This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
s w e i v e R s o t o h p s d n a r b r o j a m l l a
2 THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2013
2014 Auto Preview
Car Care Real...
3481 HWY 12E - Steens, MS 39766
Over 50 Years Experience
Warm Wishes for the Holidays
We Can Fix It!
• All Types Of Auto Glass • Convenient Mobile Service • Lifetime Guarantee • We Process All Insurance Claims • Call For Free Estimate • Family Owned & Operated Rod & Raschel Ensz
662-323-0614 • 662-726-0065 800-776-6887 www.novusglass.com
f you’re looking for a singular theme to describe the 2014 automobile season, you likely won’t find one. It’s more of a continuation of assorted trends and developments that have been percolating for years. What is clear, though, is that cars are becoming increasingly complex across a broad spectrum. For example, we continue to be provided with more sophisticated communications systems with incredible computing power that offer access to Web-sourced information and entertainment. For automakers they are important advancements that are necessary to “keep up” with their competitors. But these technologies — touchscreens and their interfaces, in particular — are also being blamed for contributing to the distracted-driving phenomenon causing concerns as the accident toll ascribed to this category continues to climb. However, perhaps the myriad of electronic safety systems designed to save us from ourselves as well as from other errant drivers and pedestrians are part of the solution to the distraction issue. Incredibly, with some models now on the road, you could conceivably drive with your hands off the wheel and without touching the brake pedal in specific situations. Technology has evolved from keeping you alive in the event of a crash, to keeping you out of a crash in the first place, which makes the most sense of all. Much of the advanced safety gear is offered on premium/luxury models, either standard or as options. But as with similar leadingedge offerings they will almost certainly migrate to more affordable vehicles, and sooner than you think. Where this is all leading to has already
Could going fully electric ultimately mean mechanical simplicity? been determined. Most of the world’s automotive brands are right now developing autonomous self-driving vehicles that will remove human error from the seemingly simple matter of driving a vehicle. Perhaps this will make the daily commute quicker and more bearable, but for some it means surrendering control over their vehicle’s operation. Ultimately, resistance could be futile. Finally, the techno-gear that helps run our cars and trucks is becoming increasingly complicated and has long ago moved beyond the skill level of the average shade-tree mechanic to repair or replace. In fact the term “mechanic” has become an out-of-date word in an age where computerized vehicle diagnostics analyzed by white-coated technicians is commonplace and many dealership service departments now resemble a science lab. Who will be able to diagnose why one of the three electric motors in your hybrid isn’t working? It won’t be the corner garage. Advancements in automobile technology — pushed by our governments in a variety of ways — also contribute to some significant fuel savings as well as occupant comfort and safety, but they also contribute to the price of new cars and the cost of repair and replacement of their components, especially once the warranty runs out. This double-edge sword is now a fact of life, and will be increasingly so in the 2014 model year and beyond.
Keep Your Car
3,000 Miles - Oil Change 15,000 Miles
If you combine the technology that steers your car back into its lane, with the ability for it to automatically speed up and slow down, you quickly realize that autonomous driving is the next logical step and not a fantasy.
TIRE REPAIR • 24 HR. TOWING AUTO LOCKOUT SERVICE
12919 Hwy. 182 • Starkville, MS 39759
This guide has a guide...
The information in this guide is accurate to the best of our ability and knowledge at the time it was written. We say this because manufacturers are completely entitled to make changes after this writing and often do. Therefore, you can expect something to have changed from the time of writing to the time you’ve read it. Most importantly, some manufacturers haven’t finalized their lineups and all the options, etc., as of this writing, which means that we might include carryover pricing, features, etc., in some cases, and indicate it as such. Base price: Prices reflect the entry-level model in a given lineup. That is to say the price provided is the starting point. In most cases, prices have been provided by the manufacturer and then rounded up or down to the nearest $100 to reflect small changes that inevitably occur from time to time. It’s also because the prices provided here are intended as a gauge of affordability and are not today’s sale price, so do not quote these prices to your dealer. Prices do not include the tax you’ll pay, although most include the delivery charges (and are indicated as such where possible) which run from about $750-$2,000. Where pricing is not yet available, we’ve taken our best guess and added “(est.)” to the number.
- Regular Service Maintenance & Fuel Filter
- Transmission - Power Steering - Brake Fluid
© The Dispatch
Best of the Triangle
Reader’s Choice 2013
Hot news for 2014: The new RLX is a giant leap forward for Acura and is comparable to more established luxury brands in terms style and content. • Revamped MDX is lighter, stronger, quicker and more fuel-efficient? How did Acura do it? • More standard features for the ILX, but the base price is up a bit, too. Carryover: ILX; RDX; TL; TSX Gone: RL
WE ALSO OFFER A MILITARY DISCOUNT!!
BEST of the Golden Triangle Five Years in a Row
2420 Hwy 45N, Columbus, MS
Open 7 Days a Week 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
■ Certainly the focus is on the new Acura NSX sports car, even if that model is still a year away. But right here, right now, there’s a brand new range-topping RLX to replace the RL, while the beloved MDX tall wagon gets a serious refresh that involves making it lighter and much better on gas. The RLX provides a choice for buyers who are fans of the Acura brand, but want something a bit bigger, more luxurious and more technically proficient than the TL sedan, which just so happens to be in its final year (it will be replaced by a the TLX for 2014). The first thing you notice about the RLX is its handsome sheetmetal. The car’s Honda roots are definitely showing, but it easily beats the rest of Acura’s sedan fleet when it comes to appearance. Perhaps surprisingly, its overall dimensions differ only slightly from the RL model it replaces. However, a two-inch stretch between the front and rear wheels (in addition to an equal reduction in the length of the snout) contributes to a significant visual impact. The RLX uses a 310-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 that produces 272 pound-feet of torque. The sole transmission choice is a six-speed automatic with paddle-shift controls. The RLX also features Acura’s new Precision All-Wheel Steer system that reacts to steering and braking inputs for added control. When cornering, the rear wheels point slightly in the direction of the turn, thus reducing the front-wheel-drive’s tendency to continue in a straight line, even with the steering wheel turned (called understeer). During braking, however, both rear wheels are automatically angle toward the center of the car for maximum control. The RLX arrives with an abundance of people-pampering content, but you will need to shell out more than the $50,000 base price to add the full suite of collision-mitigating features plus a navigation system, premium leather package and your choice of two high-end audio systems. The 2014 MDX might not be a new model, but it’s certainly as fresh as the RLX. This premium-grade seven-passenger wagon shares nothing with its predecessor and also breaks new ground in content, technology and fuel efficiency. Of course the shape and familial shield-type grille are dead giveaways as to the MDX’s origins. But a slightly lower roofline, a three-inch stretch between the front and rear wheels and a two-inch gain in overall length makes it appear larger than the tape measure suggests. The new MDX conveys a stronger sense of luxury, especially with its “Jewel Eye” headlights that have become the signature styling item for the Acura brand. Although cargo volume has been slightly reduced, functionality has improved with added length behind the third-row seat. There’s also a flatter load floor when both rear rows are folded. Button clutter on the redesigned dashboard
2014 Auto Preview
and control panel is reduced to nine from 41 as the rest are now incorporated into a consolemounted dial plus a touch-screen display for the audio, communications and climate-control systems. The previous MDX featured a firmed-up ride and sporty (as in high-effort) steering, but customer feedback showed that that’s not the priority. The 2014 model goes the other way, with a more supple ride and lighter steering. The MDX drives like an upscale wagon should, but is in no way bouncy or sloppy over rough surfaces. Acura claims the more aerodynamic body structure weighs 123 pounds less and, combined with other measures, contributes to a total 275-pound weight trimming. A 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 replaces the 300-horsepower 3.7. Smaller, yes, but no one will be the wiser since the 3.5’s torque rating is within three pound-feet (267 at 4,500 r.p.m. versus 270 at 5,000 r.p.m.) of the 3.7. It’s also more fuel efficient, with an estimated 18-mpg city rating and 27 mpg on the highway, bettering the previous 16/21 marks. That’s close to 30 percent better on the highway. Those numbers improve to 20/28 for front-wheel-drive MDX, which is a first for the brand and reduces the base all-wheel-drive’s starting price of $45,200 by a further $2,000. The two-grand premium for the improved AWD system seems worth it, considering how well it aids bad-weather grip and works with the braking system to help keep the MDX on its intended path in the turns (called torque vectoring).
from BMW’s eight-speed automatic transmission. The manually inclined, however, can stick with the tried-and-true six-speed gearbox. Also back this year is xDrive all-wheel-drive available with nearly any combination of engine and transmission. Normally, x-Drive would be standard with the X5 off-roader, but times have changed. The latest version of BMW’s big-and-tall wagon isn’t as versatile weather-wise, at least not the base X5 sDrive35i. The “s” in this case indicates it’s the new rear-wheel-drive edition, the first-ever such X5 to hit the road. It’s fitted with a 300-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder engine, as is the all-wheel-drive xDrive35i. Also available is the xDrive50i that comes with a 445-horsepower 4.4-liter V8 and the xDrive35d with its 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbo-diesel. It has an output of 255 horsepower and, more importantly, 413 pound-feet of torque. That’s a bit less power than diesel in the 2013 version, but with the vehicle’s reduced weight (by about 170 pounds), BMW says that the 2014 model is quicker. Both gasoline versions and the turbo-diesel are synced to eight-speed automatic transmissions, and each comes with launch control. The system uses special computer software to produce the most rapid acceleration possible from a complete stop without losing traction. Additionally, the standard ECO PRO mode decouples the driveline from the engine when coasting to save fuel. There’s also a stop/start feature that automatically shuts off the engine when you come to a stop. Naturally, all X5’s come equipped with a vast assortment of luxo-stuff, such as a panoramic sunroof, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, 10.2-inch touchscreen and a nine-speaker audio package. As before, the X5 can be ordered with a third-row bench, a variety of up-level audio systems and a seemingly never-ending number of trim, wheel and electronic safety choices that can raise prices well above base levels. Not yet ready to return is the X5 M that for 2013 was rated at 555 horsepower. For now, buyers will have to content themselves with the M Sport option that includes a special aero body kit, 19-inch double-spoke wheels (20-inch rims are available), sport seats and unique interior trim. Elsewhere, you’ll find greater use of diesel power. The new 5 Series
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2013 3
sedan 535d/535d xDrive feature a revised 3.0liter turbo-diesel six-cylinder that makes 256 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. It also gets up to 38 mpg on the highway, which is excellent given the “d” can get to 60 mph in just under six seconds.
Base prices (incl. destination)
ILX: Compact sedan; $27,800; $29,800 (hybrid) MDX: Mid-sized sport-utility wagon; $43,200 RDX: Compact coupe; $35,400 TL: Mid-size sedan; $36,900 TSX sedan: Compact sedan; $31,400 TSX wagon: Compact wagon; $32,800
Hot news for 2014: There’s at least one all-new model coming for 2015, so 2014 focuses on filling out the line with performance models and providing wider availability of the V6 turbo-diesel. • Hotrod TT-RS is missing in action this year. • Audi was formerly standoff-ish about doing a hybrid, but there’s one in the Q5 line as well as sporty SQ5 with 354 horsepower. • A7 filled out to include diesel and high-performance RS7. • A3 is absent until a new model arrives. • Styling updates for R8 supercar and a new “Plus” model with 550 horsepower. • 450-horsepower RS 5 joins the team. Carryover: allroad; A4; A5; A6; A7; A8; R8; Q5; Q7; TT Missing in action: A3, but a new one is coming for 2015.
■ Well, when there are a couple of open number slots from one to 10, why not fill them up? Audi’s A4 and Mercedes-Benz’s C- and E-class lines have no problem offering a wide array of models under a single banner. But that no longer plays with BMW that has decided to spin off its 3 Series coupe into a whole new category. Other than the obvious, the differences are subtle, but the 4 Series is in fact a bit wider and longer (but two-inches lower in roofline) than the 3 Series sedan and the space between the front and rear axle has increased a bit as well. It all adds up to a more sporting experience for the driver along with a cooler personal-luxury look. The 4 Series models are easily among the most attractive of their type to be found anywhere, at any price. The bewildering part is that, despite their enlarged stature, they still look like the 3 Series models, especially from the front. They also come with the same powertrains that are also found in other Bimmers. The base 428i coupe is equipped with a 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. The powerplant makes 260 poundfeet of torque and can propel the car to 60 mph in an impressive 5.7 seconds. The 435i uses a 300-horsepower (and 300 pound-feet of torque) six-cylinder engine, which reduces the 60-mphsprint time to 5.3 seconds. Either engine is connected to a six-speed manual transmission, or optional eight-speed automatic. You can also equip each edition with BMW’s x-Drive all-wheeldrive. Although the coupe has been split off from the 3 Series, BMW continues to expand its most popular car line. Building on the 2013 3 Series Sport Wagon introduction comes the range-topping Gran Turismo. The GT’s biggest benefit is space: its chassis is shared with the China-only long-wheelbase 3 sedan, which means 5 Seriesbeating rear legroom without the extra size on the outside. The GT sits about an inch higher than the sedan for easier passenger access. All three body styles — sedan, wagon and GT — use the 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder in 328i guise (180 horsepower and 200 pound-feet in the price-leading 320i). Meanwhile, the 335i sedan and GT get a 300-horsepower six-cylinder engine, but all powerplants benefit
Base prices (incl. destination)
1 Series: Compact coupe: $32,400 1 Series: Compact convertible: $38,100 3 Series sedan: Mid-size sedan; $33,700 3 Series hybrid: Mid-size sedan; $50,800 4 Series: Two-door coupe; $41,400 5 Series: Mid-size sedan; $50,400 5 Series GT: Full-size hatchback; $61,100 6 Series: Midi-sized coupe; $78,500 6 Series: Midi-sized convertible; $83,800 7 Series: Full-size sedan; $74,900 X1: Compact wagon; $31,800 X3: Compact SUV; $40,700 X5: Mid-size SUV; $53,700 X6: Niche-utility four-door; $61,700 Z4: Roadster: $49,900
Hot news for 2014: Although a year old now, the Encore compact tall wagon is still the newest edition to the Buick line and shows that a touch of luxury doesn’t have to cost the earth. • Regal’s 220- and 270-horsepower turbo engines are replaced with one that’s rated at 259. Updated looks and available AWD for turbo models. • Freshened design for LaCrosse and increased safety tech. Carryover: Encore; Enclave; Verano Gone: None
■ With nearly every number slot now full, with the exception of “2” and “9”, Audi has spent the off-season preparing to launch a new A3 small sedan and wagon while also working on “e-tron” electric technology and revamped TT and R8 sports car lines. Contrary to what the movie “Iron Man III” implies, there is no e-tron electric version of the R8 sports car. The movie featured two such prototypes, but the scuttle is that Audi had expected battery technology to be farther along the road than it is now and as such has scrapped plans to build it. No worries for the rich and famous as there’s a new R8 “Plus” model with a 550-horsepower V10, which is up 25 horsepower over the standard V10 model. The base engine is 430-horsepower 4.2liter V8 and all R8’s have new headlight designs for 2014. Down here in the real world, however, is where there is more relevant change as the 3.0liter V6 turbo-diesel finds its way into more models; nearly every model, actually. Now before you start turning your nose up at diesel, consider that this one doesn’t smell, is very quiet and pulls like a freight train from a standstill with more than 400 pound-feet of torque. As a demonstration, three of the latest diesel models — an A6 sedan, a larger A7 sedan and a Q5 tall wagon — were driven across the United States in one weekend and averaged between 37 and 43 mpg. Remember, these are not tiny economy cars being driven at dangerously low speeds pulling down these kinds of numbers. After a road test in one of these gems, you might never go back to a gasoline engine . . . that is unless there’s an “S” or an “RS” designation in the car’s title. Most Audi models are available in such high-performance guise with the latest to the show being the RS7. Based on the souped-up four-door “coupe” A7, the new $106,000 RS7 uses the same 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 as the high-performance 420-horsepower S7, but turns up the boost to the tune of 560 horsepower and 516 pound-feet torque. In case you’re not keeping track, the RS7 is the most powerful Audi on the road for 2014. Its zero-to-60 mph time of 3.7 seconds is astonishing too, thanks to its use of a beefed up Quattro all-wheel-drive system and seven-speed automated manual transmission borrowed from the S7. To put that performance into perspective, the zero-to-60 time is nearly two full seconds quicker than the diesel’s impressive 5.5 seconds. Fuel economy in regular A7s with the base 310-horsepower supercharged V6 is helped by an auto stop/start system that’ll save a little fuel during commuting, and even the RS7 gets cylinder deactivation to help burn less gas under light loads. Also getting a new RS model is the A5 line of two-door coupes and convertibles. While base models come with a turbocharged four-cylinder and the S5 has a 333-horsepower V6, the $71,000 RS5 uses a 450-horsepower 4.2-liter V8, bigger wheels and tires and is easily recognized by its large mesh grille. Like the RS7, the RS5 includes Quattro all-wheel-drive. In fact, all Audi models either offer Quattro all-wheel-drive as standard or at the very least an option. The big news on that front is that the next time Audi updates Quattro, the rear drive axles will be replaced with an electric motor at each of the back wheels. The internal-combustion engine will drive the front wheels.
