The Ford Focus Electric is taking the fight to eco-themed rivals like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid. If you want to impress the neighbors, tell them the EPA's equivalency formula pegs the Focus Electric at 110/99-mpg in city and highway driving. Of course, this fun fact is tempered by the Focus Electric's estimated total driving range of 76 miles — that's better than the Mitsubishi i and about even with the Nissan Leaf. The Focus Electric accepts charge at 6.6 kW versus 3.3 kW in the Leaf. According to Ford's estimate, that means a full recharge via a 220-volt outlet is accomplished in 4 hours, or half the time you'd need for the Leaf. Performance is peppy, especially at city speeds, and top speed is set at 84 mph. A display on the dashboard fills with butterflies if you're gentle about applying the gas pedal. MyFord mobile apps allow you to locate charging stations, or pre-heat and pre-cool the car while it's plugged into the grid (thereby saving battery life once you're on the road).
The Ford Focus range has expanded to include two new models this year: the sport-oriented ST version and an electric-powered model. The Focus 5-door hatchback continues to offer an excellent mix of agile handling, cargo room, and strong fuel economy. Under the hood is a 160-bhp 2.0-liter inline-4 coupled to a standard 5-speed manual, with a 6-speed PowerShift automatic or range-topping 6-speed PowerShift with SelectShift manual controls optional. The ST is all about carving corners, while the Titanium trim level loads the Focus 5-door with luxury touches like leather seating, a 10-speaker Sony audio system, SYNC with MyFord Touch, push-button start, and dual zone automatic climate controls. For a sinister touch, the SE Black Pack appearance package includes a piano black grille, 17-inch machined alloy wheels and, as you might have guessed, a black paintjob to match.
The Porsche Cayenne combines legendary Porsche sports car performance with convenient SUV utility and all-condition capability.
The all-wheel drive, five-passenger Cayenne is available in five trims for 2013: V6, S, GTS, Turbo and Diesel. The V6 is powered by a 300-hp 3.6-liter V6 engine, the S and GTS have a normally aspirated 4.8-liter V8 with 400-hp for the S and 420-hp for the GTS, while the Turbo gets a 500-hp twin-turbocharged version of the same 4.8-liter V8 and the Diesel gets a 3.0-liter V6 with 240-hp. There is an eight-speed automatic transmission with an auto start-stop system available on the V6 and is standard on the two V8 powered trims. The diesel gets the eight-speed automatic as well, but without the auto start-stop system. Notable features available on the Cayenne include: Porsche Stability Management (PSM), Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), a conventional moonroof or a panoramic roof system, Bi-Xenon headlamps, power memory seats, 4-zone climate control and a Bose surround sound system.
From mild to wild, Mercedes offers E-Class models to suit everyone's fancy. The E350 sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon gain a new 3.5-liter 302-bhp direct-injection V-6 and 7-speed automatic. An unchanged BlueTEC diesel remains a sedan option. E550 models receive a new 402-bhp 4.6-liter twin-turbo V-8. A wagon joins the sedan for the hot E63 AMG treatment including a new 518-bhp 5.5-liter V-8 and 7-speed MCT transmission. The former also features a panorama roof and rearview camera. E-Class safety, infotainment and luxury equipment varies by model. Convertibles are fitted with a 2-piece Aircap wind deflector to help reduce turbulence with the top down. Wagons have standard 7-passenger seating, a power tailgate and rear air suspension.
Here comes polarizing with a capital P. To some, the Juke is too cute for words; to others, it's too ugly...using different words. Inside, however, the Juke is great fun, with a painted center console—we recommend red—and tightly grouped controls in the center of the dashboard... High points for the Juke's well-bolstered seats and interior packaging, which means plenty of space and versatility. There are six versions of the Juke, the main differences being front- or all-wheel drive and the 6-speed manual or CVT. In any event, each Juke is powered by a turbo 1.6-liter direct-injection four with 188 bhp. For the best control, opt for the torque vectoring awd system that can split torque both front/rear and—at the rear—left/right.