What Cars Are Included in the Takata Airbag Recall?

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This week saw the latest expansion of airbag recalls that began 18 months ago from Japanese supplier Takata Corp. and is now linked to at least four deaths. As of today, the recall affects some 7.8 million vehicles in the U.S. from 10 automakers based in three continents. The bulk of them — 5 million — are from Honda. Takata issued a statement earlier this year that noted the incidents of airbag malfunction — where a faulty inflator can send metal and plastic shrapnel into occupants if the front passenger airbag deploys in a crash — have occurred in warm areas like Florida and Puerto Rico, and it suspects that high humidity plays a role in the problem. Returned airbags from Toyota confirmed as much, USA Today reports.

Related: NHTSA Urges Quick Fix of Defective Airbags

USA Today reports most owners should have already received recall notices by now, and some automakers — namely, Toyota and BMW — have advised keeping the front passenger seat clear of occupants until a dealer inspects the car for a faulty inflator and, if there is one, replaces it.

What cars have been recalled? And what should you do if you get a notice? We've compiled everything we know so far below:

By Kelsey Mays | October 23, 2014 | Comments (5)

Subaru Updates XV Crosstrek for 2015

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Subaru continues to roll out its camera- and radar-based safety system; the XV Crosstrek is next in line to get the automaker's EyeSight safety system for 2015. The driver-assistance package integrates adaptive cruise control, precollision braking and lane departure warning. Subaru also updated the wagon's multimedia system this year, replacing the small, outdated touch-screen unit with a choice of two larger, freshly designed systems. 

Related: 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Review

Model-year 2015 XV Crosstrek 2.0i, 2.0i Premium, 2.0i Limited and XV Crosstrek Hybrid base and Touring trims are again available for 2015; EyeSight is available on the 2.0i Premium model. A new 6.2-inch touch-screen multimedia system and backup camera join the cabin in 2.0i, 2.0i Premium and XV Crosstrek Hybrid models. It integrates Subaru's Starlink smartphone system with Aha, Pandora and iHeart Radio apps. 

By Jennifer Geiger | October 23, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Subaru Outback: Car Seat Check

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In its 2015 redesign, beloved family hauler the Subaru Outback continues to smartly straddle the line between a practical wagon and a rugged SUV, while getting subtle updates to its exterior styling, interior upgrades and improved fuel economy. Families will appreciate the new Outback's roomier cabin, cushier feel and an improved center storage bin that can hold larger items like an iPad. We last car-seat checked the Outback in 2012; that model proved as delightfully utilitarian as the vehicle's reputation. Can the 2015 live up to that easy-to-use, easier-to-love rep?

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

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By Matt Schmitz | October 21, 2014 | Comments (0)

Subaru's Impreza Fits Smaller Families

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When most families think of Subaru, the cars that seem to come to mind are the Forester crossover and Outback wagon. Many don't have the Impreza, Subaru's entry-level compact, on their radar. It's got a lot to offer with its family-friendly sedan or hatchback body styles and standard all-wheel drive, plus it's more affordable then its larger siblings. For smaller families who have active lifestyles but don't need or want a larger car, take note and get to know the Impreza. Subaru recently announced that it's refreshing the 2015 Impreza with a new front end, a standard backup camera and more.

Related: 2015 Subaru Impreza Gets Some Major Updates

The Impreza competes against the likes of the Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Volkswagen Golf. My test car was a 2014 Subaru 2.0i Sport Limited hatchback with a starting price of $23,990, including destination. It came equipped with leather seats, snazzy 17-inch alloy wheels and a moonroof. However, its most appealing feature, which none of its competitors offer, is standard all-wheel drive.

That all-wheel drive makes for sure-footed handling under all road conditions. Even on Southern California's mostly dry roads, the Impreza felt confident through the curves. However, the 2014 Impreza's 148-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine seemed sluggish when accelerating, and it was louder than other compact cars I've driven. For 2015, Subaru has added more sound-deadening materials, thicker window glass and tighter window seals to address the noise issue.

By Carrie Kim | October 14, 2014 | Comments (14)

Recall Alert: 2015 Subaru Outback

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Vehicles Affected: Nearly 60 model-year 2015 Subaru Outback wagons manufactured between Jan. 22 and Aug. 18, and equipped with a Subaru accessory trailer hitch assembly

The Problem: During installation, the trailer hitch mounting nuts may have been overtightened, potentially resulting in failure of the trailer hitch mounting studs. The mounting nuts may not provide sufficient force to remain attached to the studs, or the studs themselves might break. If this happens while a trailer is being towed, the driver might not be able to operate the vehicle as desired, or the trailer may detach from the vehicle, in either case increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Subaru began notifying owners on Tuesday, and dealers will replace all eight mounting nuts for the trailer hitch assembly, and inspect all eight mounting studs for damage; all work will be done for free.

