Garish, or just livin' large? You make the call with the QX56. But there's no denying the space (seats up to eight) or functionality (tows up to 8500 lb.) of this massive, somewhat porcine vehicle. Power is provided by a direct-injected 5.6-liter 400-bhp V-8 mated to a 7-speed automatic, and a choice of 2wd or 4wd. But that's one of few choices you'll make, as there's just one lavishly appointed trim level, with a navigation system and 13-speaker Bose audio. We'd opt for the dual-monitor Theater Package to keep the kids entertained, which features an upgraded remote control and interface for 2013. Also, Moving Object Detection is added to the standard Around View Monitor and auto-dimming exterior mirrors are standard.
So you’ve got a large family. Does that mean that you should have to sacrifice luxury for an 8-passenger van? Infiniti doesn’t think so, and it’s betting you won’t, either—which is why it invested in an all-new QX56 just last year. Understandably, the big Q is mostly carryover for 2012, the only changes being the addition of features to the available Technology, Deluxe Touring and Theater Packages. Available in 2- or 4-wheel drive, the QX only comes in one well-equipped trim level, then lets you customize it from there with a long list of available equipment. Standard features include leather-trimmed, heated front seats; 13-speaker Bose audio system; Tri-Zone automatic temperature control; Bluetooth hands-free phone system and navigation.
The Audi Q7 has established itself in the luxury SUV class with bold styling, numerous tech features and five-star safety ratings.
The Q7 is available with three different engine choices, two supercharged, direct-injection 3.0-liter gasoline engines, one with 272-hp, the other, on the S line trim, with 333-hp. A 240-hp 3.0-liter V6 direct injection diesel (TDI) is also available, and they are all mated to a Tiptronic eight-speed automatic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive. Standard features include leather upholstery, heated seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, 6-disc audio system and 18-inch wheels, power liftgate, auto-dimming mirrors, Bluetooth, bi-xenon headlights. The TDI adds 19-inch wheels and chrome exterior trim. The S line adds even more standard luxuries such as Bose audio, three-panel sunroof, sunshades, side assist, advanced key and 20-inch wheels.
For 2013, all models receive minor trim upgrades & the TDI engine receives a slight bump in horsepower, otherwise the Q7 remains unchanged.
Although an all-new Jetta arrived last year, the SportWagen version continuing to be sold is based on the smaller, previous chassis, which was based on the Golf station wagon sold only in Europe. That said, the Jetta SportWagen is a great car. It’s reasonably compact but roomy, and exceptionally popular with the diesel crowd. In fact, VW says that more than 80 percent of the Jetta SportWagens sold in the U.S. are TDI models, and those who have them love them…maybe it has something to do with their 609-mile range. VW’s 2.5-liter 5-cylinder is the base powerplant, mated to a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic. The 2.0-liter TDI 4-cylinder, with 140 bhp and 236 lb.-ft. of torque at 1750 rpm, is a more expensive but far better choice.
As with the Accent 4-door, the 5-door is also a real bargain and for 2013 has some significant upgrades in standard equipment: heated side mirrors, keyless entry and air conditioning are now standard on all Accents. The 5-door features a generous-size hatchback that makes for easy loading of camping gear or even a spot for your off-road bicycle, not to mention a hefty load of groceries. And the pricing is right, too: from $14,795 for the GS 5-door with manual 6-speed gearbox to $17,095 for the Accent SE 5-door with automatic transmission with Shiftronic for the enthusiast driver. And if you want to spend an additional $1200 for the Premium Package, you will enjoy such features as rear disc brakes, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, cruise control, Bluetooth phone system, fog lights, 16-inch alloy wheels and several interior trim upgrades. While the Accent 5-door is a compact car, the interior space is comfortable for adults both front and rear. And when you factor in the hatchback feature, the Accent 5-door shows itself to be a very utilitarian automobile.