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 sport-tuned R, which goes on sale in early 2012, is the most powerful Golf ever sold in the U.S. As Volkswagen’s flagship performance car, it’s fitted with a high-output 256-bhp version of the company’s turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, mated exclusively to a 6-speed manual transmission. That drive reaches all four wheels via a Haldex center differential. Available in 3-door and 5-door configurations, the new Golf R weighs 3415 lb. and will hit 60 mph in less than 6 seconds. Top speed is limited to 130. We like the car’s motorsports look, highlighted by a gloss-black radiator, LED running lights and gloss-black calipers for the larger brakes. In back, a center-mount chrome tip exhaust and a diffuser will be shown to lots of slower cars…
The BMW M6 is, essentially, in a class by itself. What other manufacturer makes a car that is, all at once, a rip-snorting, 500-horsepower, V-10-powered coupe/convertible with other-worldly handling, yet demonstrates a gentlemanly degree of civility and sophistication that only the most refined luxury grand touring machines in the market today can offer? It’s the automotive equivalent of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Like its overachieving sedan relative—the BMW M5—the M6 was the benefactor of some light upgrades to its interior and exterior last year, so the vehicle is essentially unchanged from 2008. But when viewed from every angle (with the notable exception, for some, of the rear) this is one sensationally styled machine that requires little in the way of enhancements for 2009.
The Volvo XC70 is a crossover wagon providing comfort and stability on the road, and security and peace of mind on rough roads or when the weather turns bad. New for 2014 the XC70 has been updated inside and out.
A very functional wagon, the XC70 features higher ground clearance and SUV styling. Available in all-wheel or front-wheel drive the XC70 3.2 features a 240-hp 3.2-liter inline-six. A 230-hp 3.2-liter PZEV engine is available. The all-wheel drive XC70 T6 includes a 300-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine. Both engines are paired with a Geartronic six-speed automatic transmission, allowing driver selectable shifting. With seating for 5 and a flat folding back seat the XC70 offers great versatility and maximum cargo capacity. Safety features include electronic stability control, side-impact and side curtain airbags, and anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brake-force distribution. Standard equipment includes Bluetooth and Hill Descent Control.
For 2014, the Volvo XC70 has been refreshed and updated.