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 Sorento is Kia's entry into the cross-over utility vehicle (CUV) segment. The Sorento features unibody construction and a streamlined, modern appearance.
The Sorento is available in front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) in five- or seven-seat configurations. A 191-hp direct-injection 2.4-liter four-cylinder or a 290-hp 3.3-liter V6 are the available engine choices. A six-speed automatic transmission sends power to the wheels. All-speed traction control, stability-control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, overhead curtain airbags, anti-whiplash head restraints and ignition disable are just a few of the standard safety features offered. Alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, steering wheel audio controls, heated front seats, navigation system and a rearview camera are all available.
The Sorento has been significantly refreshed and repackaged for 2014.
The A7 is a captivating five-door Sportback, combining coupe-like styling with the classic luxury of a sedan, then enhancing it with the added versatility of a rear power liftgate. Audi's Drive Select and venerated quattro all-wheel drive system provide dynamic handling, while high-grade materials with excellent fit and finish create an intimate interior environment.
The A7 is offered in one comprehensive Premium Plus trim level. It is powered by either a 310-hp 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine, or a new 240-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 diesel (TDI) engine. Both engines feature direct fuel injection and start/stop technology, and are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual mode. Standard equipment includes a power sunroof, 19-inch aluminum wheels, Xenon plus headlights, LED daytime running lights, heated front seats, leather upholstery, three-zone climate control, Advanced Key passive entry/start, HD/satellite radio, Bluetooth wireless connectivity for phone and audio streaming, and an Audi Music Interface; as well, a MMI voice-activated navigation plus system features real-time traffic information and internal memory for digital media storage, while Audi Connect provides a mobile internet hotspot and smartphone integration. Safety features include electronic stability and traction control systems, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes with brake assist, front/rear parking sensors with rearview camera, and Audi pre sense forward collision mitigation, along with dual front, front side-impact, knee and overhead curtain airbags; rear side-impact airbags are optional. Other available technologies include Audi Side Assist blind spot monitoring, Audi Active Lane Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go functionality, Head Up Display and Night Vision Assistant, including pedestrian detection.
The Audi A7 carries over with minor changes for 2014. It now features a 5-passenger seating configuration, while new standard equipment includes 19-inch aluminum wheels, HD radio, Advanced Key, voice-activated navigation and Audi Connect. Additionally, a new TDI model debuts.
The Honda Odyssey is considered by many to be the gold standard in minivans. It's refined design with creative storage solutions, and spirited driving dynamics make it stand-out year after year.
The Odyssey is available in five trims: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring and Touring Elite. All trims use a 248-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine that features Honda's variable cylinder management system (VCM), which allows the V6 engine to switch among three, four, and six cylinders to increase fuel efficiency. The interior features a third-row Magic Seat that folds into the floor. Maximum seating capacity for the Odyssey is eight passengers. Safety features such as side-impact and curtain airbags, four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system are standard on all models. Luxury features such as leather trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, navigation and entertainment system are all available.
The 2013 Odyssey is now standard with an 8" i-MID screen, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, USB Audio Interface, 2-GB CD Library, and rearview camera.
In the Mercedes quartet of luxury SUVs, the GL-Class takes the checkered flag in terms of seating capacity, cargo volume and towing. With three standard rows of seats, there's room for seven. Fold the second and third rows flat to reveal 83.3 cu. ft. of space for oversize gear. The GL has carryover powertrains ranging from a 210-bhp 3.0-liter BlueTEC diesel V-6, to 335-bhp 4.6- and 382-bhp 5.5-liter V-8s. All mate with a 7-speed automatic transmission, 4Matic awd and feature 7500 lb. towing capacity. Changes for 2012 include LED daytime running lights and updated interior trim. The GL's standard Command system includes a 7-in. screen, 6-disc DVD/CD player and Bluetooth. Navigation and 610-watt, 12-speaker Harman-Kardon audio are optional.