Extensively redesigned, this is the eighth generation of Chevy's midsize sedan. The wheelbase is 4.5 in. shorter and the track over 2 in. wider, lending visual muscle to the otherwise conservative styling. Chevy claims a 20-percent chassis rigidity upgrade, as well as more room in the classy interior, despite reduced dimensions. There are three engine choices, all with direct fuel injection, led by the new 182-hp Ecotec 4-cylinder that's the heart of the eAssist Eco model. A mild gas/electric hybrid, the Eco is rated for 25 mpg city, 37 mpg highway, topping the Malibu charts. The Malibu delivers creamy ride quality with quiet operation, and a 259-bhp 2.0-liter turbo four is available to satisfy those with a need for speed.
R&T Overview:The Malibu is similar in size to the slightly larger Impala, but just because the two cars share the bowtie logo on their grilles doesn't mean they drive alike. The Malibu feels light on its feet, which is great for handling response, and a real trick considering the Malibu could stand to skip a few lunches. With this confident foundation, the standard stability control, traction control and 6-speed transmission programming make both the high-tech 2.4-liter four version and the roaring 3.6-liter V-6 model into “point-and-shoot” sedans. Although there is a manual-shift feature—a switch on the shift knob—the driveline works much smoother without using it. The Malibu's fastback styling intrudes slightly on rear head space, but comfort in front is top-notch.
The Porsche Panamera brings sports car performance and untraditional styling to the full-size premium luxury sedan class.
The Panamera is offered in eight versions, the rear-wheel drive 2 and S, and the all-wheel drive 4, 4S, 4S Executive, GTS, Turbo and Turbo Executive. The 2 and 4 models come with a direct injected 3.6-litre 310-hp V-6 engine, the S/4S get a 420-hp twin-turbo 3.0-litre V-6, the GTS sports a 4.8-litre V-8 making 440-hp, while the Turbo adds twin turbos to the V-8 to make 520-hp. The Porsche PDK double-clutch gearbox is standard on all models, and all are equipped with an auto start-stop feature for increased urban fuel economy. The body appears to be a four-door sedan but with a coupe-like profile and a power liftgate, rather than a typical trunk, for access to the spacious luggage area. Standard safety features include ten airbags, adaptive bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, rain sensing wipers, full LED rear lighting, four belt pretensioners and electronic traction and stability control. A small sample of optional tech features includes a 6-disc CD changer, Bose surround sound, Burmester surround sound, front and rear ParkAssist, an electronic logbook and voice control.
The Panamera features refreshed styling for 2014, a new twin-turbo V-6 in the S trims, increased power in all engines and now offers long wheelbase Executive versions of the 4S and Turbo.
From mild to wild, Mercedes offers E-Class models to suit everyone's fancy. The E350 sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon gain a new 3.5-liter 302-bhp direct-injection V-6 and 7-speed automatic. An unchanged BlueTEC diesel remains a sedan option. E550 models receive a new 402-bhp 4.6-liter twin-turbo V-8. A wagon joins the sedan for the hot E63 AMG treatment including a new 518-bhp 5.5-liter V-8 and 7-speed MCT transmission. The former also features a panorama roof and rearview camera. E-Class safety, infotainment and luxury equipment varies by model. Convertibles are fitted with a 2-piece Aircap wind deflector to help reduce turbulence with the top down. Wagons have standard 7-passenger seating, a power tailgate and rear air suspension.
The Chevrolet Traverse crossover utility vehicle combines the smooth ride and responsive handling of a car with the cargo capability and high seating position of a traditional truck-based sport utility vehicle.
The Traverse comes in three trim levels: LS, LT and LTZ. Each trim is available in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. A direct injection 3.6-liter V6 engine sends power to the wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. The well-equipped interior features two front bucket seats and two different seating configurations for the second and third row seats, accommodating a maximum of eight passengers. An extensive list of safety features come standard; these include: side curtain overhead airbags, seat-mounted side-impact airbags for driver and front-seat passenger, an available front center airbag, anti-lock brakes, and electronic traction and stability control.