4 Corners New Car Guide
Local and national articles related to automobiles and transportation in the Durango Colorado area.
2 0 12 4 CORnERS New car Guid e 4 CORNERS NEW CAR GUIDE - HERE THEY COME! Brought to you by TALK! OPEN! FIND TACOS! 13 MOST AFFORDABLE FUEL-EFFICIENT CARS AUTOMOTIVE FAMILY TRADITION MOREHART MURPHY REGIONAL AUTO CENTER Oggling This Year’s New Car Tricks Awesome Class of 2013 GRILLE SEASON FACE FORWARD Rides like the 2013 SRT Viper – cool, connected and smart SMALL CARS, BIG IDEAS 2 0 1 2 4 CORnERS New car Guid e A New Company, A New Philosophy What is Durango Motor Company’s Best Price ? Our guests have told us that the most unpleasant part of buying a vehicle is negotiating. With that in mind, at Durango Motor Company we give our guests our Best Price up front and in writing. Our Brand Promises to You... • One Low Price, Plain and Simple, Always! Our Best Price is presented, up front, in writing, every day. Whether you are 18 or 80, male or female, every guest will always get the same low price. This is Durango Motor Company’s Best Price philosophy. • Relaxed Shopping Experience Our non-commissioned sales consultants are paid based on how satisfied you are with your purchase, NOT on a percentage of the profit from your sales transaction. Every vehicle on our lot has our Best Price clearly hanging in the window so you know just what to expect. No hassle, no haggle, just One Low Price, Plain and Simple, Always! • Affordable Financial Solutions for Today and Your Future Stop in and experience the Durango Motor Company difference for yourself! Relax, our non-commisioned sales consultants are here to help you make a wise decision and are paid based on how satisfied you are with your experience. Competetive financial services to meet your budget and evaluate your options. • Real Cash Value For Your Trade You’ll know what your vehicle is worth before you start to shop and we’ll pay that for your vehicle, even if you don’t buy ours. • The Right Vehicle at the Right Time We have the right vehicles in stock, at the best value for your money. • You Can’t Buy the Wrong Vehicle We offer a 7 day money back guarantee on every vehicle. Bring it back in the same condition you recieved it for a full refund, no questions asked. • Dependable Service to Meet Your Schedule Our service team is here to provide you full maintenance and repairs at times convenient for your schedule, including full day Saturday service. 970-385-4822 • 1200 Carbon Junction • Durango, Colorado 81301 970-385-4822 www.dur angomotor company.com www.Dur angoMotorCompany.com 2 • 4CornersNewCarGuide.com ~ Sunday, September 23, 2012 2 0 12 4 CORnERS New car Guid e GRILLE SEASON FACE FORWARD! Happy. Intimidating. Flirty. Sometimes, two headlamps, a grille and the sweep of a hood take on a life of their own. By DEB ACORD | CTW Features Ask Mark McClenahan about “car faces” and he flashes back to 2006, the year Subaru unveiled its new Tribeca SUV. “People called it bug-eyed over and over. That was the word they used most often,” says McClenahan, who has worked for more than two decades at Heuberger Subaru in Colorado Springs, Colo., the largest Subaru dealership in North America. When Subaru redesigned its family SUV in 2008, it featured a wider front grille and a sleeker, more sophisticated “smile” that was more popular. “The smile comes out of the headlights. They are wide-eyed, as if they are saying, Hey, here I am, all bright-eyed,” McClenahan says. Most car shoppers don’t start their search for a new vehicle by staring down a car face-to-face, but they definitely notice the character expressed in the front-end view. “Most people look at the side view first, the view you see if you’d pass the car on the highway, and they notice color, shape and size. But then they move on to the front.” A car’s face is often what people remember most. The 2012 Jeep Wrangler adds to its rough-and-tumble look with a square grille that looks as if it’s gritting its teeth. The 2013 Kia Sorento leads with a full-on grin that stretches across its entire face. The Cadillac SRX crossover offers a sly smile. And the 2012 Ford Super Duty truck has facial muscles like a bodybuilder. That autos present an expressive face to the world is not a new concept. Henry Ford might not have thought of his 1909 Touring Car (Model T) as having a human expression, but the luxury vehicle’s design harks back to a time of handlebar mustaches, with wide, innocent headlights at either side of a broad grin. Car sales veteran McClenahan, a sales floor coordinator at the Colorado dealership, says car shoppers have very personal reactions to a car’s appearance. Bob Lutz, a former vice president of General Motors who now blogs for Forbes magazine, wrote that just as human faces can elicit recognition and feelings of trust, automotive brands strive for “facial continuity” in their designs. A car’s “front end, grille, fascia and headlights form a very distinct face, and, much like a human visage, it can have