Recall Alert: 2014 Ford Focus, C-Max

2014FordFocusRecall

Vehicles Affected: More than 500 model-year 2014 Ford Focus compact cars and C-Max hybrids manufactured between Aug. 8 and Aug. 15, 2014

The Problem: Incorrectly assembled steering gears could cause impaired steering, including a loss of steering control, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Ford will begin notifying owners on Sept. 8, and dealers will replace the steering gears for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Ford at 800-392-3673, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Matt Schmitz | August 29, 2014 | Comments (0)

Volkswagen Prices First Electric Car; 2015 e-Golf Will Cost $36,265

2015VolkswagenE-Golf

Volkswagen today announced pricing for the all-new 2015 e-Golf as the electric hatchback prepares to "charge" into dealerships in the fall. VW's first fully electric, zero-emissions vehicle starts at $36,265, including an $820 destination charge, for the SEL Premium model.

Related: More Electric Cars Than Ever, Still Not Available Everywhere

The e-Golf, which we first saw at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, is powered by a compact electric motor and 24.2-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, good for 115 horsepower and 199 pounds-feet of torque. It's mated to a single-speed automatic transmission. Volkswagen said the e-Golf has an average range of 70 to 90 miles and a 7.2-kilowatt onboard charger, achieving an 80 percent battery charge within 30 minutes. The hatchback offers three driver-selectable modes: Normal, Eco and Eco Plus.

By Matt Schmitz | August 25, 2014 | Comments (5)

Honda to Retrofit Early 2015 Fit Hatchbacks to Match IIHS Top Safety Pick Rating

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 12.59.00 PM

Thanks to structural modifications to improve crashworthiness, the 2015 Honda Fit earned a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Honda will reach out to those who already bought a 2015 Fit and modify the bumper structure for free.

Related: Honda Boosts 2015 Fit's Gas Mileage

The redesigned Fit scored good in IIHS' side, rear-impact, roof-strength and moderate-overlap frontal tests, and it earned an acceptable score in IIHS' small-overlap frontal test after Honda modified the front bumper structure. The old structure earned the 2015 Fit a marginal in IIHS' small-overlap test. (IIHS scores are good, acceptable, marginal and poor.) All Fits built after June 9 have the revised structure, but some 12,000 cars were already built or sold before the changes occurred.

By Kelsey Mays | August 21, 2014 | Comments (3)

2015 Subaru Legacy, Outback Earn IIHS' Top Safety Pick Plus Status

2015SubaruLegacyCrashTest

For the third consecutive year since the Top Safety Pick Plus designation was introduced in 2013, the Subaru Legacy sedan and its station-wagon sibling, the Outback, have earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's top prize. The 2015 Legacy and Outback both improved their ratings to good from their predecessors' acceptable score in the institute's stringent small overlap front crash test, which approximates what happens when a vehicle strikes a tree or utility pole. In addition, the cars earned superior ratings for front crash prevention when equipped with the optional EyeSight forward collision warning system with autobrake, which stopped the vehicle completely at both 12 and 25 mph during testing.

Related: IIHS: These Used Cars Are Safer For Teen Drivers

The IIHS said structural performance improved to a score of good for the 2015 Legacy compared with a marginal rating in 2014. "The driver space was maintained well, with the safety cage preventing excessive intrusion into the occupant compartment," IIHS said in a statement. "The dummy's movement was well-controlled, and the frontal and side curtain airbags worked together to protect the head from contact with interior structures."

The IIHS noted that Subaru has the most 2014 Top Safety Pick awards of any brand; other Subaru recipients include the BRZ, Impreza, Forester, WRX and XV Crosstrek. To earn a Top Safety Pick Plus award, a vehicle must earn a good or acceptable rating for small overlap protection, as well as good ratings in the institute's moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, as well as a basic, advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.

IIHS photo

By Matt Schmitz | August 19, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2013-2014 Ford Escape, Ford Focus ST

2013FordEscapeRecall

Vehicles Affected: More than 130,000 model-year 2013-14 Ford Focus ST hatchbacks equipped with 2.0-liter engines and manufactured at the Michigan Assembly Plant between Feb. 14, 2012, and Oct. 14, 2013, and Escape crossovers equipped with 2.0-liter engines and manufactured at the Louisville Assembly Plant between Oct. 5, 2011, and April 1, 2013, according to The Detroit News

The Problem: Wiring harnesses may have splices that were insufficiently compressed by the supplier, The Detroit News reported. Poor electrical connections can cause erroneous signals to be sent to the powertrain control module and affect engine performance. The defect may result in an engine malfunction indicator light illuminating, reduced engine power, hesitation or stalling, the newspaper reported. No crashes or injuries related to the condition have been reported. This is the 11th recall involving the 2013 Escape.

