard all the noise about organic foods and are probably wondering if you should start adding organic products and ingredients to your grocery list. Allow me to give you the lowdown on organics or “natural foods” by answering the most frequently asked questions about them. What does it mean when a food or product is labeled organic? According to the Organic Trade Association (OTA), “organic” refers to the way agricultural products—food and fiber—are grown and processed. Based on a system of farming, organic food production maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. To maintain the integrity of the food, the use of artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation is minimized or excluded.

What does it mean when a food or product is labeled natural? Unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), foods with the label “natural” remain undefined, causing an even greater deal of confusion among consumers. Having the definition up in the air exacerbates consumer confusion regarding terms such as “natural,” “free range,” and “hormone free.” At the moment, when you see the term natural on a label, it could be interpreted in many ways–it could mean no artificial colors added, some organic ingredients used, minimal processing, etc. therefore, buyers should be aware that natural foods encompass many conditions.

Are organics really that much better for you? It depends. If you have a compromised immune system you want to consume more organic foods, which grow in safer soil. Also, if you like to consume a large amount of fruits and vegetables that grow in the dirt such as, lettuce, strawberries, or potatoes, then organics are probably a better option for you. On the other hand, do not feel that non-organic


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foods are unsafe. Non-organic foods are safe for consumption but know that they are grown differently so it is up to you if organics are worth the extra money.

How can I incorporate more organic foods into my own diet? Start by switching to foods that grow in the dirt. Here are the top twelve most “pesticide-laden” foods when grown conventionally, according to a study done by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research organization. Because they require more pesticides and artificial efforts to grow conventionally, the following foods are the most recommended organic foods to buy: • Pears • Peaches • Cherries • Strawberries • Potatoes • Apples • Raspberries • Spinach • Sweet bell peppers • Nectarines • Grapes (imported) • Celery The least “pesticide-laden” foods (and best to buy conventionally) are: • Broccoli • Sweet corn • Pineapples • Avocado • Mangos • Cauliflower • Bananas • Asparagus • Kiwi • Onions • Papaya • Peas For more information go to the OTA website:


heatsmartly The average American family spends $2,200 a year on energy bills, nearly half of which goes to heating and cooling. Depending on where you live, replacing your old heating and cooling equipment can cut your annual energy bill by more than $200. In addition to saving money, reducing energy use at home can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help fight climate change.

4. Use a programmable thermostat Regulate your home’s temperature while you’re away or asleep by using one of the convenient pre-programmed settings on a programmable thermostat. When used properly, programmable thermostats can save you up to $180 every year in energy costs.

1. Assess your home @

5. Look for Energy Star qualified products

Start with the Home Energy Yardstick to see how your home’s energy use measures up compared to similar homes across the country. Then, use our Home Energy Advisor to get recommendations for energy-saving home improvements for typical homes in your area.

Whether you are replacing light bulbs or appliances in your home, Energy Star qualified products can help you save energy and reduce energy bills. The label can be found on more than 60 types of products ranging from heating and cooling equipment to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Also, look to EPA’s Energy Star program for advice on other ways you can save at home such as using power strips as a central ‘turn-off’ point for electronics and office equipment, making sure computers and monitors are “powered down” when not in use and reversing the blade rotation on ceiling fans to help spread warm air around a room.

2. Seal air leaks in your home Sealing air leaks with caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping will have a significant impact on improving your comfort and reducing energy bills. If you are adding insulation to your home, be sure to seal air leaks first, to ensure you get the best performance from your insulation.

3. Maintain heating equipment Dirt and neglect are the number one causes of heating system failure. Maintain heating equipment by checking your system’s air filter every month and changing it if it is dirty. At a minimum, change your filter every 3 months. Also, schedule pre-season checkups of your equipment with a licensed contractor to make sure your system is operating at peak performance.

If every American household serviced their heating and cooling systems, changed their air filters, sealed and insulated heating and cooling ducts in unfinished areas, and programmed their thermostats for energy savings while they are away or asleep, we would save $14 billion in annual energy costs and prevent more than 160 billion pounds of greenhouse gases, equivalent to the emissions from 14 million cars.dD

green 2010 |


by Ruben Arvizu

laverdadverde The ABC(DEF)s of Green Living Provide Simple Solutions for a Healthier Planet

Well, here we are in a new year and also, a new decade. Hopefully, some New Year’s resolutions remain intact, like quitting smoking, losing weight, improving personal finance management, and living a healthier lifestyle. But there are other equally important universal issues to consider for this new decade, such as, improving the way we treat the environment of our common house—the beautiful blue Planet Earth.

