2015 Chrysler 300: First Look

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Competes with: Ford Taurus, Toyota Avalon, Kia Cadenza

Looks like: The new 300 reclaims much of the swagger of its now decade-old forebear

Drivetrain: 292- or 300-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 or 363-hp, 5.7-liter V-8 with eight-speed automatic transmission; rear- or all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: First quarter of 2015

Starting price: $32,390, including a destination charge

The Chrysler 300 was a smash hit when it debuted as a 2005 model and now, a decade later, the sedan has a new boldness that harkens back to that of the original model. The 2015 Chrysler 300 is offered with V-6 or V-8 power and rear- or all-wheel drive, and besides its new styling and features, there's a new high-end Platinum trim level with upscale appointments. The 300 arrives early next year with the same starting price as before: $32,390, including the destination charge.

Related: More 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage

By Mike Hanley | November 18, 2014 | Comments (1)

$27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge: What the Judges Said

FamilySubaru

To evaluate our midsize sedans, we put them through a battery of tests in and around Baltimore:

  • We took all 10 cars on a mileage drive of about 180 miles to judge real-world fuel economy.
  • The experts drove all 10 over the same course, back-to-back, to judge ride and handling, acceleration and braking.
  • Then we brought in a real-life family, Amit and Michelle Kapoor, both 34, and their two young children (above), to help us evaluate these cars. Amit works as a defense contractor, and his wife works for the federal government. They live in suburban Washington, D.C.

$27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge
Index | Results | Mileage Test

The Kapoors joined our judges:

  • Aaron Bragman, Cars.com Detroit bureau chief
  • Jennifer Newman, Cars.com assistant managing editor
  • Joe Wiesenfelder, Cars.com executive editor
  • Fred Meier, auto editor for USA Today
  • Brian Robinson, producer for PBS' "MotorWeek"

We set a maximum price of $27,000, including a destination charge, and each car had to get at least 28 mpg in combined EPA ratings. Ten cars fit that bill (in alphabetical order):

  • 2015 Chevrolet Malibu 1LT
  • 2015 Chrysler 200 Limited (all-new)
  • 2015 Ford Fusion SE
  • 2015 Honda Accord EX
  • 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport (all-new)
  • 2015 Mazda6 iTouring
  • 2015 Nissan Altima 2.5 SV
  • 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium (all-new)
  • 2015 Toyota Camry SE (refreshed)
  • 2015 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T SE

Here's how the scoring broke down: The experts' scores accounted for 75 percent of the total score; 15 percent came from the family's scores; and 10 percent was based on fuel economy.

Here is what the judges had to say about each car, in order of how the cars finished:

By Patrick Olsen | November 17, 2014 | Comments (5)

What Midsize Sedan Gets the Best Mileage?

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Part of the scoring in our big 10-car $27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge comes from observed mileage over a drive route that consisted of close to 180 miles of both city and highway driving in and around Baltimore. The winner, the Nissan Altima, reported 32.4 mpg.

$27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge
Index | ResultsWhat the Judges Said

We made no effort to mirror the EPA test cycle, but more highway driving should benefit all the cars, and it didn't do so, at least not equally. One sedan hit its EPA-estimated combined mpg figure exactly, two fell short and seven exceeded their ratings.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | November 17, 2014 | Comments (1)

What's the Best Midsize Sedan for $27,000?

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Midsize sedans remain the best-selling category of cars in the U.S. With this class remaining hot, the competitors have more to offer than ever before, with advances in technology, features and mileage making them more desirable and livable.

$27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge
Index | What the Judges Said | Mileage Test

We focused this Challenge on midsize sedans that cost less than $27,000, including the destination charge, and achieve at least 28 mpg in EPA combined fuel-economy ratings.

