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.
What could be better--more beautiful, more attention-grabbing, more perfect for a jet-set lifestyle--than an Aston Martin DB9?
The answer is an Aston Martin DB9 Volante, the convertible version of one of the world's loveliest cars.
We can argue that the fixed-roof coupe, with an inevitably stiffer body shell, is lighter, faster, and more rewarding to drive--and $13,500 cheaper--but buyers of automotive exotica, especially in the United States, always veer toward a convertible. Aston knows that, so when it developed its VH platform--the architecture that will eventually be used for its three model lines--the plan was for closed and open versions with a minimum of modifications.
The beautiful DB9 coupe--featured in our supercar comparison last month--has been around for a year now, and it's time for it to be joined by the DB9 Volante.
The VH structure of bonded aluminum sheet and extrusions needed few changes for the DB9 Volante that, although it doesn't have the same torsional stiffness as the coupe, suffers much less from losing its head than most of its competitors. So it doesn't have the cowl shake or creaks and groans that afflict many convertibles. On bad road surfaces there is some murmuring through the steering, but it's not enough to spoil the driving experience. And with the top down, there is more opportunity to savor the aural delights of that mighty V-12 engine.
The Volante weighs 130 more pounds than the coupe. It eschews the retractable hardtops that have recently become so fashionable in favor of a conventional folding fabric roof. The top is superlative for its type, fitting snugly so that wind noise is negligible, even at 100 mph, and powering down and under a flush body panel simply by pulling back a switch on the center console. There are no catches to be released or secured, and the whole process of putting the roof up or down takes just 17 seconds.
Fresh off a complete redesign in 2012, the 2013 Honda Civic offers a few more refinements to help it maintain its popularity in the compact class.
Available in sedan or coupe bodies, all but the Si and GX trims are powered by a 140 horsepower, 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder with a standard five-speed manual transmission and optional five-speed automatic. The performance-oriented Si comes with a 201 horsepower 2.4-liter inline-four bolted only to a six-speed manual, while the GX is powered by a dedicated natural gas version of the 1.8-liter gas engine, and a five-speed automatic. A unique HF trim ekes out additional fuel economy with the help of aerodynamic add-ons, lightweight alloy wheels and low rolling-resistance tires. Standard safety features on all Civics include electronic stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, six airbags, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring. Tech features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a rearview camera with guidlines and ECO-Assist technology on all trims for 2013, automatic climate control for EX models and up, front fog lights for EX-L models and subscription free FM traffic updates with the optional navigation system.
The 2013 Civic is refreshed with refined interior and exterior styling, as well as safety, feature, comfort and chassis improvements.
R&T Overview:The Dodge Dakota established the midsize truck market, and continues to pace the pack with a roomy interior layout, 6-ft. 6-in. bed (Extended Cab) and available towing capacity of 7250 lb. Competitively, its relatively high base price puts it at a disadvantage to its market rivals. Offsetting the entry price are more practical pleasures, such as full-swing rear doors, a spacious (if somewhat plebian) interior and the Crate ’N Go collapsible and removable underseat storage system. Continuing with last year’s tightening of trim levels, the 6-speed manual transmission is no more. Three new colors—Stone White, Detonator Yellow and Sunburst Orange—have displaced Bright White, Flame Red and Mango Tango, respectively.
After a brief absence from the market, an entirely new Durango returned to Dodge dealerships in 2011. Sharing much with the highly praised Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Durango is built on a stiff unibody platform, in rwd or awd form, with 4-wheel independent suspension and seating for seven. The base engine is a 3.6-liter V-6 rated at 290 bhp, with a 360-bhp 5.7-liter V-8 on the option list. Both engines are teamed with 5-speed automatics, although expect an upgrade there in the very near future. The latest electronic safety features are available, including blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-path detection. An R/T performance edition is available, but the Citadel model in particular does a nice job of marrying rugged capability with comfort.