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 5 Series may be the middle child in BMW’s lineup, but it doesn’t suffer from the always-forgotten middle-child syndrome—situated between the smallish 3 and gigantic 7, these sedans and wagons offer just-right sizing. The 528i starts things off with a 3.0-liter 230-bhp inline-6 that works hard to move the 5’s 3500-lb. mass. Things pick up with the twin-turbo 535i, which, although less powerful than the 360-bhp V-8 550i, handles better due to its almost 300 lb. lighter curb weight. All-out performance junkies should look to the legendary M5 and its 500-bhp
V-10. Although the 2010 5 Series is carry-
over (save for an upgrade to the latest 7-button iDrive system), an all-new 5 Series will arrive in the second quarter of 2010 as a 2011 model.
The Hyundai Genesis Coupe is a handsomely styled sports coupe that comes with eight different drivetrain combinations (and prices) and several transmissions from 6-speed manual to 5-speed automatic with Shiftronic or a ZF 6-speed automatic with Shiftronic, depending on which engine you choose. The 2.0- liter dohc inline-4 boasts 210 bhp at 6000 rpm, while the 3.8-liter V-6 puts out 306 bhp. Another strong feature of the Genesis coupe is that it has rear-wheel drive, and two versions—the Track and the R-Spec—feature track-tuned springs and shocks for the enthusiast driver. This attractive coupe offers lots of fun for the money.
The current Jetta, introduced last year to better compete with the likes of the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, has been a huge hit, the American public taking to its larger size and lower price. Now, for 2012, a new Jetta arrives: the GLI. This sporty Jetta is powered by VW’s familiar 200-bhp turbo 4-cylinder, mated to a standard 6-speed manual or an optional 6-speed dual-clutch automatic. Also noteworthy: The GLI has a true multilink rear suspension, which helps keep the back end of the car planted better than the standard Jetta’s twist-beam axle. Available Jetta engines include VW’s old sohc 2.0-liter inline-4, a 2.5-liter 5-cylinder and one of our favorites: a 2.0-liter turbodiesel that endows the Jetta TDI with 42 mpg on the highway.
R&T Overview:To serious SUV enthusiasts, the general popularity of their favorite segment led to too much gentrification. SUVs got "sissified." But there's still the Xterra, a no-baloney, truck-based (the F-Alpha platform) SUV for those ready for serious off-roading. As a perfect example, the rear compartment isn't just commodious—it has optional tie-down channels, cargo hooks and the most telling of all: an Easy Clean cargo area. Options include skid plates, a tow hook and first-aid kit. There's even an available hatch tent. Nissan gives you the power for this trekking with a 261-bhp 4.0-liter V-6, 6-speed manual (with 4-wheel-drive only) or a 5-speed automatic transmission with the option of 4-wheel drive. All this in three models: X, S and PRO-4X.