2015 Volkswagen Jetta Starts at $17,035

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Volkswagen's refreshed 2015 Jetta starts at $17,035 (all prices include destination). That's up $520 over the 2014 model; the 2015 should be in dealerships by the end of September. The starting price gets you a 2.0-liter four-cylinder base model with a five-speed manual transmission and power windows and locks but no air conditioning or radio. Some dealers will stock them, VW spokesman Mark Gillies told us, but "it's a relatively small percentage of the mix." That's been the case for the base Jetta in recent years.

Related: 2015 Volkswagen Jetta: First Look

For most Jetta shoppers, the effective base model at dealerships is a stick-shift Jetta 2.0L S ($18,145), which adds air conditioning and a CD stereo plus Bluetooth, steering-wheel audio controls, cruise control and keyless entry. A six-speed automatic runs $19,245.

By Kelsey Mays | August 25, 2014 | Comments (0)

Glitches Call Reliability of Tesla Model S Into Question

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Automatically extending door handles that don't extend, a multimedia screen that blanks out, a creaky roof, difficulties with the trunk latch. These are just some of the glitches with Tesla's long-range-electric luxury sedan, the Model S, that have resulted in backlash from Consumer Reports after initial praise of the vehicle, USA Today reported. We at Cars.com noted these and other quirks during our tests of the 2012 model. How might this affect the Model S' reliability ratings in the future? Get the full USA Today story here.

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Matt Schmitz | August 12, 2014 | Comments (9)

Honda Smart Home Previews Grid-Friendly Living and Driving

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We all know Honda is adept at making some excellent automobiles. Many people know it does motorcycles, lawn mowers, power generators and even airplanes. But how about houses? If Honda built family homes as well as family cars, would you be interested? What if that house was super energy efficient and could talk to your plug-in electric vehicle to charge it or use the charge stored in it for keeping the lights on?

Related: Volt Versus All: How Does Chevy's Plug-in Hold Up Against the Plug-In Competition?

Honda is not getting into the home-building business anytime soon, but that hasn't stopped the company from building homes just as described above in Davis, Calif. The modern-looking dwellings are part of a research project with the University of California at Davis to come up with new, practical technologies aimed at improving energy efficiency.

By Aaron Bragman | August 4, 2014 | Comments (2)

2015 Toyota Prius Gains Special Edition

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Toyota is adding a little extra spark to its hybrid Prius for 2015. The Persona Series Special Edition ties in a few unique interior and exterior components to the midlevel Prius Three trim, including 17-inch wheels with a dark metallic finish — 15-inchers are only available otherwise — plus the special edition adds a new Absolutely Red exterior color and the front occupants' footwells feature blue lighting.

Related: 2014 Toyota Prius: Car Seat Check

The Persona Series tacks on $1,235 to a Prius Three, so it starts at $27,810 with destination for the Absolutely Red exterior. Prius Three trims come equipped with navigation, a 6.1-inch touch-screen and keyless access. Add an additional $395 for the available Blizzard White exterior, which is the only other color option in the Persona Series. On the inside, this special edition pairs Toyota's black imitation leather SofTex with gray accent stitching along with chrome highlights on the shift knob ring and door handles.

The 2015 Prius Persona Series goes on sale in September. Information on updates to the rest of the Prius lineup will be released later this week.

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By Joe Bruzek | July 30, 2014 | Comments (0)

Not All Small Cars Shine in Latest IIHS Crash Tests

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In its latest round of tests the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that diminutive cars still have issues with its challenging small overlap front crash test. This time out electric cars like the range-extender 2014 Chevrolet Volt and 2014 Nissan Leaf were tested for the first time with mixed results, while the Mini Countryman was the only small car in the group to earn a top grade in the test.

Related: Tougher IIHS Crash Test Could Mean Fewer Top Safety Picks

The Volt popped up on IIHS' scale of poor, marginal, acceptable and good with a score of acceptable, good enough for the Volt to be awarded a 2014 Top Safety Pick+ designation, the institute's highest award. The Leaf didn't fare as well in the 40-mph test designed to simulate a collision with another vehicle or a pole and earned a poor rating. IIHS observed intrusion in the lower and upper compartments indicating likely injuries to the left knee and left lower leg, while a left thigh injury would also be possible. Neither electric car had any issue with the batteries or electrical systems post-crash.

Ten other small cars went through this round of IIHS small overlap crash tests along with the Volt and Leaf, including the Mini Cooper Countryman and the Mazda5, which IIHS says is one of the worst-performing models the institute has evaluated in the small overlap test.

By Joe Bruzek | July 30, 2014 | Comments (5)

2014 Toyota Prius: Car Seat Check

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When Cars.com reviewer Joe Wiesenfelder critiqued the 2012 Toyota Prius, he called it "an exceptionally efficient car at a relatively low price for people who care more about conservation than the act of driving. Given its success, the formula seems to have worked just fine." Evidently, that formula has continued working so well that the popular hybrid has changed little in the past two model years. That comforting sameness extended to child-safety-seat installation, which remained relatively easy, garnering just a couple of minor complaints from us with regard to the head restraints and seat belts.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

More Car Seat Checks

By Matt Schmitz | July 24, 2014 | Comments (1)

Top 10 Most Overlooked New Cars

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Every year hundreds of new-car models are introduced and enter the research process for millions of car shoppers. The dizzying number of choices sometimes shrouds from the masses what are good cars.

More Top 10s

Here are 10 cars that Cars.com's editors agree are overlooked due to no fault of each vehicle's own substantial merits.

 

1. 2015 Mazda6

The Mazda6 is one of the rare family sedans that is both fun to drive and fuel-efficient; it's rated as high as 28/40/32 mpg city/highway/combined with an automatic transmission and the optional GT Technology Package, which includes regenerative braking and active grille shutters. But even the base automatic gets 38 on the highway. Good cabin quality, intuitive controls, comfortable seating and a striking design also fall into the Mazda's favor.

By David Thomas | July 23, 2014 | Comments (9)

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

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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

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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.

More Recalls 

By Matt Schmitz | July 8, 2014 | Comments (1)

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