■ With a car line that’s beginning to emphasize more compact luxury, Buick is in a state of flux as it continues to find its way. There’s speculation that subcompact is in the works as well as convertible model that will pull from GM’s Opel division in Europe. In the meantime, the previous model lineup returns with design changes, engine updates and more technology. The LaCrosse is the car that helped launch the company’s return to profitability back in 2009 and remains very popular today. To keep people interested, the full-size four-door sedan has visited the plastic surgeon, emerging with a revised face and tail. New LEDs are in both head- and taillights, while the front fascia and bumper are reshaped too. Drag-reducing grille shutters that close automatically are standard on every model, not just the “green” versions. Mechanically, the entry-level model retains its mild-hybrid electric system to help the 2.4-liter four-cylinder. Dubbed eAssist, the electric motor — which replaces the alternator — adds 15 horsepower and 79 pound-feet of torque to the 182-horsepower gasoline engine. It uses lithiumion batteries that also allow the gasoline engine to shut off at stoplights, and regenerates electricity under braking. Top-line versions stick with the 3.6-liter V6 with 304 horsepower, but front-drive V6’s use electric power steering rather than hydraulic to cut parasitic power losses. All models use six-speed automatic transmissions and there’s optional all-wheel-drive that sends torque to whichever wheel has the most grip. The LaCrosse is perhaps most appreciated inside where its nicely detailed dashboard, console and controls are aging nicely, although the newfor-2014 Ultra Luxury package, which uses semianiline leather, real “Shado Tamo Ash” wood and a mixed “Sangria/Ebony” color mix, adds some upscale touches. All LaCrosse models get the new-generation IntelliLink touch-screen radio with easier-to-use controls, while options include a power sliding sunroof, heated cloth or leather front seats, steering-wheel-mounted audio and climate controls and numerous audio-system upgrades. Seeing as how the range-topping Cadillac XTS was developed from the LaCrosse, it’s only fitting that the Buick now makes many of the Caddy’s safety systems available in two
Audi A5 Cabriolet
option packages. Things like blind-spot and lanechange warning, front-collision alert and — for the first time on a Buick — active cruise control. The well-equipped base model uses 17-inch wheels, but several alloy wheels sizes — including 20-inchers for 2014 — can be had. Of all the models, the LaCrosse is about as Buick as it gets, but by contrast the Euro-flavored Regal is really the anti-Buick Buick. Its ride is firm and not pillow soft, and it actually steers well. The automobile’s clean, yet expressive look is a far cry from just about any other Buick ever built, and now gets re-shaped headlights with LED detailing. The standard 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder has been heavily fortified on the inside and now packs 259 horsepower (up from 220) and 295 pound-feet of torque. The same engine can be found in the high-performance GS model, without any major differences other than a slight power drop from 270. Peak boost from the turbocharger is a stout 24 pounds per square inch. Turbocharged models are available with allwheel-drive and a six-speed automatic transmission, while the front-wheel-drive GS is the only Regal that use the carryover six-speed manual transmission. Regal remains available with the 182-horsepower 2.4-liter eAssist gasoline-electric hybrid system. Available as a front-driver only, it packages a 15-kilowatt electric motor and small lithium-ion battery that helps bring fuel economy up by a claimed 25 percent with its six-speed automatic transmission. For 2014, Regals adopting many of the active safety systems found on the larger LaCrosse, including blind-spot and lane-change warning, front-collision alert and, for the first time, active cruise control.
Base prices (incl. destination)
allroad: Compact wagon; $41,700 A4: Mid-sized sedan; $34,600 A5: Mid-sized coupe; $40,000 A6: Mid-sized sedan; $44,100 A7: Full-sized hatchback/sedan: $61,000 A8: Full-sized sedan; $76,100 Q5: Full-sized sedan; $38,300 Q7: Full-sized sedan; $48,700 R8 coupe: Two-door rocket ship; $115,900 TT: Coupe; $40,900 ($43,900 Roadster)
Hot news for 2014: 3 Series coupe split off into the new 4 Series. • New X5 is the first X5 to be available in two-wheel-drive. • ActiveHybrid 7 ditches its V8 for 349-horsepower electrified inline-six-cylinder. • The hotrod rear-drive M6 Coupe and Convertible return, but for 2014 the four-door Gran Coupe gets to play as well. • Subtle changes in the Z4’s appearance. Carryover: 1 Series; 3 Series; 5 Series; 6 Series; 7 Series; X1; X3; X6; Z4 Gone: None
Base prices (incl. destination)
Enclave: Full-size wagon; $39,600 Encore: Compact tall wagon; $25,100 LaCrosse: Mid-size sedan; $34,100 Regal: Mid-size sedan; $30,600 Verano: Compact sedan; $24,600
4 THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2013
2014 Auto Preview
Hot news for 2014: After launching two brandnew models for 2013 — the compact ATS and the full-size XTS — Cadillac keeps the momentum rolling with the new electric ELR as well as a clean-slate CTS sedan. • New performance XTS V-Sport uses a new 420-horsepower twinturbocharged V6. Carryover: ATS; Escalade; SRX; XTS; CTS coupe and wagon, including the “V” models. Gone: EXT (the truck)
Hot news for 2014: The new Silverado might look kinda-sorta similar, but there’s just something about this pickup that’s really different. • New crash-avoiding electronics added. Carryover: Equinox; Silverado HD; Suburban; Tahoe; Traverse Gone: Avalanche
■ When Cadillac introduced its stealth-paperairplane design direction with the previous CTS and STS sedan models, who knew that that would be a mere stepping stone to the current lineup of gotta-have-’em cars. The compact ATS that was launched for 2013 is likely the most significant since, as a volume model, it has to strike the right balance of style and price. Mission accomplished. And with the ATS’s introduction, the new 2014 CTS can grow a bit in size since it no longer has to be all things to all people. It’s five inches longer with just over an inch more between the front and rear wheels. Despite this, the base weight is about 250 pounds less than that of the 2013 edition. The finished design is more exotic looking and ground-hugging than before, however it’s under the hood where the CTS also displays a flair for the dramatic. The choices include a 321-horsepower V6 as well as a 272-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The star of the show is a twin-turbocharged version of the V6 that puts out 420 horsepower and V8-like 430 pound-feet of torque. This unique-to-Cadillac powerplant anchors the CTS V-Sport, which is the successor to the hotrod CTS-V sedan. The twin-turbo V6 is also available in the full-size XTS under the V-Sport banner. A six-speed automatic transmission comes with the turbo four-cylinder and the base V6 with allwheel-drive. The rear-drive V6 and twin-turbo V6 each run with an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The base CTS sedan, at $46,000 (about $6,000 more than the 2013 model), comes very well equipped, but the options list is a lengthy one and includes 20-way adjustable front seats and a 12-inch high-resolution display monitor for operating the infotainment, phone and climate controls. There are plenty of electronics, too, but nothing like what the new 2014 ELR has in store. While under the skin there’s a lot of commonality with the Chevrolet Volt, they are wholly different products geared to very different audiences. As of this writing, Cadillac has not announced the price, but a best guess would put it in the $55,000-$60,000 range, which makes it substantially more than the Volt, of course. The ELR was actually designed to be a “halo” car — a superstar — that show’s Cadillac’s design and technology capabilities. So what’s so great about it? In a word, style. The Volt had to accommodate four people in reasonable comfort and fit strict price constraints, neither of which was much of a factor in the ELR. It’s essentially a production version of the Converj Concept, which was the star of the 2009 Detroit Auto Show. As such, the dramatic angularity of the Converj was completely maintained. More importantly, perhaps, GM seems to have gotten the message that the interior is the last place buyers want to see corners cut. On the inside, there are two available interior trims, including an optional Opus semi-aniline leather seating package. Real wood trim is prominently featured, along with optional carbon fiber. For tech buffs, there are “eight-inch configurable instrument and driver information displays, offering four configurations ranging from elegantly simple to technologically detailed information,” according to Cadillac. ELR is powered by a 154-horsepower electric motor (207 total system horsepower), which also puts out 295-pound-feet of torque, right from a standstill. That’s up from the Volt’s 149/273 numbers. The ELR is expected to accelerate to 60 mph from zero in about eight seconds, which is a full second quicker than the Volt. The ELR has a range on electric-only power of about 35 miles, which is a bit less than the Volt’s, and has a range of more than 300 miles when the gasoline 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine cuts in to act as an electric generator. When you’re done for they day, just plug it in at home for the night and repeat. A full recharge of the ELR’s battery takes about 4.5 hours, depending on ambient temperature, with a 240-volt power source.
Chevrolet Spark EV
■ With a new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado upon us, you just know that a new Tahoe and Suburban are not far behind. In fact they’re coming for the 2015 model year and will be sleeker and lighter than before. Also in the works for 2015 is a new small-truck replacement for the Chevy Colorado that departed the lineup at the end of the 2012 model year. So, here’s the truck that the got the ball rolling. With the all-new Silverado 1500-series, Chevrolet appears to have done its homework and paid close attention to what buyers are looking for to haul and tow their stuff. It looks familiar, but there are more powerful/efficient engines as well as improvements in nearly every other area. In front, the twin stacked headlights remain, but the grille is now much more prominent and tougher looking. Behind the tailgate, the handy “Corner Step” bumper has recessed footholds that, combined with built-in handholds inside the box, make accessing the bed much easier. The doors are now “inlaid” into the body, which cuts wind noise at highway speeds. Inside, the dashboard and control panel that houses the optional eight-inch touch screen are positioned in a tidy pod for easy viewing and all of the oversized knobs and switches are workglove-friendly and clearly marked. All body styles — regular, extended Double Cab (now featuring front-hinged rear doors with outside handles) and four-door Crew Cab — are attached to reworked frames with more high-strength steel, extra bracing for stiffness and improved body mounts that help isolate road nose and vibration. For 2014, you can order the Crew Cab with a longer 80-inch bed (the standard bed is 68 inches) version and you’ll get a choice of three new all-aluminum engines. The entry point is a 4.3-liter V6 that has the same displacement as the previous V6, but output has significantly increased to 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque from 195/260. Optional is a 5.3-liter V8 with 355 horses and 383 pound-feet, up from 315/335. Later in the model year they’ll be joined by an available 6.2-liter V8 rated at 420 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque, which shares its parts with the new Corvette V8. All three powerplants feature direct fuel injection, which tailors the fuel load for the task at hand. They also have continuously variable valve timing (which allows in more fuel and air depending in the power needs) and cylinder deactivation that cuts off up to half the cylinders in light load and cruise situations. The model range also extends to include a new premium “High Country” model to appeal to wealthy ranchers and city slickers. The best part about this truck is its highly optioned leather interior that places it above the previous top-of-theline LTZ. New safety technology is aimed at keeping you out of a crash and not just protecting you in the event of a crash. There’s optional blind-spot alert, rear cross traffic alert and both forward collision alert and lane-departure warning. The 2014 Traverse also gets this tech, but also adds a very cool front center airbag that’s designed to keep front occupants from colliding during a side impact.
Base prices (incl. destination)
Equinox: Compact SUV; $25,200 Silverado: Full-size pickup; $24,600 Silverado HD: Full-size pickup; $30,800 Suburban: Full-size SUV; $46,100 Tahoe: Full-size SUV; $42,600 Traverse: Full-sized SUV; $31,700
Hot news for 2014: The minivan turns 30 and Chrysler is offering a tarted-up Town & Country to celebrate your domesticity and fetish for square objects. • A replacement for the 200 sedan is in the works for an early-2014 release. Yes, it speaks Italian. • Clothing designer John Varvatos gets his name on two limited-edition 300 models. Carryover: 200; 300; Town & Country Gone: None
Base prices (incl. destination)
ATS: Compact sedan; $34,000 CTS: Mid-size sedan; $46,000 CTS: Two-door coupe; $40,400 CTS: Four-door wagon; $4,100 ELR: Two-door coupe; $55,000-$60,000 (est.) Escalade: Full-size SUV; $64,700 SRX: Mid-size SUV; $38,400 XTS: Full-size sedan; $45,500
Hot news for 2014: Have you heard that there’s a new Corvette? No? What planet did you say you were from? • Brand new Impala is a real beauty and shares platforms with the Cadillac XTS. • New SS sedan is for people who wish the Camaro had four doors. • Camaro comes in for a mild refresh and the addition of the Boy Racer Z28 model. • Diesel option for the Cruze turns it into a fun little fuel miser. • Significant price cut for Volt. • Malibu gets a very early refresh to appease the critics and help sales. Carryover: Cruze; Sonic; Volt Gone: None
Chrysler 200 Convertible
mance option boosts engine output to 460 ponies and adds a performance suspension and exhaust system, beefier Brembo-labeled brakes, larger wheels and tires and both differential and oil coolers. According to Chevrolet, Z51-equipped Corvettes will dash to 60 mph from rest in 3.8 seconds, or about 0.3 seconds quicker than the base Stingray. It’s a great car, yes, but what if you need two more doors? Well, there’s the new SS that’s constructed at GM’s Australian facility where for years it has worn the Holden Commodore badge. During the 2008 and ‘09 model years, GM shipped the car to North America dressed up as the Pontiac G8. When the brand was cashiered in 2009, the G8 was also history, or so we were told. The car returned for 2013 as the Chevrolet Caprice Police Pursuit Vehicle (PPV), which was a significant hint that the Holden/Pontiac/Chevrolet would soon be made fit for civilian duty. Now dubbed the Super Sport — SS for short — the rear-wheel-drive car has a 415-horsepower version of the 6.2-liter V8 that’s found in the current Camaro and in pre2014 Corvettes. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. But if you still need four doors and don’t really care for the accompanying power trip, there’s the new 2014 Impala. Chevrolet’s enhanced flagship that shares the same platform with Cadillac’s top-positioned XTS. There’s more to admire inside with a highly sculpted gauge layout and control panel. An available eight-inch (diagonal) touch-screen above the audio and ventilation controls provides access to the Impala’s navigation, phone and infotainment systems and flips up to reveal a secret compartment for small valuables and your USB music device or smart phone that plugs right in. Given it’s size, you might be surprised to know that there are actually two four-cylinder engines available: a base 195-horsepower 2.5liter; and a 182-horsepower 2.4-liter “eAssist” powerplant. The latter works in tandem with a belt-driven, liquid-cooled 15-horsepower electric motor/generator (replacing the traditional alternator) that feeds off a lithium-ion battery pack located behind the rear seat. There’s also a stop/ start system that kills the engine when the vehicle is stationary and then refires it when the brake is released. Regenerative braking creates electricity while slowing down, which helps recharge the batteries. eAssist, which is offered in other GM sedans, gives the Impala a fuel-economy rating of 25 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway, compared to a 21/31 estimate for the base 2.5. For maximum potency, a 305-horsepower 3.6liter V6 (which was the sole engine choice on the previous Impala) is optional. A six-speed automatic transmission connects to all. Elsewhere, the Camaro comes in for a mid-cycle refresh (new lights front and rear) and the addition of the much-anticipated Z28 model that uses the 7.0liter V8 from the 2013 Corvette Z06. This is an all-out 500-horsepower track rat — designed to bury any offering from Ford — with foot-wide front and rear tires, carbon-ceramic brakes and other weight-saving tricks such as lighter window glass. The Camaro’s changes were expected, but the Malibu sedan’s rather sudden refresh comes just one season after a redesign that received little in the way of positive press, especially for the shrinking rear-seat space. For 2014, Chevrolet has rolled forward all the changes it had planned for the Malibu’s mid-cycle update, meaning the company has gone a long way to address criticisms. Exterior changes include a more aggressive front grille and lower fascia, although the Camaro-inspired taillights and rear end remain unchanged. Inside, the Malibu’s stylists appear to have gone all out to improve on the 2013 redesign. A new center console provides more room and storage, while engineers somehow used black magic to deliver another 1.25 inches of rear leg room without altering the exterior dimensions. In electric car news — yes, Chevrolet has two now — the Volt sedan takes a $5,000 price cut that, coupled with tax incentives, actually makes it somewhat affordable to the masses. There’s no fear of running out of juice since the onboard backup power generator is actually powered by gasoline. The new Spark EV doesn’t offer that peace of mind, but a larger battery pack and lighter overall weight make for a battery range of about 80 miles, which is more than double that of the Chevrolet Volt. A viable option for longer trips is the new Cruze diesel, which is rated at 46 mpg on the highway. The four-cylinder’s stout 264 pound-feet of torque provides great aroundtown get-up-and-go, too.
