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 ATS sedan continues to offer a world-class driving experience. The Cadillac ATS is a lightweight, compact sport sedan with a level of performance, luxury, and sophistication that challenges the competition.
The ATS has a choice of three engines. A 2.5-liter inline-four engine producing 202-hp matched with a six-speed automatic transmission is available with rear-wheel drive. Available with either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive a 272-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four and a 321-hp 3.6-liter V6 engine are also paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed manual is available with the 2.0-liter turbo and rear-wheel drive. Standard features include eight airbags, a Bose speaker system, sport suspension, and LED lighting for the gauges. Available features include Brembo front brakes, HD radio, Bose 10-speaker surround sound, CUE - Cadillac User Experience technology with an eight-inch LCD touchscreen, navigation, Magnetic Ride Control, and a wide range of new safety features to help prevent crashes.
The Suzuki SX4 is a small five-door crossover or four-door sedan. Sporty and versatile the SX4 has attractive looks and great value.
The crossover/sportback is available in Base, Premium, and Tech Valu Pkg trims in front-wheel or Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive (I-AWD). The sedan is available with front-wheel drive and comes in LE, LE Popular, and Sport SE trims. The SX4 is powered by a 150-hp 2.0-liter all-aluminum four-cylinder engine matched with a six-speed manual transmission. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is optional. Standard features include front, rear, side-impact and side-curtain airbags. Electronic Stability and traction control programs are standard equipment. Sport SE and Tech Valu models include a navigation system. Also available is Bluetooth, automatic climate control, sport pedals, and heated outside mirrors. Sedan models come with 17-inch alloy wheels and upgraded shocks.
Hybrids generate considerable interest among new-car shoppers seeking maximum mpg. Yet the added cost of hybrid technology can make it difficult to justify the expense. Insight to the rescue! Honda's affordable 5-door hybrid carries EPA ratings of 41 mpg city/44 mpg highway. Last year's upgrades included a minor facelift, improved fuel economy, revised gauges and increased rear leg and head room. The Insight employs Honda's Integrated Motor Assist technology combining a 1.3-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine with a 10-kW electric motor for 98 hp. The base model is fitted with a 160-watt audio system, automatic climate control, keyless entry and Eco Assist. Paddle shifters for the standard Continuously Variable Transmission are an EX exclusive.