We cannot expect that “something” or “someone” will come to fix the enormous variety of problems we face, such as more frequent floods and droughts, as well as unusual snow falls and deadly heat waves. Although there are still some who argue that global warming is natural and not caused by man, it is very dangerous to ignore the reports of prestigious scientists and renowned institutions that show that man has almost singularly impacted the environment negatively. At Decisive Latino, we’d like to share some simple green ABCs to help improve the environment and lower our carbon footprints. This doesn’t mean converting our homes to solar energy, although for those who can afford it, please do, but there are simple measures that if done en masse, can improve our environmental quality of life.


ct, do not merely bear witnesses. Write to your congressmen, news media, or start a blog to encourage green legislation and policies or to denounce actions harmful to the environment within your community. Lobby for curbisde recycling in your community and office recycling at your job. Join or contribute to organizations that fight for a better planet and a cleaner, more sustainable world (see our list of Latino environmental organizations).


e aware of new and environmentally friendly technologies that we can apply in daily life. Even small actions can motivate many to change their activities in a positive way. In June 2010, I pioneered the use of the iPad replacing printed scripts in my dubbing studio in Los Angeles. Now,


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many recording studios in the U.S. and other countries are doing the same, thus avoiding a huge waste of paper and ink.


ommunicate and share the positive ideas and actions that individuals or groups are utilizing for the environment. This exchange is necessary to encourage many more to act in defense of our communities. Together we can do a lot. But do not forget that the power of one is the engine that generates actions.


iesel is friendlier than gasoline because it requires less refining and is more fuel-efficient. New technologies make diesel burn cleaner than before. At Decisive Media, we chose the Volkswagen Jetta TDI as the

2010 Urban Green Car of the Year (pictured). Of course, this is not the perfect solution to our ecological nightmares, but the use of diesel-powered vehicles could help to avoid more air pollution while the hybrid and electric cars become less costly for general consumption. For those who wish to go boldly where no one has gone before, the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf, and Toyota Prius Hybrid Plug-in may be worth considering.


conomize the use of energy. Switch to energy-saving bulbs that will help to lower millions of tons of global warming pollutants. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, if every household in the U.S. replaced just three 60-watt incandescent bulbs with efficient bulbs, the pollution savings would be like taking 3.5 million cars off the road! This is a simple and wise action that represents a major difference. Plus, the use of these wonderful lights helps prevent mercury from being released into the air from coal-powered power plants. However, it’s important to note that they must be recycled, most Home Depots will take them, and not thrown in the trash to prevent trace amounts of mercury being released if broken.


orgo plastic whenever possible. Take reusable bags to the grocery story (many sell their own) and recycle plastic bags if you do use them. Even plastic containers should be replaced considering the research that shows that when heated, these containers leach chemicals into your food. According to the Environmental Literacy Council, plastics account for 25 percent of all waste in landfills when buried. However not all plastics are buried, many end up polluting the environment and harming wildlife. Incredibly, one of the greatest concentrations of plastic trash is a Texas-sized floating island of plastic debris in the north Pacific. Friendly attitudes toward the environment are a must if we want to continue living on Gaia, our Mother Earth. We are in a race against time, and this is not an apocalyptical cliché. As we look upon this New Year with a renewed, fresh perspective, we hope you will re-evaluate and consider even more sustainable alternatives. Over the next days, even little changes will add up to make a big difference. Let’s ask ourselves, what are the consequences of the choices that we make? Will this choice help ensure the protection of our world? dD

