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DECISIV E o n i t a L The Best Source for Cultural and Consumer News Fall 2012


2013 Car Buyer’s Guide The Newest Cars with Latino Appeal

2013 Honda Accord

Fashion Tips to Jazz Up Classic Business Attire Long-term Review: We Spend Quality Time in a Mazda3

Business Issue How to Find Start-up Capital

We Drive:

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe, 2013 Nissan Sentra, 2013 Buick Verano Turbo and more …

Chef Michelle Bernstein, and others, share tips for launching a business

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Ningún destino es inalcanzable y ninguna ruta es demasiado peligrosa si compartes el viaje con el nuevo Chevrolet Malibu. Gracias a su dirección precisa, rápida respuesta al volante y todo tu talento al conducir, te sobrará el tiempo hasta para firmar algunos autógrafos.


Deja Que Te Sigan

yourchoices The Guide To What’s Inside Volume 3 | issue 4 | fall 2012


feature set: on the cover 16 2013 Car Buyer’s Guide By Christopher Jackson

We preview the newest cars, from compacts to cruisers, coming to a car dealership near you.


06 Money for Something By Chris Mendoza and Luis “Wicho” Hernandez

Our financial advisors share tips for securing the start-up capital you need for a new business.

By Valerie Menard

Ever thought about starting a business but didn’t know how? We asked successful entrepreneurs to share their wisdom.

the usuals:

inside every issue 03 editor’s letter 04 health 05 fashion Decisive Auto Latino 11 Auto Noticias 12 First Looks 15 Long-term Review: Mazda3 Skyactiv

Index to Advertisers Cover II/p. 1: Chevrolet - p. 13: Hyundai - Cover IV: Volunteers of America -


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Associate Publisher/Editor: Valerie Menard Editor-in-Chief: Lyndon Conrad Bell. Editorial Director: Joyce Gates Art Director: Fran Sherman contributing writers: Yanira Garza, Luis Hernandez, Christopher Jackson, Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, Chris Mendoza Multimedia Managers: Thuan Ngo Decisive Media Headquarters: 8181 Professional Place, Suite 170, Hyattsville, MD 20785 Tel: 301-850-2858 • Fax: 301-390-1825 President & CEO: Randi Payton Vice President: Karen Payton Production/Distribution: Joyce Gates Business Manager: Damon Redmond

08 Ready to Launch


Publisher: Randi Payton

Sales Director: Karen Payton Publisher’s Assistant: Natalie Dorris interns: Alexzandra Bardwell-Morgan, Eric Pitman DECISIVE MEDIA DETROIT: Leonard Corbin event director: Margorie Staten Decisive Latino magazine © 2012 is published four times annually as a newspaper-delivered publication and digital e-magazine by Decisive Media Your complete resource for research and opinion on consumer products and services Visit us at, email us at:

For licensing and reprints of Decisive/Decisive Auto content, contact Nick Iademarco at Wright’s Media,, Toll Free 877-652-5295

Membership applied for October 2010

letter from the editor


To Each His/Her Own

ost entrepreneurs admit that starting a business requires a leap of faith, in yourself and your concept. I took that leap twelve years ago when I decided to give up benefits and a regular paycheck to become a freelance writer. I remember struggling with my fears about securing a revenue stream to pay bills, principally, my mortgage, and facing worst-case scenarios in case my writing and editorial skills did not prove viable. The Latino entrepreneurial spirit has many incarnations. Have you ever wondered how to start a business? In this issue, we focus on business and offer answers to my questions as well as others, about how to get your business off the ground. For many entrepreneurs, the first step involves securing some cash. Our financial experts, Chris Mendoza and Luis “Wicho” Hernandez share several suggestions about how to find start-up capital and the pros and cons of each in Money for Something, (page 6). We also take it a step further by going to the source and asking successful Latino entrepreneurs to share tips and advice about how they started their own businesses in Ready to Launch (page 8). Chef Michelle Bernstein, owner of Michy’s restaurant in Miami and a regular on cooking shows on the Food Network and Bravo, offers her advice as well as David Segura of VisionIT and Darlene Tenes of CasaQ. Our experts also share tips on how to keep a healthy diet while traveling on

business and fashion tips for finding contemporary twists on a classic professional look. Heading into the fourth quarter of 2012, the auto industry continues to show robustness. According to the Wall Street Journal, year-to-date sales figures show Toyota with the biggest increase while Chrysler showed the biggest gains of domestic manufacturers. Not only has consumer confidence grown, the selection of vehicles from which to choose continues to entice customers. Our fall issue has traditionally been where we take a look at the new models for 2013 and this issue is no exception with the return of our annual Car Buyer’s Guide (page 16). Veteran auto reporter Christopher Jackson, gives us a preview of what’s to come in the following year in the auto market, from subcompacts to luxury sedans. This is also the last issue before the holidays so as we start to compile our shopping lists, let’s remember to support Latino-owned businesses when we can. Adelante, Valerie Menard Associate Publisher/ Editor Decisive Latino

S av e T h e D aT e Sunday, January 13, 2013 Sound Board MotorCity Casino Hotel Detroit, Michigan

Honoring Women in the Automotive Industry For Sponsorship Information or Tickets: Email: Call: Decisive Media: 301-850-2858 Proceeds to benefit the Emerging Diversity Education Fund (Scholarships, Internships, and Mentoring)

The Official Multicultural Event of the North American International Auto Show

Emerging Diversity Education Fund




m e d i a

fall 2012 |


health by Sylvia Melendez-Klinger


travellite Tips for Staying Healthy on a Business Trip

If you are one of those people who travel almost every week (like me), then you need to keep reading, but there is also help for the occasional traveler too. Traveling doesn’t mean you have to give up your healthy habits once you step out of your routine. Today, there are so many places that not only offer wellbalanced options, but also are willing to accommodate your nutritional needs on the spot. Here are my practical tips for staying healthy while traveling. Small portions

Keep active

Because you will most likely be eating out every single meal, it is a good habit to request smaller portions, especially when the dish looks very rich in calories. Decide how much you are going to eat from your plate, even though you think that they are serving you more or less what you know your body needs. Leave time between bites so that your body knows when you are satisfied. Trust your own instincts. Do not force yourself to finish everything on the plate.

