Perhaps “middle-age Beetle” would be more apt, as the New Beetle is now in its 11th year of production. VW hasn’t exactly lavished lots of attention on the Water Bug during that time, and the same is true for 2010: Changes amount to new colors inside and out. That’s not so terrible, though. VW’s New Beetle remains a cute, perky little coupe (or droptop) with some engaging qualities, from its semi-sporty driving dynamics to its torquey 2.5-liter 150-bhp inline-5. Sadly there’s no DSG transmission option. Otherwise, the rounded front driver remains reasonably well equipped, with ESP stability control, a premium 6-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo and a Cold Weather package. If only all of us could be so desirable in our middle age.
R&T Overview:The Dodge Dakota established the midsize truck market, and continues to pace the pack with a roomy interior layout, 6-ft. 6-in. bed (Extended Cab) and available towing capacity of 7250 lb. Competitively, its relatively high base price puts it at a disadvantage to its market rivals. Offsetting the entry price are more practical pleasures, such as full-swing rear doors, a spacious (if somewhat plebian) interior and the Crate ’N Go collapsible and removable underseat storage system. Continuing with last year’s tightening of trim levels, the 6-speed manual transmission is no more. Three new colors—Stone White, Detonator Yellow and Sunburst Orange—have displaced Bright White, Flame Red and Mango Tango, respectively.
The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart takes the performance attributes of its Italian cousin, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, and infuses it with Dodge design. The front is styled with the unmistakable Dodge split crosshair grille while the rear features an available Charger-inspired"racetrack" full-width taillamp design with 152 indirect glow LEDs. Loaded with innovative technology, class-leading safety features and clever functionality, the Dart sets a new standard in the compact car segment by offering a high level of personalization, roominess, style and fun-to-drive dynamics. The Dart is available in three trims: SE, SXT and Limited. The Rallye Package is built off of the SXT trim. The R/T trim will be available later in the model year.
The standard engine for the SE, SXT and Limited is a 160 horsepower Tigershark 2.0-liter engine combined with a standard 6-speed manual or an optional 6 -speed automatic transmission. A 160 horsepower MultiAir Intercooled Turbo 1.4-liter engine with standard six-speed manual or optional six-speed dual dry clutch (DDCT) transmission (available 3rd quarter 2012) features more torque and is available on SXT and Limited trims. Standard equipment on the SE includes four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, brake assist, brake-lock differential, traction control, electronic stability control with roll mitigation, hill-start assist, ten airbags, a reactive head-restraint system, power windows and projector headlights. The SXT adds power mirrors, power door locks with remote keyless entry, 60-40 rear seats with pass-through, premium cloth seats, front and rear carpet mats, and air conditioning. The Rallye Package includes 17-inch aluminum wheels, body-color crosshair grille with unique black surround, dual chrome exhaust tips, fog lights and unique premium cloth seat trim with accents. The Limited trim features 17-inch aluminum wheels, heated exterior mirrors, chrome crosshair grill with body-color surround, fog lights, power driver's seat, front passenger in-seat cushion storage, cruise control, Uconnect Touch 8.4 touchscreen CD/MP3 stereo, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, ParkView rear backup camera, a 7-inch TFT customizable instrument cluster display and ambient lighting.
Available equipment includes high-intensity discharge remote headlamps; remote start system; proximity keyless entry; Keyless Enter-N-Go push-button start; rain-sensitive wipers; SmartBeam auto-dimming headlamps; ParkSense rear park assist system; blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-path detection system; active grille shutters; underbody aerodynamic treatment, leather seat trim; heated front seats; front passenger in-seat cushion storage; express open/close sunroof; heated steering wheel; dual-zone automatic temperature control; SiriusXM satellite radio; 506-watt Alpine sound system; and a Uconnect Touch 8.4N CD/MP3/Navigation Multimedia Center.
The benchmark Toyota Camry sedan continues its reputation of safety, reliability, and quality into an all-new seventh-generation model.
The Camry is a front-wheel drive, five-passenger, four-door sedan featuring four trims: L, LE, SE, and XLE. A 178-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission are standard. The SE and XLE trims are also available with a 268-hp 3.5-liter V6 and six-speed automatic transmission. Paddle shifters are added to the SE's. Stability and traction control, ten-airbags, anti-lock brakes with brake assist and tire pressure monitor are some of the standard safety equipment. Tech features include Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, garage door opener, rear camera, navigation with touch screen, HD and satellite radio, and the new Entune mobile app and services system.
For 2013, all radios now come standard with a 6.1-inch touch screen audio system with Bluetooth wireless streaming.
Okay, it may look a bit dated, but the Escape lineup--including the petroparsimonious Hybrid--has always received the very latest in Ford safety and convenience technology, and can even parallel park itself, thanks to optional, class-exclusive Active Park Assist. There's an Escape for almost any price point. You can pretty much have it your way, with drivetrain choices ranging from frontdrive 5-speed-manual 2.5-liter I-4 to a silky, flex-fuel V-6 sending 240 bhp to all four wheels via a 6-speed automatic. Or any combination thereof. Plus the aforementioned Hybrid that can run up to 44 mph in full electric mode and is EPA rated at 34 mpg in city driving. But act fast: Expect an all-new 2013 Escape to hit the streets sometime in 2012.