Volt Versus All: How Does Chevy's Plug-in Hold Up Against the Plug-In Competition?

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Cars.com owned one of the earliest Chevrolet Volts in the country for more than a year and experienced the highs and lows of ownership. I've had my own Bow-Tie brand plug-in for nearly two years, and I've routinely been one of our editors tapped to test newcomers to the electrified car segment from an electric Fiat to new plug-ins from BMW, Ford and Toyota.

2014 Chevrolet Volt Review

Yet, the Volt remains a lightning rod in many ways ... pun slightly intended. Rumors suggest we're at least six months away from seeing a second-generation Chevrolet Volt and probably at least a year away from driving one. The question then becomes, is the Volt the best plug-in hybrid out there, or is one of the newcomers a better choice?

By Aaron Bragman | July 2, 2014 | Comments (4)

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: June 2014

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The broken record continues. Another sales month, and all eyes are on GM. When the automaker's 2014 recall total long-jumped past the 20 million mark, we thought there was no way new-car sales could remain unaffected. Yes, we heard from industry experts that shoppers don't pay attention to recalls like they used to, and anyone who owns a Chevy Cobalt isn't in the market for a new car anyway. But given congressional testimonies and lawsuits galore, we expected shoppers to deal the General a sales defeat in June.

Related: 2014 American-Made Index

It didn't happen. GM sales increased 1 percent, beating out Ford and Honda, each down 5.8 percent. A sales stoppage in late June on the Chevrolet Cruze, which GM recalled shortly thereafter, contributed toward a 20.9 percent decline for the popular compact, as did lower inventory for the car. Still, GM's Buick and GMC divisions lifted overall sales for the automaker. And with half of 2014 now in the books, U.S. sales operations head Kurt McNeil said in a sales statement that GM saw its best half-year of retail sales (that's sales to individuals, as opposed to commercial fleets) since 2008.

By Kelsey Mays | July 1, 2014 | Comments (2)

2015 Ford Edge: First Look

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Competes with: Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Murano, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

Looks like: The current Fusion's styling, stretched to fit the new Edge

Drivetrain: Turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6 or a 3.5- liter V-6; six-speed automatic transmission; front- or all-wheel drive

Hits showrooms: Early 2015

Research the Ford Edge

Ford Motor Co. has unveiled the next-generation 2015 Ford Edge at a special event at the company's headquarters in Dearborn, Mich. The crossover moves to a new platform that also underpins the latest Ford Fusion and gains an all-new suspension, two new engines and a host of safety and convenience features to make the midsize SUV one very technologically advanced family vehicle.

By Aaron Bragman | June 24, 2014 | Comments (14)

BMW, Chrysler, Ford Join Ever-Expanding Airbag Recall

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Three more major automakers have joined the massive expansion of the recall action involving airbags that could deploy with too much pressure and cause injury. BMW, Chrysler and Ford added their names to the roster of automakers — which already includes Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota — that are recalling millions of vehicles equipped with a faulty airbag inflator, manufactured by Japan's Takata Corp. As we reported Monday, Honda, Mazda and Nissan announced they are recalling millions of vehicles to fix the airbag problem that was supposedly addressed last year; that followed Toyota's June 11 recall announcement of its expansion of the initial April 2013 recall. Today's announcement comes as 2014 reaches a new record for U.S. recalls, now topping 31 million — well over half of which are from GM, beleaguered by its ignition-switch debacle.

Get the full story from the Detroit News, here.

Melissa Brandes/Hemera/Thinkstock

By Matt Schmitz | June 24, 2014 | Comments (1)

2015 Ford Mustang's Active Glove Box is a Different Sort of Knee Airbag

Another year, another airbag. In 2009, Ford introduced inflatable seatbelts; four months later, Toyota debuted a Scion iQ with airbags for the seat bottoms and rear window. In late 2012, GM announced the industry's first airbag between the front seats, and Volvo followed six months later with the world's first pedestrian airbag in the not-for-America V40.

Advances in Airbag Technology

Ford, it seems, has restarted the cycle. The automaker says the redesigned 2015 Mustang will debut an active glove box — a trick glove-compartment door that uses an embedded airbag that pops forward and acts as a knee blocker for the front passenger. It joins seven other standard airbags on the Mustang coupe, including a conventional driver knee airbag.

So, uh, why didn't Ford go with a conventional passenger knee airbag?

By Kelsey Mays | June 23, 2014 | Comments (0)

Ford Escape Again Walks Away With 'Most-Stolen' Title

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As stolen SUVs go, crooks are still most likely to abscond with the Escape. Once again, the Ford Escape topped the National Insurance Crime Bureau's list of most-stolen SUVs and crossovers. The Des Plaines, lll.-based nonprofit today released the 2014 SUV hot list, which examines model-year 2011-13 SUV and crossover thefts that occurred between Jan. 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2013.

