Mercedes revamps the C-Class sedan for 2012 and adds an attractive new coupe to the mix. Both begin with the C250 Sport featuring a new 201-bhp 1.8-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder turbo. The C350 nets a 302-bhp 3.5-liter V-6. Targeting enthusiasts, the top C63 AMG has a 451-bhp 6.2-liter V-8. Sedans also offer a C300 4Matic with a 228-bhp 3.0-liter V-6. Standard 7-speed automatics include a Speedshift multiclutch version for the C63. Redesigned interiors gain new audio with a 5.8-in. color display, Bluetooth and USB port. Coupes receive standard paddle shifters, sport bucket seats and split-folding rear seats. Attention Assist, Adaptive Brake with Hold function, Lane Keeping Assist and Blind Sport Assist are among C-Class safety features.
The Dodge Durango is a full-size SUV with stable handling and impressive good looks. Inside is a quiet, roomy, and comfortable cabin. New for 2014 is an eight-speed automatic transmission included with both engine choices.
Available with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive the Durango includes a 290-hp 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 as standard and has an available 360-hp Hemi 5.7-liter V8 engine. The Hemi includes the Multiple Displacement System (MDS) for better fuel economy. The R/T trim comes standard with the Hemi engine. An 8-speed automatic transmission is matched with both the 3.6-liter and 5.7-liter engines. The Durango is offered in four models: SXT, Limited, Citadel, and R/T. The Durango seats seven passengers with its folding third-row seat. Standard safety features include electronic stability control, six airbags, and active head restraints. Available features include HID headlamps, a premium radio with Garmin navigation and DVD, a rear seat entertainment system, leather upholstery, and a trailer tow package.
For 2014, the Durango is mainly a carryover from 2013, with the addition of a new eight-speed transmission.
The handsome Golf, now in its sixth generation, is the most successful VW nameplate ever, with global sales topping 27 million. It’s easy to see why. The Golf is available as a practical 3-door or 5-door hatchback, fitted with engines that run from the economical to the powerful. The base engine is the 2.5-liter 5-cylinder, which is not especially smooth but has the torque that buyers in the U.S. appreciate. Much better are the turbocharged 200-bhp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder found in the sporty GTI, and the 2.0-liter turbodiesel in the Golf TDI, which gets fantastic highway fuel economy of 42 mpg. Who needs a hybrid? For 2012, the option packages have been simplified, with the TDI Tech Package now having LED running lights, keyless entry and pushbutton start.
It's hard to stand out in a class defined by Mercedes-Benz and BMW, but the 2011 Audi A6/S6 sedans and wagon soldier on. Fortunately, they are exemplary soldiers, and prime examples of Audi's ability to combine design, engineering and luxury. From the elegant, aggressive Audi front grille and sumptuous interior to the power and poise offered up by the lineup of V-6 and V-8 engines, every A6 earns its first-class reputation. Real wood, leather and brushed aluminum are not scarce. The superb handling advantages of Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive bless all but the front-drive base A6 model. And at the performance peak, the 435-bhp V-10 and Nappa leather sport seats in the Audi S6 just about provide the dictionary definition for "sports sedan."
The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid sedan adds a fourth model to the diverse Accord range of models and powertrains so that there is something for everyone.
A two-motor hybrid system sends power to the front wheels. This system uses a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine and a 124-kilowatt electric motor/lithium-ion battery combo. The Accord Hybrid features unique 17-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, LED daytime running lights and tail lights, LaneWatch sideview camera, smart entry and push button start, Bluetooth streaming audio and handsfree phone as well as dual-zone automatic climate control.
The Accord Hybrid returns to the Honda line-up for the first time since 2007.