Fuel-efficient vehicle reviews
Reviews of cars, trucks, SUVs and crossovers, from Tribune newspapers, Cars.com and other sources. Research more hybrid, E85 diesel and fuel-efficient vehicles in the Cars.com Green/Hybrid Buying Guide.
June 5, 2012
Those of us who cover the automotive industry for a living smelled trouble early on for the U.S. launch of the Fiat 500, which was the initial Fiat model to migrate to America as part of the company's takeover of Chrysler It seemed as though there was a disconnect between the two companies, which translated to journalists having trouble getting even the most basic information with no dedicated press contact to call.
4:50 PM PDT, April 24, 2012
Cars.com Expert Reviews
Ford has released a series of good-looking cars with excellent mileage lately. But whether it's the too-cramped Fiesta interior or the sluggish transmission on the Focus, these otherwise spectacular mainstream vehicles have had a few serious flaws.
March 27, 2012
Kia's entry-level Rio was, not that long ago, a settle-for car that was an alternative to a new car, but not exactly the ride of anyone's dreams. Plucky but anonymous-looking, the Rio served as an adequate placeholder until its owners could afford something more substantial.
February 25, 2012
For decades, auto manufacturers have been using "platform sharing" as a path to profitability — develop one basic vehicle, with an engine and transmission, and use it for a variety of vehicles: A sedan, a coupe, maybe a wagon or even a crossover SUV.
6:54 PM PST, January 18, 2012
The recipe for Subaru's compact Impreza is getting a rewrite for 2012.
3:50 PM PST, January 5, 2012
Cars.com Expert Reviews
As a child, one of my favorite car games was Herby Derby Slug Bug. Not to toot my own horn, but I was awesome at spotting Beetles from afar. I got a thrill out of turning the tables and slugging my two brothers, who otherwise always ganged up on me. (Ugh, boys!)
7:25 PM PST, December 7, 2011
This may come as a surprise to some motorists, but Chevrolet, a brand celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, has only now figured out how to make a good subcompact.
November 24, 2011
Hyundai Motor Co. recently put on sale its all-new Veloster three-door coupe, and without pledging any affinity for their music, the car is a rolling Jonas Brothers concert.
3:36 PM PDT, October 26, 2011
When thinking about the all-new iQ microcar's origins, imagine engineers at Scion and parent company Toyota Motor Corp. grabbing a shrink ray and going to work downsizing a normal-size hatchback. They shrank the engine; they shrank the cargo space; they shrank the overall footprint.
October 21, 2011
Let's clear this up first: When the Beetle was revived in 1998, Volkswagen called it the "New Beetle," which has been the model's official name since. But now that there really is a new New Beetle, VW has dropped the official "New" for 2012, so this is just the Beetle again.
October 12, 2011
On the heels of redesigned Elantra compact and Accent subcompact, the new 2012 Veloster adds a coupe to Hyundai's burgeoning small-car offering. The distinctive Veloster is a true three-door hatchback: It has a liftgate, two front doors and a single rear door on the curb side for easier backseat access.
October 11, 2011
The redesigned 2012 Subaru Impreza's most compelling attributes are evident before you even start the engine. Take a glance and you'll see more mature styling in both the sedan and four-door hatchback. Get inside and you'll find excellent sightlines, roominess and improved quality.
October 8, 2011
Chevrolet has had more than its share of proud product moments, but introducing its roster of entry-level cars have not been one of them. Dating back to the unfortunate Vega, with its handsome but rust-prone bodywork and fire-prone aluminum engine, there have almost always been better cars at the very bottom of the new-car food chain than Chevrolet's offerings.
September 29, 2011
Say you wake up tomorrow and decide you want to learn to play tennis. Maybe you like Serena Williams' method of anger management, or perhaps it's Novak Djokovic's backhand you're after.
September 8, 2011
When electric car maker Coda Automotive Inc. introduces its first model this year, the independent Southern California manufacturer will pioneer a new EV profile: the unassuming four-door five-seater.
August 25, 2011
As the world's first mass-produced gasoline-electric car, the Toyota Prius has become the iPod of hybrids. More than 2 million of these automotive icons have been sold since the Prius was introduced in 1997, with mostly minor changes to its aerodynamic profile.
