2015 Tesla Model S P85D: First Drive

TeslaLead

Tesla's new all-wheel-drive Model S, the P85D, represents another instance of an automaker using all-wheel-drive technology to improve performance as well as all-season traction. I know this because my neck is still a little sore from straining against the immense thrust generated by the P85D's front and rear electric motors. Tesla says the 691-horsepower P85D can go from zero to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds. That's supercar territory, but it's entirely believable based on my brief test drive.

Related: How People React to the 2014 BMW i8

What's interesting about the P85D is how the car manages to make extraordinary quickness seem ordinary. Simply mash the gas pedal and prepare for a silent blastoff thanks to 687 pounds-feet of torque.

Slowing things down a bit doesn't diminish the driving experience either.

By Mike Hanley | February 24, 2015 | Comments (10)

More Details Emerge on Possible Apple Car

AppleElectricCarStock

Another day, another development in the news that took the industry by storm this week — the possibility of a car from tech giant Apple. Sources told Bloomberg News that Apple's car will be electric and could see production as soon as 2020.

Related: Will Apple Build its Own Car? 

That suggests current development is still in its early stages, given it often takes five years or longer for an automaker to bring an all-new car to market. But Apple has already hired experts from a broad range of battery and electronics manufacturers, prompting a battery maker to sue the company.

By Kelsey Mays | February 20, 2015 | Comments (2)

Nissan Leaf Gets Glow-in-the-Dark Paint Concept

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We're not sure why any car needs glow-in-the-dark paint, but Nissan's European division decided to give it a go on the Leaf EV. Working with inventor Hamish Scott, whose Starpath technology enables glow-in-the-dark walkways, Nissan developed paint for the Leaf that absorbs ultraviolet light during the day and glows for eight to 10 hours overnight. You know, in case you really want to draw attention to that luminous orb in your driveway at 2 a.m.

Related: How Would Chevy's Bolt EV Stack Up Against the Nissan Leaf?

This isn't the first time someone has tried to make a car glow, but Nissan claims its all-organic paint is unique. Among its ingredients is strontium aluminate — a "very rare natural earth product" that’s odorless and chemically inert, according to the automaker. (Yes, because environmentalism is all about using rare earth products.) The paint could last 25 years, but there are “no plans for this to go on commercial sale,” Nissan Europe spokesman Gareth Dean told us.

The automaker says it developed glow-in-the-dark paint for the Leaf "to highlight the link between Leaf ownership and solar-panel installation," Dean said. There are some 7,500 Leaf owners in the United Kingdom, and installation of solar panels is particularly high among them, he added.

Manufacturer image

By Kelsey Mays | February 17, 2015 | Comments (1)

Chevrolet Bolt Electric Car to be Built in Michigan

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When Chevrolet unveiled the Bolt EV concept car at Janaury's 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, we figured it was a matter of time until GM's Tesla-buster saw an official production announcement — and we were right. General Motors has announced it will build the Bolt at a factory north of Detroit, pumping $200 million into plant investment to make the company's next-generation electric car.

More 2015 Chicago Auto Show Coverage

GM's Orion Assembly Plant, which is the current home of the Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano, has been tapped to build the new electric car. GM North America President Alan Batey said the car would stick to the targets set by the concept vehicle: an all-electric, five-passenger compact car that can go at least 200 miles on a charge and cost in the neighborhood of $30,000 after tax credits.

GM gave no timetable as to when the car would go on sale, but given that the company has made a production location and investment announcement — and sources reported that prototypes are already under development at GM technical centers — it seems safe to say it could appear in showrooms within the next two years.

