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 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 Buick Verano is a compact luxury sedan, featuring upscale styling, progressive technologies, with comfortable seating for five and a high level of standard equipment.
The front-wheel drive Verano is available in four trim levels: Base, Convenience Group, Leather Group and Premium Group. It is powered by either a 182-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection or a new 250-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine for the premium trim. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual mode and an optional six-speed manual available for the 2.0-liter turbo. Every Verano is outfitted with 18-inch aluminum wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, satellite radio, USB port and Buickâ??s IntelliLink system, which allows smartphone integration and audio streaming through the vehicleâ??s infotainment centre, controlled via a seven-inch LCD touch screen. The Convenience Group adds heated exterior mirrors, an auto-dimming interior rearview mirror, 6-way power driverâ??s seat and rear parking assist. The Leather Group is further equipped with heated front seats, leather upholstery, passive entry/start, upgraded audio and a heated steering wheel while the new Premium Group adds dual exhaust and a flushmount rear spoiler. Standard safety features include 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist, electronic stability and traction control systems, OnStar and a tire pressure monitor, as well as ten airbags.
For 2013 the Buick Verano adds a new trim with the Premium Group that includes a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Also there is a new tech feature available: side blind zone alert with rear cross traffic alert.
The Ford Expedition carries people, hauls gear, tows boats, and pulls campers. When equipped with four-wheel drive, the Expedition will get you there whether the road is dry, wet, snowy, or even when there's hardly any road at all.
For 2014 the Expedition is available in four trims: XL, XLT, Limited, and King Ranch. Every Expedition is powered by a SOHC 5.4-liter V-8 that is rated at 310 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard equipment. It is available with either rear-wheel drive or electronically engaged four-wheel drive. A Class IV trailer hitch and trailer sway control are standard. The Expedition offers towing capacities in the 6000-pound range. Safety equipment includes front and side-impact air bags, three-row head-protection curtain air bags, anti-lock braking, and electronic stability control with anti-rollover technology.
Well, that was quick. The Dodge Durango Hybrid went into production in August, and immediately got caught up in the industrywide collapse of SUV sales fueled by last fall’s high gas prices and economic panic. Consequently, Dodge shuttered the Durango plant in Delaware at the end of 2008. That’s a shame, as the Durango Hybrid package makes a lot of sense, with overall fuel economy improved by 40 percent, according to Dodge. The revised-for-’09 Hemi, when combined with the 2-mode hybrid battery pack, produces 399 bhp. The package comes standard with awd and an electric variable 4-speed automatic. The Durango may be leaving (see your dealer now to get one of the last ones), but the Hemi hybrid powertrain will survive, arriving under the hood of the Dodge Ram pickup in 2010.