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 Volvo S80 is a modern, good looking, quick and powerful sedan with a surefooted stance and solid performance. New for 2014 the S80 has been updated inside and out.
The front-wheel drive S80 is available with a 240-hp 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine or a 230-hp 3.2-liter PZEV engine. The T6 is available with all-wheel drive and a 300-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six. Both engines are matched with a six-speed Geartronic automatic transmission and the T6 AWD includes sport mode. Safety features include ABS, traction control, stability control, and six airbags. Adaptive cruise control, collision warning system with pre-braking, and blind-spot information system are optional, as well as active bi-xenon headlamps that follow the road around curves. Also included in the safety roster is the Personal Car Communicator and City Safety.
The A8 carries the technology flag for Audi, and along with its understated styling and all aluminum frame, it's a unique choice in the full-size luxury sedan market.
The five-passenger A8 comes in six variations: 3.0T NWB (normal wheelbase), 4.0T NWB, 3.0T LWB (long wheelbase), 3.0 TDI LWB, 4.0T LWB and the W12 LWB. The 3.0T sports a supercharged V6 with 333-hp, the 3.0 TDI V6 makes 240-hp and 406lb-ft of torque, the 4.0T is a twin-turbo direct-injection V8 producing 420 horsepower, and the W12 is a 6.3-liter twelve-cylinder engine with direct-injection and 500 horsepower. Power on all models is routed to the ground by an eight-speed automatic paddle-shifted Tiptronic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive. Optional tech features include a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, solar-panel sunroof, dual-pane security glass, night vision, full LED headlights, blind spot, collision and lane assistance, and adaptive cruise control. Anti-lock brakes, electronic stability system, active head restraints, LED brakelights and ten airbags are some of the standard safety features on the A8.
For 2014, a 3.0-liter TDI engine has been added to the line-up. Power door closers, power trunk, Advanced key and Audi parking system plus (front and rear sensors with rear camera) are now all standard on the NWB.
Minivans remain a popular choice with families. So when Honda redesigned its Odyssey last year, it introduced improved interior functionality with things like a 3-mode second-row seat for 8-passenger models. A welcome dose of pizzazz was applied to the exterior with styling cues such as an edgy beltline that makes it easy to spot the van in mall parking lots. In terms of safety, the Odyssey received the coveted NHTSA 5-star crash test rating. It’s also pleasant to drive with carlike ride and handling. A 248-bhp 3.5-liter V-6 swiftly delivers precious cargo whether teamed with the standard 5-speed or exclusive 6-speed automatic on top Touring models. New EX features include a multi-information display with 8-in. screen, Bluetooth and USB port.