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.
The BMW 5-series puts an emphasis on the driving experience. Now in its sixth generation, this mid-size luxury car remains a true sports sedan by delivering aggressive styling, precise handling and outstanding safety.
The 535d is available in rear- or xDrive all-wheel drive and features a 255-hp 3.0-liter, turbo diesel, inline-six engine and an eight-speed automatic. Standard features include leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control with active micro-filtration, a 12-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system, Bluetooth, 18-inch alloy wheels, and iDrive control system with integrated owner's manual. Safety is provided by six airbags, active anti-whiplash front head restraints, electronic traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes, tire pressure monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, BMW Assist telematics, and bi-xenon adaptive headlights.
The 535d is new to the 5-series line-up and marks the first time a diesel has been offered in a 5-series since 1986.
The Volvo S80 is a modern, good looking, quick and powerful sedan with a surefooted stance and solid performance. New for 2014 the S80 has been updated inside and out.
The front-wheel drive S80 is available with a 240-hp 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine or a 230-hp 3.2-liter PZEV engine. The T6 is available with all-wheel drive and a 300-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six. Both engines are matched with a six-speed Geartronic automatic transmission and the T6 AWD includes sport mode. Safety features include ABS, traction control, stability control, and six airbags. Adaptive cruise control, collision warning system with pre-braking, and blind-spot information system are optional, as well as active bi-xenon headlamps that follow the road around curves. Also included in the safety roster is the Personal Car Communicator and City Safety.
The Sorento is Kia's entry into the cross-over utility vehicle (CUV) segment. The Sorento features unibody construction and a streamlined, modern appearance.
The Sorento is available in front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) in five- or seven-seat configurations. A 191-hp direct-injection 2.4-liter four-cylinder or a 290-hp 3.3-liter V6 are the available engine choices. A six-speed automatic transmission sends power to the wheels. All-speed traction control, stability-control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, overhead curtain airbags, anti-whiplash head restraints and ignition disable are just a few of the standard safety features offered. Alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, steering wheel audio controls, heated front seats, navigation system and a rearview camera are all available.
The Sorento has been significantly refreshed and repackaged for 2014.
The Enclave helped Buick get its groove back when it made its debut with its chiseled form and intelligently appointed interior. Although there is new competition from the Lincoln MKT, the Enclave will hold its own. The practicality of 8-passenger seating, decent fuel efficiency from a modern direct-injected V-6 and Buick luxury makes this large crossover popular. The Chevrolet Traverse shares the Enclave’s platform and can be purchased for less, but you’d miss out on the quiet interior of the Buick. Yes, the Enclave is a crossover, but really it serves the function of a luxurious minivan. Yet nobody in the family will be embarrassed to be seen driving or riding in an Enclave—which has helped Buick win back many buyers.