Thursday, April 1, 2010
Most Incredible Cars To Rock In 2011
The following are some of the amazing cars that may rock in 2011.
2011 Hyundai Sonata Turbo
Hyundai has said since last fall that the 2011 Sonata would only be offered with four-cylinder engines, with a turbocharged four-cylinder in place of the traditional V-6. Well, here it is: A 2.0-liter direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder will be optional on the SE and Limited trims by year's end.
It makes 274 horsepower and 269 pounds-feet of torque — considerably more power than the base Sonata's 198- or 200-hp, normally aspirated four-cylinder. Hyundai estimates the turbo Sonata will get an EPA-rated 22/34 mpg city/highway, just 1 mpg highway less than the non-turbo. That's better than a lot of non-turbo four-cylinder family cars.
There's no word yet on pricing for the Sonata 2.0 turbo, and you can bet it will add a premium to the pricing of the SE ($22,595) and Limited ($25,295). Like on those trims, a six-speed automatic will be standard. The turbocharged SE adds 18-inch wheels, steering wheel paddle shifters and dual tailpipes. Move up to the turbo Limited, and you'll get a panoramic moonroof.
2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
The MKZ Hybrid's drivetrain technology should look familiar, as the car is related to the Ford Fusion Hybrid, but it features a number of extra luxury touches.
Official gas mileage figures haven't been released, but expect them to be similar to the Fusion Hybrid's 41/36 mpg city/highway rating, if not the same. It hits dealerships in fall 2010.
Like the Fusion Hybrid, the MKZ Hybrid doesn't do much to advertise itself as a hybrid. There are some extra badges on the front doors and trunklid, but without them, this sedan could easily be mistaken for a regular MKZ, with its large twin-port grille and wide LED taillights.
The MKZ Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine and an electric motor that make a combined 191 horsepower. As with the Fusion Hybrid, Ford claims the MKZ Hybrid can travel at speeds as high as 47 mph on electric power alone.
Lexus has been one of the few automakers to market hybrid sedans in the luxury segment, but until recently its efforts have yielded performance-oriented hybrids that didn't offer markedly better gas mileage than their gas-only siblings. The automaker's new HS 250h is decidedly more fuel efficient at 35/34 mpg, but Lexus has been trumped by Lincoln and the MKZ Hybrid, which offers better gas mileage and more room for passengers.
2011 Nissan Juke
Nissan's new five-seat Juke small crossover is about 20 inches shorter than the Rogue, currently the smallest crossover in the automaker's lineup, but the Juke packs a more powerful engine and a sophisticated, available all-wheel-drive system that together give the Juke a decidedly sporty bearing. Offered in S, SV and SL trim levels, the Juke hits dealerships in fall 2010 and will be available with a number of upscale features, including push-button start and a navigation system with real-time traffic info.
Power comes from a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder with direct injection and is rated at an estimated 180 horsepower and 170 pounds-feet of torque. A continuously variable automatic transmission is standard, and a six-speed manual is available, though the manual is offered only on front-wheel-drive SV and SL trims. The Juke is also available with Nissan's Integrated Control system, which tailors the response of the gas pedal, CVT and steering based on three selectable modes: Normal, Sport and Eco. EPA-estimated gas-mileage figures haven't been released.
Standard features include a CD stereo with steering-wheel controls and iPod connectivity, and Bluetooth. Standard safety features include antilock brakes, side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags for both rows, an electronic stability system and active head restraints for the front seats. Available features include automatic air conditioning, leather upholstery, heated front seats, backup camera, push-button start, moonroof and a navigation system with a 5-inch touch-screen.
2011 Infiniti QX56
The redesigned interior sports more three-dimensional gauges, a four-spoke steering wheel and gathered leather inserts along the doors. An available rear entertainment system can play two video sources on separate screens.
The QX hits dealerships this summer with a starting price of $56,700 for rear-wheel-drive models. Four-wheel drive adds $3,100; both prices are unchanged from the 2010 QX56.
Available high-tech features include lane departure warning and prevention systems, a blind spot warning system and Infiniti's Around View Monitor. Twenty-two-inch wheels are packaged with Hydraulic Body Motion Control, which Infiniti says fights body roll while cornering.
Thanks to direct injection and a new seven-speed automatic, the QX gets another 80 horsepower under the hood for a total of 400 hp, and Infiniti says gas mileage is up 10 percent. That means combined EPA ratings could hit 15 or 16 mpg, which is not thrifty by any measure but keeps up with the Escalades and Navigators of the world. Towing capacity drops slightly to 8,500 pounds; last year's QX topped out at 8,900 pounds.
2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class
Besides the expected R350 4Matic version, there will also be an E350 Bluetec 4Matic with a turbo-diesel engine producing 210 horsepower and 400 pounds-feet of torque. Anemic mileage of 14/19 mpg city/highway for the gasoline E350 is easily bested by the Bluetec's 18/24 mpg city/highway.
There's not much on the luxury market that compares to the R-Class, but the closest we can think of is the Lincoln MKT, which features an optional twin-turbo V-6 engine that's good for 16/22 mpg city/highway with all-wheel drive.
Both R350s come with 19-inch AMG wheels standard or optional 20-inch wheels as part of a Sport Package. The vehicles also come as six-seaters, with a seven-seat configuration optional. It's the open and spacious interior that really made the previous R-Class unique, and that continues with the 2011. Cargo volume maxes out at a sizable 84 cubic feet. The MKT only manages 75.9 cubic feet.
