Top 10 Most Overlooked New Cars

2014Mazda6

Every year hundreds of new-car models are introduced and enter the research process for millions of car shoppers. The dizzying number of choices sometimes shrouds from the masses what are good cars.

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Here are 10 cars that Cars.com's editors agree are overlooked due to no fault of each vehicle's own substantial merits.

 

1. 2015 Mazda6

The Mazda6 is one of the rare family sedans that is both fun to drive and fuel-efficient; it's rated as high as 28/40/32 mpg city/highway/combined with an automatic transmission and the optional GT Technology Package, which includes regenerative braking and active grille shutters. But even the base automatic gets 38 on the highway. Good cabin quality, intuitive controls, comfortable seating and a striking design also fall into the Mazda's favor.

By David Thomas | July 23, 2014 | Comments (9)

2015 Volkswagen Passat: What's Changed

2015VWPassat1.8

Most significant changes: More power, better fuel economy for TDI models

Price change: TBD

On sale: TBD

Which you should buy, 2014 or 2015? 2014 gas, but 2015 diesel

Volkswagen's midsize family sedan receives only a few minor trim and package changes for 2015, with the most notable to the base model S and Wolfsburg Edition trims. An optional Technology Package is available for the two trims and includes a backup camera and a touch-screen stereo system with eight speakers (instead of the current six). Satellite radio also is part of the Technology Package on the S trim; it's already standard on the Wolfsburg.

Related: What Is the Most Affordable Midsize Sedan for 2014?

All TDI diesel models get a new 2.0-liter engine that comes with a 10-horsepower bump to 150 hp as well as increased fuel economy. The Passat TDI now gets an EPA-estimated 44 mpg highway for the manual transmission and 42 mpg highway for the automatic.

By Aaron Bragman | July 22, 2014 | Comments (35)

Recall Alert: 2014 Volkswagen Jetta, Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Passat

2014VolkswagenPassat1.8T

Vehicles Affected: About 26,452 model-year 2014 Volkswagen Jetta, Beetle, Beetle Convertible and Passat cars equipped with a 1.8-liter turbo engine and torque converter automatic transmission.

The Problem: The O-ring seals between the oil cooler and transmission may leak fluid, which could contact a hot surface and result in a fire. The automaker said it is not aware of any fires, injuries or accidents attributed to this issue.

The Fix: Volkswagen began notifying owners earlier this month, and dealers will replace the O-ring in the transmission oil cooler for free. On April 9, the automaker issued a mandatory stop-sale order on all of the affected models manufactured between Feb. 1, 2014, and now.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Volkswagen at 800-822-8987, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit www.safercar.gov for more info.

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By Matt Schmitz | April 22, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2012-2013 Volkswagen Passat

2013VolkswagenPassat

Vehicles Affected: About 150,201 model-year 2012-2013 Volkswagen Passat sedans manufactured between January 2011 and November 2012.

The Problem: The low beam headlight bulb may become loose and lose electrical contact; this may reduce the driver's visibility and increase the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Volkswagen will notify owners starting in May, and dealers will replace the bulb holder for free.

What Owners Should do: Owners can call Volkswagen at 800-822-8987, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit www.safercar.gov for more info.

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Manufacturer image

By Matt Schmitz | April 9, 2014 | Comments (3)

Recall Alert: 2012-2013 Volkswagen Passat

2013VolkswagenPassat

Vehicles Affected: About 150,201 model-year 2012-2013 Volkswagen Passat sedans.

The Problem: When the hood is closed roughly, or dropped from a certain height, the resulting vibration or impact could cause a low-beam headlight bulb to lose electrical contact; failing illumination of the low-beam bulb may lead to reduced visibility. In its voluntary-recall announcement, Volkswagen noted that if the low beam loses electrical contact, a warning in the instrument cluster will immediately alert the driver. No crashes or injuries related to the problem have been reported, according to the automaker.