expressions: happy, purposeful, angry, aggressive, sad or even bored,” he noted. Car buyers innately respond to the emotive power. “Typically, when design clinic respondents are asked which view of their preferred choice [of] car they would send to friends and/ or relatives, the front three-quarter angle polls at about 80 percent,” Lutz wrote. “You’d think many would select the straight side view, which, distortion-free in photographs, best displays the size, sweep, length and overall cohesiveness of the design.” Lutz praised BMW and Mercedes for maintaining continuity – and building brand equity – across decades, updating their grilles to keep up with the times but maintaining essential characteristics that make their cars instantly recognizable. And other auto makers have picked up on the human-car connection. A Fiat TV commercial that aired first during the 2011 Super Bowl shows a beautiful woman seductively catching the attention of a nerdy-looking guy. The woman – speaking Italian – morphs into the sleek Fiat 500 Abarth. On a more innocent level, the blockbuster computer-animated Pixar film “Cars” featured a world completely populated by cars with unique faces and voices. And in the most literal interpretation of a car face, Nissan teased trade show attendees in 2009 with a smiling car. The auto maker teamed with Hara Design Institute to present a prototype of a car – the young-spirited Cube – covered in a synthetic fiber that allowed it to actually smile. Tina Poppe’s car doesn’t have the ability to literally break into a smile, but the Subaru owner says she always looks at the face of her new car before she checks out any other angles. “The way the hood looks is important to me. It’s almost like the forehead of a car,” she says. Poppe, from Fountain, Colo., and her husband, Mike, bought their Subarus at the massive Colorado Springs dealership where McClenahan works. Poppe’s husband drives a 2011charcoal gray Subaru Outback that looks “like a bulldog,” she says. “It’s more masculine, muscularlooking from the front.” Her car, a 2011 deep-red Subaru Legacy, has a more feminine face, she says. “It’s like a smiling woman with red lipstick on. All it needs is eyelashes.” © CTW Features 4CornersNewCarGuide.com ~ Sunday, September 23, 2012 • 3 2 0 1 2 4 CORnERS New car Guid e SOUTHWEST COLORADO’S AUTOMOTIVE FAMILY TRADITION By STEVE SCEARCE The original Morehart dealership at the corner of East Second Ave. and 7th Street. Today known as the Meyer Building. Throughout the years, Southwest Colorado has seen big changes in its car dealerships. Morehart Murphy Regional Auto Center is no exception. Originally two separate businesses, Pat Murphy Motors and Morehart Chevrolet Subaru, combined forces on January 1, 2009. The new combined dealership became known as Morehart Murphy Regional Auto Center. Before their merger, the separate businesses – and friendly competitors – both relocated from their downtown locations on East Second Avenue to Parker Avenue in Bodo Park in 1996. “We built our new, modern facilities across the street from one-another to make the car shopping and service experience easier for our customers,” said Pat Murphy, co-owner of Morehart Murphy. The two family-owned businesses have long histories in Durango. Jim Morehart (far left) and Pat Murphy (far right) with the Morehart Murphy Regional Auto Center staff. Morehart’s father Ed purchased the dealership in 1957 and Murphy’s father-in-law started Carroll Motors in 1971. Morehart took over the business in 1968 when his father passed away unexpectedly, and Murphy began working at the dealership in 1977 and soon thereafter bought out his father-inlaw and changed the business name to Pat Murphy Motors. While the businesses have changed, the core operating philosophies of the two partners have remained the same. “I call it the ‘Grandmother Test,’ said Jim Morehart. “Treat the public the way you would treat your grandmother.” “We’re a small-town dealership,” Murphy added. “We’ve built this business by working with one customer at a time. The big city dealerships see a sale simply as a transaction. Not us; we see it as the start of a personal relationship. We’re unique in this business in that both 4 • 4CornersNewCarGuide.com ~ Sunday, September 23, 2012 dealer-principals are on the premises. We’re not absentee owners.” Both partners are very involved in the community, serving on the boards of civic organizations focused on education, economic development, human services and youth programs. “Durango has been good to us, and we feel like we have an responsibility to give back to our community,” Morehart said. “A lot of our personal time outside of business hours is dedicated to community groups,” Murphy said. “We measure our success based on what’s good for our employees and the community, not just what’s good for us.” The partners’ commitment to their employees has been reciprocated. The average tenure of their employees is 15 years with many more than 30 years. “For the 28 years