I usually recommend people bring their workout clothes when traveling. Most hotels offer a free fitness center. You can also pack a stretch band or a jump rope in your luggage. Take ten to fifteen minutes in the morning and at night to exercise or do some stretching exercises. Try to burn at least 300 calories, especially if you know that you are going to go out to eat. You will feel better knowing than you burned the extra calories that you are about to consume.

Share meals

Never skip meals, especially breakfast!

You will be surprised how fun it is to share meals with others (and inexpensive too). Learn to share not only dessert, but also main entrees and even appetizers. Start with a salad or a cup of soup and share the rest! You will feel so much better at the end of the meal.

It is a good habit to start your day with breakfast. When we skip breakfast, we are more prone to consume more calories than the omitted ones, due to a poor decision lead by hunger. Know that a bowl of cereal with low fat milk and fruit counts as a balanced breakfast!

Avoid using foods to pacify stress

Beverages count

Do not use restaurant outings to pacify or alleviate your pain and suffering. Foods are meant to provide the nourishment that our bodies need and to help aid in daily functions. Food was never meant to be used as a stress reliever. When using food for stress relief you are only developing a habit of overeating in difficult times. Provide comfort at difficult moments with yoga, exercise, reading, or a movie, but not with food.

Avoid or limit alcohol consumption. Alcoholic beverages provide many empty calories. Also, after two or three glasses you are not going to have much control over what you are eating. Try to incorporate low calorie or no calorie beverages so you can share dessert.

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Celebrate It’s okay if your family doesn’t like every meal you serve. If you keep exposing them to new varieties, they will find ones they like! Persistence will pay off eventually. dD


fashionessentials The New

by Yanira Garza

We talk about classic fashion staples. We write about them everywhere and before you know it those classics have gone stale. This season, try a new variation of our most talked about classics.

For Women:

For men:

Boyfriend Blazer

Dark Denim Light denim is for nineties revival parties and tweens. Keep the sophistication while staying comfortable by wearing a darker denim on the weekends. Out of the office doesn’t always mean out of the spotlight. Dark wash is classic but try black or even a more modern dark grey.

Blazers mean business but sometimes that can also read as uptight and no fun. The relaxed fit of a boyfriend blazer, like this one from Old Navy, softens that idea. It reads, “I know what I am doing and I do it well.”

Silk Square Scarf

Casual Blazer

This can be worn many ways and is considered by some the ultimate accessory. It can be worn as a headband, tied around the neck in many variations, or even tied to a handbag.

Casual Fridays do not mean sloppy. Try wearing a corduroy or cotton blazer for a more relaxed look while still looking well dressed and fashion forward.

Cashmere Sweater Nothing screams luxury like cashmere and nothing boosts the ego like feeling luxurious. While winter white sounds pretty and black is always safe, try a bold jewel toned color.

Tote The perfect replacement for an everyday briefcase, the tote is big enough to carry all your day-to-day essentials without feeling so corporate. In leather or canvas, the update here would be pattern or color. Try stepping outside the box and having a little fun.

Silk Pant Made popular as sleepwear, this loungewear inspired trend has quickly become a staple. Comfortable, fashion forward and all around flattering, these pants could easily be worn from day to night.

Tailored Suit Nothing says success like a well-fitted suit and now it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Suitsupply and Indochino offer an affordable alternative to custom tailored suiting. Try to freshen the look by having fun with fabrics, such as color and print.

A Good Watch While spending more on your wrist than you did on your last vacation may not be wise, a small investment would be. Try going to a little luxury that you can wear and look at everyday. Go ahead, try leather or stay with a classic all around metal.

Leather Messenger Bag Sometimes your work carries not only into the weekend but into your local coffee shop. Leave the briefcase for the work week and change it up a bit with a leather messenger bag that can hold your laptop and files and for the love of all things fashionable, skip the black. dD

fall 2012 |


financial by Luis “Wicho” Hernandez and Chris Mendoza

money something for

Is start-up funding eluding you? The sources may be closer than you think.

Thinking about starting a business? Many entrepreneurs don’t even know where to start to find the needed funds. At one point, would-be business owners turned to their local bank. However, post Great Recession, “banks currently are one of the hardest sources to get funds from,” says Eddy Arriola, chairman of the board of Apollo Bank. “Why? They are looking to maximize their investment and minimize their risk, so they look for maximum equity and minimal debt, two things that many start-ups don’t always have,” he explains. Add the current economy to the bank’s general reluctance to lend to start-ups, and most entrepreneurs find themselves looking for other sources of funding. As innovators pursue cash for their businesses, here are a few places to search along with each one’s pros and cons. Some are obvious; some may be new to you.


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Personal Assets: The answer may be right under your nose On a short-term basis, many entrepreneurs fail to look at their existing assets as sources of funding. Many don’t realize that they can borrow against an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) with no penalty, as long as the funds are replaced within 60 days. However, if the business owner cannot repay the loan within the 60day timeframe, serious tax penalties can result, so this option should only be accessed if there is a certainty of imminent repayment, and it is a good idea to consult a tax advisor. Another hidden source of funding could be a whole life insurance policy. Loans can be taken from the cash build-up in whole life insurance policies,* and many successful business owners have taken advantage of policy loan features for decades. For instance, the owner of JC Penney borrowed money from his whole life policy after the stock market crash to keep his business going. Walt Disney borrowed against his life insurance, too, as he built and expanded Disney World.