Ford Escape Tops List of Most-Stolen SUVs

According to the NICB, a total of 21,711 SUVs and crossovers were reported stolen in that time; that's up from just less than 20,000 on the list released in February 2013. The consistently coveted Escape did its share in making up the difference in the increase. At 1,421 thefts, the Escape logged 407 more thefts than reported in the 2013 list, a nearly 29 percent spike. Ford also dominates the balance of the top three, with 1,140 Edge thefts and 958 Explorer thefts.

By Matt Schmitz | June 16, 2014 | Comments (2)

Reduced MPG in Six Ford Models Matches Cars.com's Results

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If Cars.com editors' observed mileage is any indication, more drivers should see real-world fuel economy figures that match the new EPA numbers on six Ford models.

Ford Lowers Fuel Economy Ratings on Six Cars, Will Reimburse Owners

Ford announced June 12 that it would reduce EPA mileage on six vehicles – the 2013-2014 C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, the 2013-2014 Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, the 2013-2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and the 2014 Fiesta – because of an error in EPA mileage tests. The revisions, which downgrade EPA combined mileage as much as 7 mpg on the hybrids, will appear on new-car window stickers this week.

We've tracked mileage in four of those six cars, and our results fall a lot closer to the revised numbers than what they used to be. We haven't spent enough time behind the wheel of the Fusion Energi or MKZ Hybrid to report on mileage yet, but here are the rest:

By Kelsey Mays | June 16, 2014 | Comments (7)

Ford Lowers Fuel Economy Ratings on Six Cars, Will Reimburse Owners

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Ford announced today that it is revising fuel economy ratings for six models and compensating owners of about 200,000 vehicles after internal testing revealed errors in its evaluation process. Vehicles affected include the 2013-14 C-Max Hybrid, Fusion Hybrid, C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrids, and the gas-only 2014 Fiesta; the 2013-14 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is also affected. Ford said it notified the EPA after learning of the discrepancy, and it worked with the agency to retest the vehicles and determine the correct ratings. The automaker said it has reviewed its entire lineup to determine which models required further testing, and that no further adjustments are planned.

Amid Complaints, Ford to Drop C-Max Hybrid to 43 MPG

The testing error was specific to a component of engine-power testing called Total Road Load Horsepower, a measure of resistance. Ford said it has validated the revised TRLHP for affected vehicles through physical testing and put checks and balances in place for future testing. The automaker also said it has notified its dealers and new fuel economy labels will be available in about six days; vehicles will continue to be sold in the interim. Customers can call Ford at 866-436-7332 for more info.

Ford said it will pay owners of the affected vehicles the difference in estimated fuel costs between the old and revised ratings; lease customers will be reimbursed at a lesser rate than owners. The specific differences in fuel economy and the amount to be paid in reimbursement to owners, are as follows:

By Matt Schmitz | June 12, 2014 | Comments (4)

Ford, Heinz Team Up to Develop Tomato-Based Plastic

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Here at Cars.com's headquarters in Chicago, we are bound by local tradition to refrain from putting ketchup on our hot dogs — but we'll certainly consider putting it in our cars if it's more palatable to the environment. Condiment giant H.J. Heinz Co., maker of the iconic ketchup brand, has made a seemingly unlikely pairing with Ford to study the use of tomato fiber in developing more sustainable, composite bio-plastic materials for vehicles. Researchers are testing the materials' durability for wiring brackets and storage bins, according to Ford.

2013 Ford Escape Goes Green, Literally

The project began two years ago when Ford joined forces with Heinz, Coca-Cola, Nike and Procter & Gamble to accelerate the development of a 100 percent plant-based plastic to replace petroleum-based packaging materials. Heinz researchers had been looking for ways to recycle and repurpose peels, stems and seeds from the more than 2 million tons of tomatoes the company uses each year to make ketchup, according to Ford.

By Matt Schmitz | June 10, 2014 | Comments (5)

Cars.com's Top 10 Fun-to-Drive Fuel Sippers

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When I was 10, my dad set me and a go-kart loose in an abandoned parking lot, free to zip around the blacktop. At that age, you don't give a thought to how much gas costs; it's all about the fun. At this age, however, fuel economy is a big consideration when it comes to buying a car, but it doesn't have to trump the fun-to-drive factor.

More Top 10s

There are plenty of cars that offer both fun and fuel savings, from affordable subcompacts and gas-electric hybrids to pricier luxury cars and diesel-powered vehicles. To qualify for this list, a car has to have an EPA combined rating of 30 mpg, while bringing out the inner go-kart-loving kid in all of us:

By Jennifer Geiger | June 9, 2014 | Comments (9)

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