When I was 10, my dad set me and a go-kart loose in an abandoned parking lot, free to zip around the blacktop. At that age, you don't give a thought to how much gas costs; it's all about the fun. At this age, however, fuel economy is a big consideration when it comes to buying a car, but it doesn't have to trump the fun-to-drive factor.
There are plenty of cars that offer both fun and fuel savings, from affordable subcompacts and gas-electric hybrids to pricier luxury cars and diesel-powered vehicles. To qualify for this list, a car has to have an EPA combined rating of 30 mpg, while bringing out the inner go-kart-loving kid in all of us:
Vehicles Affected: Approximately 5,700 model-year 2014 Mazda3 compact cars and model-year 2014-2015 Mazda6 midsize sedans equipped with the 2.5-liter engine and a regenerative braking system. Only Mazda3 vehicles manufactured from June 12 through Dec. 18, 2013, and Mazda6 vehicles manufactured from May 20 through Dec. 4, 2013, are affected.
The Problem: Driving through rain or heavy puddles could cause the alternator belt to slip and send a faulty message to the power control module. This could cause a loss of power steering assist and possible engine stall, increasing the risk of a crash.
The Fix: Dealers will reprogram the PCM for free.
What Owners Should Do: Mazda will notify owners later this month. Owners can call Mazda at 800-222-5500 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 for more information.
Two redesigned-for-2014 vehicles have joined the ranks of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's five-star safety club. Both the sedan and hatchback versions of the Mazda3 compact car made the grade, as did regular and hybrid versions of the Toyota Highlander three-row crossover.
Both versions of the Mazda3 received scores of five stars in frontal- and side-impact tests and four stars in rollover tests for an overall score of five. The newly redesigned Mazda3's safety ratings compare favorably to those of its predecessor; the 2013 models both received an overall score of four stars, including five for frontal crashes, three for side-impacts and four for rollovers.
The 2014 Highlander models got four stars in frontal-impact and rollover ratings and five stars in side-impact tests for an overall score of five stars. The 2013 Highlander got an overall score of four stars.
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