2014 Buick Encore: Car Seat Check

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Space is at a premium in the 2014 Buick Encore, a compact crossover, but surprisingly, its smaller dimensions didn't negatively affect child-safety-seat installation. While we did have to move the front passenger seat forward to fit our rear-facing car seats behind it, our tester still had enough legroom to sit comfortably. That's in part due to the Encore's dash design, which is upright rather than jutting out into the cabin.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

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By Jennifer Newman | April 15, 2014 | Comments (0)

Which Luxury Cars Don't Recommend or Require Premium Gas?

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Want a luxury car without having to pay for premium gas? We can't blame you. As of March 21, a gallon of premium averaged $3.87 nationwide, according to AAA. That's 35 cents more than a gallon of the cheap stuff. Drive 15,000 miles a year at 25 mpg, and the premium, er, premium adds up to $210.

Premium Gas: Do I Have to Use It?

Luxury brands often charge extra — sometimes absurd amounts — for premium extravagances, and gas is no exception. Most luxury-car owners are accustomed to paying extra for premium fuel, which higher-compression engines often prefer. Still, most engines today can adapt ignition timing to account for less-than-premium gasoline at a slight cost to performance. That's why makers of many luxury cars that take premium gas merely recommend it for full power. Unless yours requires it — something that relatively few stipulate, even in the luxury crowd — you won't damage the engine by filling up with 87-octane.

But what if you want a luxury car that makes all its advertised power without any premium preference? We talked to company representatives, combed through specs and downloaded more owners manuals than we can count. And yes, we found a handful of luxury cars that actually recommend the cheap stuff.

Here they are:

By Kelsey Mays | March 31, 2014 | Comments (3)

2014 Buick Regal Review

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If you're in the market for a near-luxury sedan, Cars.com reviewer Jennifer Geiger says you'd do well to show the classy, respectably performing 2014 Buick Regal the admiration it commands. The compact-to-midsize sedan's lightly refreshed exterior, exemplified by its waterfall grille, lives up to the Regal's name, as does its comfortable, generally well-appointed cabin, nicely isolated from outside noise. You won't exactly find the large turning circle awe-inspiring, but for the price you may be willing to accept some less-than-regal attributes. Read Geiger's review below.

2014 Buick Regal Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Ryan Peterson

By Matt Schmitz | March 26, 2014 | Comments (22)

Recall Alert: 355 GM Sedans, Crossovers

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Vehicles Affected: About 355 Buick Regal, LaCrosse and Verano sedans and Enclave crossovers; Chevrolet Malibu and Cruze sedans and Traverse crossovers; and GMC Acadia crossovers — all 2014 models equipped with automatic transmissions.

The Problem: The transmission shift cable adjuster may disengage from the transmission shift lever, which could prevent the driver from shifting gear positions, and the indicated shift position may not represent the actual gear position. If disengagement occurs while the vehicle is in motion, when the driver goes to stop and park the vehicle, the driver may be able to shift the lever to the "Park" position, but the vehicle transmission may not be in the correct gear position; if this occurs, the vehicle could roll away, increasing the risk of injury to occupants and bystanders.

The Fix: GM will notify owners starting late this month, and dealers will inspect and replace any affected transmission shift cable adjusters for free.

What Owners Should Do: Chevrolet owners can call 800-222-1020, Buick owners 800-521-7300 and GMC owners 800-462-8782, or owners can call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.

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By Matt Schmitz | March 21, 2014 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 1.18 Million GM SUVs

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Vehicles Affected: Approximately 1.18 million versions of the 2008-2013 Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia SUVs as well as model-year 2009-2013 versions of the Chevrolet Traverse SUV and 2008-2010 models of the Saturn Outlook SUV.

The Problem: A problem with the wiring harness of the SUVs' seat-mounted side airbags could cause the service airbag warning light to illuminate. GM cautions that ignoring this light could eventually result in the non-deployment of the airbags and seatbelt pretensioners in a crash.

The Fix: Dealers will remove the driver and passenger side air bag wiring harness connectors and inspect and replace the affected parts for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call GM at 800-521-7300 for more information.