2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
The 2011 Sonata Hybrid, set to go on sale at the end of this year, combines a 2.4-liter Atkinson Cycle four-cylinder with a 30-kW electric motor for a total output of 209 horsepower, which is nominally more than the base four-cylinder Sonata's output. Hyundai says overall gas mileage will be 37/39 mpg city/highway; that puts it ahead of the Toyota Camry Hybrid's 33/34 mpg and just short of the Ford Fusion Hybrid's 41/36 mpg.
Inside, an LCD screen bounded by the gauges shows energy flow between the various drivetrain components, as well as indicators for electric mode, battery charge and gas mileage. Get the optional navigation system and it shows a more robust version of all this. It wouldn't be complete without some hokey way of diagramming your efficiency, though: The Fusion Hybrid does this with pictographic Efficiency Leaves, and Hyundai's answer is an Eco Level scoring system. It displays a sky that turns an earth-happy blue if you drive more efficiently. Lead-foot around too much, and the sky reverts to a smoggy gray.
The Sonata Hybrid uses a conventional six-speed automatic transmission instead of the CVT-like electrically variable transmissions most competing hybrids use.It uses a lithium-polymer battery that's 40 percent smaller and 10 percent more efficient than the nickel-metal-hydride batteries used in virtually all other hybrids, according to Hyundai.Like many hybrid batteries, Hyundai's sits at the forward section of the trunk, and it cuts trunk volume some 35 percent.
Hyundai has yet to sell any hybrids, so whatever federal tax credit the Sonata Hybrid qualifies for will be long-lived. Under current legislation, any automaker can sell 60,000 hybrids before its tax credits phase out.
2011 Scion iQ
The iQ is 120.1 inches long, more than a foot longer than the Smart ForTwo. It also packs two extra seats in a unique 3+1 configuration that you'll have to see to understand. But the +1 is suggested to accommodate a "dog." No, really. Scion says that's how much room there is. A Paris Hilton-sized pup most likely.
But it's unlikely the iQ will be carrying four often, dog or no. This micro-subcompact is meant for efficient driving and features a small four-cylinder engine with continuously variable automatic transmission that the company says should get in the high 30s in terms of gas mileage.
Standard equipment includes USB and auxiliary audio ports and steering-wheel audio controls. It also comes with stability control and 10 airbags standard, including a rear-window curtain airbag and an airbag for the driver's seat cushion.
2011 Scion tC
The new look follows a recent design trend that can be seen on cars from the Kia Forte Koup to the Nissan GT-R supercar, but it looks a bit generic on the Scion tC. At least it's different enough from the outgoing model that car shoppers will notice the change.
A bigger, more powerful engine ups the horses by 19 to 180 horsepower. By adding six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, the 2011 tC will get better fuel economy, too, according to Scion. The car is also lower with large 18-inch alloy wheels and improved handling.
The cabin gets an upgrade with an all-new steering wheel and new cloth seating. There's also more interior room.
The previous generation's panoramic moonroof remains standard; USB inputs, an eight-speaker stereo system and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls are also standard.
2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon
What makes the CTS-V Sport Wagon special? You can get the same 556-horsepower, supercharged V-8 engine in the CTS-V sedan and upcoming CTS-V coupe, but the wagon, well, it has a hatch.
Its unique body style is all we can say about what distinguishes the wagon from either of the other two high-performance variants. It will ride on 19-inch aluminum wheels, pack magnetic ride control, Brembo brakes and has an optional panoramic sunroof.
2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco
The new Chevrolet Cruze will hit dealers in about six months, powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. It will come in LS, LT and LTZ trims. It's a pretty standard rollout for the company's all-new compact sedan. What's not standard is the Eco trim just announced ahead of the New York auto show.
Unlike past efforts by Chevy to add high-efficiency trims, the Cruze Eco does more than just add low-rolling-resistance tires, though it does that, too. The big difference is under the hood, with a unique turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder with variable valve timing. Chevy predicts the Cruze Eco will achieve highway mileage of 40 mpg. A Honda Insight hybrid gets 43 mpg highway.
Besides the engine, other advanced efficiency changes include a lower grille on the front of the car that closes at highway speeds to improve aerodynamics. The upper grille doesn't feature as many openings as the standard model, again to improve aerodynamics. The Cruze Eco also rides lower to the ground, and the 17-inch aluminum wheels are lightweight. And you get the low-rolling-resistance 17-inch Goodyear tires.
A six-speed manual transmission comes standard; the six-speed automatic is optional. The manual will get to 60 mph in 10 seconds, the automatic in 9 seconds. If you're worried about zero-to-60 times, this is likely not the car for you.
Because of all these added features, we don't expect the Cruze Eco to be a less expensive variant of the lineup, like the current Chevy Cobalt XFE. We guess it will be priced as high as an upper LT or LTZ trim level when it goes on sale late this year, but not as expensive as an Insight.
Chevy also announced there will be an optional RS appearance package for those upper LT and LTZ trims. While no price has been released, the RS package adds unique bumpers, body moldings, rear spoiler and fog lamps. Inside, the gauge cluster gets chrome accents and a backlighting effect.
2011 Subaru Impreza WRX
The new sedan and hatchback basically get the exact same wide-body-style treatment as the top performance trim STI. That makes the track 1.5 inches wider, and even the standard 17-inch wheels and tires are an extra inch wider, which should make the car grip the road even better than the 2010 model.
Everything else remains relatively the same, with the 265-horsepower, turbo four-cylinder making 244 pounds-feet of torque still under the scooped hood and the same all-wheel drive with a locking center differential. Unfortunately, the five-speed manual transmission also remains, while most competitors have six-speeds.
The beefier dimensions add 33 pounds to the overall weight, but that shouldn't impact much of this car's performance.