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This Week in Ask.cars.com


This week at Ask.cars.com we dove into minivan seating arrangements and gave our thoughts on which has the easiest-to-configure flat cargo area. We also got a chance to show off a Cars.com original video of the 2008 Honda Ridgeline while answering a question about what changed in that model for 2008.

By Joe Bruzek | August 31, 2007 | Comments (2)

First Drive: 2008 Suzuki SX4 Sport


Following last year's debut of the SX4 hatchback, Suzuki has a new sedan version of the car, dubbed SX4 Sport, for 2008. Suzuki bills the Sport as a value-oriented yet sporty compact car, and after driving it for a day on winding country roads in northern Michigan, that statement rings true.

The sedan carves confidently through fast, sweeping turns with minimal body roll, and steering effort is relatively light; the Sport responds eagerly to your command, which furthers its sporting nature. Large 17-inch wheels and tires are standard, and the Sport is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 143 hp and 136 pounds-feet of torque. The engine provided decent power during the drive, but it's not a fire-breather by any means. It remains relatively smooth at high rpms, though the sound it makes near its redline doesn't encourage you to stay there for long.

By Mike Hanley | August 31, 2007 | Comments (26)

2007 Frankfurt Auto Show: 2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon


  • Competes with: BMW 3 Series wagon, Audi A4 Avant
  • Looks like: The old C-Class got anti-Botoxed, meaning more sharp lines and creases were added everywhere
  • Drivetrain: 268-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 with seven-speed automatic; 228-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 with six-speed manual or automatic; rear- or all-wheel drive
  • Hits dealerships: Sometime in 2008

We were impressed with Mercedes-Benz’s new C-Class in sedan form, and now we’re assured a wagon is on the way as well. The wagon as a class unto itself is dwindling fast in the U.S., but European automakers are still developing them. The C-Class Estate, as it’s known on the other side of the pond, has two distinctly different front grilles, just like the sedan. The Sport model maintains a large emblem front and center, and the Luxury model features thin lines more akin to the larger S-Class.

The new C-Class wagon has almost 10% more cargo volume than the outgoing model. There’s also a standard collapsible shopping grate, which sounds useful even though we’re not sure what it is. There’s also an optional power tailgate and additional storage dividers. 

With this radically different new look, perhaps the C-Class will rekindle the motoring public’s love for wagons. More photos below.

By David Thomas | August 31, 2007 | Comments (7)

2008 Dodge Viper: More Power, Less Gas-Guzzler Tax


It’s hard to believe, but 2008 is the 18th model year for the Dodge Viper. Rather than showing liver spots as it ages, the Viper boasts some new-found energy for 2008: a healthy 90-hp boost thanks to an upgrade in the V-10 engine. It goes from a 510-hp 8.3-liter to a 600-hp 8.4 liter. Perhaps Dodge is feeding the Viper Viagra?

More startling than the power boost is the fact that despite adding more horses to feed, the Viper's $3,000 gas-guzzler tax has been whittled down to a mere $1,700.

Why? Because despite a zero to 60 mph acceleration time of less than 4 seconds and a top speed of 200 mph, the car's mileage rating rose to 13/22 mpg (city/highway) with the 8.4 liter V-10, up from 12/20 with the 8.3 liter. And those new numbers are the more stringent 2008 variety too.

Peter Gladysz, senior manager for powertrains for Dodge's SRT performance program, said improved engine breathing, reduced engine friction and a switch to variable valve timing "all fooled the engine into thinking it is really smaller than it is" so it burns less gas.

However it works, you can use the $1,300 savings to help defray the coupe’s $84,745 base price or the roadster’s $83,995 base price.

Or use it to buy a few gallons of gas.

By Jim Mateja | August 31, 2007 | Comments (8)

Mercedes Lets You Send Directions to Car


Have you ever used Google Maps to figure out your trip, then left the directions sitting on your kitchen counter? It happens to me all the time. Now, Mercedes is working with Google and Yahoo to get those directions sent to your car’s navigation system. The "Search and Send" feature will be available Sept. 5 in the 2008 C-Class, the S-Class sedan and the CL-Class coupe (similar features have been in use in European BMWs before now). The feature requires the Multimedia Package and a TeleAid subscription (which comes free for the first year).

