One-Stop Shopping: Car Seat Checks for 2012's Best-Selling Family Cars


If you're shopping for a family car, chances are high that at least one of the vehicles on our list below is on yours, too. These are the best-selling family cars for January-November 2012, and we've installed child-safety seats in all of them.

Will one of these cars work for your family? Our Car Seat Checks are designed to tell shoppers how easy or difficult it is to install safety seats into a car and what works well and what frustrates us about each car's Latch system.

By Jennifer Newman | December 19, 2012 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: Certain 2007-2009 Chevrolet, Pontiac and Saturn Vehicles

GM is recalling 40,859 model-year 2007-09 versions of several Chevrolet, Pontiac and Saturn vehicles due to problems with the fuel pump, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The affected vehicles were originally sold or are currently registered in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, Oklahoma or Texas and include the following: 2007-09 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2007 Chevrolet Equinox, 2007-09 Pontiac G5, 2007 Pontiac Torrent and 2007 Saturn Ion.

In these vehicles, a plastic part in the fuel pump could crack, causing a leak. This could lead to an increased risk of a crash.

GM has not yet provided an owner notification schedule, but dealers will replace the affected parts free of charge. Owners can call GM at 800-521-7300 or NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 for more info.

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Check out Other Recalls

By Jennifer Geiger | October 1, 2012 | Comments (3)

Car Backseats You Want to Sit In


We’ve told you which cars to call front-seat dibs to avoid being stuck in the backseat with leg cramps and neck spasms. It only seems appropriate to fill you in on which cars allow you to relax comfortably in the backseat and let the friend who called shotgun play road-trip navigator while you chill out and enjoy the scenery. 
It’s a safe bet that anything with L or XL after the model name will be an obvious candidate for calling rear-seat dibs; you’ll likely be lounging in extended-wheelbase luxury. But luxury cars aren’t the only class with big backseats. Some gems within their own classes have enough backseat room and surprise features to feel like the car was designed just to provide maximum comfort for rear passengers.

By Joe Bruzek | August 16, 2012 | Comments (17)'s $25,000 Compact SUV Shootout


One of the most popular segments in the auto industry is the compact SUV. Why? It's the mix of practicality, utility, price and now fuel economy. There are three all-new or redesigned compact utes on the market since the Chevy Equinox won our last match-up just 18 months ago.

This time out we set some new rules. The contenders had to get 30 mpg on the highway and have an as-tested price under $25,000, not including the destination charge. Battling it out were:

  • 2012 Chevy Equinox
  • 2013 Ford Escape
  • 2012 Honda CR-V
  • 2012 Hyundai Tucson
  • 2012 Kia Sportage
  • 2013 Mazda CX-5

Let us know which car you think won the day in the comments before you go check out the full story. $25,000 Compact SUV Shootout $25,000 Compact SUV Shootout: Cargo Results
Most-Efficient Mazda CX-5 Has Least-Accurate Trip Computer

By David Thomas | July 23, 2012 | Comments (15) $25,000 Compact SUV Shootout: Cargo Results


We may have been surprised at how well all six of our contenders measured up in our latest Shootout in terms of standard equipment, mileage and performance, but there’s one area where you can actually see how the spec sheet impacts real-world use.

The smallest cargo area of any of the six SUVS we tested was in the Hyundai Tucson, at 25.7 cubic feet. The largest cargo area was in the Honda CR-V, at 37.2 cubic feet. The 11.5 cubic feet of difference is about the same as the cargo area in two Mini Cooper hatchbacks.

Here's how the field of SUVs held up in our real-world test listed in order of their cargo volume with the rear seats in place. We also list their maximum cargo room with the rear seats down.

By David Thomas | July 23, 2012 | Comments (1)

Most-Efficient Mazda CX-5 Has Least-Accurate Trip Computer


As part of our just-released $25,000 Compact SUV Shootout, we took the six contenders on an extended drive route of roughly 200 miles to test how efficient they truly were.

In the end, it wasn't a surprise that the highest EPA-rated vehicle won. The 2013 Mazda CX-5 is rated 26/32 mpg city/highway and 29 mpg combined. In our testing of mixed city and interstate roads that slightly favored highway speeds, the CX-5 returned 32.8 mpg. The next closest as well as only other compact SUV to best 30 mpg was the Honda CR-V at 30.3 mpg.

