The iconic Volkswagen GTI was arguably the first "hot hatch" when VW made a small hatchback fun to drive, now in its sixth generation, the GTI still lives up to the original's sporting intentions.
The GTI is available as a four-door, with a 210-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and the choice of a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed Direct Shift Gearbox, (DSG), which allows the driver to shift sequentially, without doing the clutch work, via paddles on the steering wheel or the shift lever itself. An extensive list of standard equipment is included, features such as well-bolstered cloth sport seats with plaid inserts, halogen fog lamps, alloy pedals, SIRIUS satellite radio, 18-inch performance tires on alloy wheels, sport suspension, six airbags, tire pressure monitoring, an 8-speaker touch-screen audio system, Bluetooth and a multi-function leather steering wheel.
For 2014, the GTI overall is unchanged. The Wolfsburg Edition and Drivers Edition are the only two trims available.
If you're on a tight budget, you can probably find a Nissan Sentra that will fit your lifestyle. Rather conservative are we? There's the basic 2.0, 2.0 S, SR or SL versions, the initials moving you up from plain-Jane and cloth seats to leather upholstery and a Nav system. Engine? A 140-bhp 2.0-liter four and 6-speed manual or CVT. Ready to step out a bit more? Go with the SE-R and its 177-bhp 2.5-liter and the same transmission choices, plus specific sport seats and added gauges. Just looking for wheels until you can afford that GT-R? Try the Sentra SE-R Spec V. Now your only choice is a 6-speed, but it would be our choice anyway. Along with that come great-looking alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension and you've barely broken $20,600.
What’s most important is the fact there is a Saab in 2011. Sold by giant General Motors to tiny Spyker, the Swedish automaker carries on with minor changes to the 9-3, like standard XM radio on all models and minor revisions to the optional equipment packages. We’re told there will be a Griffin edition come 2012 and a new 9-3 in 2013. We still have six 9-3 models, all powered by the 210-bhp turbo 2.0-liter four with 221 lb.-ft. of torque. Transmissions include 5- and 6-speed automatics and a 6-speed manual. The six models are the sedan in standard form with front- or all-wheel drive, the cool Aero package on those platforms and then the convertible as an Aero or non-Aero Saab.
The Ford Flex is a full-size family vehicle that features three-rows of seating, bold styling and is highly functional. The Flex competes directly in the popular crossover segment.
The front-wheel or all-wheel drive Flex is powered by a 285-hp 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6 engine. Available on the all-wheel drive Limited only is the 355-hp 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 engine. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift. Available features include a Multi-Panel Vista Roof, interior refrigerator, and capless fueling. Standard safety features include four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock brakes, electronic stability and roll control, six airbags, and a tire pressure monitor.
After a 2013 refresh, the Flex rolls into 2014 unchanged.
Perhaps its rounded, space-pod styling is an acquired taste, but the EX37 5-seat crossover—based on the G37's FM platform— tempts with an appealing blend of taut carlike handling, luxury and utility. Its new designation reflects its new 325- bhp 3.7-liter V-6 (previously a 3.5-liter) that's paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission in both rear- and all-wheeldrive versions. The base vehicle isn't exactly for paupers, with standard leather seating, keyless ignition and 18-in. alloy wheels. Opt for the Journey model and standard equipment includes a power tinted moonroof, Bluetooth phone and power tilt/telescope steering column. A slew of optional safety systems can be had, including Blind Spot Warning and Lane Departure Prevention.