Latino Environmental Groups San Joaquin Valley Latino Environmental Advancement and Policy (SJV LEAP) 1515 E. Divisadero, Ste. 108A Fresno, CA 93721 559.851.LEAP (5327) National Hispanic Environmental Council 106 N. Fayette Street Alexandria, VA, 22314 626.627.1138 Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice 804 Park Ave SW Albuquerque, NM 87102 505.242.0416 People Organized in Defense of Earth and her Resources (PODER) P.O. Box 6237 Austin, TX 78762-6237 512.472.9921 Green Worker Cooperatives 461 Timpson Place The Bronx, NY 10455 718.617.7807 Environmental Coalition of Miami and the Beaches 210 Second St. Miami Beach, Florida 33139 305.534.3825

green 2010 |


a Nat ural Get away Written by Lillian Aviles

Venture to Hotel Eco Paraiso Xixim, a Remarkable Eco Paradise in Mexico

With the rise in all things eco-conscious, ranging from food to cosmetics, many hotels are catching the wave and implementing green technology and practices, not only to lessen their carbon footprint on the planet, but also to protect natural habitats. Hotel Eco Paraiso Xixim is at the forefront of this wave. This hotel is not only an extraordinary leader of green practices but has also developed a team of staff members that are devoted to protecting and showcasing their environment and culture.


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goes way beyond mere recycling!

The two hour drive from Yucatan’s Top photo: Hotel Eco capital, Merida, to this exceptionally “green” Paraiso Xixim’s solar boutique hotel takes travelers on a journey heating system. through colorful small towns surrounded Above: Flamingos by lush tropical vegetation, rivers, and a gather at the Celestún bio-reserve. The journey continues along a bio-reserve stretch of unpaved costal road to arrive at a very private piece of paradise. The owners and staff of the 32-room Hotel Eco Paraiso Xixim are dedicated to preserving the exotic and impressive flora and fauna that surround the hotel along with making as small of an impact as possible on the surrounding natural habitat. Only 1.2 percent of the 25 hectares of land, including five kilometers of sandy beach, have been developed. The extraordinary environmentally conscious practices implemented at Eco Paraiso include an “eco garden” that surrounds accommodations and public areas and uses no pesticides. Solar energy heats shower water and pools and towels and robes are made of organic biodegradable bamboo. Chemical-free pools use special bacteria-fighting filters and hardwood floors are made out of local and constantly reforested Zapote trees (which have a long history in Mayan construction). A clever energy saving design allows guests to enjoy this Zen-like destination without air conditioning or heating.

Thus, this hotel’s green mission goes way beyond mere recycling! Adding to the hotel’s mystique are eight bungalow-style master suites dispersed throughout winding gardens, allowing for the utmost privacy. These accommodations have king-size beds, ocean views, outdoor dipping pools, sunken living rooms, and indoor and outdoor showers. Additionally, the property boasts a new yoga/meditation space in a large thatched roof structure with gleaming hardwood floors, new massage cabins also in thatched roof structures (one for couples with an open shower), a juice therapy bar, and a new restaurant headed by the creative chef Elia Córdova featuring contemporary Mexican cuisine. Favorite dishes include grilled white fish with a smoky chipotle and mandarin sauce, shrimp lasagna with plantain, squash quenelles [vegetarian meatballs], and the creamy coconut mousse a-la tequila. Not to be missed, and only 12 kilometers from the hotel, is a tour of the neighboring Celestún bio-reserve with pink flamingos. Alex, the hotel’s expert ornithologist, guides guests on a breathtaking journey that begins at dawn at the bio-reserve park to view awe-inspiring exotic birds and flora. Next, guests arrive at the ancient Mayan port of Canbalam for a canoe-like boat ride to the petrified forest, through mangroves and thick vegetation to reach the Island of Birds and lastly, the area where the largest reserve of pink flamingos in the Yucatan reside. The best months to view these stunning creatures are December through March when they migrate to the warmth of Mexico for the winter months. For a real “green” getaway the Hotel Eco Paraiso has to be one of the most ideal properties and destinations to visit, for the amazing flora and fauna, the green hotel rooms and amenities, and a staff with a big green conscious heart.dD

Hotel Eco Paraiso Xixim Celestun, Yucatan, Mexico Santuario de Emociones Tel: 52 (999) 157 03 58

green 2010 |

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this hotel’s green mission


Written by Lyndon Conrad Bell

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Recycle Holiday Joy All Year Long


Fall 2010

Fall 2010

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Enjoy our light and delicious recipes for a four-course holiday meal

