Best Hybrids for the Money 2014

Hybrid-for-money

Gas prices remain historically high and volatile, and one of the most successful ways automakers and American motorists have adapted is by embracing hybrid technology. Though a few full-size hybrid trucks from GM have been discontinued, 2014 sees as many models as ever. No matter why you may want a hybrid, you might want to know how well it meets its mission.

More Alternative Fuels News

To determine if a hybrid's added expense is worth the cash, we devised an efficiency-cost rating. It's simply the EPA's combined mpg rating divided by the base price (meaning MSRP plus destination charge). We then multiply that result by 1,000. This formula can be applied to any type of vehicle, hybrid or not. A high mpg rating and low price provide a high efficiency-cost rating. A higher score is the better score.

We don't account for equipment levels, quality judgments, cost of ownership or any variances from EPA mileage estimates. The goal here is to pay the least for the most mileage, barring all other considerations.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | April 14, 2014 | Comments (10)

Recall Alert: 2013-2014 Ford Fusion, Escape, C-Max, Lincoln MKZ

2014FordFusion

Vehicles Affected: About 42,972 model-year 2013-2014 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans, and Ford Escape SUVs and C-Max Energi and Hybrid vehicles

The Problem:The vehicles' seatback frames do not comply with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards, according to the Detroit News. Certain driver and front passenger seatback assemblies may have been produced with substandard welds joining the seatback recliner mechanism to the seatback frame. This could increase the risk of injury in a collision, the newspaper reported. No crashes or injuries have been reported as a result of the faulty frames.

The Fix: Dealers will replace the seatback frames for free. Ford has not yet listed an owner notification schedule.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Ford at 866-436-7332 for more info.

More Recalls

Manufacturer image

By Matt Schmitz | April 7, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2013-14 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

2013-lincoln-mkz-hy

Vehicles Affected: Ford's luxury arm is recalling approximately 7,153 model-year 2013-14 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid sedans manufactured between April 26, 2012, and Sept. 24, 2013.  

The Problem: The transmission range sensor could fail, allowing the car to be shifted out of Park without the application of the brake pedal. If a driver does this unintentionally, the car could roll away, increasing the risk of a crash. 

The Fix: Dealers will update the powertrain control module software for free.

What Owners Should Do: Ford will notify owners in January. Owners can call Ford at 866-436-7332 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 for more information. 

More Recalls

By Jennifer Geiger | December 30, 2013 | Comments (0)

Amid Complaints, Ford to Drop C-Max Hybrid to 43 MPG

Ford_Cmax

Ford will lower EPA mileage on the C-Max hybrid to 43 mpg in combined city/highway ratings — a drop of 4 mpg compared with today's 47-mpg rating. The automaker will announce full details at a press conference later this afternoon, and we'll update you as more information becomes available. Citing two unnamed sources, the Detroit News reported the matter minutes ago. EPA rules allowed Ford to issue the same rating for the C-Max as it did the Fusion Hybrid because the two cars had family similarities, the newspaper reports, but the decades-old procedure doesn't suit hybrids as well.

Loopholes and Fuzzy Math: The Tangled Science of MPG Ratings

The move comes amid a string of criticism. Consumer Reports said in December 2012 that its fuel-economy tests rendered mileage in the high 30s for both the Fusion Hybrid and C-Max. The same month, a California law firm filed a class-action lawsuit that claimed real-world hybrid mileage for the C-Max fell well below EPA numbers. However, one Cars.com editor achieved the stated EPA mileage on the C-Max in his commute, and we logged mileage in the low-40s over more than 100 miles of testing.

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

Mercedes-Benz Is Luxury Car Thieves' Most Wanted

2012MercedesCClass

That Mercedes-Benz in your driveway might have turned the tables on the Joneses, who are now trying to keep up with you, but that envy doesn't end with your neighbors. According to a report released today by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, to steal a Mercedes-Benz is considered an honor among thieves. The German automaker's iconic three-pointed star adorns three of the top 10 most-stolen luxury models in the U.S., with the C-Class taking the No. 1 spot with 485 thefts from Jan. 1, 2009, through Dec. 31, 2012.

The Des Plaines, Ill.-based nonprofit's analysis divided the luxury-vehicle segment into three subclasses — compact, midsize and premium — with thefts across all three totaling 4,384 for the 2010-12 model years. The compact class accounted for the greatest portion of that total, with 2,150 thefts, followed by the midsize class' 1,734 thefts and the premium's 500. By state, the distribution of thefts largely correlates with population size: California lays claim to 1,063 of the total luxury thefts, the most, while South Dakota and Wyoming each had only one. By core-based statistical area, which includes a densely populated urban center and its surrounding areas, the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island area had the largest number of luxury thefts at 806, followed by Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif., with 491, and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla., with 452.