Friends and Family: Familiarity and pride come with high-expectations and options If family and friends have the means, they could be in a position to help an entrepreneur start up a business, but if providing start-up funds can cause a hardship to the family, this source should be avoided. Family members know each other’s strengths and believe in each other, but that familiarity and pride may come with very high expectations and correspondingly high degrees of headaches and stress.

Credit Cards: Fast, but expensive

additional funds. “Banks want to see equity in the business, not high-interest personal debt,” Arriola says.

Vendors: An overlooked source may lead to giving away a piece of the business With a sound business plan and initial success, entrepreneurs may be able to approach a well-known vendor and arrange for upfront capital in exchange for a commitment to sell a set number of units of the vendor’s product. In some cases, a vendor may ask for more than a commitment to sell a predetermined amount of product, specifically equity in the business. Start-ups that are looking for new sales channels or advertising partners may want to take a closer look at this source of financing, but entrepreneurs who do not want to take on an equity partner should proceed carefully.

Small Business Administration (SBA): Small business friendly but tougher than banks to qualify Many start-ups first turn to the SBA for funds, but the application process can be difficult and work-intensive. “The SBA looks for a lot of the same things that banks do,” says Arriola, “including sources of equity, payment plans, and the purpose of the loan, things that are difficult for start-ups to substantiate. SBA loans are easier to qualify for after a new business has proven itself and built equity, cash and profits,” he concludes.

Angel Investors: Seek and thee may find A great deal has been written lately about Angel Investors, but “they are very difficult to find,” says Arriola. In order for an angel to invest, the business has to be in an industry that is familiar to the investor, and the business itself has to be relevant to that industry. Also, the owner has to be able to show proven success and strong business management skills before an angel is comfortable assessing the risk and taking the plunge, he explains. As the economy continues to gain momentum, entrepreneurs can take heart in knowing that they may still be able to find access to funding as they pursue their American dreams. dD

Getting funds from existing or new credit cards is quick and easy. Entre*Access to cash values through borrowing or partial surrenders will reduce the policy’s cash value preneurs can apply online for as many cards as they can, and have an answer and death benefit, increase the chance the policy will lapse and may result in a liability, if the policy right away, but they don’t come without their own set of issues. Credit card debt terminates before the death of the insured. is generally unsecured, which means that it’s not encumbering other assets, such as a home. The issue with using credit cards, though, is that it can become very expensive. Even with Chris Michael Mendoza is assistant vice president of multicultural market development for MassMutual in Springfield, low-interest cards, if one payment is missed, Mass. Mendoza has 20 years in the insurance and financial services industry. the interest can jump from a low seven Luis Hernandez is a registered representative and an investment advisor representative of MML Investors Services percent to 18, 22, even as high as 27 percent, LLC, member SIPC, Supervisory Office: 2100 Ponce De Leon Blvd, 6th Floor, Coral Gables, FL 33134, 305.648.2445. plus late fees. To make matters worse, if a business owner has a high credit-card debt ratio, it would make it challenging to secure

fall 2012 |


ready to

launch Entrepreneurs share advice about starting your own business by Valerie Menard

According to the U.S. Census, the number of Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States increased by 43.7 percent to 2.3 million, more than twice the national rate of 18 percent between 2002 and 2007. The number of Hispanic-owned businesses with receipts of $1 million or more increased 51.6 percent, from 29,168 to 44,206 businesses between 2002 and 2007. Still, many Latinos put off launching a business for fear of the unknown. We thought who better to advise these potential business owners than successful ones in some of the more popular fields for Latinos—restaurants, suppliers, and e-commerce? Chef Michelle Bernstein, a James Beard Award winner known for her Latin-infused menu as well as appearances on several cable cooking shows, shares her experience. David Segura, who launched VisionIT, currently a Prime IT supplier to Fortune 500 companies, and Darlene Tenes, who designs and sells Latino-themed Christmas ornaments online at and at Macy’s, also share their wisdom.

Chef Michelle Bernstein

Michy’s Restaurant | Miami, Florida DL: What was the impetus for launching your first restaurant? Michelle Bernstein: My husband and I shared the same dream; we worked together for years and made the decision together. We wanted to share our drive, passion for great food and wine, and desire to give great service to the south Florida community. DL: How did you find the capital to launch your business? MB: We found a wonderful partner, financially and advisory, in Steven Perricone. DL: What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced and how did you resolve them? MB: Slow summers; we started all-you-can-eat fried chicken Wednesday that caused quite a bit of energy and talk about the restaurant during the summer. photo courtesy Michael Pissari


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DL: Were there any government programs that you found helpful? MB: Sadly, no. DL: What do potential entrepreneurs/ restaurateurs need to know about your industry? MB: It’s not a huge moneymaker; the bottom line can be very slim. It is meticulous and you have to be a bit masochistic. DL: What has been the key to your success? MB: Keeping our heads down and always evolving. DL: What advice do you have for prospective Latino entrepreneurs? MB: If you have passion you will succeed but have humility even in success.

