2015 Volkswagen e-Golf Video

This may look like Volkswagen's Golf, but there's more than meets the eye here. For 2015, the automaker is adding an electric Golf to the hatchback's lineup, and a few styling cues like a smaller grille, active shutters for better aerodynamics and LED headlights set the e-Golf apart. Although it's not the roomiest car, Cars.com reviewer Joe Wiesenfelder says the electric version doesn’t compromise passenger and cargo space. Check out the video for more.

By Jennifer Geiger | February 7, 2014 | Comments (1)

2015 Kia Soul EV Photo Gallery (30 Photos)

2015KiaSoulEV

You don't have to live in California, Oregon, New York, New Jersey or Maryland to get a look at the 2015 Kia Soul EV, the Korean automaker's first foray into the all-electric-vehicle market. While those coastal states will be the only places you can buy one when it first goes on sale in limited quantities this summer, the zero-emissions hatchback is making its debut this week at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show. Truth be told, it doesn't look drastically different — inside or out — from the standard Soul, save for a blocked-out grille opening where charging ports are hidden, 16-inch wheels and a Mini Cooper-esque two-tone paint scheme, as well as handful of EV-specific interior flourishes.

More 2014 Chicago Auto Show Coverage

Under the hood, however, the Soul EV couldn't be more different. It runs on an 81.4-kilowatt, 109-horsepower electric motor that drives the front wheels through a single-speed transmission. The battery is a 27-kilowatt-hour, air-cooled lithium-ion battery pack that provides 80 to 100 miles of range under normal conditions and powers the vehicle from zero to 60 mph in less than 12 seconds on its way to a top speed of 90 mph.

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

By Matt Schmitz | February 6, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Kia Soul EV at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show

Soul-EV

Competes with: Chevrolet Spark EV, Fiat 500e, Nissan Leaf, Smart ForTwo ED
Looks like: A new Kia Soul with fewer body openings
Powertrain: An electric motor making 109 hp and 210 pounds-feet of torque, single- speed transmission and 27-kwh lithium-ion battery pack; Kia says range is 80-100 miles
Hits dealerships: Summer 2014, limited to coastal states

Kia unveiled its first-ever all-electric vehicle at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show this week, the 2014 Kia Soul EV. Based off the recently redesigned front-wheel-drive Soul subcompact, the new Soul EV will join the growing list of small battery-electric vehicles on sale primarily in the coastal states in order to comply with increasingly stringent zero-emissions mandates that require a percentage of an automaker's sales to bezero-emissions vehicles.

More 2014 Chicago Auto Show Coverage

Exterior

The new Soul EV doesn't look much different from the standard Soul, which already received a 2014 update inside and out to incorporate cues from Kia's popular Track'ster concept car. The main visual differences between the conventional gasoline-powered car and the EV are in external trim — the EV has a blocked-out grille opening where the charging ports are hidden, 16-inch wheels with a design borrowed from the Optima Hybrid and a two-tone paint scheme that looks positively Mini Cooperish. Three colors will be offered: white with blue roof, blue with white roof or silver with white roof.

By Aaron Bragman | February 6, 2014 | Comments (4)

Kia Introduces 2014 Optima Hybrid at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show

Optima-Hybrid

Korean automaker Kia has taken the wraps off of its updated 2014 Optima Hybrid at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show this week, revealing a barely restyled sedan whose changes are limited to slightly different front and rear bumpers. Kia says that the updates work to improve the car's aerodynamic efficiency and fuel economy, but the 2014 Optima Hybrid is mechanically unchanged from the 2013 model. The 2014 Optima Hybrid features identical fuel economy of 36/40/38 mpg city/highway/combined for the LX model and 35/39/37 mpg for the uplevel EX trim.

More 2014 Chicago Auto Show Coverage

New 16- and 17-inch wheels are included for the LX and EX, respectively, and they're complemented by new badges. The interior is largely untouched. It still offers a standard 4.3-inch touch-screen or optional 8-inch navigation touch-screen, optional White Leather Package, UVO multimedia system and more.

Kia did not specify when the new 2014 Optima Hybrid will be on sale.

By Aaron Bragman | February 6, 2014 | Comments (0)

Honda Civic Natural Gas Returns for 2014 With Upgrades

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When the 2014 Honda Civic Natural Gas sedan goes on sale Feb. 15, shoppers will find that not a lot has changed in terms of price, fuel economy and availability in the two model years since we last saw it. What is new, however, are standard tech and safety features, as well as interior upgrades.