By Matt Schmitz | July 30, 2013 | Comments (5)

Cars.com Reviews the 2013 Lincoln MKZ

2013LincolnMKZ

Getting back into the luxury game could be a tricky proposition for Lincoln, Ford's last brand standing after the economic downturn of recent years. But Cars.com reviewer Aaron D. Bragman says if the all-new 2013 MKZ sedan is an indicator of what's to come, a triumphant return could be nigh. Sweeping exterior styling succeeds in evoking a high-end image, while a new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder provides impressive power for all occasions without sacrificing fuel economy. Although the interior looks great, cheap vehicle controls undermine the design quality. Read Bragman's review below.

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

Ford Hybrids To Get Mileage Boost After Complaints

Ford_Fusion_Hybrid

Beginning in August, Ford will recalibrate various drivetrain, climate-control and accessory systems to improve real-world gas mileage in the 2013 C-Max Hybrid, 2013 Fusion Hybrid and 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. The changes should help drivers "see the most improvement at highway speeds, during air conditioner use and operation in colder climates," product development chief Raj Nair said in a statement.

The move comes amid widespread complaints that Ford's hybrids aren't hitting their lofty EPA marks: 47 mpg combined for the C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid and 45 mpg for the MKZ Hybrid. The automaker faces at least two class-action lawsuits over too-high mileage claims. In December 2012, Consumer Reports said the C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid fell well short of their 47 mpg EPA figures during the magazine's metered tests. And in February 2013, the EPA said it would review how it tests hybrids — and scrutinize Ford's numbers in particular.

Changes include:

By Kelsey Mays | July 18, 2013 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 2013 Lincoln MKZ

2013LincolnMKZ

Ford is recalling 107 model-year 2013 Lincoln MKZ sedans due to a problem with the electrical system that could result in exposed wiring, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Affected vehicles were manufactured between April 25, 2012, and March 15, 2013, and are equipped with an engine block heater. During use, the engine block heater cords may be bent, and in certain temperatures the wire insulation may crack, exposing the electrical wires; this increases the risk of electric shock.

Ford will begin notifying owners June 17, and dealers will replace the block heater cord for free. Owners can call the automaker at 866-436-7332 or the NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236, or go to www.safercar.gov, for more info.

Related
Recall Alert: 420,000 Ford Sedans, SUVs

More Lincoln MKZ News on Cars.com
Check out Other Recalls

By Matt Schmitz | June 11, 2013 | Comments (2)

May's Fastest- and Slowest-Selling Cars

Subaru_Forester_14

From Land Rover's posh Range Rover to the redesigned Toyota RAV4, SUVs took 10 of the top 16 spots on May’s fastest-sellers list. Expectedly, redesigns ranked high on the list. The 2014 Subaru Forester is selling so fast Subaru dealers can't keep up inventory, and the Range Rover, Hyundai Santa Fe and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class — all redesigned — have repeat appearances among the fastest sellers.

The updated Mercedes E-Class demonstrates shoppers also respond well to a refresh as they do to a full redesign. And the new Lincoln MKZ Hybrid continues to sell, adding steam to the redesign's slow start. It worked well for Ford's struggling luxury brand: The MKZ had its best-ever May in the nameplate's more than seven years, Ford said Monday.

Then you have the old-timers. The 2013 Toyota RAV4 had its fifth month among the fastest-selling cars. The 2013 Ford Fusion, in hybrid or regular form, has made its seventh appearance in eight months. So did Audi's Q5 SUV, despite being in its fifth model year.

Cars in May averaged 56 days to sell. That's a little slower than April 2013's 51 days and a few ticks slower than May 2012's 50 days. Here are May's fastest and slowest sellers:

By Kelsey Mays | June 4, 2013 | Comments (2)

Recall Alert: 420,000 Ford Sedans, SUVs

FordRecall

Ford is recalling more than 420,000 model-year 2013 sedans and SUVs to check for fuel-tank leaks that could result in a fire; affected models include the 2013 Ford Fusion, Flex, Explorer, Taurus and Police Interceptor sedans and SUVs, as well as the 2013 Lincoln MKZ, MKS and MKT. In addition, Ford also announced two more separate recalls to address problems with engine-block heater cords in 500 model-year 2013 Lincoln MKZ sedans and steering gears in a small number of 2013 Ford Fusion sedans.

In the largest of the recalls, as of March 31, Ford had received 600 consumer complaints pertaining to potential leaks in the vehicles' fuel-delivery module, which could result in a fire. Ford said there had been no reports of fires or injuries as a result of the leaks.

"The condition could result in customers detecting an odor of fuel, or in some cases, observe evidence of a fuel leak on the ground," said Kelli Felker, Ford safety communications manager, in a statement. "While a fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source may result in a fire, there have been no reports of fires. We are not aware of any accidents or injuries attributed to this condition."

By Matt Schmitz | June 3, 2013 | Comments (0)

Search Results

KickingTires Search Results for

Search Kicking Tires

KickingTires iPhone App
Ask.cars.com