Tag: upcoming reviews cars

Kia Soul 1.6L Eco 2012

Kia trimmed its Soul lineup for 2012 by dropping the range-topping Sport model, and so now it offers only three trims: Base, + and !, which when spoken are simply referred to as Base, Plus and Exclaim. The Plus and Exclaim both come with Kia’s new 2.0-liter “Nu” four-cylinder engine that produces 164 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque, significantly more than the 2.0-liter it replaces. Normally we’re interested in testing the most powerful engine an automobile has to offer, but in this case we have our eye on the Soul’s base engine: a new gasoline direct-injected (GDI) 1.6-liter four-cylinder rated at 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque.

Normally we’re interested in testing the most powerful engine an automobile has to offer, but in this case we have our eye on the Soul’s base engine. Why? Kia says the take rate on the Soul’s base engine for its first



2012 Infiniti QX56 [w/video]

Based on the Nissan Patrol, a full-size SUV not sold in North America, the Japanese-built Infiniti QX56 was completely redesigned for 2011. Updates for 2012 were negligible, and basically amounted to shuffling some different options around to different packages. Our test vehicle was a four-wheel-drive model (with a standard locking center differential and low-range transfer case; a rear-wheel-drive version is also available) that carries a starting MSRP of $61,800. But in this case – loaded up with every available package – the sticker was $75,340, including the $990 destination charge.

That makes the QX one seriously expensive machine and the priciest in the Infiniti lineup by a goodly amount. Of course, your sixty-to-seventy large buys a lot of vehicle. Make no mistake, the QX is a big boy truck, the sort that makes you think twice about tossing the keyfob to your buddy who’s never owned anything larger than a



2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302

There was never going to be a problem with power. The 412-horsepower 5.0-liter engine in the Mustang GT is a corker on its own, but Ford has gone to a lot of trouble to extract 444 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque for this car. They could’ve simply bolted on a blower and called it a day, but in order to maximize reliability and stay true to the legacy of the original Boss, natural aspiration was called for. To that end, the 5.0-liter has been treated to CNC-machined aluminum heads, special pistons and sinter-forged con rods, sodium-filled exhaust valves and an uprated crankshaft.

Other key changes include a 3.73 final drive ratio, reworked 1.0g-approved oil pan, a composite short-run intake and a unique quad-outlet exhaust system. The Boss offers one of the best soundtracks we’ve ever heard on a mass-production car. It’s those last two bits that will have you



2012 Shelby GTS

As you might remember, this isn’t the first time that Shelby has built a Mustang for the masses. The Shelby GT from a few years ago was fairly reasonably priced at $9,500 above the Mustang GT’s msrp and featured an upgraded suspension system, cold air intake, unique 18-inch wheels, short-throw shifter and a few exterior modifications for a unique look. The car was a big hit, with Shelby producing several thousands examples from 2007 to 2008 in both coupe and convertible form. The Shelby GTS won’t be sold through Ford dealers like the GT.

In a way, the GTS is the successor to the GT, but Shelby is going about its latest value model in a different way. For starters, the GTS won’t be sold through Forddealers like the GT. Customers have to send their own Mustangs to Shelby’s facility in Las Vegas where the conversion is done. The other



2011 Chrysler Town & Country Touring

The biggest change for the 2011 model year (2012 models are just starting to hit dealerships, but changes are limited to standard leather and rear-seat DVD for all models, as well as some new colors) is the addition of Chrysler’s new 283-horsepower Pentastar V6 with 260 pound-feet of torque. That’s best-in-class power if you’re scoring at home, and the monster mill makes nice with a six-speed automatic transmission that offers smooth shifts and improved fuel economy. The Odyssey and Sienna may have lower starting prices, but neither offers as many standard features as the Town Country.

Our $32,965 (plus $835 destination) Town and Country Touring tester also includes an impressive list of standard features like Stow ‘n Go seats that fold flat into the floor, a six-speaker audio system and leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob. Other standard features include rain-sensing wipers, power side doors and rear hatch, blind-spot sensors



2012 Ford Edge Limited EcoBoost

Our Dark Blue Pearl Metallic tester in Limited trim carried a base price tag of $34,915 that rises to $35,910 by ticking the EcoBoost option box. Ford doesn’t mess around when it comes to the Limited trim: Standard accoutrements include leather-trimmed and heated seats up front, a 10-way power driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control, SYNC infotainment, a 390-watt Sony sound system, back-up sensors and a rear view camera. Our Edge was also packed with some of Ford’s top options, including the 2.0-liter EcoBoost upgrade, Ford’s excellent navigation system ($795), and BLIS blind-spot detection ($485).

This Edge Limited also included the Drivers Entry Package ($895), which adds remote start, push-button start and a power rear lift gate. Also making the scene was Ford’s much-maligned MyFord Touch system – in this guise, it includes a pair of 4.2-inch LED screens in the gauge cluster and five-way steering wheel controls. With all options



2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ

Our test vehicle was an $18,690, five-door LTZ. This is the top-of-the-line Sonic, which is why its MSRP was so much more expensive than the $14,635 (plus $760 destination) starting price Chevy is advertising. While nearly $20,000 for a subcompact that in a previous life was the cheapest car sold in America seems high, the Sonic hatchback looks and feels like a quality product from the start. Its design is aggressive, leaning purposefully forward thanks to two character lines running from the front wheel well towards the rear of the car.

The Sonic has the best looking front fascia we’ve seen on a Chevy in years, with oversize fog lamps complimenting the projector-style headlights, which are wrapped in a black bezel to make them appear even more recessed. They will no doubt prove hard to keep clean, but fashion exacts a price. So too does the clever rear door handle,



2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged [w/video]

Jaguar first introduced us to its XF sedan at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show. The strikingly handsome four-door, designed by Ian Callum, replaced the retro-steeped S-Type in the British automaker’s lineup when it rolled into North American showrooms as all-new for the 2009 model year. Americans were initially offered a choice between a naturally-aspirated 4.2-liter V8 and a supercharged variant of the same engine – the flagship was a model called the XF Supercharged. There were big changes in 2010 when a 5.0-liter V8 arrived to deliver more power to the upper trim levels.

While the XF Supercharged also returned, it was eclipsed by a new flagship model dubbed XFR. The high-performance variant featured more horsepower, oversized brakes, adaptive suspension, 20-inch wheels, limited-slip differential and many cosmetic enhancements. Its target was enthusiast-tuned models from Germany and America. While 2010 was exciting for the XF, the 2011 model year was quiet.