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.
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.
The Buick Encore is a compact crossover SUV that features upscale styling and amenities in an efficient package.
The Encore is available in four trim levels: Encore, Convenience, Leather and Premium, and two drive types: front- or all-wheel drive. It's powered by a 140-hp 1.4-liter turbo four-cylinder engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Standard safety features include 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist, electronic stability and traction control systems, OnStar, and ten airbags. Other standard features include: Buick QuietTuning acoustics package with active noise cancellation, 18-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, IntelliLink audio system with 7-inch color touch screen and an oil life monitor. The Convenience trim adds: dual-zone climate control, rearview auto-dimming mirror, rear vision camera, remote start and front fog lamps. The Leather trim adds: heated front seats, power adjustable front passenger seat, leather seating surfaces, heated steering wheel and driver seat, audio and HVAC memory system. The Premium trim adds on the tech with rain sensing wipers, Bose audio system, blind spot alert, lane departure warning and Ultrasonic front and rear parking sensors including rear vision camera.
The Toyota Venza is a five-passenger vehicle that couples the styling and comfort of a passenger car with the flexibility of a sport utility vehicle (SUV), to give customers a stylish alternative to the traditional sedan.
The Venza offers the choice of two powerplants, a 181-hp 2.7-liter four-cylinder or 268-hp 3.5-liter V6. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift control and can be had in either front or all-wheel drive. There is also the choice of 19-inch wheels, standard on four-cylinder models and 20-inch on V6 models. The 2014 Venza features three trim levels. The LE includes dual-zone automatic climate control, power windows, locks and mirrors, privacy glass, cruise control, electronic stability control, seven airbags, including a driver's knee airbag, front seatbelt pretensioners and front active head restraints. The XLE adds a power liftgate, voice-activated touch-screen DVD navigation system, satellite radio, leather upholstery and Toyota's Smart Key System and the Limited trim adds High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps and a JBL 13 speaker audio system to the list of standard features.
What's not to like about the G37? It has Nissan 370Z underpinnings, a dangerously curvaceous body, trappings of traditional Japanese luxury and seating for at least four. And for 2013, the Convertible variant gets the IPL treatment previously available only on the Coupe. To wit: a 343-bhp variant of the 3.7-liter V-6 mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission, IPL-tuned suspension and exhaust, 19-in. wheels, a more menacing body and exclusive colors Malbec Black and Moonlight White. What continues to impress is the breadth of the model lineup—the G37 Sedan can be had in either reardrive Journey or Sport 6MT versions, or as the G37x AWD with, as you may have deduced, all-wheel drive. Last, there's the handsomely proportioned G37 Coupe.