Recall Alert: 2014 Chevrolet Malibu, Buick LaCrosse

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Vehicles Affected: About 8,208 model-year 2014 Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse sedans manufactured between Jan. 29 and March 31, 2014, the majority of which GM says remain in dealer stock. It estimates that about 1,694 are owned by customers.

The Problem: According to a letter sent Wednesday by GM to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rear brake rotors may have been assembled into the front brake assembly. GM said the mix-up could significantly shorten front brake pad life and reduce brake system performance, increasing the risk of a crash. Brake performance is unaffected when the vehicle is new, but over time, higher heat generated by the thinner rotors will cause premature wearing, and the outer brake pad could disengage from the caliper bracket, causing the system to lose hydraulic integrity. This would cause the brake warning light to illuminate and additional brake application could result in a loss of braking power. GM said it is unaware of any crashes or injuries related to the problem.

The Fix: Owners will be notified via letter, and dealers will inspect the vehicles and, if necessary, replace the front rotors and front brake pads for free. Customers who have taken delivery of a potentially affected vehicle may request a courtesy vehicle until the inspection and repair are completed.

What Owners Should Do: Chevrolet owners can call 800-222-1020 and Buick owners can call 800-521-7300 for more info.

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By Matt Schmitz | May 8, 2014 | Comments (7)

2014 Buick Encore Video

Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays describes the Buick Encore's exterior styling as traditional Buick in front, forgettable beyond that. What will stick in people's minds, however, are a commanding seating position and premium interior touches — even the fake wood looks convincing. Watch the video for more.

More Buick Encore News on Cars.com

By Matt Schmitz | May 6, 2014 | Comments (2)

Recall Alert: 2014 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia

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Vehicles Affected: About 51,640 model-year 2014 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia crossovers manufactured between March 26, 2013, and Aug. 15, 2013.

The Problem: The engine control module software may cause the fuel gauge to read inaccurately, which could result in the vehicle unexpectedly running out of fuel and stalling, increasing the risk of a crash. In March, GM recalled 1.3 million of these same three vehicles, in addition to the Saturn Outlook, all from the 2008-2013 model years, due to a problem with the side- and front-center airbags and seat belt pretensioners that could cause those devices not to a deploy.

The Fix: GM will notify owners, and dealers will reprogram the engine control module to correct the fuel gauge reading for free. The automaker has not provided a notification schedule.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Buick at 800-521-7300, Chevrolet at 800-222-1020, GMC at 800-462-8782, 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 | May 5, 2014 | Comments (1)

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.

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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)

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