Is Driving a Certain Car Your Ticket to Traffic Court?

2015WRX

Look, just because you drive a Subaru WRX doesn't mean you're more likely to be the type of person who exceeds the speed limit or breaks other traffic laws. OK, it actually does mean that, but we're not the ones saying it, Insurance.com is. The auto-insurance rate-comparison website analyzed online quote info from more than half a million drivers and more than 500 car models between January 2013 and July 2014, and identified the cars most likely to be used in the commission of a traffic offense. Coincidentally, a fifth of the list is composed of competitors in Cars.com's $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge in which the WRX scored the fastest times.

Related: The $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge

According to the study, one in three drivers of the turbocharged, all-wheel-drive Subaru WRX compact performance sedan has had a traffic violation for an offense such as speeding, failure to yield or drunken driving in the past three years, making it the No. 1 most-ticketed car.

By Matt Schmitz | September 30, 2014 | Comments (5)

Recall Alert: 2003-2005 Subaru Baja, Impreza, Legacy, Outback

2005SubaruLegacyRecall

Vehicles Affected: An unspecified number of model-year 2003-05 Subaru Legacy cars, Outback wagons and Baja crossovers, and model-year 2004-05 Subaru Impreza cars, including WRX and STI variants, all currently or previously registered in Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands and equipped Takata-brand passenger-side airbag inflators

The Problem: Upon deployment of the passenger-side frontal airbag, excessive internal pressure may cause the inflator to rupture. This could result in metal fragments striking and seriously injuring occupants. Subaru is one of several automakers that have announced U.S. recalls pertaining to defective airbag systems made by Japan's Takata Corp. Last month, Subaru recalled nearly 9,000 vehicles in the same model range.

The Fix: Subaru will notify owners, and dealers will replace the passenger-side airbag inflators for free. The automaker has not yet announced a notification schedule.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Subaru at 800-782-2783, 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 | August 5, 2014 | Comments (0)

What's the Best Cheap Speed Car for $30,000?

CSGroup2

Plenty of drivers want a level of performance without breaking the bank. We found eight cars that prove fun at the track is not limited to the well-to-do.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | What the Judges Said | Mileage Test

We focused our Challenge on compact coupes, sedans and hatchbacks that cost less than $30,000, including destination charge. We picked the price based on Cars.com's listings for cars of this type that came with the features we know are popular with younger drivers looking for a performance kick. After five days of testing (including a day at a drag strip and a day on a road course) by experts from Cars.com, USA Today, "MotorWeek" and a real-life, in-market family, here's how the results broke down:

By Patrick Olsen | July 28, 2014 | Comments (21)

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge: Mileage Results

CSMileagewinner

Any car owner will tell you the cost of driving does not begin or end with the sticker price or the monthly payment notice arriving in the mailbox. There's insurance, maintenance and yes, the cost of gasoline.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | What the Judges Said | Results

The competitors in our Cheap Speed Challenge may be relatively affordable considering their performance chops, but six of the eight require premium gasoline. Going into the contest, mileage didn't seem like it would be much of a story.

After a 220-plus-mile route through Wisconsin and Illinois that mixed in winding country roads, city streets and plenty of construction-laden highways, we discovered mileage was indeed worth talking about in this class.

By David Thomas | July 28, 2014 | Comments (1)

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge: What the Judges Said

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To test our sub-$30,000 speedsters, we put them through an even more rigorous set of tests than we usually use in our Challenges:

  • We spent one day at the Byron, Ill., Dragway to get zero-to-60-mph times and quarter-mile times and speeds; we also captured 60-mph-to-zero braking distances there.
  • We spent one day at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill., where the experts put the cars through a long day on the road course there.
  • We took all eight on a mileage drive of more than 200 miles to judge real-world fuel economy.
  • The experts drove all eight over the same course, back-to-back, to judge real-world ride and handling, acceleration and braking.
  • And then we brought in a real-life car shopper, Joe Weiss, a 38-year-old quality assurance manager from Chicago who's in the market for just such a car for himself and his fiancee.

