Mazda has championed the rotary engine for many years and continues to produce the Renesis twin-rotor Wankel for the RX-8 4-door sports car. Seem confusing? Not really, as Mazda brought out the RX-8 in 2003 and it has proven to be a fun-to-drive sports car that will carry four adults in a pinch. When pared with a 6-speed manual gearbox, the rotary develops 232 bhp, while output drops to 212 bhp when mated to the 6-speed automatic transmission. Ride and handling are smooth and slick, interior comfort is quite high and if you want to have the ultimate RX-8, order the R3 edition with stiffer suspension, Bilstein shock absorbers, a rear spoiler and more.
The Ford Explorer has long been one of the best-selling SUVs in the market. A capable tow vehicle and off-roader, it also offers the generous interior space, comfort features and safety technologies necessary for day-to-day tasks.
The 7-passenger Explorer is available in both front- and four-wheel drive configurations, with a choice of four trim levels: Base, XLT, Sport and Limited. A 290-hp 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6 engine is standard on Base, XLT and Limited trims, with the Sport boasting a 365-hp 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6; both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual mode. The 4x4 models get a user-friendly terrain management system, while an efficient 237-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged Ecoboost four-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection is available for FWD models. Explorer Base trims are well-equipped with 17-inch wheels, air conditioning, cruise control, MP3 capability and MyFord driver connect technology; XLT trims add 18-inch aluminum wheels, fog lamps and a reverse sensing system, along with a USB port, satellite radio and the SYNC communications and entertainment system. Sport trims are further outfitted with a sport suspension, 20-inch aluminum wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, leather upholstery, HD radio and a rearview camera, while the Limited deletes the sport suspension but adds power-folding exterior mirrors, heated rear seats, a garage door opener and Intelligent Access with push-button start. Standard safety features consist of AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control and Curve Control function, traction control, anti-lock disc brakes and a tire pressure monitor, as well as Ford's MyKey owner control feature and seven airbags. Industry-first second-row inflatable seatbelts are available on XLT and Limited models, packaged with a Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with cross-traffic alert; additional options include Lane Departure Warning & Lane Keep Assist, Active Park Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Warning.
The Ford Explorer carries over with minimal changes for 2014. Fully automatic headlamps are now standard on all trim levels, while rear heated seats are added to the Limited, and both the Limited and Sport trims get HD radio.
It’s the SLR McLaren’s last hurrah, with about 50 final-year models to be sold in the U.S.; some 1400 have been sold worldwide (around a third of those in the U.S.), which means Mercedes isn’t going to meet the original goal of selling 3500 SLRs. The SLR is built by Mercedes’ Formula 1 partner—McLaren—in Woking, England. The car’s monocoque chassis is made of carbon fiber, a big part of the reason an SLR costs almost $500,000. Although the original McLaren SLR was a fixed-roof coupe, the car now comes only with a semi-automatic convertible top. The SLR is powered by an AMG-built 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 with 617 bhp and 575 lb.-ft. of torque. Although not revered in the vein of a Ferrari Enzo, or even McLaren’s own F1, the SLR will be remembered as an amazing machine.
Nissan's Z car has no major changes for 2012, although we're already happy with the package...rather packages: the 370Z, its Touring version, the drop-top Roadster and, at the performance end, the Nismo 370Z coupe. While the first three models feature 332 bhp and 270 lb.-ft. of torque from the 3.7-liter V-6, the Nismo bumps that to 350 bhp and 276 lb.-ft. and adds a list of go-fast upgrades like high-performance tires, spoilers and a close-ratio 6-speed gearbox. Normal Zs come with a 7-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual that matches revs on downshifts. All the expected options are available from a navigation system to an iPod connection to Bluetooth. What we like about the Z? Its performance properly matches its exciting exterior.
The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid sedan adds a fourth model to the diverse Accord range of models and powertrains so that there is something for everyone.
A two-motor hybrid system sends power to the front wheels. This system uses a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine and a 124-kilowatt electric motor/lithium-ion battery combo. The Accord Hybrid features unique 17-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, LED daytime running lights and tail lights, LaneWatch sideview camera, smart entry and push button start, Bluetooth streaming audio and handsfree phone as well as dual-zone automatic climate control.
The Accord Hybrid returns to the Honda line-up for the first time since 2007.