While Nissan's Versa sedan came in for a ground-up redo for 2012, the 5-door Hatchback version carries over from the 2011 model year with two models, S and SL. Perhaps to soothe hatchback fans, Nissan ups the ante by adding four new option packages for the S model and then making what was the Premium package now standard equipment on the SL edition. With that upgrade come such extras as the Bluetooth Hands-free phone system, the "Intelligent" key and 16-in. alloy wheels. Opt for the S version and you get the 122-bhp 1.8-liter twincam four with a 6-speed manual or 4-speed automatic. SL models also have the 1.8 but are only fitted with the CVT transmission. Now the Vehicle Dynamic Control system is standard on both S and SL models.
The Range Rover is Land Rover's most prestigious offering, a luxury sport utility vehicle with a long history of quality craftsmanship and legendary "go anywhere" off-road prowess. Now in its fourth generation, with highlights that include a lightweight all-aluminum body structure, new suspension design, exterior and interior styling revisions, and a host of innovative standard and optional features.
The five-passenger Range Rover is available in four trim levels: Base, HSE, Supercharged and Autobiography. The Base and HSE are powered by a 340-hp 3.0-liter supercharged V6, while the Supercharged and Autobiography trims boast a 510-hp 5.0-liter supercharged V8. Both powerplants feature direct fuel injection and are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual mode and paddle shifters. Full-time four-wheel drive with Land Rover's acclaimed "Terrain Response" system and an electronic air suspension help tackle a wide range of off-road conditions; Supercharged and Autobiography trims get Dynamic Response and enhanced "Terrain Response 2 Auto" systems. Standard equipment on the Base includes a power liftgate/tailgate, 19-inch aluminum wheels, Xenon headlights, passive entry/start, heated leather seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, hard drive-based navigation and a Meridian sound system, complete with HD/satellite radio, Bluetooth wireless music streaming and DVD audio/video capability; the HSE adds a sliding panoramic roof, 20-inch aluminum wheels, fog lights, auto-dimming exterior mirrors and heated rear seats. Supercharged trims are further outfitted with 21-inch aluminum wheels and enhanced interior trim elements, while the exclusive Autobiography showcases soft-close doors, premium seating with massage function, front and rear climate-controlled seats, an upgraded audio system and integrated rear seat entertainment. Safety features include eight airbags, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, electronic stability control with traction control and roll mitigation, front and rear park assist and tire pressure monitoring. Adaptive front lighting, automatic high beam assist, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, a surround camera system and automated Park Assist are also available (standard on the Autobiography).
The smallest car in Subaru lineup, the Impreza has been Subaru's mainstay for many years. And thanks to its standard all-wheel drive and rally racing heritage, it's garnered a strong fan base; it's on the list of must-have import car driving experiences. Available in either 4- or 5-door body styles, it comes with a new 2.0-liter flat-4 engine that features better gas mileage and decent power thanks to variable valve timing. While overall size is the same, an extra inch of wheelbase brings interior room up by a couple of cubic feet, very desirable in the small-car category. And just because the Impreza is the bargain of the bunch doesn't mean it doesn't come with tech features. Optional features include Bluetooth and satellite navigation.
The Chrysler 200 is a true contender in the ultra-competitive midsize car category, offering value through a high level of standard equipment.
The front-wheel drive 200 is offered in both sedan and convertible body styles. Sedan offerings come in Touring and Limited, while the convertible is available in Touring, Limited and S trims. Two engines supply power: a 173-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder and a 283-hp 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, mated to either a four-speed automatic or a six-speed automatic with manual shift mode. Standard equipment on Touring models include aluminum wheels, an 8-way power driverâ??s seat, automatic climate control, satellite radio and a garage door opener. The Limited trim is further equipped with fog lights, 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, heated front seats and leather upholstery, as well as a multimedia centre with internal memory, USB port, Bluetooth streaming audio and DVD video capability. The S trim gets exclusive chromed exhaust finishers and wheel treatment, along with upgraded audio. Safety features 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.
How can one quickly identify the 2012 S80 versus last year's model? Just look for the Volvo Sensus housed in the center of the redesigned instrument panel. This color monitor is the command center for the S80's audio and available navigation systems. It also enables drivers to customize certain vehicle functions to suit their tastes. But first, choose the S80 3.2 with its 240-bhp normally aspirated I-6 or step up to the turbocharged T6 AWD that generates 300 bhp. Next, equip either with new Premier Plus or Platinum trim levels that group options for convenience. A Dynamic Package, offered on the T6, adds sport seats, xenon headlights and a sport chassis. City Safety is now standard. Using a closing-velocity sensor, it pre-charges the brakes or automatically applies them if it senses a low-speed collision is imminent with a car in front.