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.

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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 (6)

Kia Introduces 2014 Optima Hybrid at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show

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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.

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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)

For $24,000, Is The Kia Sportage or Kia Optima a Better Deal?

"For $24,000, is the Kia Sportage or Kia Optima a better deal?"
Dawn B., Plano, Texas

By Rick Popely | September 21, 2013 | Comments (0)

What Hyundai-Kia's Latest Strike Means to Car Shoppers

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Hyundai-Kia's troubled home-turf labor relations continue. The latest chapter has Korean labor unions voting to strike over wage and benefit disputes with the South Korean automaker. The result could mean a production stoppage in its home country.

Hyundai-Kia, which together rank fifth in global sales, is the sixth on the U.S. sales pole, with year-to-date sales down 0.3%. Still, the automaker builds popular cars like the Hyundai Elantra and Sonata, as well as the Kia Optima and Soul. All four rank in the top 35 best-sellers so far this year — and although the automaker operates two assembly plants in the U.S., all Soul and a significant chunk of Optima, Elantra and Sonata vehicles hail from South Korea. A production stoppage could hamstring dealer supply in a matter of weeks.

By Kelsey Mays | August 15, 2013 | Comments (1)

What's the Most Affordable Midsize Sedan?

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The midsize sedan is one of the most popular segments in the U.S. It serves as a family car, commuter, road tripper and more.

Because of this popularity, automakers offer a dizzying amount of styles and options for their midsizers. This differing content makes it hard for car shoppers to compare apples to apples from one automaker to the next.

We analyzed the segment for the features most drivers would want in a car of this class and uncovered some surprising results.

By David Thomas | July 30, 2013 | Comments (12)

The Top 10 Biggest Recalls of 2013

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Each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issues recalls on millions of vehicles. In 2012, NHTSA recalled just shy of 18 million, and 15.5 million in 2011. While some recalls affect just a handful of vehicles, others impact millions.

So far this year, the biggest recall is technically not a recall at all. In June, we reported that NHTSA had requested Chrysler fix 2.7 million Jeep SUVs — 1993-2004 Grand Cherokee and 2002-07 Liberty models — due to a potential fuel-system problem that could cause fires in a rear-end crash. Jeep initially refused, insisting the vehicles "met and exceeded all applicable requirements" of federal standards pertaining to fuel-system integrity. NHTSA then gave Chrysler a June 18 deadline to either issue a recall themselves, or be ordered to do so.

On the day of its deadline, Chrysler announced it would launch a campaign to inspect and, if necessary, fix the 2.7 million Jeeps — never officially referring to the action as a "recall." Still, that's what it was, and therefore it earns the distinction of being the biggest one this year.

According to research, the biggest recalls affecting the U.S. market in 2013 are:

By Matt Schmitz | July 22, 2013 | Comments (0)

2014 Kia Optima at the 2013 New York Auto Show

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  • Competes with: Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion, Mazda6
  • Looks like: Updated enough to stay current with the competition
  • Drivetrain: 2.4-liter four-cylinder, 2.4-liter hybrid, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder; six-speed automatic transmission
  • Hits dealerships: Third quarter of 2013

Debuting this week at the 2013 New York International Auto Show is a refreshed 2014 Kia Optima. The changes to its appearance are few but across its four trim levels, the new Optima has added and updated features in an attempt to stay competitive in the booming midsize-sedan market.

The Optima's exterior has alterations to the front and rear including the brand's signature tabbed grille. There are also refreshed rear diffusers, a sweeping trunk lid and new front-LED positioning along with fog lights and newly designed taillights.

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Tech features include push-button start, a new 4.3-inch LCD instrument cluster and an optional 8-inch multimedia screen featuring Kia's UVO eServices, an eight-speaker Infinity sound system, HD Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and SiriusXM Traffic. An optional blind spot warning system includes rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors. Kia says newly designed seats should improve comfort.

When the 2014 Optima arrives at dealerships in third quarter of this year — pricing will be announced closer to the sale date — it will offer car shoppers a choice among LX, EX, SX and a new SX Limited trim levels. Base-model features include dual exhaust with chrome tips, solar glass, side mirror turn-signal indicators, front fog lights, heated side mirrors, chrome-accented exterior door handles and 16-inch alloy wheels. Upgrades reserved for the top-level SX Limited trim include unique 18-inch chrome wheels, LED fog lights, red brake calipers, an electronic parking brake, chrome-accented side sills and premium Nappa leather seats.

By Matt Schmitz | March 27, 2013 | Comments (0)

Kia Updates Optima Hybrid for 2013

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South Korean automaker Kia has announced some updates to its 2013 Optima Hybrid model; changes to the sedan should make it more fuel efficient and more powerful. Most of the updates are mechanical: The hybrid now has a 47-horsepower electric motor, a stronger stop-start generator and a more powerful lithium-polymer battery. This translates into slightly different numbers for the Optima Hybrid: Total system horsepower drops a bit to 199 from 206, but combined torque is increased significantly from 195 pounds-feet to 235. That should make for more responsive off-the-line acceleration.

The new Optima Hybrid is also now available in two trim levels, base and EX, with differences in equipment levels and even fuel economy. The base model is more efficient than its predecessor, earning an EPA rating of 36/40 mpg city/highway. The EX model -with additional equipment like a navigation system, backup camera, eight-speaker Infinity premium audio system, panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats and 17-inch aerodynamic wheels — gets 35/39 mpg. Both models now feature more trunk space as well, thanks to a repackaged battery pack that no longer intrudes as much into the cargo area.

By Aaron Bragman | March 11, 2013 | Comments (2)

10 Cars for $10K: The Best Used Cars for $10,000

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At Cars.com, we focus on new cars, but when it comes to overall car sales, used cars own the field. CNW Marketing Research reports shoppers bought more than 40 million of them in 2012, the highest total since 2007. For every new car sold, nearly three used cars changed hands.

Shoppers are still taking the used route despite near-record used-car prices, which soared so high that we suspended our $10,000 used-car recommendations — once a regular Cars.com feature — for two years. Blame the recession, which slashed new-car sales and the resulting supply of late-model used cars that are typically traded in for them.

Used-car prices are coming back to earth, according to Manheim's Used Vehicle Value Index, but that's not to say used-car prices are low again. They have ebbed enough to give $10K cars another go.

By Kelsey Mays | March 11, 2013 | Comments (20)

Affordable Sedans Add High-End Features to Backseats

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Nothing makes a person feel neglected like sitting in the backseat. Unless you are being driven by a chauffeur, most rear passengers in a sedan feel more like second-class citizens. Until now.

A recent automotive trend has my kids jumping for joy: seat heaters for rear passengers. This feature seems to be an indicator that things are movin' on up for those in the back. What's even better is this feature, once common only in luxury cars, is now available in cars that cost less than a bazillion dollars.

By Sara Lacey | February 15, 2013 | Comments (2)

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