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Wednesday, November 28, 2012 .......................................................................................... AUTOPREVIEW2013 .......................................................................................................................... 1


2 ................................................................................................................................................ AUTOPREVIEW2013............................................................................ Wednesday, November 28, 2012

>>>> BMW X1

(New for 2013)

You could easily confuse the new X1 with BMW’s existing X3, so similar is the physical resemblance. However the tape measure confirms that the X1 is shorter and narrower by about eight inches and three inches, respectively, and two inches shorter between the front and rear wheels. As well, the X3 offers nearly double the storage volume of the X1 with its rear seats up and close to 20 percent more room with the X1’s second-row 40:20:20 split rear seat folded flat. However, the X1 certainly doesn’t come up short in interior accommodations. The front seats feel wonderfully supportive, as they do with most BMWs, while rearseat leg and knee room might only be a problem for tall types. The base powerplant is an all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that puts out a very respectable 240 horsepower and 258 pounds-feet of torque. So respectable, in fact, that the X3 is adopting the same engine for 2013. In addition, the X1 weighs 400 pounds less than the X3, which is good news in terms of performance. BMW claims that zero-to-60 mph takes less than six seconds with the sixspeed manual transmission, or in the 6.3-second range when equipped with the optional eight-speed automatic. For those wanting more oomph, there’s also an optional 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder with 300 horsepower. Amazingly, base X1s come either in rearwheel drive or optionally with BMW’s xDrive permanent all-wheel-drive setup; upscale models get xDrive standard. It splits the torque equally between the front and rear wheels in normal driving, but can shift 100 percent of the torque to whichever axle has the most grip. xDrive will also automatically direct added power to the rear wheels when turning to reduce the vehicle’s tendency to continue in a straight line (called understeer). To hold the starting price near $30,000 territory, the base X1 is on the stark side, devoid of leather seats, fancy interior/exterior trim and a number mechanical/safety features. On the option list is a panoramic glass roof, larger-diameter rims, heated leather seats, up-level audio/ navigation system and a sports steering wheel with paddle shifters for the automatic transmission. Also offered is an aero body kit that’s part of the M sports package.

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>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Base price (incl. destination): $31,500 (sDrive28i); $39,400 (xDrive35i) >>> Type: Fourdoor compact wagon >>> Base engine (hp): 2.0-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (240) >>> Optional engine (hp): 3.0-liter DOHC I6, turbocharged (300) >>> Layout: Front-engine, rear- /all-wheel-drive >>> Transmissions: Six-speed manual, eight-speed automatic (opt.) >>> MPG (city/hwy): 24/34 (AT) >>> Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; sidecurtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control >>> Weight (lb.): 3,550


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P R E V I E W

>>> AT-A-GL ANCE >>>>>>>>>

NEW-VEHICLE GUIDE

Hybrid or Hybrid Option

2013 REVIEW LISTINGS

BMW X1 _______________________________________________ 2 Ford C-Max NEW! ____________________________________ 3 Ford Escape NEW! ____________________________________ 3 Ford Fusion NEW! ____________________________________ 4 Lincoln MKZ NEW! ____________________________________ 4 Lexus LS series __________________________________________ 7 Lexus RX series _________________________________________ 7 Lexus ES NEW! _______________________________________ 7 Lexus GS NEW! _______________________________________ 7 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport _______________________________ 9 Mitsubishi Outlander _____________________________________ 9 Mitsubishi Lancer _______________________________________ 9 Chevrolet Malibu NEW! _______________________________ 10 Chevrolet Spark NEW! ________________________________ 10 Ford F-150 ____________________________________________ 11 Ford Shelby GT500 _____________________________________ 11 Infiniti JX35 NEW! ___________________________________ 12 Mercedes GL-class NEW! _____________________________ 12 Jaguar XF _____________________________________________ 13 Porsche Boxster NEW! _______________________________ 13 Cadillac XTS NEW! ___________________________________ 14 Cadillac ATS NEW! ___________________________________ 14 Acura RDX NEW! ____________________________________ 16 Audi Q5 NEW! ______________________________________ 16 Buick Encore NEW! __________________________________ 19 Buick Verano __________________________________________ 19 GMC Acadia ___________________________________________ 20 GMC Sierra ____________________________________________ 20

ADVERTISER DIRECTORY

Enhanced Entertainment and Technology: high-tech gadgets, sound systems and DVD options

Creature Comforts:

keeps vehicle occupants comfortable (heated seats, glove compartment cooler, ample leg room, etc.)

Above-Average Safety Features Kid-Friendly: makes riding with children easier and more comfortable (removable seats, DVD players, extra seating, etc.) Extended Cargo Space High Performance: offers an

outstanding driving experience with higher-thanaverage engine power

Rick Hendrick BMW ______________________________________ 2 Palmetto Lincoln/Ford _________________________________ 3–4 Lexus of Charleston _____________________________________ 6 Hoover Mitsubishi _______________________________________ 8 Crews Chevrolet ________________________________________ 10 Summerville Ford ______________________________________ 11 Baker Motor Company _______________________________ 12–13 Baker GMC/Cadillac ____________________________________ 14 McDaniels Audi of Charleston ___________________________ 16 McDaniels Acrua of Charleston __________________________ 16 veen Buick/GMC _______________________________ 19–20 McElveen

>>>> Power sells, but the trick is selling the right kind What a difference a few years has made. Usually, we get gradual change. A few horsepower here, some trim there, and an “allnew” model every now and then that looks, well . . . pretty much like the old one, but with a bit more power and different trim. It used to be that automakers competed for your dollars with ever-lengthening lists of features. The more stuff there was —-and the bigger the engine — the more there was to catch your eye. It didn’t really matter how good those features were as long as there were a lot of them. It’s funny how the perception of value has changed. Now automakers are competing in a completely different way: with highly technical smaller engines and systems that are as much about meeting federal laws as they are about trying to keep some money in your pocket after you fill up at the pumps. The pace of change will make your head spin, which is why PR flacks at the companies only want to focus on the relevant result: fuel performance. But that’s really a onedimensional look at what’s going on under the skin of the new crop of 2013 automobiles because there are other ways to improve economy without ever going inside the engine. Yes, this has led to the rethinking of the rest of the vehicle, from the shape of it to the electrical compoP R E V I E W nents and — the real reason that vehicles are getting smaller — their NEW-VEHICLE GUIDE weight. New plastics are being develAutoPreview2013 oped out of durable and sustainWednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 able core materials while lighter An advertising supplement to and stronger steel is being made. The Post and Courier And of course there’s aluminum, –––––––––––––––––––––– and lots of it in vehicles such as Pamela J. Browning the 2013 Land Rover Range Rover, President which cuts is astounding 700 pounds lighter than the previous Gayle Smith model. That’s 700 pounds that Advertising Director doesn’t have to be accelerated, Michael Chauvin stopped and turned, which is easier Classified Advertising Manager on the brakes, tires, powertrain and your wallet. Susan Waggoner, LaKashia Lewis Of course the four-cylinder Automotive Account Executives engine is the king of the streets Jim Parker for 2013, with V-6 models being Automotive Reporter dropped left and right (there’s no more V-6 in the Impala, for Krena Lanham example). Others, such as BMW, Graphic Designer have simply managed to slot four–––––––––––––––––––––– cylinder engines in their base offerEditorial content provided by Wheelbase, a ings. There’s even a four-cylinder supplier of automotive news and features to turbo-diesel in the Mercedes-Benz newspapers across North America. GLK this year. In fact, turbocharging has become a way of life with Auto Preview 2013 is an advertising supplement of The Post and Courier, 134 Columbus St., Charleston, S.C. just about every automaker. You 29403-4800. Copyright 2011 by The Post and Courier. can find one in the Chevrolet Sonic, No portion of this publication may be reproduced in whole or the Hyundai Veloster and the new in part without express written permission from the publisher. “S” line of Audi performance cars

2013

based on the A6, A7, A8. Plow enough boost into a small engine and, when your right foot says so, that engine turns into a really big one. And that brings us to design and the simple fact that you will not find more stunning cars than in the 2013 lineup. The Ford Fusion? Check. The new SRT 10 Viper? Check. The Subaru BRZ? You bet. And how about that Porsche Boxster? Oh boy, we better get on with it. — Wheelbase Editor

THIS GUIDE HAS A RULE BOOK 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 some things to have changed from the time of writing to the time you’ve read the info here. 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.

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 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 $700-$1,500. Where pricing is not yet available, we’ve taken our best guess and added “(est.)” to the number. Type: For most people, the picture and the number of doors will be the best indicator of the vehicle type, but many vehicles are sold in different body styles, which are outlined here. Base engine (hp): The base engine and its horsepower rating in brackets. Optional engines (hp): All the optional engines and their horsepower ratings in brackets. Layout: Indicates the location of the engine and the wheels it drives. All-wheel-drive is generically used to denote vehicles that have the ability to vary the power split between front and rear axles. Transmissions: All transmission options across the range. The term “automatic” will be used to generically describe all automatics, whether electronically shifted, overdrive, or otherwise. MPG (city/highway): Usually EPA or manufacturer estimates for city and highway consumption, given in miles per gallon, with the engine and transmission from which the consumption was taken found in brackets (usually the base model). Safety: Tangible safety features that have a direct impact on survivability or prevention of a crash. We have elected to leave out tire-pressure monitoring as it is now mandated by law: Weight: Curb weights of the base models are indicated.

