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 (1)

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 (0)

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 (0)

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)

Cars and Leaves: A Fall Foliage Photo Gallery

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It's fall, and that means in some parts of this great country the leaves are changing colors, creating a picturesque backdrop for one of life's great pastimes ... driving through scenic backdrops of multicolored trees.

Related: Fall Colors and Cars Photo Gallery (2013)

Our editors have been doing their routine of testing cars in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado as well as a few other interesting locales this year as the fall colors started to turn. Check out the gallery below, and tell us your favorite places to drive in the fall.

By David Thomas | October 22, 2014 | Comments (0)

Nissan Bumps Pathfinder Prices for 2015

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Nissan's popular seven-passenger crossover got a host of additional standard and optional features for 2015, and all trims levels get a modest price increase. Base two-wheel-drive models of the 2015 Pathfinder start at $30,395, including destination — $300 more than the 2014 version.

Related: 2015 Nissan Pathfinder: What's Changed

The 3.5-liter V-6 and an updated version of the continuously variable automatic transmission continue to 2015; no word yet if the new-for-2014 Pathfinder Hybrid model will return for 2015.

New features this year include blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert on SL and Platinum models; hill descent control for all-wheel-drive Pathfinders; a 120-volt outlet on SLs; a dual panoramic moonroof on Platinum trims and the SV model gets fog lights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and heated side mirrors for 2015. Also new in the SL Tech Package is the Around View Monitor camera system as well as a tow hitch and harness. The SL Premium Package also gets an upgrade with navigation and the Around View Monitor system. Nissan also added a Family Entertainment Package for 2015 with a DVD entertainment system and dual 7-inch screens in the front row's head restraints.

Pathfinder S, SV, SL and Platinum trim levels in front- or all-wheel drive return for 2015; full pricing is below:

By Jennifer Geiger | October 21, 2014 | Comments (2)

DeLorean Motor Co. Takes Film Fans 'Back to the Future'

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Crazy to think for those of us who are old enough to have seen "Back to the Future" in its original run, but we've nearly reached that famed "future" date when Doc Brown flew Marty McFly 30 years into the future in a DeLorean time machine. Yes, one year from today will be Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, the date to which Doc and Marty jumped ahead on the space-time continuum, yet we're still waiting on those flying cars, hoverboards and power-lacing sneakers. One company, however, is making DeLorean time machines.

Related: Top 10 Movie Cars

Yes, you can travel back in time on a nostalgia trip in an honest-to-goodness DeLorean car courtesy of the DeLorean Motor Co., which continues to keep the short-lived, long-defunct brand running all these years later. It not only restores and sells traditional DeLoreans, the company outfits some to be replicas of the famed movie car ... at a price.

By Matt Schmitz | October 21, 2014 | Comments (3)

2015 Subaru Outback: Car Seat Check

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In its 2015 redesign, beloved family hauler the Subaru Outback continues to smartly straddle the line between a practical wagon and a rugged SUV, while getting subtle updates to its exterior styling, interior upgrades and improved fuel economy. Families will appreciate the new Outback's roomier cabin, cushier feel and an improved center storage bin that can hold larger items like an iPad. We last car-seat checked the Outback in 2012; that model proved as delightfully utilitarian as the vehicle's reputation. Can the 2015 live up to that easy-to-use, easier-to-love rep?

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

More Car Seat Checks

By Matt Schmitz | October 21, 2014 | Comments (0)

Parents As Driving Instructors: What Works?

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There will come a day when parents are the passengers and the kids are behind the wheel. Like all other aspects of parenting, it's good to remember that we are often not the first ones to teach our kids to drive, but because so few parenting books cover "Teaching Your Kid To Drive," we decided to write that chapter ourselves for National Teen Driver Safety Week.

Read More #FamilyCarAdvice

First off, teaching your kids about cars and safety can begin long before your child — forgive me, teen — gets behind the wheel for the first time. While they're driving, parents can discuss with their kids what's happening out on the road, what the street signs mean, why speed limits exist and how to look both ways when entering an intersection (even if you have the green light). My 12-year-old son and I recently had a conversation about what a protected left turn is. It was cool, and now he's always looking to see if there's an arrow and what color it is.

I talked to moms and dads of older teens to find out what kind of parent is the preferred driving coach and to gather tips. The panel is made up of parents whose kids have received their driving permits (so they can drive with a parent or guardian onboard) or driver's licenses.

By Sara Lacey | October 21, 2014 | Comments (0)

Dodge Prices 2015 Charger Lineup

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Hot on the 2015 Dodge Challenger's trail of burnt rubber comes its four-door muscle-car mate, the Charger. Chrysler has announced pricing on the newly updated Charger lineup — including the 707-horsepower SRT Hellcat — with the starting price of all but one model increasing by no more than $1,000. The base SE trim starts at $28,990, including a $995 destination charge. That's $1,000 more than the 2014 version, but Chrysler says it's the "most-equipped entry Charger model ever." The 2015 Charger is available in SE, SXT, R/T and SRT trims.

Related: 2015 Dodge Charger: First Look

Last year's SRT8 models are replaced by the SRT 392 and SRT Hellcat, the latter of which starts at a range-topping $64,990. Up from three in 2014, the lineup now offers four engines: the base 3.6-liter V-6, 5.7-liter V-8, 6.4-liter V-8 and the Hellcat's supercharged 6.2-liter V-8. For comparison, the 2015 Challenger starts at $27,990 with destination and tops out at $60,990 for the Hellcat, the 2014 Chrysler 300 starts between $32,390 and $50,926 for the SRT8 version, and fellow full-size sedan the 2014 Chevrolet Impala starts between $27,670 and $36,715 for the top LTZ style.

By Matt Schmitz | October 20, 2014 | Comments (0)

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