CEO David Segura

VisionIT | Detroit, Michigan

DL: What was the impetus for launching VisionIT? David Segura: VisionIT was founded to address an emerging need for highly skilled consultants and operational excellence as a new wave of technology and the dot-com boom took place in the U.S. in the 1990’s, in particular for Fortune 500 corporations. Today, we continue to operate under the premise that success is measured both in operational gains as well as in how we impact community. DL: How did you find the capital to launch your business? DS: With only $100, VisionIT was born. After a year in operation I was able to secure a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. Years later, VisionIT received an angel investment from an NBA player who was looking to diversify his investments. DL: What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced and how did you resolve them? DS: Initially, it was building brand credibility. This takes constant focus on building stronger operational delivery every day and investment in your people, giving them the tools and skills necessary to ensure the company delivers. Being small early on kept us agile. As we grew, we continued to build and deliver our solutions to the market quickly and efficiently in response to major trends. DL: Were there any government programs that you found helpful? DS: Yes. SBA and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) have been helpful to us. The MBDA has provided us with a number of networking opportunities at the regional and national levels. The biggest impact for our company has been the national platform afforded by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). I often urge Hispanic businesses to become certified as a supplier, if they are focused on Fortune 500 corporations or government agencies, and be active in NMSDC.

Segura with his sister, Christine Rice, VisionIT president.

DL: What do potential entrepreneurs need to know about your industry? DS: The information technology sector is the business world’s fastest changing industry as it is based on innovation and disruptive technologies entering the marketplace. Our focus is on the operational and service sides of the market where we can take these technology trends and apply them to Fortune 500 corporations to help them better serve their customers, partners, and suppliers. DL: What has been the key to your success? DS: One key is definitely having a strong executive leadership team. At VisionIT, we went out and secured the top people in our industry with a laser focus on bringing game changing solutions to the market and delivering for our customers, while taking our company to an even higher level. DL: What advice do you have for prospective Latino entrepreneurs? DS: Gain entrepreneurial experience now. Start a small company small and learn the regular flow of what it takes to run a business (financial, marketing, sales, operations, technology, etc.). Recognize that being an entrepreneur is a journey and enjoy every step of the way while also celebrating with your team key moments and achievements. Understand how you will fund the business as it goes through different growth stages.

fall 2012 |


Founder Darlene Tenes

CasaQ | San Jose, California

DL: What was the impetus for launching CasaQ? Darlene Tenes: I started my business because I was unable to find Christmas decor and gifts that reflected my Latino roots. In 2007 I decided to design two hand-painted glass ornaments with a Latino flair and they sparked an immediate interest from the Latin GRAMMY Award producers who called and asked for them to be featured in their official celebrity gift baskets. DL: How did you find the capital to launch your business? DT: I had Marketing Maniacs, a PR and marketing agency that helped to fund CasaQ in the beginning. Once the business was up and running for a couple of years, I had an angel investor invest some money. DL: What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced and how did you resolve them? DT: Money flow is always an issue, especially for a seasonal business like mine. So I have to plan for the highs and lows of incoming revenue. I also needed to re-evaluate my business and employee positions and decide what was most costefficient to do in-house or outsource. DL: Were there any government programs that you found helpful? DT: Yes! I had a business consultant from the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) help me get my paperwork in order when I was going to present to the angel investor. SBDC helps small businesses with a variety of issues. DL: What do potential entrepreneurs need to know about your industry? DT: As with any business, clear and concise communication is key, to vendors, clients, or subcontractors.


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DL: What has been the key to your success? DT: Without a doubt, persistence. You can’t give up on your dream, you have to just keep moving forward. DL: What advice do you have for prospective Latino entrepreneurs? DT: Ask, ask, ask! Do not be afraid to ask others for advice and guidance along your journey. People love to share their knowledge and far from making you look naïve, it only makes you look smarter.dD

Cardenas clinches second Daytona SportBike championship The first rain race of the 2012 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Road Racing ended with Martin Cardenas under a shower of confetti as he officially clinched the GoPro Daytona SportBike championship with a safe fourth-place result Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. This is the second class championship for Cardenas in the last three years. He won the 2010 Daytona SportBike title before switching to Superbike last season. The 29-year-old Colombian returned to Daytona SportBike this year with the GEICO Suzuki team and leads the class with seven race wins and 12 overall podium finishes. “Every race and every lap since maybe the middle of the summer has been a test,” said Cardenas. “You stay very focused on limiting your mistakes and just riding to the best of your abilities. We have been able to do that this year and I’m very pleased.”

La Prensa Foundation Honors Diaz Fred Diaz, president and chief executive officer, Ram Truck Brand and president and chief executive officer, Chrysler de Mexico, Chrysler Group LLC, recently received the Lu Betancourt Award from La Prensa Foundation at the Foundation’s annual awards gala in San Antonio, Texas. The award recognizes his and Chrysler Group’s “consistent philanthropic value to the community.” Earlier this year, Diaz announced an award of a $50,000 grant to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) from the Ram Truck brand and The Chrysler Foundation. In December 2011, Diaz announced a similar $50,000 grant to HSF during the Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s annual Fiesta Hispana Gala in Dearborn, Mich. La Prensa Foundation, Inc. also provides scholarships to local college students and higher education institutions. Fred Diaz with Tino Duran, La Prensa Foundation

 Help Restore Cancer Survivor’s 1965 Pontiac Tempest

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In early October, prostate cancer survivor Larry Herrera, 65 of San Dimas, California received the surprise of a lifetime. His classic, albeit rundown 1965 Pontiac Tempest, came rolling back into his driveway, completely restored inside and out. It was all done through the goodwill and donations of his son-in-law, Lorenzo Strong, auto shops throughout Southern California specializing in classic car overhauls, and Kumho Tires. “I was overwhelmed when I saw the Tempest again,” said Herrera. “It’s an astounding transformation and it looks like and drives like a new car.” Herrera plans to use his restored antique to help raise awareness about prostrate cancer. After battling the disease for a year, his cancer went into remission. His doctors attribute his success largely to the fact that he detected and caught his symptoms early. He will take the Tempest on tour and talk to an audience with whom he is most familiar, classic car show enthusiasts. “Men have to get it together and we have to do something good for ourselves, have the doctor examine us,” said Herrera. “It really can save lives. I saved my own by getting screened early.” Herrera and the Tempest will appear at the annual Cruisin’ La Verne Car Show on November 24, plus many more in 2013.

