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 (1)

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)

2015 Jeep Renegade Video

Cars.com reviewer Mike Hanley says Jeep's tiny new SUV is both on-road friendly and off-road capable. Hanley likes the Renegade's rugged styling but isn’t impressed with all of its interior materials. Check out the video for more.

Watch on YouTube

By Jennifer Geiger | January 23, 2015 | Comments (0)

2015 Jeep Renegade Starts at $18,990

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When Jeep's rugged new subcompact crossover goes on sale in March, it'll start at $18,990, including a destination charge. The 2015 Jeep Renegade joins a growing group of tiny 'utes, including the Chevrolet Trax, Fiat 500X and Honda HR-V.

Related: 2015 Jeep Renegade Expert Review

The Renegade is based on the Fiat 500L and offers a choice of two engines; a 160-horsepower, turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder with a six-speed manual or a 180-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder with a nine-speed automatic transmission. The base price is for a two-wheel-drive Sport model; four-wheel-drive Sports start at $20,990. Two-wheel-drive versions of the 2015 Chevrolet Trax start at $20,995; pricing has not yet been announced for the 2016 Honda HR-V or the 2016 Fiat 500X.

Continue below for full Renegade trim level pricing (all prices include a $995 destination fee):

By Jennifer Geiger | January 23, 2015 | Comments (6)

2015 Jeep Renegade Review

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"Jeep purists might smirk, thinking the Renegade has a fitting name, but this subcompact SUV is no Benedict Arnold: It delivers big-time off-road performance in Trailhawk form without sacrificing on-road driving refinement," says Cars.com reviewer Mike Hanley.

2015 Jeep Renegade Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Mike Hanley

By Jennifer Geiger | January 22, 2015 | Comments (0)

GM Issues Stop Sale on Three 2015 Three-Row Crossovers

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A pending tire recall has prompted GM to issue a stop-sale mandate to dealers for three model-year 2015 SUVs. Approximately 6,000 versions of the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclaves are affected. The vehicles use Goodyear tires that could crack.

Related: More Safety News

According to the Detroit News, the tire recall will include about 48,500 Fortera HL tires that were made from Nov. 30, 2014, through Jan. 10, 2015. Click here for the full story from the Detroit News.

Cars.com photo by Kelsey Mays

By Jennifer Geiger | January 22, 2015 | Comments (1)

2015 Lincoln MKC Video

Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays says there's a lot to like about Lincoln's new premium compact SUV, including a luxurious, quiet interior and a composed ride. It should stack up well against competitors from BMW and Audi, Mays says. Watch the video for more.

Watch on YouTube

By Jennifer Geiger | January 22, 2015 | Comments (0)

Average Gas Prices Drop Below $2 in 27 States

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Gasoline prices continue to creep closer to a national average of $2 for a gallon of regular unleaded, a level not seen since March 2009, and one that many thought they might not see again.

Related: What Was the Best-Selling Car in 2014?

Oil prices account for about two-thirds of the price of gas, and U.S. benchmark crude remained below $50 a barrel Thursday, which is less than half what it was in June. According to AAA, the travel services organization, crude prices should remain low for all of 2015 because global supply is outstripping demand.

AAA warns that pump prices could increase this spring when refineries switch to pricier summer gasoline blends and seasonal demand picks up.

By Rick Popely | January 22, 2015 | Comments (1)

Cadillac to Reveal CT6 at the 2015 New York Auto Show

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General Motors' luxury brand is planning to make a big splash at the last big auto show of the season; Cadillac announced it will unveil its new CT6 sedan on March 31, the eve of the 2015 New York International Auto Show.

Related: Cadillac to Build New Flagship Sedan

The CT6 will be the brand's flagship sedan and positioned above the XTS; it will be the first vehicle to use Cadillac's new alphanumeric naming structure. The rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan will be built at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant and go on sale late this year.

Click here for more of the story from the Detroit News.

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Jennifer Geiger | January 22, 2015 | Comments (0)

New Laws Ban Smoking With Kids in Car

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I was having a conversation with someone recently whose 80-year-old father is currently sick with lung cancer. He smoked much of his youth, and when his son asked him why he even started smoking, he replied that it was simply culturally acceptable during that era: You'd sit down to talk to your doctor during your checkup, and the first thing he'd do was offer you a cigarette. It's shocking to hear that today when we're all too aware of the health dangers of first- and second-hand smoke.

Many drivers, however, haven't gotten the memo, or simply need some extra motivation to keep from lighting up in cars when children are present.

Related: More Family News

Virginia is the latest state to take anti-smoking laws one step further; it's trying to protect children from the dangers of second-hand smoke in cars. If the law is enacted, it would fine a driver $100 for smoking in a car with a passenger younger than 8. That money would go directly to help fund literacy efforts in Virginia. Cars are private property; is the state going too far?

By Kristin Varela | January 22, 2015 | Comments (6)

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