Several Midsize SUVs Fail IIHS Crash Test

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The 2014 Honda Pilot didn't do very well in Cars.com's $40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge, and it fared even worse in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's latest crash test. The Pilot is one of several SUVs that scored poorly in the IIHS's challenging small front overlap test.

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The agency recently performed the test, meant to simulate a 40-mph crash of a vehicle's front corner into another vehicle, a tree or a pole, on nine midsize SUVs; six scored marginal or poor. Only the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain took home good ratings, earning them Top Safety Pick Plus status.

The GM twins join the redesigned-for-2014 Toyota Highlander, which was tested last year and also deemed a Top Safety Pick Plus. To qualify for the agency's highest award, a vehicle must earn a good or acceptable small overlap rating, good ratings in four other occupant protection tests and a rating of basic or higher for front crash prevention.

By Jennifer Geiger | April 7, 2014 | Comments (13)

Chevrolet Helps Drivers Pull Fast One With Corvette Data Recorder, 4G Wireless

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Whether your need for speed manifests itself on the track or online, GM is offering two new ways to get a quick fix. This past weekend at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the automaker announced a first-of-its-kind performance data recorder for the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, which allows drivers to record video and audio of their hot laps and then use telemetry technology to analyze and improve their times. Meanwhile, the Stingray and a host of other 2015 Chevrolet models will also be available soon with an accelerated data connection to AT&T's high-speed 4G LTE network.

GM developed the performance data recorder with British motorsports-engineering firm Cosworth, and the system will be available on the 2015 Corvette; pricing will be announced later. The PDR's three major components are a high-definition camera mounted in the windshield header to record the driver’s point of view, a self-contained telemetry recorder that uses a GPS receiver to record performance data and a 32-gigabyte memory-card slot in the glove box for recording and transferring video and vehicle data of up to 13 hours.

By Matt Schmitz | January 6, 2014 | Comments (1)

Which New SUV Is Comparable to the Saturn Vue?

"Which new SUV is comparable to the Saturn Vue? I am driving my fourth Saturn Vue and have been really frustrated at the thought of replacing it. I already looked at the Equinox but passed because it is not comparable — it's bigger and pricier. Then I saw the Chevrolet Captiva! Problem solved — or so I thought (fleet only). If I can't buy a Captiva, I will go to another brand. I buy new, so a used Captiva is not an option in my mind."

Sue

By Matt Schmitz | October 20, 2013 | Comments (1)

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)

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?

Anonymous

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

Which Midsize SUV Is Safe, Reliable and Fuel-Efficient?

"Which midsize SUV is safe, reliable and fuel-efficient?"

Anonymous

2013ChevroletEquinox

Several SUVs may fit that description, depending on what you consider fuel-efficient and what qualifies as midsize. Here are five suggestions: Chevrolet Equinox, Honda Crosstour and CR-V, and Toyota Highlander and RAV4.

All have been rated Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and at least some versions of those models have EPA highway mileage ratings of 25 mpg or more.

In addition, all have performed well in recent reliability measurements by J.D. Power and Associates. For example, the Equinox had the fewest problems among compact SUVs in the 2012 Vehicle Dependability Study and the RAV4 was second highest among all SUVs in the 2013 study.

Although you asked about midsize SUVs, we're including smaller models because of their higher fuel-economy ratings. Versions of the Equinox, CR-V and RAV4 top 30 mpg in EPA highway estimates. Among midsize SUVs, ratings of 30 mpg or more are rare, and the list shrinks with all-wheel drive.

Several other SUVs may meet all or most of your criteria, depending on how flexible you are about size. We suggest you check crash-test ratings on the Cars.com Research page, which is found at the Safety & Recalls tab, and tap the resources of the Cars.com Vehicle Recommender to find models that offer the fuel efficiency you desire, other features you may want and fit within your budget.

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

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By Rick Popely | August 11, 2013 | Comments (4)

Do All- and Four-Wheel-Drive SUVs Require More Maintenance Than Two-Wheel-Drive Ones?

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Some do, some don't, and it often depends on whether the vehicle is used in what manufacturers describe as "severe" driving conditions, such as towing, driving through water or hardcore off-road use.

Most SUVs available today are car-based crossover models, so they aren't intended for off-road driving, but they can be used for towing, in dusty or muddy conditions, heavy stop-and-go driving and other such conditions that qualify as severe. In those cases, you might need to change the transfer case and differential oil periodically instead of just having it inspected. If you drive any vehicle for extended periods under severe conditions, you should perform other routine maintenance items more often, such as oil and transmission-fluid changes, so that isn't unique to all-wheel- and four-wheel-drive vehicles.

By Rick Popely | July 9, 2013 | Comments (0)

2014 Subaru Forester Rises Seven Spots in Small-SUV Affordability

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A few weeks ago we threw the redesigned Toyota RAV4 into our compact crossover affordability index, and the popular Toyota ranked right around the group's average. Subaru fans may notice the outgoing 2013 Forester sat near the bottom, largely because the small SUV got mediocre gas mileage and required stepping up a trim level to get a telescoping steering wheel — one of seven features we included in our pricing scheme.

Our affordability index compared 13 models — each was the least expensive trim level that included common equipment like an automatic transmission, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel audio controls, cruise control, remote keyless entry, a USB/audio jack port and tilt/telescoping steering. We also factored in the destination charge and four years of gas.

With its 2014 redesign, the Forester moved up seven spots, thanks to more standard features and better gas mileage. In fact, the new Forester is the third most affordable compact crossover on the market, behind the Mazda CX-5 and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport — and it has standard all-wheel drive.

By Kelsey Mays | January 25, 2013 | Comments (8)

Most-Read Car Reviews of the Week

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There wasn't a lot of movement among our most-read reviews this week, with six of the top 10 spots going unchanged and the 2013 Toyota RAV4 holding onto first place. The Toyota Avalon jumped two spots to No. 5, bumping the Acura RDX and Nissan Altima down to sixth and seventh place, respectively. The Chevrolet Equinox entered the list in eighth place, knocking the Audi A4 off completely as the Honda Accord and Mazda CX-5 held their places at ninth and 10th.

Check out what else was popular this week:

  • 1. 2013 Toyota RAV4
  • 2. 2013 Ford Explorer
  • 3. 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 4. 2013 Ford Escape
  • 5. 2013 Toyota Avalon
  • 6. 2013 Acura RDX
  • 7. 2013 Nissan Altima
  • 8. 2013 Chevrolet Equinox
  • 9. 2013 Honda Accord
  • 10. 2013 Mazda CX-5
  • By Matt Schmitz | January 13, 2013 | Comments (0)

    Cars.com Reviews the 2013 Chevrolet Equinox

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    "Androgynous" isn't an adjective typically intended or taken as a compliment — except maybe when Cars.com reviewer Kristin Varela uses it to describe a family crossover's appeal for moms and dads alike. The 2013 Chevrolet Equinox is neither too sporty for women nor too curvaceous for guys. The Equinox's creators, she says, understand family needs, as the crossover offers easy access for children while its 60/40-split sliding backseat provides flexibility as they go from child-safety seats to growth spurts. She grades the strong-seller's cargo room, interior and engine noise to determine if the Equinox is still a formidable family option.

    2013 Chevrolet Equinox Review
    By Matt Schmitz | January 7, 2013 | Comments (2)

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