11:15 AM PDT, August 23, 2011
In the redesigned 2012 Camry lineup, the Camry Hybrid steals the show.
August 18, 2011
Apologies and all due respect are in order to a certain German automaker, but it seems the term "the people's car" has been appropriated by the 2012 Hyundai Accent.
August 11, 2011
Porsche goes green: 2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid will appeal to environmentally conscious fans of the brand
After reviewing the redesigned 2011 Porsche Cayenne, we've put the hybrid version, the Cayenne S Hybrid, to the test. So what's the verdict?
July 28, 2011
Perhaps the most astounding story in the automotive world is the success of Kia, which only entered the U.S. market in 1993 with the little Sportage SUV, then the Sephia, an anonymous-looking sedan. In 1997, Kia declared bankruptcy, and a majority of the company was sold to the other major Korean manufacturer, Hyundai. It wasn't until 1999 that Kia vehicles were available in all 50 states.
July 21, 2011
If I told you a car is stylish, fun to drive, fuel efficient, filled with upscale features and costs less than $30,000, you'd have a hard time believing me. If I told you -- sight unseen -- that the 2011 Kia Optima is such a car, you'd have a really hard time believing me until you saw this gorgeous midsize sedan. Of course, if I showed you the 2011 Optima's price tag, your disbelief would kick in again.
9:38 PM PDT, June 1, 2011
Back in the day, vintage Minis were so narrow they could drive on sidewalks. They were so short, the only view out the driver's side window was often another car's hubcap.
8:54 AM PDT, May 13, 2011
After having only one model of the Toyota Prius since it was introduced as a 2001 model, the company is finally making use of the Prius hybrid platform for other models.
9:44 AM PDT, April 29, 2011
Just as Hyundai did with the new Sonata -- which matches and in many ways surpasses its top competition in the midsized category, the Honda Accord and Toyota Corolla -- the Korean company is hoping to drive to the front of the compact market.
April 21, 2011
The only Mercedes hatchback on the U.S. market, the 2011 B-Class F-Cell, wouldn't be recognizable as a Benz if it weren't for its premium badge.
March 24, 2011
My first reaction upon seeing the new Fiat 500 was "Ciao bello!" It's about time a little Italian style entered the subcompact segment.
8:50 AM PDT, March 25, 2011
The most expensive part of designing and building a new vehicle is not what you see -- the body and the interior -- but what's underneath: The basic platform, consisting of the chassis, the engine and the transmission.
February 24, 2011
In the hullaballoo surrounding last year's debuts of the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf, one new electric vehicle was mostly overlooked: The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive.
February 3, 2011
Volkswagen recently put on sale the second generation of its mid-size sport utility vehicle, the 2011 Touareg. Sitting at the top of the Touareg line is the $61,385 Hybrid, a vehicle that is eminently capable and well-executed.
3:06 PM PST, January 14, 2011
Test Drive: 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid auto review
The 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is another example of how quickly hybrids have become more polished and require no penalty when it comes to creature comforts or the simple pleasure of driving.
3:37 PM PST, December 9, 2010
Test Drive: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SEL
Executives at Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, must stifle a yawn and reach for the NoDoz when they hear an American is coming to visit.
3:28 PM PST, December 8, 2010
No one loves lofty rhetoric and prosaic hyperbole more than car manufacturers. With a dollar for every time a mundane car was described as "exciting," "revolutionary" or "race-inspired," you could pull an Oprah and buy everyone on your block a Lamborghini.
November 25, 2010
You know you like a car when the only thing you would change is the hard, uncomfortable seats.
6:41 PM PST, November 10, 2010
Though you may not think of aluminum as a precious metal as you would gold, silver or platinum, the metal certainly had its heyday. Once scarce and valuable, it was prized by Napoleon III, shown at the Paris Exposition in 1855 and chosen to cap the Washington Monument in 1884.
November 18, 2010
As the economy stumbles along in recovery, bargains continue to define the marketplace, whether it's dinner at McDonald's, refreshing a winter wardrobe at Target or buying an affordable car.