I’ve been with the company, I’ve appreciated the operating philosophy of ‘taking care of the customer,’”said Ray Sima, sales manager. “That makes for a pleasant working environment for everyone.” Automotive evolution Morehart and Murphy have expanded the brands in their lineup to match the evolving automotive needs of the region. “We added the Subaru brand to our product line in 1986 because their vehicles fit the Four Corners market so well,” said Jim Morehart, co-owner of the dealership. “They still do.” In December 2009, the newly merged dealership added the Chrysler, Dodge and RAM nameplates – the rest of the Chrysler family of vehicles – to their existing Jeep line. “We’re seeing the car manufacturers responding to the needs of the marketplace by offering safer, more reliable vehicles that have vastly better fuel economy,” Murphy said. 2 0 12 4 CORnERS New car Guid e a powerful and efficient Pentastar wheelbase, and retuned the suspension. V-6 engine, paired with the TorqueThe international collaboration resulted Flight 8, 8-speed transmission. These in a stylish and economical compact that improvements have boosted the offers 27 mpg city and 39 mpg highway. highway mileage to an impressive 25 Morehart Murphy has sold a few mpg. super compacts on their used car lot, but “We’re seeing an impressive now the dealership enters the new mini level of innovation, safety and car business with the 2013 Chevrolet technological advancement coming Spark. The Spark has a base price of from our manufacturers,” Morehart said. $12,995 and touts an impressive 38 “Everyone around here is pretty excited mpg highway mileage, yet can seat four about it, and our customers will be the adults. beneficiaries.” Ram has heavily upgraded its The 2013 Subaru Crosstrek is Subaru’s latest offering in the 1500 pickup line for 2013 with a new crossover vehicle category. V-6 engine, an available eight-speed transmission, fuel-economy-enhancing The partners noted several new thrifty 25 mpg city/33 highway mpg fuel technology, and a re-designed 2013 models this that they believe will economy with automatic transmission interior. From the outside, the be embraced by Southwest Colorado option. 2013 may not look all that motorists, including the Subaru XV The 2013 Dodge Dart resurrects a different from the 2012, but it Crosstrek, the Dodge Dart, Chevy Spark nameplate that had been retired in 1976. is. The truck’s changes are the and a retooled line of Ram 1500 pickups. The new compact started life as an Alfa most significant since 2009, The Subaru XV Crosstrek is essentially Romeo Giulietta that underwent some when it still carried the Dodge a beefed up, more offroad-capable Impreza Detroit reconstructive surgery to prepare name. five-door with a whopping 8.7 inches of it for the American marketplace. Dodge This reworked Ram 1500 includes The 2013 Dodge Dart resurrects a nameground clearance while maintaining a engineers widened the track, lengthened the plate that Dodge had retired in 1976. 4CornersNewCarGuide.com ~ Sunday, September 23, 2012 • 5 2 0 1 2 4 CORnERS New car Guid e The 2013 Smart ForTwo Micro-car The 2013 Chevy Cruze Most Affordable Fuel-Efficient Cars MAKE/MODEL CLASS CITY/COMB/HIGHWAY MPG Chevrolet Cruze Compact 28/33/42 Honda Civic Compact 29/33/41 Ford Fiesta Subcompact 29/33/40 Chevrolet Sonic Subcompact 29/33/40 Ford Focus Compact 28/33/40 Hyundai Elantra Compact 30/34/40 Kia Rio Subcompact 31/34/40 Hyundai Accent Subcompact 30/34/40 Toyota Yaris Subcompact 30/34/38 Nissan Versa Subcompact 30/33/38 Fiat 500 Micro-car 30/33/38 Smart ForTwo Micro-car 34/36/38 Scion iQ Micro-car 36/37/37 Note: Figures cited are for the most fuel-efficient model in each given line; other verson’ mileage may vary. Source: Environmental Protection Agency 2012 Fuel Economy Guide. * Official EPA estimates not available at press time; ratings in excess of 40 mpg/highway are expected. THE NEW NON-GUZZLERS WHAT A GAS! They don’t plug in, power down at stoplights or sneak up silently on pedestrians. A look at the new crop of fuel-frugal, traditionally powered autos. By JIM GORZELANY | CTW Features With fuel prices see-sawing wildly and flirting with all-time highs in recent months, it should come as no surprise that more than half (66 percent) of newcar shoppers now base their buying decisions on a vehicle’s fuel economy, according to a recent survey conducted by Kelley Blue Book in Irvine, Calif. 