Now that the Monte Carlo is dead and gone, the Impala is shouldering the load for Chevy in the midsize segment and on the track in NASCAR events. The front-drive sedan is certainly no “Car of Tomorrow”; the basic platform dates back to the ’80s, although it has been updated. It is one of the few cars to come in a 6-passenger configuration and offers a wide range of engine choices. The base engine is a 211-bhp 3.5-liter pushrod V-6. The LTZ has a 224-bhp 3.9-liter pushrod six. And the relatively hairy SS has a pushrod 5.3-liter V-8 that sends 303 bhp to the front axle. Chevy has worked hard at keeping the value end of the bargain going by adding such features as dual-zone climate control, traction control, ABS, new thorax side-impact airbags and Bluetooth connectivity.
R&T Overview:As Chevy's biggest sedan, the Impala holds six folks if you get the optional bench front seat, although these days it feels a bit tight to have an adult passenger seated at your right elbow instead of a cushy armrest. However, there's a space in American culture for a car that can take mom, pop, two kids, granny and gramps to breakfast Sunday morning. The Impala uses the most advanced overhead-cam 3.6-liter V-6 engine shared by other GM cars, and it can run on E85 ethanol fuel if you live in the Corn Belt. It also comes standard with a 6-speed automatic, as well as standard anti-lock brakes, stability control and a suspension that is not too squishy. Competitors may be larger and quieter, but Impala makes for a clandestine drive.
The Toyota Corolla is a front-wheel drive five-passenger compact sedan, well-known for being reliable and economical, yet refined and comfortable. For 2014 the all-new 11th generation Corolla is distinguished by a new exterior design, an upgraded interior with more passenger room, and a new continuously variable transmission (CVTi-S).
The Corolla is available in four trims: L, LE, S, and new LE ECO. The powertrain for the L, LE, and S trims is a 132 horsepower, 1.8-liter dual VVT-I engine, matched with a six-speed manual, four-speed automatic, or new continuously variable transmission (CVTi-S). The LE ECO includes a 140 horsepower, 1.8-liter engine with Valvematic, combined with the CVTi-S transmission. Safety features include front, side-impact, side-curtain, and new drivers knee airbags, ABS with brake assist, and whiplash protecting front seat active head restraints. Air conditioning and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with Traction Control are also standard on all models. All Corollas now include LED headlamps, Bluetooth, a USB port, and power windows. Available features include cruise control, 16-inch wheels, tilt-and-slide power moonroof, Entune Audio, backup monitor, navigation, and leather.
Hyundai has entered the small coupe world with a stylish and innovative car called Veloster. It features a third door on the right side that opens forward, making it easier for passengers to access the rear seats. Power for the Veloster is from Hyundai's 1.6-liter inline-4 producing 138 bhp, and transmission choices are a 6-speed manual or 6-speed EcoShift automatic. And this is not a stripped economy car-the Veloster boasts air conditioning, Bluetooth phone system, power windows and door locks, and more. The audio system features AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 with six speakers and a plug-in for your iPod. Also nice to know there are six airbags, stability control and anti-lock brakes.
The 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish is a two-seat high-performance coupe offered in one very well-appointed trim level.
Standard features include 20-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, LED accent lights, power-folding and heated mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive dampers, keyless remote entry, cruise control, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a faux-suede headliner, power-adjustable heated front seats with memory functions, glass-faced switchgear, a 6.5-inch information screen, a Garmin-based navigation system, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, mobile WiFi (via a 3G phone connection) and a 13-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system with iPod/USB connectivity and satellite radio.
Buyers can also opt for various wheel styles and add carbon-fiber exterior elements (roof, mirrors, side strakes and door handles), two rear seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated and ventilated front seats, a faux-suede-trimmed steering wheel, carbon-fiber or glossy interior trim and a six-CD changer. Along with an extensive color palette for the exterior and interior, customization is available through "Q by Aston Martin.".
At the heart of the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish is a front midmounted 6.0-liter V12 that produces 565 hp and 457 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission with column-mounted shift paddles.
In Edmunds.com testing, the Vanquish accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, about a full second slower than its McLaren or Lamborghini competition.