Top 10 Most Overlooked New Cars

2014Mazda6

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.

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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 (5)

2015 Volkswagen Passat: What's Changed

2015VWPassat1.8

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 (3)

Small Trunks in Midsize Hybrid Sedans Limit Usefulness

AccordHybrid

Family-friendly hybrids are still more elusive than you'd think. My test of the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid proved that hybrid midsize sedans can be a great option for small families that don't haul a lot of stuff in the car's trunk. Alternatively, they also merit careful consideration if those families carry around a lot of gear.

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Review

In the Accord Hybrid, as in its competitors, the hybrid system's batteries take up some quality trunk space. But how does its cargo space compare to other Accord models? And what about its competitors?

By Sara Lacey | July 21, 2014 | Comments (3)

2015 Volvo S60 Review

2015VolvoS60

"While Volvo has built a reputation for safety, the 2015 S60 succeeds because it is a powerful, agile sedan," said Cars.com reviewer Mike Hanley. Check out Hanley's review for more.

2015 Volvo S60 Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Matt Schmitz | July 18, 2014 | Comments (4)

2015 Hyundai Sonata Earns IIHS' Top Safety Pick Plus Award

2015HyundaiSonataCrashTest

Hyundai's midsize sedan is back for 2015, redesigned and safer than ever. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety today announced that the new Sonata earned its most prestigious safety award, Top Safety Pick Plus. The Sonata earned the honor by overcoming the previous version's lackluster rating in the stringent small overlap frontal crash test, which replicates what happens when a vehicle's front quarter strikes a tree or utility pole.The 2015 Sonata — Hyundai's second model to earn the institute's top honor this year — earned an acceptable rating in the small overlap test, improving on its previous rating of marginal.

2015 Hyundai Genesis Earns IIHS' Top Safety Pick Plus Award

The Sonata's optional forward collision warning system also qualified it for the Safety Pick Plus rating; the Sonata's system earned a basic score. To qualify for Top Safety Pick Plus, a vehicle must earn good or acceptable in the small overlap test; basic, advanced or superior for front crash prevention; and the top score of good in four other crash tests assessing performance in moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests.

IIHS image

By Matt Schmitz | July 17, 2014 | Comments (0)

Tesla to Launch Compact, Low-Cost Sedan in 2017

Tesla

Tesla has confirmed a third model, dubbed the Model 3, will show up around 2017. Tesla CEO Elon Musk originally wanted to call it the Model E — which, together with the extant Model S sedan and forthcoming Model X SUV, would have landed Tesla enough S-E-X appeal for late-night comedians to have a field day. But Ford sued because it had rights to the Model E name, explains British car magazine Auto Express, which broke the story, so Tesla had to go with Model 3 — or Model III, depending on exact nomenclature. The all-electric Model 3 will have a smaller platform than the Model S and take on the BMW 3 Series. Musk told Auto Express it would be priced around $35,000, or half the cost of a Model S. Still, the Model 3 images that Auto Express posted "were mock-ups based on their own speculation," Tesla tweeted on Tuesday.

Read more from our friends at USA Today here.

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Kelsey Mays | July 16, 2014 | Comments (6)

Recall Alert: 2015 Hyundai Sonata

2015-hyundai-sonata

Vehicles Affected: Approximately 2,100 model-year 2015 Sonata sedans manufactured from May 2 through May 23, 2014

The Problem: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reporting that a wiring harness problem could interfere with the power-steering system, increasing effort needed to steer the car and the risk of a crash. Drivers may also have trouble moving the shifter from the Park position. Hyundai said there have been no crashes or injuries related to this issue.

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

What Owners Should Do: In June, Hyundai notified dealers to suspend sales of affected Sonata vehicles and began contacting owners. Owners may call Hyundai customer service at 800-633-5151 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.

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By Jennifer Geiger | July 14, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Lexus ES 350, Lexus 300h: What's Changed

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Most significant changes: Backup camera now standard, new optional multimedia system

Price change: TBA

On sale: September

Which you should buy, 2014 or 2015? 2014

Lexus is making some small changes to its most popular sedan for 2015, but they may not add up to enough to sway buyers from a good deal on a leftover 2014.

2014 Lexus ES 350 Expert Review

If you're a multimedia maven, though, you'll want to wait for the 2015s. A new multimedia system, similar to the one introduced last year on the IS 250/350 and other Lexus models, includes a customizable home screen, 3-D maps and a bird's-eye view for the navigation system, traffic guidance, the ability to cache 15 minutes of radio broadcasts for later play and other features.

By Rick Popely | July 14, 2014 | Comments (1)

2014 Chevrolet Impala Ownership Costs: Half Year

Impala_ownership

The first six months and 8,000 miles of owning our Best of 2014 winner, the 2014 Chevrolet Impala, have so far been painless. We threw in a set of $99.95 floormats for the horrible winter, but otherwise haven't had to put any money into maintenance thanks to Chevrolet's complimentary two-year maintenance program.

More on Our Long-Term Test Fleet

At around 6,000 miles the Impala's information display lit up with an uncryptic "change oil soon" notification. Chevrolet recommends changing the oil within 600 miles of the indicator illuminating, so we were off to the dealership to take advantage of the no-charge service plan.

By Joe Bruzek | July 11, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Cadillac ATS: What's Changed

2015CadillacATS

Most significant changes: New front-end styling, torque boost for the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and a host of standard and available tech features

Price change: Starts at $34,210, including a $995 destination charge, a $220 increase

On sale: August

Which should you buy, 2014 or 2015? Aside from exterior-styling updates, most of the upgrades come with packages and on higher trim levels, but for the negligible price hike, why not stay current with that new wreathless Cadillac crest?

We've already told you all about the new-for-2015 coupe version of the Cadillac ATS, which debuted earlier this year at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, along with the modern, wreathless redesign of GM's luxury brand's famous crest. GM has some minor updates for the 2015 sedan version: fresh front-end styling, as well as newly available communication, convenience and safety features, and a substantial torque boost on one of three powertrains. While the new coupe is set to go on sale in September starting at $38,990 (including a $995 destination charge), an August dealership date has been set for the 2015 version of the four-door, which will start at $34,210 with destination, a $220 increase over the outgoing model.

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe: Up Close 

The compact luxury sedan's available 2.0-liter turbocharged engine makes 272 horsepower and 295 pounds-feet of torque, the latter figure representing a 14 percent increase over the 2014 model. The other two engines include the standard 2.5-liter, good for 202 hp and 191 pounds-feet of torque, and the 3.6-liter V-6 rated at 321 hp and 275 pounds-feet of torque. All engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission; the 2.0-liter is also available with a six-speed manual. Rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available on all powertrains except the 2.5-liter.

By Matt Schmitz | July 10, 2014 | Comments (7)

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