Porsche, Hyundai Top New J.D. Power Study, Volvo and Mitsubishi Sink

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Porsche and Hyundai topped their respective luxury and nonluxury peers in J.D. Power and Associates' 2014 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout study. Volvo and Mitsubishi, respectively, placed last in each group.

Related: Porsche Flies, Fiat Flails in 2014 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study

APEAL tries to assess what people like in their cars. This differs from J.D. Power's other major automotive studies, the 90-day Initial Quality Study and three-year Vehicle Dependability Study, which both rate things that went wrong.

For the APEAL study, new-car owners rate their vehicles across 77 areas, and the results give a composite rating on a 1,000-point scale. Not surprisingly, premium brands beat their mass-market counterparts with an average score of 840 points among the study's 12 premium brands while the 20 nonpremium brands average 785 points.

Overall results slipped one point between the 2014 and 2013 APEAL studies, however; J.D. Power notes that in-car technology left some owners less than thrilled.

By Kelsey Mays | July 23, 2014 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 2006-2007 Jeep Commander, 2005-2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee

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Vehicles Affected: Nearly 650,000 model-year 2006-07 Jeep Commander and 2005-07 Grand Cherokee SUVs

The Problem: Chrysler said an outside force, typically the driver's knee, may move ignition key from the On position. This could cause the engine to stall, reducing braking power and making steering more difficult, as well as possibly disabling frontal airbags and other safety features.

The Fix: Chrysler will notify owners by mid-September, and dealers will make the necessary repairs for free. In the meantime, the automaker advised owners of affected SUVs to ensure there is clearance between their knees and the key, and as a further precaution to remove all items from their key rings, leaving only their ignition key.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Chrysler at 800-853-1403 for more info.

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

More Recalls

By Matt Schmitz | July 23, 2014 | Comments (1)

Kids Headed Back to School? Get Ready With Our Tips

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I know I'm not the only parent counting down the days until school starts again. As wonderful as summer is, can we all admit that having a more regimented schedule is a huge relief?

Read More #FamilyCarAdvice

While we may look forward to some extra peace and quiet when the kids are finally back in school, keeping things peaceful means heeding some basic back-to-school-zone safety tips. Some of these may seem like common sense, but just like kids and multiplication tables, we could all use a little review.

By Kristin Varela | July 23, 2014 | Comments (3)

Top 10 Most Overlooked New Cars

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Every year hundreds of new-car models are introduced and enter the research process for millions of car shoppers. The dizzying number of choices sometimes shrouds from the masses what are good cars.

More Top 10s

Here are 10 cars that Cars.com's editors agree are overlooked due to no fault of each vehicle's own substantial merits.

 

1. 2015 Mazda6

The Mazda6 is one of the rare family sedans that is both fun to drive and fuel-efficient; it's rated as high as 28/40/32 mpg city/highway/combined with an automatic transmission and the optional GT Technology Package, which includes regenerative braking and active grille shutters. But even the base automatic gets 38 on the highway. Good cabin quality, intuitive controls, comfortable seating and a striking design also fall into the Mazda's favor.

By David Thomas | July 23, 2014 | Comments (6)

2014 Mercedes-Benz E550 Cabriolet Video

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E550 Cabriolet, the redesigned E-Class luxury vehicle which Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays recently tested, boasts new interior and exterior styling, a turbocharged V-8 engine and rear-wheel drive to go with that droptop. Is it as fun as all that sounds? Watch the video and find out.

Watch on YouTube

By Matt Schmitz | July 22, 2014 | Comments (1)

Chrysler Launches Its Own Ignition Switch Recall

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GM has been in the news for most of 2014 due to numerous recalls covering millions of vehicles for faulty ignition switches. Now, another major automaker is launching a recall over similar issues.

Related: More Details on GM's Latest — and Largest — Ignition-Related Recall

Late today, Chrysler announced a recall covering approximately 650,000 Jeeps in the U.S. and nearly 800,000 worldwide for an ignition switch that could fail in a similar fashion to what has been detailed in some of GM's recalled vehicles.

