How Would The Civic Si Have Fared Against Cheap Speed Challengers?

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The $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge was supposed to include the new 2014 Honda Civic Si, but its sad fate was sealed when a Chicago pothole claimed its front passenger-side tire on the evening before testing at a drag strip.

What's the Best Cheap Speed Car for $30,000?

You might think a new tire would be easy enough to locate, but that wasn't the case. It took the recommended dealership two days to get it fixed. The car arrived at the Autobahn Country Club's racetrack in Joliet, Ill., just as we concluded our day of road-course tests there. If it had been an hour or two earlier, we likely would have included it in the road-course run and taken it back to the Byron, Ill., drag strip for another round of tests.

We still wanted to evaluate the Civic Si simply because it was available and put it through the same final tests in the expert round-robin, where judges drive the cars back-to-back over the same course. Here's what the judges said:

By David Thomas | July 28, 2014 | Comments (1)

2014 Scion FR-S Photo Gallery

Cheap Speed Challenge: 2014 Scion FR-S

The 2014 Scion FR-S finished fifth in our $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge. "The FR-S has responsive handling that most in this group can only dream about," said one of our judges. Check out our gallery below of the FR-S up close and on the track.

Click on any image for a larger version.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears

By Matt Schmitz | July 28, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2003-04 Mazda6, 2004 RX-8

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Vehicles Affected: More than 18,000 model-year 2003-04 Mazda6 cars and model-year 2004 RX-8 sports cars

The Problem: A defect in the passenger side frontal airbag may produce excessive internal pressure, causing the inflator to rupture upon deployment of the device; metal fragments could strike and seriously injure occupants. This latest action is an expansion of a 2013 recall related to the ongoing problem with airbag systems manufactured by Japan's Takata Corp., a major world supplier of the devices, involving numerous automakers.

The Fix: Mazda will begin notifying owners in August, and dealers will replace the defective airbag inflator for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Mazda at 800-222-5500, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Matt Schmitz | July 25, 2014 | Comments (0)

Dodge Prices 2015 Challenger Lineup

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Dodge's iconic muscle coupe will flex its way into dealerships later this summer, but it won't necessarily stretch your budget on the base-model end with a starting-price increase of only $500. The 2015 Challenger starts at $27,990 (all prices include a $995 destination charge).

2015 Dodge Challenger: First Look

The Challenger is available with four different powertrains, starting with the base SXT model, followed by R/T, R/T Scat Pack and SRT 392, and the much-hyped, 707-horsepower SRT Hellcat. SXT models again come with a 3.6-liter V-6 that makes 305 hp and 268 pounds-feet of torque. New for 2015 is an eight-speed automatic transmission that Dodge says boosts fuel economy by as much as 11 percent; last year's version was EPA rated at 18/27/21 mpg city/highway/combined.

Standard exterior features include a 1971-inspired split satin-chrome grille, dual exhaust with bright tips, 18-inch aluminum wheels, a "power bulge hood" with twin functional intakes and power body-colored folding heated side mirrors. Inside the SXT comes with cloth seating, a stamped aluminum instrument panel bezel, a six-way power driver's seat, a six-speaker audio system, dual-zone temperature control, keyless entry with push-button start and a leather-wrapped tilt/telescoping steering wheel and shift knob.

By Matt Schmitz | July 17, 2014 | Comments (2)

2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe Photo Gallery: 39 Photos

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We saw the sedan version of Mercedes-Benz's uber-high-performance S65 AMG at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show. Today, the coupe version of the 621-horsepower luxury sports car bows.

2014 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Photo Gallery

Like the sedan, the coupe's bold curves and dominating face are accented with high-sheen chrome, gloss black trim and plenty of AMG badging. It also shares the sedan’s powertrain: a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V-12, good for 621 hp, 738 pounds-feet of torque, a zero-to-60 mph time of 4 seconds and a top speed of 186 mph.

Inside, four passengers are treated to AMG exclusive sport seats trimmed in Nappa leather with diamond-patterned upholstery. Leather also lines the roof, dashboard and door panels.

The 2015 S65 AMG Coupe goes on sale at the end of the year; prices haven't been announced but they'll be steep. Mercedes recently released 2015 pricing for part of its S-Class lineup and prices range from $95,325 for the base V-8-powered S550 sedan to $167,825 for the V-12-powered base S600 sedan; all prices include destination.

