2014 Toyota Prius: Car Seat Check

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When Cars.com reviewer Joe Wiesenfelder critiqued the 2012 Toyota Prius, he called it "an exceptionally efficient car at a relatively low price for people who care more about conservation than the act of driving. Given its success, the formula seems to have worked just fine." Evidently, that formula has continued working so well that the popular hybrid has changed little in the past two model years. That comforting sameness extended to child-safety-seat installation, which remained relatively easy, garnering just a couple of minor complaints from us with regard to the head restraints and seat belts.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

More Car Seat Checks

By Matt Schmitz | July 24, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Toyota Yaris First Look

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Competes with: Nissan Versa, Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Sonic, Honda Fit

Looks like: The 2012-2014 Yaris got some Darth Vader treatment

Drivetrain: 106-hp, 1.5-liter four-cylinder with five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission; front-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Aug. 3

Toyota calls the subcompact 2015 Yaris hatchback "redesigned," but it's really just a refresh of the current generation, which dates back to the 2012 model year. The 2015 model gets a lot of visual updates; chief among the updates are a reworked nose with a deeper, Darth Vader-like maw that stretches from the grille to the lower bumper.

Related: What's the Most Affordable Car in 2014?

The Sith have infiltrated Toyota, whose Avalon and refreshed Camry sport similar bumper treatments. And so it goes with the Yaris — at least the range-topping Yaris SE four-door hatchback, which is what you see in these photos Toyota released. The car also comes in base L and midlevel LE trims, which are also available in two-door hatchback form. (The SE is four-door hatch only.)

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

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)

Toyota Releases Details on Updated 2015 Sienna

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Toyota says the Sienna boasts a number of updates for 2015, including a more upscale interior and improved handling thanks to new suspension tuning. We'll see if that's enough for the minivan to get its swagger back, as sales are flat through the first six months of 2014 in a segment that's up 6.9 percent.

Related: 2014 Toyota Sienna: Car Seat Check

Toyota redesigned the Sienna's grille, and the headlights now incorporate available LED daytime running lamps, but the overall look is similar to the minivan's 2011-14 model years. The automaker promises more soft-touch materials inside — a good thing, as the current generation's middling cabin helped earn it a last-place finish during our 2011 minivan comparison. The updated Sienna gets Toyota's Driver Easy Speak system, which is also available in the automaker's redesigned Highlander SUV. It amplifies the driver's voice through a microphone up front to the third-row speakers so parents don't have to shout to anyone in the peanut gallery.

By Kelsey Mays | July 17, 2014 | Comments (11)

2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review

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"The 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is the best version of the three-row SUV, with strong, smooth power and excellent fuel economy — as long as you can afford its steep price," said Cars.com reviewer Jennifer Geiger. Read the review for more.

2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Jennifer Geiger | July 16, 2014 | Comments (2)

Volt Versus All: How Does Chevy's Plug-in Hold Up Against the Plug-In Competition?

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Cars.com owned one of the earliest Chevrolet Volts in the country for more than a year and experienced the highs and lows of ownership. I've had my own Bow-Tie brand plug-in for nearly two years, and I've routinely been one of our editors tapped to test newcomers to the electrified car segment from an electric Fiat to new plug-ins from BMW, Ford and Toyota.

2014 Chevrolet Volt Review

Yet, the Volt remains a lightning rod in many ways ... pun slightly intended. Rumors suggest we're at least six months away from seeing a second-generation Chevrolet Volt and probably at least a year away from driving one. The question then becomes, is the Volt the best plug-in hybrid out there, or is one of the newcomers a better choice?

By Aaron Bragman | July 2, 2014 | Comments (4)

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: June 2014

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The broken record continues. Another sales month, and all eyes are on GM. When the automaker's 2014 recall total long-jumped past the 20 million mark, we thought there was no way new-car sales could remain unaffected. Yes, we heard from industry experts that shoppers don't pay attention to recalls like they used to, and anyone who owns a Chevy Cobalt isn't in the market for a new car anyway. But given congressional testimonies and lawsuits galore, we expected shoppers to deal the General a sales defeat in June.

Related: 2014 American-Made Index

It didn't happen. GM sales increased 1 percent, beating out Ford and Honda, each down 5.8 percent. A sales stoppage in late June on the Chevrolet Cruze, which GM recalled shortly thereafter, contributed toward a 20.9 percent decline for the popular compact, as did lower inventory for the car. Still, GM's Buick and GMC divisions lifted overall sales for the automaker. And with half of 2014 now in the books, U.S. sales operations head Kurt McNeil said in a sales statement that GM saw its best half-year of retail sales (that's sales to individuals, as opposed to commercial fleets) since 2008.

By Kelsey Mays | July 1, 2014 | Comments (2)

Toyota Previews Production Fuel-Cell Sedan

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Toyota has promised U.S. drivers a fuel-cell vehicle for years. Although we don't know what it'll be called, we now know what it looks like. Today, the automaker released exterior images of the production version of its hydrogen-powered sedan, as well as pricing for the Japanese market.

More Alternative Fuel News

The production model bears a striking resemblance to the concept that bowed at 2013's Tokyo Motor Show, echoing the show car's wedgy, angular profile, slit-like headlights and large front bumper air dams.

By Jennifer Geiger | June 25, 2014 | Comments (9)

BMW, Chrysler, Ford Join Ever-Expanding Airbag Recall

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Three more major automakers have joined the massive expansion of the recall action involving airbags that could deploy with too much pressure and cause injury. BMW, Chrysler and Ford added their names to the roster of automakers — which already includes Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota — that are recalling millions of vehicles equipped with a faulty airbag inflator, manufactured by Japan's Takata Corp. As we reported Monday, Honda, Mazda and Nissan announced they are recalling millions of vehicles to fix the airbag problem that was supposedly addressed last year; that followed Toyota's June 11 recall announcement of its expansion of the initial April 2013 recall. Today's announcement comes as 2014 reaches a new record for U.S. recalls, now topping 31 million — well over half of which are from GM, beleaguered by its ignition-switch debacle.

Get the full story from the Detroit News, here.

Melissa Brandes/Hemera/Thinkstock

By Matt Schmitz | June 24, 2014 | Comments (1)

Honda, Mazda and Nissan Join Airbag Recall Expansion

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Three Japanese automakers are recalling millions more vehicles worldwide — including more than a million in the U.S. — due to an inflator defect in airbags manufactured by Japan's Takata Corp., NBC reported. This latest announcement by Honda, Mazda and Nissan follows the June 11 announcement by Toyota of a massive expansion of a 2013 recall of vehicles equipped with airbags that could deploy with too much pressure, increasing the risk of an injury. Hot on the heels of the Toyota news earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced it was reopening its investigation into the matter.

Get the full story from NBC here.

Melissa Brandes/Hemera/Thinkstock

By Matt Schmitz | June 23, 2014 | Comments (0)

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