When the Range Rover was introduced over four decades ago, it revolutionized the market by introducing an upscale SUV that was in its element on city streets or muddy dirt tracks. It’s remained the epitome of a classy SUV ever since. Could the Range Rover Evoque do the same for small crossover SUVs? This luxury SUV is powered by a 240-bhp turbo-4 engine, yet it’s so much lighter than a giant Range Rover it delivers similar performance and far better fuel economy. It has a roomy interior and can tackle off-road challenges with the same aplomb thanks to use of the same off-road assist technologies. The 5-door Evoque might be more practical, but it goes up against some tough competitors. The 3-door Evoque, on the other hand, really has no competition yet.
R&T Overview:The dramatic-looking XJ sedan was introduced last year to much acclaim. Thanks to its lightweight aluminum construction, it is actually slightly lighter than the smaller XF. It also features a full-length panorama sunroof, which makes the interior even more light and airy—which appeals to those who drive and those who are being driven. The XJL has a longer wheelbase giving rear-seat passengers an extra 5 in. of leg room. It is only this model that gets any significant changes for 2012. A new Rear Seat Comfort Package, standard on the XJL Supersport, includes electric reclining, lumbar adjustment and massage functions. An Executive Package adds even more luxury for those who want to be chauffeured. The XJ has the same lineup of three 5.0-liter V-8 engines as the XF.
For those who like the Aston Martin V8 Vantage but want just a little bit more sportiness, there exists the V8 Vantage S. The model starts with the smallest, lightest, most agile car in Aston Martin's lineup (the Cygnet doesn't count) and adds just a dab more power and slightly better brakes and tires.
Power in the 4.7-liter aluminum V8 is up marginally, from 420 to 430 horsepower, while torque rises from 346 to 361 lb-ft compared with the starter kit Vantage. New mufflers, improved intake airflow, and new programming that keeps the exhaust system's bypass valves open longer are responsible for the power increases. The engine upgrades, along with a weight savings of 100 pounds, help the car rocket zero to 60 comes in about 4.0 seconds.
A free society doesn’t need cars to come in a baffling number of trim levels and options, no more than it needs a similarly large selection of breakfast cereals. Fortunately, in a moment of clarity, Volkswagen chose to offer its Passat in only sedan and wagon styles, a sole trim level (Komfort), a single option package and one notable change for 2010: VW’s 6-speed twin-clutch DSG in place of the previous 6-speed Tiptronic automatic. Otherwise, the Passat retains its semi-luxurious Euro-sedan (and wagon) driving experience. Such an experience stems from ample standard equipment, plus its 200-bhp 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4, supple suspension, electric-assist power steering, electronic differential and VW’s stability control.
If you love the tidiness and crisp handling of a Mini but don't see much use for those cramped rear quarters, then the Mini Coupe may just be the perfect vehicle for you. Available in all trims from the standard base Cooper, sporty S and fire-breathing JCW, the Coupe streamlines the greenhouse and nixes the rear seats, providing extra dedicated cargo capacity, a torsionally stiffer chassis (reinforced aft the front seats) and a sportier profile. A Mini first is the new retractable rear spoiler that deploys at 50 mph for added downforce. The roof makes a bold character statement in traditional Mini fashion, and is available in red, black or silver. For even more boldness, you can further customize it with racing stripes or even side graphics called Mini Tattoo.