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 BMW 428i is the latest addition to the ever growing vehicle line-up from Munich. Formerly the 328i coupe, the new 4-series looks to separate itself from the 3-series sedan on which it is based by offering more aggressive styling and sportier driving.
The 428i is available in rear- or xDrive all-wheel drive and is powered by a 240-hp 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder mated to a six-speed manual transmission (RWD only) or an eight-speed automatic. Standard safety features include eight airbags, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with adaptive brakelights, traction and stability control, active anti-whiplash head restraints, and BMW Assist eCall which includes emergency request and automatic collision notification. BMW's Air Curtain, auto stop-start, and Brake Energy Regeneration alternator help to make the 428i more efficient.
The Hyundai Elantra is a compact car with handsome styling and nice lines. It has excellent interior space and standard safety equipment.
The Elantra is available in Sedan and Coupe body styles. Both body styles have seating for five and class-topping cargo capacity. One engine is offered; a 148-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder. A six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic with SHIFTRONIC are available. Standard safety features include four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, electronic stability control with traction control and six airbags. Available features include a power sunroof, turn signal equipped exterior mirrors, 17-inch aluminum wheels, heated front and rear seats, leather seating surfaces, satellite radio, navigation, Bluetooth and more.
A Coupe variant has been added to the Elantra line-up for 2013. The sedan GLS trim now sports 16-inch wheels and tires, cruise control, air-conditioning and a telescoping steering wheel. The sedan Limited trim gains a power driver seat with lumbar.
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.
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.