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.
While the box-on-box Flex styling has both fans and detractors, no one can question the commodious versatility of this fwd or awd 3-row crossover. Once behind the wheel, any visual quirkiness is forgotten, thanks to unexpectedly crisp handling and power that is surely adequate in the case of the base 3.5-liter V-6, or terrific if the 355-bhp twin-turbo Eco- Boost V-6 is underhood, an option that requires all-wheel drive. Despite such thrust and a wonderfully broad torque curve, the EcoBoost surrenders only 1 mpg in comparison to the standard 262- bhp V-6 in awd form. Active and passive safety gear is abundant, and here's something the neighbors will have trouble matching: An optional refrigerated console between second-row captain's chairs.
The Jaguar XF is a four-door luxury sport sedan with an appealing exterior, top class interior, and premium technology. With a new and diverse powertrain lineup for 2013, the XF will definitely have appeal to a larger section of the automotive market.
The revised 2013 XF lineup includes four models: I4 T, V6 SC, Supercharged, and XFR. It is available in either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive for 2013 with the new V6 SC all-wheel drive model. The I4 T features a new 2.0-liter 240-hp turbocharged I4 engine, while the V6 SC comes with a new 3.0-liter 340-hp supercharged V6. The Supercharged version features a 5.0-liter 470-hp supercharged V8 and the top model XFR is powered by the same supercharged V8, but produces 510-hp. All models are connected to an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission, featuring the unique JaguarDrive Selector rotary gear selector and Jaguar Sequential Shift paddles. Intelligent Stop-Start is also added to all powertrains except for the I4 turbo. Safety features for all models include dual-stage front, seat-mounted side and side-impact curtain airbags, dynamic stability control, active head restraints, and a tire pressure monitoring system.
The 2013 Jaguar XF has undergone some significant changes with a new powertrain lineup featuring two new engines and a new eight-speed transmission, as well as an all-wheel drive model. Intelligent Stop-Start has also been added to all powertrains except for the I4 turbo and the Portfolio trim has been turned into a package.
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.
The Versa Note fills the 5-door hatchback slot in Nissan's line-up and brings sharp styling and unique technologies to the sub-compact class.
The Versa Note is front-wheel drive and is powered by a 109-hp 1.6-liter four cylinder engine mated to either a five-speed manual or Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). Safety comes from six standard airbags, front seat-belt pretensioners, engine immobilizer, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability and traction control. A rear view camera is available, as is a surround view monitor system, part of an SL Tech package that includes a touch-screen navigation system, Bluetooth streaming audio and NissanConnect which provides Google functionality as well as real-time fuel, flight and weather information.