With a bushel full of crossover vehicles on the market, the buyer has a wide range of choices. The Mazda CX-9 should be at the top of the list as it is reasonably priced, good looking, carries seven people and can be had with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. There are three models in the lineup: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. The only engine is Mazda's 3.7-liter dohc V-6 with variable valve timing. It pumps out a healthy 273 bhp and 270 lb.-ft. of torque, which enables towing loads of 3500 lb. Interior fitments are well done and features include climate control, Bluetooth phone capability and Sirius satellite radio. All in all, the CX-9 offers the utility of a minivan but without the stigma.
There's a name for cars like the Mazdaspeed3: pocket-rocket. This refers to a compact-size car that provides more driving excitement than you can imagine. The 4-cylinder MZR 2.3-liter engine pumps out 263 bhp and 280-lb.-ft. of torque thanks to a responsive turbocharger. It's largely a carryover model for 2013 but has some changes, including 18-in. gunmetal alloy wheels, black outside mirrors, rear roof spoiler and rear lower valance. Inside for 2013, there is a Technology Package including a 5.8-in. full-color touchscreen nav system, HD radio, Pandora audio application, SMS text message audio delivery and voice reply. The Mazdaspeed3 is a 5-door with its large opening rear hatch that makes it easy to take your adventure gear with you. But the real adventure is in the driving!
The Audi R8 is the company's first mid-engine super car. It is designed with extreme performance in mind and with other high end sports cars in its sights.
The R8 is available as a coupe or Spyder and is powered by one of three engines, a 430-hp 4.2-liter V-8, a 5.2-liter V-10 making 525-hp or a 550-hp version of the V-10 is available in the V10 plus coupe trim only. A full-time quattro all-wheel drive system puts that power to the ground and a choice between either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed S tronic automated sequential manual transmission give the driver full control. Standard features include satellite radio, automatic climate control, 19-inch alloy wheels, and full LED headlights. Some of the available options include a rearview camera, navigation system, carbon ceramic brakes (standard on V10 plus) and a Bang & Olufsen audio system.
For 2014, the R8 returns with refreshed styling inside and out after skipping the 2013 model year.
The XK combines Jaguar's new modern design style with traditional luxury car touches like genuine wood and supple leather.
Available as a coupe or convertible, the XK packs a 385-hp 5.0-liter V8 engine. The XKR features a 510-hp 5.0-liter supercharged V8. A special-order only, XKR-S uses a 550-hp 5.0-liter supercharged V8. A six-speed automatic transmission with console mounted rotary shifter and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters channels all that power to the rear wheels. Standard equipment includes touch screen navigation, keyless entry with keyless start, a seven-inch video display, Bluetooth, front and rear park assist with rear camera, and electronic parking brake. The XKR-S adds forged wheels, aerodynamic enhancements, and race inspired seats.
The Fit EV is the first battery electric vehicle from Honda, giving customers another choice in the burgeoning electric car class.
The Fit EV is powered by a 123-hp AC synchronous motor that drives the front wheels. A 20 kWh lithium-ion battery pack provides an estimated 82 mile range and can be charged in as little as 3 hours with a dedicated 240V charger. Standard safety features include six airbags, electronic stability and traction control, a security system, four-wheel anti-lock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution, LED brakelights, tire pressure monitoring and daytime running lights. A navigation system with traffic and charge-station mapping is standard, along with automatic climate control, HondaLink EV smartphone integration, Bluetooth, rearview camera, and plant-based bio-fabric trimmed seats.
The Fit EV is new for 2013 and will be available in limited numbers for lease in California and Oregon starting in the summer of 2012.