What's the Most Affordable Car in 2014?

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Shoppers may face legitimate sticker shock when they're shopping for a new car. TV and radio advertisements may lead them to believe that new cars all get at least 35 mpg for less than $15,000, but the price of entry for even a modestly equipped new car is well above that.

Related: What's the Most Affordable Compact SUV for 2014?

That's why we've taken the cars with the lowest sticker prices and added a dose of reality. A vast majority of buyers never consider buying a car with a manual transmission (often the standard equipment on inexpensive new cars), so right out of the gate the car they're shopping for costs significantly more than they thought it would. Opting for an automatic transmission can cost $1,000 or more.

By David Thomas | July 21, 2014 | Comments (8)

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)

2014 Kia Forte Koup at the 2013 New York Auto Show

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  • Competes with: Honda Civic Si, VW GTI, Hyundai Veloster Turbo
  • Looks like: Kia's design language doesn't work on every body style
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive with either 173-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission or 201-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder, six-speed manual or automatic transmission
  • Hits dealerships: End of 2013

Kia has a unique strategy for its Forte lineup that makes a lot of sense. The volume sedan comes with two engines — one vanilla, one not — for 2014. The 2014 Forte Koup announced today starts with that un-vanilla engine and then throws in some more spice in the form of a 201-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

More 2013 New York Auto Show Coverage

It's the same choice of engines as the recently announced Forte 5-Door.

The two-door version's power plants put out 201 hp and 195 pounds-feet of torque for the turbo and 173 hp and 154 pounds-feet of torque for the 2.0. Fuel economy wasn't released, but the EPA recently rated the 2.0-liter Forte sedan at 24 mpg city, 36 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined for the six-speed automatic, which is the only option for the coupe. The turbo engine will be available with either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

By David Thomas | March 27, 2013 | Comments (2)

Kia to Unveil Crossover Concept, Superman Car at 2013 Chicago Auto Show

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Kia's showing in Chicago next week will be a mix of concept, in the Kia Cross GT, and just plain conceptual, in its Superman-inspired Optima Hybrid. Both cars are set to be unveiled at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show, which runs Feb. 9-18 at McCormick Place.

Kia released a sneak peak of the Cross GT concept this morning. The photo shows what appears to be a seven-seat crossover larger than the 2014 Kia Sorento. Kia describes the Cross GT concept as "inspired by nature, driven by technology" and stated that it "hints at the future of Kia’s design language in the form of a premium Crossover Utility Vehicle." We’ll have full coverage of the concept next week from the show.

By Matt Schmitz | January 30, 2013 | Comments (3)

Insurance Study Finds GMC Sierra 1500 Best for Safety

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A new study of insurance rates for injury protection and medical payments ranked the GMC Sierra 1500 pickup truck highest for occupant injury protection. The Fiat 500 ranks lowest.

Insure.com studied prevailing insurance rates across hundreds of ZIP codes from six major auto-insurance carriers: Allstate, Farmers, Geico, Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm. The firm analyzed premiums for injury coverage, including provisions for uninsured motorists and lost wages, on more than 750 new cars.

Besides the GMC Sierra 1500 (SLE/SLT/Work Truck), the best rates came from the Porsche Cayenne, GMC Yukon (SLT/Denali), GMC Sierra 2500 (SLE only) and GMC Terrain (SLE1 only) — all trucks or SUVs. On the other end, multiple trim levels of the Fiat 500 and 500c (cabrio) rated worst among injury-protection rates. The Kia Rio5 (LX/SX), Toyota Corolla (L only), Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart and Mercedes-Benz CL600 joined the small Fiat among the worst cars for injury-related insurance rates. Four of those five are compact or subcompact, and three of them start under $17,500.
By Kelsey Mays | January 29, 2013 | Comments (0)

Hyundai, Kia Mileage Mishap: How It Happened

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How did Hyundai-Kia get its estimated mileage ratings so wrong that it had to offer reimbursement to some 900,000 owners? The truth is complicated, and it gets to the complexities of EPA testing.

Hyundai-Kia's Sung Hwan Cho told reporters this morning that it's "a very complex testing process." Cho heads the automaker's U.S. technical centers. He shed some light on the EPA tests, which lead to the city and highway fuel-economy figures on a new-car window sticker. A key part of the tests involve measuring the resistance of various systems, dubbed the "road load" by engineers: how a car's tires meet the pavement, how the vehicle's shape cuts through the air and how the drivetrain's moving parts work in tandem. Each area translates to fuel efficiency, or lack thereof.

"There are hundreds of different parameters that can affect this road load," Cho said. "Ambient temperature, wind speeds, atmospheric pressure."