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>>>> Ford C-Max

(New for 2013)

The C-Max and its plug-in Energi counterpart represent Ford’s first dedicated hybrid brand. They’re based on Ford’s compact Focus architecture and have the same distance between the front and rear wheels and overall length as the Focus. However the C-Max is more than four-inches wider and half a foot taller, making it ideal for hauling people and their gear. Visually, the C-Max also shares a definite kinship with the Focus, notwithstanding the massive windshield that provides an unencumbered vista for all passengers. Cargo space is about equal to that of the Toyota Prius v wagon, but with the rear seat folded flat the C-Max has nearly one-third more space than its chief rival. Note, however that the C-Max Energi, with its more massive power system reduces overall cargo volume by about 20 percent. The flight-deckstyle dashboard and control panel on both would look at home in the Starship Enterprise. The center stack houses an eight-inch touch-screen for climate, audio, hands-free phone and navigation controls and doubles as a backup camera that’s also standard. Meanwhile the gauge pod provides real-time fuel-economy readouts and driving efficiency as indicated by the number of green leaves displayed on an adjacent screen. There’s also a “Brake Coach” to help drivers maximize the regenerative braking system, keep the lithium-ion batteries topped up and maximize driving range. The C-Max and C-Max Energi hybrid’s powertrains consist of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 141 horsepower that works in tandem with a 106-horsepower (estimated) electric motor. The net system output is rated at 188 horsepower, which is 54 more ponies than the competing Prius v. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) sends the torque to the front wheels. Fuel economy is 47 mpg for both city and highway, compared with 44 city and 40 highway for the Prius v. Ford claims the Energi can run up to 85 mph on battery power alone and more than triple the Prius Plug-in’s maximum electric-only range (20 versus six miles). The base C-Max SE includes dual-zone climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels and seven airbags. The SEL adds leather seats (heated in front), 10-way power driver’s seat, rain-sensing wipers and satellite radio. Optional is a hands-free backup parking assist and a power liftgate that opens and closes by shaking your foot (a kicking motion, actually) beneath the bumper. The Energi plug-in lists for about $30,000 (including a $7,700 federal tax credit).

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Base price (incl. destination): $26,000 >>> Type: Four-door compact tall wagon >>> Engine (hp): 2.0-liter DOHC I4 with electric motor (188, net) >>> Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive >>> Transmission: Continuously variable >>> Mileage (city/hwy): 47/47 >>> Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; sidecurtain airbags; front knee airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control >>> Weight (lb.): 3,610

>>>> Ford Escape

(New for 2013)

Ford’s latest Escape represents a clean-sheet designand-content approach to satisfy the needs of multi-continent buyers. The sleeker look is radically different from the outgoing version’s boxiness, however its slightly larger dimensions have resulted in greater rear-seat room plus slightly more passenger and cargo volume with the rear seat in place or folded flat. The interior is certainly inviting, with an attractively segmented gauge/ control panel with asymmetric air vents. The floor shifter’s position at the base of the dashboard partially blocks the heating/ventilation controls, but makes the area designated for cupholders and armrest/storage more accessible. The up-level Titanium model features well-bolstered front seats that are a major advancement over earlier Escapes. The base front-wheel-drive S model runs with a 168-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder, while the front- and all-wheel-drive SE designation uses a 178-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged “EcoBoost” four-cylinder. A 237-horsepower turbo four-cylinder (also from Ford’s “EcoBoost” engine lineup) is standard on the SEL and Titanium trims. Sadly for a few “Escapees”, the six-speed manual gearbox has shifted away from the Escape lineup, leaving only a six-speed automatic (with a detent for manual gear selection) as the sole transmission. A new “Intelligent” all-wheel-drive system can be ordered with the turbocharged models. It continually assesses road conditions and driver inputs “about 20 times faster than the blink of an eye” and can shift up to 100 percent of the available power to either the front or rear wheels for maximum grip. The Escape is the first Ford to offer both Torque Vectoring Control and Curve Control to help distribute the correct amount of power to each wheel when cornering so that the vehicle maintains its intended path. A dashboard display screen lets the driver know where the power is being distributed. The new-tech gear extends to the option sheet, which is understandably lengthy, considering the Escape’s four distinct trims. But the most innovative option is the power liftgate that automatically opens and closes when you shake your foot hokey pokey-style beneath the bumper (great when your hands are full of kids and/or groceries).

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Base price (incl. destination): $23,300 >>> Type: Four-door compact tall wagon Base engine (hp): 2.5-liter DOHC I4 (168) >>> Optional engines (hp): 1.6-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (173); 2.0-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (237) >>> Layout: Front-engine, front- /four-wheel-drive >>> Transmission: Six-speed automatic >>> MPG (city/hwy): 23/31 (2.5, FWD) >>> Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; stability control; traction control >>> Weight (lb.): 3,500 CYAN-AOOO

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>>>> Ford Fusion

(New for 2013)

The next-generation Ford’s Fusion represents a merging of high-fashion style with game- altering fuel economy, with significant technological treats coming along for the ride. The sedan’s primary eye-catcher is the dramatic roofline, suggesting kinship with the Audi A7, Volkswagen CC and CLS-class Mercedes-Benz. Another design highlight is the open-mouth grille that greatly differs from the previous triple-bar fixture. The Fusion’s fashion statement extends to the cabin, with its fancier trim, comfier seats and a freshly pressed control panel. The tailors at Ford also let out the Fusion’s pants and lengthened the cuffs a bit. The distance between the front and rear wheels increases by five inches and the width and height by about an inch. The Fusion joins the Hyundai Sonata and 2013 Chevrolet Malibu in abandoning a V6 option, but eventually there will be no fewer than five distinctive engine picks, including two Prius-like gasoline-electric hybrid systems. It all begins with a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, while1.6- and 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder “EcoBoost” engines, worth 179 and 237-horsepower, respectively, are optional with the latter a requirement for all-wheel-drive Fusions. The 1.6 is billed as the thriftiest of the three, but in terms of fuel savings, the Hybrid and all-new Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid are really where it’s at. They arrive in the first quarter of 2013. Both employ a 141-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder combined with an electric motor to produce 188 net horsepower. The system increases maximum electric-only velocity to 62 mph from the previous 47, and resets the fuel-economy bar to 47 mph city and 44 highway from 41/36. The Hybrid also bests the league-topping Toyota Camry Hybrid’s 43/39 rating. The Fusion Energi plug ‘n’ play model use the same basic tech as the Hybrid, but Ford is projecting a 100-mpg equivalency rating with an as yet-to-be specified all-electric range. Newly available communications and safety content includes keep-you-in-line lane-monitoring system, keepyour-distance adaptive cruise control, confidence-boosting parking-spot assist and shoulder-check-augmenting blind spot and cross-traffic alerts. Buyers can also order the latest version of Ford’s “SYNC” voice-controlled communications and entertainment wizard.

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Base price (incl. destination): $22,500 >>> Type: Four-door mid-size sedan >>> Base engine (hp): 2.5-liter DOHC I6 (170) >>> Optional engines (hp): 1.6-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (179); 2.0-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (237); 2.0-liter I4 with AC electric motor (188, net) >>> Layout: Front-engine, front- /all-wheel-drive >>> Transmissions: Six-speed manual; six-speed automatic (opt.); continuously variable (Hybrid) >>> MPG (city/hwy): 22/34 (2.4, MT) >>> Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; front knee airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control >>> Weight (lb.): 3,320

>>>> Lincoln MKZ

(New for 2013)

The thoroughly altered 2013 MKZ stands out with its nothing-quite-like-it appearance. The signature “waterfall” grille has been 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 rearmost 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 woodtrimmed 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-shiftmapping 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 V-6 that Ford installs in vehicles as diverse as the Mustang two-door and F-150 pickup. For maximum fuel savings, the MKZ returns with a gasoline-electric Hybrid fitted with a 141-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder combined with an electric motor worth a combined 188 horsepower. The turbo and V-6 come with six-speed transmissions that send torque to the front, or both sets of wheels if all-wheel-drive is added. The front-wheel-drive-only Hybrid uses a continuously variable transmission. Although not yet posted, the hybrid’s fuel economy should be similar to the Ford Fusion Hybrid’s 47 mpg city and highway ratings (the Fusion uses the identical hybrid drivetrain), compared with 22/33 posted by the 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.

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Base price (incl. destination): $36,900 >>> Type: Four-door, front- /all-wheel-drive sedan >>> Base engine (hp): 2.0-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (240) >>> Optional engine (hp): 3.7-liter DOHC V-6, (300); 2.0-liter DOHC I4 with a 47-horsepower electric motor (200 combined, hybrid) >>> Layout: Front-engine, front- /all-wheel-drive >>> Transmissions: Six-speed automatic; continuously variable (Hybrid) >>> MPG (city/hwy): 22/33 (2.0); 47/47 (Hybrid, est.) >>> Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control >>>0 Weight (lb.): 3,700 (est.)


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>>>> Lexus LS series

>>>> Lexus ES

Lexus has always positioned itself as the pinnacle of refined luxury, meaning slightly boring products that are quiet and reliable. The LS stands at the pinnacle of the Lexus hierarchy, at least in terms of four-door sedans, and is actually regarded by its legions of loyal customers as an absolute bargain in its class. But Lexus finally decided that its offerings were a little soulless, and promised to bring some life back into the mix. The result is the 2013 LS, which isn’t a completely new car, but a thorough refresh designed to appeal more to younger buyers. The most obvious change happens outside where the new front end features the wild full-height grille with gobs of aggression. Even more dramatic is the new F Sport, a hotrod limousine aimed at the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Audi A8. It’s distinguished mechanically by having a lowered and sport-tuned air suspension, a limited-slip rear differential, bigger Brembobrand brakes and special 19-inch wheels with stickier tires. The F Sport uses the same allaluminum 380-horsepower 4.6-liter V-8 in regular LS models, which makes enough thrust, says Lexus, to push the 4,240-pound LS to 60 mph from rest in less than 5.5 seconds. No doubt part of the credit goes to an eight-speed automatic transmission whose 1:1 drive ratio arrives in sixth gear (most others 1:1 ratio arrives in fourth) while two overdrive gears aid highway fuel economy (a respectable 16/24 mpg city/highway). Engine technology includes dual fuel-injection systems (both port and direct injection) for improved efficiency. Transporting the rich and famous is the responsibility of the LS 460 L with its nearly-fiveinch stretch in wheelbase and associated accoutrement such as optional massaging/reclining rear seat with center console. All-wheel-drive is on the LS 460/LS 460 L options sheet, although it does limit power to 357 horses. An extended-body-length hybrid gas/electric LS 600h L automatically comes with all-wheel-drive, a continuously variable transmission and 438 horsepower, and straight-line performance is comparable to the LS 460 while in-city fuel economy is about 25 percent better. That is not bad when you consider that the LS 600h L weighs 700 pounds more than the extended-length LS 460 L. The interior has been reworked to include a much larger main display taken from the new GS, along with more comfortable front seats and extra sound deadening to make the cabin quieter. Eye-popping features include an optional 19-speaker Mark Levinson audio system that includes a 30-gigabyte music hard drive and a CD/DVD changer. As well, an optional system will actually parallel-park the LS once a big enough space is found. The only thing you do is work the brakes.