6 • 4CornersNewCarGuide.com ~ Sunday, September 23, 2012 And while gas-electric hybrids like the segment-leading Toyota Prius can boast stellar fuel economy ratings and all-electric cars like the Nissan Leaf eliminate a trip to the gas station altogether, they’re not cheap. Hybrids and electrics exact a cost penalty over comparable conventionally powered models that can run several thousand dollars. This is an added upfront cost that can be difficult – sometimes impossible – to recover in fuel savings over a typical ownership period. “Even as gas prices soar, the economics of 2 0 12 4 CORnERS New car Guid e buying a hybrid vehicle don’t make much sense in many cases,” says Lacey Plache, chief economist at Edmunds. com. “The lineup of hybrid vehicles and their premium price points just aren’t appealing enough to consumers, especially given the growing strength of fuel economy among [conventionally powered] competitors.” To that end we’re highlighting a baker’s dozen of affordable non-hybrid cars that boast a combined 33 mpg city/ highway or better, with some models at or exceeding 40 mpg on the highway [see chart on the opening page]. All are what would be considered small cars, though the compact-sized Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra are at least capable of carrying five passengers in reasonable comfort. Most of these models offer amenities on a par with many midsize cars, including premium audio systems, leather seats and GPS navigation systems. All are priced, at least in their base models, at well under $20,000, with some starting at less than $15,000. While these are the high-mileage leaders, be aware that these are not the only gas-saving vehicles on the market. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Washington, D.C., there were 57 fuel-efficient models available for model-year 2012, up from 27 models in 2009, with additional miserly models, like the Chevrolet Spark and Dodge Dart, debuting for 2013. “Drivers today have twice the fuel-efficient car options than just three years ago,” says Luke Tonachel, senior vehicles analyst at the NRDC. “As consumers look to trade in older cars over time, they will have the latest in fuel saving technology available to them, putting money back in their pockets.” Be aware that some models, such as the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus and Honda Civic only achieve their top fuel economy ratings with specific highmileage versions or option packages that leverage low-rolling resistance tires and other features to eke out maximum mpg. Unfortunately, these versions often cost several hundred dollars more than a standard version and may only have what amounts to a statistically insignificant gain in fuel economy to show for it. For example, the “Eco” version of the Chevrolet Cruze, which exacts around a $900 price premium over a standard version, only boasts a one-mpg boost in highway driving over the base model, and is estimated (according to the Environmental Protection Agency) to save an owner only $100 a year in fuel costs, based on 15,000 miles driven per year. The Ford Focus with the $500 SFE option package does a little better with a two-mpg gain in highway driving, but delivers only the same anticipated $100 annual savings. “The price of gas has consumers thinking about fuel economy but there’s a financial investment involved with most of these fuel-saving packages,” said Jesse Toprak, vice president of market intelligence at TrueCar.com. “It’s important to compare the improvements in fuel economy and the extra costs of the package before purchasing a new vehicle.” And keep in mind, as the ads always say, Your mileage may vary. All fuel economy figures cited here and elsewhere are estimates based on standardized testing conducted by the EPA under controlled circumstances, and not out in the real world. Most motorists will probably see fewer miles per gallon depending on how and where they drive. What’s more, adding options to a vehicle increases its curb weight, which likewise has a negative effect on a car’s fuel economy, since it causes the engine to work harder. Likewise, choosing a version that comes with a optional engine and/or transmission will typically yield a different fuel economy rating. Estimated fuel economy figures for all current makes and models (as well as those dating back to 1994) can be found on the EPA’s website: fueleconomy.gov. © CTW Features 4CornersNewCarGuide.com ~ Sunday, September 23, 2012 • 7 2 0 1 2 4 CORnERS New car Guid e TALK! OPEN! FIND TACOS! DEPT. OF NEW CAR TRICKS New high-tech auto features are designed to impress. Who knew they’d be so much fun? By JIM GORZELANY | CTW Features Just as has been the case with smartphones in recent years, auto makers are rolling out cutting-edge new features with increasing frequency to give motorists a reason to trade in their existing rides for those with the latest gadgetry. The 2013 model year is no exception. Among some of this model year’s gee-whizzery: cars that read text messages and Facebook updates to you, charge remote electronic devices wirelessly, give feedback to the driver via a vibrating seat cushion and automatically brake while backing up to avoid hitting pedestrians and other cars. Here’s a quick look at a dizzying array of comfort/convenience, connectivity and safety features that will be debuting on select 2013 models: Comfort and Convenience The latest twist on remote vehicle access uses neither a key fob control nor a pushbutton. Rather, the 2013 Ford Escape crossover SUV allows those burdened with baggage to engage the available poweroperated lift gate via a simple kicking motion under the rear bumper. The same process closes the hatch. Mercedes-Benz offers a similar system for opening and closing the trunk with its 2013 SL-Class hardtop roadster. Now that most cars’ automatic transmissions are electronically controlled, the classic shift lever is fast becoming superfluous. To help free up center console space, the midsize 2013 Lincoln MKZ instead provides a series of buttons to engage park, neutral, reverse and forward gears. 