Big and comfy are Navigator bywords. Typically scaling three tons across its truck-based ladder frame, the Navigator is for big groups on big jobs. Think yachts to the sea and horses to dressage. It’s also loaded with all of Lincoln’s luxury, from olive and walnut swirl wood trim, leather and anechoic chamber levels of sound deadening to power extending running boards and V-8 torque. Towing is a natural and electronic gadgetry a given. Navigators are available in the standard 119-in. wheelbase, or the extended 123-in. L model for extra cargo and family room. As a mature design, the Nav get only small detail improvements such as spotter exterior mirrors and AppLink connectivity for smartphones for 2012.
Extensively redesigned, this is the eighth generation of Chevy's midsize sedan. The wheelbase is 4.5 in. shorter and the track over 2 in. wider, lending visual muscle to the otherwise conservative styling. Chevy claims a 20-percent chassis rigidity upgrade, as well as more room in the classy interior, despite reduced dimensions. There are three engine choices, all with direct fuel injection, led by the new 182-hp Ecotec 4-cylinder that's the heart of the eAssist Eco model. A mild gas/electric hybrid, the Eco is rated for 25 mpg city, 37 mpg highway, topping the Malibu charts. The Malibu delivers creamy ride quality with quiet operation, and a 259-bhp 2.0-liter turbo four is available to satisfy those with a need for speed.
Honed to a razor edge, the carbonfiber-intensive Z06 is not quite the flatout fastest Corvette, but it's the most serious track day weapon, with gunfighter reflexes, limpet grip, surgically precise steering and stop-on-a-dime braking. And if it cedes some speed to the supercharged ZR1, it's not much. With 505 bhp from its 7.0-liter V-8, the Z06 covers a quarter mile in well under 12 seconds, and is capable of 198 mph. Named for Chevy's famous old "rat motor" big-block V-8, the new 427 is essentially a convertible version of the Z06, with the same dynamic credentials. This is the final year for the C6 generation, so aside from the 427, the only change is a 60th anniversary cosmetic package.
The Ford Fiesta is a sub-compact, front-wheel drive, five-passenger car. Available in four and five-door bodystyles, the current benchmarks for the sub-compact segment are being tested by the Fiestas styling, comfort and luxury features, technology, and overall practicality.
The Fiesta is offered in three trims, S, SE, and a Titanium model. For 2014 there is the addition of the new ST trim to the hatchback lineup. Power comes from a 120-hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, mated to a five-speed manual transmission. An advanced six-speed PowerShift automatic transmission is optional. The ST gets a turbocharged, direct-injected version of the 1.6-liter that offers nearly 200-hp, mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Standard features on all models include air-conditioning, capless fuel filler system, power body-colored mirrors, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, aux audio input jack, electronic power-assisted steering and hill launch assist. Higher trim levels include cruise control, keyless entry, Ford's MyKey system, HD and satellite radio, alloy wheels, power windows, rearview camera with reverse park sensing, SYNC hands-free communications and entertainment system and SYNC with MyFord Touch. Standard safety features include AdvanceTrac electronic stability control, seven airbags including a driver knee airbag, tire pressure monitoring system, engine immobilizer and four-wheel anti-lock brakes.
For 2014, the Fiesta is a refresh with new interior and exterior styling, feature changes across the entire lineup and the addition of the ST performance hot hatch.
Minivans remain a popular choice with families. So when Honda redesigned its Odyssey last year, it introduced improved interior functionality with things like a 3-mode second-row seat for 8-passenger models. A welcome dose of pizzazz was applied to the exterior with styling cues such as an edgy beltline that makes it easy to spot the van in mall parking lots. In terms of safety, the Odyssey received the coveted NHTSA 5-star crash test rating. It’s also pleasant to drive with carlike ride and handling. A 248-bhp 3.5-liter V-6 swiftly delivers precious cargo whether teamed with the standard 5-speed or exclusive 6-speed automatic on top Touring models. New EX features include a multi-information display with 8-in. screen, Bluetooth and USB port.