Recall Alert: 2013-2015 Cadillac XTS, 2014-2015 Chevrolet Impala

2014CadillacXTSRecall

Vehicles Affected: More than 130,000 model-year 2013-15 Cadillac XTS sedans manufactured between Feb. 14, 2012, and Aug. 22, 2014, and model-year 2014-15 Chevrolet Impala sedans manufactured between Jan. 15, 2013, and Aug. 22, 2014

The Problem: The electronic parking brake piston actuation arm may not fully retract, causing the brake pads to stay partially engaged with the rotors. If this occurs, excessive brake heat could cause a fire.

The Fix: GM will begin notifying owners this month, and dealers will update the electronic parking brake software for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Chevrolet at 800-222-1020 or Cadillac at 800-458-8006. They can also call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.

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

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By Matt Schmitz | September 22, 2014 | Comments (0)

Cadillac to Build New Flagship Sedan

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Cadillac announced today it plans to build a new "top-end, high-technology car" starting in late 2015. Johan de Nysschen, Cadillac's new president, said the rear-drive car would slot above the CTS and XTS to play against the "elite class of top-level luxury cars" with "new, custom-designed materials on a unique vehicle architecture."

Related: Cadillac to Debut ATS-V at November's L.A. Auto Show

It's possible the all-new model will debut Cadillac's first vehicle-to-vehicle communication and "Super Cruise" semi-autonomous driving tech, which GM announced earlier this month. Cadillac's de facto flagship, the Escalade SUV, tops out in the mid-$80,000s. But this would be the first time in recent history that the brand had a flagship sedan that vied for attention from shoppers of the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class and other such top-shelf cars. Given the competition, Cadillac may price its contender even atop the Escalade.

The car will come from GM's Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, a 29-year-old facility just north of the automaker's corporate headquarters - whose first car, incidentally, was a Cadillac Eldorado. Detroit-Hamtramck now produces the Chevrolet Volt, Impala and Malibu, plus the Volt-based Cadillac ELR. (GM's U.S. brands are Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC.)

Expect more details on the uber-Caddy in the first half of 2015.

Editor's note: This post was corrected on Sept. 22 to reflect the correct age of GM's Detroit-Hamtramck facility.

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Kelsey Mays | September 19, 2014 | Comments (6)

2015 Volkswagen Jetta Earns IIHS' Top Safety Pick Plus

2015VolkswagenJettaCrashTest

After missing the mark for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's coveted crashworthiness awards in the 2014 model year, the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta has earned the institute's most prestigious designation, Top Safety Pick Plus. That's thanks to structural improvements and the addition of a frontal crash prevention system to the sedan, which IIHS classifies as a "midsize, moderately priced car."

Related: 2015 Volkswagen Jetta: First Look

"Although the car didn't get a full redesign, the A-pillars and door sills were strengthened for the 2015 model year," IIHS said in a statement. "As a result, the Jetta's small overlap rating improved to good, compared with the marginal rating of earlier models."

By Matt Schmitz | September 18, 2014 | Comments (2)

2015 Honda Civic: What's Changed

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Most significant changes: New SE trim level

Price change: $100 increase for LX, EX, EX-L and HF

On sale: Sept. 17 for LX, EX, EX-L and HF; later in the fall for Si, Hybrid, Natural Gas and new SE

Which you should buy, 2014 or 2015? The 2015 SE is a compelling value choice

With the exception of a new Special Edition trim level, most of the 2015 Honda Civic coupe and sedan lineup remains unchanged for 2015 except for a $100 price increase across the board for the LX, EX, EX-L and HF trim levels, which go on sale today.

Related: 2014 Honda Civic Expert Review

The all-new SE trim level joins the lineup slotted between the base LX and higher-content EX. It's a Special Edition without pinstripes or gimmicky stickers. It takes a bunch of content previously only available on the more expensive EX and offers it with LX-like pricing. Honda says the new SE includes $1,100 worth of optional equipment for only $700 more than the Civic LX sedan.

By Joe Bruzek | September 17, 2014 | Comments (6)

Improved 2015 Kia Soul Earns IIHS' Top Safety Pick, Forte Fails

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The 2015 Kia Soul hatchback has rejoined the ranks of vehicles deemed worthy of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick. Meanwhile, the 2015 Forte fell short again after losing its status the previous model year, despite improvements.