Check out the gallery below.

By Jennifer Geiger | July 14, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 BMW 4 Series Review

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"Along with its new name, the all-new 2014 BMW 4 Series coupe is much more defined than the 3 Series coupe it replaces," Cars.com reviewer Joe Bruzek said. Check out Bruzek's review for more.

2014 BMW 4 Series Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Matt Schmitz | July 11, 2014 | Comments (3)

2015 Cadillac ATS: What's Changed

2015CadillacATS

Most significant changes: New front-end styling, torque boost for the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and a host of standard and available tech features

Price change: Starts at $34,210, including a $995 destination charge, a $220 increase

On sale: August

Which should you buy, 2014 or 2015? Aside from exterior-styling updates, most of the upgrades come with packages and on higher trim levels, but for the negligible price hike, why not stay current with that new wreathless Cadillac crest?

We've already told you all about the new-for-2015 coupe version of the Cadillac ATS, which debuted earlier this year at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, along with the modern, wreathless redesign of GM's luxury brand's famous crest. GM has some minor updates for the 2015 sedan version: fresh front-end styling, as well as newly available communication, convenience and safety features, and a substantial torque boost on one of three powertrains. While the new coupe is set to go on sale in September starting at $38,990 (including a $995 destination charge), an August dealership date has been set for the 2015 version of the four-door, which will start at $34,210 with destination, a $220 increase over the outgoing model.

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe: Up Close 

The compact luxury sedan's available 2.0-liter turbocharged engine makes 272 horsepower and 295 pounds-feet of torque, the latter figure representing a 14 percent increase over the 2014 model. The other two engines include the standard 2.5-liter, good for 202 hp and 191 pounds-feet of torque, and the 3.6-liter V-6 rated at 321 hp and 275 pounds-feet of torque. All engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission; the 2.0-liter is also available with a six-speed manual. Rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available on all powertrains except the 2.5-liter.

By Matt Schmitz | July 10, 2014 | Comments (7)

2014 BMW M235i Review

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"The BMW M235i subcompact coupe is bigger, better looking, faster and more fun than the 135i it replaces, but a disappointing lack of standard features quickly drives the price up and the desirability down," said Cars.com reviewer Aaron D. Bragman. Check out Bragman's review for more.

2014 BMW M235i Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Aaron D. Bragman

By Matt Schmitz | June 23, 2014 | Comments (4)

Recall Alert: 2014 Chevrolet Corvette

2014ChevroletCorvette

Vehicles Affected: About 712 model-year 2014 Chevrolet Corvette sports cars equipped with optional Competition Sport Seats

The Problem: GM is reporting that an unbelted child and door trim may block the passenger-seat side air bag vent in a deployment.

The Fix: GM will notify owners and dealers will replace the current air bag with a redesigned version. GM is unaware of any crashes or injuries related to this condition, but the automaker advises customers to not allow small children in the front seat until the vehicle is serviced.

What Owners Should Do: GM has not yet provided an owner notification schedule. Owners can call Chevrolet at 800-222-1020 for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Matt Schmitz | June 17, 2014 | Comments (1)

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Starts at $55,195

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When the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C goes on sale in this summer in 86 dealerships across the U.S. and Canada, it'll start at $69,695, including a hefty $1,295 destination fee. That price applies to the limited Launch Edition model, which goes on sale first and is limited to a serialized run of 500 models. The standard 4C coupe will follow this fall and start at $55,195 including destination.

2015 Alfa Romeo: First Look 

The mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive 4C is powered by an all-aluminum 237-horsepower, turbocharged 1.75-liter direct-injection four-cylinder engine and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Alfa pegs the 4C's zero-to-60-mph time in the mid-4-second range and says the coupe has a top speed of 160 mph.

Inside, the curvaceous coupe has room for two and a bare-bones cabin; the Launch Edition model adds black microfiber sport seats, more leather trim, red or white interior accent stitching and a unique "Launch Edition" plaque. Other Launch Edition upgrades include a race-tuned suspension, performance-tuned shocks and specific exhaust.

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Jennifer Geiger | June 16, 2014 | Comments (0)

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