The late Carroll Shelby told us once that the biggest thing he would change about the auto industry would be to convert all cars to run on compressed natural gas (CNG), simply because there's much more of it than oil. The latest heavy-duty version of GMC's Sierra is equipped to use CNG or gasoline with a 6.0-liter V-8, and since these trucks get regular workouts by fleets, they have easy access to CNG fuel stations. New last year, the sturdiest Sierras are available with GM's highly refined 6.6-liter turbodiesel V-8, with a range of 680 miles and it's rated for B20 biodiesel. With proper towing equipment, the 3500 HD model can tow 18,000 lb. with a rear frame hitch or 23,100 lb. with a fifth-wheel setup. Tenfour, good buddy.
The Fit is 3-ft. shorter than Honda’s Crosstour, yet it offers more cargo space thanks to its tall profile and cab-forward styling. Changes for 2012 include a standard security system and body color mirrors for the base model. The Fit Sport gains a new grille, black headlight bezels, machine-surface 16-in. alloys and steering wheel audio controls. Bluetooth now comes with the Sport’s optional navigation system. The Fit’s fuel-sipping 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine mates with 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmissions with paddle shifters on the Sport. Versatile rear Magic Seats can be configured to carry mountain bikes or tall houseplants. A new Fit EV pure electric vehicle with lithium-ion batteries joins the line later in the year.
The GMC Terrain is a boldly styled five-passenger crossover SUV engineered with excellent fuel economy and passenger comfort in mind, offering best in class second row leg room. A long wheelbase and wide tracks contribute to car-like ride and handling traits while reducing body roll for a safe, stable driving experience.
The Terrain is offered in SLE, SLT and Denali trim levels as well as in front-wheel or all-wheel drive. It is powered by either a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 182-hp, or a 3.6-liter V6 engine with 301-hp. Both all-aluminum engines include direct injection and are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that helps to maximize efficiency. Standard safety features include four-wheel anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control systems, six airbags, OnStar, tire pressure monitoring and a security system. Available features include forward collision alert, lane departure warning, rear park assist, power liftgate, remote vehicle start, InteliLink, rear entertainment system and seven-inch touch screen navigation system.
For 2014, the Terrain carries over with minimal changes that include new 17 and 18-inch wheels.
The smallest car in Subaru lineup, the Impreza has been Subaru's mainstay for many years. And thanks to its standard all-wheel drive and rally racing heritage, it's garnered a strong fan base; it's on the list of must-have import car driving experiences. Available in either 4- or 5-door body styles, it comes with a new 2.0-liter flat-4 engine that features better gas mileage and decent power thanks to variable valve timing. While overall size is the same, an extra inch of wheelbase brings interior room up by a couple of cubic feet, very desirable in the small-car category. And just because the Impreza is the bargain of the bunch doesn't mean it doesn't come with tech features. Optional features include Bluetooth and satellite navigation.
Nissan's Quest is so new that it enters 2012 with no changes. There is already plenty to work with if you're in the minivan market. The Nissan has a bold "face" and is boxy, which is appropriate to minivans. Like any good people-hauler, the interior is quite flexible, making it a place to haul the family or cargo. The easy fold-flat second- and third-row seats see to that, and the third row folds forward so there's no need to stow it. The standard and optional equipment list is extensive, some obvious, such as the one-touch power sliding doors. Others are just simply great ideas, like the Advanced Climate Control system that reduces allergens and bad smells. Or the fill alert that beeps the horn when you've inflated the tires properly.