The Fix: Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the affected wiring splices for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Ford at 866-436-7332 for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Matt Schmitz | August 18, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Honda Fit: Car Seat Check

2015HondaFitCarSeatCheck

Families will find a lot to like in the five-seat subcompact hatchback's 2015 Honda Fit, as it improves on its predecessor's already-roomy cabin and boasts a generous 52.7 cubic feet of maximum cargo space with the rear fold-flat seats down. However, the new Fit still isn't a great fit when it comes to installing car seats; in fact, it's gotten even more unfit in some categories. The last time we performed a Car Seat Check on the Fit was the 2013 version (there was no new 2014 model), with which we had some trouble — particularly with the seat belts' floppy bases, front passenger legroom and driver visibility due to the middle-seat tether anchor's position.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

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By Matt Schmitz | August 14, 2014 | Comments (1)

2014 Hyundai Veloster Review

2014HyundaiVeloster

"Even a nifty multimedia system and a Lady Gaga-sized helping of uniqueness can't distract from the fact that the 2014 Hyundai Veloster is slipping behind its competition," said Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays. Check out Mays' review for more.

2014 Hyundai Veloster Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Matt Schmitz | August 13, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2009-2010 Chevrolet Aveo, 2009 Pontiac G3

2010ChevroletAveoRecall

Vehicles Affected: Nearly 2,000 model-year 2009-10 Chevrolet Aveo subcompact sedans and model-year 2009 Pontiac G3 hatchbacks

The Problem: According to the Detroit News, brake fluids used in affected vehicles may not sufficiently inhibit corrosion in key components of the vehicle's braking system, reducing braking effectiveness and increasing the risk of a crash. The affected vehicles were imported to the U.S. from Korea and are connected to a recall of nearly 44,000 model-year 2009-12 Hyundai Genesis sedans, the newspaper reported. GM had previously notified owners of the issue and its potential consequences during a voluntary customer-service campaign in 2012, but has now upgraded the action to a recall after discussions with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. GM said 66 percent of the affected vehicles were previously repaired under the customer-service action. No fatalities have been reported as a result of the issue, though Hyundai is aware of six collisions and two injuries involving the Genesis, the Detroit News reported.

The Fix: GM will notify owners, and dealers will make the necessary repairs for free. The automaker has not yet announced a notification schedule.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Chevrolet at 800-222-1020, Pontiac at 800-762-2737 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By David Thomas | August 8, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2003-2005 Subaru Baja, Impreza, Legacy, Outback

2005SubaruLegacyRecall

Vehicles Affected: An unspecified number of model-year 2003-05 Subaru Legacy cars, Outback wagons and Baja crossovers, and model-year 2004-05 Subaru Impreza cars, including WRX and STI variants, all currently or previously registered in Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands and equipped Takata-brand passenger-side airbag inflators

The Problem: Upon deployment of the passenger-side frontal airbag, excessive internal pressure may cause the inflator to rupture. This could result in metal fragments striking and seriously injuring occupants. Subaru is one of several automakers that have announced U.S. recalls pertaining to defective airbag systems made by Japan's Takata Corp. Last month, Subaru recalled nearly 9,000 vehicles in the same model range.

The Fix: Subaru will notify owners, and dealers will replace the passenger-side airbag inflators for free. The automaker has not yet announced a notification schedule.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Subaru at 800-782-2783, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Matt Schmitz | August 5, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2014 Chevrolet Spark

2014ChevroletSparkRecall

Vehicles Affected: More than 1,900 model-year 2014 Chevrolet Spark hatchbacks manufactured between May 7, 2014, and May 26, 2014. You can check your vehicle's manufacture date by locating a sticker on the driver's-side doorjamb.

The Problem: The left and right lower control arm attaching bolts in the front suspension may not be tightened to specification. This could cause the lower control arm to separate from the steering knuckle while driving, causing a loss of steering and increasing the risk of a crash. We first reported on the recall on July 23.

The Fix: GM will begin notifying owners today, and dealers will inspect the left and right lower control arm attaching bolts to make sure they are tightened to the proper specification for free.

What Owners Should Do: GM is advising owners not to drive their vehicles until the recall remedy is completed; they should call a Chevrolet dealer immediately to arrange for their vehicle to be transported for servicing for free. Owners can call Chevrolet at 800-222-1020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Matt Schmitz | August 1, 2014 | Comments (1)

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