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 Buick Verano is a compact luxury sedan that features upscale styling and progressive technologies, along with comfortable seating for five and a high level of standard equipment.
The front-wheel drive Verano is available in four trim levels: Base, Convenience Group, Leather Group and Premium Group. It is powered by either a 180-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection, or a 250-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine for the Premium Group trim. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode, and an optional six-speed manual is available with the 2.0-liter engine. Every Verano is outfitted with 18-inch aluminum wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, satellite radio, USB port and Buick's IntelliLink system, which allows smartphone integration and audio streaming through the vehicle's infotainment centre, controlled via a seven-inch LED touch screen. The Convenience Group adds heated exterior mirrors, heated front seats, an auto-dimming interior rearview mirror and a 6-way power driver's seat. The Leather Group is further equipped with leather upholstery, passive entry/start, upgraded audio and a heated steering wheel, while the Premium Group is visually distinguished by dual exhaust outlets and a flushmount rear spoiler. Standard safety features include 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist, electronic stability and traction control systems, rearview camera, OnStar and a tire pressure monitor, as well as ten airbags. Ultrasonic rear parking assist sensors, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Side Blind Zone Alert are standard on all but the Base trim level.
The Buick Verano carries over with minimal changes for 2014. A universal garage door opener is now standard on all but the Base trim level, and heated front seats have been added to the Convenience Group. Additionally, new safety features - including Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning - are standard on all but the Base trim.
The 2013 Chevrolet Suburban retains the same maximum-size virtues that have made it a bestseller for so many years. It remains the first choice for anyone who needs to haul six or more people plus their cargo.
The Suburban 1500 is available in LS, LT, and LTZ trims in both two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. It can seat up to nine passengers in its three rows of seats. The standard engine is a 320-hp 5.3-liter flexible-fuel V8 with Active Fuel Management technology, and is matched with a six-speed automatic transmission. All-disc anti-lock brakes, traction control, side curtain airbags and GM's StabiliTrak electronic stability system with rollover mitigation are standard.
The 2013 Cadillac XTS is a dramatic step forward from the chromed behemoths that preceded this brand new full-size sedan. Not that you'd call this Caddy a shrinking violet, the styling is distinctly American and definitely in your face — especially in upscale Platinum trim, which features unique wheels, front end detailing, and cabin trim. Those fuel-guzzling V-8 engines of yesteryear are gone. In their place, you'll find a 304-bhp direct-injected V-6 engine. Three trim levels—Luxury, Premium, and Platinum—will be offered above the entry-level model, and all trim levels are available with all-wheel drive in place of the standard front-wheel drive layout. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard across the range. Cadillac is touting its new Cadillac User Experience (CUE) driver interface in the XTS. The advanced touchscreen system allows for proximity, gesture, and voice recognition — imagine an iPad on your dashboard, and you kind of get the idea. It's pretty impressive technology, so long as you take the time to learn it. Pricing for the XTS starts at $44,995.
The Chrysler 200 is a true contender in the ultra-competitive midsize car category, offering value through a high level of standard equipment.
The front-wheel drive 200 is offered in both sedan and convertible body styles. Sedan offerings come in Touring and Limited, while the convertible is available in Touring, Limited and S trims. Two engines supply power: a 173-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder and a 283-hp 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, mated to either a four-speed automatic or a six-speed automatic with manual shift mode. Standard equipment on Touring models include aluminum wheels, an 8-way power driverâ??s seat, automatic climate control, satellite radio and a garage door opener. The Limited trim is further equipped with fog lights, 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, heated front seats and leather upholstery, as well as a multimedia centre with internal memory, USB port, Bluetooth streaming audio and DVD video capability. The S trim gets exclusive chromed exhaust finishers and wheel treatment, along with upgraded audio. Safety features include stability and traction control systems, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, active front head restraints, six airbags, tire pressure monitoring and a security system.