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Aaron Bragman | February 12, 2015 | Comments (1)

What You Need to Know About the 2015 Lexus NX 200T, NX 300h

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As compact luxury SUVs go, the 2015 Lexus NX combines enough driving fun and occupant comfort to deserve a look, but anyone with serious cargo needs should look elsewhere or stick to the brand's popular RX. For those looking for a smaller crossover, here is a primer on the new Lexus:

 

Snapshot

  • Starting price: NX 200t, $35,405; NX 300h, $40,645 (prices include destination fees)
  • Competes with: Acura RDX, Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
  • On sale: Now

 

What We Like

  •  Cabin quality
  •  Relatively roomy backseat
  •  Many standard features, upscale options
  •  Fuel efficiency with either drivetrain
  •  Responsive transmission in NX 200t

 

What We Don't

  •  Engine/transmission response in NX 300h
  •  Mushy brakes in NX 300h
  •  Smallish cargo area
  •  Usability of navigation system
  •  NX 200t requires premium gas

 

Cars.com Expert Review

2015 Lexus NX Car Seat Check

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Cars.com photo by Kelsey Mays

 

By David Thomas | January 28, 2015 | Comments (1)

What You Need to Know About the 2015 BMW i3

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BMW takes a giant leap into the electric-vehicle game with this little city car. Here's a quick reference guide:

 

Snapshot

  • Starting price: $43,350, including a destination fee
  • Competes with: Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul EV
  • On sale: Now

 

What We Like

  • Handling
  • Acceleration
  • Tax credit availability

 

What We Don't

  • Ride on rough pavement
  • Compromised rear visibility
  • Appearance of some of the eco-friendly materials

 

First Drive

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Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By David Thomas | January 27, 2015 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 2014-15 Toyota Prius V

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Vehicles Affected: Approximately 5,000 model-year 2014-2015 Toyota Prius V hybrids manufactured Nov. 7, 2013, through Jan. 7, 2015

The Problem: In these vehicles, the occupant classification system may not have been calibrated correctly. As a result, the passenger air bag may not deploy in a crash, increasing the risk of injuries.

The Fix: Dealers will recalibrate of the OCS system for free.

What Owners Should Do: Toyota will being notifying owners Feb. 15. Owners can call Toyota at 800-331-4331 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 for more information.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Jennifer Geiger | January 26, 2015 | Comments (0)

Infiniti Cancels Electric Car Plans

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The North American International Auto Show in Detroit is buzzing with big electric car news from Chevrolet with the Volt and the Bolt, but Infiniti quietly announced it no longer has plans to produce its electric car, the LE.

Related: Infiniti LE Concept at the 2012 New York Auto Show

When the LE concept debuted at the 2012 New York International Auto Show, Infiniti called it a "production intent" concept and said it would hit the market in the next two years. Three years later, plans to build a luxury electric sedan based on Nissan's Leaf are off due to a renewed focus on higher volume segments, an Infiniti executive told USA Today.

Click here for the full story.

By Jennifer Geiger | January 19, 2015 | Comments (5)

2016 Chevrolet Volt Video

Chevrolet's new Volt gets a major exterior styling overhaul, along with more electric range and better gas mileage. Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays takes you through the new Volt, from the bumpers to the battery. Check out the video for more.

Watch on YouTube

By Jennifer Geiger | January 13, 2015 | Comments (0)

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid: First Look

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Competes with: Ford Fusion Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid, Toyota Camry Hybrid

Looks like: The new Sonata wearing a more Genesis-like grille

Drivetrain: Hybrid: Combined 193-hp with 2.0-liter four-cylinder and 38-kW electric motor; 1.62-kwh lithium-polymer battery; front-wheel drive; six-speed automatic transmission. Plug-in Hybrid: 202-hp with 2.0-liter four-cylinder and 50-kW electric motor; 9.8-kwh lithium-polymer battery; front-wheel drive; six-speed automatic transmission.

Hits dealerships: Hybrid, summer; Plug-in Hybrid, late 2015

While non-hybrid Sonatas got all the attention for 2015 with the drastically restyled all-new Sonata, the Sonata Hybrid carried over from 2014 to 2015 unchanged. Now it's time for the hybrid to take the spotlight.

More Detroit Auto Show Coverage

For 2016, Hyundai is launching a hybrid variant of its redesigned Sonata with a boost in fuel economy over the outgoing model; it's also debuting its first plug-in hybrid to select markets with the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle.

By Joe Bruzek | January 12, 2015 | Comments (4)

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