Volkswagen Jetta Tdi

2011 New Car Buyer’s Guide

AlSo INSIDE: > > > >

featuring the most fuel-efficient vehicles

BMW X3 Hyundai Equus Nissan lEAF 2011 Urban Wheel Award Winners

iNSidE: Our Experts Share Tips for:

Chevrolet Cruze Urban Car of The Year

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Every Body Needs A Seat Belt

Jeep Grand Cherokee Volkswagen Jetta TDI Urban Truck of The Year

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> Fashion trends for the holidays (p.4) > How to resist the urge to splurge (p.5)

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> How to decorate with a green purpose (p.8) > Gift ideas that will wow your special someone (p.9)

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The Best Source for Cultural and Consumer News

Spring 2010

¡Buen Viaje! We pick the top five Latino friendly destinations including Frida Kahlo’s Mexico City.

our experts show you: > A skincare regimen for a healthy glow on the road. (p.3) > How to prepare your finances before you travel. (p.4) > Tips to keep fit while on vacation. (p.5) A Newspaper-Delivered Consumer Publication

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Green 2010

The Chevy is Here!

Our exclusive first ride in the Volt plus the inside scoop from Chevrolet aerodynamicist Nina Tortosa.

also inside: Urban Green Car/Truck Picks we drive:

Hyundai Equus

Lexus CT 200h

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conócelo en 1 Visita para ver el mapa de cobertura. No disponible en ciertas áreas. 2 Visita para conocer qué teléfonos son compatibles con el vehículo. 3 Radio XM requiere de una subscripción que XM vende por separado después de los primeros 90 días. El servicio de Radio XM en los EE.UU. sólo está disponible en los 48 Estados Unidos contiguos y el Distrito de Columbia. Para más información, visita ©2010 General Motors.




The Best Source for Cultural and Consumer automotive News

Volume 2 | Issue 1 | green 2010

Publisher: Randi Payton Editor-in-Chief: Lyndon Conrad Bell.

On the Cover: 2011 chevrolet volt

Editor: Valerie Menard Editorial Director: Joyce Gates Art Director: Fran Sherman Editor-at-Large: Christopher Jackson Multimedia Managers: Thuan Ngo, Angel Giron


Decisive Media Headquarters: 8201 Corporate Drive, Suite 500 Landover, MD 20785 Tel: 301-850-2858 • Fax: 301-390-1825

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Latina Onboard By Valerie Menard We get an exclusive interview with Nina Tortosa, aerodynamicist on the Chevy Volt team, to get a behindthe-scenes look at how the car was developed. Plus, we share a first drive impression of the much anticipated electric car from General Motors.

Urban Green Vehicle Picks By Christopher Jackson Our auto expert selects the best green vehicles, from cars to trucks, for the urban lifestyle.

President & CEO: Randi Payton Vice President: Karen Payton Production/Distribution: Joyce Gates Business Manager: Damon Redmond Sales Director: Karen Payton executive assistant: Shirley Bell multimedia marketing: Rich Baron National Account Manager: Leonard Corbin Event Director: Rosiland Triché Content Specialist: David Payton Decisive Auto Latino magazine © 2010 is published four times annually as a newspaper-delivered publication and digital e-magazine by Decisive Media Your complete resource for research and opinion on consumer products and services

03 Editor’s Letter 04 First Looks

Index to Advertisers Cover II/page 1: Chevrolet - pg. 10: Florida Minority Community Reinvestment Coalition -

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letter from the editor

he United States Census Bureau has released preliminary statistics that foretell of even greater growth and significance for U.S. Latinos. AdAge recently reported that the 2010 Census expects to count a record 50 million Latinos, or one in every six U.S. residents, a 42 percent growth in the Latino population from the previous census in 2000, (by comparison, the non-Hispanic population will have edged up just five percent in a decade). Moving forward, it’s an opportunity for Latinos to consider carefully, the role we intend to play as consumers, voters, and members of planet Earth. May I suggest we start by lowering our carbon footprints? At Decisive Media, we begin the year with our first green issue for both Decisive Auto Latino (DAL) and Decisive Latino (DL). In DL (on the flipside) we offer tips for green living, from food to finances, that may sound simple, but take a commitment to be effective. In DAL, we offer car buyers green alternatives for an urban lifestyle. In Urban Picks: 2010’s Best Green Urban Vehicles (page 8), our veteran auto industry reporter, Christopher Jackson, presents his picks of alternative fuel vehicles to suit every lifestyle and need, from hybrid trucks to fully electric vehicles. The Nissan Leaf may be the first mass market version but more electric plug-in vehicles are on the horizon, a significant leap forward in the effort to lower carbon footprints. For the cautiously optimistic Latino green car enthusiast, the Chevrolet Volt, featured on the cover, makes a bold step forward, but with a safety net, i.e. a 1.4-liter gasoline engine. In Latina Onboard (page 6), we interview aerodynamicist Nina Tortosa, who shares an inside look at the role she played to improve

