Wait a Sec, Porsche Has More Plug-Ins Than Toyota?

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Porsche's new 2015 Cayenne S E-Hybrid with plug-in electric drive is the third plug-in hybrid offered by the performance-luxury automaker, following the exotic 918 Spyder and Panamera S E-Hybrid. All three can drive using electric-only power and once depleted continue driving using the hybrid gasoline/electric powertrain. The Cayenne S E-Hybrid debuts at the Paris Motor Show on Oct. 2 and shoves the automaker into unexpected territory as the self-proclaimed "only manufacturer worldwide to offer three plug-in hybrids," Porsche said in a statement.

Related: 2015 Porsche Cayenne First Look

OK, so we're not exactly talking about mass-market plug-in hybrids, with a starting price of $847,975, including a destination charge, for a 918 Spyder, $97,095 commanded by the Panamera S E-Hybrid or $77,395 for the Cayenne S E-Hybrid. For Porsche, however, the plug-in Panamera has been a hit stateside as 16 percent of Panamera sales are of the EPA-rated 16-mile electric-range hybrid, and Porsche expects the plug-in Cayenne to make up a similar share. The 2015 Cayenne goes on sale starting Nov. 1.

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By Joe Bruzek | September 25, 2014 | Comments (1)

2014 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid Review

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"The Touareg has improved drastically over the years, and VW's even jumped onto the 'green' bandwagon by adding a Touareg Hybrid to the mix. Unfortunately, the 2014 VW Touareg Hybrid is an expensive SUV proposition without a major return on your hybrid investment in terms of fuel economy," said Cars.com reviewer Kristin Varela. Check out Varela's review for more.

2014 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Kristin Varela

By Matt Schmitz | September 22, 2014 | Comments (2)

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 (1)

2014 Toyota Prius Review

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"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 (21)

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.

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By Matt Schmitz | September 12, 2014 | Comments (1)

Kia Prices Soul EV at $33,700

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The Kia Soul is one of Cars.com's favorite urban cars, and the all-electric 2015 Kia Soul EV aims to be the most city-centric Soul yet with its EPA-estimated electric range of 93 miles. The Soul EV Base trim level starts at $33,700 when it goes on sale later this fall, and a feature-heavy Plus trim starts at $35,700. Prices do not include a destination fee, which hasn't been announced, though a gasoline-powered Soul's destination charge is $800.

Related: 2015 Kia Soul EV at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show

The four-door Soul EV hatchback qualifies for the federal EV tax credit of $7,500, which is not reflected in the starting price. Californian markets are first to see the Soul EV on sale, and lease prices are expected to start at $249 per month; term and more details will be available closer to the Soul EV's launch date.

By Joe Bruzek | September 11, 2014 | Comments (2)

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.

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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.

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

Tesla Selects Nevada for Site of New Battery "Gigafactory"

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Tesla Motors and the state of Nevada have jointly announced that the company has selected Nevada for the site of its new "Gigafactory," a manufacturing plant that will supposedly supply the electric vehicle automaker with enough batteries to build 500,000 cars annually by 2020. Speculation has been rampant for months about where the site of the new plant would be, ever since Tesla began courting several Southwestern states for tax and construction incentives in exchange for locating the plant in their state.

Related: Glitches Call Reliability of Tesla Model S Into Question

The plant itself will be a joint venture between Tesla and the company's battery supplier Panasonic, which has agreed to produce cylindrical lithium-ion battery cells there, providing machinery and manufacturing equipment while Tesla provides the land, facility and building management. Half of the plant will be used by Panasonic to manufacture lithium-ion cells, the other half of the facility will be used by Tesla's various suppliers to create battery packs and ancillary support systems for the packs.

Tesla maintains that the plant will eventually produce enough battery packs to support the Model S, Model X SUV (concept shown above) and the recently announced smaller Model 3 sedan, Tesla's less expensive, more accessible EV luxury car. The 500,000 claim is a bit staggering as no luxury brand sells nearly that many cars in the U.S., and Tesla has only just begun exploring sales in China. The company claims that the plant will eventually employ 6,600 people, and Nevada is expecting the plant to generate more than $100 billion in economic impact for the state over the next 20 years.

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By Aaron Bragman | September 5, 2014 | Comments (1)

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)

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