■ It’s a fast-paced world out there for automakers, where action and reaction times can make or break a company. Chevrolet brings two complete redesigns and a brand-new model to the plate for the 2014 model year while putting two others through the refresh mill. That makes five vehicles, which is huge change in anyone’s books. The car most in the news is the 2014 Corvette Stingray, also known as the C7 (for seventh generation). The same aluminum-frame architecture is used for both coupe and convertible, therefore they have about the same rigidity. The convertible is not merely a coupe without a roof, but a highly detailed sculpture that carries shapes and themes from the body to the interior and back. The dashing cockpit is the design equal to the exterior, something the ‘Vette faithful have waited ages to see. The engine compartment houses a newly designed 6.2-liter “LT1” V8 worth 455 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. It uses direct fuel injection and variable valve timing to best the previous 6.2’s rating of 430/424. Both the all-new sevenspeed manual transmission and optional sixspeed automatic are located directly ahead of the rear suspension for improved weight distribution, just as before. Standard is a five-position selector knob with settings for Weather (ratchets up the stability and traction controls), Eco for maximum fuel economy, Tour (standard default position), Sport (firms up the suspension and throttle settings and reduces exhaust backpressure) and Track (really firm and loud plus adds a lap timer to the electronic gauge panel). The Z51 perfor-
Base prices (incl. destination)
Camaro: Two-door retro ride; $24,300 Corvette: Two-door coupe; $52,000 Cruze: Four-door compact sedan; $18,000 Impala: Full-size sedan; $27,700 Malibu: Mid-sized sedan; $23,000 Sonic: Sub-compact sedan/hatch; $15,000 Spark: City-car hatchback; $13,000 SS: Four-door sedan; $44,500 Volt: Compact electric sedan; $35,000
■ If you look at Chevrolet, which has three completely redesigned cars and two refreshes going on for 2014, you really have to wonder what’s up at Chrysler. Certainly the answer to the aging 200 is coming in early 2014 as an Alfa-Romeo-based replacement is in the works. Alfa is one of the brands owned by Fiat, which currently owns Chrysler. But where brands live and die by the speed at which they act and react, it’s perhaps a bit surprising that there isn’t a lot more going on other than a 30th anniversary package for the Town & Country minivan. As a luxury-oriented minivan — whereas the Grand Caravan is built for more mainstream buyers — the T&C arrives with significantly more base content, although with four available trim levels you can certainly add to the list. The 30th Anniversary Edition comes with special 17-inch wheels, exterior badges, high-grade leather and faux-suede seat coverings, heated first and second-row seats, power adjustable pedals and more. For transforming the minivan for maximum cargo duty, the standard Stow ‘n Go second- and thirdrow seats can be quickly and easily folded below the load floor. Along with traveling in grand style, T&C shoppers will appreciate the scoot in the minivan’s step with the 283-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 and accompanying six-speed automatic transmission. For 2014, Chrysler gets a version of its Dodge “Man Van” sibling that uses the S badge like the 200 and 300. The S not only gets darker, meaner exterior trim and plenty of interior toys, but there’s also sportier suspension tuning to back up the attitude. While the 200 sedan is getting on in years, it does outdo the competition in one key area: price. It’s about $3,000 less than competing models. The 200 is a heavily worked over version of the old Sebring and must cover a broad spectrum of buyers. It’s therefore available in LX, Touring and Limited trim levels. The previously separate S trim — consisting of heated front seats, remote start, 18-inch aluminum gray polished wheels, blacked-out grille and fog-lamp bezels and hands-free Bluetooth-based voice command for the communications and audio system — is now a distinct option package on any 200, including the base model. The larger 300 is still the best car in the lineup. After the 2013 theme of “luxury for all” that bumped up standard equipment levels across the board, Chrysler is piling on the leather, chrome, wood and badges with trappings that wouldn’t be out of place in a six-figure luxury sedan. Not counting the SRT8, the lineup for 2014 is comprised of the base 300 and 300 S, as well as the 300C, the 300C John Varvatos (clothing designer) Limited Edition and
2014 Auto Preview
300C John Varvatos Luxury Edition. Other than the base model, every trim level can be had with either the 3.6-liter V6 or optionally the 5.7-liter V8. This means the “C” no longer guarantees eight cylinders under the hood. The two JV models include just about every posh amenity in the Chrysler parts warehouse, such as a premium leather interior, 12-way power-adjustable driver and front-passenger heated and ventilated seats, power adjustable steering column, pedals and rear-window sunshade, powerfolding outside mirrors and genuine Berber floor mats, differing mainly in colors and materials used.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2012 5
Base prices (incl. destination)
200: Mid-size sedan; $22,900 200: Mid-size convertible; $28,600 300: Full-size sedan; $31,500 Town & Country: Minivan; $31,700
Hot news for 2014: The minivan turns 30, so you can order a Grand Caravan to celebrate. • Tons of small changes to trim levels and option packages across the board, but nothing outlandish. • Charger and Challenger SRT8 models make a safe return for 2014, but are now available in “Core” models with less content and all the horsepower. • SRT Viper sold through experienced and SRTsavvy dealerships on a limited basis; new “Time Attack” model for 2014. • Durango updates looks and packaging. Carry-over: Avenger; Challenger; Charger; Durango; Grand Caravan; Viper Gone: None
■ Dodge is one of those all-things-to-everyone brands where you’ll find everything but the kitchen sink: a minivan; a retro muscle machine; a seven-passenger off-roader; a 470-horsepower family sedan; a cop car; an Italian compact; and a 640-horsepower track terror called the Viper “TA”, which is short for Time Attack. Yes, that’s all in one showroom. Pretty neat, eh? The new Viper TA arrives just one year after a total redesign of the brand’s halo machine. Apparently sales are not spectacular and SRT boss Ralph Gilles says the reason is that people are unnecessarily intimidated by the Viper. Unncessarily? The TA adds plenty of unique bits, along with better Brembo brakes, and throws them together into a neck-snapping package. There are also various wheel/tire package upgrades, an even boomier 18-speaker audio package and fancier trim bits. For those who want their Viper to resemble an F22 Raptor jet fighter, the Anodized Carbon Edition adds matte-black paint, carbon-fiber brake ducts and rear bumper, plus other bits inside and out finished in the blackest shades of black. Trading speed for passengers, at the complete opposite end of the scale is the Grand Caravan minivan. Essentially unchanged since its last redesign, the 2014 model represents the 30th year that these handy people-movers have been on the road. To celebrate, the 30th Anniversary Edition builds on the mid-level SXT and adds 17-inch wheels and chrome trim outside, along with badging, black leather-and-suede seats, piano-black accents and more. Regardless, the Grand Caravan is still one of the best deals in practical family transportation. It’s actually similarly priced to the base Avenger sedan and the Journey tall wagon, both of which hit the mark in and around 20 grand. Charger and Challenger show no sign of slowing as their high-performance SRT8 versions make a safe return for the 2014 model year. As a bonus to all-weather law-enforcement, the Charger cop car can be had with all-wheel-drive this model year. The Avenger nameplate, along with the related Chrysler 200, will transfer to new replacements supplied by Fiat-controlled Alfa Romeo some time in the spring of 2014. If that sounds familiar, it should, since the current Dodge Dart is based on an enlarged version of the Italian Alfa Romeo Giulietta. For 2014, Dodge is reacting to customer and market feedback and has shuffled the Dart’s trim levels and powertrains a little. The base engine is a 160-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder that’s standard with SE, while the bulk of remaining trims — SXT, Limited and GT, which replaces the R/T — come standard with the 184-horsepower 2.4-liter. The 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder used to be the optional higher-power selection for most trims, but is now exclusively found in the fuel-saving Aero. The turbo-four is rated at the same 160 horses as the base engine, but leads in the torque department with 184 pound-feet to 145. Torque is not the mighty Durango’s problem, that’s for sure, but after three years in the market, it’s time for the seven-seater to get the up-to-date details its competitors have. Its macho exterior still leaves the impression that it dines on Ford Explorers or Chevrolet Traverses anytime it wants, and now features Dodge’s LED “racetrack” taillights that successfully debuted on the Dodge Charger and Dart. The big “D” has been designed off the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s unitized (frameless) platform, which has also had its own refresh for 2014. The highly regarded 290-horsepower V6 — standard in the SXT and Crew models — as well as the optional 360-horsepower V8 installed in the R/T and range-topping Citadel models carry over unchanged. The “Hemi” features a variable-displacement system that reduces fuel consumption by shutting down half of the engine’s eight cylinders under light-load conditions. However, a new eightspeed automatic transmission is standard across the board, replacing the five- and six-speed units. Thankfully, the new eight-speeder doesn’t negatively affect tow ratings; V8 Durangos can still lug up to 7,400 pounds (6,200 pounds for the V6) and can also carry up to seven passengers when using all three rows of seats, although second-row twin high-back bucket seats can also be specified. Interior changes include a rotary-dial gearshift mounted on the center console, the latest Uconnect system with a 8.4-inch touch screen and available steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. For 2014, the new Limited trim package includes leather seats, heated seats, heated steering wheel and standard 8.4inch Uconnect.
for the 2013 model year. Busy? Oh ya. For 2014, most of the car line is unchanged, aside from the usual package/option shifts, plus the filling out of trim levels. The recipient of the biggest change is at the small end of the scale. Just a few years after its introduction in North America, the Mexican-built Fiesta is finally broadening its appeal. Aside from the new Aston-Martin lookalike grille copied from the Fusion sedan, the major news comes from what’s under the shapely new hood. The regular 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 120 horsepower is now complemented by two optional turbocharged powerplants. The first is Ford’s global 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder, which promises to not only be the first three-cylinder sold in North America in decades, but will also improve both power and fuel efficiency. With 123 horsepower, that doesn’t beat the base car by much, but it’s the 148 pound-feet of torque that make the difference. And while official fuel-consumption numbers are hard to come by, Ford claims it will have best-in-class figures. If Ford’s EcoBoost strategy remains constant, the 1.0 will cost an extra $1,000. Both engines share the same five-speed manual transmission, but there won’t be an automatic option for the EcoBoost. At the other end of the spectrum, the Fiesta ST promises to offer all the thrills and smiles generated by its larger Focus ST cousin. It uses the 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder found in the Escape tall wagon, only with more juice for a total of 197 horsepower and 177 poundfeet of torque. ST will also be the only Fiesta to boast a six-speed manual transmission, which should mix nicely with the sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch wheels with performance tires, four-wheel disc brakes and all kinds of electronic assists. Expect the ST to sit at the top of the Fiesta hierarchy with unique seats, body kit and colors to differentiate its hatchback silhouette. The generous standard content continues with features such as air conditioning, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, power locks and mirrors, four-speaker sound system, hands-free capless fuel filler plus a cabin filled with airbags. New features for 2014 include available leather interior and MyFord Touch, which uses a 6.5-inch touchscreen and secondary steering-wheel controls to more easily synchronize things like your Bluetooth-capable devices. The Fusion sedan also gets a bit of engine news for 2014, although not as dramatic as the Fiesta’s. There are no fewer than six distinctive engine picks, including two Prius-like gasoline-electric hybrid systems. It all begins with a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, topping out with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder “EcoBoost” engine with 237 horsepower. The latter is optional but a requirement for all-wheel-drive Fusions. In between is a 1.6-liter EcoBoost that carries over for 2014, but joining the lineup is an all-new 1.5-liter EcoBoost. Both produce an identical 179 horsepower, but the older 1.6 beats the newcomer in torque by a slight margin. The big difference is that the 1.6 will now only be offered with a six-speed manual transmission while the 1.5 picks up the slack with a six-speed automatic. The 1.5 is billed as the thriftiest of the three EcoBoost options thanks to auto start-stop technology, but in terms of fuel savings, the Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid are really where it’s at. Both employ a 141-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder combined with an electric motor to produce 188 net horsepower. The Hybrid’s system allows for maximum electric-only velocity of 62 mph, and has raised the fuel-economy bar to 47 mph city and 44 highway. The Fusion Energi plug ’n’ play model uses the same basic tech as the Hybrid, but gets a 100-mpg equivalency rating; an all-electric range of 21 miles and a total EPA-estimated range of 620 miles. The Fusion can be ordered with rear inflatable seatbelts for 2014. But the real question on your mind might be what’s in store for the Mustang. Well, not much for the last year of this body style, except that the Boss 302 is gone. For the new 2015 model year, you can expect some changes under the hood to help fuel performance. The return of the 5.8-liter supercharged V8 in the GT 500 seems unlikely, so if 662 horsepower and a 200-mph top speed are your thing, it might be time to get out the checkbook.
Base prices (incl. destination)
C-Max: Four-door compact tall wagon; $26,000 Fiesta: Compact sedan/hatchback; $14,800 Focus: Compact sedan/hatchback; $17,400 Fusion: Mid-size sedan; $22,700 Mustang: Two-door coupe; $23,000 Shelby GT500: Two-door coupe/conv.; $55,000 Taurus: Full-size sedan; $27,500
Dodge Challenger RT Redline
Base prices (incl. destination)
Avenger: Mid-sized sedan; $20,800 Challenger: Two-door coupe; $27,200 Charger: Four-door sedan; $27,200 Dart: Compact sedan; $16,900 Durango: Full-size sport utility vehicle; $30,800 Grand Caravan: Minivan; $21,900 Journey: Mid-sized wagon; $20,400 SRT Viper: A snake with a jet pack; $101,300
Hot news for 2014: All-new 500L better suited to families, mostly because it’s so much larger. • 500 EV is a rare find, but claims an all-electric range of 87 miles on a full charge. Carryover: 500 Gone: None
■ If there’s one thing Fiat knows how to do well, it’s small and nimble cars that don’t drink a lot of gas. With fuel prices only rising on this side of the pond, the 500 is managing to cash in on that trend following a getting-to-know-you slow start. Fiat means business and that means making the 500 more appealing to North American small-car buyers by giving them more of what they really, really want. That’s where the all-new 500L enters the picture. Physically, the Serbia-built 500L shares nothing with the 500 two-door, but it does exude a saucy character that’s unmistakably Fiat. Getting the 500 to a more practical state meant employing a larger version of the 500’s platform. The tale of the tape reveals a gain of 27.5 inches in overall length, about six inches in width and height and slightly more than an extra foot between the front and rear wheels, which translates into 42-percent greater interior volume. Fiat has also fashioned the rear seat to accommodate three people, for a total of five. Both the front and the 60:40 split rear seat can be folded when extra cargo space is called for. The standard powerplant is the turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder that’s used in the sporty 500 Abarth. The engine pumps out 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, which should keep it from being pokey in traffic and during passing moves. A six-speed manual transmission is standard fare, while a six-speed automated manual (no clutch pedal) is optional. The 500L comes in Pop, Easy, Trekking and Lounge models. Of the four, the off-road-emulating Trekking will be the most visually stimulating with its unique blacked-out lower rear bodywork and protruding nose (think British Bulldog), 17-inch wheels (16s are standard) and two-tone interior. Unfortunately, all-wheel-drive is not on the Trekking’s build sheet, which pretty much limits where you can actually trek to. Other up-level equipment includes a panoramic glass sunroof, enlarged touch-screen controls for the audio, communications and navigation systems and a premium “Beats by Dr. Dre” audio system. Fiat is experimenting with the smaller 500 as an electric platform for 2014. If you’re in the very limited market where they’re available, the batterypowered 500e claims it gets 87 miles of driving range, along with an impressive 108 highway MPGe (for equivalent). Thankfully, it has a very torque-rich electric motor with 111 horsepower, which is more than even the base 500, which can also be charged in less than four hours from a 220-volt charger. And, smartly, Fiat will toss in 12 days of free rental-car passes for times where trips outside of the 500e’s range are planned. The 500’s range of “regular” powerplants was expanded to include a new Turbo model for model year 2013.
Base prices (incl. destination)
500: Subcompact coupe/convertible; $16,200 500L: Compact wagon; $19,900
Hot news for 2014: After a busy 2013, the Ford car line is fully up and running for 2014. For the most part, there’s just some gentle massaging to get the cars connecting with the right audiences. • Small Fiesta fills out the line with more engine options — including a 1.0-liter three-cylinder — and new front styling. • The Taurus’s base V6 gets more power while a four-cylinder joins the family. • Last model year for the current Mustang; the Boss 302 is already gone and it might be your last chance to score a 662-horsepower GT500. • New 1.5-liter “Ecoboost” joins the 1.6 in the Fusion, but for seemingly small gain. Carryover: C-Max; Focus; Fusion; Mustang; Taurus Gone: None
■ Ford is likely still sleeping off the hangover that comes with the kind of product party it had
Ford Shelby GT500 Convertible
6 THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2013
2014 Auto Preview
urban commuter, but here it is. Nowhere in Ford’s press or promotional literature will you see the 2014 TC referred to as a minivan. But one walk around this big-roofed rig with its dual-sliding side doors and up to seven-passenger seating capacity is enough to confirm that “minivan” is the most relevant designation, even if it’s from Europe. The TC Wagon, which arrives in late 2013, is the junior-sized civilian offshoot of a series of new windowless commercialvans heading to North America from Ford’s factory in Spain. Size-wise, it falls into the compact class, which means it’s significantly smaller than more traditional minivans from Chrysler, Toyota and Honda. The TC Wagon will be offered in two sizes — five- and seven-passenger — separated by nearly 16 inches in length and in the distance between the front and rear wheels. The pair replaces the original five-passenger Transit Connect van that arrived for the 2010 model year. The five-passenger TC Wagon’s just-right size is more aesthetically pleasing, but for larger families the elongated sevenseat version will likely get the nod. With three distinct trim levels — XL, XLT and Titanium — the TC Wagon can be spiced up just about any way you want, from utilitarian basic to full-on premium class transporter with leather seat coverings, king-size panoramic glass roof, a navigation system with 6.5-inch screen, fancy wheels, upgraded sound system and other niceties. You can select either a cargo-van-style side-hinged rear doors, or a more traditional liftgate. In either case, the split-folding second-row — and the dual fore-and-aft-sliding third-row seats found in extended models — can be flattened for maximum stowage. The TC Wagon will accommodate up to 1,200 pounds of cargo and tow up to 2,000 pounds. The starting point engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, while a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder “EcoBoost” is optional. Power is directed to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. But back to that Explorer for a moment. When Ford unleashed the Explorer Sport model for the 2013 model year, there was more work done than just dropping in the same twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 found in the Taurus SHO sedan. The sixspeed automatic transmission needed upgrading, as did the suspension and all-wheel-drive. But a couple of less-obvious things, like a unique electric power steering module and enlarged brakes, stood out as heroes. As such, Ford is making those standard across the board for 2014, regardless of trim level. Regular Explorers use the adequate and efficient 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, but the optional turbocharged 240-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine — front-drive models only — achieves 28 mpg on the highway, which is about three more than the 3.5 is capable of. With 350 horsepower on tap, the Sport moves like a football fullback, but still returns 16/22 mpg, which is not bad given its performance potential.
Base prices (incl. destination)
Ford Transit Connect
Edge: Four-door tall wagon; $28,600 Escape: Four-door compact tall wagon; $23,600 Expedition: full-size SUV; $42,200 Explorer: mid-size SUV; $30,500 Flex: Full-sized tall wagon; $32,000 Transit Connect: “The transporter”; $24,000 (est.)
