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 (12)

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?"

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

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: September 2013

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The federal government may have shut down for the first time in 17 years, but that didn't keep automakers from reporting sales. With the largest seven automakers reporting numbers, September new-car sales fell 5%.

Chrysler stayed roughly flat as an 8.4% bump in Ram pickup truck sales offset losses from the group's Jeep and Fiat brands. Ford rose slightly, while Toyota and Nissan saw small losses. Larger losses came at Honda (down 9.9%) and Hyundai-Kia (down 13.9%, mostly due to a 21% plunge at Kia). GM fell 11% from losses at Chevrolet and GMC, including full-size pickup sales. The Chevrolet Cruze plunged 50.6% versus a strong September 2012 as lower inventory played against higher incentives for the compact sedan, which has encountered fierce competition since it hit dealerships three years ago. Other small cars faltered, too: The Honda Civic and Dodge Dart had decent months, but the Ford Focus, Mazda3 and Nissan Sentra saw double-digit losses despite redesigns for the latter two. Toyota Corolla sales stayed flat despite a redesign, too, and the Volkswagen Jetta fell 9.8%.

By Kelsey Mays | October 1, 2013 | Comments (3)

Which Cars Have Heated Seats with Separate Back and Bottom Heaters?

In the new Chevrolet Impala, I noticed the heated seats are two-stages like GM vehicles used to have. But many GMs I've been in recently have just the one setting for bottom and back combined. Is this GM-wide? Which vehicles have the two-setting heaters?

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By Rick Popely | September 29, 2013 | Comments (1)

Cars.com Reviews the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel

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Despite static design in a dynamic compact car class, the Chevrolet Cruze remains a strong performer. That's thanks to attributes such as a smooth ride, capable handling, competitive fuel economy and a quiet, comfortable interior. This year the company adds a diesel engine to the lineup that Cars.com reviewer Joe Wiesenfelder found a bit of a disappointment considering the cost. Read Wiesenfelder's full review below to see if the diesel is something you should consider when shopping for a new compact.

2014 Chevrolet Cruze Review

By Matt Schmitz | September 26, 2013 | Comments (2)

Most-Watched Videos of the Week

Cars.com reviewer Aaron D. Bragman got behind the wheel of the track-ready 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport and burned rubber straight to the No. 1 spot on this week's list of most-watched videos. Get Bragman's impressions as he takes a few turns in a Caddy that hauls more than grandpa's golf clubs. Also debuting this week is Cars.com reviewer Joe Wiesenfelder's lukewarm assessment of the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel, clattering into the No. 3 spot. Check out what else was popular:

1. 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport
2. $38,000 Full-Size Sedan Challenge Features
3. 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel
4. 2014 Nissan Versa Note

5. 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG

By Matt Schmitz | September 21, 2013 | Comments (0)

2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel Video

The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel offers some of what both diesel fanatics and the average buyer look for in a car — but not enough of either to really impress anyone. Perhaps the greatest attribute of this clean-diesel sedan, according to Cars.com reviewer Joe Wiesenfelder, is its 46 mpg on the highway, making it highly competitive and great for road trips. However, its muted diesel-engine clatter may be too subtle for enthusiasts and annoying for everyone else, and lagging acceleration will have all involved wondering why they bothered paying extra for the diesel model.

Related
2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel: Quick Drive
IIHS Tests 12 Compact Cars: Six Pass, Six Fail

More Chevrolet Cruze News on Cars.com

By Matt Schmitz | September 13, 2013 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2011-2012 Chevrolet Cruze

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General Motors is recalling 292,879 model-year 2011-2012 versions of the Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan due to a problem with the brakes, the automaker reported today.

The affected vehicles are equipped with the 1.4-liter engine and six-speed automatic transmission. In these sedans, a loss of brake assist could occur, forcing the driver to exert extra pressure on the brake pedal. "GM is aware of 27 alleged low-speed crashes but no injuries related to brake performance, which could include this issue," the automaker said in a statement. GM also said that vehicles with other engine and transmission combinations aren't affected.

Chevrolet has not yet provided an owner notification schedule, but dealers will remove and replace a microswitch in the power brake vacuum pipe assembly for free. Owners can call Chevrolet at 866-694-6546 for more information.

Related
Research the Chevrolet Cruze
More Safety News
Check Out Other Recalls

By Jennifer Geiger | August 16, 2013 | Comments (33)

Are There Any Small Diesel Cars?

"Are there any small diesel cars?"

Anonymous

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Chevrolet, Volkswagen and Audi currently offer a diesel engine in compact-size cars.

The current compact diesel cars are the Audi A3 TDI and Volkswagen Beetle TDI, Golf TDI and Jetta TDI, all of which use VW's turbocharged direct-injection 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel went on sale in select markets in June and is scheduled to be available nationally in the fall. It uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with EPA-estimated 27/46 mpg city/highway, which is the highest highway rating of any non-hybrid passenger car. The combined city/highway rating of 33 mpg, however, is one short of VW's TDI.

You can read our first-drive impressions of the Cruze diesel here. The Cars.com Vehicle Recommender, found here, can help you determine which diesel-powered car is best for your needs and budget.

Have a car question you'd like us to answer? Send us an email at [email protected].

Related
GM Expects EPA to Rate 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel at 27/46 MPG
2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel: Quick Drive
Research New Diesel Cars
By Rick Popely | August 11, 2013 | Comments (0)

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