Stay Safe on the Road With NHTSA's Winter Driving Tips

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New York, Boston and well, basically all of the Northeast, are hunkering down as the first blizzard of 2015 pounds the area.

Related: Get Winter-Ready for the Road

With more than 6,000 flights canceled and Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island declaring states of emergencies, it's clear that this blizzard isn't being taken lightly.

While no one should be driving in this weather — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered nonessential vehicles, including cabs and food-delivery bicycles, off of city streets by 11 tonight — here are some tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration just in case you do have to head out in snowy conditions. But really, just stay home.

By Jennifer Newman | January 26, 2015 | Comments (0)

Where's the Cheapest Place to Insure Your Car?

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Car-insurance rates depend on a litany of factors: driving record and claim history, gender, age, marital status and more. Then there's the elephant in the room — location, location, location. That alone can multiply your rates by nearly eightfold, according to a new study by CarInsurance.com. The Foster City, Calif., insurance comparison site compared rates across six major auto-insurance carriers for a 2014 Honda Accord with a 40-year-old male owner who commutes 12 miles per day and has a clean record and good credit, with typical policy and deductible terms.

Related: Detroit Tops U.S. In Car Insurance Costs

The result? Detroit's 48227 ZIP code has the highest annual rate by a lot, averaging annual premiums of $5,109. That's 130 percent more than Michigan's average, according to CarInsurance.com. But just 102 miles south, Green Springs, Ohio's 44836 is the cheapest ZIP code in America, averaging just $647 for the same coverage.

New York City's Brooklyn borough's 11226 ZIP code and Philadelphia's 19132 ZIP code round out the priciest locales, while Arden, N.C., and Saco, Maine, join Green Springs in discount territory. Want to know the priciest and cheapest ZIP codes, according to CarInsurance.com? Read on.

By Kelsey Mays | January 26, 2015 | Comments (0)

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S Starts at $130,825

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Mercedes-Benz has announced pricing for the all-new 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S coupe, set to arrive in showrooms in April. The more powerful GT S version of the coupe will start at $130,825 including destination; Mercedes has not yet announced pricing for the base model, which will not arrive until spring of 2016.

Related: 2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT: First Look (43 Photos)

The S trim comes with a number of standard features, including Nappa leather, keyless start, the Comand multimedia system, automatic park assist, an adaptive suspension, LED headlights, heated power performance seats, a backup camera, red painted brake calipers, a forward collision warning system and the premium Burmester sound system. It will also feature standard 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels, as well as the more powerful version of the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 engine, producing 503 horsepower and 479 pounds-feet of torque.

By Aaron Bragman | January 26, 2015 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2014-15 Toyota Prius V

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Vehicles Affected: Approximately 5,000 model-year 2014-2015 Toyota Prius V hybrids manufactured Nov. 7, 2013, through Jan. 7, 2015

The Problem: In these vehicles, the occupant classification system may not have been calibrated correctly. As a result, the passenger air bag may not deploy in a crash, increasing the risk of injuries.

The Fix: Dealers will recalibrate of the OCS system for free.

What Owners Should Do: Toyota will being notifying owners Feb. 15. Owners can call Toyota at 800-331-4331 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 for more information.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

More Recalls

By Jennifer Geiger | January 26, 2015 | Comments (0)

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Video

Cars.com reviewer David Thomas says shoppers looking for a well-rounded family car should look no further than the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. In fact, Cars.com just named Hyundai's crossover the Best New Car for Small Families. Check out the video for more.

Watch on YouTube

By Jennifer Geiger | January 26, 2015 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2014 Kia Forte

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Vehicles Affected: Approximately 87,000 model-year 2014 Kia Forte vehicles manufactured from Dec. 5, 2012, through April 17, 2014

The Problem: In these vehicles, the cooling fan resistor may overheat and melt; this could cause a fire. Several consumer reports of engine fires prompted the safety investigation but Kia says no related accidents or injuries have been reported.