The Toyota Camry-based ES is Lexus’s go-to entryluxury model, even though the sportier IS is less expensive. In this league, size counts for plenty and the longer, wider and roomier ES beats the pants off the IS in the space race. For 2013, interior volume has increased with the addition of nearly two inches between the front and rear wheels. That makes the ES more livable, especially for rear-seat riders, but it’s the car’s attractive appearance is bound to make it more likeable. Considerable sparkle has been added to what had been a design that for years was unnecessarily understated. That’s certainly not the case with the reshaped dashboard and control panel layout. The control panel is a busy spot, with numerous minute knobs and buttons handling ventilation, audio and communications tasks. Fortunately, the console-mounted Remote Touch Interface can manipulate many of the car’s systems in a relatively uncomplicated manner and with minimal driver distraction. The 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and six-speed automatic transmission carry over virtually unchanged from the 2012 edition, but what’s really new is the ES 300h hybrid with its 156-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine that combines with a 141-horsepower electric motor to generate 200 net horsepower. Both function through a continuously variable transmission. The hybrid borrows its powertrain from the Toyota Camry hybrid and represents a natural extension of the ES brand, especially since the recent demise of the Toyota Prius-based HS 250h sedan. The ES 300h’s 40-mpg city and 39-highway values rival the Camry hybrid’s 43/39 rating and clobbers the ES 350’s 21/31 results. All ES 350s include climate control, power moonroof, 10-way adjustable power front seats, backup monitor, push-button start and an eight-speaker auto system. There’s also a Drive Mode selector with Normal, Eco, or Sport settings for the powertrain and steering system. From that point you can load up the ES with heated seats and steering wheel, voice-activated navigation, 15-speaker Mark Levinson-brand sound system and genuine wood trim. There are also a variety of safety items designed to keep you in the correct lane, alert to traffic approaching in adjacent lanes, assist you when backing out from a parking spot and summon help in the event of a crash.

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Base price (incl. destination): $68,100; $113,000 (LS 600h L, 2012) >>> Type: Fourdoor sedan >>> Base engine (hp): 4.6-liter DOHC V8 (380) >>> Optional engine (hp): 5.0-liter DOHC V-8 and electric motor (438, hybrid) >>> Layout: Front-engine, rear- / all-wheel-drive >>> Transmission: Eight-speed automatic >>> MPG (city/hwy): 16/24 (4.6) >>> Safety: Front airbags; front side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; rear sideimpact airbags (opt.); front knee airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control >>> Weight (lb.): 4,350

(New for 2013)

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Base price (incl. destination): $37,000 >>> Type: Four-door sedan >>> Base engine (hp): 3.5-liter DOHC V6 (268) >>> Optional engine (hp): 2.5-liter DOHC I4 with electric motor (200, net) >>> Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive >>> Transmission: Sixspeed automatic; continuously variable (hybrid) >>> MPG (city/hwy): 21/31 (3.5) >>> Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; driver and passenger knee airbags; rear side-impact airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control >>> Weight (lb.): 3,550

>>>> Lexus RX series It seems like every manufacturer has taken a shot, but no one has managed to beat the sophisticated, safe, comfortable and efficient Lexus RX as a purveyor of people and stuff. It remains the company’s best-selling model, but to keep everyone guessing, Lexus is messing with the formula a bit in 2013. If the exterior used to be a study in restraint, the face-lifted version will surprise some with its sculpted GS-esque nose, flowing grille and aggressive demeanor. The recipe changes even more with the new F Sport model that attempts to make the RX exciting to drive. It has all the right bits including a sportier suspension, 19-inch wheels, an eight-speed automatic transmission (normal RX’s get six-speeds) with paddle shifters and more supportive seats. Visually, it gets its own more aggressive grille and lower bumper, along with black leather with white stitching covering the seats. Normal RX models also get a redesigned center console and dash that now incorporates the muchimproved wide-screen infotainment system. Otherwise, the dashboard flows dramatically across the control panel as if it was left in the sun too long. It’s visually arresting and totally unexpected in a Lexus. The body structure rests on a reworked platform highlighted by an independent rear suspension that, Lexus claims, makes the RX more comfortable and agile and provides an enlarged cargo area. Keeping the base RX 350 on pace is a 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 275 horsepower, while the six-speed “Multi-Mode” automatic transmission helps fuel economy. The gasoline-electric RX 450h functions with its own 245-horsepower version of the 3.5 V-6, but combines with up to three motor generators to produce 295 horsepower. So, the hybrid equates to more power than the gas-only RX 350 and a 32-mpg city rating, which is about 28 percent better than the RX 350. The eight-speed automatic in the F Sport also improves fuel mileage on the highway relative to “regular” models (26 mpg versus 25). All-wheel-drive is also on the menu for the RX 350; its electronically controlled system sends 100 percent of the power to the front wheels under optimal road conditions and directs up to 50 percent of the torque to the rear wheels when needed. Wall-to-wall convenience items include keyless access with push-button start. Available up-level content ranges from leather seats, moonroof and voice-activated navigation to a premium sound system and a heads-up windshield display for speedometer and other key functions.

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Base price (incl. destination): $40,800 (RX 350); $46,700 (RX 450h) >>> Type: Four-door, front- /all-wheel-drive five-passenger sport-utility vehicle >>> Base engine (hp): 3.5-liter DOHC V-6 (275) >>> Optional engine (hp): 3.5-liter DOHC V-6 with electric assist (295) >>> Layout: Front engine, front- /all-wheel-drive >>> Transmissions: Six-speed automatic (RX 350); eight-speed automatic (F Sport); continuously variable (RX 450h) >>> MPG (city/ hwy): 18/25 (RX 350, FWD) >>> Safety: Front airbags; front and rear side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; front knee airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control >>> Weight (lb.): 4,340

>>>> Lexus GS

(New for 2013)

The 2013 GS is helping lead Lexus out of the design doldrums where, along with many of its stable mates, the car has resided for the past number of years. Nothing overly radical, mind you, since it shares many physical and mechanical components with its 2012 counterparts. But at both front and rear ends the revisions are obvious. The reshaped nosepiece now displays a large air intake below the grille, with additional side intakes that also serve as fog light housings. The confluence of shapes and angles at the business end might not rank as an artistic tour de force, but it’s certainly character building and that will definitely get the GS noticed. What will likely go unnoticed is the lack of a V-8 option, which leaves the GS 350 and its gasoline-electric hybrid GS 450h as the only available models. The F Sport upgrade uses the same carryover 306-horsepower 3.5-liter V-8 as the standard GS 350. Both feature a six-speed automatic transmission that blips the throttle for smoother downshifts (called rev matching). However an extra level on the standard driver-selectable operating mode has been added that firms up the suspension and sharpens the steering for an overall sportier feel. Lexus confirms that the GS 350 can scoot to 60 mph from a standing start in 5.7 seconds, which happens to be a mere 0.1 of a second slower than the gasoline-electric GS 450h, the undisputed hot rod in the bunch. On the surface it appears that the hybrid’s 3.5-liter V-8 with 338 net combined horsepower is also a carryover, but the powertrain’s 29 mpg city and 34 highway fuel consumption (compared to the previous GS hybrid’s 22/25) tell a different tale. In fact, the engine has been converted to a higher compression Atkinson Cycle motor that’s designed to burn fuel more efficiently. It also features direct injection whereby fuel is metered straight into the combustion chambers as well as through the intake manifold, for further fuel savings. The F Sport and the GS 450h are offered in rear-wheel-drive only. An optional all-wheel-drive system for the GS 350 varies the torque split from its standard 50:50 setting, up to a front-to-rear 30:70 split, depending on surface conditions.

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Base price (incl. destination): $47,800 >>> Type: Four-door sedan >>> Base engine (hp): 3.5-liter DOHC V-6 (306) >>> Optional engine (hp): 3.5-liter DOHC V-6 combined with electric motor (338) >>> Layout: Front-engine, front- /all-wheel-drive >>> Transmission: Six-speed automatic; continuously variable (GS 450h) >>> MPG (city/hwy): 19/28 (base V-6) >>> Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; driver and passenger knee airbags; rear side-impact airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control >>> Weight (lb.): 4,190


8 ................................................................................................................................................ AUTOPREVIEW2013............................................................................ Wednesday, November 28, 2012

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012 .......................................................................................... AUTOPREVIEW2013 .......................................................................................................................... 9

>>>> Mitsubishi Outlander Sport The Outlander Sport is similar to the Outlander wagon in style, but is shorter by more than a foot. From stem to stern, the design is clean cut and works well with the Lancer Evolution-style open-mouth nosepiece that was supposedly inspired by jet-fighter air intakes, which as you might recall was a ‘50s theme. Providing the thrust is a Lancer-based 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is fitted to base ES front-wheel-drive models, while a continuously variable (CVT) unit (redesigned for smoother operation this season) is optional on ES, but standard on two- and all-wheel-drive SE versions. Paddle shifters controlling the six artificial steps (designed to emulate conventional automatic transmissions) are part of the CVT package. The Sport’s optional all-wheel-drive is controlled through a floor console switch. Under normal driving conditions, the vehicle remains in front-wheel-drive, but when tire slip is detected, up to 70 percent of the torque can be directed to the back wheels. The AWD unit can also be set to the “Lock” position that maintains a 60:40 torque split when the situation calls for maximum traction from all four wheels. The base Outlander Sport ES includes a goodly assortment of standard features that will please most bargain hunters. The SE adds climate control, push-button start, rain-sensing wipers, upgraded seats and 18-inch alloy wheels (16-inch steel wheels are standard). Among the options are a megasized sunroof, mega-watt sound system and a navigation/rear-view camera combo. Minor changes for 2013 include a reworked nose and rear bumper and the use of “greener” seat fabrics and materials and added sound insulation. Easily the most appreciated change to the Outlander Sport is a reduction in numbness for the electric power steering. Hopefully

this mitigates the Sport’s tendency to wander about at highway speeds without constant wheel correction.

