2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-in Hybrid: First Look (15 Photos)

2015MercedesBenzS550PlugInHybrid

Competes with: Audi A8 TDI, BMW 7 Series ActiveHybrid, Lexus LS 600h
Looks like: An S-Class with enough rear signage for Mercedes' lettering supplier to hire an extra shift
Drivetrain: 436-hp (combined), turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 and electric motor with seven-speed automatic transmission; rear-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Spring 2015, California only

Witness the reprisal of Mercedes-Benz's S-Class hybrid, this time in the form of a plug-in S550. The S550 Plug-in Hybrid teams a turbocharged V-6 with an electric motor that runs off a battery you can plug in to recharge. Whereas its predecessor, the 2010-2013 S400 Hybrid, was a plug-free "mild" hybrid that couldn't actually travel on electric power alone, Mercedes says its successor can do that for up to 20 miles.

Related: More Hybrids/Alternative Fuels News

Typical of Mercedes' flagship sedan, the S550 plug-in electric vehicle boasts a kitchen sink's worth of other features. Among them are haptic gas-pedal feedback and drivetrain logic that purportedly adapts its efficiency strategy to the road and traffic around you.

By Kelsey Mays | September 16, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Toyota Prius Review

2014ToyotaPrius

"The 2014 Toyota Prius hybrid is spacious and its extreme efficiency is impressive, but you have to put up with a noisy, bumpy ride and an interior that's showing its age," said Cars.com reviewer Mike Hanley. Check out Hanley's review for more.

2014 Toyota Prius Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Matt Schmitz | September 12, 2014 | Comments (20)

Recall Alert: 2005-2008 Ford Escape, 2006-2008 Mercury Mariner Hybrids

2008FordEscapeHybridRecall

Vehicles Affected: More than 70,000 hybrid crossovers, including model-year 2005-08 Ford Escape hybrids manufactured between Oct. 13, 2003, and June 20, 2008, and 2006-08 Mercury Mariner hybrids manufactured between June 10, 2005, and June 20, 2008

The Problem: The coolant pump for the hybrid system may fail, resulting in the hybrid electronics overheating; if this happens it may shut down the powertrain, resulting in a stall-like condition and increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Ford will begin notifying owners Oct. 27, and dealers will inspect and replace the original motor electronics coolant pump with an improved, brushless pump for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Ford at 866-436-7332, 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.

More Recalls

By Matt Schmitz | September 12, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Toyota Prius Video

If we said the Toyota Prius hybrid is as remarkable as any ol' Ferrari or Lamborghini, some of you might be dismissive, to put it politely. But Cars.com reviewer Mike Hanley argues that, in its fifth year, the fuel-sipping 2014 Prius continues to be nothing short of an "automotive marvel." Watch the video.

Watch on YouTube

By Matt Schmitz | September 10, 2014 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 2014 BMW i3, Mini Cooper Hardtop

2014BMWi3Recall

Vehicles Affected: Nearly 30 model-year 2014 BMW i3 electric vehicles manufactured March 31, 2014, and Mini Cooper Hardtop cars manufactured between Feb. 2 and May 30, 2014

The Problem: The airbag inflator may not have been assembled correctly, preventing the airbag from deploying properly in a crash and increasing the risk of an injury.

The Fix: BMW will begin notifying owners this month, and dealers will replace the front passenger side airbag for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call BMW at 800-525-7417, 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.

More Recalls

By Matt Schmitz | September 9, 2014 | Comments (0)

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.

More Recalls

By Matt Schmitz | August 29, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Toyota Prius Real-World Cargo Space

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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)

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