Photograph By Duncan Hamerill


a new era begins for cars, Latinos, and the planet

the Volt’s performance. We also review the Volt from a test drive at the launch held in Austin, Texas, one of five markets chosen to receive the first shipment of Volts. Gasoline prices, particularly after the November mid-term elections, have begun to climb. While consumers may have to accept the inevitable pinch at the pump, the auto industry is better prepared. Only two years after the last gasoline and diesel price hike, vehicles are even more fuel-efficient and gasoline alternative models have multiplied. It’s the start of a new year, and a new decade. Perhaps this time, Latinos will make this the “decade of the Latino,” that the 1980s were forecast to be. Or perhaps as our buying power increases beyond $1 trillion, we’ll make this the decade that Latinos invest in the planet by going green.

Si se puede, Valerie Menard DAL/DL editor

green 2010 |


firstlooks Chevrolet Camaro Convertible

The top-seller in its segment and among Latinos in 2010, the Camaro now comes in a topless model—the 2011 Camaro convertible. Adding flair to its muscle, the ragtop will open and close in 20 seconds with the push of a button and release/lock of a center latch. Launched in sunny San Diego, the convertible calmed concerns that engineering tradeoffs between performance, e.g. cowl and steering wheel shake, and fun would be evident. With an enhanced body structure, it handled confidently and more smoothly than a competitive model that was also on hand. Elegant on the inside and out, the Camaro comes a little better packaged than its siblings, with rear parking assist on all models, and sub-woofers for the standard AM/FM/CD/MP3-compatible stereo, in the trunk between the rear seats. Powered by a choice of two engines, a 312-horsepower direct injection V6 engine or the 6.2-liter V8 engine with 426 horsepower, the convertible comes with a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic is optional. Some wind noise was noticeable with the top closed but such is the challenge with convertibles. Pricing starts at $30,000 including destination. —Valerie Menard


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Chrysler 300

How do you redesign the most celebrated and recognized sedan in a decade? For Chrysler designers, the redesign of the 2011 300 full-size sedan was a choice between refinement and risk. They chose the former but while the outside reflects subtle changes, the interior boasts of them. The most noticeable improvements to the inside begin with its remarkably quiet ride. Technology like acoustic glass, underbody panels, and wheel well liners give the 300 an extraordinarily interior quietness. Benchmarked against full-size luxury imports, as well as its segment competitors, the 300 delivers elevated elegance with design cues like a light blue LED-illuminated instrument cluster, real wood accents, and a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 292 horses, the 300 should achieve an eight-percent improved fuel rating of 18 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. It still offers neat gadgets like heated and cooled cup holders and a brand new panoramic sunroof. Offered in four trim levels, 300, 300 Limited, 300C , and 300C AWD, the 300 has a base price of $27,195. —V.M.

Hyundai Equus

When are fashion and cars synonymous? Apparently, when the car’s price tag separates the haves from the have-mores. Hyundai hopes to hit that peak with its latest model, the 2011 Equus. Competing with big boys like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Lexus LS, the Equus will do so in Hyundai style by offering a tremendously well outfitted car at a price that even the haves can afford. Bearing its own exclusive hood ornament, the Equus is powered by a 4.6-liter V8 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Driving through traffic in a suburb of Miami, the sedan’s air suspension gave it a luxury boat ride, comparable to its competition. The Equus’s interior starts with real wood accents, high quality leather seating with French seamed stitching on the dash, and a suede headliner. Creature comforts that some of the competition still consider options, e.g. a heated steering wheel and rear seat, are standard on the Equus. One of my favorites was the massage feature on the driver’s seat. Available in two trim levels, Signature and Ultimate, the base price on the 2011 Equus is $58.000. —V.M.