The models covered are the 2006-2007 Jeep Commander and 2005-2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs.

Chrysler says that the recall is being initiated "out of an abundance of caution." The switch could move out of the on position if something hits the key with enough force. This would usually be a knee during a collision. This could lead the engine to stall, but more significantly the airbags would not deploy.

While there are numerous reports of fatalities and injuries regarding the GM recall, Chrysler said in a statement that it is unaware of any injuries due to the recalled switch with one reported accident. Chrysler said complaints have been "relatively small" and give a percentage of .015 percent, which would be approximately 9,500 complaints just in the U.S.

Chrysler has not developed a fix for its ignition-switch defect and will start alerting owners in September. Until then the company is recommending owners remove any key rings from the ignition key when in use.

By David Thomas | July 22, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Volkswagen Passat: What's Changed

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Most significant changes: More power, better fuel economy for TDI models

Price change: TBD

On sale: TBD

Which you should buy, 2014 or 2015? 2014 gas, but 2015 diesel

Volkswagen's midsize family sedan receives only a few minor trim and package changes for 2015, with the most notable to the base model S and Wolfsburg Edition trims. An optional Technology Package is available for the two trims and includes a backup camera and a touch-screen stereo system with eight speakers (instead of the current six). Satellite radio also is part of the Technology Package on the S trim; it's already standard on the Wolfsburg.

Related: What Is the Most Affordable Midsize Sedan for 2014?

All TDI diesel models get a new 2.0-liter engine that comes with a 10-horsepower bump to 150 hp as well as increased fuel economy. The Passat TDI now gets an EPA-estimated 44 mpg highway for the manual transmission and 42 mpg highway for the automatic.

By Aaron Bragman | July 22, 2014 | Comments (5)

First-Time Car Buyers: So You Think It's Time to Buy

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It's an inevitable point we all reach. Your hand-me-down car from high school is now older than most Rihanna fans, and you'd love to stop making rent-sized payments to your auto mechanic. Or maybe you fancy yourself a proud urbanite, but the bicycle and bus pass don't exactly cut it when you land that new job in the suburbs.

Related: Quick Start Guide to Buying a Car

Either way, it's time to pony up the cash for a new — or less-used — car. Not to worry: We have you covered with dozens of stories for first-time buyers. Check them out below.

By Kelsey Mays | July 22, 2014 | Comments (1)

2015 Cadillac Escalade Real-World Mileage

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The driverless car isn't a consumer reality yet, so if you need an intelligent, spacious and powerful road tripper, the redesigned 2015 Cadillac Escalade may well fit the bill. It's not perfect, but it has enough features to help drivers cover long distances, such as from Chicago to Orlando, Fla., and back, in relaxed comfort.

Related: No Joke: We Drove a $73,000 Chevrolet Suburban

Before tackling how this full-size luxury SUV handles the above — which it should at a tested price of $90,985 — here is a look at the mileage from our nearly 3,000-mile journey.

By Patrick Olsen | July 22, 2014 | Comments (1)

2015 Dodge Challenger First Drive

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The latest Ford Mustang is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The next Chevrolet Camaro is rumored to be smaller, lighter and likely powered by a four-cylinder engine. But when Dodge updated the Challenger coupe for 2015, its new addition wasn't a four-cylinder engine — it was the tire-smoking SRT Hellcat model, powered by a jaw-dropping 707-horsepower, supercharged V-8. That's what Dodge thinks of the smaller, lighter, more efficient trend, and kudos to the automaker. Who knows how much longer we'll have cars like these on the road, given increasingly stringent fuel-economy mandates?

Related: 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Photo Gallery

Dodge updated the Challenger inside and out, with a mild nose job and butt lift and a thoroughly new interior with modern conveniences. Powertrains mostly remain the same, with a new eight-speed automatic transmission replacing the old five-speed auto in the 2014 model. But with an all-new Mustang just around the corner and the Camaro not far behind, has Dodge gone far enough in updating the Challenger to keep it relevant and competitive?

By Aaron Bragman | July 21, 2014 | Comments (1)

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