Confounded by Car Technology? It's Time to Embrace It

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Today's technology-laden cars, SUVs and even trucks can be challenging for older drivers as well as car buyers who have been out of the market for several years. I'm among the many mature drivers who don't replace vehicles until they've been driven into the ground — my husband and I often go a decade or more between car purchases. Our current vehicles are of 2004 and 2006 vintage, and they lack much of the technology that's rapidly becoming common, often standard, on today's new cars.

Related: AAA Recommends Car Features for Older Drivers

As a Cars.com's copy editor, I'm encouraged to drive the test vehicles we receive at our Chicago offices so that I can experience the things I read about when I edit articles. I enjoy this part of the job, but it's proven to be a challenge due to unfamiliar technology. I often find myself communing with the owner's manual before I can leave the parking garage with one of our test cars.

Here are a few things other potentially overwhelmed car shoppers of any vintage should prepare to encounter:

By Jen Burklow | July 7, 2014 | Comments (11)

Most-Read Car Reviews of the Week

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Mercedes-Benz's new entry-level luxury sedan debuted in the No. 1 spot on this week's list of most-read reviews. The 2014 CLA Class, which Cars.com reviewer David Thomas describes as sleek-of-style yet rough-of-ride, managed to nudge the 2014 Jeep Cherokee out of the top spot, which the all-new SUV had been guarding closely for several weeks running. Other popular debuts this week came courtesy of the 2014 Nissan Versa Note (No. 4), the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel (No. 8) and the 2013 Volkswagen CC (No. 10). Check out what else was popular:

1. 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA Class
2. 2014 Jeep Cherokee
3. 2014 Subaru Forester
4. 2014 Nissan Versa Note
5. 2013 BMW 328i
6. 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
7. 2013 Toyota RAV4
8. 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel

9. 2014 Ford Taurus
10. 2013 Volkswagen CC

By Matt Schmitz | October 6, 2013 | Comments (1)

Cars.com Reviews the 2013 Volkswagen CC

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Volkswagen's CC offers the best of both worlds, says Cars.com reviewer Kristin Varela. Outside, its sleek, sexy silhouette makes it look like a fun, sporty car. Its sedan functionality and reasonable price, however, make it much more practical than it looks, she says.

2013 Volkswagen CC Review

By Jennifer Geiger | September 30, 2013 | Comments (8)

2013 Volkswagen CC: Car Seat Check

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Restyled for 2013, the coupelike Volkswagen CC sedan jettisons its two rear seats for a three-seat bench. Even with the bigger backseat, the CC doesn't fit three child-safety seats across it. The CC is best for families with kids in booster seats or those no longer riding in child-safety seats.

By Jennifer Newman | August 20, 2013 | Comments (1)

Passengers Feel the Pinch of the 2013 VW CC's New Backseat

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When Volkswagen debuted its sleek and swoopy CC sedan, it quickly earned a spot on my "it list" for its zippy engine, refined interior and standout styling but its value statement left a lot to be desired. For 2013, more mainstream looks and a three-person backseat top the list of new features — along with a hefty price increase.

The new seating configuration makes the CC more versatile on paper, but is the extra spot worth the added cost? Only if you put a premium on discomfort.

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

2013 Volkswagen CC: Family Checklist

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A looker like the 2013 Volkswagen CC might not initially be considered a family car, especially with VW marketing it as a "midsize sports sedan," but it's a lot more practical than that. This five-seater offers a good-sized cargo area, an ample backseat and just enough luxuries to keep Mom and Dad happy without worrying about the wear and tear the kids will undoubtedly unleash.

It sounds shallow, but the CC wowed me with its good looks alone; few cars have ever looked that great sitting in my driveway. Fortunately, the CC had a lot more to offer my family of three, which made me feel a lot less ashamed of my priorities.

By Carrie Kim | August 16, 2013 | Comments (1)

VW to Offer R-Line Trim on 2014 Beetle Convertible

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Volkswagen announced ahead of today's 2013 Chicago Auto Show media preview that the 2014 Beetle convertible would become the fifth member of the VW family to offer the sporty styling of its performance-inspired R-Line trim package.

The convertible R-Line's exterior enhancements include 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels on lower-profile all-season tires, a combination that the automaker said "gives more dynamic driving characteristics." The package will also include an R-Line badge on the front grille and bi-xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights with LED running lights. Interior flourishes include metallic-finish dash and door trim; a flat-bottom, multifunction leather steering wheel; stainless-steel scuff plates; aluminum sport pedals; and leather sport seating surfaces.

VW said it would announce pricing closer to the Beetle convertible's launch date later this year. The Beetle convertible joins other R-Line offerings: the CC "four-door coupe," Beetle coupe, Tiguan compact SUV and Touareg SUV.

Related
2013 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line at the L.A. Auto Show
2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible: Up Close
2013 Volkswagen CC R-Line Starts at $33,020
By Matt Schmitz | February 7, 2013 | Comments (1)

December's Fastest- and Slowest-Selling Cars

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Automakers won't report December sales results until later today, but we have data on the month's fastest and slowest sellers. The redesigned Toyota Avalon hit dealerships in the first week of December, and it stormed the fastest-selling list, with regular and hybrid versions averaging just eight days apiece on dealer lots. Shoppers moved toward the Ford F-Series Super Duty pickup truck, too. That’s likely a result of an improved construction market; November housing starts hit their second highest rate since mid-2008.

The redesigned Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, which hit dealerships in September, spent its third month among the fastest sellers; the new-for-2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek also marked its third month on the list. Of the 18 fastest-selling cars, 10 were repeat performers, with such regulars as the redesigned Subaru Impreza and new Scion FR-S. The Kia Soul's severe mileage downgrade doesn't seem to have sapped demand, and neither has the popular hatchback's age. It debuted way back in early 2009, but in December it placed among the fastest sellers for the third month in a row.

By Kelsey Mays | January 3, 2013 | Comments (3)

Style on a Budget? The 2013 Volkswagen CC Isn't It

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There are many reasons I'm drawn to the Volkswagen CC. On the outside, its sloping roofline and sweeping headlights give it an exotic look. Inside, its high-quality cabin also impresses. One of the biggest reasons, however, is that VW's "four-door coupe" always looked like a much more expensive car than it was … until now.

The sleek, swoopy sedan was refreshed for 2013, but a significant price increase has been attached to the minor styling update. The new CC — based on the previous generation — still offers owners a dose of style compared to the more mainstream looks of the redesigned Passat and Jetta, but not as much as before.

Styling tweaks for 2013 make it look more like the new Passat, but that full redesign led to a bigger yet more affordable car. The CC's higher price and new lean toward family styling make it standout less in VW's lineup, so why choose one over a Passat?

By Jennifer Geiger | December 11, 2012 | Comments (10)

2013 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line at the L.A. Auto Show

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  • Competes with: Mini Cooper S, Fiat 500 Turbo
  • Looks like: Beetle joins the sporty R-Line club
  • Drivetrain: 200-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • Hits dealerships: Early next year

Volkswagen customers who want racecar styling without the high-speed performance will have another option when the 2013 Beetle R-Line becomes the second U.S. offering of the trim level, joining the CC R-Line.

More 2012 L.A. Auto Show Coverage

Available only on the Beetle Turbo model and using its 200-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, the R-Line's exterior sports a restyled front bumper with grained black surfaces and chrome-framed turn signals, and the rear bumper incorporates a race-inspired diffuser, according to Volkswagen. That's in addition to R-Line logos, standard 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and bi-xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights with LED daytime-running lights.

By Matt Schmitz | November 28, 2012 | Comments (0)

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