Recall Alert: 2015 Ford Transit, Transit Cargo Van

2015FordTransitRecall

Vehicles Affected: Nearly 2,000 model-year 2015 Ford Transit and Transit cargo vans in two separate actions.

The Problem: According to The Detroit News, the Transit recall includes about 1,300 vans and is due to a potential brake fluid leak at the joint between the rear brake hose and brake caliper. If there's a leak, drivers will eventually see the red brake warning lamp and a "Brake Fluid Level Low — Service Now" message in the instrument cluster. Drivers may also notice a longer pedal travel and extended stopping distances. Ford is recalling an additional 600 Transit cargo vans due to a potential issue with windowless sliding doors. The doors were assembled without epoxy reinforcement, making them more likely to come unlatched during side-impact crashes, The Detroit News also reported. Ford said it is aware of no injuries as a result of either problem.

The Fix: Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace sealing washers in Transits and install a reinforcement plate into the door in Transit cargo vans. The automaker has not yet announced a notification schedule for either action.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call ford at 866-436-7332 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 | August 18, 2014 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 2015 Lincoln MKC

2015LincolnMKCRecall

Vehicles Affected: About 1,300 model-year 2015 Lincoln MKC crossovers

The Problem: According to The Detroit News, some vehicles may have windshields that do not meet federal requirements specifying that no bubbles or other defects are allowed. Certain manufacturing conditions may have allowed air to be trapped between layers of glass.

The Fix: Lincoln manufacturer Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace faulty windshields for free. The automaker has not yet announced a notification schedule.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Ford at 800-392-3673 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 | August 18, 2014 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 2013-2014 Ford Escape, Ford Focus ST

2013FordEscapeRecall

Vehicles Affected: More than 130,000 model-year 2013-14 Ford Focus ST hatchbacks equipped with 2.0-liter engines and manufactured at the Michigan Assembly Plant between Feb. 14, 2012, and Oct. 14, 2013, and Escape crossovers equipped with 2.0-liter engines and manufactured at the Louisville Assembly Plant between Oct. 5, 2011, and April 1, 2013, according to The Detroit News

The Problem: Wiring harnesses may have splices that were insufficiently compressed by the supplier, The Detroit News reported. Poor electrical connections can cause erroneous signals to be sent to the powertrain control module and affect engine performance. The defect may result in an engine malfunction indicator light illuminating, reduced engine power, hesitation or stalling, the newspaper reported. No crashes or injuries related to the condition have been reported. This is the 11th recall involving the 2013 Escape.

The Fix: Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the affected wiring splices for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Ford at 866-436-7332 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 | August 18, 2014 | Comments (0)

Chevrolet, Ford Kick Off Labor Day Sales Early

IMG_3095

It's still a couple weeks before you can fire up the barbecue and watch your alma mater get steamrolled by the Southeastern Conference, but some car dealers are kicking off Labor Day early — on the sales front, that is. Automotive News reports (subscription required) that Ford launched its Labor Day sale on July 29. The sale, which runs through Sept. 2, includes most of its lineup save the 2015 Mustang, F-Series and commercial vans, according to Automotive News.

Related: July's Fastest- and Slowest-Selling Cars

We checked the offers, and most involve zero-percent financing for as long as 72 months, or offers of up to around $3,000 off an Escape, $3,500 off an Edge and $3,500 off a Fusion (all 2014s). That's more than what Ford offered on the Fusion a year ago, but incentives don't appear to have increased a great deal in the past month, so this summer sale could mostly be a new name for existing spiffs.

GM, meanwhile, started its Chevy Labor Day Sale early because, as GM spokesman Jim Cain told Automotive News, "Ford started its Labor Day sale a little bit early." The brand's sale includes three months' deferred payments on the 2014 Silverado, Traverse, Cruze, Malibu, Camaro and Impala. Cash incentives on those models amount to $2,500 on the Cruze, $2,000 on the Malibu, $1,000 on the Impala, $2,000 on the Camaro and $2,000 on the Traverse (all 2014s). Chevrolet is GM's only brand that's offering the 90-day deferrals, Cain told us. GM isn't offering the deal for its Buick, Cadillac and GMC brands.

By Kelsey Mays | August 15, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 83,000 Ford and Lincoln Crossovers, Sedans, SUVs

2014FordEdgeRecall

Vehicles Affected: More than 83,000 model-year 2012-14 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers manufactured between Sept. 2, 2010, and Nov. 30, 2013; 2013-14 Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKS sedans manufactured between Aug. 25, 2011, and Nov. 30, 2013; and 2013-14 Ford Flex SUVs and Lincoln MKT crossovers manufactured between Sept. 12, 2011, and Nov. 30, 2013

The Problem: The halfshaft retention circlip may not have been properly installed, and as a result the halfshaft may move outward and disengage from the linkshaft while driving and without warning. If this occurs, power will no longer be transmitted to the wheels, increasing the risk of a crash. In addition, if the parking brake is not applied before exiting the vehicle, a rollaway may occur despite the transmission being in Park, increasing the risk of injury to exiting occupants and bystanders.

