Which Small SUV Has Best Rear Visibility?

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You can mitigate that pesky over-the-shoulder blind spot by properly setting your mirrors, but it always helps when a car has good sightlines to begin with. Five years ago at the Chicago Auto Show, we documented visibility in a slew of small SUVs. Of the 10 we checked out, the Subaru Forester's narrow pillars and tall windows made it the clear winner. The cavelike Nissan Rogue, meanwhile, pulled up the rear.

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The ever-moving target for aerodynamics is responsible for pulled-forward windshields and rakish rooflines, but cars can still be fuel-efficient — and meet roof-strength crash tests — without being a visibility nightmare. Case in point: The Honda Accord sedan ranked second in a mileage drive among its family-sedan competitors, thumped the group in our driver-visibility rankings and achieved top roof-strength scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. See, you can have it all.

What about these SUVs? The whole class has been redesigned since our last checkup, and I took my iPhone to investigate the mainstream players — all 2014 models — during the auto show. Check out my grades from best to the worst.

By Kelsey Mays | February 19, 2014 | Comments (13)

2015 Kia Soul EV Video

Kia's boxy hatchback was redesigned for 2014, and the automaker is adding an electric model to the lineup for 2015. Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays took a close look at the Soul EV after its debut last week at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show.

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Kia says plant-based plastic was used in 19 items in the car and that drivers can expect about 80 to 100 miles of range from the EV. The 2015 Soul EV goes on sale this summer in California and other select states. Watch the video for more.

By Jennifer Geiger | February 10, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Maserati Ghibli Photo Gallery (28 Photos)

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Hot off its TV debut in a Super Bowl XLVIII commercial, we got to take a closer look at Maserati's gorgeous, yet moderately priced new sedan at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show. Aimed at the BMW 5 Series, the new 2014 Ghibli starts at $66,900, a relative bargain for the premium brand. 

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The Ghibli is Maserati's first midsize four-door luxury sport sedan. Power comes from a Ferrari-sourced twin-turbo V-6 good for "over 400 horsepower," Maserati said in a statement. Check out the gallery for more photos; Cars.com photos by Evan Sears. 

By Jennifer Geiger | February 10, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Dodge Challenger, Charger and Chrysler 300 SRT8 Satin Vapor Edition Photo Gallery (29 Photos)

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OK, so Chrysler is offering this new Satin Vapor Edition for its iconic muscle-car lineup, which takes the special stripped-down, reduced-price Core models of the cars' high-performance SRT8 variants and options them up for an increased price. (Makes perfect sense … right?) These Satin Vapor Editions include the 2014 SRT8 versions of the Dodge Challenger and Charger, and Chrysler 300, all of which get 20-inch forged-aluminum wheels, satin black headlights and side mirrors, a gray 6.4-liter Hemi badge and red brake calipers. Inside they get Nappa leather seating with suede inserts.

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Those are the common features of all three cars, but each package — ranging in price from $1,700 to more than $2,300 — offers its own individual content and exterior colors. You can compare and contrast all three this week during the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, where the Satin Vapor Editions made their debut. Check out the photo gallery below; Cars.com photos by Evan Sears.

By Matt Schmitz | February 10, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Chicago Auto Show Winners and Losers

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There weren't many high-profile debuts at this year's Chicago Auto Show, but there was plenty to see. From an upscale yet pint-sized Winnebago to a Stanley Cup champion themed Chevy Camaro, show-goers will find plenty to check out. Among the auto show debuts, our editors graded them on their impact at the show and individual merits.

Kia Niro Concept

David Thomas: Winner
In a day and age when true concept cars are few and far between, the Niro (above) is very welcome. I love the outlandish hinged doors, color scheme and wheels, but if you look at some of the design elements, especially in front and back, I can see a future Kia Sportage in a few places.

Aaron Bragman: Winner
I'm a fan of small urban runabouts, and this one ticks all my boxes. I especially love the brushed metal upper surfaces, which will, of course, never make it to production. I also see some old Isuzu Vehicross in the overall shape, and that makes me happy, too. I look forward to seeing how this translates into a production car, which it almost certainly will, in some form.