November 4, 2010
Driving eco is often equated with sacrifice — smaller cars with higher price tags that trumpet under-the-hood efficiencies and skimp on in-the-cabin pampering. Efficient as they are, hybrids are the vegans of the automotive world.
November 2, 2010
Test Drive: 2011 Nissan Leaf review
The Nissan Leaf isn't for everybody. I could say the same of any car I review, yet for some reason it seems necessary to remind consumers of this fact when detailing electric cars like the Leaf and Chevrolet Volt.
1:30 PM PDT, October 28, 2010
Test Drive: 2011 Chevrolet Volt
The 2011 Chevrolet Volt doesn't consume a drop of gas or exhale an ounce of exhaust into the air. But not always.
October 20, 2010
Back in 1997, I test drove a Toyota Prius Hybrid. The car didn't go on sale in the U.S. until 2001, surely one of the slowest launches ever. Now there are 1.8 million Priuses on the road worldwide, 814,000 of them in the U.S.
3:30 PM PDT, October 27, 2010
With Halloween around the corner, imagine for a moment Volkswagen's Jetta as a piece of candy. For decades it was the rich German chocolate of the compact segment: mass marketed and similar to other cars in its class, yet with a distinctive European flavor and a touch of luxury that its competitors couldn't match.
Test Drive: 2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T review
Hyundai's redesigned Sonata sedan has exploded onto the market to become one of the most popular cars available, period. It's the best example of how a good-looking product at a competitive price can lure customers -- even with just one available powertrain: a four-cylinder engine wrapped in a package built for comfort and fuel efficiency.
September 30, 2010
Like the Boy Scouts, the waiting line for a midnight release of Halo or tractor trailer-pulling contests, Scion's new 2011 tC is pretty much for the guys. Or so the company would have you think.
9:40 AM PDT, September 27, 2010
2011 New Car Preview
This year consumers concerned either about the environment or what they're paying at the pump — or both — have more high-mileage automotive choices than ever before.
9:47 AM PDT, September 27, 2010
Test Drive: 2011 Ford Fiesta review
For those on a budget one of the most eagerly awaited 2011 models has been the Ford Fiesta. It is new, smaller-than-Focus and based on a European car generally admired for its spunk and handling. And, Ford's promise of 40 mpg highway looked terrific. But it turns out all Fiestas are not created equal.
12:33 PM PDT, August 12, 2010
Shortly after man began walking he probably began dreaming of going places while sitting down, and the Nissan Versa fulfills that ancient goal with minimal fanfare and expense.
August 12, 2010
Drafting is an auto racing art, the trick being to follow another car closely enough to take advantage of reduced air resistance, but not so closely as to crash into its bumper.
July 29, 2010
Test Drive: 2011 Hyundai Sonata
If the all-new 2011 Hyundai Sonata were a person, it would be a winning contestant on NBC's "The Biggest Loser."
11:41 AM PDT, July 22, 2010
Test Drive: 2010 Chevrolet HHR car review
What a good little foot soldier the Chevrolet HHR has been in Chevrolet's battle against the imports. Initially regarded as a novelty when it was introduced as a 2006 model, the HHR promptly proved to be a handsome, stylish people-mover that was economical and fun to drive.
July 27, 2010
Volkswagen is pushing to become a bigger player in the U.S. market, and the redesigned 2011 Jetta compact sedan represents a key component in its strategy.
June 22, 2010
Test Drive: 2011 Honda CR-Z review
Honda's latest hybrid, the 2011 CR-Z, attempts to be both sporty and a hybrid, and it has middling success at each.
May 6, 2010
Whether it's date night at the El Pollo Loco or trading clothes at a swap, it's never been so hip to live econo. Now Ford is hoping to capitalize on the trend with a new take on an old car designed for the fashionably frugal — and young.
May 13, 2010
It's revealing that for a few days in early May, the top item on Lexus' media Web site was a report touting the progress Lexus and Toyota have made in handling product recalls. "Remedies," as Toyota calls them, have been performed on more than 3 million vehicles for sticking accelerators and floor mats that can trap accelerator pedals, plus some modifications to anti-lock brake systems.
