2016 Toyota Mirai Video

"Toyota delivers on a mission announced in 2010 to deliver a hydrogen fuel-cell electric sedan by 2015 priced around $50,000. Well, here it is: the all-new Toyota Mirai," Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays said last week as he got up close to the model-year 2016 fuel-cell electric vehicle at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. Watch the video to see what Mays found out.

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By Matt Schmitz | November 24, 2014 | Comments (0)

Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV Photo Gallery (21 Photos)

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Mitsubishi says the plug-in electric hybrid crossover concept it unveiled this week at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show hints at the future stylistic direction its vehicles could take. If that's the case, designers must have been watching a lot of Mexican wrestling when they dreamed up the XR-PHEV judging by its intimidating countenance, which makes the vehicle look like its wearing a lucha libre mask, while the sweptback and downward-sloping look of its profile suggests the masked grappler has just launched himself off the top rope and is sailing through the air, about to drop an elbow on his opponent on the floor of the ring.

Related: More 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage

According to Mitsubishi Motors North America Executive Vice President Don Swearingen, the XR-PHEV had another objective besides showing off a bold new design. "We also brought it to L.A. to reinforce the message that Mitsubishi is here to stay in the United States," he said in a statement. "As we regrow the brand, we will introduce new models while updating existing ones, creating a new look and a new value proposition for the brand."

Check out the gallery below; Cars.com photos by Evan Sears.

By Matt Schmitz | November 23, 2014 | Comments (0)

2016 Toyota Mirai Photo Gallery (23 Photos)

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Looking dead-on at the 2016 Toyota Mirai is like coming face to face with a giant manta ray. The all-new hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle — bowing this week at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show about four years after Toyota originally announced it — bears the visage of a sinister sea creature, thanks in large part to those inverted-triangular grilles underneath the Mirai's narrow-eyed headlights. The rest, as we've previously described, resembles a Toyota Corolla viewed through a funhouse mirror, all swooping lines and bulging rear fenders.

Related: More 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage

Inside the Mirai is seating for four and a host of safety and tech features, including precollision warning, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, automatic high-beam headlights, Toyota's Entune multimedia system with three years of Safety Connect and a hydrogen station map app. Also, ownership has its privileges, namely a 24-hour concierge service hotline, roadside assistance and complimentary maintenance.

Check out the gallery below; Cars.com photos by Evan Sears.

By Matt Schmitz | November 20, 2014 | Comments (3)

Volkswagen Debuts Fuel-Cell Concept Car at 2014 L.A. Auto Show

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Fuel-cell vehicles have recaptured the alternative-fuel spotlight from electric and plug-in hybrids of late, and Volkswagen is the latest automaker to show its vision for a fuel-cell car with the debut of the Golf SportWagen HyMotion concept at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Related: More 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage

It's a vision that may look very familiar to you, as the Golf SportWagen HyMotion is based on the new Golf SportWagen production car and has very few styling differences. It's a significantly different approach than Toyota is taking with its futuristic-looking Mirai fuel-cell car, which goes on sale in California late next year, but Volkswagen says its strategy is to put alternative-fuel drivetrains in high-volume models like the Golf family.

In this case, the alternative-fuel drivetrain is a fuel-cell system engineered by Volkswagen. The fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity that drives an electric motor. The electric motor is related to the one in Volkswagen's all-electric e-Golf production car, and four carbon-fiber hydrogen tanks located in the floor of the car give the Golf SportWagen HyMotion an estimated range of 310 miles and a refueling time of about three minutes.

By Mike Hanley | November 19, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 BMW i8 Video

The 2014 BMW i8 is "a head-turner of epic proportions," says Cars.com reviewer Joe Wiesenfelder. "It is sporty, it is quick, especially if you consider that it is a plug-in gasoline electric hybrid." Watch the video for more.

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By Matt Schmitz | November 10, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2001-2006 Honda, Acura Vehicles

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Vehicles Affected: An unspecified number of model-year 2001-05 Honda Civic cars; 2003-04 Civic compressed natural gas cars and Element crossovers; 2002-05 CR-V crossovers; 2002-04 Odyssey minivans; 2003-05 Accord cars, Pilot crossovers, Civic Hybrid cars and Acura MDX luxury crossovers; 2005 Acura RL luxury sedans; and 2006 Honda Ridgeline pickup trucks, all originally sold or registered at any time in areas with high absolute humidity, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Saipan, Guam and American Samoa

The Problem: Upon deployment of the passenger-side frontal airbag, excessive internal pressure may cause the inflator to rupture. In a crash necessitating deployment of the passenger-side frontal airbag, the inflator could rupture with metal fragments striking and seriously injuring occupants. The action is part of the massive ongoing Takata airbag recall that has affected nearly 7.8 million vehicles and 10 automakers.

