It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than 20 years since the first time we saw the Lexus LS–on a chassis dyno with a pyramid of champagne glasses placed upon its hood, no less. Since then, the LS has grown—not only in size, but in model range. In addition to the “base” LS 460, there’s an LS 460 all-wheel drive (AWD), an LS 460 L (long), an LS 460 L AWD and the LS 600h L—the luxury hybrid that comes standard in long wheelbase with awd. Naturally, the LS’s cabin is swathed in leather, wood trim and abundant convenience features like SmartAccess keyless entry and a standard moonroof. New this year on the LS 460 is the limited-production (250 units) Sport Authentic Special, with 19-in. wheels, Brembo brakes, paddle shifters, navigation and more.
The Mazda6 is a mid-sized sedan with a very striking appearance. It can be equipped with unexpected luxury and technology features not typically found in its class.
The Mazda6 is offered in three trim levels: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring. The only engine choice is a 2.5-liter 184-hp, direct injection, SKYACTIV four-cylinder engine. Sport and Touring trims come standard with a six-speed manual transmission; a six-speed automatic is optional. On the Grand Touring trim the six-speed automatic is the only transmission offered. Available features, depending on trim level, include 19-inch wheels, HD radio, a eleven-speaker Bose audio system, blind spot monitoring system, an intelligent key system, a power moonroof, LED taillights, power heated leather seats, automatic climate control, and the convenience of Bluetooth. Standard safety features include four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist, electronic stability and traction control, and tire pressure monitoring.
For 2014, the Mazda6 has been completely redesigned with extensive use of SkyActiv technology, which focuses on improving fuel-efficiency.
The Element is crafted like a toolbox for folks with active lifestyles who load it with surfboards, sports equipment or mountain bikes. With a cleverly designed utilitarian cabin, it also makes a fine car kennel. In fact, Honda introduced a Dog Friendly pet accommodation system last year including a nylon webbed divider, a pet bed for the cargo area, second-row seat covers, extendable ramp for loading and unloading Fido and a 12-volt rear ventilation fan. Yet the Element hasn’t completely gone to the dogs. It offers LX, EX and SC models propelled by an economical 4-cylinder engine and a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. Looking neat on the street, the sporty SC has a lowered ride height, 18-in. alloys, monochrome trim and copper-hue gauges.
The Audi A8 is coolly efficient, understated and, for whatever reason, often overlooked among the more popular BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. That's a shame, since the A8 ranks extraordinarily high in terms of engineering and luxury features. There is all the leather and massaging seats you could want in this segment, along with none of the extra bulk you don't. Thanks to its lightweight aluminum structure, stop/start system, and 333 bhp supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 that serves as the base engine (replacing the outgoing 4.2-liter V-8), Audi's flagship sedan is more fuel-efficient than ever. For those who want the ultimate in prestige and pampering, the luxury-laden A8 L comes with a 500 bhp 6.3-liter W-12. Both the 12-cylinder and the base V-6 come equipped with an excellent 8-speed automatic transmission. At the top of the performance heap, the sport-themed S8 comes with a 520 bhp twin-turbocharged V-8 and can sprint from 0-60 mph in approximately 4.2 seconds. Look for a TDI diesel to join the A8 range later this year.
The Suzuki Kizashi is a well equipped sport sedan. The Kizashi has a lengthy list of standard equipment and offers dynamic performance and premium design.
Available in front-wheel drive with a six-speed manual or CVT transmission, or all-wheel drive with CVT, the Kizashi offers exceptional value in S, SE, Sport GTS, and Sport SLS trims. The Kizashi is equipped with a 185-hp 2.4 liter four-cylinder engine with the six-speed manual or a 180-hp version with the CVT. Standard features include sport bucket seats, projector headlamps, keyless â??Smartpassâ?� pushbutton start system, automatic dual-zone climate control, and steering wheel audio controls. Safety features include a class exclusive eight airbags, stability control, anti-lock brakes, and tire pressure monitoring system. As well, the Kizashi already meets 2014 NHTSA crash standards. Optional features include a Rockford-Fosgate audio system, leather interior, heated power seats and Bluetooth hands-free calling.
The 2013 Suzuki Kizashi sport sedan offers exceptional value and performance and carries over from 2012.