To use Search and Send, just go to Google or Yahoo, find your location, then use a new "Send to Car" icon on either site to send that location to your car. When you get to your car, push the "i" button and the navigation system will download the destination to your navigation system for use immediately or later on. Pretty nifty.


Google Maps and BMW Team Up, in Germany, (KickingTires)

By Patrick Olsen | August 30, 2007 | Comments (1)

2008 Malibu Pricing Announced


The 2008 Malibu won't hit dealerships until mid-November, but Chevy announced pricing today for the new model lineup, which includes a hybrid version of the midsize sedan.

The base price of $19,345 is a more-than $2,000 jump over last year's base version and places the Malibu at the top of the price sheet above competitors like the Ford Fusion ($17,770 for the base model) and Toyota Camry ($18,570). Pricing of the new Honda Accord has yet to be announced.

The Malibu hybrid, which Chevy now says will debut at the same time as the rest of the lineup, comes in at $22,140 — about $3,000 less than the Camry Hybrid. Full pricing follows, not including a $650 destination charge.

Base LS: $19,345
1LT: $20,305
2LT: $21,985
LTZ: $26,345
Hybrid: $22,140

By Beth Palmer | August 30, 2007 | Comments (14)

Video: Cars.com Reviews the 2008 Volvo S80

It seems like just a few months ago that I was testing Volvo’s all-new S80 sedan. It had been redesigned from the ground up for the 2007 model year, and I was testing the V-8-equipped all-wheel-drive model. Wait a second, it was just a few months ago. In that amount of time, the 2008 has now gone on sale with an all-new engine option: a silky smooth turbo six-cylinder that impressed me more than the V-8. You can check out a video review of the 2008 Volvo S80 above and the just-posted full review below.

2008 Volvo S80 Expert Review (Cars.com)

By David Thomas | August 30, 2007 | Comments (1)

Hold On to Your Car's Sticker


What's the first thing you do when you drive your shiny new car home? Grab a razor blaze to get rid of that ugly sticker the dealer left on the side window — you know, the one that's creating a terrible blind spot when you pass?


If the window sticker — or Monroney label, as it’s called — hasn't already been removed by the dealer and placed in the glove box, you should carefully remove it, make a few extra copies in case one gets lost, and put them away for safe keeping in your bank safety deposit box or vault. Don't leave it in the glove box, where age and misplaced fries are going to ruin it.

The Monroney label is loaded with valuable information, from the serial number of your vehicle to where it was assembled. It also includes all items that came standard and all items that were extra-cost options on your new vehicle. That’s information that will be valuable later; the Monroney label is a printed DNA of your vehicle.

By Jim Mateja | August 30, 2007 | Comments (14)

VW iCar on the Way?


Some people in the Cars.com offices went out and bought an iPhone the day it was released. They love their shiny little phones, and now it seems they may have reason to run out and get a new VW if rumors about an Apple/Volkswagen marriage are true. According to various gadget sites, Steve Jobs and VW head honcho Martin Winterkorn met a few days ago to "plan an intensive cooperation with the building of vehicles."

We won’t go so far as to say there will be an iCar, as some have suggested, but we bet it’ll be along the line of Microsoft’s Sync system with Ford, where the computer-maker tries to integrate phone, navigation and entertainment into the car. We can see the “I’m a Ford, and I’m a VW” commercials already.

Steve Jobs and VW Chairman Talk iCar
(Gizmodo, image by Gizmodo)

By David Thomas | August 29, 2007 | Comments (7)

Volvo Tells You When You Need a Break


We’ve tested the latest Volvo safety innovations, like the company’s collision warning and blind-spot detection systems, but the company has a new one on the way for the S80, XC70 and V70 models later this year: Driver Alert Control. The system will monitor driving behavior and suggest when the driver should take a break to either rest or refuel on caffeinated beverages.

Volvo Adding New Safety Features to S80, XC70, and V70 Automobiles (Engadget)

By David Thomas | August 29, 2007 | Comments (11)

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