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 Sequoia is the king of the hill in Toyota's lineup of six SUVs. It's larger than the Land Cruiser while offering greater cargo space. It also features a variety of 8-passenger models from the base SR5 to the Limited and Platinum. As in the Tundra upon which it's based, V-8 engine choices include a 310-bhp 4.6-liter and 381-bhp 5.7-liter that transfer power to the rear or all four wheels. Trailer sway control is now standard along with a black upper instrument panel and black carpet. A blind-spot monitor is added to the Platinum's generous roster of appointments that also include 20-in. alloys, dynamic laser cruise control, adaptive variable suspension, navigation with backup camera, JBL audio and a rear seat DVD entertainment system.
Honda is preparing to launch an all-new fourth-generation CR-V for 2012. A concept vehicle previewing the design direction of the new model reveals bolder styling with a wide, three-bar grille, curving roofline and tall, angled taillights with a three-dimensional look that wrap further into the body. The CR-V continues to be based on the Civic, which is also new this year. Honda says a more fuel-efficient engine, reduced curb weight and a revamped interior are planned. In keeping with tradition, expect a 4-cylinder as the lone powerplant along with front- and awd models. The CR-V’s cabin will offer more space for passengers plus a lower cargo floor for easier access. A third-row seat is a possibility, although it would only be suitable for kids. Specifications are for 2011 model year.
The Cadillac CTS-V models have lots of horsepower, top of the class handling, an impressively finished interior, and a large dose of style. Available as a Sport Sedan, Sport Wagon, or Sport Coupe they have all the performance and stunning good looks to be the best in class.
The CTS-V comes standard with 19-inch alloy wheels, run-flat performance tires, and a sport suspension with Magnetic Ride Control. Interior highlights include suede and leather trim, a standard Bose 5.1 Cabin Surround Sound audio system with 10 speakers, DVD-Audio, a 40GB Hard Drive Device and both USB and auxiliary MP3-player jacks. The standard engine is a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 generating 556 horsepower and 551 pound-feet of torque. Transmission choices include a standard six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.
Despite undergoing a complete overhaul in 2012, the Audi A6 isn't exactly sitting still for 2013. The performance-oriented S6 now joins the lineup, as does a diesel-powered variant. The base A6 sticks with a 211-bhp turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, coupled to a CVT transmission. Unfortunately, Audi does not allow its highly-regarded Quattro all-wheel-drive to be ordered with the inline-4. That means you'll have to pony up the extra cash for the supercharged 3.0-liter V-6. With a 0 to 60 mph time of approximately 5.3 seconds (about a full 2 seconds quicker than the standard car), that's not necessarily a bad thing. The S6 is good enough to warrant its own entry, but suffice it to say the 420-bhp twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 and 7-speed S tronic gearbox provide stellar performance. Technophiles will love the MMI navigation system with Google Earth and optional Bang & Olufsen stereo.