Hot news for 2014: There’s a new Sierra pickup . . . do we really need to say anything more than that? Other than it’s a whole lot tougher looking than the related Silverado? • Perhaps the best piece of safety tech finds its way into the Acadia: the center airbag. • Yukon is in a holding pattern as GMC readies a replacement based on the new pickup platform. • No new compact pickup to replace the Canyon just yet, but it’s coming. Carryover: Sierra HD; Terrain; Yukon; Yukon XL; Yukon Denali Gone: None
Hot news for 2014: With newer Chevrolet, Ram and GMC trucks now flooding the market, it’s Ford’s turn to come to bat with a new F150, but that won’t happen until the 2015 model year. • How does the new Tremor bridge the gap between the SVT Raptor and the long-gone SVT Lightning street truck? Read on to find out. Carryover: F-Series SD Gone: None
■ Physically square, but very cool at the same time, is the tough-looking GMC line of tall wagons and trucks. Nope, there are no cars in this lineup, at all. That’s better left to Chevrolet, so that GMC can concentrate on the heavy lifting. For 2014, the GMC Sierra and the related Chevy Silverado each continue with their own style and attitude, although the “attitude” part is hard to define, exactly. While Chevrolet positions the Silverado as a kind of middle-ground pickup for both work and play, in the Sierra’s case those virtues are distinctly separated. More basic GMC models accentuate the “Professional Grade” tag and the pitch is directed at buyers who rely on their pickups to earn a living. At the opposite end of the scale is the Sierra Denali sub-brand that places a much higher value on coddling content. In either case, the Sierra’s primary identification point can be spotted in your rearview mirror. The entire front end, including grille, headlights, bumper and in-your-face GMC logo, are more massive than before and in total make a bolder statement than the Silverado does. Some minor sheetmetal differences exist between the Chevy and the GMC, but that’s about it. Even the interiors of the two pickups share the same basic dash, control panel and available touch-screen communications center that are a masterstroke of efficient legibility. Of course as you scale the trim-level ladder the appointments become more luxurious and the cabin resembles something approaching a high-end limo, especially in the four-door crew-cab models. Improvements in aerodynamics, insulation and weather sealing help shut out intrusive noises. Just as a greater use of aluminum in fabricating various body panels and suspension parts has kept the Sierra’s weight in check, the three new engines also benefit. All use aluminum cylinder blocks and incorporate direct injection, whereby fuel is force-fed into the cylinders under high pressure. There’s also continuously variable valve timing for improved lowand high-speed performance, while half the cylinders in V8 engines will automatically shut down in steady-state cruise conditions to save fuel. The V6 engine also runs on four cylinders in such situations. The base 4.3-liter V6 might have the same displacement as before, but now makes 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. The old iron 4.3 was good for just 195/260 pound-feet. Mated to a standard six-speed automatic transmission, fuel economy is also up by three mpg in the city and two on the highway (now 18/24). V8 choices consist of a new 5.3-liter unit with 355 horses and 383 poundfeet, up from 315/335, and a 6.2-liter piece rated at 420/450 pound-feet. That compares to the previous 6.2’s 403/417 rating. It’s standard in the fancier Sierra Denali, not to mention a rather substantial list of content that includes unique 20-inch chrome and wood and leather innards. Although the rest of the GMC lineup largely carries over, there is one special note that concerns the Acadia tall wagon’s new center airbag. While airbags are generally to protect occupants from impact with the inside of the vehicle, the new center airbag protects them from impacts with each other. In the event of a side impact, the center airbag deploys to keep the front passenger and the driver from colliding. It’s an ingenious invention that should prevent many head injuries and save lives.
Base prices (incl. destination)
Acadia: Mid-size SUV; $35,000 Sierra: Full-size pickup; $25,100 Sierra HD: Full-size pickup; $30,550 Terrain: Compact SUV; $27,200 Yukon: Full-size SUV; $42,800
■ Trucks were once rolling toolboxes that you filled to the brim with shovels and bricks. Honestly, the idea of filling a new F-150 with bricks, or scuffing up the box in any way, makes us a little queasy, even if that’s sort of the point of a pickup. Trying to keep buyers happy while an all-new F-150 is in the works can’t be an easy thing. So, Ford is doing its best with 2014 models by rolling out a few small changes to its best-selling pickup in advance of the new 2015 model. The segment-first high-intensity-discharge headlights that debuted on the Limited model for 2013 are now standard on every trim level, except the base models, while power-telescoping/folding towing mirrors inspired by the Super Duty are available too. All models get their own trim-specific front grilles, bumpers and wheel designs; other changes for 2014 include a new grille for the FX package and chrome wheels for XLT and STX. Those wishing for a return of the SVT Lightning sport truck can now have the next best thing; the 2014 Tremor. It’s regular-cab short-box sport-truck powered by the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. It uses flat-black accents outside, 20-inch wheels with low-profile tires and a steep rearend gear for the best possible acceleration. At the other end of the spectrum, the Limited is available only as a SuperCrew four-door cab, the body-color moldings, brightwork and 22-inch wheels are set off by an interior with heated and cooled red-and-black leather seats, aluminum trim and piano black accents that complement the new MyFord Touch screen on the dash. The Limited is exclusively powered by the popular 3.5-liter “EcoBoost” twin-turbocharged V6 with 365 horsepower. Those wanting traditional V8 power are spoiled, too, with 5.0-liter or 6.2-liter options readily available in most other trims. The sheer number of F-150 combinations is mind-boggling. Not including paint colors and interior trims, there are four box lengths and three cab sizes (regular, extended SuperCab and four-door SuperCrew), not to mention both rear- and four-wheel-drive availability. A 411-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 is standard in the F-150 SVT Raptor 4x4, which is inspired by Ford’s participation in off-road desert racing. Standard gear includes special shock absorbers that stiffen as they compress to keep the truck from bottoming out or becoming too tippy while cornering. That’s a good idea, since there’s more than 11 inches of suspension travel in front and about 13.5 inches in back. The giant 35-inch-tall all-terrain rubber has been mounted to 17-inch wheels that are positioned farther outboard from the fenders to a point where the Raptor’s width has been increased by more than seven inches compared to a standard F-150.
Hot news for 2014: Eerily quiet in the Honda stable this year, but the big news has to the do with the Accord plug-in hybrid. • Odyssey minivan comes in for some mechanical upgrades to help out fuel economy. • New lineup-topping Ridgeline SE shows up with a standard leather interior, navigation system and its own set of unique 18-inch wheels. Carryover: Accord; Civic; CR-Z; Fit; Insight; Odyssey; Pilot; Ridgeline. Gone: None
Base prices (incl. destination)
F-150: Full-size pickup; $25,100 F-series SD: Full-size pickup; $31,100
Hot news for 2014: The Transit Connect goes from ugly duckling to handsome hauler . . . we’ll go as far as to call it a minivan, even if Ford won’t. • Ford pours the lessons learned with the 2013 Explorer Sport model into the rest of the gene pool. Carryover: Edge; Escape; Expedition; Explorer; Flex Gone: None
■ If anyone knows anything about fuel economy, it’s Honda. After all, the company had the first hybrid on the market nearly 15 years ago (the 2000 Insight) and the Civic has always been known as an efficiency leader. But 2014 marks a first for the company with the Accord plug-in hybrid as the natural extension of the new family sedan that was introduced for 2013. Compared to its predecessor, the sedan is 3.5 inches shorter in overall length and nearly an inch between the front and rear wheels, while half-inch in width. Concurrently, trunk space has increased by five percent, thanks to a more compact rear suspension. The coupe underwent a more subtle transformation and remains one of the most appealing models of its type on the road. The base 2.4-liter four-cylinder makes 185 horsepower, while the optional 3.5-liter V6 makes 278. A six-speed gearbox on four-cylinder Accord sedans and up-level V6 coupes remains available. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) replaced the five-speed automatic option on all four-cylinder models, but a six-speed automatic remains the only choice for V6 sedans and base V6 coupes. The Accord Plug-In hybrid uses a 141-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder mated to a 166-horsepower electric motor. The Plug-In can travel up to 13 miles on electric-only propulsion and has a maximum 570-mile range. It takes about three hours using 120-volt house current to replenish the lithium-ion battery (about 10 minutes for a 50 percent charge), or about an hour with a 240-volt charger. The Plug-In is initially available in California and New York only, but for all states a regular (non-plug-in) Accord Hybrid sedan that uses the same powertrain (but a lighter battery pack) is coming on stream. It’s rated at 50 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway (compared to 47/46 for the Plug-In). For 2014 the Odyssey minivan becomes more competitive with upgrades for base models that include a six-speed automatic transmission that replaces the five-speed unit. The sixspeed transmission was formerly the domain of up-level trims. The carryover 248-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 comes with variable-cylinder-management that cuts out two or three of the cylinders under lightload conditions for improved fuel economy. Also newly standard are Bluetooth short-range wireless networking, four-way power passenger seat, “Expanded View” driver’s mirror and upgraded audio functionality. These features are in addition to a power driver’s seat, keyless entry and cruise control. The resulting $150 base-price increase still makes the $29,650 Odyssey a pretty good deal, especially since it gets the six-speed automatic and now earns the same 19-mpg-city and 28-mpg-highway rating as the other four higher trims. At the top of the Odyssey heap is the $45,250 Touring Elite with its selfleveling headlights, 16.2-inch rear video screen (bigger than the average the laptop computer screen), 650-watt 12-speaker surround-sound system and new-for-2014 “HondaVac” built-in 12-volt vacuum cleaner positioned at the rear of the van. Visually, the Odyssey receives the type of mid-cycle updating that’s common in the auto industry, highlighted by a restyled front and rear end plus an updated instrument and control panels.
Base prices (incl. destination)
■ It used to be that the Ford Explorer was the really big bread-winner in the sport utility segment for Ford. And then it all changed when people began to concern themselves with things such as fuel economy, ride quality, noise and having to step up so high to get in. Or that it was too big . . . or too small. How things change in a decade. There are basically six such utility vehicles for sale in 2014, ranging from the Escape on the small end to the truck-based Expedition at the top with car-like offerings such as the Flex and the Edge in between. And that Explorer? The name has somehow made it through all the hard times to still hold an anchor spot. A new model in all this, though, is the Transit Connect Wagon. You might know this as more of a delivery vehicle than a fancy
Accord: Mid-size sedan; $22,800; Plug-in hybrid $40,600 Accord: Mid-size coupe; $24,400 Civic: Compact sedan; $19,000 Crosstour: Mid-size four-door hatchback; $28,200 CR-V: Compact SUV; $23,800 CR-Z: Two-door hatchback hybrid; $20,800 Fit: Four-door wagon, $16,200 Insight: Four-door sedan, $19,400 Odyssey: Minivan; $29,700 Pilot: Mid-size SUV; $30,500 Ridgeline: Four-door pickup; $30,400
2014 Auto Preview
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2013 7
OPENS D E C E M B E R 2 ND
Hwy 45 N. Columbus
(Between Auto Spa & BancorpSouth)
We Service All Makes & Models While You Wait Open 6 Days a Week
Monday through Friday 7:00 am to 7:00 pm Saturday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
CAR & MINIVAN
Explorer Plus 21 Sizes Starting at
Charger GT 17 Sizes Starting at
TRUCK & SUV
Safari ATR 32 Sizes Starting at
6895 9895 9995
12595 13695 15795
Integrity 19 Sizes starting at
Signature 10 Sizes starting at
Wrangler SR-A 61 Sizes starting at
Assurance Fuel Max 40 Sizes Starting at
Eagle GT 51 Sizes Starting at
LXT 21 Sizes Starting at
$uper $aver Coupon
when you present this coupon
BRAKE $ SPECIAL
400.00 - 499.00 = $40.00 $ 500.00 - 599.00 = $50.00 $ 600.00 - 699.00 = $60.00
100.00 - 199.00 = $10.00 $ 200.00 - 299.00 = $20.00 $ 300.00 - 399.00 = $30.00
700.00 - 799.00 = $70.00 $ 800.00 - 899.00 = $80.00 $ 900.00 - 999.00 = $90.00
Valid only at Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center. Please present coupon when order is written. Not valid with any other offer. No photocopies allowed. Excludes all tires and maintenance offers. See Quick Lane service advisor for details.
1000 .00 + = $ 100 .00
8 THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2013
2014 Auto Preview
Hot news for 2014: Sonata and Equus exterior freshening. • Engine updates for Tucson (direct fuel injection). • Mid-cycle refresh of the Elantra sedan will be unveiled late in the year. • Electric steering for Genesis sedan. • Genesis coupe is on hiatus until an updated model is unveiled later in the year. Carryover: Accent; Azera; Elantra coupe and hatchback; Equus; Genesis sedan; Genesis coupe; Genesis sedan; Santa Fe; Sonata; Tucson; Veloster. Gone: Veracruz
■ Shunning the typical new-car launch window, Hyundai’s big news for 2014 is what it won’t have available right away. Both the compact Elantra sedan and the Genesis Coupe have come in for some freshening, although we don’t expect to see them surface until after the Los Angeles Auto Show in late November. Updated looks and perhaps some new engines are in the cards, but we’ll know more then. That means the Santa Fe is pretty much the newest addition to the family. Hyundai has done what few automakers these do these days: make two different sizes of the same model. But it likely makes sense to fans of the Santa Fe who can decide which version best suits their passenger and/or cargo space needs: the shorter-wheelbase Sport or the longer (by 8.5 inches) seven-passenger Santa Fe. The elongated version is heftier than the Sport by more than 400 pounds, which explains why it’s only available with a 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V6. Conversely, the Sport comes with a base 190-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder, or optional 264-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. In all cases the sole transmission is a sixspeed automatic with manual shift controls. Hyundai will let you add its latest all-wheel-drive setup with any Santa Fe you select. The system includes Torque Vectoring Corner Control (TVCC) that monitors driving conditions and can instantaneously direct the correct amount of power or braking force to any single wheel. TVCC assists in slippery conditions and provides added precision when negotiating turns. The Santa Fe features plenty of standard content plus unexpected treats, including Driver Selectable Steering Mode with Normal, Comfort (reduces steering effort by 10 percent) and Sport settings (increases effort by the same amount). Turbo models add performance suspension components (stiffer shocks and stabilizer bars), 19-inch wheels (17s are standard), fancier gauge cluster, push-button start and heated front seats. The up-level V6 Limited comes with a wider selection of content over the base GLS, such as dual-zone climate control, leather seat covers, second-row captain’s chairs and blind-spot detection that alerts the driver if another vehicle is approaching the Santa Fe from either side. Slightly smaller than the Santa Fe, the Tucson has been enjoying great success. For 2014, both four-cylinder engines have been upgraded to direct-injection technology, which means fuel is sprayed directly into the combustion chamber (instead of through the intake manifold) under very high pressure, which means it can be tailored for very specific situations and loads. As a result, the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder is rated at 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque (previously 165/146), while the optional 2.4-liter makes 182 horses and 177 pound-feet of torque (compared to 176/168). Clearly the optional engine gained the most in the direct-injection transformation, but neither manages to move the fuel-economy needle in any meaningful way compared to their respective 2013 numbers. Both engines are now linked exclusively to six-speed automatic transmissions, which spells the end for the five-speed manual gearbox that was previously standard with the 2.0. While the Elantra sedan awaits its updating, the Coupe and the GT still look fresh. They closely mimic the swoops-and-swirls theme of the current sedan while mimicking the more aggressive nose of the Veloster Turbo. Blackedout grilles and unique wheel designs are another area of differentiation, but from the back, the Coupe is awfully similar to the sedan and identical in both interior and exterior dimensions. The GT is slightly shorter, but its expanded cargo area allows for 23 cubic-feet of room with the rear seats up (compared with 15 for the sedan/ Coupe) and more than 50 with them folded flat. The Elantra’s 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine puts out 148 horsepower (145 horsepower for states that require partial-zero-emissions tuning), and is rated at 28 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway with the standard six-speed manual transmission, or optional six-speed automatic. At the full-size end of the spectrum, the rear-wheeldrive Equus is more enticing for 2014 with a revised grille, bumper and taillights, refreshed cabin design including a new dashboard, control panel and steering wheel and a retuned suspension to enhance ride comfort.
until mid 2015 when the all-new Q30 arrives. Concurrent with this decision, Infiniti has reduced the G37’s base price by $4,800 to $33,400. Visually, the Q50 is set apart by a hunkered-down stance that matches its sportsedan status. A cabin that elevates tastefulness to a new level reaffirms the car’s luxury-vehicle cred. The Q50 runs with the same 328-horsepower V6 as the G37, however a new-for-2014 Q50 Hybrid combines a 302-horsepower 3.5liter V6 with a 50-kilowatt electric motor (rated at 67 horsepower) to produce 360 total system horsepower. The Hybrid uses the same sevenspeed automatic transmission as the regular Q50, as opposed to a less-than-sporting continuously variable unit found in most other hybrids. As well you can specify all-wheel-drive for the Hybrid, which is a feature not available in similarly propelled Lexus or Lincoln models. The Hybrid’s 346-volt lithium-ion battery pack that’s located behind the rear seat reduces available trunk space, but apart from the performance gain the Hybrid rates an impressive 29 mpg in the city and 36 on the highway. By comparison, the gasoline-only Q50 earns a 20/30 rating. The Q50 arrives properly attired, however the Q50 Premium adds heated front seats, power moonroof and Bose’s 14-speaker “Studio on Wheels” audio system. Note that the Q50 Hybrid starts at the Premium trim level. The Q50S adds metal-trim accents, 19-inch wheels, sport-tuned suspension and brakes and a different front bumper. Infiniti has packaged the latest crashavoidance tech into the Q50 under the “Safety Shield” label. The star is new “steer by wire” where this is no hard connection between the steering wheel and the front tires. It’s all run by sensors and motors. This allows the Q50 to take over in some situations, like when the car notices you’re drifting out of your lane. Yes, it steers itself . . . and it can stop itself . . . and it can speed up again. Good thing you’re there to turn it on.
