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.
The Dodge Grand Caravan is at the forefront of the minivan market offering the features and innovative seating that many families find indispensible.
The Grand Caravan's most important feature, both from a usability stand-point and competitive stand-point, is that it is available with Stow'n Go seats. The second and third row seats can be folded into the floor. No more fumbling to release and remove awkward heavy seats and then trying to find a suitable place to store them. A 3.6-liter V6 sends power through a six-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels. All trims come equipped with a tilt and telescoping steering column, remote keyless entry and a tire pressure monitor. Standard safety features include traction control, stability control and antilock brakes with brake assist.
The Grand Caravan Crew is dropped for 2014. R/T receives standard power liftgate, security system and rear camera.
Volvo has simplified the lineup of its compact sedan and sport wagon. Base models, now designated S40/V50 T5, are fitted with the 227-bhp 2.5-liter turbocharged 5-cylinder engine and 5-speed automatic transmission. Former normally aspirated 2.4i models are discontinued. The top-line T5 R-Design returns, but loses its all-wheel drive variants and manual gearboxes. Standard features increase across the board with a power driver’s seat and auto-dimming mirror for the T5s. R-Designs receive standard power moonroofs and 17-in. alloys along with carryover cues such as a full body kit, leather/Flextech upholstery, sport pedals, unique aluminum inlays and dynamic sport suspension. A navigation system has been added to the optional Multimedia Package.
The BMW 328i delivers a special mix of sporting performance, practicality and European luxury in a compact package. It's the car that defines 'sport sedan', and the benchmark every luxury car maker from Acura to Volvo aims at when it develops an entry-level luxury sport sedan.
The rear-wheel drive 328i is available in coupe, sedan and cabriolet bodies, while the xDrive all-wheel drive system is available on sedan, coupe and wagon bodies. Power for the coupe/cabrio is provided by a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that puts out 230 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. The sedan is powered by a 240-hp 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder with the choice of a eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. Standard safety features include six airbags, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with adaptive brakelights, traction and stability control, active anti-whiplash head restraints, as well as automatic pop-up roll-over protection on the convertible.
For 2013, the coupe and cabriolet remain unchanged on the E90 platform; the F30 sedan, which was all-new for 2012, adds xDrive to the line-up. An all-new wagon will be introduced later in the year.
Infiniti turned the SUV world on its head when it introduced its avant-garde FX crossover in 2003. Blending the styling cues of performance automobiles with the sturdy confidence of full-size SUVs, the FX won the hearts of those who longed for something different. For 2008, the FX carries on with three models: The FX35 in either rear- or all-wheel-drive platforms, and the top-dog V-8 FX45 with standard all-wheel drive. Both models use a 5-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode. Significantly redesigned in 2006, this year the only changes are standard XM satellite radio and revised interior/exterior color combinations. Stability control with traction control is standard, and interesting options include Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Cruise Control, Rearview Monitor and Intelligent Key.