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.
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.
The soft interior materials are of a high quality all around, as should be expected in any car with this price. They've always been good with Acura. Premium Milano leather is standard for the first two rows, while satin and simulated wood-grain trim accents the cabin. The steering wheel is stitched leather.
The instrumentation is well laid out, and the display screen is shaded and easy to read. The gauges are beautifully backlit with LED lighting, while LED lamps with programmable brightness are used on the center console and front foot wells.
One major change and improvement for 2014 is the center stack, now with 9 buttons where there used to be 41. The layout saves significant space, now used for storage forward of the shift lever.
Center console storage space has more than doubled in size, thanks to repackaging of the HVAC system; it's under a sliding leather armrest. It can easily hold a purse and tablet computer, maybe both. Big SUVs and pickup trucks have center consoles like this, but not many luxury crossovers.
Front seats are on the roomy side, we'd prefer more bolstering, especially with a car that boasts Super Handling. And the A-pillar gets in the way of forward and downward visibility.
All three rows of seats are more than one inch lower, which not only improves ingress and egress, but reduces body roll. Except in the case of the driver, you'll want to crank the seat up so it gives that command-of-the-road position of a big SUV.
The longer wheelbase and more compact rear suspension allow for entry to the rear seats that's 4.5 inches wider, and 1.8 inches lower at step-in when compared with pre-2014 MDX models. It's a relative delight to get in and out. The second-row seatbacks have five reclining positions, and six inches of travel to make maximum legroom; snooze time on road trips.
The second row flops down with a touch of one button located in three places, so it couldn't be much easier to reach the third row. Acura calls it One-Touch-Walk-In, and it is.
The word "enduring" takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to the 911, Porsche's timeless tourer, now in its seventh generation. All new from the ground up, the so-called Type 991 is longer, lower and lighter with a wider front track and styling that is sleeker and more pronounced. The base model, which rides on 19-in. wheels, is powered by a new 3.4-liter 350-bhp flat-6 coupled to a unique 7-speed manual transmission. It's standard along with ABS and a host of handling/stability features. Riding on 20-inchers, the S, using the existing engine now rated at 400 bhp, does 188 mph. Like the base 911, it's similarly (and generously) equipped. But options abound and can add thousands to the Monroney sticker price.
R&T Overview:The SLR McLaren is dead; long live the SLS AMG. A pitch-perfect update of the original 300SL, this stunning gullwing coupe includes AMG’s best, including a 571-bhp 6.2-liter V-8 and 7-speed dual-clutch transaxle. From there, the specs get more racer-like: aluminum space-frame chassis with double-wishbone suspension, carbon-fiber driveshaft, and ceramic brakes with 15.4-in. front/ and 14.2-in. rear rotors. The interior cossets driver and passenger in form-fitting, magnesium-frame sport seats, in an aircraft-quality cockpit that offers Designo leather, Bang & Olufsen stereo and Keyless-Go as options. It’s enough to make the $185K price tag seem a bargain.