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By Jennifer Geiger | March 17, 2014 | Comments (1)

GM Announces Three New Safety Recalls

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The Detroit News reports GM will recall 1.7 million cars for new safety issues. The lion's share comes from 1.3 million three-row crossovers, including some but not all Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and now-defunct Saturn Outlook SUVs from 2008 to 2013. Side airbags, front-center airbags (later models) and seat belt pretensioners may not deploy in those vehicles if drivers have ignored the illuminated service airbag warning light over time. GM will also recall 354,000 2009-14 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size vans for instrument panels that don't meet safety standards to protect unbelted passengers, as well as 66,200 2013-14 Cadillac XTS sedans for brake-booster corrosion that could cause a fire.

More on GM

Of those cars, 1.48 million of the affected SUVs and vans are in the U.S.; it's unclear what portion of the XTS recalls are from here. GM CEO Mary Barra said the recall comes amid "an intense review of our internal processes" on safety. GM faces allegations that it knew about faulty ignition switches across six former nameplates that led to a dozen fatalities because of failed airbag deployments and the recall of 1.62 million cars worldwide. GM says no crashes or injuries are linked to today's recalls.

Our friends at the Detroit News have the full story. Click here to read more. We'll post more specifics as we get them.

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By Kelsey Mays | March 17, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Buick LaCrosse Cars.com Review

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If "slow and steady wins the race," the Buick LaCrosse may have a big victory in its future. Cars.com reviewer Mike Hanley says the 2014 version of the ever-improving full-size sedan has come a long way, particularly with regard to its well-controlled, luxurious-feeling ride; just-right acceleration; and seat comfort. It still has some catching up to do with fuel economy, as its available V-6 lags behind competitors, as well as visibility and brake feel. Read Hanley's review below and see if you think the LaCrosse is on the right path.

2014 Buick LaCrosse Review

By Matt Schmitz | February 10, 2014 | Comments (2)

2014 Buick LaCrosse: Car Seat Check

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Among a number of tweaks to the Buick LaCrosse for the 2014 model year, the full-size sedan received new seats. While we weren't able to fit three child-safety seats across its backseat, we did appreciate its five Latch anchors. While most cars have two sets of anchors in the outboard seats to meet a federal mandate, the LaCrosse has an extra anchor in the middle that allows parents to use Latch anchors to install a car seat in the middle seating position.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

By Jennifer Newman | January 2, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Buick LaCrosse: Family Review Checklist

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The 2014 Buick LaCrosse is likable. It's not lovable. It's not perfect for families, especially larger ones like mine. But, with an elegant and comfortable interior, a V-6 engine and a smooth, quiet ride, it's most definitely likable.

The 2014 LaCrosse has been refreshed, both outside and in. The exterior shape is rather ho-hum, though the addition of wing-shaped LED headlights and taillights adds some spunk. A new front grille includes active shutters that close at high speeds to improve aerodynamics.

I tested the LaCrosse Premium I with all-wheel drive and a 3.6-liter V-6 engine. With 304 horsepower and 264 pounds-feet of torque, this engine generates ample power. I drove a 100-mile stretch of mountainous terrain in foul weather, but the mountain passes and slick roads presented no problems at all. The LaCrosse with a V-6 gets an EPA-estimated 17/26/20 mpg city/highway/combined, and I averaged almost 20 mpg on my weeklong test drive. A mild-hybrid system — a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that's paired to an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery pack — is also available; it bumps up fuel economy to 25/36/29 mpg but reduces power.

By Courtney Messenbaugh | December 27, 2013 | Comments (1)

2014 Buick LaCrosse Earns NHTSA's Five-Star Safety Award

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The 2014 Buick LaCrosse has become the latest member of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's five-star safety club. Both the front- and all-wheel-drive versions of the premium sedan earned scores of five stars in NHTSA's frontal- and side-impact crash testing and four stars in rollover evaluations for an overall safety score of five stars. The scores were identical to those of the 2013 model, though the sedan was refreshed for 2014.

"Employing many advanced technologies — including the use of camera and radar — to help avoid crashes, the refreshed full-size sedan offers one of the most comprehensive collections of standard and available safety features in the segment," the automaker stated. "Helping the driver identify potential crash situations, visual, and audible or where available, seat vibration alerts are initially used by these systems."

Related
2014 Buick LaCrosse: First Drive
2014 Toyota Corolla Joins NHTSA Five-Star Safety Club
More Safety News on Cars.com

By Matt Schmitz | December 18, 2013 | Comments (1)

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