The Ridgeline is a pickup built the Honda way. Instead of traditional bodyon-frame construction, it employs a rigid unibody derived from the Pilot SUV. Four-wheel independent suspension delivers a smooth ride. Suitable for lightduty use, the short cargo bed features a hidden storage compartment under the floor. Motorcycles, an ATV or larger cargo will fit when the dual-action tailgate is folded down. Ridgeline's 3.5-liter V-6 teams with a 5-speed automatic transmission and full-time awd. The roomy 5-passenger cabin is big on creature comforts with the top RTL model featuring heated leather seats and a navigation system. The rear seats can be converted to tote cargo such as golf bags. A rearview camera is now standard on all Ridgelines.
The XK combines Jaguar's new modern design style with traditional luxury car touches like genuine wood and supple leather.
Available as a coupe or convertible, the XK packs a 385-hp 5.0-liter V8 engine. The XKR features a 510-hp 5.0-liter supercharged V8. A special-order only, XKR-S uses a 550-hp 5.0-liter supercharged V8. A six-speed automatic transmission with console mounted rotary shifter and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters channels all that power to the rear wheels. Standard equipment includes touch screen navigation, keyless entry with keyless start, a seven-inch video display, Bluetooth, front and rear park assist with rear camera, and electronic parking brake. The XKR-S adds forged wheels, aerodynamic enhancements, and race inspired seats.
The 2013 Chevrolet Spark is the bowtie brand’s first salvo into the mini car market here in North America, where it will compete with the likes of the Fiat 500, Smart Fortwo and Scion iQ. With all due respect, you’d be right in guessing expectations weren’t sky high when Chevrolet handed over the keys to a wide range of Spark models here in New York City as part of a nationwide media tour. After all, the best thing about many previous pint-sized Chevrolets has been their adaptability to serve as the punch line jokes. With a couple of well-timed limericks already floating around in my head, the Spark and I headed onto the mean streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Opting for the base model doesn’t mean looking like a cheapskate to the outside world. With a starting price of $12,995 (including destination charge), the entry-level Spark lacks some of the bells and whistles of its pricier stablemates – though not as many as you’d expect. Standard features include the usual suspects, such as air conditioning, power windows and locks, and 4-speaker AM/FM stereo. Chevy also equips every Spark with 10 airbags, ABS, and traction control, along with hill start assist and a tire pressure monitoring system.
Sweetening the deal are 15-inch 5-split spoke alloy wheels, a small rear spoiler, and choice of six no-cost paint options that include colors like Salsa red, Jalapeno green and Techno pink. Hidden rear door handles – cleverly located in the C-pillar – give the Spark a coupe-like profile and are similar in design to the ones used in the larger Chevy Sonic hatchback.
In the Mercedes quartet of luxury SUVs, the GL-Class takes the checkered flag in terms of seating capacity, cargo volume and towing. With three standard rows of seats, there's room for seven. Fold the second and third rows flat to reveal 83.3 cu. ft. of space for oversize gear. The GL has carryover powertrains ranging from a 210-bhp 3.0-liter BlueTEC diesel V-6, to 335-bhp 4.6- and 382-bhp 5.5-liter V-8s. All mate with a 7-speed automatic transmission, 4Matic awd and feature 7500 lb. towing capacity. Changes for 2012 include LED daytime running lights and updated interior trim. The GL's standard Command system includes a 7-in. screen, 6-disc DVD/CD player and Bluetooth. Navigation and 610-watt, 12-speaker Harman-Kardon audio are optional.
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.