Honda Smart Home Previews Grid-Friendly Living and Driving

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We all know Honda is adept at making some excellent automobiles. Many people know it does motorcycles, lawn mowers, power generators and even airplanes. But how about houses? If Honda built family homes as well as family cars, would you be interested? What if that house was super energy efficient and could talk to your plug-in electric vehicle to charge it or use the charge stored in it for keeping the lights on?

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

Honda is not getting into the home-building business anytime soon, but that hasn't stopped the company from building homes just as described above in Davis, Calif. The modern-looking dwellings are part of a research project with the University of California at Davis to come up with new, practical technologies aimed at improving energy efficiency.

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

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)

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)

Small Trunks in Midsize Hybrid Sedans Limit Usefulness

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Family-friendly hybrids are still more elusive than you'd think. My test of the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid proved that hybrid midsize sedans can be a great option for small families that don't haul a lot of stuff in the car's trunk. Alternatively, they also merit careful consideration if those families carry around a lot of gear.

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Review

In the Accord Hybrid, as in its competitors, the hybrid system's batteries take up some quality trunk space. But how does its cargo space compare to other Accord models? And what about its competitors?

By Sara Lacey | July 21, 2014 | Comments (3)

What's the Most Affordable Car in 2014?

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Shoppers may face legitimate sticker shock when they're shopping for a new car. TV and radio advertisements may lead them to believe that new cars all get at least 35 mpg for less than $15,000, but the price of entry for even a modestly equipped new car is well above that.

Related: What's the Most Affordable Compact SUV for 2014?

That's why we've taken the cars with the lowest sticker prices and added a dose of reality. A vast majority of buyers never consider buying a car with a manual transmission (often the standard equipment on inexpensive new cars), so right out of the gate the car they're shopping for costs significantly more than they thought it would. Opting for an automatic transmission can cost $1,000 or more.

By David Thomas | July 21, 2014 | Comments (8)

Recall Alert: 2013-2014 Acura ILX, ILX Hybrid

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Vehicles Affected: Nearly 14,100 model-year 2013 Acura ILX sedans manufactured between Jan. 16, 2012, and March 1, 2013, and model-year 2013 ILX Hybrids manufactured between Jan. 12, 2012, and Feb. 7, 2013, and model-year 2014 ILX sedans manufactured between May 2, 2013, and May 31, 2014, as well as model-year 2014 ILX Hybrids manufactured between Oct. 18, 2013, and Feb. 19, 2014

The Problem: Excessive heat around the headlight bulb and reflector unit may diminish the output of the headlight and cause smoke, melting and fire. The diminished light output may decrease the driver's visibility, increasing the risk of a crash, while excessive heat coming from around the bulb and reflector could cause the headlights to overheat, increasing the risk of a fire.

The Fix: The automaker will notify owners starting July 28, and dealers will replace the headlights for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Acura at 800-862-2872, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit www.safercar.gov for more info.

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

More Recalls 

By Matt Schmitz | July 8, 2014 | Comments (1)

Confounded by Car Technology? It's Time to Embrace It

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Today's technology-laden cars, SUVs and even trucks can be challenging for older drivers as well as car buyers who have been out of the market for several years. I'm among the many mature drivers who don't replace vehicles until they've been driven into the ground — my husband and I often go a decade or more between car purchases. Our current vehicles are of 2004 and 2006 vintage, and they lack much of the technology that's rapidly becoming common, often standard, on today's new cars.

Related: AAA Recommends Car Features for Older Drivers

As a Cars.com's copy editor, I'm encouraged to drive the test vehicles we receive at our Chicago offices so that I can experience the things I read about when I edit articles. I enjoy this part of the job, but it's proven to be a challenge due to unfamiliar technology. I often find myself communing with the owner's manual before I can leave the parking garage with one of our test cars.

Here are a few things other potentially overwhelmed car shoppers of any vintage should prepare to encounter:

By Jen Burklow | July 7, 2014 | Comments (11)

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)

Google Unveils Android Auto

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Last week, we told you of Google's plans for a vehicle operating system to rival Apple's CarPlay; at today's Google I/O developers conference in San Francisco, the tech giant unveiled the details of its new Android Auto system.

More Technology News

The operating system runs on a smartphone, and after connecting the phone to the car, it projects its interface to a vehicle's touch-screen, allowing the user to interact with the system's functions via vehicle screen or voice command. Users can access and control Google maps and Google Play Music, as well as their phone's contacts and messages; third-party apps like Spotify and iHeartRadio will also be compatible.

Android Auto is the first system to come from the Open Automotive Alliance, a coalition of tech and auto companies working toward bringing the Android platform to cars. The group consists of more than 40 members, including Google, Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai and Nvidia, a tech company. Honda, Hyundai and Audi have announced that Android Auto will be available in select model-year 2015 vehicles, but specific models and trims will be announced at a later date.

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By Jennifer Geiger | June 25, 2014 | Comments (0)

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)

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