Then there's a litany of variations within each test vehicle — how many miles are on it, the condition of the drivetrain, the tire wear. Finally, the test procedures themselves involve "which kind of regulation and guidance procedures you follow, and how you process the data, and how you calibrate your measurements," he said.

Somewhere in those variations, Hyundai-Kia went askew of EPA guidance. But exactly how much guidance exists is up in the air.

By Kelsey Mays | November 2, 2012 | Comments (9)

What to Do If You Own an Affected Hyundai, Kia

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We reported this morning that Hyundai and Kia are revising gas mileage ratings for nearly 900,000 vehicles from the 2011 through 2013 model years — about a third of the cars sold by the affiliated Korean automakers over that range. 

What does it mean to you if you own one of the affected cars? We just got off the line with Hyundai and Kia officials, and here are some answers:

By Kelsey Mays | November 2, 2012 | Comments (41)

Cars.com's Mileage Tests of Hyundai and Kia Vehicles In Line With EPA Results

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In the wake of today's news that Hyundai and Kia will reimburse owners for bad mileage estimates, we've compiled the results of our mileage tests from Shootouts and other challenges we've conducted over the past few years that involved the affected cars and SUVs.

In September 2011, we took the previously 40-mpg-rated Hyundai Elantra and pitted it against special "fuel-saving" trims from the competition designed to eke out a few mpgs more to hit that vaunted 40 mpg highway figure. The Elantra's new highway rating is 38 mpg, and its combined rating dropped to 32 mpg from 33.

Our results put the Hyundai in last place.

By David Thomas | November 2, 2012 | Comments (5)

Hyundai, Kia to Pay 900,000 Owners for Bad MPG Estimates

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Hyundai and Kia announced today they would reimburse owners of about 900,000 vehicles for misstated mileage ratings.

The news came after an investigation by the EPA into complaints from consumers that the two companies' mileage claims were inflated. As a result, the stated mpg ratings for 75 different trim levels over three model years will be changed, and window stickers of cars on sale will be replaced to reflect the new numbers.

Cars.com's Mileage Tests of Hyundai and Kia Vehicles In Line With EPA Results

The investigation began when the EPA received complaints from owners of the 2012 Hyundai Elantra compact sedan who said that they were not seeing gas mileage near the stated numbers. Once the EPA’s investigators confirmed a discrepancy, they broadened the audit to the rest of the vehicles.

Hyundai and Kia are owned by the same parent company in South Korea but operate separately in the U.S. Both have seen phenomenal growth in the past few years, not just because of improved styling and quality, but also for their exceptional fuel economy.

The changes affect the 2011-2013 model years with mileage ratings dropping from 1 to 6 mpg on the highway. Combined mileage ratings were more accurate with seven of the 43 Hyundai models and four of the 32 Kia models seeing no change in combined mileage after the audit. Twenty-four of the 43 Hyundais showed a difference of 1 mpg combined, while 11 of the 32 Kias were within 1 mpg of the original rating.

The company explained the error this way: "The fuel-economy rating discrepancies resulted from procedural errors during a process called 'coastdown' testing at the companies’ joint testing operations in Korea. Coastdown testing simulates aerodynamic drag, tire rolling resistance and drivetrain frictional losses and provides the technical data used to program the test dynamometers that generate EPA fuel economy ratings."

The two brands will announce a reimbursement program for current and former owners of the vehicles. A personalized debit card will be issued that will calculate the difference based on fuel prices and miles driven, plus 15% as a mea culpa from the automakers.

Will it be enough to satisfy consumers? That’s a question that will be asked nationwide as owners digest the news.

Below are the breakdowns of every vehicle impacted in the change, provided to Cars.com by Hyundai/Kia. We’ll have much more on this story as it develops throughout the day and coming weeks. If you have a question you’d like answered, leave it in the comments below or email us at editor@cars.com.

By David Thomas | November 2, 2012 | Comments (61)

Kia Stands by 10-Year Warranty

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Kia is on a roll with strong sales, but it aims to stick with its vaunted 10-year warranty. Executives at the Korean automaker stood by the 100,000-mile powertrain policy — mirroring Hyundai's defense of the same warranty last year amid questions as to whether it was still necessary.

"We continue to get the cross-shopping set," said Tom Loveless, Kia's U.S. sales chief. "Customers who are continuing to purchase other brands who are coming to Kia expressly for [the warranty] ... actually make the decision to purchase because of the warranty coverage. I see no reason to change. It's part of the Kia recipe."

By Kelsey Mays | July 20, 2012 | Comments (9)

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