Kia Optima Turbo

Kia’s innovative 2011 Optima welcomes a sporty sibling to its lineup, the Optima Turbo. Delivering V6 power with a four-cylinder engine, the 274 horsepower turbo will be available on EX and SX models. Mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission, the 2.0-liter turbo GDI offers an EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy of 22/34 mpg. There is also an ECO indicator in the gauge cluster, standard on EX models and higher, that notifies drivers when they’re driving in a fuel-efficient manner. Segment firsts include a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, and ventilated front seats. The standard cooled glovebox gives Optima buyers an added perk. Upgrading to a turbo model also includes fancier creature comforts like dual-zone air conditioning and leather seats. Chrome handles and a unique front grille accentuate the outside. The instrument panel is contoured toward the driver to provide a cockpit feel, with precise gauges and controls. A six-way adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support and illuminated vanity mirror further expand the cabin’s luxurious qualities. Pricing for the 2011 Optima Turbo starts at $25,190. —V.M.

Fiat 500

Despite its diminutive size, the 2012 Fiat 500 is a humongous deal for the new Chrysler, which expects to sell 50,000 of them the first year. After spending a day with the Fiat that seems more than plausible. It’s cute, and Americans will buy cute cars. The 500’s delightfully egg-like shape, fronted by a mustachioed face sporting a goofy grin is going to attract people like an electromagnet in a bag of needles. Add to that an interior that was obviously styled by Italians, and the car comes to market with a distinctive style and a playful attitude that will make people stop, stare, and smile. Powered by a 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine producing 101 horsepower and 98 ft-lbs of torque on premium-unleaded fuel with its five-speed manual transmission, the 500 should achieve a city/highway fuel economy of 30/38 mpg. A six-speed automatic is available. Used for quick jaunts around the city, issues like hard plastic on the inside and limited legroom probably won’t present themselves as much of a problem. On long road trips, these discomforts may manifest themselves. Pricing for the 2012 Fiat 500 starts at $16,100. —Lyndon Conrad Bell

Lexus CT 200h

When it comes to carving corners, this new 2011 Lexus CT 200h has serious chops. Problem is most people buying it will probably never test them. Instead, as most drivers attempt to merge onto the freeway for the first time, they’ll wonder why it takes so long to accelerate. In their zeal to make the second dedicated hybrid in their lineup more youth-oriented, Lexus engineers concentrated heavily on the suspension, and came up with a beautifully handling automobile. However, pulling the drivetrain out of the already marginally performing Toyota Prius and consigning it to haul around an additional 100 pounds of Lexus was a mistake. To their credit, Lexus officials admit this is an issue. However, they hope one would focus instead on the fact that this is the lowest priced Lexus ever ($29,120 MSRP), as well as the most fuel-efficient. It’s expected to achieve 42 mpg on the highway. What you won’t give up is the outstanding attention to detail Lexus products are known for. Nicely appointed, the interior of our test car boasted a two-tone color scheme that was particularly attractive. A specific point of pride for Lexus is the fact the entire interior of the car is recyclable. -LCB

green 2010 |


latina onboard Aerodynamics engineer Nina Tortosa meets her biggest challenge, the 2011 Chevy Volt Written by Valerie Menard


hat’s it like to be part of the team charged with building a vehicle that’s considered a paradigm changer? Words like “exciting” and “challenging” might describe the experience but aerodynamicist Nina Tortosa gives us a personal look at what she’s accomplished with her work on the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.

