Recall Alert: 2013-2014 Chevrolet Cruze

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Vehicles Affected: About 174,046 model-year 2013-2014 Chevrolet Cruze sedans equipped with a turbo 1.4-liter engine and manufactured between Nov. 28, 2012, and March 7, 2014.

The Problem: The right front half shaft may fracture and separate while driving, potentially causing the vehicle to lose power and coast to a stop. If a vehicle with a fractured half shaft is parked without the parking brake applied, the car could move unexpectedly. Either condition increases the risk of a crash. The recall comes after GM recently announced that it was ordering dealers to stop selling 2013 and 2014 Cruzes with the 1.4-liter engine, but did not reveal why at the time.

The Fix: GM will initially notify owners starting April 28 and a second time when parts are available, and dealers will inspect and replace the right half shaft, if necessary, for free. Some vehicles in this recall were subject to another recall initiated in August 2013 and repaired using defective parts. GM also said those owners will be advised that they must have their vehicles fixed again under this new recall campaign.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Chevrolet at 866-694-6546 or 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 31, 2014 | Comments (28)

Report: GM Tells Dealers to Stop Selling 1.4-Liter Chevrolet Cruzes

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Kelsey Mays, Cars.com

If you're shopping for a Chevrolet Cruze, you may have to hold on. USA Today reports that GM has ordered dealers to stop delivering 2013 and 2014 Chevrolet Cruze sedans with the turbocharged 1.4-liter engine. The automaker didn't clarify one particular reason to USA Today. The Cruze offers a 1.8-liter four-cylinder or the turbo 1.4-liter four-cylinder; the affected engine makes up about two-thirds of new 2013/2014 Cruze inventory on Cars.com.

2014 Chevrolet Cruze: Family Review Checklist

It's worth noting that temporary stop-sale orders are fairly common, often when automakers detect a safety issue. The exact issue is unclear, but GM recalled the 1.4-liter Cruze in August 2013 because of brake issues. This move comes as the automaker faces multiple investigations over faulty ignition switches in six 2000s-era models, including the Cruze's predecessor, the Chevy Cobalt. The automaker has recalled 1.6 million cars globally, with 1.37 million in the U.S.

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By David Thomas | March 28, 2014 | Comments (15)

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)

2014 Chevrolet Cruze: Family Review Checklist

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The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze worked for my family of four, as long as there were no surprises, but life is full of them. During my weeklong test drive of the Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel, there were instances that highlighted the Cruze's lack of flexibility.

During my time in the Cruze, I had a family emergency that required taking an older adult to the hospital. The Cruze's low roofline made getting in it difficult, and I hated even thinking about taking the Cruze for the emergency-room run. So, I didn't use the sedan. I also didn't drive the Cruze when my son and his friend decided to go to an ice rink. Both of them, my daughter, their two hockey bags and sticks didn't come close to fitting in the Cruze.

I did drive the Cruze diesel for errands and meeting up with friends. The 2014 Cruze's 151-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel engine makes 264 pounds-feet of torque. It was plenty powerful on the highway and city streets, though I had to work with the throttle. The Cruze diesel gets an EPA-estimated 27/46/33 mpg city/highway/combined. In my test drive, I averaged 36.4 mpg, beating the EPA's combined number. From the driver's seat, it's difficult to hear the clean-diesel engine, but in the drive-through lane I usually turned the Cruze off to prevent issues with my order due to the somewhat loud engine noise outside the car.

By Sara Lacey | November 29, 2013 | Comments (3)

Does the Chevrolet Sonic Get Better Gas Mileage Than the Aveo?

"Does the Chevrolet Sonic get better gas mileage than the Aveo?"

Ray G.

By Rick Popely | November 17, 2013 | Comments (2)

Recall Alert: 2013-2014 Chevrolet Cruze

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Vehicles Affected: Approximately 3,161 model-year 2013-14 Chevrolet Cruze compact sedans equipped with manual transmissions and manufactured from Jan. 24 to Aug. 1, 2013. 

The Problem: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the right front half shaft could fracture and separate. If this happens while driving, the car could lose power, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Dealers will inspect and replace the half shaft assembly for free.

What Owners Should Do: General Motors has already notified all affected owners. Consumers can call GM at 800-521-7300 or NHTSA at 888-327-4236 for more information.

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By Jennifer Geiger | October 30, 2013 | Comments (0)

GM Offers Siri Eyes Free Integration on Six More Vehicles

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Look for Siri Eyes Free Integration on a host of 2014 GM vehicles. Previously offered on the Chevrolet Sonic and Spark, Apple's voice-activated "intelligent assistant" — requiring neither the driver's hands nor eyes for use — will now be available on the Chevrolet Camaro, Cruze, Equinox, Malibu, SS and Volt, the automaker announced Monday.

Through the vehicles' available Chevrolet MyLink multimedia system, users with a compatible iPhone running the iOS 6 or iOS 7 operating systems can direct Siri to perform a number of tasks while they keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. To use the feature, motorists connect their iPhone with the MyLink radio via Bluetooth, pair with the system and use the steering-wheel voice-activation button to begin and end sessions. In addition to the feature's no-look use, it prevents the iPhone's screen from lighting up, further mitigating distraction.

By Matt Schmitz | October 15, 2013 | Comments (1)

Top 10 Most-Improved Cars from the Past 15 Years

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If you read our series on the business of redesigns, you know that reimagining a car from the ground up can be a billion-dollar feat to implement the industry's latest technology, keep up with ever-improving competition and ultimately (hopefully) increase sales. They usually do just that: In Cars.com's analysis of 61 redesigns from 2009 to 2012, sales for the average remake saw an increase of 32.6% in the months following.

Why? Just look at their predecessors. Some undertakings replace a onetime star that lingered well past its freshness date (see the Volkswagen New Beetle), while others are the successor to a product doomed from the get-go (see the Dodge Caliber). Whatever you call it, the most improved overhauls can sometimes create butterflies out of automotive caterpillars. An important note: Sometimes the changes go beyond just interiors and drivetrains, and sometimes the car being replaced was so poor that the automaker gave the new version an all-new name.

The last time we named the most-improved cars, we considered models that showed progress through successive generations in the 2000s. This time, our editors nominated the most improved single redesigns from the past 15 years.

By Kelsey Mays | October 14, 2013 | Comments (13)

Most-Read Car Reviews of the Week

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Mercedes-Benz's new entry-level luxury sedan debuted in the No. 1 spot on this week's list of most-read reviews. The 2014 CLA Class, which Cars.com reviewer David Thomas describes as sleek-of-style yet rough-of-ride, managed to nudge the 2014 Jeep Cherokee out of the top spot, which the all-new SUV had been guarding closely for several weeks running. Other popular debuts this week came courtesy of the 2014 Nissan Versa Note (No. 4), the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel (No. 8) and the 2013 Volkswagen CC (No. 10). Check out what else was popular:

1. 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA Class
2. 2014 Jeep Cherokee
3. 2014 Subaru Forester
4. 2014 Nissan Versa Note
5. 2013 BMW 328i
6. 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
7. 2013 Toyota RAV4
8. 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel

9. 2014 Ford Taurus
10. 2013 Volkswagen CC

By Matt Schmitz | October 6, 2013 | Comments (1)

Is the Buick Encore Underpowered?

"Is the Buick Encore underpowered?"

Anonymous

By Rick Popely | October 6, 2013 | Comments (0)

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