CSJudges

Weiss joined our cast of judges (left to right):

  • Brian Robinson, producer for PBS' "MotorWeek"
  • Joe Wiesenfelder, Cars.com executive editor
  • David Thomas, Cars.com managing editor
  • Joe Bruzek, Cars.com road test editor
  • James R. Healey, auto writer for USA Today

We set a maximum price of $30,000, including a destination charge. We had 10 cars on our list when we started, but we ended with eight (more on that in a bit):

  • 2014 Fiat 500 Abarth
  • 2014 Ford Fiesta ST
  • 2014 Honda Civic Si
  • 2014 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
  • 2014 Kia Forte5 SX
  • 2015 Mini Cooper S Hardtop
  • 2014 Nissan Juke NISMO RS
  • 2014 Scion FR-S
  • 2015 Subaru WRX
  • 2015 Volkswagen GTI

Mini said it did not have a Cooper in its press fleets that could meet our price cap; the Civic lost a tire after hitting a Chicago pothole, and repairs could not be made in time for track days. The judges did drive it in our round-robin day, and a report on those tests can be found here.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | Results | Mileage Test

Here's how the scoring broke down: The experts' scores accounted for 50 percent of the total score; 10 percent came from the shopper's scores; 30 percent was based on track performance; and the remaining 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 | July 28, 2014 | Comments (8)

2015 Subaru WRX Photo Gallery

Cheap Speed Challenge: 2015 Subaru WRX Premium

The 2015 Subaru WRX finished second in our $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge. "You really have to experience its neck-snapping off-the-line acceleration to appreciate it," said one of our judges. Check out our gallery below of the WRX up close and on the track.

Click on any image for a larger version.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears

By Matt Schmitz | July 28, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2003-2004 Subaru Baja, Impreza, Legacy, Outback

2004SubaruLegacyRecall

Vehicles Affected: Nearly 8,600 model-year 2003-04 Subaru Legacy cars, Outback wagons and Baja crossovers, and 2004 Impreza cars, including its WRX and WRX STI variants, all equipped with Takata-manufactured front passenger airbag inflators

The Problem: Upon deployment of the passenger-side frontal airbag, excessive internal pressure could cause the inflator to rupture; this could cause metal fragments to strike and seriously injure occupants. Subaru joins seven other major automakers that have announced U.S. recalls pertaining to defective airbag systems made by Japan's Takata Corp.

The Fix: Subaru will notify owners, and dealers will replace the inflators in all affected vehicles for free. The automaker has not yet provided a notification schedule.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Subaru at 800-782-2783, 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 | July 8, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 660,000 Subaru Wagons, Sedans, Crossovers

2009SubaruOutbackRecall

Vehicles Affected: More than 660,000 model-year 2005-09 Outback wagons and Legacy sedans, 2008-11 Impreza cars, 2008-14 WRX and WRX STI cars, and 2009-13 Forester crossovers currently or previously registered in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia

The Problem: Saltwater could splash on the brake lines through a gap in the fuel tank protector, resulting in excessive corrosion of the brake lines. Brake line corrosion may result in brake fluid leakage, which could result in longer stopping distances, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Subaru will notify owners, and dealers will test the brake system by depressing the brake pedal and inspecting for fluid leaks; if none are observed, the affected areas will be rustproofed with anti-corrosion wax. If seepage is observed, the brake lines will be replaced and rustproofed. The automaker will make the repairs for free.

What Owners Should Do: Subaru has not specified a notification schedule. Owners can call Subaru at 800-782-2783, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit 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 | July 3, 2014 | Comments (4)

2015 Subaru WRX STI Photo Gallery (27 Photos)

2015SubaruWRXSTI

As Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays said in his critique, the 2015 Subaru WRX STI "packs a punch" performance-wise, though some buyers might find its $35,000 starting price a slap in the face. The even-higher-performance version of the high-performance WRX wears a rather dramatic rear wing, 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and standard Alcantara-covered seats with red-and-black leather bolsters — racier accents above and beyond the regular WRX's quad tailpipes, large fenders and flat-bottom steering wheel.

More Photo Galleries

Click here for the full review, and check out the gallery below of the black STI we test drove; Cars.com photos by Evan Sears.

By Matt Schmitz | June 27, 2014 | Comments (5)

2015 Subaru WRX STI From Chicago to Big Sur

STIDrive1500

Disclaimer: I did not drive a new 2015 Subaru WRX STI from my home in Chicago to Big Sur, Calif. But I did get to drive different examples of the new STI in both places roughly a month apart. The distance and driving roads made a world of difference in appreciating this powerful rally-inspired four-door that anyone can buy at a dealer lot.

2015 Subaru WRX STI Expert Review

My time with a jet-black STI in Chicago was relatively short and unfortunately included a daily commute to work, which meant gridlock under grisly gray skies that even in April were frigid. Shifting through gears repeatedly, pushing down a beastly clutch with my left leg and trying to prevent the car from bucking was not easy.

By David Thomas | June 12, 2014 | Comments (0)

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