We picked the price based on Cars.com's listings for midsize sedans that came with the features we know are popular with families. After four days of testing outside Baltimore with experts from Cars.com, USA Today, "MotorWeek" and a real-life family, here's how the results broke down:

By Patrick Olsen | November 17, 2014 | Comments (29)

Recall Alert: 2015 Volkswagen Jetta, Passat

2015VolkswagenJettaRecall

Vehicles Affected: Nearly 400 model-year 2015 Volkswagen Jetta and Passat sedans manufactured between Sept. 23 and Oct. 9 and equipped with manual front seatback recliners

The Problem: The seatback recliner retaining bracket may not engage correctly, resulting in unexpected movement of the seatback; this could distract the driver, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Volkswagen began notifying owners in October, and dealers will inspect the assembly of the seatback recliner retaining bracket, correcting it as necessary for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call VW at 800-893-5298 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.

More Recalls

By Matt Schmitz | November 14, 2014 | Comments (1)

$27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge: Features Video

"When you spend $35,000 or more on a midsize family sedan, you expect it's going to come packed with all kinds of technology and safety goodies, but when you're a little bit more budget-friendly, around $27,000 … can you get anything good at that price?" Cars.com Aaron D. Bragman wonders aloud in the video above. The answer is yes. Watch the video for five examples — and check back Monday for our full coverage of the $27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge.

Watch on YouTube

By Matt Schmitz | November 14, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Chevrolet Malibu: Car Seat Check

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After a full redesign for 2013 and an extensive update for 2014, Chevrolet's midsize sedan rolls into 2015 with few changes. Two child-safety seats fit comfortably in the Malibu's backseat, and the sedan's extra Latch anchor makes its backseat even more flexible for parents in terms of where they can install car seats with the Latch system.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

More Car Seat Checks

By Jennifer Geiger | November 13, 2014 | Comments (0)

2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600: First Look

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Competes with:
Rolls-Royce Ghost, Bentley Continental Flying Spur, other Mercedes S-Class sedans
Looks like: A longer S-Class with more badging — you know, in case Mercedes' badging changes weren't confusing enough
Drivetrain: 523-horsepower, twin-turbo 6.0-liter V-12 with seven-speed automatic transmission; rear-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Spring 2015

Remember Maybach? The ultra-luxury brand from 1920s Germany got a reboot by then-DaimlerChrysler in the 2000s, giving moneyed shoppers the Type 57 and Type 62 sedans and eventually the preposterously expensive Type 62 Landaulet. Sales topped out at just 244 cars in 2004, miniscule even for an ultra-luxury brand. The recession put the final nail in Maybach's gold-plated coffin, and the brand had its swan-song year in 2012.

Related: Mercedes-Benz Renames Much of its Lineup

Well, the swan — or song — is back. Mercedes plans to bestow the Maybach designation on a modified V-12 S-Class sedan, complete with extra trunk badging to signal the difference. Mercedes released several images of the car. It debuts this month during auto shows in Guangzhou, China, and Los Angeles, which signals Mercedes' intent to launch Maybach as a global brand. But the once-stratospheric pricing will come down to earth, if only a bit.

By Kelsey Mays | November 11, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Hyundai Accent: What's Changed

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Most significant changes: Bluetooth available at lower cost

Price change: $100 increase on all models

On sale: Early- to mid-November

Which should you buy, 2014 or 2015? 2014

For 2015, the subcompact Hyundai Accent gets a midlife exterior freshening and new option packages for GLS sedans with the optional automatic transmission that make Bluetooth hands-free capability available at lower cost.

Bluetooth is included in the new $600 Popular Equipment Package with cruise control, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel with built-in audio controls and a sliding armrest storage box. Previously, those features were lumped in the $1,400 Option Group 2 with 16-inch alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, projector-style headlights, upgraded interior trim and other items. Those latter features are now available in the new $800 Style Package, and you have to buy the Popular Package to get them.

By Rick Popely | November 11, 2014 | Comments (3)

2015 Nissan Altima: Car Seat Check

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There's no doubt many families consider Nissan's popular midsize sedan when shopping for a car. After a full redesign for 2013, not much about the Altima has changed for the 2015 model year aside from some technology and convenience feature upgrades. Parents will find that the sedan's wide, flat backseat comfortably accommodates two child-safety seats, but crowded buckles and Latch anchors made installation less than easy.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

More Car Seat Checks

By Jennifer Geiger | November 11, 2014 | Comments (0)

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