R&T Overview:As Chevy's biggest sedan, the Impala holds six folks if you get the optional bench front seat, although these days it feels a bit tight to have an adult passenger seated at your right elbow instead of a cushy armrest. However, there's a space in American culture for a car that can take mom, pop, two kids, granny and gramps to breakfast Sunday morning. The Impala uses the most advanced overhead-cam 3.6-liter V-6 engine shared by other GM cars, and it can run on E85 ethanol fuel if you live in the Corn Belt. It also comes standard with a 6-speed automatic, as well as standard anti-lock brakes, stability control and a suspension that is not too squishy. Competitors may be larger and quieter, but Impala makes for a clandestine drive.
The Subaru Forester all-wheel drive compact crossover is completely redesigned for 2014. This fourth-generation 2014 Forester is slightly larger in all dimensions than the outgoing model (2009-2013). It wears somewhat bolder skin wrapped around a roomier cabin and boasts both improved performance and higher fuel economy.
A 170-horsepower 2.5-liter horizontally opposed flat four-cylinder (aka boxer or H4) is standard on the 2014 Forester, while a new 250-hp turbocharged version of the BRZ sports car's 2.0-liter H4 powers 2014 Forester 2.0XT models. It uses a combination of direct fuel injection, high compression (10.6:1), Subaru's Dual Active Valve Control System (D-AVCS) and intercooled turbocharging to deliver a much more spirited 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque between 2000 and 4800 rpm.
All 2014 Forester models come with Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. Subaru is a leader in all-wheel-drive technology and this sets Forester apart from front-wheel-drive competitors that offer all-wheel drive as an option. A 6-speed manual gearbox supersedes the previous 5-speed manual as standard, while Subaru's Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) replaces the old 4-speed automatic.
The CVT mated to the 2.5-liter engine has a selectable low shift mode that adds engine braking on downhill grades. The high-torque version of this transmission comes with the turbo engine and has steering wheel paddles for manual shifting. Both use adaptive control to continually optimize gear ratios based on driving preferences and conditions.
The 2.5-liter four-cylinder together with the CVT, likely the best-selling combination, boasts the segment's best all-wheel drive fuel economy at an EPA-estimated 24/32 mpg City/Highway, or 27 Combined. That highway rating is a five-mpg improvement over the most fuel-efficient 2013 Forester.
The Chevrolet Equinox is a competitively priced mid-sized SUV that offers exceptional versatility, distinctive design and a high-level of practicality.
The Equinox is available in four trim levels, LS, 1LT, 2LT and LTZ, and can be had in front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The standard drivetrain is a 182-hp 2.4-liter direct injection four-cylinder and six-speed automatic transmission. A 301-hp 3.6-liter direct injection V6 is optional on the LT and LTZ trims. Both engines have E85 FlexFuel capability. Standard safety features include: four-wheel-disc brakes with ABS, electronic stability system, six airbags, tire pressure monitor, OnStar, security system and daytime running lights. Available high-tech features include remote vehicle starter, forward collision alert and lane departure warning, navigation system, rearview camera and a power liftgate.
For 2014, the Equinox receives minimal changes; the LTZ trim is now standard with 18" chrome-clad aluminum wheels.
R&T Overview:The Cadillac SRX was a performance-oriented crossover that never met sales expectations. Thus it undergoes a major transformation this year as it moves from the CTS-based Sigma platform to the smaller Theta platform shared with the Saturn Vue. In addition to completely fresh styling, it receives a pair of new powerplants. A 265-bhp 3.0-liter direct-injection V-6 becomes the base engine. The top choice is a smaller displacement 2.8-liter V-6, turbocharged to an expected output of 300 bhp. Both engines are coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission, and can be had with front- or all-wheel drive. The SRX’s 5-passenger cabin is trimmed with the typically extensive array of luxury and safety features expected of a Cadillac.
Exotic cars from Italy are commonplace. Every month it seems we hear of a “limited-production” this or a “special-edition” that. Well, if you want to add something different to your stable of prancing horses consider the Lexus LFA. Better yet, consider the LFA Nürburgring Package, of which only 50 units will be available to very well-heeled customers. For a paltry $70,000, you get an extra 10 bhp (for a total of 562), quickened gearshift changes, a sport-tuned suspension, exclusive wheels, a larger front spoiler and a fixed rear wing. This Über exclusive LFA will be available in four colors: Whitest White, Orange, Black and a sinister Matte Black complemented by your choice of black, red or violet interior with carbon-fiber trim.