Is Driving a Certain Car Your Ticket to Traffic Court?

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Look, just because you drive a Subaru WRX doesn't mean you're more likely to be the type of person who exceeds the speed limit or breaks other traffic laws. OK, it actually does mean that, but we're not the ones saying it, Insurance.com is. The auto-insurance rate-comparison website analyzed online quote info from more than half a million drivers and more than 500 car models between January 2013 and July 2014, and identified the cars most likely to be used in the commission of a traffic offense. Coincidentally, a fifth of the list is composed of competitors in Cars.com's $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge in which the WRX scored the fastest times.

Related: The $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge

According to the study, one in three drivers of the turbocharged, all-wheel-drive Subaru WRX compact performance sedan has had a traffic violation for an offense such as speeding, failure to yield or drunken driving in the past three years, making it the No. 1 most-ticketed car.

By Matt Schmitz | September 30, 2014 | Comments (0)

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)

2015 Mini Countryman: First Look

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Competes with: Fiat 500L, Volkswagen Tiguan, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Looks like: The 2014 Countryman ... and all other Minis with four doors

Powertrains: 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 121, 181 or 208 hp; six-speed manual or automatic transmission; front- or all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Summer 2014

More 2014 New York Auto Show Coverage

The 2015 Countryman, the largest of Minis, will appear this week at the 2014 New York International Auto Show sporting the slightest of updates, outside and inside.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | April 15, 2014 | Comments (0)

Which Crossover SUV Is the Most Fuel Efficient?

"Which crossover SUV is the most fuel efficient?"

Norman M., Brooklyn, N.Y.


2013ToyotaRAV4EV

That honor goes to the 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV — a low-production electric version sold only in California at the moment — that earns the equivalent of 78 mpg for city driving, 74 mpg for highway and a combined city/highway rating of 76. Given that the RAV4 EV might not be available in your neighborhood, or be a good choice for your needs, the Lexus RX 450h hybrid has a combined city/highway rating of 30 mpg with front-wheel drive and 29 mpg with all-wheel drive. The similar, but less-luxurious, Toyota Highlander Hybrid comes in at 28 mpg with standard all-wheel drive.

Other crossover SUVs with higher EPA ratings are the Buick Encore (28 mpg), Mazda CX-5 (29 mpg), Subaru XV Crosstrek (28 mpg), and the Mini Countryman and Paceman (31 mpg with manual transmission, 27 mpg with automatic). The XV Crosstrek has standard all-wheel drive, but the other ratings are for front-wheel-drive models. The numbers will be lower on all-wheel-drive versions, and because these are just estimates, your mileage is sure to vary.

The Cars.com Vehicle Recommender, found here, can help you sort through the dozens of crossover SUVs to find the ones that offer the right combination of mileage, price, size and features.

Have a car question you'd like us to answer? Send us an email at tips@cars.com, or ask in the comments below.

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2013 Toyota RAV4 EV: First Look

By Rick Popely | August 25, 2013 | Comments (2)

2014 Mini Countryman, Paceman Drop Center Rail

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Remember that cool rail that runs the length of the Mini Countryman's and Paceman's interior? You know; it's the one the company was so proud to highlight at the Countryman's introduction way back in January 2010. Custom accessories like smartphone and sunglasses holders, cupholders, a memo holder and even a trash bag could snap on wherever owners felt the desire to put them.

The rail is gone come later this summer when the 2014 models of both cars go on sale. The last 2013s will be built in July.

By David Thomas | June 12, 2013 | Comments (2)

Mini Puts the Paw to the Pedal for Charity

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In a new campaign, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is trying to get the word out that shelter dogs make great pets — and with Mini's help, good drivers. 

Mini of New Zealand has teamed up with the organization to raise awareness about rescue dogs throughout the world. Driving the campaign — literally — are three furry friends and one Mini Countryman

SPCA chose Porter, Monty and Ginny, shelter dogs from Aukland, for the training course. After eight weeks, these old dogs learned several new tricks, including starting the car, accelerating in a straight line, turning a corner and braking. 

Mini modified the Countryman's pedals, gearshift and steering wheel so the dogs could reach the components, but cautions that the stunts were done in a safe, controlled environment and should not be attempted by pet owners.

"We hope that Porter, Monty and Ginny learning to drive a Mini Countryman will encourage people to make the SPCA their first choice when adopting a dog," Simonne Mearns, Mini NZ brand manager, said in a statement.

Check out the program's Facebook page and watch the videos below.

By Jennifer Geiger | December 17, 2012 | Comments (1)

2013 Mini Paceman Video

Paceman
Minis have been known for their iconic, cute styling. The Paceman, however, deviates from this formula. It's part coupe and part SUV, and Cars.com reviewer Joe Bruzek thinks it's one very odd-looking vehicle.

More 2012 L.A. Auto Show Coverage

The all-wheel-drive Paceman is based off of Mini's first crossover, the Countryman. But the squat-looking car has some different styling cues. Watch the video below. 

By Jennifer Geiger | November 30, 2012 | Comments (0)

2013 Mini Paceman: Up Close

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The two-door Mini Cooper Paceman rides the same 102.2-inch wheelbase as the related four-door Cooper Countryman, but don't take that to mean it has the same space inside or out.

More 2012 L.A. Auto Show Coverage

The Paceman is actually tad longer than the Countryman, but headroom for the two-position backseat is down half an inch; the shallower hatchback slope drops cargo volume to 11.6 cubic feet versus the upright Countryman's 16.5. Mini has yet to provide rear legroom specs, but I sat back-to-back in the Paceman and Countryman and the Paceman's backseat is cramped in all dimensions versus the well-packaged Countryman.

By Kelsey Mays | November 29, 2012 | Comments (0)

2013 Mini Paceman: Photo Gallery

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Mini's Paceman looks like the Countryman's more aggressive twin. It's based on the compact crossover, so the Paceman is roughly the same size. Unlike the Countryman, however, the Paceman only has two doors and standard seating for four passengers.

More 2012 L.A. Auto Show Coverage

The squat-looking coupe also sits lower, has a more sloped roofline, longer doors and an integrated spoiler. Its contrast-colored roof makes it hard to miss. Check out more pictures below.

By Jennifer Geiger | November 29, 2012 | Comments (0)

2014 Fiat 500L Video

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What does the L in the new-for-2014 Fiat 500L's name stand for? Cars.com reviewer Joe Wiesenfelder says the five-seat compact crossover debuting at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show makes full use of its "large" designation, trumping the Mini Countryman in length and height. What the upsizing takes away from the regular 500's distinctive profile, it makes up for in backseat legroom. How those "weird" A-shaped pillars work for drivers remains to be seen.

More 2012 L.A. Auto Show Coverage

The front-wheel-drive 500L's turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder is good for 160 horsepower and is paired with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Overall, Wiesenfelder said the 500L is an improvement over its L-less sibling. Check out the video below.

By Matt Schmitz | November 29, 2012 | Comments (0)

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