Born in Barcelona Spain to Pedro Tortosa, a chemical engineer, and Nina Boonacher, a Dutch landscape architect, Tortosa, 36, is the oldest of two (she has a younger brother). Eventually the family landed in the United States, settling in Minneapolis when Tortosa was eight. With technically minded parents (her grandfather was also an engineer), it seems natural that she set her sights on an engineering career. She remembers watching the first shuttle launch in 1982 while the family still lived in Denmark, and wondering, “Why is it taking so long to launch?” With dreams of becoming an astronaut, she enrolled at the University of Minnesota as an astrophysics major. An encounter with quantum mechanics however, convinced her to change majors. She eventually earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering. After completing her master’s, she considered pursuing a Ph.D. but she also knew she wanted to work in the aviation, boating, or auto industries. “Cars were a natural fit for me. I thought if could work in a wind tunnel and improve aerodynamics on cars, that would be cool,” she admits. She joined General Motors shortly after completing her master’s degree—she had already worked as an intern in the industry for two years— and joined the Volt team before it debuted in 2007 as a concept. Here’s her story. DAL: How long have you worked on the Volt? Tortosa: I started before it was shown as a concept in 2007 at the North American International Auto Show. I began by doing computational flow dynamics, computer modeling, and what-ifs analysis. After the debut, I started doing aerodynamics work applied to the program. It was a natural transition. I’ve done aerodynamics testing for ten years in all.” DAL: As a game-changing alternative fuel vehicle, how important is aerodynamics on this vehicle? Tortosa: On overall fuel economy, lowering drag has a much bigger role with the Volt than a traditional vehicle. Because we’re working with a battery, it’s much heavier. When you change mass or aerody-


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namics, the percent change is greater on electric vehicles than regular ones. If you can improve by x percent in aerodynamics on an electric vehicle, you have a greater impact on fuel economy than the same percent in mass reduction. DAL: What were your greatest challenges? Tortosa:The biggest was meeting the aggressive drag requirement we set forth. It was all about fuel economy and assuring we could deliver the 25-50 mile electric range. I know what makes something aerodynamic, the rules are the same, but the car had to look good. We had to work with designers to achieve both without compromising. It’s a huge challenge. I spent 100s hours in the wind tunnel.

DL: What are the most significant aerodynamic features on the Volt? Tortosa:The front grill is closed up. Any flow we can divert reduces drag, if it goes through it creates drag. The front air dam is the biggest aeroenabler. From start to finish, it contributed seven miles of electric and 50 miles of gas range. On the back end, we added sharp trailing edging to control how the flow separates. About 10 percent of drag is friction and the other 90 percent is pressure drag—high pressure in front, low in back. If you minimize pressure difference, you reduce drag. We achieved the lowest coefficient of drag (per SAE J2881) on a sedan that Chevy’s ever made. DL: What’s your greatest reward? Tortosa: Meeting the requirements that we set forth, which were very aggressive, that’s quite an achievement for me. I like hearing when people get excited about it. Talking to the general public, getting feedback, that’s bigger. This is an evolution in the automobile, it’s the next step. I’d love to see all electric vehicles all the time. The Volt bridges the gap. DL: What do consumers need to understand about the Volt? Tortosa: There’s a concern about cost, is it worth it? It’s analogous to organic food. We appreciate what it means and what it does for our health. It costs more but it’s worth it. We buy organic food because it’s healthier not cheaper. We built the Volt because it’s healthier for the planet. DL: Future plans? Tortosa:I can’t talk about them because they’re still under development but definitely, more cars.

The Volt Hits the Road From the moment it appeared as a concept in 2007, the Chevrolet Volt sparked imaginations. Now that the concept is a reality, can we really make the leap from gasoline to electricity? Equipped with a range-extending gasoline engine, the Volt flirts with that idea. At the launch held in Austin last December, I had the chance to hit the road in a Volt along sections of the Texas Hill Country. The feeling of driving a prototype, aka science project, was hard to shake but as the day progressed, the Volt’s potential emerged. Its low center of gravity gave it a solid feel on curves and the addition of a Sport setting also improved performance. While original predictions estimated the range on a fully charged battery would be 40 miles that has changed to 25–50 miles depending on several conditions. I began with a charge for 32 miles, however, conservative driving, easy to monitor on the digital IP panel, extended my range by a few miles. To charge the Volt, owners will be encouraged to install a 240V plug in their homes to speed up charge time to 4–6 hours. An external charging station sold as an aftermarket item will cost $490. The traditional 120V plug can still do the job but will need 10-12 hours. The power chord that will allow owners to charge the Volt at home is included. Techno-forward features like a capacitive touch center console that senses touch in order to engage controls as opposed to a push button operation, and the blue illuminated power button for ignition, accentuate the interior. The Volt comes with power windows but don’t expect power seats—the added mass for the technology was not considered feasible. A four-seater, the Volt’s hatchback will allow for cargo carrying and the seats easily engage to fold flat. Priced at $41,000, government tax credits will drop the price by $7500. Some may say the Volt was overly hyped. I drove approximately 36 miles on electric power and an additional 70 with gasoline. Real world driving conditions will probably be similar. Not as bold as a plug-in, the Volt is still a game-changing leap forward, but with a safety net. –V.M.

