For those looking to recapture the spirit of a 1960s ponycar but prefer to leave the old-school mannerisms behind, consider the Dodge Challenger. Regarding style, the 2011 Challenger is on the same page as its predecessor, particularly when dressed with the SE Rallye or R/T Classic package. Inside, the Challenger offers the quality you’d expect from a modern-day interpretation of the original, plus more spacious accommodations for rear seat passengers and luggage than its contemporaries. The V-6 model can’t maximize the Challenger’s ambitions, but add the 5.7-liter Hemi and many sins are forgiven. Better yet, tap the mighty 6.1-liter Hemi SRT8 and you’ve got a road ripper that combines top ride quality (for a true musclecar), legacy styling and sheer brawn.
With more than eight million sold since 1973, the Civic needs no introduction. Yet the all-new ninth generation for 2012 does. Sedans and coupes gain more sophisticated styling, improved fuel economy and new technology. Civic DX, LX, EX and HF receive a massaged 140-bhp 4-cylinder engine that nets EPA 41 mpg on the highway for the last. Sporty Si models boast a new 201-bhp 2.4-liter four mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. The Civic Natural Gas returns with expanded availability nationwide. Honda gives the Civic Hybrid a larger 1.5-liter gas engine, more powerful electric motor and lithium-ion batteries resulting in 44 mpg ratings for city and highway. A multi-information display, Eco Assist and Econ mode are standard on most Civics.
From its inception, the BMW X5 has defined an expanding group of big, powerful SUVs that shine for their on-pavement agility and responsive acceleration, with an emphasis on safety, comfort and luxury appointments. It features BMW's xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system, and offers optional third-row seating that increases capacity to seven passengers. The X5 enters its third generation in 2014, setting higher standards with enhanced power and driving dynamics, cutting edge safety technologies, and the availability of rear-wheel drive.
The X5 is now presented in four configurations: the new rear-wheel drive sDrive35i model, and the all-wheel drive xDrive35i, xDrive35d and xDrive50i models. Both the sDrive35i and xDrive35i variants get BMW's venerated single-turbo 300-hp 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine, while the xDrive50i boasts a 445-hp 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8; the xDrive35d is powered by a new 255-hp 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline six-cylinder clean diesel engine. All engines now provide an auto stop/start feature and ECO PRO driver-selectable mode, and are mated to BMW's latest eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode; an eight-speed Sport automatic with paddle shifters is available. Standard equipment on all X5 models includes: a Panorama glass moonroof, power tailgate, 18-inch aluminum wheels, power-folding auto-dimming exterior mirrors, Adaptive Xenon headlamps, LED front fog lamps, heated front seats, SensaTec upholstery, a new 40-20-40 split-folding rear seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, HD radio and Bluetooth wireless connectivity for phone and audio streaming, as well as a revised voice-activated hard drive-based navigation system with Advanced Real Time Traffic information, 20 gigabytes of dedicated internal media storage and a 10.2-inch high-resolution screen. The xDrive50i is further outfitted with 19-inch aluminum wheels, multi-contour front seats, leather upholstery and a rearview camera system with Top View. Also new for 2014, BMW ConnectedDrive is incorporated on all models, providing access to a range of mobility and web-based services for office, travel and infotainment applications. For BMW drivers seeking to add additional elements of individuality, new Luxury Line, xLine and M Sport exterior packages are proffered, as well as Ivory White and Mocha Interior Design Packages. Safety features on every X5 include anti-lock disc brakes, Dynamic Stability Control with integrated traction control and rollover sensor, and front and rear park distance control, along with front side-impact airbags and overhead curtain airbags for all rows; new standard safety enhancements for 2014 include BMW Assist eCall, providing an Emergency Request (SOS button) and Automatic Collision Notification. Additional technologies such as Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection, Active Cruise Control with Stop& Go, Automatic High Beams and Head-up Display are optional, while a new Driver Assistance Plus package - comprised of Active Blind Spot Detection, Surround View, Speed Limit Info and Active Driving Assistant (includes Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Pedestrian Warning and City Collision Mitigation) - is also offered.
The BMW X5 is completely redesigned for 2014, with a distinctive new exterior design language that still retains signature BMW features, along with a revised interior environment that is even more exclusive and luxurious. The xDrive50i engine gets a 45 horsepower increase, while the xDrive35d is outfitted with a new, more efficient diesel engine; the steering system on all models is now electric power-assist. Additionally, a new sDrive35i model is added to the lineup, marking the first time rear-wheel drive has been offered on the X5.
For years, enthusiast magazines have been perplexed by America's fascination with SUVs. In the real world, wouldn't a wagon make more sense? Acura's TSX Sport Wagon sure makes a good argument. With its choice of a spirited 4-cylinder or V-6, good fuel economy and agile handling, it's got the benefits of a sports sedan. And with seating for five and a generous cargo area, it has the desirable attributes of an SUV. Standard features include a power moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seats, premium audio system and Bluetooth connectivity. The TSX sedan, meanwhile offers similar features and echoes the wagon's styling. Available technologies include a new hard-drive-based navigation system with a full VGA color screen.
The Cruze is Chevrolet's newest entrant in the highly contested compact sedan segment. It is based on a global platform that has been refined for America with an emphasis on fuel economy.
The Cruze features two new small-displacement four-cylinder engines; a 140-hp 1.4-liter turbo, or a 138-hp naturally-aspirated 1.8-liter. Depending on trim, a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels. Available safety features include ten airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, traction control and anti-theft alarm with engine immobilizer. The Cruze can be equipped with features such as heated leather power seating, sunroof, remote start, satellite radio, navigation system and automatic climate control.