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)

Tesla to Launch Compact, Low-Cost Sedan in 2017

Tesla

Tesla has confirmed a third model, dubbed the Model 3, will show up around 2017. Tesla CEO Elon Musk originally wanted to call it the Model E — which, together with the extant Model S sedan and forthcoming Model X SUV, would have landed Tesla enough S-E-X appeal for late-night comedians to have a field day. But Ford sued because it had rights to the Model E name, explains British car magazine Auto Express, which broke the story, so Tesla had to go with Model 3 — or Model III, depending on exact nomenclature. The all-electric Model 3 will have a smaller platform than the Model S and take on the BMW 3 Series. Musk told Auto Express it would be priced around $35,000, or half the cost of a Model S. Still, the Model 3 images that Auto Express posted "were mock-ups based on their own speculation," Tesla tweeted on Tuesday.

Read more from our friends at USA Today here.

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Kelsey Mays | July 16, 2014 | Comments (6)

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

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"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)

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)

Toyota Previews Production Fuel-Cell Sedan

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Toyota has promised U.S. drivers a fuel-cell vehicle for years. Although we don't know what it'll be called, we now know what it looks like. Today, the automaker released exterior images of the production version of its hydrogen-powered sedan, as well as pricing for the Japanese market.

More Alternative Fuel News

The production model bears a striking resemblance to the concept that bowed at 2013's Tokyo Motor Show, echoing the show car's wedgy, angular profile, slit-like headlights and large front bumper air dams.

By Jennifer Geiger | June 25, 2014 | Comments (9)

How Ohio State University Won the EcoCar2 Student Hybrid Challenge

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The EcoCar2 Hybrid Challenge is over, and the winner has been declared: Ohio State University took the overall title, winning the three-year-long student program sponsored by General Motors.

But what does it take to capture such an award?

The EcoCar2 program is a student challenge started by the Department of Energy back in 1988 as the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition designed to foster partnerships between private companies, universities and the government to boost fuel-efficiency tech.

By Aaron Bragman | June 24, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Real-World Cargo Space

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Toyota's redesigned 2014 Highlander performed respectably in our $40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge, finishing third behind the 2014 Dodge Durango and the winner, the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe. One area where the Highlander desperately needed to impress families with its redesign was in cargo room behind the third row.

What's the Best 3-Row SUV for $40,000?

A puny 10.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row was increased to 13.8 cubic feet for 2014. For those hoping to get into a Highlander Hybrid, they'll be happy to hear that cargo room isn't sacrificed for the hybrid system's battery. Even with the newfound cargo space, the Highlander is still on the smaller side compared to many of the SUVs we tested in our SUV Challenge. See the animation below for how well common items fit into the Highlander Hybrid's cargo area.

By Joe Bruzek | June 19, 2014 | Comments (2)

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)

Recall Alert: 2013-2014 Fiat 500e

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Vehicles Affected: About 4,141 model-year 2013-14 Fiat 500e electric vehicles manufactured between Sept. 24, 2012, and April 4, 2014

The Problem: Cooling plates for the Power Inverter module may leak coolant into areas of the high-voltage circuitry, resulting in a short circuit that could cause the related service fuse to blow. This could cause a loss of vehicle propulsion while driving, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Chrysler will notify owners starting this month, and dealers will replace the Power Inverter module for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Chrysler at 800-853-1403 or 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 | June 9, 2014 | Comments (0)

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