What Cars Are Included in the Takata Airbag Recall?

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This week saw the latest expansion of airbag recalls that began 18 months ago from Japanese supplier Takata Corp. and is now linked to at least four deaths. As of today, the recall affects some 7.8 million vehicles in the U.S. from 10 automakers based in three continents. The bulk of them — 5 million — are from Honda. Takata issued a statement earlier this year that noted the incidents of airbag malfunction — where a faulty inflator can send metal and plastic shrapnel into occupants if the front passenger airbag deploys in a crash — have occurred in warm areas like Florida and Puerto Rico, and it suspects that high humidity plays a role in the problem. Returned airbags from Toyota confirmed as much, USA Today reports.

Related: NHTSA Urges Quick Fix of Defective Airbags

USA Today reports most owners should have already received recall notices by now, and some automakers — namely, Toyota and BMW — have advised keeping the front passenger seat clear of occupants until a dealer inspects the car for a faulty inflator and, if there is one, replaces it.

What cars have been recalled? And what should you do if you get a notice? We've compiled everything we know so far below:

By Kelsey Mays | October 23, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Toyota Camry Review

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"The redesigned 2015 Toyota Camry looks a little different but feels and performs the same as the old one — meaning the best reason to buy a new one is because you like the one you already have," said Cars.com reviewer Aaron D. Bragman. Check out Bragman's review for more.

2015 Toyota Camry Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Aaron D. Bragman

By Matt Schmitz | October 23, 2014 | Comments (0)

Subaru Updates XV Crosstrek for 2015

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Subaru continues to roll out its camera- and radar-based safety system; the XV Crosstrek is next in line to get the automaker's EyeSight safety system for 2015. The driver-assistance package integrates adaptive cruise control, precollision braking and lane departure warning. Subaru also updated the wagon's multimedia system this year, replacing the small, outdated touch-screen unit with a choice of two larger, freshly designed systems. 

Related: 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Review

Model-year 2015 XV Crosstrek 2.0i, 2.0i Premium, 2.0i Limited and XV Crosstrek Hybrid base and Touring trims are again available for 2015; EyeSight is available on the 2.0i Premium model. A new 6.2-inch touch-screen multimedia system and backup camera join the cabin in 2.0i, 2.0i Premium and XV Crosstrek Hybrid models. It integrates Subaru's Starlink smartphone system with Aha, Pandora and iHeart Radio apps. 

By Jennifer Geiger | October 23, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Ford C-Max Energi Real-World Cargo Space

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The two versions of Ford's C-Max — the Hybrid and Energi plug-in hybrid — drive similarly but the Energi sets itself apart with its ability to drive an EPA-estimated 20 miles on electric power alone. The Energi's extra stamina comes from a larger lithium-ion battery stuffed in the cargo area that unfortunately, eats into cargo volume; the resulting space is much smaller than the hybrid version's.

Related: 2014 Ford C-Max Energi Review

Cars.com reviewer Aaron Bragman says in his review that "The C-Max Energi replaces the normal hybrid's 1.4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack with a much larger, 7.6-kwh battery in the cargo area, which does indeed cut into the rear storage area. It also eliminates the regular C-Max's flat floor when the rear seats are folded."

The C-Max's cargo volume decreases from the Hybrid model's 24.5 cubic feet to 19.2 cubic feet behind the backseat of the C-Max Energi. Below, see how well common items fit in the C-Max Engergi's cargo area.

By Joe Bruzek | October 23, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Chrysler 200 Real-World Fuel Economy

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Chrysler's new 200 sedan is a dramatic improvement over the outgoing model, but it would almost have to be — the old Chrysler 200 (neé Sebring) was one of the most awful new cars on the market. But the new one is quite good, with its top-notch interior appointments, attractive styling, unique powertrains and class-leading multimedia systems.

Related: 2015 Chrysler 200 Expert Review

Comparisons of expected fuel economy with the previous-generation 200 are difficult, as the new 2015 200 is a completely new vehicle, riding on a different chassis with a much talked about nine-speed transmission. When an example of the latest 200 landed in our Detroit office's test garage, we figured it would be a good opportunity to see what kind of mileage we could get on real-world roads.

By Aaron Bragman | October 23, 2014 | Comments (0)

Should My Kid Get the Hand-Me-Down Car?

