Built in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the new VW Passat is a bona fide competitor for the likes of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. It’s super roomy inside, especially in back, and there’s a choice of three engines: a 2.5-liter 5-cylinder with 177 bhp, a 2.0-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder with 140 bhp and VW’s 3.6-liter VR6 with 280. Don’t be fooled by the diesel’s low bhp; this oil-burner has lots of torque, and although it does not make this new Passat exceptionally quick, it’s very efficient, able to squeeze 43 miles out of a gallon of diesel fuel when mated to the 6-speed manual transmission. If you value luxury over efficiency, get the 3.6 SEL Premium, which has leather, keyless entry, navigation, power seats and interior chrome accents.
The 2014 F-TYPE is an all-new, two-seat, Jaguar sports car. It represents the company's return to the full-size sports car segment, focusing on performance, agility and driver involvement.
Three models are available, the F-TYPE, F-TYPE S and F-TYPE V8 S. They are powered respectively by a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 in 340-hp and 380-hp outputs and a 5.0-liter supercharged V8, producing 495-hp. All engines are backed by an eight-speed 'Quickshift' transmission with full manual sequential control through either the SportShift selector or steering wheel-mounted paddles. Features across the F-TYPE lineup include Intelligent Stop/Start, sport suspension, Jaguar Smart Key with keyless start, automatic Bi-Xenon HID headlights with dynamic leveling, leather and Suedecloth seating surfaces, 380-watt Meridian audio system, and eight-inch touch-screen. Moving up the F-TYPE range adds additional performance features such as Adaptive Dynamics (variable damping), limited slip or electronic active rear differentials, active sport exhaust, increased wheel sizes and higher performance braking systems.
If the 200 isn't the best example of how a Fiat-backed Chrysler can breathe life into dying models, we don't know what is. No Chrysler model needed an overhaul as much as the old Sebring did; its clunky exterior, low-rent interior, and subpar ride and handling won it no friends outside the rental-car lot. Its transformation into the 200 may not suddenly result in a class-leading mid-size sedan or convertible, but it is impressive nonetheless. The 200 sedan finally received the powertrain, chassis tuning, and styling it originally deserved. The base 2.4-liter four-cylinder is still a bit sluggish, but the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 shines, delivering a healthy amount of pep. We've liked the Pentastar V-6 in other applications -- such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Dodge Charger -- saying that it "has plenty of power" in the Jeep.
The 200 convertible -- with your choice of fabric or metal folding roof -- remains part of the 200 portfolio; although it feels a bit soft and prone to cowl shake, it is one of the few reasonably priced droptops capable of comfortably seating four passengers. Better yet, it received the suspension upgrades applied to the 200 sedan for 2013, greatly improving ride quality. Is the 200 automotive perfection? No, but it's proof positive that it's possible to transform an ugly duckling into quite an attractive and affordable swan. Given what Chrysler was able to do transforming the Sebring into the 200, we're very hopeful about the all-new 2015 model.
There are a lot of reasons why midsize sports sedans are so popular. The right size. The right price. The right choices. Whether you want a high-end commuter or a tire-smoking hooligan, rear- or all-wheel drive, Lexus has you covered with its IS lineup. Standard is a leather-trimmed interior with 10-way power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, SmartAccess keyless entry with pushbutton start and a power moonroof. Want power as well as panache? The IS F (photo) delivers with the time-honored hot rodder’s recipe of a big engine in a small car: A 5.0-liter V-8 thumping to the tune of 416 bhp. Or maybe you prefer the casual cruise, in which case, the IS 350C convertible fills the bill with a retractable hardtop and a choice of 2.5- or 3.5-liter V-6.
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.