The Fix: Ford will begin notifying owners Aug. 29, and dealers will inspect the vehicles to make sure that the halfshaft is properly retained; if it is not, dealers will replace the linkshaft and the halfshaft if it shows evidence of spline damage. The automaker will make the repairs for free.

What Owners Should Do: Both Ford and Lincoln owners can call Ford at 800-392-3673, 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 | August 14, 2014 | Comments (0)

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: July 2014

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Today's sales figures continue to pave the road for a strong 2014. As the sales year steams into its second half, we've seen new optimism from analysts and automakers that expect total new-car sales this year to land close to where they were in the heyday years of the early 2000s.

Related: Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: June 2014

With the largest seven automakers reporting numbers so far today, industry sales increased 9 percent over July 2013. Honda was the odd one out (down 3.9 percent), but Hyundai-Kia, Toyota and recall-beset GM reported single-digit sales gains, while Chrysler, Ford, Nissan and Toyota reported double-digit gains. All of that is compared against a pretty good month a year ago for the industry, too.

Thanks to big gains from the Sentra and Versa, Nissan sales gained 11.4 percent. Small-car sales overall were mixed: Shoppers had more interest in the Ford Focus (up 5.7 percent) but not the recall-besieged Chevrolet Cruze (down 17.8 percent), the Honda Civic (down 7.3 percent) or the Hyundai Elantra (down 7.9 percent).

By Kelsey Mays | August 1, 2014 | Comments (4)

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge: Mileage Results

CSMileagewinner

Any car owner will tell you the cost of driving does not begin or end with the sticker price or the monthly payment notice arriving in the mailbox. There's insurance, maintenance and yes, the cost of gasoline.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | What the Judges Said | Results

The competitors in our Cheap Speed Challenge may be relatively affordable considering their performance chops, but six of the eight require premium gasoline. Going into the contest, mileage didn't seem like it would be much of a story.

After a 220-plus-mile route through Wisconsin and Illinois that mixed in winding country roads, city streets and plenty of construction-laden highways, we discovered mileage was indeed worth talking about in this class.

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

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge: What the Judges Said

CSVWWRX

To test our sub-$30,000 speedsters, we put them through an even more rigorous set of tests than we usually use in our Challenges:

  • We spent one day at the Byron, Ill., Dragway to get zero-to-60-mph times and quarter-mile times and speeds; we also captured 60-mph-to-zero braking distances there.
  • We spent one day at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill., where the experts put the cars through a long day on the road course there.
  • We took all eight on a mileage drive of more than 200 miles to judge real-world fuel economy.
  • The experts drove all eight over the same course, back-to-back, to judge real-world ride and handling, acceleration and braking.
  • And then we brought in a real-life car shopper, Joe Weiss, a 38-year-old quality assurance manager from Chicago who's in the market for just such a car for himself and his fiancee.

CSJudges

Weiss joined our cast of judges (left to right):

  • Brian Robinson, producer for PBS' "MotorWeek"
  • Joe Wiesenfelder, Cars.com executive editor
  • David Thomas, Cars.com managing editor
  • Joe Bruzek, Cars.com road test editor
  • James R. Healey, auto writer for USA Today

We set a maximum price of $30,000, including a destination charge. We had 10 cars on our list when we started, but we ended with eight (more on that in a bit):

  • 2014 Fiat 500 Abarth
  • 2014 Ford Fiesta ST
  • 2014 Honda Civic Si
  • 2014 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
  • 2014 Kia Forte5 SX
  • 2015 Mini Cooper S Hardtop
  • 2014 Nissan Juke NISMO RS
  • 2014 Scion FR-S
  • 2015 Subaru WRX
  • 2015 Volkswagen GTI

Mini said it did not have a Cooper in its press fleets that could meet our price cap; the Civic lost a tire after hitting a Chicago pothole, and repairs could not be made in time for track days. The judges did drive it in our round-robin day, and a report on those tests can be found here.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | Results | Mileage Test

Here's how the scoring broke down: The experts' scores accounted for 50 percent of the total score; 10 percent came from the shopper's scores; 30 percent was based on track performance; and the remaining 10 percent was based on fuel economy.

Here is what the judges had to say about each car, in order of how the cars finished:

By Patrick Olsen | July 28, 2014 | Comments (8)

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

CSGroup2

Plenty of drivers want a level of performance without breaking the bank. We found eight cars that prove fun at the track is not limited to the well-to-do.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | What the Judges Said | Mileage Test

We focused our Challenge on compact coupes, sedans and hatchbacks that cost less than $30,000, including destination charge. We picked the price based on Cars.com's listings for cars of this type that came with the features we know are popular with younger drivers looking for a performance kick. After five days of testing (including a day at a drag strip and a day on a road course) by experts from Cars.com, USA Today, "MotorWeek" and a real-life, in-market family, here's how the results broke down:

By Patrick Olsen | July 28, 2014 | Comments (19)

2014 Ford Fiesta ST Photo Gallery

14Ford_Fiesta_ST

The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST finished third in our $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge. "Everything about the ST is feisty and full of energy," said one of our judges. Check out our gallery below of the Fiesta ST up close and on the track.

Click on any image for a larger version.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears

By David Thomas | July 28, 2014 | Comments (0)

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