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My son turned 12 this summer — right around the time my husband's car turned 14, which means the end is nigh (for my husband's car, of course, not my husband). It raised an interesting question: Will whatever we buy as a replacement — our next "second car" — go to my son once he's old enough to drive? If so, my son would push for a Dodge Challenger or Ford Mustang as the replacement for my husband's older car, but what should parents be thinking about when considering whether their next vehicle will become a kid's car somewhere down the line?

Read More #FamilyCarAdvice

It's National Teen Driver Safety Week, so we're on the case.

Related: Top 10 Used Cars for $10K

Parents first need to decide whether they will pass their current, aging car down to their teen driver or buy a new (or new to them) car for the teen.

Whatever you choose, there are good reasons to buy a brand-new car:

  • You get the newest safety features
  • There are no questions about the car's history
  • You get a full warranty
  • You can choose which features are important (to you, the parent) and which features you should skip for a teen driver (premium stereo, sport-tuned engine — I'm looking at you)

If you're getting a new car you will drive for a few years before it goes to your kid, it's easier to justify the cost. Likewise, if you're going to be driving the car first, insurance will likely be a bit lower by the time the kid gets it, after miles and years have been piled on.

By Sara Lacey | October 23, 2014 | Comments (1)

Why Do Many Teens Refuse to Buckle Up?

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One of my earliest childhood memories is loading up as a family into my dad's wood-paneled Jeep, and hearing, "The car won't start until everyone has a seat belt on." That, and if we wanted to turn the light on in the back, we had to blow on it really hard to wake up the little light-keeper woman that lived inside (thanks for that one, Dad). Because seat belt usage was so ingrained growing up, I've never gotten into a car without buckling up, which makes it that much more shocking that so many teens drive and ride seat belt-less today.

Related: Parents as Driving Instructors: What Works?

Statistics show that in half of all teen fatalities on the road, the teens were not wearing seat belts. What's scarier is that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a new report funded by the General Motors Foundation, Safe Kids Worldwide surveyed 1,000 teens and asked the question all parents want to know: What the @#$% were you thinking? Although, I assume they phrased it more politely.

The top reasons teens admitted to not buckling up on every ride?

By Kristin Varela | October 22, 2014 | Comments (2)

Scion Teases Los Angeles Auto Show Concept

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It's a Scion. It's sporty. And it's coming to the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show next month.

At the moment that's all we can tell you for sure about the latest concept car from Toyota's youth-market division. Scion this morning released two remarkably unrevealing teaser photos of the iM concept's front end, opening the floor for conjecture, speculation and presumption in the weeks leading to its Nov. 19 unveiling during the auto show’s press-only days.

Related: More Concept Cars

The L.A. Auto Show is open to the public Nov. 21-30, preceded by media and industry events Nov. 18-20. Cars.com will provide full coverage leading up to the show and from the floor. Click here for more 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show coverage.

By Matt Schmitz | October 22, 2014 | Comments (1)

Ford Drops Focus Electric Pricing Another $6,000

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Ford dropped the starting price for the slow-selling Focus Electric by another $6,000 for 2014 and 2015. Effective for all remaining 2014 Focus Electric hatchbacks, the starting price is now $29,995 including destination. The same sub-$30,000 price also applies to the incoming 2015 Focus Electric, which received some of the interior changes but not the visual updates or new steering wheel of its gasoline-powered sibling.

Related: More Electric Cars Than Ever, Still Not Available Everywhere

Those prices come before a maximum $7,500 federal tax credit, which means a Focus Electric could start as low as $22,495 if you have sufficient tax liabilities. That’s right in line with the Nissan Leaf, whose price dropped $6,400 in 2013. After applying the maximum tax credit, a 2015 Leaf starts at $22,360.

By Kelsey Mays | October 22, 2014 | Comments (1)

Defensive Driving Courses Teach Teens Needed Skills

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The basics taught in driver's education just scratch the surface of the driving know-how needed by teens, yet, shockingly, not every state requires teens to go through even basic driver's education before getting their driver's license. A Michelin Tire study of 1,000 teens across the country found that half didn't feel prepared when they got their driver's license.

Read More #FamilyCarAdvice

How do teens learn what to do if their car starts to spin, how to check their car's tire pressure and how big a difference a slight distraction can make while driving? These are the types of lessons that can be taught within the safety of a supplemental driving program.

Luckily for those of us with teens approaching driving age, or for those who already have their licenses, there are several teen driving programs around the country, ranging from free to low-cost. Here's a roundup of a few of the larger programs:

By Kristin Varela | October 22, 2014 | Comments (2)

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