fall 2012 |


Decisive auto latino


2013 Ram 1500

2013 Buick Verano Turbo

2013 Nissan Sentra 12

decisive auto latino

Pickups are tops in Texas, and among Latinos, and the 2013 1500 Ram just earned the Truck of Texas award given by the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA). Even before TAWA held its annual truck rodeo, Ram unveiled its 2013 model in Nashville, Tennessee, distinguished by a new eight-speed transmission that coupled with a new 3.6-liter V6 engine, achieves a best-in-class EPA estimated fuel economy of 18 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 25 mpg on the highway (20 percent improved). At the Truck Rodeo, however, Ram also brought the yet-to-be-released V8 HEMI matched to the eight-speed that not only achieves a best-in-class fuel economy but also best-in-class capability. Along with the first-in-class eight-speed automatic transmission, the 2013 1500 Ram adds fuel saving features like a stop-start system, electronic steering, air suspension, improved

aerodynamics, and grille shutters. Plus, the V6 model is approximately 76 pounds lighter than the previous version. Also, the V6 delivers an impressive towing rate of 6,500 pounds. Exterior changes include premium headlamps with bi-functional halogen projectors and LED accents for turn signals, side marker, and taillamps, a larger and new fascia for each trim level, new wheel designs, and a new six-foot fourinch bed option on Crew Cab (four-door) models. At the Rodeo, the standout model was the Laramie Longhorn edition with western design cues, like leather saddle bags on the back of the front seats and barbed wire patterned rubber floor mats. Starting price for the 2013 Ram 1500 will be $23,585, including $995 destination charge. The V6/eight-speed powertrain will cost an additional $1,000. —Valerie Menard

The Buick Verano, a conquest leader in its segment, joins its GM siblings by introducing a turbo-charged version for 2013. Considered the top-of-the line Verano, the Turbo Premium not only adds power and sportiness to the lineup, it offers unique features, inside and out. Available in the fourth quarter of 2012, the Turbo Premium includes an Ecotec 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with an estimated 250 horsepower and 260 lbs.–ft of torque, matched to a standard six-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed manual transmission is available exclusively on the turbo, a real treat on a stylish sedan like the Verano. It accelerates from zero– 60 mph in an estimated 6.2 seconds. It achieves an EPA-estimated city/highway fuel economy of 20/31 mpg with the manual transmission and 21/30 mpg with the automatic transmission. Premium fuel is recommended.

Additional distinctive features include dual exhaust, sport pedals, and a rear spoiler. Exceptional quietness accentuates the elegant interior via Buick’s trademark QuietTuning. On the test drive at the launch in Louisville, Kentucky, Verano turbo performed smoothly and quietly along the state’s rolling hills. What’s most impressive, however, is its interior fit and finish, as well as a healthy list of standard features, like a back-up camera, blindside warning, and rear cross-traffic alert. Also standard is IntelliLink that enables Bluetooth or USB to connect to the driver’s Smartphone and provides streaming stereo audio from the phone through services like Pandora Internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio. Pricing for the 2013 Verano Turbo Premium starts at $29,990. —VM

Nissan’s stalwart compact grows up to reflect its 30-year history, becoming a midsize sedan for 2013. While still competing in the compact segment, the new Sentra now offers more rear legroom and trunk space than its competitors. But the big news is fuel economy. Lighter than its predecessor (by 150 pounds) and 17 percent more aerodynamic, and powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, the 2013 Sentra boasts an EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy of 30/39 mpg when equipped with the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), that’s 13 percent better than the previous model and best in class. The new look of the Sentra also improves its curb appeal. Higher-end features like LED accents on the headlamps and taillamps and distinctive design cues give the Sentra a stron-

ger Nissan family resemblance. On the test drive in northern California during the recent launch, the Sentra performed well, with good acceleration and handling. The choice of three modes—Sport, Eco, and Normal, also improved the ride. Nissan representatives expressed a desire to relieve compact car buyers from the sacrifice of styling and comfort over fuel efficiency and price. This is true for the new Sentra, except for the lowly base model, the Sentra S. The only one with a six-speed manual transmission and also, the only one excluded from any option packages. It does come with air conditioning and an AM/FM/CD stereo. The base price on the Sentra S is $16,780, $400 less than the outgoing model. —VM


THE ELANTRA. 2012 NORTH AMERICAN CAR OF THE YEAR. Judged across different categories, such as innovation, comfort, design, safety and driver satisfaction, the Elantra was awarded this prestigious distinction by 50 North American automotive journalists. In other words, some high fives are in order. The 2012 Elantra, aka, the North American Car of the Year.

