Ford's E-Series is utilitarian and ubiquitous. Depending on configuration— and there are many—it can tow up to 10,000 lb., carry up to 3920 lb., or seat up to 15 passengers, and has been the king of the full-size van market for an amazing 33 years. That reign may end soon, though, as the some of the E-Series models may bow out in favor of the new full-size Ford Transit. Until then, the E-Series continues to offer van or wagon (side window) variants, regular- and extendedlength wheelbases, two V-8s or a 6.8-liter V-10, as well as optional preparation for propane or natural gas conversion. This is not just a box on wheels as Ford offers proprietary technology such as Sync hands-free connectivity and the "Crew Chief" telematics system.
We all know the Super Duty is a rugged workaholic but, this year, Ford gussies it up for a night on the town with an available new Platinum series that will exceed even the Lariat and King Ranch for upscale content. It's available in Crew Cab only, and powered by either a 6.2- liter sohc gasoline engine or the amazingly quiet 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel. The Platinum has unique exterior touches like a perforated satin-chrome mesh grille and 20-in. polished aluminum wheels. Inside are 10-way-power leather captain's chairs, a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a navigation system viewed on the 8-in. screen of MyFord Touch, which is new throughout the Super Duty lineup and optimized even for users who may be wearing work gloves.
The Mustang may be retro inspired, but it remains one of the most widely recognized, respected, and desired nameplates in the automobile business. Today's Mustang still delivers the bold styling, rear-drive performance and affordability that have been Mustang hallmarks for decades.
The Mustang is available either as a coupe or convertible. Each is available with a 305-hp 3.7-liter V6 or a 420-hp 5.0-liter V8 engine. A six-speed manual transmission is standard; a six-speed automatic is optional. A 302 Boss coupe with a 444-hp 5.0-liter V8 and six-speed manual transmission is also available. Standard safety features include electronic stability control, traction control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, side-impact airbags and sequential LED sequential tail lamps. The Mustang can be equipped with alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated power leather seats, satellite radio, navigation system and more.
The Honda Fit distinguishes itself from all other subcompacts with its impressive practicality thanks to four-door hatchback versatility and ingenious interior packaging.
The Fit offers five-passenger seating and a unique second-row "Magic Seat" that either folds flat with the cargo floor, or flips up to carry tall items behind the first row of seats. The Fit is available in two trim levels, base and Sport, both are powered by a 117-hp 1.5-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder engine with front-wheel drive and a choice of a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic. The Sport gets steering wheel mounted paddle shifters when equipped with the automatic transmission. Standard safety features include six airbags, security system, four-wheel anti-lock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution. The Sport adds many niceties such as alloy wheels, fog lights, leather steering wheel, and keyless entry. A navigation system is optional on the Sport.
With the Mini range expanding to a new 2-seater and a 4-door all-wheel-drive family hauler, it's beginning to look more like old times again (remember the Mini Pickup Truck?). But truthfully, it's the core vehicle that carries the brand, the Cooper Hardtop, which is still one of the best front-drive cars money can buy. With its surprisingly affordable entry price, the Mini impresses with its build quality and fuel economy you'll get from the standard Cooper's 1.6-liter 4-cylinder. The fun starts, however, at the 181-bhp turbo Cooper S, and gets addictive should you choose to go the 208-bhp John Cooper Works route. The cargo-friendly Clubman and open-air Convertible can be had in all three trims too, but the posh, $52,000 Goodwood special edition (co-developed with Rolls-Royce) is reserved just for the original.