Top 10 Most Overlooked New Cars

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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

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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 (28)

New Volkswagen SUV to Be Built in U.S., Still Two Years Away

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Today Volkswagen officials announced a new midsize SUV would be built at its Chattanooga, Tenn., plant, where the automaker currently produces the Passat sedan. While officials call the new vehicle a "midsize SUV," it will be based on the CrossBlue concept we first saw at the 2013 Detroit auto show; most would consider the concept a three-row crossover. The company did confirm it would seat seven.

Related: Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept Photo Gallery

Production of the new SUV won’t begin until the end of 2016, so we wouldn't expect to see it on sale until early 2017.

The announcement signals an increased investment by VW in the U.S. of not only an additional $900 million into the facilities but also 2,000 new jobs as well. The company also announced there will be a new research center in Chattanooga to ensure new products meet the needs of U.S. car shoppers.

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By David Thomas | July 14, 2014 | Comments (4)

Volkswagen Issues Stop Sale Order for 2015 Golf, GTI

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Volkswagen's redesigned compact hatchback just went on sale, but dealers are being told to hold inventory until a safety defect is addressed. VW issued a stop sale order for the 2015 GTI and Golf in the U.S. because of an issue with the front stabilizer link fasteners. In the affected vehicles they were installed with too little torque and could come loose, increasing the risk of a crash. 

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VW spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan said about 700 vehicles in dealer inventory are affected, and the automaker is in contact with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding a recall to cover the vehicles already sold. Ginivan also said that no accidents or injuries have been reported related to this problem. Most of the affected vehicles are GTIs; the new Golf officially goes on sale in the U.S. next month.

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By Jennifer Geiger | July 10, 2014 | Comments (8)

What Does This Button Do?

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If the illustration on the 2015 Volkswagen GTI's key fob is any indication, the automaker wants us to prepare for an impending alien death-ray attack. VW's counterattack strategy? Honking the horn and flashing the turn signal lights really fast. Man, who would have thought defending Earth would be that easy?

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Really, this particular button isn't much of a surprise as much as an interesting way to illustrate the common panic button, which should be used in real emergencies and will honk the horn and flash the exterior lights to alert passersby. Or as we often encounter, scare the crap out of you when your smartphone accidentally hits the button in a pocket.

Cars.com photo by Joe Bruzek

By Joe Bruzek | July 8, 2014 | Comments (18)

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)

2014 Volkswagen Beetle Gains Features With Premium Package

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Volkswagen has announced a new Premium Package for the 2014 Beetle hatchback and convertible. Available in July for 1.8T and TDI diesel trim levels, the Premium Package includes features not previously available for the Beetle, as well as content that had only been offered on the R-Line trim until now.

Volkswagen Beetle Dune Photo Gallery

The package's all-new features include automatic headlights, automatic climate control, the RNS 510 navigation system with satellite radio, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a cradle for the iPhone 5. Also included are bi-xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights, a sport suspension for 1.8T models, gray mirror caps, R-Line bumpers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a Fender premium stereo and contrast stitching. Three exterior colors are offered: white, gray and black.

The Beetle 1.8T hatchback with the Premium Package costs $28,175 while the TDI diesel costs $30,175. The 1.8T and TDI convertibles are priced at $31,575 and $33,575, respectively. All prices include an $820 destination charge.

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Manufacturer images

By Mike Hanley | June 27, 2014 | Comments (13)

Cars.com's Top 10 Fun-to-Drive Fuel Sippers

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When I was 10, my dad set me and a go-kart loose in an abandoned parking lot, free to zip around the blacktop. At that age, you don't give a thought to how much gas costs; it's all about the fun. At this age, however, fuel economy is a big consideration when it comes to buying a car, but it doesn't have to trump the fun-to-drive factor.

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There are plenty of cars that offer both fun and fuel savings, from affordable subcompacts and gas-electric hybrids to pricier luxury cars and diesel-powered vehicles. To qualify for this list, a car has to have an EPA combined rating of 30 mpg, while bringing out the inner go-kart-loving kid in all of us:

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

2015 Volkswagen Golf, GTI Named IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus

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Volkswagen redesigned its Golf and related GTI hatchbacks for 2015, and aside from lower prices and more standard equipment, drivers can also expect a safer car according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 

2015 Volkswagen Golf, Golf TDI: First Drive

The agency awarded both compact hatchbacks its top honor, the Top Safety Pick Plus award, for earning good scores in all areas of testing, including the small front overlap test. This test, which is proving difficult for automakers to master, simulates a crash in which 25 percent of a vehicle's driver's side front end strikes a rigid barrier at 40 mph.

"The driver's space was maintained well and injury measures recorded on the dummy indicate a low risk of any significant injuries in a crash of this severity. While the dummy's head nearly slid off the left side of the airbag, the side curtain airbag deployed to protect the head from contacting side structure and outside objects," IIHS said in a statement.

By Jennifer Geiger | June 3, 2014 | Comments (5)

2014 Volkswagen Tiguan Real-World Cargo Space

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The Volkswagen Tiguan is one of those small SUVs that's deceivingly large on the inside compared to how compact it looks on the outside. The Tiguan is 7.5 inches shorter and 2 inches narrower than the 2014 Jeep Cherokee but has very similar cargo dimensions with 23.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the backseat and a total of 56.1 cubic feet when the backseat is folded. That rear seat also slides forward 6 inches and reclines.

Research the 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan

Cargo users also have the option to maximize the cargo area by folding the front passenger seat flat — objects around 98 inches long can fit on the passenger side, according to VW. One of the Tiguan's tricks on models with the optional stereo and subwoofer is to hide the subwoofer in the spare tire area instead of in the cargo area, which doesn't impact cargo space, unlike the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport's subwoofer setup. See how well cargo fits in the Tiguan in our animation below.

By Joe Bruzek | May 29, 2014 | Comments (1)

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