2014 Chevrolet Impala Ownership Costs: First Quarter

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We've spent money on fuel and floormats for our 2014 Chevrolet Impala after three months and 3,000 miles of driving, but little else. The Impala is one of our Cars.com long-term test cars and our Best of 2014 winner.

More on Our Long-Term Fleet

The Impala's OnStar online vehicle diagnostic information tells us to expect an oil change at 5,300 miles, but even then, we don't expect maintenance to be an ownership cost. Our Impala is backed by Chevrolet's two-year/24,000-mile maintenance program that includes oil and filter changes, tire rotations and a 27-point inspection for up to four scheduled services within the program's term.

By Joe Bruzek | April 3, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Mitsubishi Mirage Real-World Cargo Space

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Mitsubishi has an answer for those asking where all the no-frills, super-lightweight subcompact cars with big gas mileage and a low MSRP have gone. The 2014 Mirage is of that ilk, with up to 40 mpg combined EPA fuel-economy ratings and a starting price of $13,790 with destination and a manual transmission; add $1,000 for the automatic transmission and its 40 mpg combined rating.

2014 Mitsubishi Mirage Review

The four-door hatchback's micro size doesn't leave much room for rear passengers or cargo. Frugal commuters may not put too much importance on how many golf bags fit in the hatch without folding the seats — zero, actually — but the Mirage's small size results in a fuel-friendly 2,000 pounds.

By Joe Bruzek | March 13, 2014 | Comments (3)

2014 Nissan Versa Note Real-World Cargo Room

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The 2014 Nissan Versa Note offers an unusual amount of interior room compared to its subcompact peers. Rarely does a small hatchback have enough rear-seat legroom and headroom to make a 6-foot-tall adult feel at home in the backseat.

2014 Nissan Versa Note Review

You may expect equally impressive numbers from the cargo area, but think again. The Versa Note's cargo room isn't as noteworthy as its passenger space with a maximum of only 38.3 cubic feet when the rear seat is folded.

By Joe Bruzek | February 21, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Chevrolet Impala Mileage Update: 2,162 Miles

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The 2014 Chevrolet Impala we thoroughly tested for Cars.com's $38,000 Full-Size Sedan Challenge took home the comparison's top honors by besting six of its competitors. The mileage portion wasn't as much of a win for the Impala; it finished midpack and averaged 26.3 mpg compared to the best sedan's 30.2 mpg (Toyota Avalon) over our 200-mile route.

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As Impala owners, we're going to dive deeper into the V-6 sedan's 19/29/22 mpg city/highway/combined fuel economy rating over the thousands of miles we plan to accumulate during the next year. We expect the comfy Impala to be a go-to in our fleet over the summer once road-trip season begins.

By Joe Bruzek | February 20, 2014 | Comments (1)

2015 Chrysler 200: Explaining the Trim Levels

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A redesigned player enters the mid-size sedan segment about twice a year, making it one of the most hotly contested segments as well as a best-selling one. The current-generation Chrysler 200's sales for 2013 were 122,480, which was near the bottom of the mid-size sedan segment. It garnered roughly a third of the Honda Accord's 366,678 yearly sales, which is the country's second best-seller to the Toyota Camry and its 408,484 in yearly sales.

2015 Chrysler 200 Up Close

The 2015 Chrysler 200 only has one direction to go when it hits dealerships this spring. Potential buyers of the slickly styled redesigned sedan will be confronted with varying standard features on the four trims levels, including two engine choices and front- or all-wheel drive.

By David Thomas | January 24, 2014 | Comments (5)

2014 Ford Fiesta EcoBoost SFE: Quick Drive

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Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays and I recently went for a quick spin in a 2014 Ford Fiesta equipped with the new turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine, which boasts EPA gas mileage ratings of 32/45/37 mpg city/highway/combined. It is the latest of a trio of gas-only models hitting the market that nip at the heels of hybrid cars. The EcoBoost Fiesta proves remarkably drivable ... if you don't mind adjusting how you operate its five-speed manual transmission.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | December 26, 2013 | Comments (17)

Volkswagen Jetta GLI Celebrates 30 Years With Special Edition

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Volkswagen's high-performance Jetta GLI has been around since 1984 when Volkswagen swapped go-fast goodies from its GTI cars into the Jetta body. To commemorate 30 years, Volkswagen is introducing an Edition 30 package on the 2014 GLI in early 2014.

Today's GLI features a 210-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 120 more ponies than the original's 90 hp. A sports suspension, 17- or 18-inch wheels, upgraded brakes, six-speed manual transmission and available six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission make up the remainder of the GLI's sports package. Sports seats and sports pedals decorate the interior.

By Joe Bruzek | December 20, 2013 | Comments (3)

2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Chasing 47 MPG

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Last year, we weren't the only ones to observe less-than-stellar fuel economy from the then-new 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid compared to its 47/47/47 mpg city/highway/combined EPA rating. Other publications and owners also reported mileage lower than the EPA ratings. The pile of complaints didn't fall on deaf ears.

In August 2013, Ford released software updates to the 2013 Fusion Hybrid and other hybrids to modify various hybrid parameters for improved fuel economy, especially in cold weather. Official EPA estimates haven't been revised, but we recently tested a 2014 with the updates. Our number to beat was 40.63 mpg recorded with a 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid tested last year. So how did the 2014 model fare during our drive?

By Joe Bruzek | December 12, 2013 | Comments (32)

Selling Our 2013 Subaru BRZ Wasn't Easy

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We imagined unloading our mostly beloved 2013 Subaru BRZ long-term tester would be a breeze. Not only was the Cars.com tester a loaded Limited trim level with heated seats, high-intensity discharge headlights, navigation, Alcantara and leather interior, and more, but the grin-inducing coupe had a Crystal Black Silica exterior with metallic flake paint and six-speed manual transmission that, in our eyes, is the only way to buy a BRZ.

Follow Our Long-Term Fleet

Purchased for $31,826 out the door, owning the BRZ for 11 months sucked another $3,739.13 from our pockets in ownership costs on fuel, maintenance and repairing a cracked windshield. In the end, we sold the BRZ for $21,000.

Like our Nissan Leaf, selling the BRZ was challenging. Demand for the lightweight, rear-wheel-drive sports coupe wasn't as strong as we imagined; or at least not in Chicago, in November, with winter approaching even though we were including winter tires and heavy-duty floor mats in the asking price.

By Joe Bruzek | December 10, 2013 | Comments (16)

2013 Honda Civic Long-Term Mileage Update

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It looks like unseasonably cold temperatures in the Chicago area have impacted our 2013 Honda Civic's fuel economy. Last month we observed the lowest-recorded fill-up yet at 23.81 mpg, quite far from the highest 42.83 mpg rating we recorded in the summer.

Follow Our Long-Term Fleet

As temperatures drop, gas mileage suffers and longer idling times from warming up in the morning ding mileage even more. November may have just ended, but that generally mild month was more January-like in terms of cold as we saw low temperatures nearing single digits and high temps in the mid-to-low 20s. The Civic's overall average after 14,500 miles only dropped .25 mpg, however.

By Joe Bruzek | December 3, 2013 | Comments (1)

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