Top 10 Urban Cars

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From squeezing between a Dumpster and a wall to holding your breath as a bus hard aports past your bumper, cities can be an automotive minefield. And cars are often the casualties. Need proof? Look no further than auto insurance rates. A 40-year-old male with a 2012 Honda Accord in Manhattan's West Village would pay 27 percent more for the exact same coverage than if he lived across the Hudson River in Hoboken, N.J., according to CarInsurance.com's analysis of six leading carriers.

Related: Top 10 Most Overlooked New Cars

Yet scores of Americans still prefer to live in the city. From New York to San Antonio, the country's 25 largest urban centers are home to 31.9 million people within city limits, according to the 2010 Census. That's 10.3 percent of the entire U.S. population in 2010, and given the trend of increasing urbanization, it doesn't look like it will recede anytime soon.

Most city-zens still have to drive. Not to worry: Our latest Top 10 nominates cars best suited for urban driving. Editors considered our candidates' overall size relative to their competitors, as well as visibility, city gas mileage, turning radius, city drivability, utility and more.

Here are our picks, in order of which cars received the most votes. In cases of a tie, we ranked by turning circle and other dimensions.

By Kelsey Mays | August 11, 2014 | Comments (9)

What's the Most Affordable Car in 2014?

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Shoppers may face legitimate sticker shock when they're shopping for a new car. TV and radio advertisements may lead them to believe that new cars all get at least 35 mpg for less than $15,000, but the price of entry for even a modestly equipped new car is well above that.

Related: What's the Most Affordable Compact SUV for 2014?

That's why we've taken the cars with the lowest sticker prices and added a dose of reality. A vast majority of buyers never consider buying a car with a manual transmission (often the standard equipment on inexpensive new cars), so right out of the gate the car they're shopping for costs significantly more than they thought it would. Opting for an automatic transmission can cost $1,000 or more.

By David Thomas | July 21, 2014 | Comments (7)

Best Hybrids for the Money 2014

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Gas prices remain historically high and volatile, and one of the most successful ways automakers and American motorists have adapted is by embracing hybrid technology. Though a few full-size hybrid trucks from GM have been discontinued, 2014 sees as many models as ever. No matter why you may want a hybrid, you might want to know how well it meets its mission.

More Alternative Fuels News

To determine if a hybrid's added expense is worth the cash, we devised an efficiency-cost rating. It's simply the EPA's combined mpg rating divided by the base price (meaning MSRP plus destination charge). We then multiply that result by 1,000. This formula can be applied to any type of vehicle, hybrid or not. A high mpg rating and low price provide a high efficiency-cost rating. A higher score is the better score.

We don't account for equipment levels, quality judgments, cost of ownership or any variances from EPA mileage estimates. The goal here is to pay the least for the most mileage, barring all other considerations.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | April 14, 2014 | Comments (11)

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: August 2013

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In a recurrent chorus, GM said it had its best month since September 2008. Chrysler said it had its best August since 2007 while Honda says it had its best August ever.

Chrysler's gains were thanks to August records for Jeep's Wrangler, Compass and Patriot, plus a 30.9% sales increase for the automaker's popular Ram pickup. (Chrysler's U.S. umbrella includes Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and Fiat.) It marks the automaker's 41st month in a row of year-over-year sales increases.

Honda sold nearly 40,000 Civics in the last full month of summer. Purchase incentives remained steady with year-ago levels — when the maligned 2012 Civic was still in showrooms — but sales were anything but steady. The popular compact surged 58.5% in August, edging out the Accord to become Honda's best-seller. It would have been America's best-selling car in August, but the Toyota Camry piled on 21.8% in sales to keep the spot.

By Kelsey Mays | September 4, 2013 | Comments (18)

Best Hybrids for the Money 2013

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Gas prices remain volatile, but even so, no one expects prices below $3 per gallon ever again, and many parts of the country consistently see prices near or above $4. As much as ever, shoppers need to know how effectively hybrids deliver efficiency for your dollar — if they do at all.

To determine if a hybrid's added expense is worth the cash, we devised an efficiency-cost rating to reflect efficiency bang for your overall buck.

It's simply the combined city/highway mpg divided by the base price (MSRP plus destination charge). We then multiply that number by 1,000. This formula can be applied to any type of vehicle, hybrid or not. A high mpg rating and low price provide a high efficiency-cost rating. A higher score is the better score.

