How do you update an already retro design? You flatten its roof, make it look more masculine and hope the design attracts more male buyers. Longer, lower and wider than the New Beetle, the new Beetle is based on an all-new chassis (related to the Golf's), fitted with either a 170-bhp 2.5-liter 5-cylinder and a 6-speed automatic or the 200-bhp direct-injected 2.0-liter turbo mated to VW's dual-clutch 6-speed automatic. Manual transmissions, says VW, will come at a later date. Also coming later (in 2012) is the super-efficient 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine, which is expected to give this 4-seat front-driver highway fuel economy of 40 mpg. The Beetle Turbo, of note, has multilink rear suspension, whereas the standard Beetle has a twist beam.
The Ford Escape is a mid-size sport-utility vehicle, which now incorporates the latest technology and style; setting a new standard in the SUV category. Completely redesigned for 2013 the Escape features an athletic looking exterior, with a much improved interior.
The five-passenger Escape is available in S, SE, SEL, and Titanium trims, in either front or four-wheel drive. Engine choices start with the 168-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder. Also, a 173-hp 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine is available. For even more power a 237-hp 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine is offered. All variations are paired with a six-speed select-shift automatic transmission. Impressive features offered on the Escape include a Panoramic Vista Roof, satellite radio, SYNC, MyFord Touch, a trailer towing package, heated leather seating, navigation system, auto park with cross traffic alert, Sony audio, MyKey, and an industry first hands-free power liftgate. Standard safety features include seven-airbags with drive knee airbag, passive anti-theft system, AdvanceTrac stability control with anti-rollover technology, four-wheel disc brakes, and tire pressure monitoring.
The Accord is Honda's largest car, offering generous interior space for up to five people wrapped in stylish exterior sheet metal.
The Accord is available either as a two-door coupe or four-door sedan with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder or 3.5-liter V6 engine. Depending on the trim chosen, three transmissions are available: a six-speed manual, a six-speed automatic, or a CVT. Cloth upholstery is standard on all but the EX-L and Touring models, which feature leather seats and a leather-covered steering wheel. Safety is enhanced on all Accords with six standard airbags, including side-impact air bags for front seats and side curtain air bags. Four-wheel disc, anti-lock brakes, Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control, and Brake Assist also come standard. The Accord can be luxuriously equipped with features such as heated power mirrors, power heated front seats, navigation system, LED head and brake lights, lane departure warning and Smart Entry.
The Accord has been completely redesigned for 2013. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder now feature direct injection. Six-speed manual or automatic, and CVT transmission choices replace the previous five-speed units.
The Range Rover is Land Rover's most prestigious offering, a luxury sport utility vehicle with a long history of quality craftsmanship and legendary "go anywhere" off-road prowess. Now in its fourth generation, with highlights that include a lightweight all-aluminum body structure, new suspension design, exterior and interior styling revisions, and a host of innovative standard and optional features.
The five-passenger Range Rover is available in four trim levels: Base, HSE, Supercharged and Autobiography. The Base and HSE are powered by a 340-hp 3.0-liter supercharged V6, while the Supercharged and Autobiography trims boast a 510-hp 5.0-liter supercharged V8. Both powerplants feature direct fuel injection and are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual mode and paddle shifters. Full-time four-wheel drive with Land Rover's acclaimed "Terrain Response" system and an electronic air suspension help tackle a wide range of off-road conditions; Supercharged and Autobiography trims get Dynamic Response and enhanced "Terrain Response 2 Auto" systems. Standard equipment on the Base includes a power liftgate/tailgate, 19-inch aluminum wheels, Xenon headlights, passive entry/start, heated leather seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, hard drive-based navigation and a Meridian sound system, complete with HD/satellite radio, Bluetooth wireless music streaming and DVD audio/video capability; the HSE adds a sliding panoramic roof, 20-inch aluminum wheels, fog lights, auto-dimming exterior mirrors and heated rear seats. Supercharged trims are further outfitted with 21-inch aluminum wheels and enhanced interior trim elements, while the exclusive Autobiography showcases soft-close doors, premium seating with massage function, front and rear climate-controlled seats, an upgraded audio system and integrated rear seat entertainment. Safety features include eight airbags, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, electronic stability control with traction control and roll mitigation, front and rear park assist and tire pressure monitoring. Adaptive front lighting, automatic high beam assist, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, a surround camera system and automated Park Assist are also available (standard on the Autobiography).
Although new to our shores, the compact i has served the Japanese very well. And while they can get the i in either gas or electric configurations, only the EV will be available here. To pass safety regulations, the 4-seater was widened, which has the benefit of increased interior room. Fold down the split rear seats and you have about 50 cu. ft. of cargo volume. A full charge of the 16kWh lithium-ion battery takes about seven hours using the optional level 2 charge port. The standard 110-volt, level 1 charger will take over 22 hours. The ES and SE trim level cars can be outfitted with a level 3 quick charger. The Premium Package on the SE comes with a navigation system, a rear camera, steering wheel audio controls and the aforementioned quick-charge port. Range is a respectable 62 miles when fully charged.