8 • 4CornersNewCarGuide.com ~ Sunday, September 23, 2012 OPEN, SESAME: Ford Escape foot-activated power lift gate 2 0 12 4 CORnERS New car Guid e help avoid a collision. Meanwhile, the 2013 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia seven-passenger crossover SUVs boast the industry’s first center-mounted air bags. The tubular-shaped restraint deploys between the front seats and is designed to help protect the driver from injury in the event of a collision on the passenger’s side when the driver is the only occupant. It’s also expected to provide additional protection to the driver and front passenger in a side-impact crash and help deliver additional safety benefits in rollover situations. The 2013 Cadillac XTS affords a seatof-the-pants approach to helping a driver avoid collisions with its new Safety Alert Seat. It transmits pulse patterns on the left or right side of the cushion when Houston, we have a solution: Altima’s new ‘zero gravity’ seats Similarly, the 2013 Ram 1500 full-size pickup truck ditches the shift lever in favor of a rotary dial-in gear selector. As anyone who drives long distances can attest, sitting in a comfortable driver’s seat can make the difference between an enjoyable and intolerable journey. To that end, Nissan is introducing “zero gravity” seats on its 2013 Altima midsize sedan. Based on posture research from NASA, the new seats utilize an articulated seat shape with continuous support from the pelvis to the chest and are said to help reduce muscular and spinal loads and improve blood flow, thus reducing fatigue. Connectivity/Infotainment Auto makers are working overtime to attract younger, technology-savvy buyers with new features that connect them to their cars and to each other. To that end, Nissan is debuting a smartphone interface in the aforementioned Altima and the 2013 Infiniti JX luxury crossover SUV that will read text messages aloud to users and enable them to respond, either by voice command or via a steering wheel-mounted button that sends preset text like “driving, can’t text,” or “running late.” What’s more, the previously mentioned 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL allows live Web the car is, say, drifting beyond highway markers or when it’s in close proximity to other cars or obstacles while parking. Vibrations on both sides of the cushion would alert the driver to threats from the front or rear, such as when the car is coming up too quickly on traffic ahead. As part of the 2013 Subaru Legacy sedan and Outback wagon’s new EyeSight safety system that includes lane departure warning and collision mitigation systems, the car can also emit an alert when the vehicle ahead moves and the driver doesn’t react within several seconds. While we’d like to proclaim this as a great advance, the taxicab driver stopped in traffic behind us usually performs the same function by blowing his horn. © CTW Features browsing while the vehicle is stationary, along with access to apps such as Google Local Search, Yelp and Facebook, with software that can be remotely updated “over the air” as needed. Similarly, Subaru is rolling out the interactive platform, Aha, in its 2013 models that lets drivers interact with web-based content through their vehicles’ radios. As if that’s not enough connectivity, the 2013 Dodge Dart compact sedan can be fitted with a dealer-installed Wi-Fi hot spot that enables users to avail themselves of mobile Internet service from as far as 150 feet away from the vehicle. The Dart also offers a new inductive wireless charging system that allows occupants to simply set electronic devices in a specified charging zone to keep the juice flowing. Safety Auto safety remains a paramount consideration among new-car buyers, with auto makers continuing to develop increasingly advanced systems. Among them is the new backup collision intervention system in the 2013 Infiniti JX. It not only warns a driver to the presence of vehicles and objects crossing its path while in reverse gear, it can also automatically engage the brakes to More, better: 2013 models like the Altima include safety alerts typically found on more upscale vehicles 4CornersNewCarGuide.com ~ Sunday, September 23, 2012 • 9 2 0 1 2 4 CORnERS New car Guid e THE AWESOME CLASS OF 2013 COOL AND CONNECTED By JIM GORZELANY | CTW Features Small is big for model year 2013, with several new compact and subcompact cars and crossovers delivering surprising levels of sophistication. A fresh assortment of