Hyundai is a registered trademark of Hyundai Motor Company. All rights reserved. Š2012 Hyundai Motor America.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

2013 Buick Enclave

2013 Nissan Pathfinder 14

decisive auto latino

For the third generation of the Santa Fe, Hyundai steps outside the box offering an option between a five-passenger version, Sport, or a longer wheelbase model (LWB), that seats six–seven and also replaces the Veracruz, permanently. This bold move is complimented by new looks that reflect sportiness with a sense of style, i.e. it’s quite a looker. Targeting families, the 2013 Santa Fe also brings additional versatility, like a 40/20/40 split second row seat that also reclines and slides forward and under floor storage in the cargo well. New technology includes a steering option mode that allows the driver to control steering feel, between comfort, normal, and sport, with the push of a button. Lighter than its predecessor, the new Santa

Fe also improves on fuel economy. Powered by a choice of two four-cylinder engines, a 2.0-liter turbo or a 2.4-liter, and matched to a six-speed electronic transmission, the latter achieves the better fuel economy; a city/ highway EPA estimated 22/33 mpg. A 3.3-liter with 294 horses powers the LWB. Both models are available in front-wheel or all-wheel drive versions. In a competitive segment like the midsize crossover, Hyundai hopes it pays to be accommodating. On the recent launch in Salt Lake City, the Santa Fe, declared the victor in its category at the TAWA Truck Rodeo, handled nicely and left little to criticize. With 24 buildable combinations, pricing for the Santa Fe starts at $25,275. —VM

Sporting a new, more refined look inside and out for 2013, the Buick Enclave also adds new and updated technology for better performance and value. Not a redesign, per se, the new Enclave sports a new waterfall grille, body color front and rear fascias and rocker moldings, LED daytime running lamps, chrome bodyside moldings, and LED taillamps. Interior enhancements including new instrument panel and door trim with real stitching (ice blue in some areas for added effect) and ambient lighting including an ice blue strip that runs across the sculpted dash. New standard safety features include a rear vision camera system and the innovative front center side air bag system that inflates to protect the driver and front-seat passenger from head injuries in the event of a side crash.

Available Side Blind Zone Alert with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert can be added to the Leather and Premium models; unfortunately, the Convenience base model will be excluded. Powered by an efficient, direct-injected 3.6-liter V6 that delivers an EPA-estimated 24 mpg on the highway (FWD models) and an updated six-speed automatic transmission that contributes to a more refined driving experience. All-wheel-drive (AWD) models are also available. At the recent launch in Louisville, Kentucky, I appreciated Buick’s QuietTuning engineering process, which uses laminated glass and extensive sound blocking and absorbing materials. Pricing for the updated Buick Enclave, which recently won the CUV of Texas award from TAWA, starts at $39,270. —VM

Redesigned for 2013, the fourth generation Nissan Pathfinder will be unrecognizable to many fans of its rugged precursor. Following a trend in the segment to make the midsize SUV more fuel efficient and appealing to families, the Pathfinder abandons its body-on-frame construction for a unibody. The result is a crossover look with a car-like ride, but the Pathfinder doesn’t sacrifice capacity or capability. It can still seat seven and tow 5,000 pounds. While the four-wheel low gear is gone, the available ALL-MODE 4x4-i system lets the driver choose full-time two-wheel drive (2WD) for maximum fuel economy, Auto mode or four-wheel-drive (4WD) Lock mode when the confidence of fulltime 4WD is desired. Five hundred pounds lighter and powered

by a 3.5-liter V6 mated to the next-generation Xtronic CVT, the Pathfinder should achieve an EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy of 20/26 mpg for the 2WD model. The Nissan Easy Fill Tire Alert is standard. The innovative 360-camera view is also available. For added utility, Nissan introduces the Latch and Slide second row bench (no captains chairs are available) that slides forward to allow the widest access to the third-row in its segment. Second and third row seats also fold flat for added cargo space. The seats, however, are not removable. Pricing for the 2013 Pathfinder starts at $28,270, excluding destination fees. —VM

2012 Mazda3 written by Valerie Menard

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In the car writing business, getting more than a week to test drive a vehicle is rare, so when Mazda agreed to loan me a Mazda3 Touring for three months, I was stoked.

My experience with Mazdas has been they all live up to the “Zoom, Zoom,” tag line and since the model I’ll be driving is a six-speed manual, five-door hatchback version, it’s sure to be peppy. But what will set this Mazda3 apart from other models I’ve tested is the SKYACTIV technology. Mazda’s best-selling vehicle worldwide, the Mazda3 accounts for nearly two thirds of all Mazda car sales in the United States. Indeed, after receiving the vehicle, I noticed that five-door Mazda3s were seemingly everywhere! The 2012 Mazda3 is also the first model in North America to debut SKYACTIV. Part of the technology includes the all-new SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter gasoline engine that delivers 155 horsepower and 148 lbs.–ft. of torque as well as the all-new

SKYACTIV-MT six-speed-manual transmission. Multiple components come together to make the SKYACTIVE powertrain more efficient. Approximately 4.4 pounds lighter than the current 2.0-liter engine, the SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter adopts multi-hole injectors to enhance fuel spray characteristics, along with specially developed piston cavity shapes that ensure a shorter combustion time and suppresses the impact on power and torque from engine knocking. Applying dual sequential valve timing (S-VT) also reduces pumping loss. The automatic also improves fuel economy. The Monroney shows an EPA estimated fuel economy of 27 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, but Mazda’s press kit claims it could reach 40 mpg on the highway, approximately 21-percent better than the current 2.0-liter engine when equipped with the optional six-speed automatic transmission. I’ve only just started to drive it but my experience so far falls short of the 40 mpg estimate. The best fuel economy I’ve received is 33.9 mpg and that was on a road trip to San Antonio. Also notable was the fact that the fuel gauge did not waver one tick below full the whole 80-plus-mile return trip. The verdict so far, it’s a peppy engine, fairly fuel efficient, and coupled with a manual transmission, an enjoyable ride. Pricing for the 2012 Mazda3 Touring five-door model starts at $19,745, including destination fees. Added features on this model include the interior lighting kit ($200)—it glows blue under the dash and when you adjust the volume on the radio—and Sirius Satellite Radio ($430). The as-tested price comes to $20,425.

fall 2012 |


2013 newcar decisive latino’s

buyer's guide Extravagance Is A Standard Feature written by Christopher Emmy Jackson

Traditionally, when the economy tanks, the auto industry tends to take a conservative turn. Rather than risking alienating a shrinking pool of buyers, the gee-whiz factor gets scaled back in favor of more "sensible" products designed to appeal to customers who are understandably tightening their belts. That doesn't seem to have happened with the recent economic downturn, though. Even while the stock market fell and unemployment rose, the march of automotive technology seemed to continue unabated. Rather than becoming less extravagant, new

cars have become more exciting and more lavish than ever. Whether you believe the economy has turned the corner or not, 2013's crop of new cars are exceptionally optimistic. Yes, the vehicles are smaller and more efficient, but

they're also packed with more technology than ever before. We've even got a few new supercars on deck, providing fresh dream material for gearheads of all economic brackets.