The Fix: Honda will begin notifying owners Nov. 24, and dealers will replace the passenger-side airbag inflator for free. Honda said most of the vehicles covered by this formal recall were included in a June 2014 "safety improvement campaign." The automaker said the same repair required in that previous campaign — replacement of the passenger-side frontal airbag inflator — applies to all of the vehicles now included in the formal recall; vehicles in which the passenger-side airbag inflator already was replaced under the previous safety campaign are not included in the recall. Honda said the number of vehicles affected has yet to be determined; a call to the automaker for clarification was not immediately returned.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Honda at 800-999-1009, 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 | November 7, 2014 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 2013-2014 Infiniti M35, 2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid, Q70 Hybrid

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Vehicles Affected: More than 6,500 model-year 2013-14 Infiniti M35h hybrid luxury sedans manufactured between April 7, 2012, and Sept. 9, 2013; model-year 2014 Q50 Hybrid luxury sedans manufactured between Dec. 10, 2012, and July 15, 2014; and model-year 2014-15 Q70 Hybrid sedans manufactured between April 9, 2010, and May 7, 2014

The Problem: Due to a software error, if the signal is lost from one of the two throttle position sensors, the engine control module will go into a fail-safe mode, partially closing the throttle chamber. If the lost signal is restored, the throttle chamber may open regardless of the position signal from the throttle position sensors; this could cause the vehicle to gradually accelerate unexpectedly, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Infiniti manufacturer Nissan will begin notifying owners in mid-November, and dealers will reprogram the engine control module for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Nissan at 800-647-7261, 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 | November 5, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid and Q70 Hybrid

2014InfinitiQ50HybridRecall

Vehicles Affected: More than 6,200 model-year 2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid and Q70 Hybrid luxury sedans are being recalled in two separate actions, one affecting more than 5,400 cars and the other more than 800 cars. Q50 Hybrid sedans in the larger recall were manufactured between Dec. 10, 2012, and June 25, 2014, and in the smaller recall between Oct. 16, 2013, and Jan. 27, 2014. Q70 Hybrid sedans in the larger recall were manufactured between Nov. 7, 2013, and May 7, 2014, and in the smaller recall between Nov. 7, 2013, and Dec. 10, 2013.

The Problem: In the larger recall, both Q50 and Q70 hybrid sedans may have a software error that could cause the electric motor to stop working while the vehicle is being driven in electric-only mode, increasing the risk of a crash. In the smaller action, both sedans may have been assembled with transmissions that have damaged housings, which could crack and fracture, creating road debris and disabling the vehicle, and increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: In the larger recall, Infiniti manufacturer Nissan will notify owners starting in mid-November, and dealers will reprogram the inverter software. In the smaller action, the automaker will also begin notifying owners in mid-November, and dealers will inspect the transmission assembly and replace it if cracks are found. Repairs in both cases will be made for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Nissan at 800-647-7261 or 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 | November 4, 2014 | Comments (0)

How People React to the 2014 BMW i8

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One huge side effect of testing new cars for a living is seeing peoples' reactions when you're piloting something that's either all new, never been seen before or something exotic or ultra-expensive. The BMW i8 is all of those things and was handed over to me for an entire weekend.

Related: More on the BMW i8

Since a Cars.com review was already in the works I didn't want to write about the i8's performance but rather the many looks — and even rude commentary on my manhood — from people I came across. Here is what I encountered after three days with the plug-in electric sports car.

By David Thomas | November 4, 2014 | Comments (2)

Study: Just One-Third of Hybrids Save Money Versus Non-Hybrid Counterparts

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Onetime tax incentives for hybrid-electric vehicles expired nearly four years ago, leaving consumers to wonder which hybrids actually save money versus their non-hybrid counterparts. Vincentric, a Michigan-based data provider, ran its latest cost-of-ownership model on dozens of hybrids. The result? A third of them save you money over five years' ownership, but most end up costing more.

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

Vincentric analyzed cost-of-ownership data on 30 hybrids for the 2014 model year. The company found the average price premium for a hybrid versus its non-hybrid counterpart is $4,325, but five years' ownership and 75,000 total miles trim the hybrid premium to just $1,339. Over that same timespan, 10 of the 30 hybrids studied save money versus their non-hybrid counterparts. The thriftiest car, the 2014 Lexus CT 200h, saves $7,632 over five years. Still, Lexus also makes the worst value in the group — the 2014 GS 450h, which Vincentric says costs $8,155 more than its GS 350 counterpart.

Which hybrids come out on top? And which will cost you more? Read on to find out.

By Kelsey Mays | November 3, 2014 | Comments (5)

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