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.

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By Matt Schmitz | October 10, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Subaru Impreza Starts $300 Higher, Adds More Standard Features

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The 2015 Subaru Impreza may not have the lowest starting price among compact sedans — that title still belongs to the stripped-down, hard-to-find base Volkswagen Jetta — but it still packs appealing value. Set to hit dealerships next month, the restyled Impreza's base 2.0i trim starts at $18,990 with destination and a five-speed manual transmission. With the continuously variable automatic transmission, it starts at $19,990.

Related: 2015 Subaru Impreza Gets Some Major Updates

Both cars represent a $300 increase over the 2014 Impreza 2.0i manual/automatic, but the list of standard features adds cruise control, a backup camera and a 6.2-inch touch-screen stereo with HD radio and various smartphone-streamed apps. Like before, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, steering-wheel audio controls, power windows/locks, air conditioning and remote keyless entry are standard.

By Kelsey Mays | October 9, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Subaru Impreza Gets Some Major Updates

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Competes with: Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte

Looks like: Pretty much the same outside and in

Drivetrain: 148-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine; five-speed manual transmission or CVT; all-wheel drive standard

Hits dealerships: November 2014

Subaru has recently released a redesigned 2015 Legacy and 2015 Outback, and it seems the automaker wants to update its smallest car offering this year too. The 2015 Impreza sedan and hatchback don't get a significant overhaul like their stable mates, but the compacts do get much-needed enhancements like a quieter cabin and new multimedia system.

By David Thomas | September 25, 2014 | Comments (11)

2015 Subaru Legacy, Outback Earn IIHS' Top Safety Pick Plus Status

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For the third consecutive year since the Top Safety Pick Plus designation was introduced in 2013, the Subaru Legacy sedan and its station-wagon sibling, the Outback, have earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's top prize. The 2015 Legacy and Outback both improved their ratings to good from their predecessors' acceptable score in the institute's stringent small overlap front crash test, which approximates what happens when a vehicle strikes a tree or utility pole. In addition, the cars earned superior ratings for front crash prevention when equipped with the optional EyeSight forward collision warning system with autobrake, which stopped the vehicle completely at both 12 and 25 mph during testing.

Related: IIHS: These Used Cars Are Safer For Teen Drivers

The IIHS said structural performance improved to a score of good for the 2015 Legacy compared with a marginal rating in 2014. "The driver space was maintained well, with the safety cage preventing excessive intrusion into the occupant compartment," IIHS said in a statement. "The dummy's movement was well-controlled, and the frontal and side curtain airbags worked together to protect the head from contact with interior structures."

The IIHS noted that Subaru has the most 2014 Top Safety Pick awards of any brand; other Subaru recipients include the BRZ, Impreza, Forester, WRX and XV Crosstrek. To earn a Top Safety Pick Plus award, a vehicle must earn a good or acceptable rating for small overlap protection, as well as good ratings in the institute's moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, as well as a basic, advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.

IIHS photo

By Matt Schmitz | August 19, 2014 | Comments (0)

Subaru Three-Row SUV Still in the Works

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Remember the Subaru B9 Tribeca? Subaru introduced the warthog-nosed, three-row SUV at the Detroit auto show in early 2005 to widespread criticism of its ... well ... schnoz. Car shoppers agreed: In its first full calendar year of sales (2006), they bought just 18,614 B9 Tribecas, or about one-seventh of Toyota Highlander sales. Even emergency rhinoplasty and a name change to simply Tribeca in early 2007 couldn't right the ship. Sales plunged below 6,000 units by 2009 and never recovered from there.

Related: Subaru Cancels Tribeca SUV

A three-row Subaru should have been a hit but shoppers had spoken; the Tribeca was toast. Subaru announced in October 2013 that it would finally pull the plug on the ill-fated SUV, which was entering its ninth model year for 2014. But spokeswoman Jessica Tullman told us that the automaker hasn't put a fork in the segment just yet.

By Kelsey Mays | August 15, 2014 | Comments (2)

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

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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.

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By Matt Schmitz | August 5, 2014 | Comments (0)

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