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AUTO PACKAGE: Weekly Cars.com content, Oct. 14

Reviews, buying guides, Q&As and more.


There are 18 items in this package.

Vehicle Review: 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid

Small SUVs are relatively efficient compared to their larger counterparts, but even in a model like that, topping off the tank can get pricey when gas is above $4 a gallon -- as it is in many places around the country. What's an SUV shopper to do? Styling.

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2009 Ford Escape Hybrid

2009 Ford Escape Hybrid: HEV Screen.

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2009 Ford Escape Hybrid: Badge.

2009 Ford Escape Hybrid: Badge.

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2009 Ford Escape Hybrid image

2009 Ford Escape Hybrid image

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2009 Ford Escape Hybrid

2009 Ford Escape Hybrid.

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Buying topic: Getting the best deal; How car dealerships eek out more even after negotiations are over

People are often surprised to hear that a dealership's financing and insurance department, or "business office," is a profit center. With few exceptions, the dealer is a middleman. With the widespread availability of invoice pricing, it's harder for dealers to squeeze margin out of the new-car transaction.

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Vehicle Update: 2009 GMC Sierra

GM says the Sierra Hybrid's gasoline V-8 and electric motors team up for an overall mileage improvement of 25 percent. Exterior. Alongside the Sierra Hybrid's lower panels are green stripes with "hybrid" in capital letters. Eighteen-inch alloy wheels wear low-rolling-resistance tires, and the front air dam is slightly deeper to reduce wind resistance. Interior.

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2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid Crew Cab dash image

2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid Crew Cab dash image

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2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid logo image

2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid logo image

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2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid profile image

2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid profile image

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2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid front image

2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid front image

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Ask Cars.com: Camy Hybrid has more room than Civic

Q: What are the differences between the Honda Civic Hybrid and the Toyota Camry Hybrid, both 2009? A: The Honda Civic Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid aren't necessarily direct competitors even though they're both hybrids. If you're looking for the car with the most interior space, then the Camry is for you. © 2008, Cars.com.

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Ask Cars.com: Odyssey among the nicest entry-level minivans

Q: How does the Honda Odyssey rank compared to the other minivans for 2008 and 2009? A: The Honda Odyssey is one of the more expensive minivans out there when looking at entry-level pricing, but it also doubles as one of the nicest, especially in the Touring trim with leather.

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Ask Cars.com: CVT a little different automatic transmission for Nissan

Q: I see a Nissan Sentra S. What does the CVT mean? A: Nissan's CVT, which stands for for continuously variable transmission, is an automatic transmission in the 2008 Sentra. The regular Sentra comes with the CVT as standard, but in the Sentra S a six-speed manual transmission is standard. © 2008, Cars.com.

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Ask Cars.com: Preparation fee may be avoided

Q: What is a dealer preparation fee? A: A preparation fee is a fee that dealers may charge for getting a car ready for purchase or lease. © 2008, Cars.com.

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Mother Proof Review: Bentley Continental GT; Mom forces Bentley to run mundane errands

I still feel guilty and ashamed that I drove a 2008 Bentley Continental GT to the grocery store, preschool, bakery and coffee shop. "Um, Bentley, please forgive me for not driving you in a more appropriate manner, but I need to review you in the MotherProof.com style," I said. "Take heart, my fair mom-reviewer," she replied."I can get you where you need to go.

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Kicking Tires: NHTSA releases study in preparation for new efficiency rules

An environmental study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to lock in proposed fuel economy increases in preparation for its final regulations, which will be announced in November. The report suggests a 4.5 percent per year increase in fuel economy standards in order to reach 35 mpg by 2020, as mandated by Congress.

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Kicking Tires: Bad economy leads to increased insurance fraud

Car owners struggling to escape debt sometimes decide to torch their vehicles in hopes of collecting the insurance money. A spokesman for the National Insurance Crime Bureau told the Washington Post that the numbers represent only a "small percentage of the reality." In 2004, there were 511 cases of "potential owner give-ups," as they are known.

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