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 Lexus RX was the first vehicle to successfully integrate the most desirable attributes of a luxury sedan and an SUV—and in the process, it created its own segment: the luxury crossover. Now in its third generation, the Lexus RX 350 is essentially unchanged for 2012, except for small mechanical tweaks that allow its 275-bhp 3.5-liter V-6 to digest regular 87-octane fuel. There’s also an available appearance package, which adds 19-in. wheels and halogen headlamps with a black housing. For those who want to leave a smaller carbon footprint, there’s the RX 450h hybrid, which is also a carryover. Standard features in both models include SmartAccess keyless entry with pushbutton start, dual-zone automatic climate control, nine-speaker audio system and Bluetooth.
The Volkswagen Touareg sport utility vehicle is the largest vehicle in VW's line-up and offers all the luxury and off-road ability that one could need.
The Touareg is available in four trim levels, Sport, Lux, R-Line and Executive, each are powered be either a 280-hp 3.6-liter V6 or a 240-hp 3.0-liter turbo-diesel (TDI) V6, both engines are mated to an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. All trims feature 4MOTION permanent four-wheel drive, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, roof rails, Bluetooth, heated front seats, alloy wheels, and touch-screen navigation system. Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, six airbags, tire pressure monitoring, rain sensing wipers and front fog lights.
For 2014, an R-Line trim has been introduced, and later in the model year a 10th anniversary trim will be available.
Hybrids generate considerable interest among new-car shoppers seeking maximum mpg. Yet the added cost of hybrid technology can make it difficult to justify the expense. Insight to the rescue! Honda's affordable 5-door hybrid carries EPA ratings of 41 mpg city/44 mpg highway. Last year's upgrades included a minor facelift, improved fuel economy, revised gauges and increased rear leg and head room. The Insight employs Honda's Integrated Motor Assist technology combining a 1.3-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine with a 10-kW electric motor for 98 hp. The base model is fitted with a 160-watt audio system, automatic climate control, keyless entry and Eco Assist. Paddle shifters for the standard Continuously Variable Transmission are an EX exclusive.
At press time, BMW hadn't yet shown the 3 Series replacement, but we've seen spy photos of it for over a year. Not surprisingly, the current generation has received little change for 2012, as all development is ongoing for the new car. The coupe, retractable hardtop convertible and sedan versions of the 328, 335 and M3 continue as they are with some package changes and the standard inclusion of Bluetooth. Gone for 2012, however, is the M3 sedan and turbodiesel engine option. A 328i Wagon remains the least expensive variant of the 3 Series. The M3 Convertible will receive a new $5000 Individual Composition Package option with four unique paint colors and interior trim choices to help make it more distinct.