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 Avalon is Toyota's flagship passenger car, with quality craftsmanship and dynamic styling that make it a desirable choice among full-size sedans.
The front-wheel drive Avalon is available in four trim levels: XLE, Premium, Touring and Limited. All are powered by a 268-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode. All trims feature heated exterior mirrors, automatic headlamps, heated leather seats, wood-grain style interior trim, automatic climate control, steering wheel audio controls, Bluetooth wireless audio streaming and phone connectivity, cruise control, Smart Key, and a leather wrapped steering wheel. Safety features include anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist, vehicle stability and traction control systems, front and rear side-impact airbags, overhead curtain airbags for front and rear occupants, a driver-side knee airbag and active anti-whiplash front head restraints. Entune, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alerts, Safety Connect, rain-sensing wipers, three-zone automatic climate control, dynamic radar cruise control, eBin, pre-collision system and a rear camera parking aid are available high-tech features.
The Toyota Avalon was redesigned inside and out for the 2013 model year. Designers developed the concept in the US leaving nothing untouched in their quest for modern sophistication.
Introduced in 2006, Hyundai’s minivan sees little change for 2008 save for a few minor interior package changes (optional power equipment package with dual power side doors, back-up warning system, audio controls on the steering wheel, etc.) and the availability of Bluetooth phone connectivity. The Entourage comes with thoughtful standard features: three-zone climate control with dual driver/front-passenger settings for all three seating sections and heated side mirrors. Active front head restraints are part of the safety fare. The 3.8-liter V-6 produces an impressive 250 bhp in a fairly quiet if workmanlike manner, its 5-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and allows drivers to manually toggle through the gears via the gear selection lever, thanks to Hyundai’s Shiftronic setup.
The rear-wheel drive Boxster is offered in two trim levels: Base and S. The Base is powered by a 265-hp 2.7-liter flat six-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection, while the S boasts a 315-hp 3.4-liter flat six-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection. Both are mated to a six-speed manual transmission; Porsche's PDK seven-speed double-clutch gearbox, including manual shift mode and steering wheel paddles, is optional. The Boxster is equipped with a power retractable rear spoiler, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED tail lamps, Alcantara/leatherette upholstery, air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and a CDR-31 audio system, including MP3-compatible CD player and universal audio interface; S trim adds 19-inch alloy wheels, Bi-Xenon headlights, and an upgraded sound system. Standard safety features on both trims include Porsche Stability Management (PSM), ventilated four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist, front and side seat-mounted airbags with a curtain airbag for head protection, and fixed roll-over protection bars.
The Porsche Boxster has been redesigned for 2013, with an all new lightweight body, and improved chassis. The interior is refreshed, and features an elevated center console. This modern Boxster has a longer wheelbase, a wider track, is more agile, and fuel-efficient.
The Ford Explorer has long been one of the best-selling SUVs in the market. A capable tow vehicle and off-roader, it also offers the generous interior space, comfort features and safety technologies necessary for day-to-day tasks.
The 7-passenger Explorer is available in both front- and four-wheel drive configurations, with a choice of four trim levels: Base, XLT, Sport and Limited. A 290-hp 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6 engine is standard on Base, XLT and Limited trims, with the Sport boasting a 365-hp 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6; both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual mode. The 4x4 models get a user-friendly terrain management system, while an efficient 237-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged Ecoboost four-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection is available for FWD models. Explorer Base trims are well-equipped with 17-inch wheels, air conditioning, cruise control, MP3 capability and MyFord driver connect technology; XLT trims add 18-inch aluminum wheels, fog lamps and a reverse sensing system, along with a USB port, satellite radio and the SYNC communications and entertainment system. Sport trims are further outfitted with a sport suspension, 20-inch aluminum wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, leather upholstery, HD radio and a rearview camera, while the Limited deletes the sport suspension but adds power-folding exterior mirrors, heated rear seats, a garage door opener and Intelligent Access with push-button start. Standard safety features consist of AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control and Curve Control function, traction control, anti-lock disc brakes and a tire pressure monitor, as well as Ford's MyKey owner control feature and seven airbags. Industry-first second-row inflatable seatbelts are available on XLT and Limited models, packaged with a Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with cross-traffic alert; additional options include Lane Departure Warning & Lane Keep Assist, Active Park Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Warning.
The Ford Explorer carries over with minimal changes for 2014. Fully automatic headlamps are now standard on all trim levels, while rear heated seats are added to the Limited, and both the Limited and Sport trims get HD radio.