In a bid to compete with the incoming crop of miniaturized crossover vehicles, such as the BMW X1 and Audi Q3, Buick is set to introduce the Encore in early 2013. With roughly the same interior volume of a Chevrolet Sonic 5-door, the Encore will also share its turbocharged 1.4-liter Ecotec engine, outputting 140 bhp with 148 lb.-ft. of torque. This should return some respectable fuel economy figures, thought we're slightly concerned about its acceleration potential. Manufacturer specs have the Encore carrying an additional 415 lb. over the Sonic LTZ for the front drive model, and around 535 lb. more with all-wheel drive. BMW's slightly heavier X1, by comparison, will come with no less than 240 bhp (and 260 lb.-ft.) and as much as 300 bhp (with 300 lb.-ft.). Regardless, the Encore promises an environment of luxury within a tiny package. It'll come with features such as remote ignition, dual climate control, Bose premium audio, as well as Buick's first application of active noise cancelling technology—dubbed QuietTuning. As safety is always a concern, especially with smaller vehicle segments, the Encore is available with a number of electronic aids (forward collision alert, lane departure warning), as well as 10 standard airbags to shield occupants when things head south. Only time can tell if this new ilk of automobile will find success in the U.S. market, though the Encore should have a leg up on price over the competition.
The Acura TSX is a sport sedan and wagon that offers a satisfying blend of performance, style and efficiency. The TSX boasts a muscular appearance and great handling, complemented by enhanced comfort, convenience and safety features. New for 2013 V6 models include the Technology Package as standard equipment. The front-wheel drive TSX is powered by a 201-hp 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine and auto transmission with Sequential SportShift, steering wheel paddles and Grade Logic Control; or a 280-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine and five-speed automatic. A six-speed manual transmission is optional with the 4-cylinder Special Edition. The TSX Sport Wagon is available exclusively with the 4-cylinder engine and five-speed auto powerteam. The TSX is well-equipped, with a power moonroof, Xenon High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights, heated front seats, leather upholstery, automatic climate control, satellite radio and HandsFreeLink (Bluetooth) wireless connectivity. The 2.4-liter model includes 17-inch alloy wheels, and the 3.5-liter model includes 18-inch alloy wheels and unique suspension tuning. The Technology Package includes a navigation system with voice activation, integrated rearview camera parking assist and upgraded audio and climate control systems. Standard safety-enhancing features include four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with traction control, front side-impact airbags, overhead curtain airbags and active anti-whiplash front head restraints.
Fresh off a complete redesign in 2012, the 2013 Honda Civic offers a few more refinements to help it maintain its popularity in the compact class.
Available in sedan or coupe bodies, all but the Si and GX trims are powered by a 140 horsepower, 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder with a standard five-speed manual transmission and optional five-speed automatic. The performance-oriented Si comes with a 201 horsepower 2.4-liter inline-four bolted only to a six-speed manual, while the GX is powered by a dedicated natural gas version of the 1.8-liter gas engine, and a five-speed automatic. A unique HF trim ekes out additional fuel economy with the help of aerodynamic add-ons, lightweight alloy wheels and low rolling-resistance tires. Standard safety features on all Civics include electronic stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, six airbags, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring. Tech features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a rearview camera with guidlines and ECO-Assist technology on all trims for 2013, automatic climate control for EX models and up, front fog lights for EX-L models and subscription free FM traffic updates with the optional navigation system.
The 2013 Civic is refreshed with refined interior and exterior styling, as well as safety, feature, comfort and chassis improvements.
The Toyota Sienna is a roomy and comfortable minivan that does everything well. It is easy to live with and can be loaded with convenient features.
The Sienna is available in a wide variety of configurations; front-wheel or all-wheel drive, 2.7-liter 187-hp four-cylinder or 3.5-liter 266-hp V6 engines, and seven or eight passenger seating configurations. Both engines use a six-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift capability. Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist, traction control, stability control, anti-whiplash head-restraints, tire pressure monitor and full-length overhead curtain airbags are just some of the standard safety features. Available exterior features include 19-inch alloy wheels, run-flat tires, power sliding doors and a dual moonroof. The interior can be outfitted with push button start, satellite radio, USB port, dual-zone automatic climate control, power leather seats and a navigation system.
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 328i is available in sedan or wagon bodies, xDrive all-wheel drive system is available on the sedan and standard on the wagon. The 328i is powered by a 240-hp 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder mated to an eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission (sedan only). Standard safety features include eight airbags, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with adaptive brakelights, traction and stability control, active anti-whiplash head restraints, and BMW Assist eCall which includes emergency request and automatic collision notification.
For 2014, the wagon returns to the line-up, and the BMW Assist eCall system is now standard.