The Land Rover Range Rover Sport is an athletic SUV designed to bring on-road performance driving to the traditional Land Rover off-road experience. It enters its second generation in 2014, with bold, revised styling inside and out and additional standard equipment, along with a new lightweight all-aluminum monocoque platform and new powertrains.
The five-passenger Range Rover Sport is now available in four trim levels: SE, HSE, Supercharged and Autobiography. The SE and HSE are powered by a new 340-hp 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine, while the Supercharged and Autobiography trims boast the carryover 510-hp 5.0-liter supercharged V8. Both powerplants feature Both powerplants feature new start/stop technology, which shuts the engine down during temporary stops to save fuel, and are mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission with manual mode; additionally, Supercharged and Autobiography trims get steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Full-time four-wheel drive with Land Rover's acclaimed "Terrain Response" system helps tackle a wide range of off-road conditions, while Supercharged and Autobiography trims add Adaptive Dynamics with variable suspension dampening for sportier handling and an active locking rear differential. Standard equipment on the SE includes a power liftgate, 19-inch aluminum wheels, bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights and tail lamps, dual-zone automatic climate control, passive entry/start, a new Meridian audio system and voice-activated hard drive-based navigation with internal memory storage; HSE and Supercharged trims add a panoramic sunroof, fog lights, 20-inch aluminum wheels, heated front seats and leather upholstery. Autobiography trims are further outfitted with 21-inch aluminum wheels, adaptive headlights with automatic high-beam assist, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, three-zone automatic climate control and upgraded audio with HD and satellite radio. Standard safety features on all trims include eight airbags, four-wheel anti-lock brakes with brake assist, electronic stability control with traction control and roll mitigation, and a rearview camera with front visual display; Autobiography trims also get a surround camera system and blind spot monitoring with closing vehicle sensing and reverse traffic detection.
The Outback is now in its fourth-generation of what Subaru likes to call the world's first sport utility wagon.
The Outback is available with a 173-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with a six-speed manual transmission (or optional six-speed CVT), or a 3.6-liter six-cylinder with a five-speed automatic transmission. The CVT and automatic transmissions feature a manual mode with paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Standard safety features on all Outback models include eight-airbags, vehicle stability and traction control systems, anti-lock brakes, active front head restraints and a tire-pressure monitor. Available features include leather seating, a 440-watt nine-speaker harman/kardon audio system and dual-zone automatic climate control.
The 2013 Mazda CX-5 is perfectly timed to coincide with the general sales shift towards smaller and more fuel efficient SUVs. We’ve always admired the Mazda’s penchant for instilling driving fun in everything from its 2-passenger Miata roadster to the family-friendly CX-9 sport-utility. What has usually been lacking throughout the range is class-leading fuel mileage – Mazda always seems to fall a few MPGs short of the competition. But thanks to its repertoire of SkyActiv technologies, the new CX-5 jumps to the head of the class in terms of fuel economy while maintaining the brand’s fun-to-drive characteristics. It also helps that the CX-5 is exceedingly handsome, nimble, and roomy inside. Acceleration is nothing to write home about, but it’s not so serious as to make you cross this crossover off your shopping list. With a starting price of approximately $21,000, the CX-5 is also a good value.
Reasons to Consider the CX-5:
So what the heck is this SkyActiv technology? Put simply, it's a series of engineering refinements that target excess weight and waste in the chassis and powertrain. Imagine that Mazda took a blueprint of the CX-5 and then handed it to a bunch of folks wearing white lab-coats and racing shoes. The result is a 5-passenger crossover that returns up to 35-mpg on the highway and feels as light and nimble as a family sedan. Job well done Mazda – but can we please now add an E to the end of SkyActiv?
The CX-5 looks great without sacrificing cabin and cargo room for the sake of a sexy roofline or some stylish tail-end treatment. With the rear seats in place there is 34.1 cubic feet of space out back – fold the rear seats down and cargo space swells to 64.8 cu. ft.
At the moment, the only available engine is a 163-bhp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. However, you have your choice of front or all-wheel-drive, and 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. The fuel economy champ is the front-wheel-drive and manual gearbox combo, though the (FWD) automatic still returns an impressive 26/32-mpg average during city and highway driving.
Mazda didn't get too cutesy with the cabin. Okay, there is a ton of black plastic. But it's all solid and good quality stuff, especially the chunky and well-sculpted 3-spoke steering wheel. Adults won't feel trapped in the spacious back seat – and kids will feel much less lame being dropped off at school in the CX-5 versus any minivan.
Mazda should consider a couple improvements…
The CX-5 doesn't have quite as much straight-line “zoom zoom” action going on as we'd like. We'd love to have a more powerful turbocharged inline-4 under the hood, though we know it would sink all of Mazda's fuel economy boasts.
It could be worth waiting to see whether Mazda installs the SkyActiv-D diesel into the CX-5 sometime early in 2013. This twin-turbocharged 2.2-liter inline-4 delivers 173 bhp (which is good) and 310 lb.-ft. of torque (which is freaking' awesome!). Fuel economy would also be better than the gas-powered model.
The Ford Fiesta is a sub-compact, front-wheel drive, five-passenger car. Available in four and five-door bodystyles, the current benchmarks for the sub-compact segment are being tested by the Fiestas styling, comfort and luxury features, technology, and overall practicality.
The Fiesta is offered in three trims, S, SE, and a Titanium model. For 2014 there is the addition of the new ST trim to the hatchback lineup. Power comes from a 120-hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, mated to a five-speed manual transmission. An advanced six-speed PowerShift automatic transmission is optional. The ST gets a turbocharged, direct-injected version of the 1.6-liter that offers nearly 200-hp, mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Standard features on all models include air-conditioning, capless fuel filler system, power body-colored mirrors, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, aux audio input jack, electronic power-assisted steering and hill launch assist. Higher trim levels include cruise control, keyless entry, Ford's MyKey system, HD and satellite radio, alloy wheels, power windows, rearview camera with reverse park sensing, SYNC hands-free communications and entertainment system and SYNC with MyFord Touch. Standard safety features include AdvanceTrac electronic stability control, seven airbags including a driver knee airbag, tire pressure monitoring system, engine immobilizer and four-wheel anti-lock brakes.
For 2014, the Fiesta is a refresh with new interior and exterior styling, feature changes across the entire lineup and the addition of the ST performance hot hatch.
The good news for 2011 is the U.S. availability of the V12 Vantage with the same 510-bhp V-12 engine found in the DBS. The V12 Vantage is only available as a coupe and there is no automatic transmission option. Of course, the “entry-level” Vantage with the V-8 is no slouch and it starts at a far more reasonable price of $120,750. The soft-top V8 Vantage goes by the Roadster name instead of Volante. Also new this year is the V8 Vantage N420, which is a limited-edition motorsport-inspired model inspired by the successes Aston Martin has enjoyed with road-going cars at the famous 24 Hours of Nürburgring. Check out the V12 Vantage Carbon Black limited-edition model with carbon fiber body panels and carbon black paint.