Aston Martin AM310 Vanquish: New Aston Martins don't come along every year, so the all-new AM310 Vanquish, which replaces the DBS, is definitely a big deal. Aston's traditionally burly-yet-genteel styling language makes the car's parentage unmistakable. Meanwhile, a 565-horsepower, 6.0 liter V12 provides significant motivation. An increase in interior room gives the Vanquish more credibility as a grand touring car. It'll be available in the UK this fall.

Audi S6 and S7: Graduating to Audi's performance class, the new A6 and A7 full-size sedans are beefed up with 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engines producing 420 horsepower. It's a change from the gas-sucking V10s that powered the last S6, improving efficiency while still maintaining a subfive-second 0-60 run. The S-models are set apart by large, "single-frame" grilles and subtle body kits.

BMW X1: Though it has been available since 2009 in Europe, we finally got the long-nosed subcompact X1 crossover in September. For the U.S. market, BMW provides a choice of 245-horsepower four-cylinder and 306-horsepower straight six engines. All-wheel drive and BMW's awesome driving dynamics are standard.

Buick Encore: Buick's staying at the leading edge of the compact-luxury wave with the Encore, which debuts early next year as the smallest luxury crossover on the market and possibly the smallest Buick ever. The Koreanbuilt Encore is just 168 inches long, seats five and features active noise cancellation. You’ll also find Buick-style amenities and a 140-horsepower, 1.4-liter turbocharged four with a six-speed automatic gearbox.

Buick Verano Turbo: Buick’s product team seems to have its eye on Acura with the turbocharged Verano. While it doesn't look too much different from the naturally aspirated Verano, a seventy-horsepower jump to 250 is nothing to scoff at. A choice of manual or automatic transmissions is offered. The Verano Turbo sports standard leather upholstery, a backup camera, and an upgraded sound system.

cadilac ats: Cadillac revamps its sedan lineup for 2013, and the new ATS is a big part of that. Junior to the CTS, the rear-drive ATS has been developed for entertaining performance, and is available with a choice of four- and six-cylinder engines—up to a 321-horsepower direct-injection V6. Minimalist styling inside and out gives the ATS a clean, modern look and cool details like illuminated door handles, real wood and carbon fiber trim and ambient interior lighting give the ATS luxury credibility. The sporty suspension flexed its muscles at Germany's Nurburgring during testing. cadillac xts: For 2013, the STS and DTS are both gone, replaced by a single model. The all-wheel drive XTS features all of the toys, from a head-up display to the new CUE interactive infotainment system. Standard equipment includes Cadillac's Magnetic Ride Control, Brembo brakes, adaptive cruise control, a cross-traffic alert and blind spot warning system, capless fuel filler, heated front and rear seats, and remote start. And because it's a Cadillac, there's also a massive 18 cubic-foot trunk out back.

Chevrolet Impala: Did you forget the Impala was still in production? Not a surprise, since it hasn't changed much in six years. The all-new 2014 Impala arrives early next year, with a Camaro-inspired design and three new four- and six-cylinder direct-injection engines. Automatic cruise control, a lane departure warning system, and upgraded infotainment packages are available.

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Ferrari F12berlinetta: In keeping with Ferrari's new, avant-garde naming scheme, the 599 GTB Fiorano's replacement becomes the F12berlinetta. The F12berlinetta's hood covers a massive 6.3-liter, 730-horsepower V12 connected to a F1-style seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Shorter, lighter and more powerful than the 599 GTB, the F12berlinetta has the distinction of being one of the fastest road-going Ferraris ever with a reported 3.1-second 0-60 run.

Fiat 500L: Perhaps as a challenge to the MINI Countryman, Fiat's 500 grows in 2013. The 500L features two additional doors and a lot more cargo room, with the same cheeky modern styling that sets the 500 apart. Unlike the Countryman, only a front-wheel drive model is expected.

Ford Focus ST: Ford offers its first serious challenger in the hot sportcompact set since the SVT Focus. The Focus ST gets some of its DNA (and much of its attitude) from European world rally championship cars, while picking up Mustang-like styling cues, in addition to a 252-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter engine. Pricing's expected to start at $24,495.

Ford C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi: Ford's C-MAX ensures Toyota's Prius v won't be the only cargo-carrying hybrid on the block. This tall fivedoor hatchback features a compact lithium-ion battery that doesn't intrude on interior space. C-MAX is available as a conventional hybrid or in plug-in hybrid form as the Energi. Functional details like a hands-free tailgate, SmartGauge with EcoGuide, and active parking assist are available.

Ford Fusion: New from the ground up, the Ford Fusion does away with V6 power in favor of a more powerful and more efficient 237-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injection four-cylinder. It's one of three fourcylinders available to power the updated family sedan, whose Aston Martinlike looks clothe optional features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, active parking assist, and a blind spot warning system.