Joe Bruzek: Winner
Looking nothing like a traditional weak-styled, pastel-painted hybrid concept, the Kia Niro's aggressive appearance and off-road-ready stance sound promising with the indicated powertrain. The 160-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine powering the front wheels and 45-hp electric motor powering the rear could be an interesting competitor to a Nissan Juke NISMO.

Mike Hanley: Winner
The Niro's lifted stance and compact dimensions look great. Tiny crossovers are showing up everywhere these days, and something like the Niro would fit in well with that trend.

By David Thomas | February 8, 2014 | Comments (6)

Where To Find the Concept Cars at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show

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Some of the most exciting, intriguing and unique vehicles you'll see at auto shows are, without a doubt, concept cars. However, automakers aren't churning out the wild concepts of old much these days, and you'll have to look hard to find any at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show. We scoured McCormick Place's show floor during the press days, leading up to the public opening on Saturday, and found seven concept cars. Yes, only seven even though there are 41 automotive brands with their own distinct booths.

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Here is a list of the seven concepts and where they are located within their various brand booths:

By Robby DeGraff | February 7, 2014 | Comments (0)

What You Can't Miss at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show

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First, let's start off with what won't be missed — those not coming to town for the 2014 Chicago Auto Show get to skip Chicago's latest bout of wet-blanket weather, a seemingly endless merry-go-round of heavy snow and subzero temps. Those who do brave the elements are in for a treat — several of them, actually. There's plenty to see at this year's show, from hot concepts to significant production vehicles.

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The 2014 Chicago Auto Show opens to the public on Feb. 8 and runs through Feb. 17 at McCormick Place, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive. Be sure to check out the redesigned for 2015 Subaru Legacy and Kia's futuristic hybrid crossover concept, the Niro. Continue below to check out the Cars.com editorial team's list of 2014 Chicago Auto Show must-sees.

By Jennifer Geiger | February 7, 2014 | Comments (4)

2015 Dodge Journey Crossroad Photo Gallery (24 Photos)

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Visitors to the 2014 Chicago Auto Show who are interested in the new trim level of the 2015 Dodge Journey will find themselves at a Crossroad. The SUV's midlevel trim wears exterior additions including black chrome trim on the grille, headlights, roof rails and front bumper. That's in addition to smoked headlights and taillight lenses, dark lower sill trim and 19-inch Hyper Black dark wheels.

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Standard interior features include leather seats adorned with a new pattern. The Crossroad is set to come to a dealership near you in the spring. Check out the gallery for more; Cars.com photos by Evan Sears.

By Matt Schmitz | February 7, 2014 | Comments (1)

Hyundai Unveils 2014 Veloster RE:FLEX at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show

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Hyundai's Veloster sports coupe has always been a fun little oddity, with its one big driver's door and two smaller passenger doors, and in turbo form, it can be quite entertaining to drive as well. To keep interest up between redesigns, the company has come up with a few specials editions, the latest just introduced at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show.

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The Veloster RE:FLEX is a follow-up to last year's RE:MIX special edition, and it will be only a trim, paint, and equipment package.

By Aaron Bragman | February 7, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Series Video

Thanks to Toyota's expansive indoor off-roading course at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, PickupTrucks.com Editor Mark Williams got to see the 2015 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Series in action conquering steep inclines, fording water obstacles and crawling rock. The true test of the special-package SUV won't come until we get behind the wheel and off the road ourselves, but in the meantime, Williams was able to take note of its new FJ Cruiser-style grille, aluminum skid plating underneath, heavy-duty shocks, aggressive-tread tires and TRD Pro badging.

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The otherwise basic interior adds a unique shifter, floormats and contrast stitching. Watch the video above to see the 4Runner tackle the indoor off-road track at the auto show.

By Matt Schmitz | February 7, 2014 | Comments (0)

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