Chevrolet Promises More Efficient Volt

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We know the 2016 Chevrolet Volt will debut in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, but other details are slim. Today, Chevrolet released a bit more news concerning the updated version of its gas-electric plug-in car. It'll use a new extended range electric vehicle propulsion system and be "more efficient and offer greater EV range and fuel economy compared to the current generation," the automaker said in a statement.

Related: More Chevrolet Volt News

The automaker didn't release figures but the current Volt gets an EPA rating of 38 miles of EV-only range on a full charge. Chevrolet said Volt owners complete more than 80 percent of their trips in EV mode and the move to increase the new model's EV-only range came from owner feedback.

By Jennifer Geiger | October 28, 2014 | Comments (3)

2014 Ford C-Max Energi Real-World Cargo Space

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The two versions of Ford's C-Max — the Hybrid and Energi plug-in hybrid — drive similarly but the Energi sets itself apart with its ability to drive an EPA-estimated 20 miles on electric power alone. The Energi's extra stamina comes from a larger lithium-ion battery stuffed in the cargo area that unfortunately, eats into cargo volume; the resulting space is much smaller than the hybrid version's.

Related: 2014 Ford C-Max Energi Review

Cars.com reviewer Aaron Bragman says in his review that "The C-Max Energi replaces the normal hybrid's 1.4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack with a much larger, 7.6-kwh battery in the cargo area, which does indeed cut into the rear storage area. It also eliminates the regular C-Max's flat floor when the rear seats are folded."

The C-Max's cargo volume decreases from the Hybrid model's 24.5 cubic feet to 19.2 cubic feet behind the backseat of the C-Max Energi. Below, see how well common items fit in the C-Max Engergi's cargo area.

By Joe Bruzek | October 23, 2014 | Comments (1)

Ford Drops Focus Electric Pricing Another $6,000

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Ford dropped the starting price for the slow-selling Focus Electric by another $6,000 for 2014 and 2015. Effective for all remaining 2014 Focus Electric hatchbacks, the starting price is now $29,995 including destination. The same sub-$30,000 price also applies to the incoming 2015 Focus Electric, which received some of the interior changes but not the visual updates or new steering wheel of its gasoline-powered sibling.

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

Those prices come before a maximum $7,500 federal tax credit, which means a Focus Electric could start as low as $22,495 if you have sufficient tax liabilities. That’s right in line with the Nissan Leaf, whose price dropped $6,400 in 2013. After applying the maximum tax credit, a 2015 Leaf starts at $22,360.

By Kelsey Mays | October 22, 2014 | Comments (2)

Recall Alert: 2008 Mazda Tribute Hybrid

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Vehicles Affected: More than 400 model-year 2008 Mazda Tribute Hybrid crossovers manufactured between Oct. 10, 2006, and May 23, 2008

The Problem: The coolant pump for the hybrid system may fail, resulting in the hybrid electronics overheating. This could cause the powertrain to shut down, resulting in a stall-like condition and increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Mazda will begin notifying owners on Nov. 3, and dealers will replace the original motor electronics coolant pump with an improved brushless pump for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Mazda at 248-295-7859, 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 | October 16, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Lexus NX: Car Seat Check

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The Lexus NX 300h is the gas-electric hybrid version of the all-new compact luxury crossover, which also comes in gas-powered form as the NX 200t. Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays tested the NX 300h and counted "more hits than misses," particularly with regard to driving fun and occupant comfort. For families, he also noted "anyone with serious cargo needs should look elsewhere." In our Car Seat Check, the NX 300h had a respectable showing, earning high marks for ease of installation and well-positioned Latch anchors.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

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By Matt Schmitz | October 16, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Review

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"The Toyota Avalon Hybrid is a modern automotive interpretation of the La-Z-Boy: smooth, comfortable and easy to drive or ride in as a passenger, if lacking in quickness or sporty style," says Cars.com reviewer Kristin Varela. Check out Varela's review for more.

2014 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Kristin Varela

By Matt Schmitz | October 15, 2014 | Comments (2)

2014 Ford C-Max Energi Video

Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays says the 2014 Ford C-Max Energi is a lot like the C-Max Hybrid — but with a plug-in port. "This hatchback is fun to drive but kind of cramped, and did we mention it's also sort of expensive?" Mays said. "So the real question is, is it all worth it?" Watch the video and decide.

Watch on YouTube

By Matt Schmitz | October 14, 2014 | Comments (1)

2014 Ford C-Max Energi: Car Seat Check

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The Ford C-Max Energi hatchback is a fun-to-drive hybrid that Cars.com reviewer Aaron D. Bragman said "delivers comfort, style and efficiency," but warned that it "compromises cargo capacity." That's not all that the 2014 C-Max Energi has had to compromise.

Parents who purchased the C-Max Energi hoping for convenient car-seat installation might be disappointed with it. Although the 2014 version earns a couple of A's for the easy install of our booster and infant seats, the rest of its report card looks like the answer sheet of a high school student guessing on every question of a multiple-choice test: C, C, C ... see what we mean below.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

More Car Seat Checks

By Matt Schmitz | October 14, 2014 | Comments (0)

'Price Is Right' Contestants to Bid on 'Dream Cars'

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OK, playing "The Price is Right" rules, as close as you can without going over: How much would you expect to pay for a Porsche Cayenne? How about a Range Rover Sport SE? A Maserati Quattroporte S Q4, Tesla Model S or Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster? All next week contestants on the iconic game show will be making bids on that half-million-dollar quintet of luxury vehicles in hopes of hearing Bob Barker … er … we mean, Drew Carey, announce that they've won "A NEW CARRR!!!"

What Car Would You Buy if You Won Mega Millions?

"Dream Car Week" runs Oct. 13-17 on the four-decade-old-plus shopping-themed game show that asks contestants to wager on the retail price of merchandise in hopes of winning extravagant prizes presented by comely models. The show was famously hosted by Barker from its inception until 2007, when bespectacled comedian and sitcom star Carey succeeded him. The show runs 11 a.m. to noon Eastern Standard Time weekdays on CBS.

By Matt Schmitz | October 10, 2014 | Comments (5)

Study: Despite Recent Relief, Americans Spend More on Gas Overall

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As we reported earlier, a sustained decline in U.S. gas prices of late has led to this week's seven-month low, 11 cents less than motorists were paying the same day a year ago. While this recent period of plummeting pump prices is certainly a relief, an extended timeline tells a seemingly different story about how much we're spending on fuel.

Related: Gas Prices Are Up, but So Is Average MPG

According to a report released this week by Securing America's Future Energy, an advocacy group for reducing oil dependency, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey, the average U.S. household spent more than $2,600 on gas in 2013 for a third consecutive year — an all-time high and a 111 percent increase compared with the amount spend a decade earlier.

By Matt Schmitz | September 26, 2014 | Comments (3)

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