Kia has taken the once so-so Rio subcompact and turned it into a contender in this increasingly crowded marketplace. Right off, you notice the more sporty, sophisticated exterior styling, thanks to new sculpted contours and a posture that makes a 1.6-liter car look fun. Inside, the Rio delivers high marks for its class. The design not only ensures you won’t be bored behind the wheel, the newly extended wheelbase offers expanded passenger room. Fuel economy gets a boost with the 1.6-liter Gasoline Direct Injection engine when equipped with Idle Stop and Go system, which shuts off the engine when the car is at rest. There are three trim models: LX, EX and SX. Unfortunately, for driving aficionados, the 6-speed manual is only available in the LX, while EX and SX get the mandatory 6-speed automatic. Choose the Rio 5-Door hatchback…really.
The Lexus GS has been reinvented as a more expressive luxury sedan, one that places additional emphasis on distinctive design and driving enjoyment. While the new GS450h wears a hybrid badge, this is not your typical fuel-sipper. For starters, this 4-door can hustle down the road. An electric motor coupled to a 3.5-liter V-6 is good for a combined output of 338 bhp. According to Lexus, this is enough to propel the GS450h from 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. Engineering improvements ensure the latest model doesn't sacrifice usability for extra mileage — the battery pack in the previous model noticeably cut into cargo room. Fuel economy is impressive at 29-mpg city/34-mpg highway. The cabin is quiet and comfortable, and you'll be pleasantly surprised at the extra growl Lexus has worked into the exhaust note.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee retains Jeep's legendary off-road prowess while providing many luxurious and technical amenities.
The Grand Cherokee is available in two-wheel and four-wheel drive configuration with five trims levels: Laredo, Limited, Overland, Summit, and SRT8 (four-wheel drive only). All trims (except the SRT8) are powered by a 290-hp 3.6-liter V6. The V6 can be upgraded to a 360-hp 5.7-liter V8, or even a new 240-hp 3.0-liter turbo diesel V6. The SRT8 trim features an exclusive 470-hp 6.4-liter V8 Hemi engine. All trims and engine combinations are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. Both V8 engines feature a Multi-Displacement System (MDS), which seamlessly deactivates four of the eight cylinders depending on engine operating conditions. Adaptive cruise control, dual-pane panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated leather seats, heated steering wheel, power liftgate, rear seat DVD entertainment system, rear parking camera, a multimedia infotainment system with hard drive navigation system, and UConnect wireless connectivity are available. The optional (standard on the 4x4 Overland and Summit) QuadraLift air suspension features full time four corner load leveling and improved off-road performance by increasing ground clearance. Standard safety features include seven airbags, electronic stability control, active font head restraints, brake assist, and tire pressure monitoring.
For 2014, the Jeep Grand Cherokee's interior and exterior receives a significant redesign. The 3.0-liter turbo diesel engine and eight-speed automatic transmission are new additions. Also, more features and advanced technology have been added as well.
The BMW 640i Gran Coupe is the third model in the BMW 6 Series line-up, and is the first four-door Coupe in the history of the brand. The company describes the vehicle as having distinct exterior styling, creating a unique aura, and a luxurious interior.
The rear-wheel drive 640i Gran Coupe is powered by a 315-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged inline 6-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection, and mated to an eight-speed Sport automatic transmission with manual mode and shift paddles. Notable standard equipment includes a sport-tuned suspension, Dynamic Driving Control, 18-inch aluminum wheels, adaptive bi-xenon headlights and Comfort Access keyless entry/start. Inside the well-appointed cabin, which offers 4+1 seating capacity, is high-quality leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control and genuine wood trim. A voice-activated hard drive-based navigation system, including 12 gigabytes of dedicated media storage, HD radio and Bluetooth wireless connectivity are also standard. Safety features include anti-lock brakes, electronic stability and traction control, front and rear parking sensors with rearview camera, active anti-whiplash front head restraints and up to eight airbags. A Driver Assistance Package is available, providing more advanced systems such as lane-departure warning, blind spot detection, head-up display and an automated parking assistant. The 640i Gran Coupe can also be outfitted with active cruise control and night vision, full LED lights and Integral Active Steering.
The BMW 640i Gran Coupe is all-new for 2013
The Dodge Avenger is an attractive midsize sedan, most notably for its sporty features and standard equipment which it typically found in higher class vehicles.
The Dodge Avenger is offered in three trim levels: SE, SXT, and R/T. Two engine choices are offered on the Avenger, a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, or a 3.6-liter flex-fuel V6 engine. Four cylinder engines can be had with either a four-speed automatic transmission, or six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode. The V6 engine is matched to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode. Standard and optional equipment include leather wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, cruise control, LED brake lights, aluminum wheels, multimedia center with 28 gigabytes of internal memory, USB port, and Bluetooth streaming audio. Safety features found on every Avenger include stability and traction control systems, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, active front head restraints, six airbags, tire pressure monitoring and a security system.
For 2013, the lineup has been simplified by removing the SXT Plus trim. The SXT trim now features fully automatic headlights and fog lights as standard equipment.