family cars and sport coupes are also represented in what’s shaping up to be a stellar model year. The newest cars on the road are teched-out like never before. Manufacturers are delivering a wide array of brand new features that increase safety, convenience and connectivity on the road. Here’s a look ahead at some of the most-significant all-new and redesigned models heading to dealers’ showrooms. Acura ILX. Essentially a luxury version of the Honda Civic, the compact ILX features unique styling inside and out, with added amenities. A 150-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and five-speed automatic transmission come standard, but those seeking a more engaging driving experience can instead choose a peppier 201-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder and six-speed manual gearbox. Meanwhile, a Hybrid version teams a 1.5-liter engine with an electric motor/generator and a gearless CVT automatic transmission to boast an estimated 39-mpg in city driving. BMW X1. Both sleek and muscular looking, BMW’s new subcompact crossover SUV is also quick and agile. A choice of turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines delivers a fast 240- or faster 300-horsepower; the base engine includes a start-stop function to help boost fuel economy by automatically depowering itself while at idle. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard, along with BMW’s advanced xDrive all-wheel-drive system that enhances the vehicle’s handling abilities on either wet or dry roads. 10 • 4CornersNewCarGuide.com ~ Sunday, September 23, 2012 Buick Encore. Mechanically related to the Chevrolet Sonic, this is an all-new, boldly cast subcompact crossover SUV. A launch-happy 140-horsepower (estimated) 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission provide ample acceleration, though unlike most crossovers the Encore is not available with all-wheel drive. Riding on large 18-inch wheels and tires it delivers a smooth ride and boasts a whisper-quiet interior thanks to a high-tech active noise cancellation system. Available features include forward collision-alert and lanedeparture warning systems. 2 0 12 4 CORnERS New car Guid e Dodge Dart The first serious small car contender from Dodge since the Neon is the all-new Dart. With mechanical and design lineage coming from Italy’s Alfa Romeo, it’s a stylish and economical package that can be customized by myriad dealer-installed accessories. There’s a choice of three four-cylinder engines that range from 160 horsepower to a lusty 184 horses (estimated); buyers can opt for a sixspeed manual, six-speed automatic or six-speed automated manual transmission. A European-tuned suspension delivers a smooth ride with tenacious handling abilities. Ford Escape Ford reinvents its top-selling SUV for 2013, adopting a far more rounded and modern-looking profile than before. Power comes from the same choice of three four-cylinder engines and two transmissions as in the Ford Fusion (above). Myriad sophisticated options include a novel power liftgate that opens with a kicking motion under the rear bumper when arms are occupied with kids or groceries. Driving dynamics are more engaging than before, with all-wheel-drive available for the benefit of those living in the snow belt. Ford Fusion This popular midsize sedan gets a radical makeover, with fresh styling and new powertrain choices that include a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, and turbocharged 1.6- and 2.0-liter fours at 179 and 237 horses (estimated); a fuel saving start-stop function is optional with the 1.6-liter engine. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, and all-wheeldrive is available with the 2.0-liter engine. What’s more a gas/electric Fusion Hybrid and a new plug-in hybrid Fusion Energi garner impressive gains in fuel economy. A luxury-oriented version with specific styling and added features is also offered as the Lincoln MKZ. Cadillac XTS Debuting for Cadillac ATS The 2013, this all-new large frontall-new ATS is a drive luxury sedan is truly compact rear-drive handsome inside and out. luxury sedan that A reasonably fuel-efficient borrows styling 3.6-liter V6 is the only availcues from the larger able engine, but it produces Cadillac CTS and V8-like thrust with an output rides on a sophisthat’s estimated at 300 horseticated sport suspower; it’s mated to a smooth pension system for shifting six-speed automatic BMW-like handling. transmission. A sophisticated No less than three engines are offered, including 200- and 270-horsepower adaptive suspension system maintains a smooth ride with capable handling; all-wheelfour-cylinder powerplants and a 3.6-liter V6 that generates a brawny 320 horses. drive is optional for added traction under inclement conditions. A full range of the Myriad high-tech safety and convenience features are offered, including a latest features is available, including collision avoidance and blind spot/lane departure capacitive LCD touch screen that affords multi-touch fingertip control of select warning, with a unique Safety Alert Seat that gives feedback to the driver from such functions much like an iPhone or iPad interface. systems via a vibrating seat cushion. 