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 BMW ActiveHybrid 3 is the first full-hybrid sport compact sedan on the market and looks to blend the 3-series driving dynamics with efficient operation.
The rear-wheel drive ActiveHybrid 3 sedan drivetrain features a 300-hp 3.0-liter, turbo, inline-six engine and eight-speed automatic with a 55-hp electric motor sandwiched between them. The electric motor is powered by a lithium-ion battery that together with the gas engine generate a combined output of 335-hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. The full-hybrid system allows pure electric driving as well as automatic engine shut-off to conserve fuel in traffic. Standard safety features include eight airbags, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with adaptive brakelights, traction and stability control, active anti-whiplash head restraints, fog lights and run-flat tires.
The Lexus CT 200h isn’t a car for everyone–but for a select few, it is a car that does everything. It’s sleek and attractive, yet its wagon layout offers real-world practicality. It offers luxury amenities, but also impressive fuel economy thanks to its hybrid powertrain. But this is no Lexus-branded Toyota Prius; Lexus points out that the CT200h was specifically developed as a driver’s car with a sport-tuned suspension and “highly focused” driving position. In addition to EV, Eco and Normal drive modes, the CT200 offers a Sport mode that maximizes engine revs and quickens the electric-assist power steering. Standard features include SmartAccess keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, six-speaker audio and Bluetooth interface. Navigation is optional.
The Chevrolet Equinox is a competitively priced mid-sized SUV that offers exceptional versatility, distinctive design and a high-level of practicality.
The Equinox is available in four trim levels, LS, 1LT, 2LT and LTZ, and can be had in front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The standard drivetrain is a 182-hp 2.4-liter direct injection four-cylinder and six-speed automatic transmission. A 301-hp 3.6-liter direct injection V6 is optional on the LT and LTZ trims. Both engines have E85 FlexFuel capability. Standard safety features include: four-wheel-disc brakes with ABS, electronic stability system, six airbags, tire pressure monitor, OnStar, security system and daytime running lights. Available high-tech features include remote vehicle starter, forward collision alert and lane departure warning, navigation system, rearview camera and a power liftgate.
For 2013, the Equinox receives a new 3.6-liter direct injection V6. Also, a color touch screen navigation system with Chevrolet MyLink is now available. Finally, new exterior colors are offered.
It’s more a case of subtle updates than wholesale changes here. For example, the all-aluminium VH chassis architecture has been improved for greater rigidity and sound insulation by adding new underbody sheer panels and improving the bonding, all helping to give an extra 20 per cent in chassis stiffness (30 per cent greater for the Volante open-topped version of DB9).
Aston’s new generation 5.9-litre V12 engine delivers significantly more power than before too; peak power is now 510bhp (up 40bhp) and peak torque 457lb ft (up 14lb ft) thanks to an increased compression ratio (11:1), revised valve timing and new engine management calibration.