Not All Small Cars Shine in Latest IIHS Crash Tests

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In its latest round of tests the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that diminutive cars still have issues with its challenging small overlap front crash test. This time out electric cars like the range-extender 2014 Chevrolet Volt and 2014 Nissan Leaf were tested for the first time with mixed results, while the Mini Countryman was the only small car in the group to earn a top grade in the test.

Related: Tougher IIHS Crash Test Could Mean Fewer Top Safety Picks

The Volt popped up on IIHS' scale of poor, marginal, acceptable and good with a score of acceptable, good enough for the Volt to be awarded a 2014 Top Safety Pick+ designation, the institute's highest award. The Leaf didn't fare as well in the 40-mph test designed to simulate a collision with another vehicle or a pole and earned a poor rating. IIHS observed intrusion in the lower and upper compartments indicating likely injuries to the left knee and left lower leg, while a left thigh injury would also be possible. Neither electric car had any issue with the batteries or electrical systems post-crash.

Ten other small cars went through this round of IIHS small overlap crash tests along with the Volt and Leaf, including the Mini Cooper Countryman and the Mazda5, which IIHS says is one of the worst-performing models the institute has evaluated in the small overlap test.

By Joe Bruzek | July 30, 2014 | Comments (5)

Recall Alert: 2014 Mazda3, 2014-15 Mazda6

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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.

More Recalls

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By Jennifer Geiger | April 22, 2014 | Comments (0)

Which Cars Fit Three Car Seats?

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UPDATE 10/15/2013:
Parents are often searching for the automotive holy grail: a car that's not a minivan and can fit three child-safety seats across the backseat. It's a short list.

In the more than three years that Cars.com editors have been installing car seats into test vehicles, we've come across several vehicles that can hold three car seats across a backseat.

The newest vehicle to make our list is the 2014 Honda Odyssey. The minivan has loads of room and plenty of accessible Latch anchors.

As we come across more cars that fit three child-safety seats, we'll add to this list. For now, here are the cars from our Car Seat Checks that can fit three car seats in the second row:

By Jennifer Newman | October 15, 2013 | Comments (100)

Top 10 Best Base Models

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An ode to the base model.

Black door handles and a seat that can't move up and down/
paying monthly for not a lot has me feeling like a clown.

Just because you might not be able to afford more than the very least in a car doesn't mean you have to sing the base-model blues. Automakers are adding more features to their lowliest trim levels to entice shoppers even if some are stuck in the stone ages before the USB port became a necessity.

Here are 10 models that we consider to be solid picks, even in their base-model version.

By David Thomas | June 12, 2013 | Comments (9)

The Cars.com Redesign Index

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It can cost up to $1 billion or more to develop a new or redesigned car, so sales success — and not just a little bit of it — matters. Determining which of those new cars hit the mark with consumers is no easy task. In the past three model years, significant redesigns averaged a 33% increase in year-over-year sales in the months after they were launched compared with their predecessors in the same period a year earlier. With numbers like that, most automakers could claim success with a redesign. But some cars rose above that lofty mark while others fell below. Which were the redesigns that car shoppers lined up for?

Cars.com crunched sales figures for 61 redesigns or introductions that replaced outgoing cars over the past four model years. We set a sales floor and grouped cars into three sales tiers — after all, a bit player can easily double its sales with a sharp redesign, but market saturation makes it harder for a popular model to do the same. We compared six months of sales after dealers ramped up inventory with the same time period from the year before. Finally, we also accounted for the growth in the overall auto market, meaning that if the whole market went up 10%, we assume that tide would have carried these redesigns as well.

By Kelsey Mays | November 14, 2012 | Comments (5)

Cars.com Family Reviews the 2012 Mazda5

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The Mazda5, a six-seater, is a mini-minivan, so compromises are necessary when hauling kids in child-safety seats, says Cars.com Family contributor Carrie Kim. Third-row legroom is best for younger kids, and Carrie’s rear-facing convertible seats ate up all the second-row legroom, making it difficult to maneuver around the Mazda5’s interior. There’s a lot to like about the Mazda5, though, including its rear sliding doors and its fun-to-drive four-cylinder engine.

2012 Mazda5 Review

By Jennifer Newman | April 25, 2012 | Comments (1)

Year-End Deal Reality Check: Mazda

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The end of the year means dealers are trying to move old product to make room for next year’s new cars, trucks and SUVs; it also means more deals for new-car shoppers. According to Mazda, ‘Tis the Season of Saving. The automaker’s annual year-end sale program offers well-qualified shoppers 0% financing and no payments for 90 days on select 2011 and 2012 Mazda vehicles.

Model-year 2011 vehicles that qualify include the Mazda2, Mazda3 hatchback and sedan, Mazda6, CX-7 and CX-9. Also eligible are 2012 versions of the Mazda2, Mazda5, Mazda6 and CX-9. For example, qualified shoppers can purchase the redesigned-for-2012 Mazda5 small minivan for $19,345 and get 0% financing for 60 months and forgo payments for 90 days.

The sale ends Jan. 3.

By Jennifer Geiger | December 29, 2011 | Comments (1)

Most Popular Car Seat Checks

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Parents, grandparents and caretakers know what a pain it can be to install child-safety seats into a car. Imagine doing it over and over and over again. That's what our Car Seat Check team does nearly every week as it tests new cars to find out how easy it is to use the Latch system.

Car Seat Checks are performed by Cars.com editor Kelsey Mays, Cars.com photographer Ian Merritt and Cars.com editor and certified car-seat technician Jennifer Newman.

By Jennifer Newman | December 27, 2011 | Comments (0)

2012 Mazda5: Car Seat Check

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This Car Seat Check was originally published in June 2011 on MotherProof.com.

The 2012 Mazda5 is a small minivan that seats six passengers in three rows of seats. The second-row captain's chairs can travel forward to create more legroom when it's needed in the third row.

For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 rear-facing infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible child-safety seat and Graco high-back TurboBooster seat.

By Jennifer Newman | November 1, 2011 | Comments (11)

Cars.com Podcast: 2011 Lexus IS, 2012 Mazda5, 2011 Audi TT

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This week, Cars.com’s editors tackled a varied trio of vehicles in our 101st podcast. Kelsey Mays talks about the entire Lexus IS lineup – yes, he tested them all; Mike Hanley discusses Mazda’s redesigned small van, the 2012 Mazda5, and Joe Wiesenfelder expounds on the sporty Audi TT.

Download via iTunes
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By David Thomas | July 12, 2011 | Comments (0)

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