The Fix: For vehicles produced from Dec. 5, 2012, through Jan. 27, 2014, dealers will replace the cooling fan resistor and multifuse unit for free; for vehicles produced from Jan. 28 to April 17, 2014, dealers will replace the multifuse unit only. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, owners of vehicles with a 1.8-liter engine will also have the engine control unit software updated.

What Owners Should Do: Kia will being notifying owners Feb. 24. Owners can call Kia at 800-333-4542 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 for more information.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

More Recalls

By Jennifer Geiger | January 26, 2015 | Comments (0)

Nine Things About the Jeep Cherokee's Nine-Speed Transmission

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One of the most ambitious features of the Jeep Cherokee's rebirth in 2014 was its standard and highly technical nine-speed automatic transmission from ZF Friedrichshafen AG. In fact, one of the reasons Cars.com purchased the redesigned Cherokee as a long-term test car was to test this new unit during a year of driving.

Related: Follow Cars.com's Long-Term Fleet

The nine-speed is big news for lots of reasons. First off, it's innovative: The Cherokee is one of the only SUVs to use such a transmission and to cram nine gears in the limited space of a front-wheel-drive transmission, it uses a unique construction. Secondly, the little sucker delayed the Cherokee's launch for months as Jeep worked out powertrain programming issues.

After 14,000 miles of owning a four-cylinder Cherokee with all-wheel drive, here are nine things we've observed about our Jeep's nine-speed automatic transmission:

By Joe Bruzek | January 26, 2015 | Comments (6)

What You Need to Know About the 2016 Kia Sorento

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Kia has redesigned its midsize crossover in hopes of swaying more families to the brand. Here are some vitals:

 

Snapshot

  • Starting price: $25,795, including a destination fee
  • Competes with: Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder
  • On sale: Now

 

What We Like

  • Grown-up interior refinement
  • Seating comfort
  • 8-inch touch-screen
  • Cargo room
  • Access to third row

 

What We Don't

  • Second row too low
  • Styling still conservative

 

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Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By David Thomas | January 26, 2015 | Comments (0)

NHTSA Spotlight Could Hasten Spread of Auto-Braking Systems

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Forward collision warning systems are now available on cars as affordable as the Ford Focus and Mazda3, but a new spotlight from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration could hasten their spread. On Thursday, NHTSA announced plans to add more collision-mitigation technologies to its list of recommended features in the government's five-star crash-test ratings.

Related: Number of IIHS Top Safety Picks Spike for 2015

It follows the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's recent move to require the availability of forward collision warning systems with effective auto-braking for its highest award, Top Safety Pick Plus. Under the "recommended technologies" section next to each car's five-star crash-test ratings, NHTSA will highlight systems that automatically brake just before a collision or add braking if you don't brake hard enough.

The features, respectively dubbed crash imminent braking (CIB) and dynamic brake support (DBS), are part of what NHTSA calls automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems. The acronym soup targets more specific action than the larger umbrella of forward collision warning systems, which warn the driver but don't necessarily auto-brake. According to IIHS, more than 51 percent of 2015 models offer forward collision warning as standard or optional, but just 27 percent pair that with auto-braking.

By Kelsey Mays | January 23, 2015 | Comments (2)

Partnership Aims to Create EV Charging 'Corridors'

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In a bid to try to mitigate range anxiety as a reason for consumer avoidance of electric vehicles, BMW and Volkswagen have announced that they're teaming up with EV charging station network provider ChargePoint to create new charging "corridors" along both the East and West coasts.

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

The goal is to have 100 DC Fast chargers installed in and between major metropolitan areas on both coasts. One section will encompass the Interstate 95 corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C., while the other connects the areas of Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. The goal is to space these chargers about 50 miles apart, or the average usable range of current EVs at highway speeds. Each station will consist of up to two 50- or 24-kilowatt 480-volt DC Fast chargers, as well as several Level 2 240-volt chargers. Users will access the charging stations via a ChargePoint membership, which allows them to scan a card and plug in.

By Aaron Bragman | January 23, 2015 | Comments (1)

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