Best equipped

The new Ford Flex and the Mazda CX-9 now rank among the best third-row-equipped SUVs tested by Consumer Reports (CR) magazine, Motor Matters reports. CR states that these two vehicles join the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the conventional Highlander and the Acura MDX in top ratings in this midsize-model category.

Driving distractions

In a recenty study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), four out of five cell phone owners admit to driving while on the phone, even though 98 percent of all motorists surveyed in the study consider themselves to be "safe drivers." Nearly half of the drivers surveyed consider cell phones and other high-tech gadgetry to be the most dangerous driving distractions. Along these lines, several safety and insurance associations are planning to host a symposium to explore ways to curb distracted driving. No word yet on symposium dates and details.

New Camaro prices set

This column has previously reported on plans and details for Chevrolet's re-launching of its iconic muscle car, the Camaro. Now, prices have finally been set. As Auto Week reports, prices for the 2010 Camaro will range from $22,995 for the 3.6-liter V-6-powered LS, to $30,995 for the 6.2-liter V-8-equipped SS. Customer ordering began last month and production starts February 16.

Check out 2009 Chrysler 300

Look in tomorrow's (Saturday) Cars sections for a review of the 2009 version of Chrysler's 300. Ken Chester, Jr., of Motor News Media Corporation, calls the latest version of the sedan a "contemporary classic," combining tasteful luxury amenities, plenty of power under the hood and a large "cool factor."