Honda Accord: An all-new, bulkier-looking Honda Accord arrives for 2013, sporting styling cues from the Crosstour in the expected two- and four-door models. A new continuously variable transmission improves fuel economy, and a 185-horsepower four-cylinder engine is standard. The CVT bumps fuel economy to 36 on the freeway, and pricing starts at just under $22,000.

lexus es: Over the years, the Lexus ES has grown and changed from the "junior" luxury car to a midrange, midsize vehicle that goes a long way toward defining the class. For 2013, a ground-up redesign aims to change the wallflower aspect of its attitude. The distinctive new "spindle" grille and a more substantial body combine with a totally revamped interior swathed in luxury for an experience that's familiar yet all-new. Conventional and hybrid versions are available, as always.


Decisive auto latino

Decisive auto latino

lexus gs: It broke cover over a year ago, but the 2013 Lexus GS is now officially on the streets. Bulked up and beefed up to do battle with Audi and BMW, Lexus' big sport sedan nonetheless retains a unique identity thanks to a new family grille and muscular styling that eschews the typical bigflares, big-spoilers look of some sports sedans. The suspension features selectable drive modes, and both the GS 350 and GS 450h are powered by V6 engines to maintain decent fuel economy.

Lincoln MKZ: Dream car styling distinguishes the newest Lincoln MKZ, as the marque continues putting the distinctive split-grille styling from its concept cars onto the street. The new MKZ is available with a 2.0-liter fourcylinder, a 300-horsepower 3.7 V6 or a hybrid that gets 41 mpg in the city. A panoramic sunroof, 1950s-style pushbutton transmission and adaptive cruise control are also available.

MINI Paceman: MINI expands its lineup yet again by chopping two doors off of the "maxi-MINI" Countryman crossover, resulting in the Paceman all-wheel drive hatchback coupe. Powertrains are expected to be similar to those of the Countryman.

nissan sentra: The somewhat boring Sentra grows up for 2013, with a new design to match its big brothers, a new 130-horsepower 1.8-liter engine that's capable of up to 39 mpg on the freeway, a new CVT and a range of infotainment features to take it into premium-compact territory. The design makes the car look larger than it is; dimensions remain about the same as the outgoing model.

porsche boxster: While it might not be readily apparent at a glance, thanks to Porsche's typically conservative design tweaks, the 2013 Boxster is all-new. Lighter, faster and more fuel-efficient, the new Boxster provides exotic-car performance at a real-world price. A choice of flat-six engines rides amidships, providing 265 or 315 horsepower, depending upon whether you select the Boxster or Boxster S. Porsche's seven-speed Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) dual-clutch transmission is available just like for its 911 big brother. Other features adopted from the 911 include Porsche Active Suspension Management, Porsche Torque Vectoring, and Launch Control. A longer wheelbase improves stability and also makes the new Boxster look more exotic.

SRT Viper: Now the flagship of Chrysler's freshly-minted SRT brand, the Viper is all-new yet hasn't changed much, at least in terms of its philosophy. A 640-horsepower, 8.0-liter V10 powers the rear wheels and rockets this carbon fiber and aluminum exotic to ludicrous speeds just as eagerly as ever. Stability control and more creature comforts are now standard.

fall 2012 |


Decisive auto latino

Subaru BR-Z/Scion FR-S: It's gonna be hard to convince folks that these twin cars, the result of an unlikely collaboration between Subaru and Toyota, aren't Miatas with roofs. Nor is the urge to think of the Honda S2000. The BR-Z and FR-S feel a bit less caffeinated than the S2000 and a bit more hardcore than the Miata, and that's where they fit for now. The flat-four 2.0-liter engine combines Subaru's usual layout with Toyota direct injection to produce 200 horsepower while still getting up to 34 mpg on the freeway. Light weight and agile performance are also on the menu of course. Since one usually has to call up BMW and pay accordingly to procure a long-nosed, short-bodied, athletic sedan of this ilk, we doubt many people are going to complain.

Subaru XV Crosstrek: It may have a complicated name, but the idea behind the XV Crosstrek is pretty simple; it's a crossover'd Impreza wagon, with a lifted suspension providing 8.7 inches of ground clearance and all-wheel drive. Subaru's 148-horsepower boxer four-cylinder is backed up by a larger fuel tank for a greater cruising range, and the styling has been suitably beefed up.

toyota avalon: The conservative Avalon is all-new for 2013, adopting much more aggressive and expressive design similar to that of the new Lexus midrange as well as debuting the first hybrid in the large sedan's history. Features like the shelf-like dash and infotainment center and available leather-wrapped interior seem to have been borrowed from Lexus as well.

tesla model s: Now that Fisker's made the sport-luxury range-extended electric sedan respectable, Tesla's ready to answer its rival electric upstart. The popular Tesla Roadster is gone for 2013, but the Model S sedan is ready to replace it as the tiny company's sole offering. Much more plush than the Roadster was, the Model S features a massive 17-inch touchscreen display on the dash, a panoramic glass roof, USB chargers for phones and other devices, and two trunks for SUV-like cargo capacity. A choice of three battery-operated powertrains is offered, and Tesla has recently gotten into the business of building charging stations so that its cars can start competing with gasoline-powered vehicles on longer trips as well. Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid: The new Jetta Hybrid is geared as much for performance as it is fuel economy, considering its 1.4-liter turbocharged engine and seven-speed DSG transmission. The system makes 177 total horsepower and can run on full-electric power up to 44 mph. When the battery is charged, the Jetta Hybrid can also coast gasoline-free on the highway. Fuel economy is expected to be in the mid- to high forties.

Volkswagen Beetle Convertible: We're headed into cooler weather, but the arrival of the ragtop version of the redesigned Beetle shouldn't come as a surprise. The convertible top mimics the flat-roof styling of the new coupe, and engine availability is the same, including the new 2.0-liter TDI clean diesel.


Decisive auto latino

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