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.
Audi has given the A5 coupe a freshening, to bring it in line with the rest of the range. The narrower headlights and taillights work well on this handsome coupe. Your choice of powertrain is easy, since a TFSI 2.0-liter inline-4 is the only engine available. To be honest, the 211 bhp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque on offer is underwhelming for a car costing this much. Rivals from BMW, Infiniti and Cadillac have significantly more powerful base engines. At least the A5 is fuel efficient, thanks partly to the choice of 6-speed manual or silky 8-speed automatic transmission. You could always step up to the S5 coupe or convertible if you want the A5, but desire loads more power and performance. Quattro all-wheel-drive is standard on the A5; making this a good choice if you live in snowy climes. Like the exterior, the cabin has been nicely updated. Chrome and high-gloss finishes help brighten up the business-like environs.
There are a lot of reasons why midsize sports sedans are so popular. The right size. The right price. The right choices. Whether you want a high-end commuter or a tire-smoking hooligan, rear- or all-wheel drive, Lexus has you covered with its IS lineup. Standard is a leather-trimmed interior with 10-way power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, SmartAccess keyless entry with pushbutton start and a power moonroof. Want power as well as panache? The IS F (photo) delivers with the time-honored hot rodder’s recipe of a big engine in a small car: A 5.0-liter V-8 thumping to the tune of 416 bhp. Or maybe you prefer the casual cruise, in which case, the IS 350C convertible fills the bill with a retractable hardtop and a choice of 2.5- or 3.5-liter V-6.
The Ford Escape is a mid-size sport-utility vehicle, which incorporates the latest technology and style; setting a high standard in the SUV category.
The five-passenger Escape is available in S, SE, and Titanium trims, in either front or four-wheel drive. Engine choices start with the 168-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder. Also, a 173-hp 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine is available. For even more power a 231-hp 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine is offered. All variations are paired with a six-speed select-shift automatic transmission. Impressive features offered on the Escape include a Panoramic Vista Roof, satellite radio, SYNC, MyFord Touch, a trailer towing package, heated leather seating, navigation system, auto park with cross traffic alert, Sony audio, MyKey, and an industry first hands-free power liftgate. Standard safety features include seven-airbags with drive knee airbag, passive anti-theft system, AdvanceTrac stability control with anti-rollover technology, four-wheel disc brakes, and tire pressure monitoring.
An all-new third-generation Mercedes M-Class arrives for 2012. Slightly larger than its predecessor, the ML350 receives sleeker styling inside and out, new technologies plus advanced safety features. Powertrain choices include a new 302-bhp 3.5-liter direct-injection V-6 plus a 240-bhp 3.0-liter BlueTEC diesel, both fitted with 7-speed automatic transmissions, paddle shifters and 4Matic awd. Agility Control Suspension is standard while an optional Active Curve System helps reduce body lean in corners. Roomier cabins gain a hooded twin-gauge instrument cluster, 7-in. display screen and optional heated and cooled cupholders. An 830-watt Harman-Kardon audio system, 80-gig hard-drive navigation and a rear-seat iPad docking station are available.