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Base price (incl. destination): $20,000 >>> Type: Four-door compact wagon >>> Base Engine (hp): 2.0-liter DOHC I4 (148) >>> Layout: Front-engine, front- /all-wheel drive >>> Transmission: Five-speed manual; CVT (opt.) >>> MPG (city/hwy): 24/31 (MT) >>> Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; driver’s knee airbag; side-curtain airbags; antilock brakes; traction control; stability control >>> Weight (lb.): 3,030

>>>> Mitsubishi Lancer

>>>> Mitsubishi Outlander

Right now the hot model in Mitusbishi’s lineup is the Outlander Sport. Coming in second is the Lancer, especially the SE trim level with All Wheel Control (AWC). Its primary aim is to give those living in snowy climes a surefooted chance when dealing with nasty winter conditions, or whenever or wherever extra traction is required. The SE, which slots in between the ES and the GT trims, features a 168-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that it shares with the GT. The SE is only available with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the price lender DE just gets the manual gearbox and the ES and GT can be had with either. Lancer can also be had as a Sportback (hatchback) and fitted with either the 2.0 or 2.4 engines, but they’re only available with the CVT. Atop the Lancer pyramid, the Ralliart and Evolution duke it out with their WRX and WRX STI competitors on the street and the world’s rally racing circuits. Both feature all-wheel-drive and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines. There’s “only” 237 horsepower to play with in the Ralliart, while the Evo spools out 291 barely bridled ponies. As well, the Ralliart makes do with a less sophisticated suspension setup and lacks the Evo’s slightly wider front fenders and rally-inspired front bucket seats. The turbocharger is a bit smaller, hence the Ralliart’s lower power rating, and the standard six-speed twin-clutch automated manual gearbox is not quite as sophisticated as the Evo’s optional version, although it’s still excellent and a lot of fun to drive. The standard Evolution transmission is a five-speed manual. All Lancers come with seven airbags, including front-impact, side-impact, side-curtain and driver’s knee inflatable.

The Outlander specializes in offering family-type transportation with room in back for stowing your youngsters, a large dog or two, plus related gear. For maximum passenger accommodations there’s an available third-row seat that folds flat for added cargo space. Front-wheel-drive ES and the front- and all-wheeldrive SE Outlanders employ the 168-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder rated at 23 mpg in the city and 28 highway. The numbers for 230-horse 3.0-liter V-6 – standard on front- and all-wheel-drive GTs – remain at 19 mpg city/26 highway. A continuously variable transmission directs power to the front wheels in four-cylinder units, while a six-speed automatic gets the nod for front- and four-wheel-drive Outlanders fitted with the V-6. Although it’s bigger than your typical sedan, the Outlander drives much like a car, especially since its underpinnings have been borrowed from the Lancer. Air conditioning, cruise control, keyless remote entry, six-speaker audio system and power windows, locks and mirrors are standard on each and every model. Available on SE AWD and GT models is a navigation system. SE models (one level up from the base ES) receive the handy third-row folddown seat at no extra cost. At the opposite end of the price spectrum, fullload GT customers are treated to climate control, bright xenon headlights, heated front seats and paddle shifters mounted to the steering column. Unique to all Outlanders is a clever liftgate configuration; pop up the top half and the lower portion folds down – and level – with the load floor. Plus, it can support up to 440 pounds, which should be enough for a couple of tailgaters to kick back.

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Base price (incl. destination): $16,800; $19,300 (Sportback); $35,500 (Evolution) >>> Type: Four-door sedan/hatchback >>> Base engine (hp): 2.0-liter DOHC I4 (148) >>> Optional engines (hp): 2.4-liter DOHC I4 (168); 2.0-liter DOHC, turbocharged (237 Ralliart; 291 Evolution) >>> Layout: Front-engine, front- /all-wheel-drive >>> Transmissions: Five-speed manual; continuously variable (opt.); six-speed automated manual (opt. on Evolution, std. on Ralliart) >>> MPG (city/hwy): 25/34 (base 2.0, MT) >>> Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; knee-blocker airbag; anti-lock brakes (opt.) >>> Weight (lb.): 2,870

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Base price (incl. destination): $23,500 (FWD) >>> Type: Four-door mid-size sportutility vehicle >>> Base engine (hp): 2.4-liter DOHC I4 (168) >>> Optional engine (hp): 3.0-liter SOHC V-6 (230) >>> Layout: Front-engine, front- /four-wheel-drive >>> Transmission: Continuously variable; six-speed automatic (V6) >>> MPG (city/hwy): 23/28 (2.4, FWD) >>> Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control >>> Weight (lb.): 3,380


10 .............................................................................................................................................. AUTOPREVIEW2013............................................................................ Wednesday, November 28, 2012

>>>> Chevrolet Malibu

(New for 2013)

The latest Malibu represents a direction-changing model, especially in its powerplant lineup with the emphasis on fuel efficiency. For 2013, Chevrolet’s mid-size sedan sheds a few inches between the front and rear wheels, but is wider by nearly three inches. Along with a broader stance, the result is added interior volume, especially front and rear shoulder and hip room. Inside, the Malibu’s stylists appear to have gone all out to improve on the previous model’s inviting environment while only slightly reducing front and rear legroom. Standard on all but the base model is Chevrolet’s MyLink touch-screen audio/communications system with a faceplate that pivots upward to reveal a hidden six-inch-deep storage area. Camaro influences can be seen in the Malibu’s prominent taillights that are an asterisk in an otherwise conservatively shaped body that mimics the Toyota Camry in many respects. Base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 197 horsepower, which is up from the previous 169-horsepower four-cylinder. Optional is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 259 horsepower that subs for last year’s 252-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6. Also offered is the Malibu Eco that uses General Motors’ mild-hybrid system (called eAssist) borrowed from the Buick LaCrosse and Regal. The 182-horsepower 2.4-liter fourcylinder gas engine works with a belt-driven 15-horsepower electric motor/generator, replacing the traditional alternator. It feeds off of a lithium-ion battery pack. The battery’s 32 cells weigh about 65 pounds, but the Malibu’s aluminum hood and rear bumper help slice about 130 pounds from the car’s total weight. Other Eco technologies include stop/start that shuts off the engine when the vehicle is at rest, then fires it up when the brake pedal is released.

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>> Base price (incl. destination): $23,150 >>> Type: Four-door sedan >>> Base engine (hp): 2.5-liter DOHC I4 (197) >>> Optional engines (hp): 2.0-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (259); 2.4-liter DOHC I4 with 15-horsepower electric motor (182, net) >>> Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive >>> Transmission: Six-speed automatic >>> MPG (city/hwy): 22/34 (2.5, 6AT); 25/37 (hybrid) >>> Safety: Front airbags; front/rear side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; front-knee airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control >>> Weight (lb.): 3,390

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>>>> Chevrolet Spark

(New for 2013)

The urban jungle is becoming increasingly tougher to navigate these days. Fuel is pricey, the streets are clogged to the limit and parking costs are ridiculous. Sometimes, survival requires a minimalist transportation module with maximum space for people and cargo. For both urbanites and suburbanites alike, the Chevrolet Spark is now at your service. The littlest Chevy’s boxy design helps it deliver an impressive level of usable volume in the least amount of space. In fact, the car is nearly six inches taller than a Mini Cooper, but is slightly shorter overall and offers less distance between the front and rear wheels. With the rear seat in place, you’ll find only minimal stowage area in back, but accommodating life’s bulky items is just a split-folding-rear-bench away. The rear door handles have been cleverly integrated as part of the window frame, giving the car a two-door appearance. Up-level Sparks come with added visual enhancements, including rocker panel moldings, roof rails and chrome trim. Inside, the single-pod speedometer, adjacent tachometer/fuel gauge plus a trio of temperature and ventilation control knobs are done up in a contemporary style. A seveninch touch-screen operating the audio, navigation and hands-free communications systems can also be added. In keeping with the Spark’s modest transportation role, a 1.2-liter four-cylinder generates an equally modest 85 horsepower and 82 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission, or optional four-speed automatic directs power to the front wheels, but the manual provides the best combination of performance and fuel efficiency. The standard feature list includes air conditioning, power windows, ambient interior lighting, front disc brakes and 10 airbags, including knee protection for both front occupants. On the options list are remote keyless entry, leatherlike seat covers, heated front seats, alloy wheels and a premium audio package.

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Base price (incl. destination): $13,000 >>> Type: Four-door hatchback >>> Engine (hp): 1.2-liter DOHC I4 (85) >>> Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive >>> Transmissions: Five-speed manual; four-speed automatic (opt.) >>> MPG (city/hwy): 32/38 (MT) >>> Safety: Front airbags; front/rear side-impact airbags; front knee airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control >>> Weight (lb.): 2,240


Wednesday, November 28, 2012 .......................................................................................... AUTOPREVIEW2013 ........................................................................................................................ 11

>>>> Ford F-150

>>>> Ford Shelby GT500

Ford’s plan for its best-selling F-150 follows a simple patter: update the features one year, revise the engines the next. Sprinkle in some new trims and technology occasionally. Rinse, repeat. For 2013, Ford is betting that a sharper-looking F-150 and reintroducing the full-lux Limited trim will bring even more customers through the door. All models get new trim-specific front grilles, bumpers and wheel designs, but the Limited sure is a headturner. Available only as a SuperCrew four-door cab, the body-color moldings, brightwork and 22-inch wheels are set off by segement-first highintensity-discharge headlights. The interior is highlighted by heated and cooled red and black leather seats, aluminum trim and piano black accents that complement the new MyFord Touch screen on the dash. Limiteds are exclusively powered by the popular 3.5-liter “EcoBoost” twin-turbo V-6 with 365 horsepower. But that’ll be more than enough since more than half of F-150’s sold come equipped with a six-cylinder engine, whether the base 3.7-liter or the optional EcoBoost. Those wanting traditional V-8 power are spoiled, too, with 5.0-liter or 6.2-liter options readily available in most other trims. The sheer number of F-150combinations 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 V-8 is standard on 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.