Related: Not All Small Cars Shine in Latest IIHS Crash Tests

The Soul redeemed itself this time around by earning a good rating in the IIHS' stringent small overlap front crash test, which simulates what happens when a car strikes an object such as a tree or utility pole. IIHS rates cars on a scale of poor, marginal, acceptable and good. The Soul scored poorly on the small overlap test for the 2013 model year, and wasn't even tested for 2014 because Kia said things had not improved. The hatchback came back strong for 2015, however, raising its rating on the test from poor to good (acceptable would have earned it Top Safety Pick status). As is necessary for the safety designation, the Soul also earned good scores in the institute's other four crashworthiness evaluations: moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints and seats.

IIHS said the Soul improved by strengthening the front end and occupant compartment for 2015. "The driver space was maintained reasonably well with a small amount of intrusion," IIHS said in a statement. "The dummy's movement was well controlled, and its head hit the frontal airbag, which stayed in position during the crash."

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

2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-in Hybrid: First Look (15 Photos)

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Competes with: Audi A8 TDI, BMW 7 Series ActiveHybrid, Lexus LS 600h
Looks like: An S-Class with enough rear signage for Mercedes' lettering supplier to hire an extra shift
Drivetrain: 436-hp (combined), turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 and electric motor with seven-speed automatic transmission; rear-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Spring 2015, California only

Witness the reprisal of Mercedes-Benz's S-Class hybrid, this time in the form of a plug-in S550. The S550 Plug-in Hybrid teams a turbocharged V-6 with an electric motor that runs off a battery you can plug in to recharge. Whereas its predecessor, the 2010-2013 S400 Hybrid, was a plug-free "mild" hybrid that couldn't actually travel on electric power alone, Mercedes says its successor can do that for up to 20 miles.

Related: More Hybrids/Alternative Fuels News

Typical of Mercedes' flagship sedan, the S550 plug-in electric vehicle boasts a kitchen sink's worth of other features. Among them are haptic gas-pedal feedback and drivetrain logic that purportedly adapts its efficiency strategy to the road and traffic around you.

By Kelsey Mays | September 16, 2014 | Comments (1)

2014 BMW 640i Gran Coupe Review

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"It has coupe-like style and grace in spades, but the 2014 BMW 640i Gran Coupe also has a shocking price tag, yet still doesn't include many of the luxury and safety features you'd expect," said Cars.com reviewer Aaron D. Bragman. Check out Bragman's review for more.

2014 BMW 640i Gran Coupe Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Aaron D. Bragman

By Matt Schmitz | September 15, 2014 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 2011-2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

2012MercedesBenzS65AMGRecall

Vehicles Affected: More than 150 model-year 2011-12 Mercedes-Benz S-Class luxury sedans, including the S550, S550 4matic, S63, S600, S65 AMG and S400 Hybrid, all manufactured between March 3 and July 30, 2011

The Problem: The tire pressure monitoring system indicators may only illuminate for a portion of the time required by federal standards, and under certain conditions may not re-illuminate immediately after the vehicle is restarted, as required. If all four wheel sensors are simultaneously malfunctioning or missing, the tire pressure monitoring system will provide an initial warning, but the warning will not automatically repeat on subsequent ignition cycles, failing to remind the driver that the system is offline. Driving unknowingly with incorrectly inflated tires may result in sudden tire failure, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Mercedes-Benz will begin notifying owners this month, and dealers will reprogram the tire pressure monitoring unit for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Mercedes-Benz at 800-367-6372 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236, or go to www.safercar.gov, for more info.

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

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By Matt Schmitz | September 11, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Audi A3: Car Seat Check

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The 2015 Audi A3 ditches its hatchback design for the sleek lines of a sedan. With its redesign, the 2015 A3 has grown 7.5 inches in length. That extra room helped make it easy to install our child-safety seats in this compact sedan.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

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By Jennifer Newman | September 11, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Hyundai Sonata: Car Seat Check

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The Hyundai Sonata has a new look — both inside and out — for 2015. This midsize family sedan leaves its curves behind in favor of sharper angles. For families with young kids, this redesigned Sonata made easy work of car-seat installation thanks to its exposed Latch anchors, and it managed to improve on its previous generation's scores. The 2015 Sonata nearly fit our three child-safety seats across its backseat. Narrow car seats might allow parents to fit three across.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

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By Jennifer Newman | September 9, 2014 | Comments (0)

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