Recall Alert: 2014 Ford Focus, C-Max

2014FordFocusRecall

Vehicles Affected: More than 500 model-year 2014 Ford Focus compact cars and C-Max hybrids manufactured between Aug. 8 and Aug. 15, 2014

The Problem: Incorrectly assembled steering gears could cause impaired steering, including a loss of steering control, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Ford will begin notifying owners on Sept. 8, and dealers will replace the steering gears for free.

What Owners Should Do: 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 29, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Toyota Prius Real-World Cargo Space

Prius_cargo

Compared to its midsize sedan hybrid competitors, the Toyota Prius hatchback's cargo space is a winner with 21.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the folding backseat, a feature some sedans lose in their transformation to a hybrid. Throw in a 50 mpg combined EPA rating and it's easy to see why the purpose-built hybrid is so popular.

Related: Best Hybrids for the Money 2014

The original Prius fits in the middle of the current Prius lineup that includes the smaller Prius c and wagonlike Prius v. See how well common cargo items fit in the Prius' cargo area below.

By Joe Bruzek | August 28, 2014 | Comments (1)

Volkswagen Prices First Electric Car; 2015 e-Golf Will Cost $36,265

2015VolkswagenE-Golf

Volkswagen today announced pricing for the all-new 2015 e-Golf as the electric hatchback prepares to "charge" into dealerships in the fall. VW's first fully electric, zero-emissions vehicle starts at $36,265, including an $820 destination charge, for the SEL Premium model.

Related: More Electric Cars Than Ever, Still Not Available Everywhere

The e-Golf, which we first saw at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, is powered by a compact electric motor and 24.2-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, good for 115 horsepower and 199 pounds-feet of torque. It's mated to a single-speed automatic transmission. Volkswagen said the e-Golf has an average range of 70 to 90 miles and a 7.2-kilowatt onboard charger, achieving an 80 percent battery charge within 30 minutes. The hatchback offers three driver-selectable modes: Normal, Eco and Eco Plus.

By Matt Schmitz | August 25, 2014 | Comments (5)

Honda Supercharges Hybrid CR-Z With...a Supercharger

Supercharged_crz

Honda's sporty hybrid CR-Z is one of the only hybrids ever to give drivers a choice of rowing their own gears with a manual transmission. The manual transmission plays to the CR-Z's goal of hybrid fuel economy that doesn't sacrifice driving entertainment, an objective the CR-Z never quite nailed. Now, the performance aspect of the CR-Z is prevailing with a newly optional dealership-installed supercharger boosting power from 130 horsepower to 197 hp.

Related: 2013 Honda CR-Z: More Power, Increased Efficiency

The Honda Performance Development supercharger — available only on manual transmission cars — bumps power very close to the naturally aspirated 205-hp under the hood of the sporty 2014 Honda Civic Si. The CR-Z weighs about 400 pounds less than the Civic Si, tipping the scales around 2,600 pounds before the supercharger installation. That's enough of a weight savings over the similarly powered Civic Si to make us very interested in driving a supercharged CR-Z.

By Joe Bruzek | August 21, 2014 | Comments (0)

Glitches Call Reliability of Tesla Model S Into Question

2012TeslaModelS

Automatically extending door handles that don't extend, a multimedia screen that blanks out, a creaky roof, difficulties with the trunk latch. These are just some of the glitches with Tesla's long-range-electric luxury sedan, the Model S, that have resulted in backlash from Consumer Reports after initial praise of the vehicle, USA Today reported. We at Cars.com noted these and other quirks during our tests of the 2012 model. How might this affect the Model S' reliability ratings in the future? Get the full USA Today story here.

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Matt Schmitz | August 12, 2014 | Comments (9)

2015 Toyota Prius Gains Special Edition

2015_Prius

Toyota is adding a little extra spark to its hybrid Prius for 2015. The Persona Series Special Edition ties in a few unique interior and exterior components to the midlevel Prius Three trim, including 17-inch wheels with a dark metallic finish — 15-inchers are only available otherwise — plus the special edition adds a new Absolutely Red exterior color and the front occupants' footwells feature blue lighting.

Related: 2014 Toyota Prius: Car Seat Check

The Persona Series tacks on $1,235 to a Prius Three, so it starts at $27,810 with destination for the Absolutely Red exterior. Prius Three trims come equipped with navigation, a 6.1-inch touch-screen and keyless access. Add an additional $395 for the available Blizzard White exterior, which is the only other color option in the Persona Series. On the inside, this special edition pairs Toyota's black imitation leather SofTex with gray accent stitching along with chrome highlights on the shift knob ring and door handles.

The 2015 Prius Persona Series goes on sale in September. Information on updates to the rest of the Prius lineup will be released later this week.

Manufacturer image

By Joe Bruzek | July 30, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Toyota Prius: Car Seat Check

2014ToyotaPrius

When Cars.com reviewer Joe Wiesenfelder critiqued the 2012 Toyota Prius, he called it "an exceptionally efficient car at a relatively low price for people who care more about conservation than the act of driving. Given its success, the formula seems to have worked just fine." Evidently, that formula has continued working so well that the popular hybrid has changed little in the past two model years. That comforting sameness extended to child-safety-seat installation, which remained relatively easy, garnering just a couple of minor complaints from us with regard to the head restraints and seat belts.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

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

Top 10 Most Overlooked New Cars

2014Mazda6

Every year hundreds of new-car models are introduced and enter the research process for millions of car shoppers. The dizzying number of choices sometimes shrouds from the masses what are good cars.

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Here are 10 cars that Cars.com's editors agree are overlooked due to no fault of each vehicle's own substantial merits.

 

1. 2015 Mazda6

The Mazda6 is one of the rare family sedans that is both fun to drive and fuel-efficient; it's rated as high as 28/40/32 mpg city/highway/combined with an automatic transmission and the optional GT Technology Package, which includes regenerative braking and active grille shutters. But even the base automatic gets 38 on the highway. Good cabin quality, intuitive controls, comfortable seating and a striking design also fall into the Mazda's favor.

By David Thomas | July 23, 2014 | Comments (9)

Recall Alert: 2013-2014 Acura ILX, ILX Hybrid

2014AcuraILXRecall

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.

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

2014 Chevrolet Volt Review

2014ChevroletVolt

"Although the Chevrolet Volt has received a big price cut, it still retains its novel extended-range electric car abilities — as well as its poor visibility, questionable touch-sensitive panels and cramped interior," said Cars.com reviewer Aaron D. Bragman. Check out Bragman's review for more.

2014 Chevrolet Volt Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Aaron D. Bragman

By Matt Schmitz | July 2, 2014 | Comments (0)

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