That noise you hear? Our applause for Ford’s SVT engineers who somehow managed to convince those in charge that putting over 650 horsepower into a road-going Mustang would be a wonderful idea. The final result is actually 662 horses that were shoved under the Shelby GT500’s vented hood courtesy of a larger 5.8-liter V-8, a huge supercharger, plus plenty of the usual power-freeing extras. To keep it cool, the Shelby requires about a dozen separate radiators, intercoolers, external oil and transmission coolers, and optional coolers for the rear differential. Even the front grille is missing to provide as much air as possible to that nuclear powerplant. A beefed-up six-speed Tremec manual transmission somehow copes with the torque and stress of repeated drag launches just fine, made even easier by the addition of computerized launch control. The Mustang is also the first pony car with a top speed of over 200 mph and to have legs that long with a relatively low rev ceiling, it’s geared pretty high: you can hit 60 mph in first gear. To say that the GT500 leaves the baddest Chevrolet Camaro of them all in the dust isn’t hyperbole. The Ford puts out over 80 more horsepower and is significantly lighter too. If you can believe it, SVT somehow managed to eke out 15 mpg in the city and 24 on the highway, a gain of one mpg for each segment when compared to the 2012 model, and more than four mpg better than the 580-horsepower Camaro ZL1. In addition, an SVT Performance Package includes a stiffer suspension, limited-slip differential, more front and rear downforce, slightly lowered ride height and unique Goodyear Eagle tires mounted on lightweight 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels. SVT-branded Recaro front seats are an option, too. You can add other extras, of course, including a giant glass roof and a navigation system, but they will obviously further inflate the car’s $55,000 base price ($60,000 for the GT500 convertible). Still, if you possess a healthy credit limit and want the best of the best – at least when it comes to Mustangs – the Shelby GT500 is tough to pass up.

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Base price (incl. destination): $24,500 (2012) >>> Type: Two- /four-door pickup >>> Base engine (hp): 3.7-liter DOHC V-6 (302) >>> Optional engines (hp): 3.5-liter DOHC V6, turbocharged (365); 5.0-liter DOHC V-8 (360), 6.2-liter SOHC V8 (411) >>> Layout: Front-engine, rear- /four-wheel-drive >>> Transmissions: Six-speed automatic >>> MPG (city/hwy): 17/23 (3.7, 4x2) >>> Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags with rollover protection; anti-lock brakes; stability control >>> Weight (lb.): 4,740

Base price (incl. destination): $55,000 >>> Type: Two-door coupe/convertible >>> Base engine (hp): 5.8-liter DOHC V-8 (662) >>> Layout: Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive >>> Transmissions: Six-speed manual >>> MPG (city/hwy): 15/24 >>> Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags (std. sedan); anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control. >>> Weight (lb.): 3,820

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12 .............................................................................................................................................. AUTOPREVIEW2013............................................................................ Wednesday, November 28, 2012

>>>> Infiniti JX35

(New for 2013)

>>>> Mercedes GL-class

(New for 2013)

Nissan’s premium division already markets the up-toeight-passenger 400-horsepower QX56 super rig. But it requires a $60,000 entry fee, possesses a significant appetite for fuel and is a less-than-lithe dance partner overall. By contrast, the JX35 carries up to seven passengers across three rows of seats, but due to its passenger-car construction and two fewer cylinders, it weighs about 800 pounds less than the QX. It base price is also close to $20,000 less. In the flesh, the JX is an attractive piece that shuns the boxy look of the QX, but is decidedly more wagon-like than Infiniti’s five-passenger FX and EX models. The passenger compartment is done up in leather with wood and satin nickel accents. A power-operated rear liftgate provides access to a cargo area that’s above average in size for its class when all seats are occupied or when the back rows are folded flat. The JX is supported by the familiar 3.5-liter V-6 found in a number of Nissan/Infiniti products. For the JX application the engine produces 265 horsepower and 248 poundsfeet of torque. The continuously variable transmission has a Sport mode that simulates the gear-changing characteristics of a conventional automatic. This begs the question, why doesn’t Nissan simply install the seven-speed automatic from the QX and be done with it? Both front- and all-wheel-drive versions are available, the latter being an on-demand unit that directs 100 percent of the engine’s torque under normal driving conditions, but can deploy up to 50 percent of the available thrust to the rear wheels to maximize grip. Fuel economy is pegged at 17 mpg in the city and 24 highway. Infiniti has made available most of its advanced electronic safety and crash-avoiding accessories, including Backup Collision Intervention (BCI) that can automatically prevent backing into or over something or someone. BCI is part of a $2,200 Driver Assistance Package that also adds distancemaintaining cruise control, blind-spot warning and Active Trace Control that modulates the torque and braking at each wheel for optimum cornering control. Other content enhancements include voice-activated navigation, 13-speaker Bose sound system, front and rear sonar-based parking assist combined with a multi-camera Around View Monitoring with Moving Object Detection alert.

For premium-class conveyances, few measure up to Mercedes-Benz and nowhere is this more apparent than the automaker’s range of sport utility vehicles, including the GL. The second-generation seven-passenger tall wagon is known for its spacious interior, which is now even roomier following the arrival of an all-new edition that’s a bit longer and wider than before and taller to boot. Visually, the GL is much more striking with its enlarged grille and shapely side panels and looks a lot less like its more modest M-class stable mate. Again this year, the base model (GL350 BlueTec) is a turbo-diesel that makes 240 horsepower (a gain of 30) and, more importantly 455 pounds-feet of torque (previously 400 pounds-feet). Gasoline engine choices, every one twinturbocharged, start with the GL450’s 362-horsepower 4.7-liter V-8, followed by the GL550 that uses a 429-horsepower 5.5-liter V-8. In a class by itself – the AMG class, that is – is the GL63 with its prodigious 550 horses and the ability to spring from zero to 60 mph in a company-estimated 4.8 seconds (nearly four seconds quicker than the base GL350). All editions arrive with seven-speed automatic transmissions plus M-B’s impressive 4MATIC all-wheel-drive that specializes in providing secure all-conditions traction. Should you choose to risk your significant cash outlay by taking your Merc off the pavement, you can opt for an On/Off-Road package that includes a two-speed transfer case with a low range, locking differentials and skid plates to protect the underbelly. It also includes a modified air suspension that raises maximum ground clearance by your choice of 1.2, 2.4 and 3.5 inches above the standard 8.5 inches of ground clearance. This is accomplished using the standard adjustable AIRMATIC system. Among the many creature comforts the GL offers a power-folding third-row seat standard, while optional is power operation for the second row. Mercedes obviously includes most if not all of its best safety hardware and convenience features in the GL; what you don’t see on the content list probably hasn’t been invented yet.

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Base price (incl. destination): $41,400 >>> Type: Four-door tall wagon >>> Base engine (hp): 3.5-liter DOHC V6 (265) >>> Layout: Front-engine, front- /all-wheel-drive >>> Transmission: Continuously variable with optional manual steps >>> MPG (city/hwy): 17/24 (FWD) >>> Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; stability control >>> Weight (lb.): 3,750

Base price (incl. destination): $63,300 (GL350 BlueTEC) >>> Type: Four-door sport-utility vehicle >>> Base engine (hp): 3.0-liter DOHC V-6, turbo-diesel (240) >>> Optional engines (hp): 4.7-liter DOHC V-8 (362); 5.5-liter; DOHC V-8 (429/550, AMG) >>> Layout: Front-engine, four-wheel-drive >>> Transmission: Seven-speed automatic >>> MPG (city/hwy): 18/24 (GL350 BlueTEC) >>> Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; headcurtain airbags with rollover sensor; anti-lock brakes; stability control; traction control >>> Weight (lb.): 5,400 (GL 450)

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>>>> Jaguar XF It’s unclear how buyers of earlier Jaguar XFs will feel after spending upwards of $54,000 for their new cat. For 2013, perching on the cowhides of this entry-level Jag will cost you less than $48,000. Mind you, there’s less power to play with now that the thirsty 385-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8 has been replaced by a 240-horsepower turbocharged engine with half as many cylinders. But an extra six grand in your pocket isn’t peanuts and, besides, you can simply keep the hood closed and nobody will be the wiser. On the other hand, you can spend part of those savings on an XF 3.0 and enjoy the rush from a supercharged 340-horsepower V-6 or blow nearly all of it and add all-wheel-drive to your purchase. However, if nothing less than a supercharged V-8 will suffice, the 470- and 510-horsepower versions return unaltered from 2012. What does change is the new eight-speed automatic transmission that replaces the six-speed gear swapper. The base XF arrives in a fairly complete state, with a leather-covered interior, heated and power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, power moonroof and genuine rosewood wood trim. Move up to the 3.0 and a stop/start feature is added that shuts off the engine when you’re stopped and turns it back on once the gas pedal is pressed. The AWD 3.0 features 19-inch wheels (18s are standard). For the full-on luxury treatment, the XF V-8 offers premium leather seating, voice-activated navigation, entertainment and temperature controls, front and rear parking assists and 20-inch wheels, to name just a few. At the top end, the $84,000 XFR adds unique front-end body styling with enlarged air intakes and a black mesh grille and an 825-watt Meridian audio system. A wide assortment of optional equipment packages that bundle many of the extras can also be selected.

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

>>>> Porsche Boxster

(New for 2013)

Porsche’s dynamically daring third-generation Boxster is all-new despite appearing familiar with its midmounted engine and recognizable silhouette. But the numerous differences collectively add up to significant change. Visually, the windshield is now more steeply raked and has been relocated forward of the cockpit by four inches, presumably for aerodynamic reasons and to keep your noggin a safe distance from the windshield edge when entering/exiting. The rest of the body is edgier, especially the deeply sculpted door panels, reshaped fenders and a rear deck with a prominent spoiler that give the Boxster a squared-up presence reminiscent of the Carrera GT supercar. Porsche’s designers also added nearly 2.5 inches between the front and rear wheels for increased legroom, although overall length has increased only slightly. The cockpit has been reengineered to a similar degree, with an all-new center console, control panel and optional sport seats. An electronic parking lever replaces the traditional hand-brake control. The Boxster’s six-cylinder engine has been reduced in displacement to 2.7 liters from 2.9, however the horsepower rating has increased to 265 from 255 primarily due to switching to direct injection (fuel squirted directly into the combustion chambers under high pressure). Direct injection is also employed for the Boxster S’s 3.4-liter six, only it also gets the same 315-horsepower rating. Both engines can be ordered with a six-speed manual transmission, or optional seven-speed twin-clutch automated manual gearbox called the PDK. According to Porsche’s stopwatch, the Boxster can hit 60 mph from zero in 5.5 seconds, or 5.4 with the PDK (4.8 and 4.7 for the S). Porsche’s Sport Chrono package, available with the PDK, includes a launch-control program that maximizes standing-start acceleration, shaving about two-tenths of a second off the zeroto-60-mph times of both models. PDK-equipped models also have a coasting feature whereby the engine idles out of gear when decelerating. The latest Boxster should once more leave Porsche 911 Cabriolet buyers wondering why they didn’t pocket nearly half their car’s $95,000 admission fee and instead select a roadster than can turn both heads and corners with equal aplomb.

