R&T Overview:When you build one of today's most potent performance cars, how do you make it better? Easy. Up the horsepower, which is what Nissan has done with the GT-R. By increasing turbocharger boost pressure, modifying valve timing and the fuel-air ratio, then cutting exhaust backpressure, the 3.8-liter V-6 ups horsepower from 485 to 530 and torque from 434 lb.-ft. to 448...laid down via the ATTESA E-TS all-wheel-drive system. To go with the added power comes revised exterior styling, which cuts the coefficient of drag to 0.26 and adds 10 percent more downforce. There are two GT-R models, Premium and, new for 2012, the Black Edition. The latter has a unique seat trim, interior colors and 6-spoke wheels. Two exterior colors are added: Deep Blue Pearl and Jet Black.
R&T Overview:New on the thrifty Volt for 2012 is GM's MyLink system that pairs a smartphone with its audio system and voice control. The standard navigation system is now optional, shaving a few hundred dollars off the price of the compact. On the road with its large lithium battery charged, the innovative 4-seater will run up to 50 miles using only electricity, and beyond that distance a small 1.4-liter engine starts and turns a generator that powers the electric motor. A 9-gal. gasoline tank allows the car to run an additional 300 miles. The complex graphic gauges let the driver know what the electric and gasoline systems are doing, although some potential buyers we spoke with said that it takes a long learning curve to figure out how it all works.
R&T Overview:The big news for this classically sensuous Grand Tourer is the addition of the XKR-S, which is Jaguar’s most powerful road car ever. The engine is based on the supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 in the XKR but revised mapping delivers 550 bhp and a massive 502 lb.-ft. of torque, giving it a 0–60-mph time of 4.2 seconds. All XK models utilize Active Dynamic technology, which continuously adjusts ride and handling characteristics. Both the XKR and the XKR-S also have Jaguar’s Active Differential Control to help provide grip. The suspension in the XKR-S is further upgraded beyond that found in the XKR. All XK models get some minor exterior and interior changes while the XKR gets other design cues to differentiate it from the “base” XK.
The Honda CR-V is a compact crossover SUV that delivers a satisfying balance of style, versatility and comfort.
The five-passenger CR-V is available in both front-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations, each with a choice of three trim levels: LX, EX and EX-L. All are powered by a 185-hp 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine, paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. The LX is equipped with 16-inch styled steel wheels, auto-off headlights, air conditioning, a CD player with MP3 capability, USB port and Bluetooth wireless connectivity for phone/audio; EX trims add a power sunroof, 17-inch aluminum wheels, fog lights, privacy glass and a security system. The EX-L is further outfitted with roof rails, heated front seats, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control and satellite radio. A DVD Rear Entertainment System (RES) is available on the CR-V EX-L trim, along with voice-activated navigation. Safety features found on every CR-V include anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist, Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control, front seat-mounted side airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags and a tire pressure monitor; a multi-angle rearview camera is also standard on all trim levels.
The Honda CR-V carries over with minimal changes for 2014. The EX now gets auto-on/off headlights, while Pandora internet radio compatibility becomes standard on all trim levels.
As the first result of the Chrysler and Fiat partnership, the brand new Dodge Dart shares a platform with the Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback. However, Dodge’s engineering team put in overtime to give this American-built sedan its own style and character. The result is not only good-looking, both inside and out, but also surprisingly fun to drive – especially equipped with the optional turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir engine. A perfectly fine 160-bhp 2.0-liter “Tigershark” 4-cylinder powers the base model. At the top of the range is another Tigershark 4-cylinder, this time a 184-bhp 2.4-liter that is standard on the sporty R/T model. Between the two is the turbo 1.4-liter, which delivers a stout 160-hp and impressive fuel economy figures. For our money, the smallest engine is probably the best of the trio. There are three transmissions offered across the range: a 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic, and 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual. We found the Dart to be agile and extremely well behaved, and noticeably more enthusiastic than segment leaders like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.