Best Hybrids for the Money 2014

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Gas prices remain historically high and volatile, and one of the most successful ways automakers and American motorists have adapted is by embracing hybrid technology. Though a few full-size hybrid trucks from GM have been discontinued, 2014 sees as many models as ever. No matter why you may want a hybrid, you might want to know how well it meets its mission.

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To determine if a hybrid's added expense is worth the cash, we devised an efficiency-cost rating. It's simply the EPA's combined mpg rating divided by the base price (meaning MSRP plus destination charge). We then multiply that result by 1,000. This formula can be applied to any type of vehicle, hybrid or not. A high mpg rating and low price provide a high efficiency-cost rating. A higher score is the better score.

We don't account for equipment levels, quality judgments, cost of ownership or any variances from EPA mileage estimates. The goal here is to pay the least for the most mileage, barring all other considerations.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | April 14, 2014 | Comments (10)

Most-Read Car Reviews of the Week

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None of this week's four newcomers to our list of most-read reviews was able to topple the long-running reign of the 2014 Nissan Rogue at No. 1. The 2014 Honda Civic sedan and 2014 Toyota Venza wagon settled in at Nos. 4 and 5, respectively, while the 2014 Mazda3 sedan took No. 9, and the 2014 Audi Q5 compact luxury SUV, No. 10. Check out what else was popular:

1. 2014 Nissan Rogue
2. 2015 Chrysler 200
3. 2014 Subaru Forester
4. 2014 Honda Civic
5. 2014 Toyota Venza
6. 2014 Honda CR-V
7. 2014 Infiniti Q50
8. 2014 Lexus ES 300h
9. 2014 Mazda3
10. 2014 Audi Q5

Cars.com photo by Aaron D. Bragman

By Matt Schmitz | April 6, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Honda Civic Review

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Honda's compact car is no stranger to refreshes, and the model-year 2014 update, the Civic's third in three years, offers some appealing new features and an exterior styling face-lift for the coupe. Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays says the Civic remains one of the best-equipped and priciest small cars on the market. Check out the review for more.

2014 Honda Civic Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Jennifer Geiger | April 2, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2014 Honda Civic

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Vehicles Affected: Approximately 9,816 model-year 2014 versions of the Honda Civic LX sedan and coupe; only vehicles manufactured from Nov. 26, 2013, through Jan. 21, 2014, are affected.

The Problem: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reporting that during the tire mounting process, the tire bead may have gotten pinched between the assembly equipment and the steel wheel rims. This could damage the tire and cause it to leak air, increasing the risk of an accident.

"Honda has not received any warranty claims, field reports or injuries related to this issue," the automaker said in a statement to NHTSA.

The Fix: Dealers will inspect and replace any damaged tires for free.

What Owners Should Do: Honda has already started notifying owners. Owners can call Honda at 800-999-1009 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 for more information.

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Manufacturer photo

By Jennifer Geiger | March 31, 2014 | Comments (0)

Honda's New Touch Display Multimedia System Put To the Test

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The automotive world is in a battle over touch-sensitive controls versus old-fashioned buttons and knobs. Some automakers pull off the new-wave systems well, others not so much. As a group, the editors at Cars.com generally favor some sort of physical buttons to complement the latest in-car technology.

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Honda doesn't seem to agree. Its latest Touch Display Radio is devoid of any physical controls and is featured in one of its most popular cars, the Civic. It also will be rolled out in the redesigned 2015 Fit that goes on sale later this year. How well does it work?

By David Thomas | March 24, 2014 | Comments (0)

Top 10 Used Cars for $10K

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Although new cars offer the latest design, tech and safety features, shoppers buy more of their used counterparts: about 2.7 used cars for every new car sold in 2013, according to CNW Marketing Research. It's hard to blame shoppers. The average new car sells for around $30,000. By contrast, the average used car sold in early January 2014 for $10,843 at franchised dealerships (e.g., Bob's Honda) and $9,513 at independent dealerships (e.g., Bob's Used Cars), according to CNW.