Free Fuel for Honda Civic Natural Gas Customers

The 2014 Civic Natural Gas will start at $27,430, including a $790 destination charge; that's about $335 more than the 2012 model. Fuel economy is unchanged at 27/38 mpg city/highway (gasoline gallon equivalent). The 2014 will be sold in 37 states, up one state from its predecessor. The powertrain is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder good for 110 horsepower and 106 pounds-feet of torque; it's mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.

By Matt Schmitz | February 4, 2014 | Comments (2)

2013 Nissan Leaf Cargo Capacity Breakdown

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Since its introduction for the 2011 model year, the Nissan Leaf has been a key player in changing the notion that electric cars are golf-cart-sized toys with little practicality for hauling people and cargo.

Research the 2014 Nissan Leaf

The Leaf's efficient battery packaging and hatchback body style mean the EPA-estimated 75-mile-range Leaf has impressive amounts of cargo room for an electric car, and also good usability compared to non-electric hatchbacks.

By Joe Bruzek | January 23, 2014 | Comments (0)

Nissan Announces Pricing for 2014 Leaf

2014NissanLeaf

After slashing the price of the Nissan Leaf by $6,400 a year ago, the Japanese automaker this week announced that pricing for the 2014 version of the all-electric, zero-emissions car would remain virtually the same. Across the board, starting prices on all three trim levels have increased by $180. The 2014 Leaf is on sale now nationwide.

Nissan Lowers Leaf Price $6,400

The starting price for the lowest trim level, the Leaf S, is now $29,830; the midrange SV trim is $32,850; and the top SL trim is $35,870. All prices include an $850 destination charge. With the federal tax incentive for purchasing an electric vehicle, the Leaf price could drop as low as $22,330, and even further with state incentives such as those in California.

By Matt Schmitz | January 10, 2014 | Comments (1)

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV Cars.com Review

2014ChevroletSparkEV

The Chevrolet Spark EV offers all you'd expect from a short-range electric commuter car — including some of the drawbacks but also some pleasant surprises. Cars.com reviewer Aaron D. Bragman says the impressive 130 horsepower and 400 pounds-feet of torque from the subcompact's zero-emissions powertrain propel it briskly to highway speeds, while an EPA-estimated 82-mile range falls on the low end of what you may actually get. And while Spark EV drivers need not sacrifice interior comfort for 128-mpg-equivalent fuel economy, handling isn't what you’d call nimble. Read Bragman's review below.

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV Review

By Matt Schmitz | January 8, 2014 | Comments (3)

Toyota, Kia Make News at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show

ToyotaFCV

The "car of the future" is now just a year away, according to Toyota. The automaker unveiled its hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. Toyota says the FCV concept will be ready for launch as a production car as planned by 2015, making good on its promise to bring a convenient fuel-cell car to the mass market. Two versions of the concept are on display at CES, the camouflaged prototype that has undergone road testing for more than a year and a production-intent sedan painted Radiant Blue.

Toyota Wants $50,000 Hydrogen Sedan by 2015

The FCV boasts a range of about 300 miles, a zero-to-60-mph time of about 10 seconds and a 3- to 5-minute refueling time. The FCV is powered by onboard sources of electricity generated from hydrogen and its only emissions are water vapor. Toyota has been developing the FCV for 11 years and in that time, it says, has driven more than a million test miles and dramatically reduced the size and weight of the powertrain system — as well as the costs of building it — while preserving the vehicle's power output of more than 100 kilowatts.

By Matt Schmitz | January 7, 2014 | Comments (1)

Honda Vezel: First Look

HondaVezel

Competes with: Nissan Juke, Subaru XV Crosstrek
Looks like: A sleeker, larger version of the Honda Fit
Drivetrain: Gasoline engine with continuously variable automatic transmission; front- or all-wheel drive (details TBA); turbo and possible hybrid versions to follow
Hits dealerships: Second half of 2014

Honda has rolled out a subcompact crossover that goes on sale tomorrow in Japan but will also be sold in the U.S. later this year. The Japanese version is called the Vezel, and it comes with front- or all-wheel drive and both gasoline and gas-electric hybrid versions. Honda said Vezel is a contraction of vehicle and bezel, claimed to reflect a multifaceted, gemlike appearance. The U.S. will get a different name, Honda says, to be announced. We'll just call it the Vezel for now.

Exterior

At 169.1 inches long and 69.7 wide, the Japanese Vezel is 9.2 inches shorter from bumper to bumper, 1.9 inches narrower and 1.9 inches lower than the Honda CR-V compact crossover. Honda says the turning radius is 17.4 feet.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | December 19, 2013 | Comments (27)

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