Toyota's curvaceous crossover now comes in a choice of three trim levels. The LE replaces the former base model while gaining standard heated mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer. Moving up to the midrange XLE adds leather trim, Smart Key with push-button start, a backup camera and power tailgate. Carryover 2.7-liter 4-cylinder and 3.5-liter V-6 engines team with front- or all-wheel drive. The flagship Limited V-6 has standard navigation, panoramic sunroof, JBL Synthesis sound with satellite radio, USB/iPod port and Bluetooth streaming audio. Option packages enable these features to be added to the XLE. Designed at Toyota's Calty Southern California studios, the Venza continues to deliver a smooth, carlike ride with SUV-style cargo capacity.
The FJ Cruiser has fun written all over it. Retro styling evokes Toyota's legendary FJ40 from the halcyon days of the 1960s. This thoroughly modern edition is built atop a shortened 4Runner frame employing a 4.0-liter V-6 and 5-speed automatic transmission with 4x2 or part-time 4x4. Selecting the 6-speed manual gearbox nets full-time awd with a locking center differential. The FJ's clamshell side doors aid rear seat access. A Trail Teams Special Edition, now offered in Radiant Red, features Bilstein shocks, Active Traction Control, 10-speaker JBL sound, floating ball multi-information display and unique cabin trim. Convenience, Upgrade, Off-Road and TRD packages along with individual options enable buyers to build the FJ of their dreams.
The Ford Flex is a full-size family vehicle that features three-rows of seating, bold styling and is highly functional. The Flex competes directly in the popular crossover segment.
The front-wheel or all-wheel drive Flex is powered by a 285-hp 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6 engine. Available on the all-wheel drive Limited only is the 355-hp 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 engine. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift. Available features include a Multi-Panel Vista Roof, interior refrigerator, and capless fueling. Standard safety features include four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock brakes, electronic stability and roll control, six airbags, and a tire pressure monitor.
After a 2013 refresh, the Flex rolls into 2014 unchanged.
Although new to our shores, the compact i has served the Japanese very well. And while they can get the i in either gas or electric configurations, only the EV will be available here. To pass safety regulations, the 4-seater was widened, which has the benefit of increased interior room. Fold down the split rear seats and you have about 50 cu. ft. of cargo volume. A full charge of the 16kWh lithium-ion battery takes about seven hours using the optional level 2 charge port. The standard 110-volt, level 1 charger will take over 22 hours. The ES and SE trim level cars can be outfitted with a level 3 quick charger. The Premium Package on the SE comes with a navigation system, a rear camera, steering wheel audio controls and the aforementioned quick-charge port. Range is a respectable 62 miles when fully charged.
The Lancer is Mitsubishi's answer to the compact segment, and with numerous trim levels, there's sure to be one that interests you. Starting from the bottom, the DE model returns unchanged, but the ES features new interior fabrics and 16-in. wheel covers. The SE sedan will come equipped with all-wheel drive and the race-proven All-Wheel-Control system. Top-level GTS models get a name change; they'll now be called GT, and they are fitted with Ralliart front fascia, new 18-in. alloy wheels and interior fabrics, soft-touch door trim and instrument panel trim. The Evo GSR, Mitsubishi's turbocharged all-wheel-drive top-level sports sedan, gets an upshift light in the instrument panel, while the MR will let you know when you're driving economically with an Eco light.