In the past we've often used the mileage computers as the basis of our scoring with the pump calculations as backup. We've written that today's modern trip computers can be more accurate than trying to do the math on a fill-up at the pump.

This time around we were glad we had the pump calculations to fall back on because while most trip computers were off by less than 1 mpg, the Mazda CX-5 was off by 2.7 mpg. That's nearly twice the number of the next worst offender, the Hyundai Tucson, which was off by 1.4 mpg.

By David Thomas | July 23, 2012 | Comments (12)

2012 Chevrolet Equinox: Car Seat Check

2012 chevrolet equinox
The Equinox may be Chevy's smallest crossover, but there's nothing compact about its backseat. The second row offers plenty of head- and legroom, and it slides forward and back to offer even more space. Those family-friendly features coupled with visible Latch anchors and wide, flat seats made installing child-safety seats a breeze.

For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 rear-facing infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible child-safety seat and Graco high-back TurboBooster seat.

By Jennifer Geiger | June 28, 2012 | Comments (8)

2013 Chevrolet Equinox: What's Changed

2013 Chevrolet Equinox

  • Most significant changes: More powerful V-6 
  • Price change: TBA 
  • On sale: August  
  • Which should you buy, 2012 or 2013? If you're a V-6 shopper, you should wait for a 2013; otherwise, a 2012 shouldn't bring buyer's remorse.

For the 2013 model year the Chevrolet Equinox gets a more powerful V-6 option, new suspension tuning and greater availability of convenience and safety features. It will continue to be available in LS, LT (1LT and 2LT) and LTZ trims.

The new V-6 engine — first unveiled on the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali — produces 301 horsepower and 272 pounds-feet of torque, which is 14% more horsepower and 22% more torque than the previous 3.0-liter V-6. Fuel-economy figures for the 3.6-liter are the same as the 3.0-liter: 17/24 mpg city/highway for front-wheel drive (subtract 1 mpg from both figures for all-wheel drive).

By Colin Bird | June 18, 2012 | Comments (12)

Daily News Briefs: May 17, 2012


New models will come fast and furious in the 2013-16 model years, according to Bank of America/Merrill Lynch's annual product pipeline analysis, dubbed the "Car Wars" report. Bank of America sees an above-average level of new model launches starting in the 2014 and 2015 model years, when 105 all-new models will be launched.

GM will have a dramatic replacement rate, according to the investment bank, including the launch of a new Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and an all-new generation of full-size crossovers (including the Chevrolet Traverse). New versions of the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain will also dramatically transform GM's lineup in the next four years. GM's market share is said to increase slightly over the next three years, to an estimated 18.2% by 2015.

Ford will see an above-average replacement rate, too, says Merrill Lynch. It projects that the automaker will have a "solid product cadence," culminating in an all-new Ford F-Series in the 2015 model year.

Despite Chrysler's current massive product surge, the investment bank says the carmaker will have a below-average launch of new vehicles in the coming years. Chrysler will launch a slew of new crossovers, such as the new car-based Jeep Liberty replacement, and other small and midsize Fiat-based vehicles, such as the new Chrysler 200 and 100, in the coming years. Expect an all-new Ram truck in the 2017 model year, the report says.

Korean, European and Japanese automakers are expected to have below-average replacement rates for the 2013-16 model years. In fact, after Hyundai and Kia had a strong product launch for the 2011 model year, the bank describes the coming years as "volatile" for the Korean carmakers and believes there's a strong indication of decreasing market share for each over the next few years.

In other news:

By Colin Bird | May 17, 2012 | Comments (0)

What's the Most Affordable Compact Crossover?

What's the Most Affordable Compact Crossover?

The compact-crossover class is exploding in popularity because of the mix of utility and affordability these types of vehicles deliver. Introduced in 1995, the Toyota RAV4 was the first car-based compact crossover available in this country, according to MotorWeek. It was followed soon after by the 1995 Honda CR-V. Since then, we've seen a flood of new models — more than 20 nameplates at last count — and today nearly one in every 10 vehicles sold is a compact crossover, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

View Compact Crossovers

The competition is only beginning to heat up, with new models like the 2013 Ford Escape, 2012 Honda CR-V and 2013 Mazda CX-5 introduced in the past few months. A significantly reengineered Nissan Rogue will soon be added to the mix, too. So which one is the most affordable?

By Colin Bird | April 26, 2012 | Comments (10)

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