Base price (incl. destination): $47,850 >>> Type: Four-door sedan >>> Base engine (hp): 2.0-liter DOHC V-6, turbocharged (240) >>> Optional engines (hp): 3.0-liter DOHC V-6, supercharged (340); 5.0-liter DOHC V-8, supercharged (470/510) >>> Layout: Front>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> engine, rear- /all-wheel-drive >>> Transmission: Eight-speed automatic >>> MPG (city/ hwy): 19/29 >>> Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock Base price (incl. destination): $47,600; $58,000 (Boxster S); $61,000 (Spyder) >>> brakes; stability control; traction control >>> Weight (lb.): 3,660 Type: Two-door roadster >>> Base engine (hp): 2.7-liter DOHC H6 (265) >>> Optional engine (hp): 3.4-liter DOHC H6 (315) >>> Layout: Mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive >>> Transmissions: Six-speed manual; seven-speed automated manual (opt.) >>> MPG (city/ hwy): 20/30 (2.7, MT) >>> Safety: Front airbags; head-impact airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control >>> Weight (lb.): 2,890


14 .............................................................................................................................................. AUTOPREVIEW2013............................................................................ Wednesday, November 28, 2012

>>>> Cadillac XTS

(New for 2013)

>>>> Cadillac ATS

(New for 2013)

The XTS becomes the flagship of Cadillac’s passenger car fleet for the 2013 model year. As with its DTS predecessor, the XTS employs a front-wheel-drive platform that will also be supporting the 2014 Chevrolet Impala. However the XTS is shorter and narrower than the DTS and loses four inches between the front and rear wheels. The revised proportions, including a shorter hood and a higher roofline, actually result in greater interior room, including, as Cadillac is quick to point out, more rear-seat and trunk space than a BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and an Audi A6, which are all mid-size cars. The interior is similarly well tailored, although the busy dash/control panel remains a step or two behind Audi and BMW’s for simplicity. The technical focus, however, is on a programmable interface for the vehicle controls and communications systems called Cue. The heart of the system is an eight-inch touch screen with various control-menu icons that you “zoom in,” smart-phone-style, by expanding or swiping your fingers. Proximity-sensing climate, audio, navigation controls turn on or off by merely positioning your fingers in their vicinity. According to Cadillac, up to 10 Bluetooth-enabled devices can be paired with Cue. For drivers, the optional electronically generated gauge cluster (graphic representations replace actual gauges) can be customized to show as much or as little information as you require. If all this techno-cleverness (even an Apple iPad with a replica training screen comes with the car) feels overwhelming, a customer assistance center can be accessed through GM’s OnStar concierge and help desk. A 304-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 that operates through a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift controls is the sole powerplant, although all-wheel-drive can be added to the Base, Luxury, Premium and Platinum trim levels. There’s no V-8 option, but a plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid is reportedly in the pipeline. Estimated fuel economy is 17 mpg city and 28 highway (17/27 for AWD models). The numerous safety-content upgrades are grouped into two distinct segments. The Driver Awareness Package includes lane-departure warning (alerts if an unintended lane change is imminent), forward collision alert (warns of a too-rapid closing speed to the vehicle in front) and blind-spot and cross-traffic alerts that signal when vehicles in adjacent lanes are about to overtake, or vehicles are approaching when reversing from a parking spot. A Driver Assist Package adds adaptive cruise control that maintains a safe distance from slower vehicles ahead and front and rear automatic brakes that will actually stop the car if contact with someone or something appears inevitable.

Spelling it out in capital letters, the brand new ATS’s primary target is B-M-W, specifically the 3 Series sedan. But the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Infiniti G37 sedan and Lexus IS series – or rather, their customers – are also in Caddy’s sights. Compared to the larger CTS, the ATS is about nine inches shorter, 1.4-inches narrower while being vertically challenged by about two inches. Where the ATS really excels is its 3,320-pounds curb weight. Part of the dieting process involved an aluminum hood, natural-fiber door panels and magnesium enginemount brackets. Although the ATS is available with a relatively potent 321-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 required when adding the optional allwheel-drive), Cadillac is making available two additional four-cylinder offerings. Base cars get a 202-horsepower 2.5-liter unit, while a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is optional. The turbo’s 272 horsepower and 260 pounds-feet of torque would appear to trump similarly-sized turbo-fours employed in the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series and could give the ATS some all-important street cred. All powerplants are mated to six-speed automatic transmissions, but in keeping with its performance nature (and to sway Euro-sedan fans) the turbo engine is available with a six-speed manual gearbox. Regardless of drivetrain, that the ATS’s sporty demeanor can be amplified with an optional suspension package that includes driver-adjustable shocks, larger Brembo-brand brakes and magnetic ride control that constantly adjusts the suspension characteristics according to road conditions and driver input. As with some of its other models, Cadillac waltzed the ATS around Germany’s demanding Nürburgring racetrack to ensure its driving characteristics measure up to BMW, Audi, et al. The ATS will be offered with CUE (Cadillac User Experience) that manages the car’s voice-activated communications, infotainment, and mobile devices through an eight-inch touch-screen. The ATS would seem to be matching its competitors stride for stride in safety with up to 10 airbags plus an array of the latest in collision-avoidance gear. They include adaptive cruise control (maintains a safe distance from the vehicle in front), lane-departure warning with blind-zone alert, adaptive lighting (headlights pivot as the car turns) and front and rear automatic brakes that use short-range radar to detect and prevent low-speed collisions.

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Base price (incl. destination): $34,000 >>> Type: Four-door sedan >>> Base engine (hp): 2.5-liter DOHC I4 (202) >>> Optional engines (hp): 2.0-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (272); 3.6-liter DOHC V-6 (321) >>> Layout: Front-engine, rear- /all-wheel-drive >>> Transmissions: Six-speed manual; six-speed automatic >>> MPG (city/hwy): 22/33 (2.4) >>> Safety: Front airbags; front- /rear side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; front knee airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control >>> Weight (lb.): 3,320

Base price (incl. destination): $45,000 >>> Type: Four-door full-size luxury sedan >>> Engine (hp): 3.6-liter DOHC V-6 (304) >>> Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive >>> Transmission: Six-speed automatic >>> MPG (city/hwy): 17/28 >>> Safety: Frontimpact airbags; front/rear side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; front knee airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control >>> Weight (lb.): 4,000

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>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


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16 .............................................................................................................................................. AUTOPREVIEW2013............................................................................ Wednesday, November 28, 2012

>>>> Acura RDX

(New for 2013)

The junior-sized RDX has been around since the 2007 model year and is a rival to the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Cadillac SRX, Mercedes-Benz GLK and other premiumpriced, five-passenger wagon competitors. The significant physical adjustments for 2013 are simply the overture to the sweet sounds of a 3.5-liter V-6 that replaces the turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder. The V-6 puts out 273 horsepower and 251 pounds-feet of torque, compared to 240 horses and 260 pounds-feet of torque for the 2.3. More importantly, fuel consumption is now 19 mpg city and 27 highway (20/28 for front-wheel-drive models), up from 17/22 and 19/24 (FWD) for the previous RDX. A six-speed automatic transmission – one more gear than used with the turbo four – helps improve the mpg rating, but so do other fuel-conserving innovations, including the use of low-viscosity engine and transmission oil, a special friction-reducing coating on the pistons and Variable Cylinder Management that allows the engine to operate with two or three of its six cylinders shut down under light-load conditions. Above and beyond its powertrain efficiencies, the RDX features improved aerodynamics, fuel-saving electric power steering and fuel pump, and low rolling resistance tires. Another change of note is the abandonment of Acura’s very effective Super Handling All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). However, the replacement system, called AWD with Intelligent Control, appears to have its own merits, sending 25 percent of the available torque to the rear wheels when accelerating from a stop, up to 100 percent to the front wheels at a steady speed and splitting the torque 50:50 when heading up a 15-percent (or greater) slope. It can’t send extra torque to the outside turning wheels like the SH-AWD could, but that’s at least partially offset by electronic power-steering and traction-control systems that reduce front- or rear-end plowing while turning, commonly referred to as understeer and oversteer. The RDX follows Acura’s traditional formula of offering plenty of luxury content, including a power moonroof, leather-covered interior, power-adjustable front seats and a 360-watt audio system. An optional Tech Package adds a navigation /rearview camera combo, and a premium ELSbrand 10-speaker sound system.

>>>> Audi Q5 Think the flagship A8 or R8 sports car are where Audi debuts its latest technology? Think again. The relatively humble Q5, the company’s second-most-popular model, is also where it’s debuting its first attempt at fuel-saving hybrid systems. The Hybrid uses the same 211-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine found in base Q5s and bolsters it with a 40-kilowatt electric motor. Using a clutch buried inside the eight-speed transmission, the system routes power between the motors, the lithium-ion battery and finally to the four wheels. Audi figures you can drive nearly two miles on electric power alone and average around 34 mpg. The benefits are that, like every Q5, the Hybrid will have great looks – helped by a mid-cycle refresh with a new front grille, headlights and bumpers – but also exceptional build quality and a finely crafted interior. There’s plenty of style inside a roomy cabin that exhibits the kind of understated elegance that has helped make Audi a real desirable BMW alternative. The optional 3.2-liter V-6 is now a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 with 272 horsepower linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual controls. As for the standard Quattro allwheel-drive, 60 percent of the torque is directed to the rear wheels, but, when required, additional torque can be shifted to the wheels with the most grip. To help distinguish between the two engines, V-6 models have their own bumpers, lowered ride height and 19-inch wheels. Options include an upgraded interior, keyless-start ignition, power tailgate, heated and cooled cupholder and a navigation system with real-time traffic info. The Q5 is also available with Audi Drive Select, a system that allows the driver to choose his or her own preferences for transmission shift points, suspension firmness and steering ratio.