April 22, 2010
It is not often that an automaker tries to combine "high-mileage fuel economy," "entertaining driving" and "luxury" in one vehicle. But those guys at Audi are giving it a shot with the diesel-powered A3 TDI, rated at 30 mpg city and 42 highway.
2:23 PM PST, January 8, 2010
The Mitsubuishi Lancer has long been the company's alternative to the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla, and this current version — on the market since 2007 — matches up well with the two market segment leaders.
April 15, 2010
The 2010 Nissan Versa hatchback is an attractive car, with one downright gorgeous feature: The window sticker. At most any trim level, the Versa is one of the best buys in the entry-level category.
March 18, 2010
Test Drive: 2010 Kia Forte Koup SX review
With a nip here, a tuck there, Kia transformed its staid Spectra into a larger sedan catering to older motorists looking for fashionable styling and a roomy, comfortable cabin that they can slip into without taking a deep breath.
September 27, 2009
Test Drive: 2010 Lexus HS250h
In its quest to "minimize emissions and maximize mileage," Lexus is offering its first 4-cylinder econocar for the well-heeled, the 2010 HS250h.
July 19, 2009
Test Drive: 2010 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ
The midsize TrailBlazer had to go. And take its 12 to 14 m.p.g. city and 16 to 20 highway mileage, depending on the model, with it.
July 5, 2009
Test Drive: 2009 Mini Cooper S
We've found that not only is the Mini cute and cuddly, but also that its owners will come back carried on their shields defending the coupe made by BMW.
June 28, 2009
Test Drive: 2010 Toyota Prius
The Toyota Prius that debuted in the U.S. in the 2001 model year has become the nation's best-selling hybrid.
May 16, 2009
Test Drive: 2010 Honda Insight EX
Honda offered the first hybrid in the U.S., the Insight, which bowed in December 1999.
April 26, 2009
Test Drive: 2009 Chevrolet Silverado 4WD Hybrid Crew Cab
You can carry 240 cans of pop on ice in the walls of the Dodge Ram pickup.
April 19, 2009
Test Drive: 2010 Kia Soul
When piloting the 2010 Chevy Camaro sport coupe through the Detroit 'burbs, jaws dropped, eyes popped and one loyalist was so moved he broke into a gallop to try to catch up with it for a closer look.
April 12, 2009
Test Drive: 2009 BMW 335d
When putting fuel-efficient vehicles on a shopping list, most wouldn't mark down any BMWs, which are better known for 0-to-60-m.p.h. performance than for sipping liquid energy.
March 1, 2009
Suzuki is a bit player on the auto industry stage.
February 22, 2009
The 2010 Ford Fusion offers all the flavors.
February 15, 2009
Test Drive: 2009 Jeep Patriot
General Motors and Chrysler failed to march to the altar, so Chrysler is now holding hands with Fiat.
December 7, 2008
Test Drive: 2009 Mercedes-Benz ML320
Now that the petroleum industry has cleaned up its act, the auto industry has, too.
November 30, 2008
Test Drive: 2009 Pontiac G5
Pontiac has trouble deciding what it wants to be when it grows up.
November 9, 2008
Test Drive: 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid
Why would President-elect Barack Obama trade in his sporty and luxurious, Hemi-powered Chrysler 300C on a 4-cylinder and battery Ford Escape hybrid compact SUV?
October 26, 2008
Test Drive: 2009 Acura TSX
The host of first-class amenities from power moonroof to leather heated seats to automatic climate control leaves no doubt that the Acura TSX is a luxury car.
August 17, 2008
Test Drive: 2009 Honda Pilot
When a vehicle controls the number of cylinders in use based on its need for more or less power, you'd think the automaker would shout it from the highest mountain—especially with gas prices rising like CEO salaries.
June 8, 2008
Test Drive: 2009 Toyota Corolla
The Toyota Corolla has survived more than 40 years since its 1968 U.S. debut.
August 10, 2008
Test Drive: 2009 Chrysler Aspen / Dodge Durango Hybrid
Better late than never?
July 20, 2008
Test Drive: 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan
Don't ever let Volkswagen name one of your kids.
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