"Rowdy, raucous and oozing testosterone"— that was the Dodge Challenger of yesteryear, yet the modern interpretation of this iconic muscle car exhibits the same manners relative to its 21st century competitors as the 1970s Challenger did with its contemporaries. The Challenger is a straight-up blue-collar street brawler. If you're not shy, skip the V-6-powered SXT and new Rallye Redline (an SXT in sportier trim) and head right for the R/Ts (there are three versions this year) with their mighty 5.7-liter Hemi. Need more grit? The Challenger SRT8 392, cradling a 6.4-liter Hemi, is a 470-bhp, 12-second ET beast with a price-per-horsepower ratio that's tough to beat. Nothing new on the sheet this year except four exterior colors and the Rallye Redline.
Like its Dodge Charger big brother, the Challenger was given a midcycle refresh for 2011. Out went the old 250-bhp 3.5-liter V-6, and in came the new 305- bhp 3.6-liter. New chassis architecture and suspension tuning refined the ride and handling. Dodge also released the first run of 392 Hemi SRT8 Challengers, which deliver 470 bhp as well as the fuelsaver mode that shuts the V-8 down to four cylinders at loafing speeds. For 2012, Dodge continues the SRT8's refinement with a new 2-mode active damping suspension with "auto" and "sport" modes. The SRT8 also gets an exclusive leatherwrapped heated steering wheel. Those looking for middle ground should seek out the R/T, with 5.7-liter V-8 and either 5-speed automatic or 6-speed manual.
The M56's 420-bhp 5.6-liter V-8 makes it a wolf in, well, wolf's clothing, while the M37's 330-bhp V-6 is no slouch either, each paired with a 7-speed automatic and available in either rear- or all-wheel-drive versions. For 2013, the Sport Package is now offered on M AWD models, which includes 20-in. alloys, firmer suspension, sports seats, magnesium paddle shifters, performance brakes and a unique front fascia. The hybrid M35h continues, packing an impressive gasoline/electric 360 hp while returning EPA figures of 27 city/32 highway. Throughout the lineup, all M cars get auto-dimming side-view mirrors and an automatic trunk cincher, and Sport models are treated to a new interior color: Stone Sport. Inside, exquisite Japanese design cues are standard.
Try not to stare. This hot hatch making your heart race is a Volvo. The C30 is a sexy compact with attitude. It’s also fun to drive thanks to the standard turbocharged 5-cylinder engine that puts out a delightful 227 bhp. While the C30 T5 remains the most affordable Volvo, the R-Design appeals to extroverts with a full body kit, leather seating and alloy pedals. It also ups the fun factor with sport chassis tuning and 18-in. wheels. New this year, both models can be enhanced with Premier Plus and Platinum trim levels that include goodies like LED daytime running lights, 650-watt premium sound, a sunroof and navigation. While the 6-speed manual is our gearbox of choice, an available 5-speed automatic lets drivers shift for themselves whenever the urge strikes. Volvo’s Blind Spot Information System, xenon headlights and Keyless Drive remain optional.
The LINCOLN MKT is a full-size luxury crossover. It features three-row seating, advanced technology, a refined interior and sculpted exterior.
The LINCOLN MKT is available with either a 303-hp 3.7-liter V6 with front-wheel drive, or an all-wheel drive EcoBoost model that includes a 365-hp 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift. Standard features include LED tail lamps, premium heated/cooled front seats, heated rear seats, HID headlamps, a fixed glass panel roof, and SYNC hands-free communications and entertainment system. Standard safety features include four-wheel anti-lock brakes, six airbags, electronic stability control with roll control, reverse camera, and a tire pressure monitoring system. The EcoBoost model can be equipped with an optional Elite Package that adds a voice-activated navigation system, THX II audio system, heated steering wheel, HD Radio, blind spot information system, and a power third row split-bench seat. A new EcoBoost Technology Package includes adaptive cruise control, lane keeping system and an automated parking system. Six-passenger seating with second row heated and cooled buckets is also optional.
The LINCOLN MKT carries over into 2014 unchanged except for three new paint colors.