We don't account for equipment levels, quality judgments, cost of ownership or any variances from EPA mileage estimates. The goal here is to pay the least for the most mileage, barring all other considerations.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | April 16, 2013 | Comments (22)

Toyota to Build 20 New Hybrids Globally by End of 2015

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In less than three years, Toyota will have 20 new or redesigned hybrids worldwide — plus a hydrogen fuel-cell car. That's what Bob Carter, who heads automotive operations at Toyota's U.S. arm, told reporters this morning. Carter spoke at the National Automobile Dealers Association/J.D. Power and Associates' 2013 Automotive Forum on the eve of this week's 2013 New York International Auto Show.

More 2013 New York Auto Show Coverage

Despite the proliferation — if not the sales — of electric cars, Toyota believes "hybrids will remain a core technology" because they can be adapted to other environmental areas, Carter said. Given the number of cars from Toyota and its Lexus and Scion divisions, 20 hybrids seems like a more attainable goal than the automaker's gas-electric gauntlet thrown in 2006, which declared that every forthcoming redesign would include a hybrid version. Toyota backed off that pledge two years later.

By Kelsey Mays | March 26, 2013 | Comments (0)

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Earns Five Stars from NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tested another batch of new or redesigned-for-2013 vehicles and out of the four newbies, only one was awarded the agency's highest score.

The 2013 Volkswagen Beetle received an overall rating of five stars. The coupe earned four stars in frontal testing, five stars in side-crash testing and a four-star score in rollover tests; the convertible model has not yet been tested. The three others recently tested earned four stars overall: The plug-in Ford C-Max Energi, the tiny Toyota Prius c hybrid and front- and all-wheel drive versions of the Toyota Sienna minivan.

NHTSA plans to crash-test 54 model-year 2013 vehicles — 33 passenger cars, 16 SUVs, one van and four pickup trucks. NHTSA says that the crash-testing will account for about 85% of the volume of new vehicles sold for the year.

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By Jennifer Geiger | March 19, 2013 | Comments (0)

Scion xB Lives Another Year

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Despite rumors of the Scion xB's looming demise, it looks like the funky box will live another year. Toyota announced that the xB will return for model-year 2013 with lightly updated exterior styling and a slightly higher price.

The 2013 xB gets a revised front bumper and a tweaked interior, including new light-bronze metallic accents and new seat fabric. A BeSpoke Premium Audio system is a new option; Absolutely Red and Nautical Blue Metallic are new exterior colors. They replace Stingray Metallic and Elusive Blue Metallic.

By Jennifer Geiger | December 7, 2012 | Comments (0)

Cars.com Family Reviews the 2012 Toyota Prius c

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The 2012 Toyota Prius c, the Prius’ smaller sibling, is the perfect city car, according to Cars.com Family contributor Sara Lacey. With its EPA-estimated 53/46 mpg ratings, it’s made for zipping around town while running small- to medium-sized errands, which should come as no surprise. The Prius c’s small size makes it clear which family duties it's willing to take on, Sara says.

2012 Toyota Prius c

By Jennifer Newman | August 10, 2012 | Comments (11)

July's Fastest and Slowest Selling Cars

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Who says old cars won’t sell? July's fastest sellers include newbies like the redesigned Nissan Altima and two Hyundai Elantra additions — the coupe and GT hatchback — but a number of cars that have been on the market a year or more are flying off lots. The year-old Volkswagen Passat, our Best of 2012 car, averages just five days to sell. The Kia Soul, which went on sale way back in spring 2009, takes just a week to sell. The Hyundai Tucson, Kia Optima and Subaru Outback are also among July's fastest sellers, and all of them are at least 2 years old.

On the newer side, the Dodge Dart and Scion FR-S are off to a fast start. The Scion marks its second month in a row among the fastest sellers. Other repeat performers include the Cadillac XTS and Ford Escape (second month each), Hyundai's Veloster and Accent hatchbacks (third month), Soul (fourth month) and Toyota Prius c (fifth month). The Subaru Impreza has the longest tenure here, having been among the fastest monthly sellers since just after it hit dealerships in November 2011. July marks the Impreza's eighth consecutive month.

By Kelsey Mays | August 3, 2012 | Comments (4)

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