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Base price (incl. destination): $36,500 (2012) >>> Type: Four-door tall wagon >>> Base engine (hp): 2.0-liter DOHC I4 (211) >>> Optional engines (hp): 3.0-liter DOHC V-6, supercharged (272); 2.0-liter DOHC I4 w/40 kW electric motor (N/A) >>> Layout: Frontengine, all-wheel-drive >>> Transmission: Eight-speed automatic >>> MPG (city/hwy): 20/28 (2.0) >>> Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control >>> Weight (lb.): 4,100

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Base price (incl. destination): $35,200 >>> Type: Four-door compact tall wagon >>> Engine (hp): 3.5-liter DOHC V-6 (273) >>> Layout: Front-engine, front- /all-wheel-drive >>> Transmission: Six-speed automatic >>> MPG (city/hwy): 20/28 (FWD) >>> Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control >>> Weight (lb.): 3,720

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012 .......................................................................................... AUTOPREVIEW2013 ........................................................................................................................ 17

2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon To stay on top as on off-roader, the Wrangler introduces significant comfort and convenience improvements for 2013, despite doing quite a lot over the last couple of years.

Charleston area auto shoppers have scads of choices in 2013 model year By JIM PARKER The Post and Courier

cylinders driving the engine. Turbochargers and superchargers can extract extra speed out of engines, but four-cylinder editions tend to produce less power than a 12-cylinder behemoth. In between are six and eight cylinder editions and a few five-cylinder models. f you’re setting sights on a 2013 vehicle, then you’ve studied up, narrowed the field of The drive trains, meanwhile, come in three main configurations. They either turn the types and brands, maybe test drove a car or two. front wheels, rear wheels or all four wheels. Most carmakers today build at least a model Then again, perhaps you’re just winging it. or two with AWD and some such as Jeep have it on all their choices. A few carmakers roll No matter. Greater Charleston’s few dozen dealerships sell cars built by just about every out some models with FWD and others with RWD. major carmaker except a few ultra-high end sports racers and luxury rides, and there’s An upgrade in recent years is the number of gears in a transmission. To make cars more some of those here, too. fuel efficient, manufacturers try to make the shifts as smooth as possible. To catch up on this year’s market or just fine-tune the shopping process, potential buyWhile four-speed transmissions were commonplace a decade ago, most carmakers start ers can scan through information on dozens of sedans, coupes, wagons, SUVs and pickups at five speeds or higher and some go up to eight speeds. Continuously variable transmisin the pages of this Auto Preview. sions, meanwhile, offer an unlimited number of gearshifts that gives the impression of no More than 30 brand new vehicles or totally revamped existing editions hit the streets changes at all. for the 2013 model year. Also of note, manufacturers are ramping up their fuel mileage totals as car buyers look Cars can be purchased from U.S. manufacturers General Motors, Ford and Chrysler — for fuel-efficient cars. The Charleston market offers close to 40 gas-electric hybrid models, headed by Italian company Fiat; and numerous Japanese, European and Korean manuand there are at least two plug-in vehicles, the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf. Many carfacturers. They can pick a Swedish brand owned by a Chinese company or from among makers can boost figures with gas- or diesel-powered engines: Volkswagen’s lineup can two British builders run by an Indian corporation. And they can buy vehicles made in reach 31 mpg city and 43 mpg on the highway. The vast majority of manufacturers offer at America by companies headquartered overseas, such as tall wagons from BMW built in least one model that reaps at least 20 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. Spartanburg. Finally, car buyers may want to know how much their car weighs, either for Einstein-like Among the stats contained in the automotive reports, price is likely a main considercalculations on horsepower or fuel mileage based on poundage; determining if there’s ation of most every area shopper. (Otherwise, you’re in that rare group that can walk into enough strength to tow a boat; or as just plain trivia. an outlet and write a check for any model in there — shoot, maybe even the dealership The lightest car out there is the smart fortwo at 1,700 pounds while the heaviest is the itself). Lexus LX 570 at three tons. For the cost-conscious, there’s a massive range of prices on the nearly 250 non-super luxury models for 2013. Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com. Willing to purchase the bare bones base models, buyers can drive home in a new car for as little as $11,750. Even a Mercedes can be had for less than $40,000 and a Porsche for below $50,000. At the same time, you may have hit the lottery and want to wave around wads of money. Then go no further than Savannah Highway to sign for a $164,000 Audi, $176,200 Porsche or a $113,000 Lexus — hybrid no less. That brings up the type of vehicle. At Charleston area dealerships, shoppers can find two-door and four-door passenger cars, mid-size and full-length trucks, hatchbacks with flip-up cargo doors, sport coupes, roadsters, minivans and vehicles that combine extra space for riders or groceries with either offroad capabilities or smooth-riding sedan perks. Once a buyer knows the type of vehicle, then the engine is a key feature. Horsepower remains an oft cited gauge of a vehicle’s performance, and locally, shoppers can choose a model with a deeply modest 66 hp or a definitely-not-shy 662 hp. Nearly all brands showcase at least one offering at or higher than 200 hp. Another check on a car’s beefiness is the number of

I

2013 Lexus CT Hybrid CT200h

Lexus’s premium compact sporting hatchback is fun and flickable; F Sport package adds bigger wheels and blacked-out body pieces along with a more exhilarating suspension.

2013 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Sport

Subaru’s family sedan shows off a new face and a new base powerplant and has its EyeSight ready to be examined.

2013 Chevrolet Spark Chevrolet’s Korea-built tiny hatchback ignites the brand’s small-car lineup that includes the Sonic sedan and hatchback and Cruze sedan.


18 .............................................................................................................................................. AUTOPREVIEW2013............................................................................ Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Not so fast!

If the Evos concept points the way to the next Mustang, the design will certainly be polarizing.

Looking ahead to the 2014 Impala, you can expect a long roof that meets the tailights. This will be a growing trend.

Look what is right around the corner By TODD D. BURLAGE www.wheelbasemedia.com

A

t the same time the curtain is rising on a techsavvy and unpredictable 2013 new-car market, automakers are continuing to leak some sneak peaks into what we can expect when the 2014 turf war begins a year from now. The popular design trends for the 2014 models won’t be drastically different from what manufacturers rolled into showrooms for 2013, but with dozens of all-new 2014 entries on the way from Acura, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volkswagen and others — along with some edgy redesigns and updates coming from many other top automakers — 2014 should again be a competitive year in an improving North American market. Not unlike the 2013 battle plan for most manufacturers, fuel efficiency, technology and sleek styling will highlight the race for 2014 sales supremacy. Volatile gas prices, eco-consciousness and looming minimum mpg standards from the federal government will keep fuel mileage as the top priority for buyers and builders in 2014. Legislation was signed in August that requires automakers to meet a fuel efficiency standard of 35.5 mpg by 2016 for its cars and light trucks. “Fuel mileage is a full consideration point for most car buyers in most segments,” said Chris Woodyard, automotive news analyst for daily newspaper USA Today. “All the manufacturers are trying to reach those new standards the fastest.” Efficiency initiatives have certainly kept engineers busy with their 2014 designs. A growing emphasis on the gas/electric hybrid and plug-in hybrid markets will be worth watching as competition grows with every model year. Even Porsche is introducing the 918 Spyder plug-in, trying to invade this market with its pricey — as in $850,000 — high-performance entry. The BMW 1-Series Compact, the Mazda 6 and the Infiniti Compact are three examples of manufacturers thinking smaller and lighter in 2014, building with more aluminum to improve fuel mileage through lighter vehicles. Other popular models such as the Nissan Sentra and Ford Mustang will offer a smaller engine option as another choice for better fuel efficiency. Vehicles equipped with the popular turbochargers and gasoline direct injection fuel systems (see the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette) will also be prominent on showroom floors. “And while gas prices have been jumping around, I think auto buyers have become conditioned to think that $5 (per gallon) gas is not an impossibility,” Woodyard said. “And if you’re an automaker, you are desperately trying to find a way to respond to that.” In fact, prices in California really shot past $5 a gallon.

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So while going farther on less gas will continue to be the primary battle focus, there will be other focuses. “No doubt, technology is really where the action is,” Woodyard said. “With the rise of the ‘Gen X’ generation and the ‘Gen Y’ generation, they don’t care that much about cars, but they care a lot about cell phones and cell-phone technology, so automakers are forced to try and emulate that, try to pick up on that theme.” And the manufacturers are sparing no means With Gen X and Y buyers caring more about cell-phone brands and regularly updatto that end, installing all ing their Twitter accounts than the cars they drive, the effort is on bringing that technology into the automobile to help boost sales . . . for better or worse. Interior the gadgetry a vehicle design quality (Impala pictured) will continue to ratchet up. can offer, while keeping an eye on safety improvements through Woodyard said the most recognizable styling trend for fewer distractions and the 2014 models is a return to the sloped-back look, not less fidgeting with hands-on display screens. unlike the new Ford Fusion that stretches the roof back to Cadillac offered its CUE navigation and entertainment the trunk. system on select 2012 and 2013 models, but expect wider The sloped-back design was resurrected, at least in part, access to this groundbreaking technology option in 2014. by a series of cars such as the Audi A7 and Volkswagen Similar to the Kinect gaming system from XBox, CUE CC. The 2014 Impala is creating much buzz after a fresh recognizes and responds to hand gestures and body full redesign that includes this sophisticated styling as movements to help drivers keep their eyes on the road General Motors tries to reestablish relevance in the fullwhen performing certain requests. Perhaps a wink of the size sedan market, occupied by stalwarts such as the Ford eye will turn the radio on, a head tilt can control the volTaurus, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger. ume, a tap on the steering wheel changes the channel, An improving automotive market in North America, just to name some basics. Voice-activated systems will also fresh designs, hip technology and new entries in the most be prevalent in the 2014 models, as in-car technology folcompetitive market segments should make 2014 a trendlows the lead of the Flurry-type interactive systems used in setting model year. iPhone and Droid cell phones. “It’s all incremental but there are definitely changes “That kind of technology is going to be a slam dunk to taking place,” Woodyard said. “If the automaker still migrate over to cars,” said Woodyard, warning that driver has money, if they are not having to push (redesigns) off adaptation to these advanced systems will likely create because they went broke, they will all stay on schedule . . some frustration. “This is the kind of thing that can filter . And if they really want to be bold they will try something down to other cars. When somebody is on the cuttingcompletely new, knowing that it could be a huge hit or a edge forefront of something, everybody else wants it and they will have it in a couple of years, which in this case, will huge flop. These will turn up in the auto shows, along with plenty of surprises.” start showing up in the 2014 models.” In addition to efficiency and technology improvements, Todd Burlage is a feature writer with Wheelbase Media. manufactures are also putting a heavy emphasis on interior You can message him using the contact form at www. and exterior styling when the 2014 models take center wheelbasemedia.com. Wheelbase Media is a worldwide stage at the Los Angeles, Calif., and Detroit. Mich., auto provider of automotive news and features stories. shows in the coming months.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012 .......................................................................................... AUTOPREVIEW2013 ........................................................................................................................ 19

