2014 Dodge Avenger Review

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Dodge's midsize sedan has been continually eclipsed by the competition in many ways, despite some improvements over the years, says Cars.com reviewer Mike Hanley. The Avenger may be one of the most affordable cars in the class, Hanley says, but its fuel efficiency and interior quality really need work. 

2014 Dodge Avenger Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Jennifer Geiger | April 24, 2014 | Comments (4)

Recall Alert: 2001-2004 Mazda Tribute

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Vehicles Affected: About 109,000 model-year 2001-2004 Mazda Tribute SUVs manufactured between May 22, 2000, and Dec. 19, 2003, and originally sold or currently registered in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia

The Problem: The vehicles may experience excessive corrosion at the forward attachment of the lower control arm. A separation of the lower control arm can result in a significant loss of steering control, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Mazda will notify owners starting in mid-May, and dealers will install a redesigned reinforcement cross-brace for free. Parts are not currently available, so owners will receive a second notification when the parts are ready. If owners bring their vehicles to a dealer before the parts arrive, dealers will inspect the subframe and decide whether the vehicle is safe to drive; if not, a rental vehicle will be provided.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Mazda at 800-222-5500, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit www.safercar.gov for more info.

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By Matt Schmitz | April 24, 2014 | Comments (0)

GM Begins to Replace Faulty Ignition Switches

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GM said Wednesday it has shipped "thousands" of new ignition sets to dealers for some 2.6 million recalled small cars (2.2 million in the U.S.) from the 2003-2011 model years. Dealerships are conducting the repairs right now, the automaker said.

GM Ignition-Switch Recall: What Owners Need to Know

GM mailed letters last week telling owners of 1.4 million 2003-2007 models to contact a GM dealer — that's Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet or GMC — and schedule an appointment for the recall work. Owners of more than 800,000 recalled 2008-2011 models will receive letters in early May that confirm their inclusion in the recall, with subsequent letters when those replacement parts become available.

The new ignition set, which includes ignition switches and cylinders plus new keys, can be installed in about 90 minutes at any of the automaker's 4,300 dealer service departments, though wait times could be longer depending on workload. Of course, one issue is just how many owners will comply.

By Kelsey Mays | April 24, 2014 | Comments (1)

2015 Dodge Challenger Video

Even amid a veritable pose-down of Detroit automaker muscle at the 2014 New York International Auto Show, the 2015 Dodge Challenger looked well-defined against competitors. Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays says the redesigned Challenger still sports that '70s shape, but a new split grille and smiley expression distinguish it from the previous model's single-piece grille and sourpuss. The biggest changes are inside, however, where "retro" becomes a thing of the past in favor of abundant soft-touch materials, tech upgrades, and surprising passenger and cargo space, making the Challenger a formidable contender. Watch the video.

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By Matt Schmitz | April 24, 2014 | Comments (0)

It's Distracted Driving Awareness Month: Put the Phone Down

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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This topic is particularly meaningful to my family this year, as someone close to us was involved in a distracted driving tragedy just weeks ago. While it always seems like something that happens to other people, nobody on the planet is immune. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2011 more than 3,300 people were killed and 387,000 injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. Even scarier: During any daylight moment, about 660,000 U.S. drivers use cellphones or manipulate electronic devices while driving, according to the 2011 National Occupant Protection Use Survey.

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So it comes down to this: You can either be the perpetrator of distracted driving, being tempted to take a quick peek at that text that just came in, or you can be on the dangerous or even deadly receiving end of someone else's distracted driving.

Every state in the U.S. participated in last year's Governors Highway Safety Administration's "2013 Distracted Driving: Survey of the States." One crystal-clear take-away from the survey is that no one has hit on a solution with which all parties agree.

And although the U.S. has increased its distracted-driving awareness and education campaigns, the terrifying reality is that we're nowhere near close to solving this often-deadly problem. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Americans continue to use electronic devices while driving, despite warnings that it causes their own driving to deteriorate and can lead to crashes, injuries and even death."

By Kristin Varela | April 24, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Car Seat Check

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Mitsubishi's smallest crossover is also the runt of the compact crossover class. The 2014 Outlander Sport is several inches shorter than competitors such as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, so it offers much less legroom. This was a big issue when installing child-safety seats, but it wasn't the only problem. Awkward top tether anchor placement also made installing the forward-facing convertible difficult.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

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By Jennifer Geiger | April 24, 2014 | Comments (1)

2015 Jeep Renegade Video

The 2015 Jeep Renegade is all-new, but visitors to the 2014 New York International Auto Show — where the subcompact SUV is bowing — will see a lot of familiar features. Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays says its boxy shape, Patriot-like lines and seven-bar grille show its Jeep pedigree. However, the Renegade's similarities to the Fiat 500L hatchback on which it's based reveal some family blending as the Italian automaker and Chrysler realize their landmark merger. Watch the video for more — especially the rather novel etching of Moab, Utah, topography into storage-compartment mats.

More 2014 New York Auto Show Coverage

By Matt Schmitz | April 24, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Fiat 500, 500C and Abarth Get Welcome Upgrades

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If you ask me, the Fiat 500 was already out of date when it made its U.S. debut in 2012. Its main liabilities were its interior quality and lack of Bluetooth streaming audio.

More 2014 New York Auto Show Coverage

After checking out the new lineup at the 2014 New York International Auto Show, I think Fiat has improved matters for 2015 with a couple of well-chosen upgrades.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | April 24, 2014 | Comments (1)

2015 BMW X4 Video

Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays is willing to refer to BMW's crossovers as the automaker-coined "sport activity vehicles" like Chicagoans are willing to refer to the Sears Tower as the Willis Tower — he's not. Despite BMW's attempt to be different in naming its crossovers, Mays says they all look alike, and the 2015 X4 is no exception. The X4 is shorter than the X6 and offers good backseat comfort, but comes up short on cargo space. Watch the video for more.

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By Matt Schmitz | April 24, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Infiniti Q70: Up Close

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Infiniti is making a play to take its products a bit further upmarket, making them nicer and more luxurious than outgoing models by focusing more attention on the interior appointments. The latest model to get that attention is the new 2015 Q70 sedan, unveiled at the 2014 New York International Auto Show.

More 2014 New York Auto Show Coverage

The brand's big sedan has languished a bit when compared to its competition, but this new redesign should finally turn some heads at valet stands everywhere.

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

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