In 2005, rumors began circulating that Easton and Hawkes would be teaming with Todd Rundgren in a new Cars lineup, with Rundgren replacing Cars singer Ric Ocasek. The rumors turned out to be true, with the revamped lineup calling themselves The New Cars. Two regular Rundgren collaborators, bassist Kasim Sulton and drummer Prairie Prince, replaced the late bassist Benjamin Orr and drummer David Robinson in the new lineup. (Robinson, who retired from the music world years before, was invited to join the group but amicably declined.)
On May 9, 2006, a greatest hits/live collection, The New Cars: It's Alive!, was released on Eleven Seven Music. The album included classic Cars songs recorded live plus new studio tracks. The band's first tour, the summer Roadrage Tour with Blondie kicked off May 12 in Mississippi.
Rundgren referred to the project as "an opportunity ... for me to pay my bills, play to a larger audience, work with musicians I know and like, and ideally have some fun for a year." Ocasek, who had opted out of any possibilities of a reunion, gave his blessing to Easton and Hawkes, saying, "I want Elliot and Greg to be happy." On April 17, 2006, he appeared on The Colbert Report and was asked if there was anyone he wanted to put "on notice". He answered "Todd Rundgren".
The New Cars performed "Not Tonight" on the June 6, 2006 episode of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.