Top 10 Cheapest New Cars You Can Buy

The age of paying $10,000 for a brand-new car is in the rearview mirror. So what are the best used cars for $10,000? We crunched a lot of data, and from a pool of more than 60 candidates, here are our top 10 cars, listed alphabetically.

By Kelsey Mays | March 17, 2014 | Comments (8)

Study Ranks Owners' Ability to Afford Their Cars by City

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Can you afford your car? Obviously, the answer to that question is more complicated than "yes" or "no." But far more often than you might imagine, it's the latter, according to a study of the nation's 25 largest metropolitan areas by Interest.com. Now you can gauge your own financial solvency as it relates to your household vehicles — or just use the info to justify your condescending smirk/head-shake combo as your neighbor drives by in his new luxury sedan.

2013 Year-End Sales Preview

"Too many families are spending way too much on new cars and trucks," Interest.com Managing Editor Mike Sante said in a statement. "Just because you can manage the monthly payment doesn't mean you should let a $30,000 or $40,000 ride gobble up such a huge share of your paycheck. You can get a great car for much less and use the savings to invest in yourself."

The study calculated how much a household can afford to spend on a car or light-duty truck using the so-called 20/4/10 rule: a down payment of at least 20 percent; a financing term of no more than 48 months; and principal, interest and insurance not exceeding 10 percent of a household's gross income. Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Boston led the charge in ability to afford vehicles, while Miami and Tampa, Fla., car owners were at the bottom of the list. The nation's three largest cities were clustered toward the middle of the list of 25, with New York at No. 10, Chicago at No. 12 and Los Angeles at No. 14.

By Matt Schmitz | March 14, 2014 | Comments (3)

2014 Honda Civic Si Coupe Goes on Sale Wednesday With More Power

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The 2014 Honda Civic's sport-themed variant, the Si, is set to arrive at dealerships Wednesday in coupe form, with the sedan version to follow two weeks later. The coupe starts at $23,580 and the sedan at $23,780 (both prices include a $790 destination charge), a $275 increase from predecessors. Honda promises that for the nominal price increase, buyers will get more power, a retuned suspension and upgraded interior.

2014 Honda Civic Coupe Gallery: 35 Photos

According to the automaker, the retuned exhaust system boosts output from the 2.4-liter four-cylinder in both the coupe and sedan by 4 horsepower to 205 and 4 pounds-feet of torque to 174; the engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The suspension also has been retuned for sportier performance. Fuel economy is unchanged from 2013 at 22/31 mpg city/highway for both the coupe and sedan.

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

2013 Honda Civic Versus its Competitors

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Before Cars.com's $20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge in November 2013, we took a detailed look at how our long-term 2013 Honda Civic stacked up individually against the 2013 Nissan Sentra, 2013 Toyota Corolla (before the 2014 redesign) and 2014 Kia Forte.

Follow Our Long-Term Fleet

For 2013, the Civic gained notable improvements after a half-hearted 2012 redesign. Our yearlong goal with the Civic was to assess those changes against other compact sedans that entered our rotating fleet of manufacturer-provided test cars. Below, see how well the updated Civic performed head-to-head against three of those competitors in the following categories: cabin quality, noise, handling, acceleration, braking, ride, gas mileage, seats and roominess, and multimedia usability.

By Joe Bruzek | March 4, 2014 | Comments (8)

What Did it Cost to Own Our 2013 Honda Civic?

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It's time to say goodbye to our 2013 Honda Civic LX after 15,450 miles of use as one of Cars.com's long-term test cars. We bought the Civic to evaluate the big changes Honda made for 2013 to up its competitiveness after a snooze-tastic 2012 redesign.

Follow Our Long-Term Fleet

With the exception of the rear end being smashed by another car while our Civic was parked, owning this sedan was as uneventful and predictable as its passing power. Our LX sedan with an automatic transmission required two oil changes, a tire rotation and an inspection, plus we threw a set of wiper blades on the car and had it detailed when a funky smell invaded the interior after a wet spring.

By Joe Bruzek | March 3, 2014 | Comments (0)

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