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 5 Series may be the middle child in BMW’s lineup, but it doesn’t suffer from the always-forgotten middle-child syndrome—situated between the smallish 3 and gigantic 7, these sedans and wagons offer just-right sizing. The 528i starts things off with a 3.0-liter 230-bhp inline-6 that works hard to move the 5’s 3500-lb. mass. Things pick up with the twin-turbo 535i, which, although less powerful than the 360-bhp V-8 550i, handles better due to its almost 300 lb. lighter curb weight. All-out performance junkies should look to the legendary M5 and its 500-bhp
V-10. Although the 2010 5 Series is carry-
over (save for an upgrade to the latest 7-button iDrive system), an all-new 5 Series will arrive in the second quarter of 2010 as a 2011 model.
The Toyota Corolla is a front-wheel drive five-passenger compact sedan, well-known for being reliable and economical, yet refined and comfortable. For 2014 the all-new 11th generation Corolla is distinguished by a new exterior design, an upgraded interior with more passenger room, and a new continuously variable transmission (CVTi-S).
The Corolla is available in four trims: L, LE, S, and new LE ECO. The powertrain for the L, LE, and S trims is a 132 horsepower, 1.8-liter dual VVT-I engine, matched with a six-speed manual, four-speed automatic, or new continuously variable transmission (CVTi-S). The LE ECO includes a 140 horsepower, 1.8-liter engine with Valvematic, combined with the CVTi-S transmission. Safety features include front, side-impact, side-curtain, and new drivers knee airbags, ABS with brake assist, and whiplash protecting front seat active head restraints. Air conditioning and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with Traction Control are also standard on all models. All Corollas now include LED headlamps, Bluetooth, a USB port, and power windows. Available features include cruise control, 16-inch wheels, tilt-and-slide power moonroof, Entune Audio, backup monitor, navigation, and leather.
The 5 Series GT receives little change aside from a shuffled option package and a body kit. The somewhat odd 5 GT fits in the BMW lineup just above a 5 and below a 7. It's closer to a 7 as denoted by their shared wheelbases. Drivetrain options consist of the powerful turbo engines mated to an 8-speed automatic with all-wheel drive optional for both. As a road-hugging alternative to an SUV, the GT is a logical choice. It impressed us at the test track by sprinting to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. It seems its odd styling is all that holds it back. A new M Sport Package is available and may rejuvenate its look. It adds a sport-tuned exhaust, raises the speed limiter and installs an aero kit for just about $4200.