4CornersNewCarGuide.com ~ Sunday, September 23, 2012 • 11 2 0 1 2 4 CORnERS New car Guid e STEVE KEETCH STEVE KEETCH Chevrolet Spark All new for 2013, the diminutive Spark is an attractive and nicely finished four-door “micro car” hatchback. A 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine is estimated to deliver a just-sufficient 85 horsepower, with fuel economy as its main virtue. Chevy optimistically claims the Spark will seat four passengers, but rear seat room is prohibitively tight for all but the smallest riders. The available MyLink infotainment system provides connectivity with smartphones for hands-free calling and Internet radio streaming via the car’s audio system. Buy LocaL, Buy QuaLity, Buy Keetch Steve Keetch MotorS, INc. 127 N Broadway, Cortez Co (970) 565-3421 (877) 565-3422 toll free 12 • 4CornersNewCarGuide.com ~ Sunday, September 23, 2012 Infiniti JX This is an all-new seven-passenger luxury crossover SUV that features dramatic exterior styling, with a spacious and elegantly cast interior, flexible seating and assorted advanced safety features. It comes powered by a 265-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine that’s mated to a gearless CVT automatic transmission. A Drive Mode Select feature lets drivers tailor the vehicle’s throttle response and shift points for a smoother or sportier driving experience, or for driving in snowy conditions. The JX’s handling is more responsive than with most large SUVs, with all wheel-drive optional to provide added traction on wet roads. 2 0 12 4 CORnERS New car Guid e Mazda CX-5 This all-new compact crossover SUV features a rounded profile and Mazda’s trademark smiley front-end treatment. A 2.0-liter “SkyActiv” four-cylinder engine generates a lively 155 horsepower and gets an estimated 26/33-city/highway mpg. Powertrain choices include a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, with all-wheel-drive optional. The CX-5’s handling is a notch sportier than the typical people-moving wagon, and affords a more engaging driving experience. Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ Developed in a partnership between Toyota and Subaru, the FR-S and BRZ are mechanically similar rear-drive sporty coupes with sleekly cast exteriors. Each packs a Subaru-derived 200-hp 2.0-liter “boxer” four-cylinder engine that configures the cylinder banks in horizontal opposition (as opposed to conventional inline or V-shaped arrangements) to afford a lower center of gravity and, combined with a sport-tuned suspension, contribute to superior handling characteristics. A six-speed manual transmission is standard with a six-speed automatic optional. SRT Viper At the top of Chrysler’s new SRT line of performance models is an all-new Viper two-seat sports coupe and convertible. An 8.4-liter V10 engine resides under its long carbon fiber hood and generates a scenery blurring 640 horsepower (estimated); it channels all that power to the rear wheels via a shortthrow six-speed manual transmission. The Viper’s underlying structure is more rigid than before, with a re-engineered suspension to help give it more refined ride, yet still perform like a street-legal racer. 4CornersNewCarGuide.com ~ Sunday, September 23, 2012 • 13 2 0 1 2 4 CORnERS New car Guid e Subaru XV Crosstrek This new compact crossover SUV is based on the automaker’s Impreza, yet features a higher ground clearance and more rugged-looking styling. It comes powered by a 148-horsepower 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine with either a five-speed manual transmission or gearless CVT automatic. All-wheel-drive is standard across the line, with a somewhat more sophisticated AWD array coming with the CVT transmission. Available amenities include a rear-view camera, HD radio and a voice/touchscreen controlled navigation system with real-time traffic information. Toyota Prius C Added to the expanding line of Prius-badged models, this is a subcompact four-door hybrid-powered hatchback based on the pint-sized Toyota Yaris. Here, an electric motor generator with a self-charging battery pack augments a 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine to generate the equivalent of 99 horsepower. A gearless CVT automatic transmission is standard. It may not be fast, but the Prius C’s fuel economy is EPA-estimated at a stellar 53/46 mpg. ALSO NEW OR COMPLETELY REDESIGNED FOR ’13 • Acura RDX • BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe • Buick Enclave • Chevrolet Malibu • Chevrolet Traverse • Ford C-Max • GMC Acadia • Hyundai Santa Fe • Lexus GS • • • • • • • • • • © CTW Features 14 • 4CornersNewCarGuide.com ~ Sunday, September 23, 2012 Nissan Pathfinder Nissan Altima Honda Accord Hyundai Genesis Coupe Mercedes SL Mitsubishi Outlander Porsche Boxster Ram 1500 Subaru