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 Volkswagen Eos is a unique all-season convertible with an integrated power panoramic sunroof that sets it apart from all other retractable hardtop convertibles on the market.
The 2013 Eos is powered by a 200-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a six-speed DSG automatic transmission. There are four available trims: Komfort, Sport, Lux, and Executive. Standard features include heated front seats, electronic dual-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped multifunctional steering wheel, SIRIUS satellite radio, and Bluetooth Handsfree wireless connectivity. Safety features include active seat-integrated rollover bars, daytime running lights, electronic stability program, hill hold control, a tire pressure monitoring system, and front and side airbags. Steering linked Bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights are standard on all but the Komfort trim.
For 2013, a new Sport trim has been added to the line-up.
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 Kia Optima continues to offer a strong balance of high standard feature content, excellent design both inside and out, along with the Kia brand’s impressive warranty. Once an also-ran in the midsize sedan segment; the Optima jumped to the head of the class when it was totally revamped two years ago. Powertrain choices include a naturally-aspirated 200-bhp 4-cylinder, or optional 274-bhp turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission. While we love the power of the turbocharged motor, the base engine offers better value and still delivers stout performance. The dashboard has a few cheap-feeling plastic parts here and there, but the overall execution is excellent, so you can overlook these minor flaws. Available in LX, EX and SX trim packages, the 2013 models have only minor trim differences across the range.