Base prices (incl. destination)
G37: Mid-size sedan; $33,500 Q50: Mid-size sedan; $37,600 Q60 coupe (was G37): Mid-size coupe; $41,300
Jaguar F Type
Q60 convertible (G37): Mid-size convertible; $48,800 Q70 (M37, M56): Full-size sedan; $49,600 Q70 Hybrid (M35h): Full-size sedan; $55,700 QX50 (EX37): Mid-size wagon: $35,300 QX70 (FX37, FX50): Mid-size wagon; $45,900 QX60 (JX): Full-size tall wagon; $42,500 QX80 (QX56): Full-size SUV: $62,300
Hot news for 2014: Jaguar can try to link this little beauty to the past all it likes, but the F-Type stands on its own merits. • XF sedan comes with a Ford four-cylinder if you’re into saving gas. Carryover: XF, XJ, XK Gone: None
Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
Base prices (incl. destination)
Accent: Sedan/two-door hatch; $15,200 Azera: Full-size sedan: $33,100 Elantra coupe: Compact coupe; $18,400 Elantra GT: Compact hatchback; $19,300 Equus: A fuller-size Genesis; $62,000 Genesis sedan: Full-size sedan; $35,100 Santa Fe: Mid-sized SUV; $25,600 Sonata: Mid-sized sedan; $22,200 Sonata Hybrid: Mid-sized sedan; $26,500 Tucson: Compact SUV, $22,300 Veloster: Compact hatchback, $18,500
Hot news for 2014: Well, you likely won’t recognize the names of any of the vehicles as Infiniti plays the Name Game. • The new Q50 sedan was to replace the G37, but both will be in play for 2014. Carryover: G37 sedan; Q60; Q70; QX50; QX60; QX70; QX80 Gone: None
■ Changing the name of every vehicle in the company lineup has its risks and its costs. Tossing out whatever brand recognition there was and then paying untold dollars to reeducate buyers is obviously worth it to Infiniti, though. The short explanation is that all the car models will have the “Q” prefix and all the wagons will start with “QX”. Rather than a number designating the engine size after that (such as 37 in the G37), the new nomenclature will use a number that represents the actual car. Then there will be a number indicating engine size. Rather than droning on about it here, we’ll leave it to Infiniti’s advertising and marketing arms to somehow get the message across. No matter, though, as there’s an exciting new car to talk about for 2014. A new name and a slew of techno enhancements are the first clues that the Q50 sedan is something special. But buyers might be left feeling perplexed in the Q50’s case since the G37 sedan it was to have replaced this year will now remain in the fleet
■ Now this is the Jaguar we like: a company that builds fast and beautiful cars. There was certainly a risk in building a lower-priced model, but rest assured the new F-Type is not going down in flames like the X-Type did a few years back. The F-Type might be a direct decedent of the E-Type from the 1960s, but this car makes you forget all about the past, and even the present, of Jaguar. Four decades following the launch of Jaguar’s iconic E-Type sports car, Jaguar is introducing a brand new roadster. The result isn’t E-Type sleek, but its shape is more purposeful . . . in a Teutonic sort of way. There’s even an active rear spoiler of a type pioneered by Porsche and Mercedes-Benz (and others) that deploys once the F-Type has reached 60 mph, then retracts once the roadster’s speed drops below 40. The cloth top returns to its latched and locked position in 12 seconds while the vehicle is traveling up to 30 mph, so you don’t have to come to a complete stop in the middle of traffic or in the middle of a downpour. One neat trick is a set of air vents atop the multi-function touch-screen infotainment unit that pop up when manually activated or whenever the climate system calls for additional heating or cooling. The seats are based on those installed in the high-performance (and larger) Jaguar XKR-S model and actually don’t require the car’s occupants to be overly svelte to squeeze between the bolsters. Base F-Types are fitted with a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 (a derivative of Jaguar’s 5.0-liter V8 and an engine that’s also used in the XJ and XF sedans) that makes a respectable 340 horsepower. Jaguar claims it will push the F-Type to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. The F-Type S gets a 380-horsepower version of the 3.0 that cuts that time to 4.8 seconds. The F-Type V8S has a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 that delivers 495 horsepower and zero-to-60-mph sprints in a mere 4.2 seconds. Each engine gets an eightspeed automatic transmission and redundant steering-wheel-located paddles. The transmission also signals the engine to “blip” the throttle (called rev matching) for smoother transitions between gears when downshifting. Knowing that sports-car owners love those seductive under-hood sounds, Jaguar offers an optional active exhaust system that increases the volume as the revs increase and directs the melody into the cabin. Although most of Jaguar’s models are skewed for speed, there is a refuge for Jag lovers who either don’t want to pay for big power or don’t want to pay for fuel to run big power, or both. In the mid-sized XF sedan, the 240-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine has more than enough poke to keep things interesting. On the other hand, you can spend part of those savings on an XF 3.0 and enjoy the rush of a supercharged 340-horsepower V6 or blow nearly all of it and add all-wheel-drive to your purchase. However, if nothing less than a supercharged V8 will suffice, the 470- and 510-horsepower versions return unaltered for 2014.
Hot news for 2014: The Cherokee name returns following a lengthy hiatus, but it’s dressed up in more contemporary sheetmetal that belies its ability to still navigate difficult on- and off-road terrain. • Diesel option returns to the Grand Cherokee for 2014. • Compass and Patriot get six-speed automatic transmissions to displace the continuously variable unit. Carryover: Grand Cherokee; Compass; Patriot; Wrangler Gone: None
Base prices (incl. destination)
F-Type: Mid-size convertible; $70,000 XF: Full-sized sedan; $48,500 XJ: Full-sized sedan; $74,700 XK: Two-door coupe/roadster; $80,500; $86,500 (roadster)
■ Just because Jeep has deep roots in tradition doesn’t mean it can’t completely blow up that tradition from time to time. Jeeps are generally chunky and square as the Grand Cherokee, Wrangler and Compass prove. Even the retired Liberty had plenty of right angles and most certainly when talk of a resurrected Cherokee began circulating, the assumption was that it would also be square. Nice cure ball, Jeep. Instead of the brick-like original, the Cherokee has some seriously modern sculpting going on. All by itself, the pinched and pointy-nose grille says plenty about the risk that Jeep’s designers have undertaken in creating the new Cherokee. Then there are the eyelet headlights that would have been impossible to imagine on any production car, Jeep or otherwise . . . until now, that is. The interior is also as modern as the outside. All but the most basic Cherokee models feature 5.0or 8.4-inch touch-screens, depending on the trim level, that operate climate, communications and infotainment systems. Base models get a Fiatdesigned 2.4-liter four-cylinder worth 184 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque. Optional is an all-new 3.2-liter V6 that’s rated at 271 horses. It’s a subset of Chrysler’s 3.6-liter V6 that’s the base engine in the larger Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Ram pickup. In the Cherokee’s case, ordering the V6 provides a 4,500-pound towing capacity. Both engines are connected to ninespeed automatic transmissions, which is the first use of that gear changer in any Chrysler product. Front-wheel-drive is the norm, but buyers can choose from three different four-wheel-drive setups, depending on trim level. Active Drive I, optional in the Sport, Latitude and Limited editions, is a single-speed unit that kicks in automatically whenever tire slip is detected. Active Drive II, also available in the same models, comes with a two-speed transfer case and is designed for off-road use with either the four- or six-cylinder engines. But for rock crawling and boulder hopping, Active Drive Lock, as the name implies, locks up the rear differential in low range. This system is standard in the Cherokee Trailhawk, which is a “Trail Rated” rig outfitted with an offroad suspension (increases ride height by an inch), skid plates, unique alloy wheels with all-terrain rubber, blacked-out trim and a full-size spare tire. All 4x4 systems include Selec-Terrain traction control with five different settings to match the kind of ground you’re covering (snow, sand, mud, etc.). For severe off-roading, a new off-road treat for 2014 is the Wrangler Rubicon X, which Jeep says is its most off-road-worthy model ever. The two- or four-door Rubicon X’s feature special
BF Goodrich off-road tires and Trak-Lok anti-spin rear differential with available electronic rear lockup. If you don’t know or care what this is then it’s best to stick with a “normal” Wrangler. When equipped with a manual transmission, Wrangler Rubicon X has a crawl ratio of, incredibly, 73:1. It also includes a “power dome” hood, premium rock rails and matching black front and rear offroad bumpers, black wheel arches and black 17-inch wheels. For a more on-road-biased offroader, the Freedom Edition (based on the Sport) gets silver and gray-painted wheels and body pieces, along with similar color touches inside. Over in the Grand Cherokee garage, Jeep is finally reintroducing a turbo-diesel engine in the GC for 2014. Although it’s similar in displacement and output to the last diesel, the 3.0-liter “EcoDiesel” (240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque) is sourced from Italian firm VM Motori rather than Mercedes-Benz. The EcoDiesel can deliver up 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway in rear-drive models, while 4x4 lowers that slightly to 21/28. Part of those savings are attributable to the new eight-speed automatic transmission. And it’s all about transmissions with when it comes to Compass and Patriot for 2014. Since the platform is sticking around a little longer Jeep kindly fixed the one thing that has marred the package since the start. A six-speed automatic transmission finally replaces the painful-to-operate continually variable transmission (CVT) in nearly every application. That does a lot to improve the drivability in day-to-day situations. The only spot now for the CVT is with the Freedom Drive II 4x4 off-road package where it acts like a mechanical low-range box but without the added weight or complexity.
Base prices (incl. destination)
Cherokee: Mid-size wagon; $24,000 Compass: Compact wagon; $19,500 Grand Cherokee: Mid-size SUV; $29,800 Patriot: Compact wagon; $17,000 Wrangler: Mid-size SUV; $23,400
Hot news for 2014: New full-size luxury Cadenza kicks the Kia myth to the curb. • New compact Forte sedan, hatchback and Koup slot nicely between the Rio and the Optima sedan. • Kia has second thoughts and returns the Sedona minivan to market, basically unchanged from 2012. • Optima, Sportage and Soul receive freshened styling and updated interiors. • Sorento gets a stiffer platform and exterior updates. Carryover: Rio . . . really, just the Rio Back: Sedona
■ If change is indeed the only constant, then Kia is rock steady for 2014. The automaker really has everything going on, from midcycle refreshes of the Soul, Sportage and Optima, to the more thorough makeover of the Sorento tall wagon, to the revival of the Sedona minivan after taking a year off. And then there are the totally new cars: a Cadenza large sedan and new Forte/Forte5/Koup. Let’s
2014 Auto Preview
get moving, shall we? The Cadenza’s introduction is a significant one for this Hyundai subsidiary. The brand that once sold mainly small and inexpensive cars has gradually expanded its lineup to include a variety of smartly styled vehicles that look nothing like their Hyundai counterparts. The Cadenza is a prime example of this philosophy. It’s similar in size and shares the same stretched architecture as the Hyundai Azera. Rock-star stylist Peter Schreyer’s efforts have yielded a subtle-looking sedan that conveys a greater sense of class and polish than the Azera’s trendier looks. Clearly the Cadenza is Kia’s attempt to gain favor with more mature buyers who place pampering content atop their must-have criteria. The interior design work is equally low-key, but is right in step with most luxury-oriented models. The start button fires up a 3.3-liter V6 with 293 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque.. Connected to it is a six-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Although seemingly tailored for older buyers, the car’s “sport-tuned” suspension is somewhat firmer than that of some competitors. Base models pile on the goodies with a leather-fitted interior, 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control with front- and rear-seat ventilation, navigation system with eight-inch touch-screen display, rear camera with backup warning and a 550-watt Infinity-brand sound system. To that you can add Luxury and/or Technology packages, the latter including 19-inch wheels (18-inchers are standard) plus a feature that Kia calls hydrophobic front side windows that will repel water, such as during a rainstorm. Not bad for a brand that has become fashionably sophisticated instead of play-it-safe conservative. That’s even more apparent when it comes to the Forte5 hatch that followed the sedan’s 2013 calendar-year launch by a few months. Dialed back somewhat, though, is
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2013 9
Hot news for 2014: Ranger Rover Sport follows the Range Rover’s lead and goes on a crash diet. • Price cut for the hot Evoque . . . read on to find out where and how. • Evoque swaps out it ninespeed automatic transmission replaces the six-speed. Carryover: Evoque; LR4; Range Rover Gone: None
Kia Forte 5
■ How has Land Rover dealt with several years of trying times and increasing fuel-economy concerns? Like many other companies: putting their vehicles on diets and cutting engine size. After introducing the Evoque for 2012 and the full-size eponymous Range Rover for 2013, the company is moving quickly to fill out the rest of the line. That means the 2014 Range Rover Sport was next to receive some serious attention. This time around, it shares an all-aluminum platform with the Range Rover rather than the bulky steel one under the LR4. In the process, it loses more than 800 pounds over the previous generation. The distance between the front and rear wheels has been stretched by seven inches, which aims to provide significantly more space inside the cabin, while overall length is up by 2.5 inches. However, the Sport retains its penultimate spot in the lineup by being about six inches shorter and just over two inches lower than the Range Rover. Its more athletic fast-back body, wide stance and rubber-band tires give the impression of a vehicle designed to never explore the rough stuff, but the Sport is more than capable of handling most anything you can throw at it. Under the reshaped hood you have a choice of two engine options also shared with the Range Rover: the base 3.0-liter supercharged V6 has 340 horsepower, which is slightly less than the old 375-horsepower 5.0-liter V8, although thanks to the new model’s crash diet it’s significantly quicker to 60 mph and consumes far less fuel (17 mpg city/23 highway versus 12/18 before). The optional supercharged 5.0-liter V8, which is standard in the Supercharged and Autobiography series, now produces 550 horsepower instead of 510. Both use eight-speed automatic transmissions. For your base $63,500 entry fee (including destination charges) the SE includes a rather lengthy list of features and just about everything from Land Rover’s bag of off-road tricks. The HSE gets a few extras such as bigger wheels, perforated-leather seats and an upgraded 900-watt Meridian-brand audio system. The Supercharged model includes the HSE content as well as items specific to it. To satisfy the “sport” end of the equation, the Range Rover Sport can be ordered with a “dynamic response” system (V8 models) that keeps the vehicle flatter when cornering, which plants the weight more evenly amongst the high-speed-rated tires. The system can also now send torque to any wheel that needs it within a fraction of a second, meaning a much more neutral feel when hustling on-road. There are also plenty of new-and-improved off-road technologies, such as hill-start assist and gradient acceleration control, along with two available transfer cases that help negotiate steep and severe slopes off-road, should you want to subject your investment to tree branches, sharp rocks and (gasp!), mud. At the other end of the spectrum, the dramatic Autobiography model offers just about any luxurious detail possible. One of the most impressive options is the 1700-watt 23-speaker Meridian “reference” audio system that really can go to 11. While the LR2, LR4 and Range Rover models are essentially unchanged for 2014, the gorgeous little Evoque came in for some mechanical changes. The 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine was previously rated at 18 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway, but that should improve with the new nine-speed automatic that replaces the six-speed. Also for 2014, it comes with a system that combines active differentials and torque vectoring, along with active torque biasing. What that all means is that the Evoque figures out exactly how much power can go to each wheel to help on-road stability.
Base prices (incl. destination)
Evoque: Entry-luxury sport utility; $42,000 LR2: Compact sport utility; $37,300 LR4: Mid-size sport utility; $50,000 Range Rover: Full-size sport utility; $83,500 Range Rover Sport: Full-size sport utility; $63,500
Hot news for 2014: New IS small sedan has big style while the convertible and IS F hotrod carry over from 2013.• Proliferation of sporty F Sport brand into the RX line. • Top-of-the-line LS eightspeed transmission finds its way into the smaller GS. Carryover: CT 200h; ES; GS; GX460; IS convertible and ISF sedan; LS; LX 570; RX Gone: None
■ With a pinched-cheek grille on pretty much every model now, it was finally time to bring in one of the older cars for a gorgeous top-to-bottom redo that’s in line with a whole new performance attitude. Lexus is moving away from strictly cushy vehicles to put it more in line with Mercedes-Benz and BMW. The IS series of sedans and “C”-designated convertibles do a respectable job baiting BMW 3-series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class fans into switching teams. Toyota’s premium division has learned plenty from the previous two IS generations and now appears to be an even stronger contender with the new-for-2014 version IS sedan. In front, the car adopts a hunkereddown stance, aided by what Lexus calls its “spindle” grille. With its 20-percent-stiffer platform, the IS has grown nearly 3.5 inches in length with 2.7 more inches between the front and rear wheels, while width and height increase only slightly. Rear-seat sedan riders benefit with a bit more leg and hip room, which was a drawback for the previous generation. Of note is that the IS C convertible and the high-performance, V8-powered IS F are still based on the 2013 platform. It’s a tight squeeze in back for convertible passengers, but at least they, along with their frontseat companions are protected from the elements by a folding power-operated hardtop that takes 20 seconds to raise or lower. Even though the IS 250 and 350 are on a new platform, they still retain their previous engines. That means a 204-horsepower 2.5-liter V6 for the IS 250, while the IS 350 continues with 306 horsepower from its 3.5-liter V6. The rear- and all-wheel-drive IS 250 and the all-wheel-drive 350 sedans (convertible versions of both are rear-drive only) employ six-speed automatic transmissions. An eight-speed automatic is standard when the rear-wheel-drive IS 350 sedan is selected. The system splits the torque evenly between the front and rear wheels in normal driving situations, but can transfer up to 70 percent to the rear when wheel slippage is detected. The IS has Drive Mode Select throttle and transmission programming, with ECO, NORMAL and SPORT S modes for rear-wheel-drive models, plus a SNOW mode for AWD-equipped cars. Additionally, the returning F SPORT package that’s optional on all IS 250 and 350 sedans and convertibles adds a SPORT S+ setting that firms up the suspension for more aggressive driving. But the real “sport” in the IS group is the BMW M3-rivaling IS F that shows off the same aggressive posture as before with unique 19-inch wheels (wider in back) and with its high-output 416-horsepower V8 and eight-speed automated manual transmission intact. Other Lexus models are also working on their sporty image for 2014. Both the base GS sedan and the F Sport now feature new eight-speed automatic transmissions borrowed from the LS that blips the throttle for smoother downshifts (called rev matching). However an extra level on the standard driverselectable operating mode has been added that firms up the suspension and sharpens the steering for an overall sportier feel. You wouldn’t think that a “sporty” tall wagon would be in the cards, but Lexus has put together a new F Sport that attempts to make the RX exciting to drive. It features a more controlled suspension, 19-inch wheels, an eight-speed automatic transmission (normal RX’s get sixspeeds) with paddle shifters and more supportive seats. Visually, like with other F Sport models, it gets its own aggressive grille and lower bumper, along with black leather with white stitching seat covers.
Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Lexus GS 450h
Base prices (incl. destination)
CT 200H: Four-door hatchback hybrid: $33,000 ES 350: Mid-size sedan; $37,400 GS 350: Mid-size sedan; $48,200 GX 460: Full-size SUV; $50,000 IS 250: Compact sedan; $36,900 IS-F: Quick-and-fast compact sedan; $64,250 LS 460: Full-size sedan; $73,000 LS 600h L: Full-size sedan; $121,000 LX 570: Full-size sport utility; $82,700 RX 350: Mid-size SUV; $40,700 RX 450h: Mid-size SUV; $47,300
the Forte’s power. The new base 1.8-liter engine pumps out 148 horsepower and 131 pound-feet of torque, while the optional 2.0-liter four-cylinder produces 173 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque. For Forte5 buyers, the 2.0 is standard while a turbocharged 1.6-liter four cylinder is optional. It spools out 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission, or optional six-speed automatic can be connected to all three powerplants. Forte and Forte5 have electric power steering that can be adjusted to Comfort, Normal and Sport settings, with the latter offering the least amount of assist. We didn’t lump in the Forte Koup here, because it really deserves some extra ink. The 2014 redesign really brings the Koup into its own, even though it continues to be based on the Forte sedan’s platform. What makes a big difference this time around is the car’s more aggressive — and downright attractive — front- and rear-end styling, including a set of massive headlight pods, that sets it apart from its Forte sedan and Forte5 hatchback siblings. As with the original, the slightly longer, lower and wider Koup retains its sizable trunk and the 60:40 split rear seat can be folded flat when the need for extra stowage space arises. Compared to the sedan and hatch, the Koup’s suspension is tuned for a sportier driving experience and cornering performance. Engine choices mirror that of the Forte5. Interestingly, the base 2.0 can only be had with a six-speed automatic transmission, while the turbo upgrade can be ordered with either a six-speed manual or automatic. As for content, the EX trim arrives with air conditioning, tilt and telescoping steering, backup camera, Bluetooth handsfree connectivity and Kia’s Flexsteer system. Pony up the extra coin for the SX and, along with the bigger engine, the list grows to encompass a more aggressive nose treatment with larger bumper and blacked-out grille openings, bigger front brakes, alloy sport pedals, unique carbon fiber-style seat trim and 18-inch alloy wheels (16-inch rims are standard). Among the Koup’s many options are a power sunroof, navigation system, heated leather-covered front seats and cooled driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control and push-button start.
Hot news for 2014: Given the choice of a hybrid powertrain or an Ecoboost four-cylinder in the MKX, for the same money, which would you take?. • MKC is in the pipeline and will be built on the Ford Escape platform, but probably for the 2015 model year. Carryover: MKS; MKT; MKX; MKZ; Navigator Gone: None
Base prices (incl. destination)
Cadenza: Full-size sedan; $35,900 Forte: Compact sedan; $16,700 Forte Koup: Compact coupe; $18,500 Optima: Mid-size sedan; $22,300 Rio: Subcompact sedan; $14,400 Rio5: Subcompact hatchback; $14,600 Sorento: Mid-size sport utility; $24,900 Soul: Compact wagon; $15,500 Sportage: Compact wagon; $19,900
■ Many luxury automakers are busy extending their vehicle lines into very non-traditional markets, specifically the entry-level market. The Mercedes-Benz CLA is one of the coolest, along with the upcoming Infiniti Q30, which looks a bit like a melted Mazda CX-5. Not to be outdone, Lincoln is working on its MKC that will take its place below the MKX in the lineup. While this is under way, the rest of the Lincoln line is in a state of arrested development for 2014 with the MKZ being the last one to the party. When Lincoln dropped the sheet on the production version of its new MKZ, there were surely plenty of people who wondered if they had left the concept up on the stage instead. On sale in model year 2013, the signature “waterfall” grille was replaced by a series of horizontal bars. But for real design drama you can’t beat the sweep of the roofline that flows well past the rear-most roof pillar, almost to the trailing edge of the body. The car’s massive windshield and rear window glass, including the optional retractable panoramic sunroof, makes it doubtful passenger claustrophobia will pose a problem. Inside is an ultra-sophisticated leather-covered and wood-trimmed interior plus a floor console extending seamlessly almost the full length of the cabin. In back, optional inflatable seatbelts for outboard riders cushion their heads and necks in the event of frontal crash. In the suspension department, continuously adjustable shock damping, power-assisted electric steering, variable transmission-shift-mapping plus traction and stability control all combine to form Lincoln Drive Control. The result, says Lincoln, is improved ride and handling in Normal, Sport, or Comfort modes, as selected by the driver. A push-button gear selector next to the gauges replaces the traditional floor shifter. Powerplant choices consist of a 240-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder “EcoBoost” (turbocharged) four-cylinder. Optional is a 300-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 that Ford installs in vehicles as diverse as the Mustang two-door and F-150 pickup. MKZ returns in an available gasoline-electric Hybrid model that’s fitted with a 141-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder combined with an electric motor. The net output is 188 horsepower. The turbo and the V6 come with six-speed transmissions that send torque to the front, or both sets of wheels if all-wheel-drive has been specified on the order form. The
10 THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2013
front-wheel-drive-only Hybrid uses a continuously variable transmission. Amazingly, the hybrid’s fueleconomy ratings of 45 mpg in the city and 45 on the highway handily beat out the 22/33 rating posted by the so-called EcoBoost. The MKZ can be had with numerous crash-mitigating safety systems that prevent your participation in rear-end mishaps and keep you within your intended lane. Amazingly, the Hybrid and EcoBoost models can be had for the same starting price of just under $37,000.
2014 Auto Preview
Base prices (incl. destination)
MKS: Full-size pickup, $43,700 MKT: Full-size wagon, $46,200 MKX: Full-size pickup, $40,400 MKZ: Mid-size sedan; $36,900 Navigator: Full-size SUV, $58,600
and 310 pound-feet of torque. Transmission choices for both include a six-speed manual that uses a MX-5 Miata-inspired short-throw shifter, or the optional six-speed automatic. The base Sport model comes with the usual power and comfort ingredients. Adding the automatic transmission to the Sport also gets you a touch-screen display, a rearview camera and Bluetooth short-range networking. The mid-level Touring increases the content level with dual-zone climate control, power driver’s seat and 19-inch wheels (17-inchers are standard), while the Grand Touring bulks up with standard navigation, premium Bose-brand sound system and laser-guided speed control that applies the brakes when a potential rear-end collision appears imminent. Among the more interesting options, like in the Mazda3, is the i-ELOOP capacitor.
Base prices (incl. destination)
Hot news for 2014: Skyactiv is no longer unique in the Mazda line; it’s spreading to more models all the time. • Hot new Mazda3 and Mazda6 arrive with Skyactiv woven right into the DNA. • CX-5 adds a bigger four-cylinder option for a very tiny price in fuel economy. • New Miata coming for 2015 that will be co-developed with Italy’s Alfa Romeo. Carryover: Mazda2; Mazda5; MX-5 Miata; CX-9 Gone: None
CX-5: Five-pass. tall wagon; $22,100 CX-9: Seven-pass. tall wagon: $30,600 Mazda2: Four-door hatch: $15,500 Mazda3: Compact sedan: $17,750 Mazda5: Mini minivan: $20,700 Mazda6: Mid-sized sedan; $21,700 MX-5 Miata: Roadster; $24,500
Hot news for 2014: It’s a unique year where Mercedes-Benz has two new sedan offerings at exact opposite ends of the price spectrum, and a revamped sedan right in the middle. • New E-Class fourcylinder diesel strikes the right balance of power and fuel economy . . . and just happens to be the base model. Carryover: C; CL; CLS; G; GL; GLK; M; SL; SLK Gone: None
■ Any concerns you might have had about Mazda’s success in an era of big corporate partnerships — which Mazda doesn’t really have —‑and hybrid cars — which Mazda doesn’t do — should be put to rest once you see and, more importantly, drive the new Mazda3 sedan and hatchback and the new Mazda6 sedan. They are true contenders for best in class.. Mazda’s redesigned “3” sedan and hatchback models now emulate the mid-size Mazda6 sedan and the CX-5 wagon, which means they no longer wear Cheshire-cat grins affixed to their snouts. Instead, both have adopted Mazda’s latest Kodo (Japanese for “Soul of Motion”) design approach that includes an attractive, but less gimmicky grille. The rest of the sedan and hatchback’s bodywork is equally tasty from any vantage point. Like its Mazda6 and CX-5 brand mates, the Mazda3 benefits greatly from the SkyActiv suite of structural and powertrain enhancements. The former includes a stiffer platform and finely tuned suspension and steering components geared sports-car-like precision. But the real show stoppers are the base and optional powerplants; there’s a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque; the optional 2.5-liter four-cylinder peaks with 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. Both are available with six-speed manual transmissions (a mid-season addition for the 2.5, however), while six-speed automatics are optional. Interestingly, both engines are closely matched in fuel consumption, with the nod going to the 2.0’s official 30-mpg city/41-mpg highway rating with the auto box. The 2.5 rings up 28/39, but both numbers improve by one mpg with the optional “i-Eloop” capacitor that stores electricity generated under braking. The system provides power for the 3’s various electrical components for extended periods while disengaging the alternator, which reduces drag on the engine. The driver is unaware that i-Eloop is operating. Mazda3 prices start at $17,750 for the base i SV sedan that includes the usual air conditioning and power-operated accessories plus push-button start. The base s Touring hatchback is priced at $25,400 but, along with the lustier 2.5-liter engine, there’s considerably more content. Mazda will also sell you a top-line S Grand Touring edition with enough standard and available up-level and safety gear to rival many so-called luxury vehicles. As for the new Mazda6, the distance between the front and rear wheels has been increased by about two inches (the longest among its direct competitors, claims Mazda) for extra passenger room, while overall length has been reduced by about the same amount. The base engine is the 2.5-liter four-cylinder that’s optional in the Mazda3 and the CX-5 tall wagon for the 2014. The uniqueness of the new fourcylinder is its higher-than-usual 13:1 compression ratio that gives the engine much of its extra punch. In addition, its specialized components, including the pistons and direct fuel-injection system (which cools the combustion chambers to allow the higher compression), means it can run on regular-grade fuel. Available in early calendar 2014 will be a 2.2-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel with 173 horsepower
■ This year, it’s all about the four-door cars for Mercedes-Benz, with a big surprise at the small end of the size and price spectrum. The CLA is a sedan that almost anyone pining for a loaded-up Honda Accord, Ford Fusion or Toyota Camry can afford. The car’s sporty body cladding and other trim makes it appear far from a stripped-down basic-transportation module, although with a sticker price that’s a few ticks above 30 grand, it’s priced like one. Other than being pulled by the front wheels (with all-wheel-drive being optional), what’s most unusual about the CLA is that it doesn’t offer the kind of roomy practicality that’s a given when it comes to nearly every mid-size sedan. That’s because Mercedes stylists drew their inspiration from the larger CLS-class faux coupe that remains one of the most imitated models on the planet (see Aston Martin Rapide, Volkswagen CC, Audi A7 and Ford Fusion). The CLA’s aero design looks pencil-sharp, but you should think twice if transporting four or more adults is on your agenda. Even though the CLA is physically larger than a C-class sedan, the sloping roofline restricts rear headroom. The CLA250 comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque at an engine speed that’s just above idle. This helps propel the car to 60 mph from rest in quick 6.5 seconds, as recorded by Mercedes-Benz. The CLA45 AMG also features a turbocharged 2.0 except that the block has been strengthened and a higher-output turbocharger produces nearly twice the boost of the CLA250’s. The result is a stout 355 horsepower and 322 pound-feet of torque. That’s an astounding 177 horsepower per liter of displacement. The AMG is expected to shave the CLA’s zero-to-60-mph times by about two seconds. Both models use a seven-speed automated manual transmission with paddle shifters, but the AMG adds 4MATIC all-wheel-drive that sends up to 50 percent of the torque to the rear wheels, as needed. 4MATIC is destined for the CLA250’s options list. Things are equally interesting up in the stratosphere were the S-Class lives. In the mid-2000s, Mercedes-Benz was banking on a revival of its historic Maybach brand to become the final word in transportation for the rich and famous. That plan didn’t work out so well and the pricey $300,000-$500,000 Maybach line was discontinued after the 2012 model year. Perhaps to fill the niche, the automaker has now set its sights on improving and upgrading its limo-like S-class series, which means for the 2014 model year that these luxury rides can be equipped with features you could never have dreamed possible. At intro, powerplants consist of a 449-horsepower 4.6-liter twin-turbocharged V8 for the S500 rear- and optional 4MATIC all-wheel-drive as well as a potent 577-horsepower 5.5-liter V8 that’s the standard bearer for the S63 AMG 4MATIC. The new S is similar in size and looks to the outgoing model, only with more attractive sheetmetal with an aggressively handsome grille. As for content, the assortment of heretofore unheard of features will impress even the most jaded seen-it-all-before luxury-car buyers. Standard is Active Parking Assist that will literally park your S-class without you touching the brakes, and then “unpark” the car from its spot when you wish to leave. Also standard is Crosswind Assist that, as the name implies, steadies the car in blustery driving conditions. Magic Vision Control uses laser-cut wiper blades that spray fluid across the length of each wiper arm for precise cleaning. Optional are Drive-Dynamic Multicontour Seats that supply a variety of massage functions to the car’s front occupants, including, if you can believe it, a setting that delivers a “hot stone massage effect”. As well, an available Air Balance Package will spray your choice of four different and discrete fragrances about the cabin, and filter and ionize the air entering the cabin. Eventually there will be an assortment of S-class sedans (regular and XL), coupes and convertibles heading our way, along with a fuel-avoiding turbo-diesel and gas-electric hybrid. Speaking of the turbo-diesel, the restyled E-Class comes in an E250 “BlueTEC” that replaces the E350 diesel. The outgoing car used a 3.0-liter V6 engine rated at 210 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, while its successor 2.1-liter twin-turbo inline-four producing a still decent 195 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. But what’s really decent is the E250’s city fuel-economy rating of 28 mpg and 45 mpg on the highway, which crushes the outgoing turbo-diesel’s 21/30 stats. Connected to all E-class engines is a seven-speed automatic transmission. M-B testing indicates a zero-to-60-mph time for the E250 in the low seven-second range, which is an admirable number for any four-cylinder engine with the task of propelling a 4,400-pound sedan.
Base prices (incl. destination)
CLA: Compact sedan; $30,800 C-Class: Compact sedan; $36,700 CL-Class: Full-size coupe; $117,500 CLS-Class: Mid-sized sedan; $73,000 E-Class: Full-sized sedan; $52,300 E-Class: Full-sized coupe; $52,000 E-Class: Full-sized convertible; $60,000 G-Class: Full-size SUV; $113,900 GL-Class: Full-size SUV; $63,900 GLK-Class: Compact SUV; $38,400 M-Class: Mid-sized SUV; $48,700 S-Class: Full-size sedan; $93,800 SL-Class: Roadster; $107,600 SLK-Class: Roadster; $44,400
Hot news for 2014: New Paceman is like a Countryman that’s missing a couple of doors . . . which makes it cooler, of course. • New Cooper is in the works, but won’t likely be revealed until late in calendar 2013. • A new strain of turbocharged three-cylinder engines is on the way for most, if not all, Mini models. Carryover: Coupe; Clubman; Countryman; Roadster Gone: None
Mini Cooper Paceman
■ What began as one little model has grown into a rather broad selection of a half dozen vehicles that often vary only slightly from one to the other, yet still manage to make distinctly different statements. Take the Paceman, which is a two-door Countryman. Where the Countryman appears as a conservatively styled wagon, the Paceman’s sportier looks hint at its more playful nature around town, on the open road, or over rougher terrain with its available all-wheel-drive. The Countryman and Paceman share the same basic dimensions, but the latter’s distinctive teardrop-shaped taillights and rear fenders bulge out slightly from the quarter panels. The interior includes four adjustable bucket seats — also adapted from the Countryman — that are especially attractive. Of course the Mini’s signature round dash gauges are very much in evidence, although not quite as in-your-face as those installed in the basic Mini Cooper or Mini Clubman. Under the hood it’s a case of if-you’ve-seen-oneMini-you’ve-seen-them-all as the available engines are offered in all seven Mini body styles. The base Paceman’s 1.6-liter four-cylinder makes 121 horsepower, while the optional turbocharged 1.6 in the Paceman Cooper S makes 181, or 207 in the JCW (John Cooper Works). For the All4 all-wheel-drive option, the system’s center differential directs 100 percent of the power to the front wheels, but can send half of the torque to the rear when tire slip is detected. All4 is standard with JCW models and optional on the Paceman Cooper S. Note that all Paceman engines require more expensive premium fuel that negates some of their perceived efficiency savings. All Pacemans (or is that Pacemen?) arrive with air conditioning and the usual power accessories plus a sport-tuned suspension. From that point you can select from up to seven different option packages that include a panorama sunroof, various infotainment/navigation/communications systems , a variety of seat coverings and an array of wheel types and sizes. The Paceman is a long way from the Mini Cooper that stole our hearts back in 2002; in fact so far that it’s going through its third redesign, which will be released for the 2014 model year (the last update was for 2007). It will look pretty much the same, but will receive significant changes beneath the mildly tweaked sheetmetal. (There are no official pictures as of this writing.) Not tweaked but completely new are the Cooper and Cooper S engines that are built off of a modular block, where each cylinder provides a half-liter in displacement. Thus the turbocharged three-cylinder Cooper engine displaces 1.5 liters and produces 134 horsepower up to 169 pound-feet of torque (up from 121/114). Similarly the turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the Cooper S is 2.0 liters and makes 189 horsepower and up to 221 pound-feet of torque (previously 181/192). Each of these so-called “TwinPower Turbo” engines uses an all-new six-speed manual transmission with rev-matching capabilities to make for smoother gear changes. Meanwhile, Minis fitted with the optional six-speed automatic will include fuel-saving stop/start technology and, on models equipped with the navigation system, will adapt to your specific route (e.g. will automatically downshift when negotiating a sharp turn or when approaching an intersection). The Mini’s suspension receives only minor adjustments, but will offer adjustable shocks with “comfort” and “sport” settings. The redesigned dashboard does away with the oversized center-stack-positioned speedometer. Instead, it will be positioned in a pod directly in the driver’s line of sight. Although the Cooper is the only Mini to receive the new powertrains and other adjustments, they will eventually trickle down to the entire Mini lineup.
