R&T Overview:The Charger was given a major refresh for 2011, with a new skin, powerful new V-6 and greatly updated interior. For 2012, the rest of the makeover package arrives with the addition of an optional ZF 8-speed automatic transmission, available on rwd and awd V-6 models. The extra gears add 4 mpg to the Charger's highway rating. The SRT8 returns for 2012 as well, with a 6.4-liter Hemi that delivers 470 bhp and 470 lb.-ft. of torque. It also incorporates the Fuel Saver Technology used previously only on the 5.7 Hemi. Buyers with more modest power requirements can choose either the base 3.6-liter V-6 with 292 bhp or the R/T with 5.7-liter Hemi and 370 bhp. An optional Rallye Package spiffs up the V-6 model, while R/T buyers can order awd for extra security in foul weather.
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.
The 2014 Ford Escape is now standard with a rear view camera and SYNC on all trims.
The BMW X3 is a versatile Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV), blending all-road capability and utility with athletic car-like performance and handling.
The X3 is available in two trim levels: xDrive28i and xDrive35i. The xDrive28i is powered by a 240-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine, while the xDrive35i has a 300-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder; both engines are paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission with Steptronic manual shift mode. Standard equipment on the xDrive28i includes 18-inch alloy wheels, power tailgate, leatherette upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, HD radio, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, a USB adapter and BMW's iDrive system. The xDrive35i is further outfitted with a panoramic moonroof, Xenon adaptive headlights and genuine wood interior trim elements. The X3's xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system, Dynamic Stability Control with rollover sensor, and Hill Descent Control combine to offer excellent handling, traction and stability for a wide variety of terrain and weather conditions. Additional safety-related features include anti-lock disc brakes, front side-impact airbags, overhead airbags for both rows, active front head restraints, run-flat tires and a security system.
For 2014, the X3 is now standard with auto-dimming exterior mirrors and interior review mirror, universal garage-door opener, and storage package.
The Enclave helped Buick get its groove back when it made its debut with its chiseled form and intelligently appointed interior. Although there is new competition from the Lincoln MKT, the Enclave will hold its own. The practicality of 8-passenger seating, decent fuel efficiency from a modern direct-injected V-6 and Buick luxury makes this large crossover popular. The Chevrolet Traverse shares the Enclave’s platform and can be purchased for less, but you’d miss out on the quiet interior of the Buick. Yes, the Enclave is a crossover, but really it serves the function of a luxurious minivan. Yet nobody in the family will be embarrassed to be seen driving or riding in an Enclave—which has helped Buick win back many buyers.
Mercedes-Benz fired a salvo into the compact luxury crossover segment when it introduced the GLK350 three years ago. With competitive pricing, typically robust Mercedes build-quality and GL-Class-inspired styling, it found plenty of takers. The unchanged lineup for 2012 offers a 268-bhp V-6 paired with a 7-speed automatic and rear- or 4Matic awd. Equipped with the latter, the GLK is in its element on wet or snowy roads, but is not happy climbing boulders. The cabin offers comfortable seating for five along with luxury cues like Burl Walnut trim, dual-zone climate control and a central controller for the dash-mounted infotainment display. Ample options include an AMG styling package, Comand with navigation, full-leather seating and a panorama roof.