Legacy/Outback Toyota Avalon 2 0 12 4 CORnERS New car Guid e THINKING SMALL Mazda 2 LITTLE CARS, BIG IDEAS Once an afterthought, a downscale domain for buyers of pinched means, the small car segment now includes some of the most styl- ish, innovative models on the market. Since lightweight cars are easy to maneuver, these stylish models also rank high on the fun factor, a prized feature sought by any driver who wants anything beyond the most basic transportation. Thanks for the snazzy new array of subcompacts go to Generation Y, the children of the baby boom generation. The youngest members of this group, born from the mid-1970s to the 1990s, are just beginning to study for their driving exams. And, like generations before them, the newest U.S. car buyers want to drive something different from their parents or grandparents. Increasingly, what looks cool to young people is a sharply styled hatchback that’s modestly powered but technology-filled and smartphone-compatible. The idea of a luxury-oriented small car – once considered a contradiction in terms –is gaining among Internet-savvy young buyers who browse what’s cool around the globe. They see fashion-forward cars in European and Asian markets and look for similar vehicles in the U.S. These buyers are less frivolous than those in the youth market a decade ago. Rather than sporty coupes, today’s young driver typically focuses on small vehicles that offer more room, four doors and convenient access for people and cargo. Helping to reshape the small car landscape is the increasing participation by the top two domestic auto makers, GM and Ford, with Chrysler and its European partner, Fiat, entering the fray. All the traditional players are staying in the game and offering more choices. Young buyers “are not looking for a family car yet,” says Acura spokesman Gary Robinson. To appeal to their sporty yet practical inclination, the new Acura ILX, based on the Honda Civic platform, arrives as a four-door sedan, eschewing the two-door model that typically have been Acura’s entry point. General Motors has recently gained a strong foothold in the small car segment. “Past [GM subcompacts] felt more like an afterthought,” admits James Bell, GM’s head of consumer affairs. “It was time for GM to have an over-achieving small car.” Chevrolet’s Cruze, with 235,000 sold in its debut year, is among the top three sales leaders in its class, he notes. In addition, By JAY KOBLENZ | CTW Features Small cars have always been the bastion of young people, budget buyers and Euro-minded city dwellers. But there is a growing sub-segment in the small car category filled with fuel-efficient vehicles that are a snap to park and also boast a tempting array of luxury features recently the realm of far more expensive marques. Buick is upgrading the platform for its upscale Verano, a vehicle that began as a European Opel. Chevy is adding more and smaller cars, including the Sonic and the 2013 Spark. Cadillac is also bringing a compact to market for the first time since the muchmaligned 1980’s Cimarron. The ATS is a big leap ahead, with a unique-to-Cadillac rear-drive platform and choice of three engines, including a 270-horsporsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder. This one is aimed squarely at BMW’s most popular vehicle, the 3 Series. Ford is also respected for its small cars in Europe and, via Mazda, has a top-notch Japanese partner. Its recently introduced Fiesta shares much of its mechanicals with the successful Mazda2. These cars fit four doors and room for five in a vehicle that’s barely more than 160 inches long. Yet the Fiesta boasts items found only in luxury cars a generation ago, including at least six air bags, electronic traction and stability control and a trip computer. For well less than $20,000, a buyer can get a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel with audio controls, Bluetooth connection and inputs for iPhone or other audio devices. Traditionally affordable brands are pumping up features and style in their most affordable offerings. Kia’s new 2012 Rio, starting at about $14,000, includes six air bags, electronic stability control, iPod integration and a host of little extras in a stylish package that can achieve 40 mpg on the highway. Parent Hyundai is stylishly updating its Accent along the same lines for 2013. Meanwhile, luxury carmakers burned in the past when trying to bring Euro-style hatchbacks to the U.S. market are starting to return: Audi with its creatively upscale A3 and BMW with its X1 – a subcompact SUV, not a hatchback, the company insists, underscoring its rugged image. Even as luxury brands vie to attract new buyers, they realize fuel efficiency is key for subcompacts. But for younger buyers, technology is critical, second only to style and image. “The way the car connects to their iPhone is more important than the different ways the power seats move,” says Acura’s Robinson. © CTW Features 4CornersNewCarGuide.com ~ Sunday, September 23, 2012 • 15