>>>> Buick Encore

(New for 2013)

The Encore is a uniquely practical small car that can hold lots of gear and can hold its own in the horsepower and fuel economy departments. Also adding to its versatility is available all-wheel-drive. From its oval-shaped “waterfall” grille to the tip of its two-tone bumper, the Encore features a neat blend of stylish design cues with just a hint of ruggedness. The Encore uses the same platform as Buick’s Verano sedan and Chevrolet’s Cruze and Sonic small cars. However, it’s about seven inches longer and five inches taller than the Sonic hatchback, which gives it far more cargo room with the rear seat in place or folded flat. The front passenger seat folds flat so that ladders and building materials can be more easily accommodated. The cabin is also on the receiving end of one of Buick’s more fashionable interiors and should also be one of the quietest with active noise cancellation that uses ceiling-mounted microphones to detect engine sounds. A special computer then dishes out counteracting sound waves through the audio system. It’s pleasantly surprising that Buick would select the Encore as its initial recipient of this tech. Standard is a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that generates 140 horsepower and 148 pounds-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is the Encore’s sole transmission choice. When it finally arrives, Encore will be offered in base, Convenience, Leather and Premium trim levels. All will arrive with the usual air/ cruise/tilt/power accessories plus 10 airbags and standard 18-inch wheels. From that point, depending on the designation, you select dual-zone climate control, power sunroof, navigation system, leather-trimmed interior, power-adjustable driver’s chair, heated steering wheel, premium Bose sound system, to name just a few. In other words, stepping up past the $25,000 base price (including destination charges) will allow you to outfit the Encore with the kind of luxury trappings that both traditional and non-traditional buyers expect in an automobile of Buick’s stature.

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Base price (incl. destination): $25,000 >>> Type: Four-door wagon sub-compact tall wagon >>> Engine (hp): 1.4-liter DOHC I4 (140) >>> Layout: Front-engine, front- /allwheel-drive >>> Transmission: Six-speed automatic >>> MPG (city/hwy): 25/33 (est.) >>> Safety: Front airbags; front/rear side-impact airbags; front knee airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control >>> Weight (lb.): 3,000 (est.)

>>>> Buick Verano In its sophomore season, the Verano is expanding its excellent offerings to include a performance-minded turbo model that’ll nip at the heels of the larger and more expensive Regal GS. The Verano Turbo uses the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder as the GS, and despite purring out 10 fewer horses (250 versus 260 in Regal GS), is much quicker to 60 mph from a standing start. It comes with all the toys that are optional on lesser models, including heated leather seats and steering wheel, a nine-speaker Bose-brand audio system with a new touch screen and costs $30,000 compared with the larger Regal at $36,000. Quite the bargain. Regular Verano models start at a much lower $23,500 and although base models come with leatherette (vinyl) and cloth seats, premium versions feature plenty of wood trim and overstuffed leathercovered seat cushions. For any compact car, this is ground-breaking. The Verano’s designers say they’ve gone out of their way to make the cabin a place of exemplary peace and quiet. They’ve added five layers of acoustic material within the headliner, sound-absorbing foam and other insulating materials stuffed into every possible nook and cranny, all door openings triple sealed and the use of thicker windshield and side glass for additional noise reduction. Other sounddefeating measures include specially designed tires and alloy wheels plus “quiet-tuned” intake and exhaust systems for the standard 180-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission (there’s an optional six-speed manual for the Turbo). Other standard gear includes dual-zone climate control, a rear-view camera, 10 standard airbags and GM’s OnStar concierge and help line that can also activate various functions (open doors, check fuel level, etc.) from your smart phone. Also optional is a heated steering wheel, push-button start, electronic parking brake, premium Bose audio package and 18-inch alloy wheels (17-inchers are standard). New safety gear for 2013 includes optional cross-traffic alert and side blind-spot warning systems in most packages.

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Base price (incl. destination): $23,500 >>> Type: Four-door sedan >>> Base engine (hp): 2.4-liter DOHC 14 (180) >>> Optional engine (hp): 2.0-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (250) >>> Layout: Front-engine, front- wheel-drive >>> Transmissions: Six-speed manual (turbo only); six-speed automatic (std. on 2.4. opt. on turbo) >>> MPG (city/hwy): 21/32 (2.4) >>> Safety: Front airbags; front/rear side-impact airbags; front knee airbags; sidecurtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control >>> Weight (lb.): 3,300


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>>>> GMC Acadia To keep the popular eight-passenger Acadia from falling behind the German and Japanese competition, and in response to new home-grown rivals such as the Ford Explorer and Dodge Durango, GMC has given its big wagon a dose of attitude. The squared-off front end takes inspiration from the smaller Terrain and uses neat LED accent lighting in the new headlight clusters. New LED taillights, wraparound glass and a spoiler freshen up the rear end. The interior gets nicer plastics and leathers, highlighted by a new color touch-screen with optional navigation. All Acadias come with either seven or eight seats and lots of room behind the third row for cargo. The second- and third-row seats can be folded flat for more storage, and, when upright, the second row slides fore and aft with one-hand operation. There’s also a raft of safety features such as side-curtain airbags that run the length of the cabin, an exclusive front center airbag, blind-spot and cross-traffic warning systems for 2013, antilock brakes, stability control to prevent a skid or spin, anti-rollover software and traction control. The carryover 288-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 still drives the front wheels (all-wheeldrive is optional) through a revised six-speed automatic transmission with better shift quality. Also new are upgraded dual-flow suspension dampers to better handle bumps and thumps. Contrary to what you know about front-wheel-drive, the Acadia can still tow up to 4,500 pounds (a decent-sized travel trailer or large boat). GMC’s luxo Denali subbrand continues with the revised Acadia, too. The exterior gets unique badges, grille, body pieces, high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights, 20-inch wheels and dual exhaust, while the cabin gets special heated-and-cooled leather seats, higher-quality trimmings, a huge dual-panel moonroof, tri-zone climate control, a top-end audio system and a rearseat DVD player with two screens.

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Base price (incl. destination): $33,600 (2012) >>> Type: Four-door wagon >>> Base engine (hp): 3.6-liter DOHC V-6 (288) >>> Layout: Front-engine, front- /all-wheel-drive Transmissions: Six-speed automatic >>> MPG (city/hwy): 17/24 (FWD) >>> Safety: Front airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; stability control; traction control >>> Weight (lb.): 4,720

>>>> GMC Sierra Waiting not-so-patiently for the next generation Sierra in 2014, GMC buyers can take solace knowing that the current truck is still plenty good. Besides the basic work trucks and mid-level models, there’s the Cadillac-rivaling luxury Denali. Or perhaps the Sierra Hybrid, which is available in two- or four-wheel-drive 1500-series (half-ton) crew-cab short-box models. It operates at up to 30 mph using only its two 60-kilowatt electric motors contained inside an electronically variable fourspeed transmission. At higher speeds, a 322-horsepower 6.0-liter gasoline engine works in conjunction with the electric motors. The hybrid is rated at 21/22 mpg, city/highway, for the 4x2 model, or 20/20 for 4x4 units. For drivers who want to burn fewer dollars, there’s the (Xtra Fuel Efficient) XFE, a non-hybrid Sierra with equipment that has been optimized for maximum fuel economy. That model comes with low-rollingresistance tires, lightweight aluminum wheels, bed cover, a lowered ride height and lightened suspension and special axle ratio. All XFEs are rear-wheel-drive only and run with a 315-horsepower 5.3-liter V-8 and six-speed automatic transmission. The upside for the effort is a one mile-per-gallon increase in city and a two-mpg jump in highway fuel economy, to 15 and 20, respectively. You’ll have to decide if it’s worth the trouble. The Sierra uses the same range of engines as the Silverado, from the aging 195-horsepower 4.3-liter V-6 and a 295-horsepower 4.8-liter V-8, to one of four versions of a 5.3-liter V-8 (all rated at 315 horsepower) and a 367-horsepower 6.2-liter flex-fuel V-8. The 5.3 and 6.2 employ cylinder deactivation that essentially cuts out four cylinders during light-load and cruise/idle situations. A 403-horsepower 6.2-liter V-8 is standard in the top-shelf four-door Denali can be had on lesser Sierras as long as they’re not regular cabs. As with the Silverado, the Sierra can be had in one of five distinct and separate classes of suspension, from “smooth ride” to max-duty towing. For going out on the town, you can opt for a model with 20-inch wheels and a streetperformance-type suspension.

>>>> DETAILS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Base price (incl. destination): $23,000 (2012) >>> Type: Rear- /four-wheel-drive full-size pickup >>> Base engine (hp): 4.3-liter OHV V-6 (195) >>> Optional engines (hp): 4.8liter OHV V-8 (295); 5.3-liter OHV V-8 (315); 6.0-liter OHV V-8 (367, 322 on Hybrid); 6.2liter OHV V-8 (403) >>> Layout: Front-engine, rear- /four- /all-wheel-drive (opt. on Denali) >>> Transmission: Four-speed automatic; six-speed automatic (opt.) >>> MPG (city/ hwy): 15/20 (4.3, RWD) >>> Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags (opt.); anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control >>> Weight (lb.): 4,450

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