What's the Most Affordable Compact SUV for 2014?

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If you're shopping for a compact SUV, the bevy of competitive options to choose from may overwhelm you. Since our last comparison test in 2012 new models from Jeep, Nissan and Toyota have gone on sale, and they're selling quite well.

Related: What's the Most Affordable Midsize Sedan for 2014

One other thing that has changed recently: Most models in this segment come with relatively well-equipped base levels, or with just a few options selected. That makes finding the most affordable versions easier, but it's not a simple task.

We've done the hard part and compiled the right trim levels that deliver expected features in this class and included the cost of gas over five years to determine the most affordable compact SUV amongst the ranks.

By David Thomas | June 18, 2014 | Comments (1)

Top 10 Used Cars for $10K

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Although new cars offer the latest design, tech and safety features, shoppers buy more of their used counterparts: about 2.7 used cars for every new car sold in 2013, according to CNW Marketing Research. It's hard to blame shoppers. The average new car sells for around $30,000. By contrast, the average used car sold in early January 2014 for $10,843 at franchised dealerships (e.g., Bob's Honda) and $9,513 at independent dealerships (e.g., Bob's Used Cars), according to CNW.

Top 10 Cheapest New Cars You Can Buy

The age of paying $10,000 for a brand-new car is in the rearview mirror. So what are the best used cars for $10,000? We crunched a lot of data, and from a pool of more than 60 candidates, here are our top 10 cars, listed alphabetically.

By Kelsey Mays | March 17, 2014 | Comments (15)

Recall Alert: 2014 Kia Sportage

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Vehicles Affected: 11,961 model-year 2014 Sportage crossovers manufactured from Sept. 30, 2013, through Jan. 11, 2014.

The Problem: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reporting that the tire pressure information label in these vehicles contains incorrect tire pressure information. "Maintaining tire pressure below the recommended specification could result in premature tire wear, increasing the risk of a crash," NHTSA said in a statement.

The Fix: Owners will receive a sticker listing the correct tire pressure information for free.

What Owners Should Do: Kia will notify owners later this month. Owners can call Kia at 800-333-4542 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 for more information.

More Recalls

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By Jennifer Geiger | February 17, 2014 | Comments (0)

Top 10 Most-Improved Cars from the Past 15 Years

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If you read our series on the business of redesigns, you know that reimagining a car from the ground up can be a billion-dollar feat to implement the industry's latest technology, keep up with ever-improving competition and ultimately (hopefully) increase sales. They usually do just that: In Cars.com's analysis of 61 redesigns from 2009 to 2012, sales for the average remake saw an increase of 32.6% in the months following.

Why? Just look at their predecessors. Some undertakings replace a onetime star that lingered well past its freshness date (see the Volkswagen New Beetle), while others are the successor to a product doomed from the get-go (see the Dodge Caliber). Whatever you call it, the most improved overhauls can sometimes create butterflies out of automotive caterpillars. An important note: Sometimes the changes go beyond just interiors and drivetrains, and sometimes the car being replaced was so poor that the automaker gave the new version an all-new name.

The last time we named the most-improved cars, we considered models that showed progress through successive generations in the 2000s. This time, our editors nominated the most improved single redesigns from the past 15 years.

By Kelsey Mays | October 14, 2013 | Comments (13)

Cars.com Reviews the 2013 Kia Sportage

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Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays says Kia's compact crossover is stylish and nimble, but if you're traveling with kids and gear, the Sportage isn't your best choice in this class. Many competitors offer more passenger space, cargo room and better fuel economy, Mays says.

2013 Kia Sportage Review

By Jennifer Geiger | August 28, 2013 | Comments (2)

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)

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 Subaru Forester Rises Seven Spots in Small-SUV Affordability

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A few weeks ago we threw the redesigned Toyota RAV4 into our compact crossover affordability index, and the popular Toyota ranked right around the group's average. Subaru fans may notice the outgoing 2013 Forester sat near the bottom, largely because the small SUV got mediocre gas mileage and required stepping up a trim level to get a telescoping steering wheel — one of seven features we included in our pricing scheme.

Our affordability index compared 13 models — each was the least expensive trim level that included common equipment like an automatic transmission, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel audio controls, cruise control, remote keyless entry, a USB/audio jack port and tilt/telescoping steering. We also factored in the destination charge and four years of gas.

With its 2014 redesign, the Forester moved up seven spots, thanks to more standard features and better gas mileage. In fact, the new Forester is the third most affordable compact crossover on the market, behind the Mazda CX-5 and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport — and it has standard all-wheel drive.

By Kelsey Mays | January 25, 2013 | Comments (8)

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 (40)

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)

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