BMW Model Onslaught Shows No Sign of Slowing

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It is not just the folks that meticulously run Cars.com's various research tools that mutter about BMW adding models left and right. Car enthusiasts and car shoppers alike have been caught wondering why there are so many. BMW sales are performing well, but the brand's U.S. sales were only 5 percent higher in 2013 than in 2007.

More 2014 New York Auto Show Coverage 

BMW will show the X4 crossover at this week's 2014 New York International Auto Show, and it previously announced plans to build an X7 SUV in the U.S. Our graphic (below) shows the difference in today's lineup (sans the X4 and X7) against the 2007 lineup, the year before the X6 was introduced. The X6 is the model many feel started this Gremlin-esque growth trend.

Let us know where you stand on the issue in our comment section below. Are we at a BMW saturation point, or is the variety ultimately better for car shoppers?

By David Thomas | April 15, 2014 | Comments (7)

$40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge: What the Judges Said

Chris Woodyard and Joe Bruzek

Here are our judges for this Challenge:

  • Joe Bruzek, Road Test Editor, Cars.com
  • Jennifer Geiger, Assistant Managing Editor, Cars.com
  • Kelsey Mays, Consumer Affairs Editor, Cars.com
  • Chris Woodyard, L.A. Bureau Chief, USA Today
  • Brian Robinson, Producer, "MotorWeek"
  • LadyAnn and Ed Sabalburo, a Southern California couple with a young daughter and a second child on the way; they own an Acura MDX currently and are thinking about moving up to a bigger SUV.

We set a maximum price of $40,000, including a destination charge, and a minimum EPA combined city/highway mileage rating of 19 mpg. There were eight SUVs that met our criteria:

By Patrick Olsen | April 6, 2014 | Comments (5)

What's the Best 3-Row SUV for $40,000?

$40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge

Family-friendly SUVs are still a big business: There are plenty of kids to cart around, groceries and sports equipment for kids of all ages to carry.

$40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge
Index | What the Judges Said | Mileage Drive

We focused this Challenge on three-row SUVs that cost less than $40,000, including a destination charge, and achieved at least 19 mpg in EPA combined city/highway fuel-economy ratings. We picked the price based on Cars.com's listings for SUVs that came with the features we know are popular with families. After four days of testing by experts from Cars.com, USA Today, "MotorWeek" and a real-life, in-market family, here's how the results broke down:

By David Thomas | April 6, 2014 | Comments (18)

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: March 2014

Toyota-camry

The final month of winter continued to be a challenging one for many automakers. Poor weather through large swaths of the country dampened sales in many regions buried under snow and ice. March capped off a weak sales quarter, which saw inventories swell and incentive spending boosted to lure customers into showrooms. The past month proved that signs of spring are finally upon us, and for some automakers the thaw came early to dealers across the U.S., especially those selling trucks and luxury cars.

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: February 2014

In fact, trucks led much of the sales gains for March, with especially strong performances from Ram, Ford and Toyota. The Ram brand had its best month for pickup sales in a decade, and the brand as a whole posted a 29 percent gain year-over-year in March versus March 2013. Ford's F-Series was up as well, jumping 5.1 percent for the month, while Toyota's Tundra posted its best sales month since August 2008. The Chevrolet Silverado saw a 6.8 percent gain, while the GMC Sierra sales were up by 22 percent.

By Aaron Bragman | April 1, 2014 | Comments (23)

Cars.com Adds Inventory Email Alerts

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Are you hunting for that elusive white whale of a car with just the right mileage, transmission and color at a specific price, and you're tired of searching Cars.com's listings over and over again to see if one has just been posted? Hold onto your keyboard — your prayers have been answered!

You can sign up for email alerts directly from a search results page in Cars.com's new- or used-car inventory listings.

By David Thomas | March 31, 2014 | Comments (2)

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)

Used Luxury-Car Prices Continue Slide in March

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Models from luxury brands accounted for seven of the top 10 used cars with the biggest price drops in March. That's the same number of luxury brands we saw on the list last month. Overall used-car prices held mostly steady in March, down just $6 to an average of $23,243.

Used Luxury-Car Prices Drop Most in February

Luxury brands had the majority of cars on the list, but the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car experienced the biggest price drop. It was down 3.1 percent ($811) to $25,000. This winter has not been kind to used Volt prices, which are down 10.5 percent ($2,922) since Dec. 1, 2013.

By Mike Hanley | March 27, 2014 | Comments (4)

Cars Rank High Among Tax-Refund Purchases, Surveys Say

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So, that fat tax refund for which you've been obsessively checking your bank account online has already been designated to go toward one thing and one thing only: a car. You're not alone. Depending on which study you believe, anywhere from 17 percent to a quarter of Americans plan to blow this year's windfall on a new set of wheels.

Will You Buy a Car With Your Tax Refund?

According to a study conducted by interest-rate aggregator GOBankingRates, 25 percent of Americans plan to buy a new car with their tax refund. The average refund, the study states, is $3,034, potentially enough to cover the down payment on an auto loan — for which interest rates are currently low. In addition to the "when," the "where" is also a consideration in purchasing a new car. GOBankingRates' survey indicates that the cities with the lowest auto-loan rates right now are Detroit (2.67 percent), Los Angeles (2.96 percent) and Houston (3.05 percent).

"The average tax refund is equivalent to a 20 percent down payment on a $15,000 auto loan; combined with today's very low interest rates, it is a great time to buy a car," GOBankingRates Managing Editor Casey Bond said in a statement. "In fact, qualified buyers can expect to find a three-year loan around just 3 percent. Three years ago, you'd pay double."

By Matt Schmitz | March 21, 2014 | Comments (0)

Safe Drive Systems Brings Collision Avoidance to the Aftermarket

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Collision-avoidance technology is no longer the domain of expensive luxury cars or high-end trim levels — or even new cars, for that matter. New York-based Safe Drive Systems can outfit aftermarket basic forward collision and lane-departure warning systems on most cars from model year 2000 and later.

22 Cars Earn IIHS' Revised Top Safety Pick Plus Award

Safe Drive Systems' basic system, dubbed Premier, embeds radar behind the grille to scan the road up to 460 feet ahead. It checks 20 times per second to detect obstructions or rapidly slowing traffic, and it warns you to slow down with an audible signal and flashing lights from a small module installed above the center part of the dashboard. The module is adjustable for distance sensitivity and beeping volume, CEO Rona Aharonson told us.

By Kelsey Mays | March 18, 2014 | Comments (0)

Top 10 Used Cars for $10K

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Although new cars offer the latest design, tech and safety features, shoppers buy more of their used counterparts: about 2.7 used cars for every new car sold in 2013, according to CNW Marketing Research. It's hard to blame shoppers. The average new car sells for around $30,000. By contrast, the average used car sold in early January 2014 for $10,843 at franchised dealerships (e.g., Bob's Honda) and $9,513 at independent dealerships (e.g., Bob's Used Cars), according to CNW.

Top 10 Cheapest New Cars You Can Buy

The age of paying $10,000 for a brand-new car is in the rearview mirror. So what are the best used cars for $10,000? We crunched a lot of data, and from a pool of more than 60 candidates, here are our top 10 cars, listed alphabetically.

By Kelsey Mays | March 17, 2014 | Comments (8)

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