Base prices (incl. destination)
Coupé: Compact coupe; $22,250 Roadster: Compact roadster; $26,350 Cooper: Compact hatchback; $21,500 (est.) Clubman: Compact wagon; $22,200 Countryman: Compact SUV; $23,000 Paceman: Two-door hatchback; $23,900
mitsubishicars.com Nissan Xterra
Hot news for 2014: There’s less competition in categories that have yet to be created, and that’s where Mitsubishi seems to be living these days. Enter the Mirage. • Small updates for Outlander Sport make a world of difference. • Price drop for the electric iMiEV of about three grand. Carryover: iMiEV; Lancer Gone: None
2014 Auto Preview
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2013 11
■ Mitsubishi appears to be on a bit of a comeback after paring down the lineup over the last few years. In the process of getting rid of the Galant and the Eclipse, the company has made room for some interesting new vehicles. In the distant past, various Mirage models were imported wearing Mitsubishi, Dodge and Plymouth labels (Chrysler and Mitsubishi once worked closely together). That well dried up after the 2002 model year, but it will be at least partially replenished by a small four-door hatchback that the automaker promises to be one of the most fuel-efficient non-hybrids you can buy. The new five-passenger Mirage is currently manufactured in Thailand for Mitsubishi’s European and Asian markets and is larger than the Chevrolet Spark in most key exterior measurements. However, it’s smaller than the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit and Hyundai Accent hatches. The Mirage is perched low to the ground on tiny 14-inch wheels while the rounded and somewhat stubby front gives the car a cute-in-its-own-way appearance that belies its wind-cheating (i.e. numerically very low) drag coefficient. Although the front doors and liftgate are generously sized, smallish rear doors and a sloping roofline hamper three-in-a-pinch rear-seat access. The interior appointments are simple, yet tasteful, with easy-to-read gauges and controls. The 60:40 split rear seat can be folded down for added stowage (although you won’t get a perfectly flat load floor), but even when occupied there’s reasonable space for groceries and gear. Of course, contemplating a vehicle this small usually involves compromises and in the Mirage’s case you give up room in return for good fuel economy. The car’s pumppassing nature comes from a 74-horsepower 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine mated to your choice of a five-speed manual transmission or optional continuously variable unit (CVT). Mitsubishi is touting 37 mpg in the city and 44 highway with the CVT. For $13,800, including destination fees, the base DE actually comes with automatic climate control, tilt steering, keyless entry, power windows and outside mirrors. There’s also seven standard airbags, including a driver’s knee inflatable. Move up to the ES and the content list expands with automatic speed control, alloy wheels, steering-wheel-mounted audio switches, fog lamps and keyless entry and start/stop button. While the Mirage might be from Thailand, the redesigned 2014 Outlander relies on the previous model for its bones. This seven-passenger wagon has cleaned up its design act, shedding its open-mouth look in the process. Mitsubishi has upgraded the seats, door panels and dashboard (the latter with soft-touch material) and added more cabin insulation for a quieter ride. As well, the split-folding second and third rows have been redesigned to fold more easily. The Outlander has managed to shed some 200 pounds, which should help performance. The standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder produces 166 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. That’s down slightly from before, but with the weight reduction it won’t be noticed. The four-cylinder is standard with ES and SE trims, while the GT gets a 3.0-liter V6 that delivers 224 horsepower and 215 pound-feet of torque. That’s a drop of 15 horses, but it’s dead even in torque. The four-cylinder rates 25 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway (up from 23/28). The V6 improves to 20/28 from 19/25. Mitsubishi’s “Super All-Wheel Control” (code for all-wheel drive) can be ordered with four-cylinder Outlanders, but is standard with the GT. Elsewhere in the line, the Outlander Sport receives a smoother-operating continuously variable transmission as well as more sound insulation and a few interior updates.
CUSTOM EXHAUST & TIRE SHOP
Thank You For Voting Us
Among The Best Muffler Repair
In The Golden Triangle.
LARGEST SELECTION OF IN GOLDEN TRIANGLE AREA.
VARIETY OF TIRES 4000 PLUS - ALL SIZES!
Flow Masters - Magnaflow Stock Mufflers - Glass Packs Turbos - Converters - alignments
Tires (New & Used) 13” to 22”
Base prices (incl. destination)
iMiEV: Subcompact hatchback; $26,900 Lancer: Compact sedan; $18,000; $35,800 (Evolution) Mirage: Subcompact sedan; $13,800 Outlander Sport: Compact tall wagon; $20,500 Outlander: Midsize SUV; $23,800
110 Tuscaloosa Rd. Columbus, MS 39702
Hot news for 2014: Smart packaging creates a replacement for the Versa wagon that’s smaller yet more roomy on the inside. The new Versa Note is sized right, priced right and sips fuel. • Hybrid Pathfinder arrives. • Juke Nismo adds a bit more power and some tough looks. Carryover: 370Z; Altima; Armada; CrossCabriolet; Cube; Frontier; GT-R; Juke; Leaf; Maxima; Murano; Quest; Rogue Select; Sentra; Titan; Versa sedan; Xterra Gone: Altima coupe
■ With one of the largest model lineups in the entire automotive world, where does Nissan go from there? It creates sub models. This model year, there will be two separate and distinct Rogue models — the new one and the carryover 2013 model — as well as a Versa sedan and the new Versa Note hatchback that replaces the Versa wagon. Whoa. The original Versa wagon — a 2007-model-year arrival — was all about low price and fuel efficiency. The new Note, expands on that theme by actually shrinking in size. It’s shorter by more than six inches (it’s 13 inches shorter than the sedan) without reducing the distance between the front and rear wheels or the interior volume, which has actually increased slightly. Curtailing the size contributes to a new car that’s 300 pounds lighter. Virtually all of the shrinkage occurs ahead of the front wheels where the aerodynamic nose slopes downward in a way that’s reminiscent of the Honda Fit. Both the Versa sedan and Versa Note wagon lead their respective entry-level categories in cabin space, but the Note’s clever interior packaging gives it a clear advantage. An optional adjustable-height load floor called “Hide-N-Divide” can be raised to match the height of the rear seats when they’re folded flat, all the while creating a hidden storage spot below. The Note’s 109-horsepower 1.6-liter engine comes through with an estimated 31 mpg in the city and 40 on the highway. That’s with the optional continuously variable transmission. Those numbers best the previous wagon’s 28/34 numbers by a wide margin. For comparison, the Note’s standard five-speed manual transmission earns a 27/36 rating. Trim levels begin with the $14,800 1.6 S that, except for air conditioning and a basic radio/CD player, is pretty plain. You can add options or step up to the SV with its upgraded seats, hands-free Bluetooth wireless connectivity and other niceties. The SV trim is required if you want a navigation system or Nissan’s “Around View Monitor” that shows a 360-degree depiction of the vehicle in relation to its surroundings. For something that’s a little bigger but is still good on gas, buyers can go with the new Rogue . . . or the old Rogue. Please allow us to explain. Since the 2008 model year, Nissan has driven a wedge into the compact tall-wagon segment that was previously dominated by the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape. For its encore performance, the second-gen version makes significant strides in interior and exterior styling. There’s even an available third-row seat. Sure, it’s tight back there and, when deployed, it pretty much wipes out any semblance of cargo space. But it’s there when you need it. Physically, the Rogue has shrunk by an inch in overall length (attributed to reduced front and rear overhangs), while the distance between the front and rear wheels is up slightly. The sheetmetal that’s attached to the Rogue’s all-new platform is a bit bolder looking than before, although it might not be quite as attractive. Perhaps that’s why Nissan is keeping the previous top-selling model around for one more season, labeling it the Rogue Select and selling it alongside the new Rogue at a lower (by about $2,000) price point. The standard powerplant for the new Rogue continues to be a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder. It’s matched to an improved continuously variable transmission with a sport mode for snappier performance. Nissan has focused on reducing friction (by a claimed 40 percent) and improving the transmission’s belt-and-pulley system for better operating efficiency. That seems to have paid off since the new Rogue’s mpg estimate of 26 in the city and 33 on the highway beats the previous 22/28 rating. All models — S, SV, and SL — continue to be available with all-wheel-drive. Also beating that rating — the city rating, anyway — is the new 2014 Pathfinder hybrid. It uses a supercharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder and a 15-kilowatt electric motor to deliver 250 horsepower. Fuel efficiency is improved to 25/27 from 20/26 (front-wheel-drive). A compact lithium-ion battery is stowed under the third-row seat and doesn’t affect cabin or cargo space at all. The hybrid also comes in four-wheel-drive as does the Juke Nismo that bumps power to 197 horses from 188 and has extras such as a more aggressive front fascia/bumper, lower side sills and a faux rear diffuser. The Nismo’s interior is less shouty, but still has sportier seats and red accents sprinkled throughout. It sits lower with stiffer suspension and rides on unique 18-inch wheels with performance tires.
370Z: Coupe/convertible; $30,800 (coupe) Altima: Mid-sized sedan; $22,700 (sedan) Armada: Full-size SUV; $37,800 CrossCabriolet Mid-sized SUV; $42,900 Cube: Subcompact van/wagon $17,600 Frontier: Compact pickup; $18,900 GT-R: Two-door coupe; $100,600 Juke: Four-door compact wagon; $19,800 Leaf: Electric four-door hatch; $29,600 Maxima: Mid-sized sedan; $31,800 Murano: Mid-sized SUV; $29,300 Pathfinder: Full-size tall wagon; $29,600 Quest: Minivan; $26,900 Rogue Select: Compact wagon; $21,500 (est.) Rogue: Compact wagon; $23,350 Sentra: Compact sedan; $16,800 Titan: Full-size pickup; $30,200 Versa: sedan; $12,800 Versa Note: Compact hatchback; $14,800 Xterra: Mid-sized SUV; $23,800
Hot news for 2014: After a great 2013 redesign, the 2014 model year is all about the new diesel engine in the Ram 1500. • Ram HD adds the 6.4-liter V8 from the SRT line of Chrysler hotrods as a bridge between the 5.7-liter V8 and the diesel models. • The biggest HD can tow six of itself. Carryover: Ram; Ram HD Gone: None
■ The gap is so tight between the Big-Three trucks — and tensions so high — that anything new and different has to be seen as a significant marketing edge. The redesigned-for-2013 Ram 1500 was the first to offer an eight-speed automatic transmission (with a fancy dash dial for shifting) and also touted best-in-class fuel economy. For 2014, Ram has stolen a bit of GM’s Silverado/Sierra thunder by offering yet another category first: a diesel engine option. Fuel economy has always been an issue with trucks and that was partially addressed when Chrysler’s ever-popular 3.6-liter V6 found its way into the engine bay. With 305 horsepower and 18 mpg in the city and 25 highway, it was a sweet combination. Its eight-speed automatic transmission also helped and can now be attached to the 395-horsepower 5.7-liter “Hemi” V8. The engine can shut down four of its eight cylinders when not needed, such as at under light-load conditions or when heading downhill. The newly optional 3.0-liter “EcoDiesel” turbo-diesel makes 240 horsepower and 420 pound feet of torque; with the eight-speed automatic, it can tow 9,200 pounds. The V6 can tug 7,450 pounds. Rams get further fuel-reduction assistance in the form of stop-start technology that turns off the engine at rest, then instantly fires it up again once the brake pedal is released. Electric power steering cuts parasitic power losses. Optional is an air suspension with load leveling and five height settings, one of which lowers the body at highway speeds by 0.6 inches to cut the wind a bit better. Finally, a “thermal management system” is designed to quickly get the Ram’s crankcase oil and other fluids up to operational temperatures, which assists in conserving gas. As for body styles, regular-cab models are available with a six-foot, four-inch box, or an eight-footer, while four-door Quad Cabs are attached to the shorter box only. The Ram Crew gets you a 5’7” bed, or the six-foot, four-inch option. There are also available locking storage compartments built into the rear fenders that can each hold up to 120 12-ounce cans that can be specified with centrally controlled power locks. When it comes to four-wheel-drive, buyers can choose between a part-time system and an on-demand setup that automatically engages when road conditions warrant. Other neat touches for 2014 include a capless fuel-filler system that’ll parallel park the “Beast” into incredibly tight spots. By contrast, the Ram HD might not be able to get into incredibly tight spots, but it can sure get you out of a jam with up to 850 pound-feet of diesel torque. A new addition for 2014 is the optional 6.4-liter gasoline V8. Better known as the 392 Hemi, it’s previously an SRT exclusive in the car line. Here, it’s optional in both the 2500 and 3500, delivering 410 horses and 429 pound-feet of torque. Surprisingly, that’s only slightly more than the 383-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 with its 400-pound
Import Import Doctors Doctors
SPECIALIZING IN ASIAN IMPORTS
Monday-Friday 7:30 am - 5:30 pm 449 Hwy 12E Columbus, MS
12 THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2013
tech finds its way into more trim levels. Carryover: BRZ; Impreza; Legacy; Outback; Tribeca; WRX; WRX STI Gone: None
2014 Auto Preview
■ Through good times and bad, Subaru is a constant success story because it blends safety and value with the security of all-wheeldrive. Yes, that sounds like a jingle, but there’s no other way to explain the brand’s popularity. The only exception to the formula, of course, is the new-last-year BRZ, which is a rear-wheel-drive weekend track car. Up for its clockwork redesign is the Forester tall wagon. It sits on a new platform that modestly stretches the distance between the front and rear wheels for a bit more rear leg room, while a taller roofline and lower load floor add somewhat more cargo volume with the split-folding rear seat folded flat. The carryover 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (installed in 2.5i models) generates 170 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. All Subie engines are horizontally opposed, which means that two pistons fire at 180 degrees to the other two. The design is tough, compact and provides a very low center of gravity to limit that tippy feeling. For added punch, the 2.0XT uses a turbocharged version of the 2.0 that’s found in the BRZ, rated at 250 horsepower and 258 poundfeet of torque. The 2.5i has a six-speed manual transmission, or a continuously variable (CVT) option. The 2.0XT only comes with the CVT, but it has what Subaru calls its “engine performance management system” with Intelligent, Sport and Sport Sharp settings. In Sport mode, the throttle becomes more responsive and the steering-column-mounted paddle shifters mimic the action of a six-speed transmission. Throttle response is further heightened in Sport Sharp mode, but the CVT provides eight “speeds” to play with. This is possible because the CVT actually has no set ratios and can be programmed to act differently at different times. Base Foresters arrive reasonably well equipped, while upgrading to the Premium adds a better audio system, heated front seats with 10-way power driver’s seat, rearvision camera. Limited models include the CVT and leather-covered seats, with the Touring edition topping out with touch-screen navigation and a 440-watt Harmon-Kardon-brand audio package. There’s no Forester hybrid, but that might change now that there’s a hybrid version of the Imprezabased XV Crosstour. It uses the same CVT as the gasoline model only with an electric motor that’s worth 13.4 horsepower and 48 pound-feet of torque. This is very much a “mild” hybrid system as the electric motor is used only when accelerating from rest. Hybrid fuel economy is rated at 28 mpg in the city and 34 on the highway, compared with 25/33 for the gas-only version with the CVT. Pretty cool technology, for sure, but one of the neater options for the larger Legacy sedan and the Outback wagon is called EyeSight, which is now available on more trim levels for 2014. The system intertwines adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and blind-spot monitoring into one tidy package. EyeSight activates to slow down or completely stop the Outback’s momentum if it seems to be traveling too rapidly toward any object, including a slower or stopped car or a pedestrian, regardless of traffic speed. It will also warn the driver should the car start to change lanes without the driver flicking the turn-signal stalk.
sions — 2.3 inches shorter a bit narrower and not quite as tall — than the outgoing model. The Avalon also weighs about 120 pounds less than the old 2012 model as a result. Unchanged is the 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, although Toyota tweaked the engine and installed an updated sixspeed transaxle for improved fuel economy (21 city/31 highway versus 20/29). The Avalon also joined the Camry in offering a gas-electric Hybrid model that uses a 156-horsepower 2.5-liter fourcylinder engine working in tandem with an electric motor to produce 200 net horsepower. A continuously variable transmission is standard for the Hybrid: Toyota claims the fuel-miserly sedan will achieve the same 40 mpg city and 39 highway numbers as the Camry, which makes sense as the systems are identical and both sedans are very close in weight. As before, regardless of the engine, only the front wheels are driven. The improved interior features front seats that are more supportive with better side bolstering while the concave-shaped dashboard results in more cabin room. By its very nature the base Avalon shows up with an abundance of standard equipment, although for the full-on luxury experience you’ll need to spring for a premium leather interior, heated and ventilated front and rear seats, larger wheels, navigation/communications systems and an up-level stereo, to list just a few options.
Base prices (incl. destination)
Avalon: Full-sized sedan; $35,000 (est.) Camry: Mid-sized sedan; $22,850; $26,800 (hybrid) Corolla: Compact sedan; $17,600 Matrix: Compact wagon; $20,100 Prius: Compact sedan; $24,800 Prius plug-in: Compact sedan; $32,800 Prius c: Compact hatchback; $19,750 Sienna: Minivan; $27,300 Venza: Mid-sized wagon; $28,550 Yaris: Compact hatchback/sedan; $14,900
Hot news for 2014: Mid-cycle refresh for Tundra presumes the full-size truck is plenty tough enough. • Last season for the FJ Cruiser. • New Highlander grows, but stays the same under the hood. • 4Runner’s exaggerated nose job means you won’t mix it up with anything else in the parking lot. • Entune audio software now makes navigating the system much easier. • Tacoma loses a few cool trims. Carryover: 4Runner; FJ Cruiser; Land Cruiser; RAV4; Sequoia Gone: None
Base prices (incl. destination)
BRZ: Two-door compact coupe; $26,400 Crosstrek: Compact tall wagon; $22,800 Forester: Mid-size SUV; $22,800 Impreza: Compact sedan/wagon; $18,700 Legacy: Mid-sized sedan; $21,100 Outback: Mid-sized wagon; $24,300 Tribeca: Mid-size SUV; $34,900 WRX: Compact sedan/wagon; $26,800 WRX STI: Compact sedan/wagon; $35,300
Hot news for 2014: Two new models at opposite ends of the model spectrum, but the Prius c and the Avalon share an electric connection. • Sienna minivan casts off the four-cylinderengine experiment. • Corolla drops optional 2.5liter engine as Toyota prepares a replacement; Matrix in a holding pattern. Carryover: Avalon; Camry; Sienna; Venza; Yaris Gone: Matrix
feet of torque.