The Fix: Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will install an improved bulb fitting, and inspect and adjust the hood bumpers if necessary to prevent the hood from contacting the headlight assembly when dropped during closing; dealers will do the work for free. The automaker did not specify a timeline for notification.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can contact Volkswagen at 800-893-5298 for more info.

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By Matt Schmitz | March 18, 2014 | Comments (8)

Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion Concept at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show

VolkswagenPassatBlueMotion

Looks like: A blue Volkswagen Passat
Defining characteristics: Unique Reef Blue Metallic exterior color and BlueMotion badging; two-tone leather interior with BlueMotion-specific stitching
Ridiculous features: None; this is a production-ready car
Chances of being mass-produced: Pretty good

With this week's debut of the Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion concept at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the German automaker says it's out to illustrate just how fuel efficient a gas-only midsize sedan can be. The Passat BlueMotion sedan's turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder with direct injection employs a number of fuel-saving technologies to help the concept achieve an estimated fuel economy of 42 mpg highway, which in real-world mileage would be best in class among non-hybrid cars of its ilk.

More 2014 Detroit Auto Show News

The engine, which makes 150 horsepower and 184 pounds-feet of torque, uses VW's Active Cylinder Management system previously employed in European Polo and Golf models. The system deactivates the valvetrain on cylinders two and three in light throttle situations to maintain specific city speeds. In addition, the Passat BlueMotion has a coasting function — also found on the Jetta Hybrid — in which the dual-clutch automatic transmission decouples the engine as soon as the driver releases the accelerator, allowing the car to roll with the lowest possible mechanical drag from the other moving components, according to VW. The third fuel-saving function used by the Passat BlueMotion is an engine stop-start feature.

By Matt Schmitz | January 13, 2014 | Comments (1)

VW Announces 2014 Passat Sport Pricing

2014VolkswagenPassatSport-1

When we saw Volkswagen's Passat Performance concept at the last year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit, it seemed conventional enough to reach mass production. This week, the German automaker announced just that: The 2014 Passat Sport is set to arrive at dealerships in early 2014, starting at $27,295, including an $820 destination charge.

Volkswagen Passat Performance Concept at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show

Volkswagen positions the performance-focused midsize sedan in its lineup between the midlevel SE and range-topping SEL Premium trims. "The 2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport takes a number of design cues from the concept car to offer an athletic-leaning take on the award-winning sedan," the automaker stated.

By Matt Schmitz | January 8, 2014 | Comments (3)

Most-Read Car Reviews of the Week

2014MercedesBenzCLA-Class

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class sedan returns to the top of the heap for its third week in a row, landing at No. 1 on our list of most-read reviews. The only other movement of note on this week’s list came courtesy of debuts from the 2013 Volkswagen Passat sedan and 2013 Fiat 500e electric car. They could only muster Nos. 8 and 10, respectively, but rest assured, the Passat did so without offending anyone with its tastefully un-showy style and the 500e with zero emissions. Check out what else was popular:

1. 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
2. 2014 Subaru Forester

3. 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe
4. 2014 Jeep Cherokee
5. 2013 Toyota RAV4

6. 2014 Mazda3

7. 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek

8. 2013 Volkswagen Passat

9. 2013 BMW 328i

10. 2013 Fiat 500e
By Matt Schmitz | October 20, 2013 | Comments (0)

2013 Volkswagen Passat Cars.com Review

2013VolkswagenPassat

The 2013 Volkswagen Passat might not be the object of one's desire for a casual fling, but Cars.com reviewer Kristin Varela says it's the one you'll want to settle down with. Redesigned for 2012 and updated for 2013, the Passat isn't the sort that gets collars steaming, but a dignified, less-showy kind you can take home to mom.

2013 Volkswagen Passat Review
By Matt Schmitz | October 16, 2013 | Comments (4)

Which Midsize Sedan Has the Best Resale Value?

"Which midsize sedan has the best resale value?"

Anonymous

By Rick Popely | October 13, 2013 | Comments (0)

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