green 2010 |


urbanpicks 2010’s Best Green Urban Vehicles Written by Christopher L. Jackson


hen choosing vehicles for an urban environment, a different set of criteria comes into play. In order to help readers make the best purchase decision for their particular cir-

cumstances, our panel of automotive experts selects the best urban automobiles in each consumer category every year.

“Most people drive their cars in and around cities, never reaching top speeds or worrying about how quickly their car runs the quarter-mile.” says publisher, Randi Payton. He continues, “Urban drivers have unique needs,

features like maneuvering in crowded traffic, stopping quickly, avoiding collisions, damagefree parking, and a tight turning radius are all important characteristics of a good urban vehicle.”

Each year, the manufacturer’s products are evaluated according to those criteria by the Decisive automotive expert panel to name the Urban Picks. What follows are our picks of the best “green” vehicles for urban drivers.

Best Urban Electric Pick: Nissan Leaf Nissan’s all-new full-electric stands out by virtue of its range of luxury-car like features, including a navigation system and LED headlamps. This fivedoor hatchback offers real-car abilities in an all-electric package. Range is average for electrics, about 100 miles, and the styling is unique but conventional enough that the Leaf doesn’t look out of place on the streets. Nissan has also priced the Leaf within reach of the average consumer, in the low $30,000 range.

Best Urban Electric Hybrid Pick: Toyota Prius The Prius has been the gold standard in the hybrid market almost since its introduction in 1997. Its efficient, effortless operation and reliability were enhanced for 2010 by the introduction of the more luxurious and betterdriving third-generation model, which adds new options and improves upon the bare-bones ergonomics of its predecessors. The improvements are worth the additional cost over the similar Honda Insight. The styling is still designed to let the neighbors know you’re rolling a hybrid-electric.


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Best Urban Hybrid Truck Pick: Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid

Best Urban Electric Hybrid Pick: Ford Fusion Unlike many hybrids, the Fusion Hybrid hides its alt-fuel vehicle status well. Apart from a few subtle badges, there are no indicators that it’s a hybrid. From the driver’s seat the experience is much the same; the Fusion Hybrid accelerates and stops just like its conventionally powered siblings, and offers the same level of comfort and drivability as well. For buyers who want to save fuel but worry about making too much of a ``green`` statement, this is your ride.

Best Urban Diesel Car Pick: Volkswagen Golf The Golf remains one of the least costly ways to get into a diesel product, and for first-time diesel buyers, it’s a great choice. Volkswagen’s proven direct-injection turbodiesel operates as smoothly as any gasoline engine, and the copious torque makes around-town driving effortless. The diesel Golf is quiet, and its compact hatchback body makes it a nearly perfect around-town errand-runner. It shares its fun-to-drive chassis and responsive handling with the rest of the Golf/Jetta lineup as well. All this, plus fuel economy in the 40s and a starting price under $23,000? Sounds like an Urban Pick to us.

Best Urban Diesel SUV Pick: Mercedes ML350 Similar in numbers to the Volkswagen Touareg TDI, Mercedes` dieselpowered M-Class stands out by offering a better warranty, just a bit more interior room and nimbler, light-footed handling. Mercedes` attention to detail and comfortable appointments are enough to justify the price premium Mercedes charges compared to the VW, and the ML350 actually costs less than the diesel-powered BMW X5 and Audi Q7.

green 2010 |

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The only hybrid-electric pickup on the market gives up almost no ability in exchange for a significant improvement in fuel economy. The Silverado Hybrid can still tow and haul like a truck, and has Chevy’s big-truck good looks as well. There’s a bit of a price premium, but when it comes to fullsize, fuel-efficient pickups, the Silverado is effectively a class of one.



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