The fun and practical A3 rolls into 2013 unchanged. This is Audi's smallest model in the U.S., but don't underestimate the appeal of this compact wagon. Some might be turned off by having to opt for a 5-door — which is probably why the next A3 sold here will be a sedan. A rev-happy and direct-injected gasoline 2.0-liter 4-cylinder delivers 200 bhp and 207 lb.-ft. of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission and front-wheel-drive is standard, though you can spend a little extra for a 6-speed dual-clutch S tronic gearbox that comes paired to Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system. While it's nicely sized for city driving, the backseat still offers a decent amount of stretch out space and there's a useful 19 cu. ft. of cargo room. Fold the rear seats down, and that swells to an impressive 39 cu. ft.
The Audi TT coupe continues to offer all-weather driving fun, thanks to its compact dimensions and Quattro all-wheel-drive, in one of the car world's most seductive shapes. But don't think the TT is all style and no substance. Top models, like the fire-breathing TT RS, give many Porsches a serious run for their money. Yet even the base TT coupe has the agility and performance of a true sports car. Granted, the 211-bhp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 might not sound intimidating, but it's more than enough to scoot the TT down the road with aplomb. The TT and TTS are available exclusively with a dual-clutch 6-speed automatic transmission. This is a great gearbox, so it's hard to bemoan the lack of a manual. That backseat is awfully tight, however, so look elsewhere if you often need room for more than one passenger.
We’ve spoken to the various members of the PT Cruiser fan clubs, and these are as fervent a bunch of fans as you’ll find. It’s the look of these still-cool wagons, with upright seating and tremendous space inside that lets its passengers know that they’re the priority in this machine. We like driving the PT Cruiser, even though its chassis shows its age on challenging roads, and we chalk up our appreciation to the unique combination of excellent outward vision and a high seating position, both of which are accidental benefits of the cool retro styling. Chrysler has simplified the PT’s model structure for 2010. The PT Turbo has been eliminated, leaving a sole model—the PT Cruiser Classic—with a normally aspirated 150-bhp 4-cylinder and a 4-speed automatic transmission.
We've driven all versions. We tested both transmissions in the base Subaru Legacy 2.5i and recommend the optional Continuously Variable Transmission. The CVT makes driving effortless and gets significantly better fuel economy than the standard 6-speed manual gearbox. The CVT works like a regular automatic transmission: Just shift it into Drive and go. It comes with paddle shifters on the steering wheel allowing the driver to shift into different ratios when preferred. Subaru was an early leader in CVT technology and has been making CVTs some 20 years.
The Legacy 2.5i model uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder boxer engine rated at 170 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque, with torque peaking at 4000 rpm. We challenged the engine and CVT during a day of driving in the Pacific Northwest, and only hot rodders will need more acceleration than this 30-mpg sophisticated midsize sedan offers.
The Legacy 2.5GT comes with a 6-speed manual gearbox. The 265-hp turbocharged engine, with its large turbocharger that sits low and near to the exhaust, is capable of pulling 258 pound-feet of torque, available from 2000 to 5200 rpm. And there's no lag. The Subaru Legacy 2.5GT pulls off a 0-to-60 acceleration time of 5.9 seconds, much better than the 3.6R's pokey 7.1 seconds. The Legacy 2.5GT is good fun and an excellent choice for driving enthusiasts who want all-weather capability in a four-door sedan.
The Legacy 3.6R feels like a more expensive car, thanks to its smooth power train, lovely perforated leather and the standard nine-speaker, harman-kardon sound system. The 3.6R offers the same 265 horsepower as the hot-rod 2.5GT, delivered more smoothly with a sweet 5-speed automatic transmission, while getting an EPA-estimated 18/25 mpg on regular fuel. But as we mentioned before, it's not going to beat the competition in a drag race. It shines when driving around town or in traffic on the freeway when frequent speed changes are needed.
The 2013 Honda CR-Z is a sport hybrid coupe. The CR-Z is the spiritual successor to the old CR-X, a fun to drive small car, but now with modern hybrid technology.
The CR-Z is powered by Honda's Integrated Motor Assist system, which is a combination of a 1.5-liter gas engine and a 23-hp electric motor, all attached to either a six-speed manual, or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The engine and motor combined generate 130-hp and 140-lb.ft of torque. Available in two trims, Base and EX, both include six airbags, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, automatic climate control, power windows, locks and mirrors, keyless entry, Bluetooth, a CD audio system with an auxiliary input and USB connection, alloy wheels and cruise control. The EX adds a high power 7-speaker audio system, HID headlights, fog lights, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and heated mirrors.
For 2013, the CR-Z receives a slight exterior and interior refresh. The electric motor has been improved, and hybrid battery is now lithium ion. A Plus Sport System (button) is a new feature; with electric boost it delivers increased acceleration for up to ten seconds.