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Today at High Gear Media: Sonata Hybrid, Tesla and A Melted Italia

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2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

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Just when you think you've seen enough green, High Gear Media is rounding out the week with more coverage of hybrids and electric cars today. Batting lead: the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, which turns in Fusion-like fuel economy and has big tax credits in its arsenal--and sports a comely new front end that'll have you looking twice to make sure it's still a Sonata.

Running in the background, we're still gnashing fonts over the Volt versus Leaf epic battle that's brewing. Don't care for GM's intense pitch on how the 2011 Volt is better? Then you'll want to plug in to AllCarsElectric's comprehensive guide to the 2011 Nissan Leaf. And if it all bores you, we've got something to relax the senses--video of tennis phenom Maria Sharapova driving a Tesla Roadster.

The bigger picture brings us back to TheCarConnection, where Bengt Halvorson explains why small-car sales are lagging even as big names like Ford and Chrysler are putting more of their future on the line with compact and subcompact cars. AllSmallCars' Jon McGrew adds local color with a drive of the Smart ForTwo in the San Francisco hills, while Jon Druker wonders whether the first batch of Fiat 500 ads are good enough to make America overlook the company's sketchy U.S. past.

On the practical front, TCC explains how the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is changing the way it awards five-star crash ratings, and how that will (erm) impact some 55 vehicles planned for crash tests this year. FamilyCarGuide's Tim Healey alerts you on the latest Lexus recall, while Richard Read tells you how GM's planning to match prices of smaller garages when your car needs repair. And on that note--what are the top 5 car-repair mistakes people make when using the local garage? AllCarAdvice's John DeCostanza has the keys to that one.

Finally, some fun stuff from the HGM empire. MotorAuthority's Nelson Ireson scares the living whatever out of you as he takes the Nissan 370 Roadster for a run (don't worry, he's SCCA-certified), then updates you on the Los Angeles Auto Show's growing list of world debuts. MA also delivers video schadenfreude in the form of a Ferrari 458 Italia melting, completely--while AllPickupTrucks shows you how not to drive your truck at 80 mph. (Hint: you'll need a pedicure.)

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