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 (30)

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)

Mazda Turns Up Connectivity With New System

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Mazda's new multimedia system, available in the 2014 Mazda3, uses a bold approach for controlling multimedia and navigation functions. While many compact competitors rely on touch-screens alone for their advanced multimedia offerings, the Mazda3's Connect system features a single controller knob for various media and navigation functions, similar to Audi and BMW setups.

The knob-based Connect and accompanying 7-inch touch-screen work surprisingly well in the compact Mazda3, considering even luxury brands sometimes struggle with the knob-based approach.

By Joe Bruzek | November 14, 2013 | Comments (3)

2013 Honda Civic Long-Term Mileage Update

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Our focus this month is solely on our 2013 Honda Civic long-term tester. The 2013 Subaru BRZ we've been driving for almost 14,000 miles is on its way out the door and will get a final wrap-up in the coming weeks. For now, let's check in on the Civic.

Follow Our Long-Term Fleet

Continuous high mileage fill-ups over the last month have bumped the Civic's average from 31.93 mpg to 32.49 mpg — the Civic is rated at 28/39/32 mpg city/highway/combined. Our drivers and their light feet averaged 35.79 mpg in October.

By Joe Bruzek | November 5, 2013 | Comments (2)

Tracking the Fuel Economy of Cars.com's 2013 Honda Civic, 2013 Subaru BRZ

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Despite having the keys to our 2013 Subaru BRZ three months before we picked up a 2013 Honda Civic long-term tester, the Civic's odometer is quickly catching that of the BRZ. Summer road trips in the Civic helped rack up 12,217 miles in seven months, while the BRZ sits at 13,061 miles after 10 months of ownership.

Follow Our Long-Term Fleet

The Civic is delivering great gas mileage on long highway drives: We've recorded a best tank of 42.83 mpg, exceeding its 39 mpg highway rating. The BRZ is also able to exceed its highway mileage estimates but hasn't had a chance to stretch its legs on the highway much during the last month; its best tank rating remains 35.94 mpg.

By Joe Bruzek | October 9, 2013 | Comments (2)

Sounding Off on Our 2013 Honda Civic's Stereo

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Logic says a cheap car should have a cheap stereo. Cars.com's 2013 Honda Civic in base LX trim isn't exactly inexpensive at $19,775, including an automatic transmission and destination charge, but the stereo has a laundry list of features most wouldn't expect at its price.

Follow Our Long-Term Fleet

In the six-plus months we've owned the Civic, we've hooked up numerous phones and music players to the standard USB port and streaming Bluetooth. Our editors also have spent hours commuting, where the right stereo can make a difference between starting the day right or wrong. The Civic's stereo was a huge hit when first purchased, but what about 12,000 miles later?

By Joe Bruzek | October 2, 2013 | Comments (12)

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