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.
R&T Overview:The Lexus RX was the first vehicle to successfully integrate the most desirable attributes of a luxury sedan and an SUV—and in the process, it created its own segment: the luxury crossover. Now in its third generation, the Lexus RX 350 is essentially unchanged for 2012, except for small mechanical tweaks that allow its 275-bhp 3.5-liter V-6 to digest regular 87-octane fuel. There’s also an available appearance package, which adds 19-in. wheels and halogen headlamps with a black housing. For those who want to leave a smaller carbon footprint, there’s the RX 450h hybrid, which is also a carryover. Standard features in both models include SmartAccess keyless entry with pushbutton start, dual-zone automatic climate control, nine-speaker audio system and Bluetooth.
Rumor was that the Grand Caravan would see its sunset with the 2013 model year (or 2012, depending on who did the talking). The new rumor is that the top-selling minivan won't be kicked to the curb, but will return in 2014 as a completely new vehicle (based on the Fiat-Chrysler E-EVO platform). For now, the venerable Grand Caravan holds on for another model year. Tight-budget buyers can step into a Grand Caravan AVP for $1000 less than last year, along with a standard second-row bench seat. Crew and R/T models can be had with an industry-exclusive Blu-Ray video system with dual screens. Integrated Trailer Sway Damping is now standard on all models, and there's a new Black/Sandstorm interior color scheme.
After a one year hiatus in 2013, the Kia Sedona returns in 2014 with some subtle changes. The Sedona remains a compelling value among minivans, offering convenience, comfort, style and performance at a great price.
The Sedona is available in LX and EX trims. A 269-hp 3.5-liter V6 sends power to the front wheels through a six-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. Standard features for the Sedona include seven passenger seating, side impact and side curtain airbags, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, traction control system, active front head restraints, and electronic stability system.
The 2014 Sedona has had subtle changes made inside and out. The LX adds front fog lights as standard equipment and the EX adds heated front seats with leather seat trim throughout.
Last year’s relaunch of the Dodge Ram 1500 set a new standard in light-truck performance and styling. This year the Ram 1500 continues to impress with a 1500 lb. increase in GCWR (thanks to the 5.7-liter Hemi, 3.93:1 rear axle and 140.5 in. wheelbase combo). While the Ram 1500 isn’t work-shy, the truck’s charms extend beyond the practical to its downright decadent driving environment and lush on- and off-road driving manners. Among the newest offerings is an iPod connection that enables device control through the steering wheel, available 22-in. wheels with the R/T package, folding and power trailer-tow mirrors, Interactive Decel Fuel Shut Off on all engines, an integrated trailer brake controller and a tire-pressure monitoring system. Rumors suggest a hybrid Ram is on the way in 2010.