As sedans go, the Panamera is unique. While most of its competitors look like family cars, the 5-door Panamera looks like a sports car for four. In fact, it resembles a 911—a bloated one, some say. But styling aside, the Panamera is the luxury sedan to own. Even the nicely appointed base model with its fuel-frugal 300-bhp V-6 does a respectable 160 mph, 7 mph less than the Panamera S Hybrid whose V-6 gasoline engine/electric motor combination produces 380 hp while merely sipping fuel. But few sedans can touch the sensational new 550-bhp Panamera Turbo S, whose 190-mph top speed and 3.6-second 0-to-60 time make this sedan as fast as a sports car—like Porsche’s own 911.
Minivans remain a popular choice with families. So when Honda redesigned its Odyssey last year, it introduced improved interior functionality with things like a 3-mode second-row seat for 8-passenger models. A welcome dose of pizzazz was applied to the exterior with styling cues such as an edgy beltline that makes it easy to spot the van in mall parking lots. In terms of safety, the Odyssey received the coveted NHTSA 5-star crash test rating. It’s also pleasant to drive with carlike ride and handling. A 248-bhp 3.5-liter V-6 swiftly delivers precious cargo whether teamed with the standard 5-speed or exclusive 6-speed automatic on top Touring models. New EX features include a multi-information display with 8-in. screen, Bluetooth and USB port.
The Volvo S60 is a sporty, dynamic sedan combining excellent performance and great design with outstanding safety features. For 2014, the S60 has been refreshed and updated.
The S60 is available as a front-wheel or all-wheel drive T5, or as an all-wheel drive T6 or T6 R-Design. Included on the T5 is a turbocharged 250-hp five-cylinder, the T6 includes a turbocharged 300-hp 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine which the T6 R-Design upgrades to 325-hp. All are matched with a six-speed Geartronic automatic transmission. Chassis equipment includes dynamic stability traction control (DSTC) with advanced stability control, and corner traction control with torque vectoring. Safety features include City Safety, whiplash protection front headrests (WHIPS), anti-lock brakes, and six airbags. Sirius satellite radio and Bluetooth are standard. The T5 includes T-Tec cloth upholstery, the T6 and R-Design have standard leather upholstery. Optional equipment includes a glass moonroof, navigation system, an upgraded premium audio system, rear seat entertainment system with dual DVD players, and xenon high-intensity headlights with washers.
For 2014, the Volvo S60 lineup has been refreshed and updated inside and out.
Carroll Shelby lent his name to a lowly Dodge Omni and added a turbo engine that availed muscle-car power to the financially disabled in 1985. These days, a number of hot compacts do the same thing, but none have the tall “wagonhatch” body of the Caliber SRT4. This year the Caliber’s steering knuckles were revised to limit the wrist-snapping torque steer that plagued the SRT4 last year, and a new rear anti-roll bar takes a bit more work off the front tires. In addition, the Richard Petty Driving Experience now comes with the purchase of the SRT4, which offers astounding acceleration from its aluminum 2.4-liter turbocharged four. The large hood scoop is functional and necessary, not just another automotive codpiece, and optional are Goodyear F1 exotic fair-weather tires that increase grip.
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, or a new Titanium model. 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. Standard features on all models include air-conditioning, capless fuel filler system, power body-colored mirrors, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, aux audio input jack and electronic power-assisted steering. Higher trim levels include cruise control, keyless entry, satellite radio, alloy wheels, power windows and door locks, and SYNC hands-free communications and entertainment system. Optional features include heated seats, a passive entry/passive start system, power moonroof, and leather seats; also offered is a Super Fuel Economy (SFE) package for those commuters seeking maximum efficiency. 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 2013, the Fiesta carries over with minor upgrades and a new top Titanium model that includes standard leather seats.