Base prices (incl. destination)
Ram 1500: Full-size pickup: $25,400 Ram HD: Full-size heavy-duty one- and three-quarter pickups: $30,500
Hot news for 2014: Remember the movie “Single White Female”? Well, the tC is having a little FR-S envy this year. Hope things don’t get too weird. • Old audio system is replaced by a touchscreen . . . like pretty much every other car on the planet, then. Carryover: FR-S; xB; xD Gone: None
ics, handle the shifting duties. Still in play is Scion’s philosophy of offering well-equipped cars in one trim level that can then be customized by their owners, so the standard-equipment list includes air conditioning, cruise control, 18-inch alloy wheels, anti-lock brakes, a power dual-pane moonroof, power windows, locks and mirrors. The 2014 model does do a few things differently, though, including some softer materials used in places where you’ll appreciate them, and a new standard 6.1-inch display-audio system that you’ll find elsewhere in the Scion line. The tC also comes with the requisite six airbags plus a driver’s knee airbag. With the rear seat (which actually reclines up to 45 degrees) and the front passenger seat folded flat, the hatchback-accessible stowage area can swallow objects up to eight feet in length. That’s impressive value for a car that rings in at dollar-stretching $20,000, including destination and free basic maintenance at the 5,000- and 10,000-mile intervals. It’s those little extras that make the range of Toyota’s junior-division cars so popular . . . that’s five grand less than the FR-S.
■ What’s difficult to figure out is whether Scion is a Toyota division of like cars, or unlike cars. Generally devoid of a uniform look, it appears as though the tC coupe wants to be in the “like” category, at least with the hot-looking and performing rear-wheel-drive Scion FR-S. The tC now has new squintier headlights and a larger dark gray grille that expands as it heads south. There’s also a new hood and a new 18-inch wheel design. The rear end is less slavish to the FR-S, but does get new taillights, bumper cover and lower fascia. Thankfully, the revisions still leave buyers with plenty of freedom to make dealer-supplied (and warranted) modifications such as different wheels, spoilers and even a wide-body kit. Under the hood there’s still a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 180 horsepower and 173 pound-feet of torque. Not too-too much envy going in here as the FR-S’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder makes 200. Six-speed transmissions, either manual or optional automat-
Base prices (incl. destination)
FR-S: Two-door compact; $25,250 iQ: Two-door subcompact; $16,250 tC: Subcompact coupe; $20,000 xB: Subcompact wagon; $17,700 xD: Subcompact hatchback; $16,500
Hot news for 2014: Forester is in for a redesign on a slightly larger platform. • XV Crosstrek available in a “mild” hybrid model. • Tribeca jazzed up with a full-length moonroof and one “Limited” trim level. • EyeSight crash-avoidance
■ Let’s say you’re in charge of designing a new Corolla and you mess it up. Where are you going to work on Monday? Moreover, would you ever get another job, ever again? Yes, there’s loads of pressure when it comes to a million-seller Toyota Corolla because for a smaller car it has some big numbers to brag about. Like the fact that in 47 years Toyota has sold more than 40 million of them and currently operates 16 factories worldwide that ship Corollas to 154 countries. The all-new 11th-generation North American version comes on strong with a bit more style — especially from the windshield forward — than its broad base of customers are used to seeing. Nothing too radical, mind you, but just enough design drama to create some politely muffled ooh’s and ah’s. Where the new Corolla shines, however, is in passenger accommodations and comfort. The car has grown about four inches in overall length and in distance between the front and rear wheels. In addition a slightly wider cabin also contributes to more passenger space. Interior styling has also improved, but in a conservative way that differs from more daring competitors. Likewise, engine choices eschew anything performance-related. A 132-horsepower four-cylinder carries over from the previous generation and is connected to a six-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic is optional for the base L, while a new continuously variable unit (CVT) is optional for the LE and S, but standard for the new LE Eco. To reduce that “rubberband” sensation of varying engine speed that’s prevalent with many CVT applications, Toyota’s engineers added seven artificial shift points that function automatically (or can be controlled through available steering-column-mounted paddle shifters) to simulate the action of a regular automatic transmission. The LE Eco is also equipped with a 140-horsepower version of the 1.8 that’s rated at 30 mpg in the city and 42 on the highway, compared to the base 1.8’s 29/38 numbers (with the CVT). Aside from a more efficient engine with special variable valve timing, those figures are achieved with the help of underbody panels that improve the car’s aerodynamics (and reduce highway-speed fuel consumption). As before, entry-level Corollas come with air conditioning and basic comfort items, but likely more popular will be the LE that includes climate and cruise control touch-screen audio communications interface plus a backup camera. “S” versions add sport bucket seats, sport suspension plus 17-inch wheels (16-inch rims are standard). Of course a wide assortment of comfort, communications and crash-mitigating safety options are offered for each model. Changes in the rest of the car line are fairly minor. For Camry, a new SE Sport starts with the four-cylinder SE but adds the 18-inch wheels and lower-profile tires from the SE V6, a power driver’s seat and moonroof, while the Avalon is still blushiing from compliments over the 2013 full-on redesign. The styling alone actually looks more youthful than the Camry from which it was spawned. Its crisp lines reflect the car’s slightly more diminutive dimen-
■ Although Toyota hasn’t sold as many of its full-size Tundras as it likely wanted to, that doesn’t mean it has given up. In fact, the Tundra has been given a mid-cycle facelift that incorporates a new hood and reprofiled grille, along with a three-piece lower bumper and squared-off fenders and wheel wells. The bed sides and the cargo area itself are new as is the tailgate. However, the overall profile hasn’t changed: Tundras continue to be available in your choice of Regular-cab, extended-length Double Cab and four-door CrewMax with its extra-sized rear doors. The powertrain carries over unchanged, meaning a base 4.0-liter V6 produces a stout 270 horses and its fuel economy rating of 16 mpg in the city and 20 on the highway are more than competitive. The 310-horsepower 4.6-liter V8 and top-tuned 381-horsepower 5.7 V8 are untouched, too. Both V8 Tundras operate using six-speed automatic transmissions, while the V6 version employs a five-speed unit. Four-wheel-drive is optional, but only if you specify a V8. Inside, the roomy cabins features several improvements to make life easier for the driver, including moving the HVAC and audio controls 2.5 inches closer. New seats feature better ventilation and can also travel more. The base SR5 gets cloth seats, metallic trim and other basic features, while the Limited features leather seats, soft-touch doors and center console, and “wood-style” — seriously, wood-style — trim. The Platinum grade, introduced for 2014, gets perforated diamond-pleated leather seats and instrument pane, along with plenty of chrome touches, along with a 12-speaker touch-screen audio system, navigation and heated and cooled seats. The new 1794 Edition is Toyota’s take on Ford’s King Ranch or Ram’s Laramie Longhorn. It’s billed as a tribute to the ranch, founded in the year 1794, where the Tundra plant is located in Texas. You get a saddle-brown leather touches with suede inserts, and similar luxury equipment to the Platinum. For a slightly angrier look, you have to at least check out the updated 4Runner. To make it a little easier to spot, it features a slightly redesigned snout with more angular projector beam headlights with smoked lenses, and a huge lower grille and bumper. The latter is body-color on most, although top-end Limited get a flashier metal insert. The redesigned Highlander might not be the most capable Toyota truck as it has always been the perfect alternative for families who don’t want to tool around in a minivan. But equipped with available third-row seating it has lots of room for those who adorn their car windows with stick-people characterizations of their broods. For 2014, Toyota has upped its styling game with more dramatic look that’s far less boxy and boring than before. The overall size is similar to that of the outgoing wagon, but a nearly three-inch extension in overall length and a bit more width has helped improve interior packaging to the point where rear stowage space behind the third row has increased by a claimed 34 percent. Up front, the styling is equally pleasing as well as practical with an enlarged floorconsole bin for swallowing laptop ‘puters, large purses and the like. The new dashboard and control panel are swathed in soft-touch materials and the gauge cluster has also been given a complete updating. Mechanically, the Highlander is mostly a repeat of the previous model; a 187-horsepower four-cylinder earns base-engine status, while a 270-horse V6 is optional, but necessary if all-wheel-drive is your pleasure. A sixspeed automatic is the sole transmission for both engines, which represents an upgrade for the V6 from its prior-use five-speed version. Back again to save the day by saving fuel is the Highlander Hybrid all-wheel-drive model that uses a 3.5-liter V6 working with front and rear electric motors to produce a combined 280 horsepower. The Hybrid is equipped with a unique on-demand four-wheeldrive setup in the interests of fuel efficiency. It operates through a continuously variable transmission with no set gearing. All Highlanders arrive with the expected air conditioning and power-operated controls. The three-place second-row bench can be swapped for captain’s chairs that reduces passenger to seven from eight. Not all the changes for 2014 are happy ones, though. When it comes to Tacoma, the TX and TX Pro packages are out. They included very cool black bead-lock wheels, blacked-out tube sidesteps and a custom exhaust. Also out is the ground-hugging X-Runner that specialized in picking off sports cars at local mall-parking-lot autocross events. In their place is a new SR Package with body-color upgrades like overfenders, door-handles, bumpers, grille and mirrors, and smoked headlights.
Base prices (incl. destination)
4Runner: Mid-sized SUV; $33,800 FJ Cruiser: Mid-sized SUV; $28,000 Highlander: Mid-sized SUV; $30,000 (est.); $41,000 (hybrid) Land Cruiser: Full-sized SUV; $79,800
2014 Auto Preview
RAV4: Compact SUV; $24,100 Sequoia: Full-size SUV; $44,600 Tacoma: Compact pickup; $18,600 Tundra: Full-size pickup; $26,900
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2013 13
Hot news for 2014: The big news is something small that affects most VW models; the five-cylinder is on the way out, to be replaced with a turbocharged four-cylinder. • Slight power bump for the 2.0liter gasoline turbo engines (to 210 from 200) except for the Eos convertible. • Special edition Beetle GSR. • New Wolfsburg trim level for Passat positioned between the base and SE models and contains a few extra ingredients and trim for an extra $2,000. Carryover: Beetle; CC; Golf; Eos; Jetta; Passat; Tiguan; Touareg Gone: Routan
drive splendor with about 300 horsepower. Wait a second, doesn’t VW sell a hybrid? Glad you asked. The impressive Jetta Hybrid is uniquely teamed with a seven-speed automated manual gearbox (called the DSG). It can run for up to 1.2 miles on electric power alone at speeds up to 44 mph, reach 60 mph from rest in less than nine seconds and achieve up to 45 mpg in combined city and highway driving. But wait, there’s more. For 2014, all Jettas receive a more performance-oriented multi-link rear suspension that previously was exclusive to the Jetta GLI (think of VW Golf-based GTI with a trunk instead of a rear hatch). The multi-link probably won’t be noticed by most Jetta drivers, but anyone who loves to carve through twisty two-lane back roads should feel the difference in the car’s handling dynamics. In other news, the Tiguan compact tall wagon comes in a new R-Line that sits atop the pecking order with unique 19-inch wheels, sport suspension, power front seats with lumbar support, rain-sensing wipers and other fancy stuff. The Beetle is another model that will surrender it’s 2.5-liter five-cylinder, but there will also be a limited run of 3,500 GSR models, kitted out with special yellow and black paint, large rear spoiler and 19-inch wheels. Matching yellow and black leather-covered seats will also be part of the package.
Base prices (incl. destination)
■ Several companies out there think that turbocharging is the way of the future. Volkswagen has gone so far as to say that at some point all its engines will be turbocharged. Totally turbo, as it were. Turbocharging allows engines to be really small, which gives them good fuel economy, and when you need some extra acceleration, the turbocharger adds the power. How soon is “the future”? How about now. VW has begun to phase out its non-turbocharged 2.5-cylinder engine in favor of a 1.8liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Even a big car like the Passat gets it for 2014, where it makes the same power as the old 2.5 but manages to pull down 24 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway, compared to 22/32. The 2.5 will continue to be offered while full production of the 1.8 ramps up. That’s a nice little bump in fuel economy, but one of the best bets is still the hybrid-challenging 140-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-diesel (TDI) that gives the mid-size Passat a rating of 31 mpg in the city and 43 on the highway, along with a range on a full tank of fuel approaching 800 miles. That’s 22 percent better than the new base engine on the highway and 29 percent better in the city. The Golf doesn’t get the new turbo engine and for good reason as customers are patiently awaiting the arrival of the seventh-generation model that the European market has had access to for some time. The all-new hatchback that’s due in early 2014 will be built in Mexico instead of Germany and promises to be both roomier and more fuel-efficient. In the meantime, VW is clearing out remaining Golfs, likely at attractive prices and/ or lease deals. The 2014 Golf is available in the four-door hatchback only, and with the five-cylinder engine or the diesel. The sporty GTI with its 200-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder also returns for this short season (also four-door only) and will also be redesigned for 2015. For now, though, it has a six-speed manual transmission, or optional automated manual gearbox (with no clutch pedal). The 256-horsepower Golf R is off the menu now, but will return next year in all its all-wheel-
Beetle: Compact hatchback; $20,800 Beetle: Compact convertible; $25,800 CC: Mid-sized sedan; $32,600 Eos: Compact convertible; $36,100 Golf: Compact hatchback; $20,800; $25,900 (GTI) Jetta: Compact sedan/wagon; $17,500 (sedan); $28,100 (hybrid) Passat: Mid-sized sedan; $21,700 Tiguan: Compact SUV; $23,900 Touareg: Mid-size SUV; $44,900 Touareg hybrid: Mid-size SUV; $65,100
Hot news for 2014: Although nothing particularly major is going on, nearly every model is making a plastic pitstop for a little visual refreshing. • Volvo drops the C30 and the hardtop-convertible C70; is the fun over? Carryover: S60; S80; XC60; XC70; XC90 Gone: C30; C70
The best prices of the season start here! Don’t miss this opportunity to replace one of the most important safety features of your vehicle!
(4) Yokohama Tires
Bring this Coupon
The Premier Tire and Auto Center In The Golden Triangle Area
■ Volvo’s slick European design has always been the XC60’s hallmark and was the first to seriously stick in the minds of shoppers where practicality isn’t an absolute priority. Like the rest of the company’s lineup, it’s getting a freshening, to keep its fully vested membership in the “small premium utility” group that includes a growing number of competitors. All the sheetmetal and details forward of the A-pillars is new, along with revised headlights and the ubiquitous LED running lights. The back end features new integrated exhaust pipes, skid plates and different wheel styles on every trim level. For the 2014 model year, the base XC60 carries on with a 240-horse 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder driving the front wheels. All-wheel-drive is an option, but it’s standard when you step up to T6 and its 300-horsepower 3.0-liter turbocharged engine. The R-Design model boasts a 325-horsepower version of the 3.0 (that happens to run on regular gas) and includes sharper steering and suspension settings plus 20-inch wheels. Optional 2014 safety technologies include a system that detects pedestrians — and cyclists — and can automatically brake for them. Already one of the real beauties in its class, Volvo also isn’t letting up on the mid-sized S60 luxury sedan. Like the S60, all the bits forward of the A-pillar replaced for 2014, including the fenders and hood, a sharper grille and different headlights with LED running lights. The back end only receives new integrated exhaust pipes, but regardless, the S60 has one of the nicest rears around. Every model also gets new wheel designs ranging from 17-19 inches in diameter, depending on trims. The cabin sees a new instrument cluster, new cloth-and-metal trim, and an illuminated shift-knob. Under the new hood is the same engine choices as before, meaning a turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder with 250 horsepower in front-wheel-drive models, and a 300-horsepower turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six in all-wheel-drive versions. Every S60 gets a six-speed automatic transmission, including the AWD R-Design. With a goosed-up T6 engine rated at 325 horsepower, it can hit 60 mph from a standing start in less than six seconds. This model comes with lots of sport-sedan goodies, from more supportive seats and unique wheels to a lowered ride height and firmer suspension. Meanwhile, the S80 finally gets a decent freshening, including a new grille flanked by revised headlights with LED running lights, plus new bumpers front and rear, LED taillights and new standard wheels at every trim level. Its two-engine lineup continues unchanged: the base engine is a transversely (east-west) mounted 240-horsepower 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder in the front-wheel-drive S80 3.2. Feeling nostalgic? Do you recall when Volvo was all about its wagons? Seeing as the XC70 is the closest thing you’ll find to a traditional Volvo, it’s no real surprise that it stuck around long after the V70 wagon (that it was based upon) faded into black. However it gives buyers a choice of the modernera XC60 tall wagon, or an XC70 “square back” that’s reminiscent of those brick-like Volvos of old. To further complicate matters, both are priced almost identically. In the case of the XC70, the desired offroader effect is achieved by bolting on front and rear skid plates to protect the radiator and running gear from damage, and by hiking up the suspension for an extra couple inches of ground clearance. Also like the XC60, the XC70 gets all-new exterior pieces, including front fenders, headlights and LED running lights, grilles and bumpers and redesigned alloy wheels.
Columbus, MS • 662-327-3874
1401 Waterworks Road
Base prices (incl. destination)
S60: Mid-size sedan; $33,300 S80: Full-size sedan; $40,800 XC60: Mid-size tall wagon; $35,750 XC70: Mid-size wagon; $35,400 XC90: Mid-size SUV; $40,600
FIND NEW ROADS
Great Deals. Great Friends. Rock Solid.
1522 Hwy. 45 Alt. • West Point, MS • 662-494-4344 MitchellAutomotive.com
16 THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2013
2014 Auto Preview
ONE PRICE EVENT HAGGLE FREE
Top Dollar For Your Trade-In!
2013 YEAR END CLEARANCE ONE PRICE EVENT
NO NEGOTIATION NECESSARY
ONE LOW PRICE FOR EVERYONE CLEARLY POSTED ON EVERY VEHICLE
From Hwy. 82, take Clayton Villa ge exit to Hwy. 182 W.
r, Dear Custome
f 2013 o d n e e h t g in t be celebra l il w e will ic ln r o p c le in ib L s s d r o o p F t s Starkville The lowe ” . T N E s and V le E s s E a C h I o R P N . E k c N icle in sto with a “O h e v y r e v e n low price. o e d m e a k s r a e h m t s ly y r a a be cle veryone p e — d e d e e n to buy. e g n i im t t a i r t e t o t g e e b n o o n n t. There is u o m e h t k c e h Come c ery dollar v e n e h w , r e b nd remem a r a e y t a e r g a incoln! L Thanks for d r o F le il v k r a o St counts, come t
PREPARE TO SAVE
© The Dispatch
ident s e r P , y r e k ic V Chris Lincoln d r o F le il v k r a t S
“WHEN EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS”
12249 Hwy. 182 | Starkville, MS 39759 | 662-323-1900
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.