R&T Overview:Built in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the new VW Passat is a bona fide competitor for the likes of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. It’s super roomy inside, especially in back, and there’s a choice of three engines: a 2.5-liter 5-cylinder with 177 bhp, a 2.0-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder with 140 bhp and VW’s 3.6-liter VR6 with 280. Don’t be fooled by the diesel’s low bhp; this oil-burner has lots of torque, and although it does not make this new Passat exceptionally quick, it’s very efficient, able to squeeze 43 miles out of a gallon of diesel fuel when mated to the 6-speed manual transmission. If you value luxury over efficiency, get the 3.6 SEL Premium, which has leather, keyless entry, navigation, power seats and interior chrome accents.
Like its big brother the X5, the raked-roof X6 enters 2012 with little change, but the expectation of a freshening for 2013. Separating itself from the slightly less expensive X5, the X6 gives up practicality for its swoopy styling. This unfortunately, limits rear seating to only two, making the X6 positively inefficient. The X5 gets identical fuel economy numbers and is larger. What's more, the X6 doesn't offer a diesel. Instead, there's an ActiveHyrbid model that combines its twin-turbo V-8 with dual-electric motors to produce 575 lb.-ft. of torque while still retaining a respectable 17/19 mpg. When it comes to sitting behind the wheel of a sporting behemoth, no vehicle defies physics as well as the X6 M.
The Ford Fusion is an expressive and efficient top choice among midsize sedans.
The Fusion is available in three trim levels, the S, SE, and Titanium; offers three engines, as well as front-wheel or all-wheel drive, the Fusion has something for everyone. The powerteams are a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with a six-speed automatic transmission, a turbo 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder with a six-speed automatic, or a turbo 1.6-liter EcoBoost with a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. Safety features include anti-lock brakes with panic brake assist, AdvanceTrac electronic stability and traction control, LED taillights, security system, eight-airbags, and a tire pressure monitoring system.
For 2013, the Fusion has been extensively redesigned inside and out.
The Hyundai Veloster is an innovative and unique entry in the compact coupe segment. It's a sleek hatchback that is highly functional and includes a convenient rear passenger-side door. A new Turbo trim is available for 2013.
The Veloster is powered by a 138-hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with gasoline direct-injection and variable valve timing combined with a six-speed manual transmission. A 201-hp turbocharged version of the 1.6-liter engine powers the Veloster Turbo and is also mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Optional for non-turbo models is a six-speed dual-clutch auto-shift transmission, with a conventional six-speed automatic available for the Turbo. Safety equipment includes six airbags, traction control, stability control, tire pressure monitor, and a Blue Link telematics system. Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a 7-inch LCD touchscreen, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, and a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel. The Turbo adds 18-inch wheels, front fog lights, heated leather seats and proximity key entry with push button start. Available options include a panoramic sunroof, backup warning sensors and a navigation system with rearview camera.
The Hyundai Veloster is a carryover for 2013, with the addition of the new Turbo trim.
Cadillac's CTS comes in three forms: Sedan, Coupe and Sport Wagon. It's easy to be a fan of either or all. The exterior design is glamorous and unapologetically Detroit. Ditto inside. Even the base models are nicely finished with good detailing. There are several drivetrain combinations: Two aluminum 4-cam direct-injection V-6s, a 3.0-liter (270 bhp/223 lb.-ft. of torque) or a 3.6 (318 bhp/275 lb.-ft. of torque). Manual or automatic 6-speed transmissions. Drive can be via the rear or all four wheels. How much more variety could you want? With independent suspension front and rear, plus standard StabiliTrak stability control, the CTS has beautifully matched ride and handling characteristics. In short, this Cadillac manages to be an engaging car without being too firm.