Top 10 Urban Cars

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From squeezing between a Dumpster and a wall to holding your breath as a bus hard aports past your bumper, cities can be an automotive minefield. And cars are often the casualties. Need proof? Look no further than auto insurance rates. A 40-year-old male with a 2012 Honda Accord in Manhattan's West Village would pay 27 percent more for the exact same coverage than if he lived across the Hudson River in Hoboken, N.J., according to CarInsurance.com's analysis of six leading carriers.

Related: Top 10 Most Overlooked New Cars

Yet scores of Americans still prefer to live in the city. From New York to San Antonio, the country's 25 largest urban centers are home to 31.9 million people within city limits, according to the 2010 Census. That's 10.3 percent of the entire U.S. population in 2010, and given the trend of increasing urbanization, it doesn't look like it will recede anytime soon.

Most city-zens still have to drive. Not to worry: Our latest Top 10 nominates cars best suited for urban driving. Editors considered our candidates' overall size relative to their competitors, as well as visibility, city gas mileage, turning radius, city drivability, utility and more.

Here are our picks, in order of which cars received the most votes. In cases of a tie, we ranked by turning circle and other dimensions.

By Kelsey Mays | August 11, 2014 | Comments (11)

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)

Nissan Plans Self-Driving Systems for 2016

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During the next several years Nissan has some big plans for its vehicles β€” and most of them don't involve the driver. The automaker announced plans to make several autonomous vehicle technologies available on its cars over the next few years, with the ultimate goal of a completely self-driving car.

Google Announces New Self-Driving Car Prototype Fleet

Starting in 2016, Nissan hopes to equip its vehicles with traffic-jam pilot, which will drive the vehicle in stop-and-go traffic, and an automatic parking system, similar to what's already offered by several automakers. By 2018, Nissan hopes to launch a system that allows the car to change lanes without driver input, and before the end of the decade, another that autonomously pilots the car across intersections.

Click here for more from our friends at The Dallas Morning News.

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By Jennifer Geiger | July 18, 2014 | Comments (0)

Nissan Leaf Used Prices Drop Most in June

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Gas prices may be on the rise, but that's not necessarily bolstering demand for used electric cars. The all-electric Nissan Leaf saw the biggest price drop in June; asking prices for late-model used Leafs dipped 4.2 percent ($819) to $18,692 on average. The Chevrolet Volt, an electric car with a range-extending gas generator, experienced the fourth-biggest price drop, with its average price falling 2.9 percent ($710) to $23,984.

Meanwhile, the Chevrolet Express 3500 full-size van had the biggest price gain in June, up 2.1 percent ($513) to $24,908. Rounding out the top three were the Porsche Boxster convertible, up 1.8 percent ($959), and the Lincoln MKS luxury sedan, which gained 1.5 percent ($430).

By Mike Hanley | June 24, 2014 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 2014 Nissan Leaf

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Vehicles Affected: Approximately 211 model-year 2014 Nissan Leaf electric cars manufactured Feb. 28 through March 12, 2014

The Problem: A welding problem could reduce the structural integrity of the vehicle if it’s involved in a crash. This increases the risk of injury.

The Fix: Dealers will inspect and replace the affected parts for free.

What Owners Should Do: Nissan will notify owners starting in mid-June. Owners can call Nissan at 800-647-7261 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 for more information.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

More Recalls

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By Jennifer Geiger | May 20, 2014 | Comments (2)

AAA Study: Extreme Cold Has Chilling Effect on EV Range

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When it comes to all-electric vehicles, the primary source of apprehension for most would-be buyers is range, and logically so. After all, once your EV's battery runs out of juice, unless you happen to be pulling into a charging station at that very moment, that's as far as you're going β€” at least until the tow truck shows up. While good planning can prevent that scenario, EV drivers must also account for the sometimes-dramatic swings in range caused by varying weather conditions, especially extreme cold.

A Winter in the Nissan Leaf

A new study released this month by AAA found that EV range can be reduced by as much as 57 percent based on the outside temperature. At the AAA Automotive Research Center in Southern California, researchers conducted a simulation to measure the driving range of three all-electric vehicles in cold, moderate and hot weather, and temperature played a major role in driving range for all three.

By Matt Schmitz | March 28, 2014 | Comments (19)

More Electric Cars Than Ever, Still Not Available Everywhere

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As more manufacturers introduce electric cars, these battery-powered vehicles are becoming something people see on the road every day. At least in some parts of the country, they are.

More Alternative Fuel News

The number of purely electric vehicles offered in the U.S. will grow to a dozen by the end of this year. Many of those EVs are available only in a small number of states, however, with California being the epicenter of electric-car sales.

By Rick Popely | March 11, 2014 | Comments (4)

2013 Nissan Leaf Cargo Capacity Breakdown

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Since its introduction for the 2011 model year, the Nissan Leaf has been a key player in changing the notion that electric cars are golf-cart-sized toys with little practicality for hauling people and cargo.

Research the 2014 Nissan Leaf

The Leaf's efficient battery packaging and hatchback body style mean the EPA-estimated 75-mile-range Leaf has impressive amounts of cargo room for an electric car, and also good usability compared to non-electric hatchbacks.

By Joe Bruzek | January 23, 2014 | Comments (0)

Nissan Announces Pricing for 2014 Leaf

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After slashing the price of the Nissan Leaf by $6,400 a year ago, the Japanese automaker this week announced that pricing for the 2014 version of the all-electric, zero-emissions car would remain virtually the same. Across the board, starting prices on all three trim levels have increased by $180. The 2014 Leaf is on sale now nationwide.

Nissan Lowers Leaf Price $6,400

The starting price for the lowest trim level, the Leaf S, is now $29,830; the midrange SV trim is $32,850; and the top SL trim is $35,870. All prices include an $850 destination charge. With the federal tax incentive for purchasing an electric vehicle, the Leaf price could drop as low as $22,330, and even further with state incentives such as those in California.

By Matt Schmitz | January 10, 2014 | Comments (1)

Report: Plug-in Sales Increased 84% in 2013

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In January 2013, Nissan cut the starting price of its Leaf EV by $6,400. Shoppers responded and Leaf sales more than doubled by year's end. For the segment, 2013 sales for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles increased 84 percent, according to Ward's Automotive data reported by the Detroit News.

Shoppers bought more than 96,000 plug-in cars in 2013 β€” 47,600 EVs and nearly 49,000 plug-in hybrids, the Detroit News reports. Meanwhile, traditional non-plug-in hybrid sales increased by 15.3 percent, reaching nearly 490,000 new-car sales in 2013.

Automakers cut prices on "nearly all" plug-in hybrids and EVs to jump-start low demand, the newspaper said. Still, it didn't work for all players. In August, GM slashed $5,000 off the starting price of its Chevrolet Volt, but sales ended the year down 1.6 percent, which iswell below former GM CEO Dan Akerson's 2011 annual production goal of 60,000 Volts.

By Kelsey Mays | January 6, 2014 | Comments (0)

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