DETROIT - INFINITI
Infiniti is changing the names of all of its vehicles in the 2014 model year. All sedans, coupes and convertibles will have the Q badge (the M becomes the Q60, for example), while SUVs and crossovers will be called QX. The move helps clarify where each model stands in the brand's lineup and also gives a nod to the brand's original flagship sedan, the Q45.
Q50: New to Infiniti's lineup is the entry-level Q50, a small competitor to the Lexus IS and BMW 3-Series. It has a low, wide look and taut lines. Under the hood is a 328-horsepower, 3.7-litre V6 that gets 20 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway. A hybrid version, which gets an estimated 36 mpg on the highway, is also available. The Q50, which went on sale this summer, starts at $36,700 (excluding shipping) for the base model and $43,950 for the hybrid.
QX60: The QX60 crossover, previously called the JX35, gets a hybrid version that's available in both front-wheel and all-wheel-drive. Fuel economy and pricing haven't been released for the hybrid, which goes on sale in September.
F TYPE: The two-seat, rear-wheel-drive sports convertible was unveiled at the Paris auto show in 2012 and went on sale in the U.S. earlier this summer. Jaguar says the F Type has the company's most advanced use of lightweight aluminum to date, giving it a stiffer and more dynamic ride. There are three engine choices: Jaguar's new 3.0-litre V6 with either 340 horsepower or 380 horsepower outputs, or a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 with 495 horsepower. The latter can go from zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and has a top speed of 186 mph. All are mated to an eight-speed transmission. On the inside, Jaguar has modified its touch-screen controls and now has physical dials for heating and ventilation. On the outside, there's a big grille and vertical headlights that follow the sleek lines of the car. To help the flow, the door handles remain flush with the car until they're unlocked, and a hidden rear spoiler rises at 60 mph and lowers again when the speed drops below 40 mph. The F Type starts at $69,000 excluding shipping.
XJR: After a four-year absence, a top-of-the-line R sport model returns to Jaguar's XJ sedan lineup. It has a 5.0-litre V8 engine with 550 horsepower and 502 pound feet of torque mated to an eight-speed transmission, and it can go from zero to 60 mph in a blistering 4.4 seconds. The XJR also has new, low-profile 20-inch wheels. A stop-start system, which shuts the vehicle down at stop lights, helps save fuel economy, which clocks in at 18 mpg in combined city/highway driving. The XJR starts at $116,000.
FORTE: The 2014 Forte small car, which went on sale in March, is bigger and sportier than the outgoing model. There are three trim levels: the base LX with a 1.8-litre, 148-horsepower four-cylinder engine and a manual transmission that starts at $15,900; an LX with an automatic transmission starting at $17,400; and the EX, which has a 2.0-litre, 173-horsepower four-cylinder engine and starts at $19,400. The LX gets 29 mpg in combined city and highway driving; the EX gets 1 mpg less. On the inside, the Forte has premium standard features, including wheel-mounted audio controls, satellite radio, power windows and heated folding side mirrors. Cruise control and keyless entry are optional. Two variations will go on sale this fall: The Forte5 hatchback and Forte Koup two-door. Those performance-oriented models will have two engine choices: The 2.0-litre, 173-horsepower four-cylinder or a new, turbocharged 1.6-litre I4 with 201 horsepower. Pricing hasn't been announced for the Koup or the Forte5.
CADENZA: Kia pulled its full-size Amanti sedan off the market three years ago. Now, it returns and gets significantly more upscale with the 2014 Cadenza. The Cadenza's big, 18-inch wheels and long, contoured hood give it a premium look. It's equipped with Kia's most powerful V6 engine ever, a 3.3-litre V6 with 293 horsepower, and has several new standard features, including a navigation system and rear-view camera in an 8-inch dashboard touch screen. Options on higher trim levels include Kia's first lane departure warning system, which beeps if the driver leaves the lane, and water-repellent front side windows. The Cadenza starts at $35,100, which includes complimentary maintenance for 36 months or 37,000 miles.
SORENTO: The 2014 Sorento crossover isn't completely new, but it has been significantly updated. It sits on a new chassis — to improve ride and handling — and has a new standard engine, a 2.4-litre direct-injection four-cylinder with 191 horsepower. A new 3.3-litre V6 with 290 horsepower is also available. The redesigned Sorento — which seats five or seven with the optional third row — offers two Kia firsts: a blind spot detection system and a power liftgate with programmable height levels. The outside is bolder with a larger grille and optional 19-inch wheels, while the inside is more sophisticated, with a simpler dashboard and a bigger, 8-inch touchscreen that's standard on higher trim levels. The Sorento, which went on sale in the spring, starts at $24,100.
SOUL: The funky, boxy Soul has a more premium look in its second generation, with more width and length and a more aggressive grille. Inside, there are upgraded materials and a larger, 8-inch touch screen in the dashboard. To improve the driving dynamics, the body is stiffer and the suspension has been reworked. There's an updated 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine with 130 horsepower on the base model, and a 2.0-litre, direct-injection I4 with 164 horsepower on higher trim levels. Pricing and fuel economy numbers haven't been released for the new Soul, which goes on sale this fall.
RANGE ROVER SPORT: Land Rover boasts that the 2014 Range Rover Sport is its fastest vehicle ever, with a zero-to-60 time of 4.7 seconds and a much more agile feel thanks to its new, lighter aluminum underbody. The inside is more luxurious and contains a new folding third row with two seats. Under the hood, there's a 3.0-litre V6 with 340 horsepower or a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 with 510 horsepower. The base engine gets 23 mpg on the highway; the V8 gets 17 mpg. The Range Rover Sport, which goes on sale this fall, starts at $63,495.
IS 250/IS 350: The 2014 IS, the smallest sedan in the Lexus lineup, now stands apart with the bold, spindle-shaped grille of other new Lexus models. The engines — a 2.5-litre, 204-horsepower engine in the IS 250 and 250 F Sport and a 3.5-litre, 306-horsepower V6 in the 350 and 350 F Sport — are carried over from previous models, but fuel economy has improved slightly, to 30 mpg on the highway for the 250 and 28 mpg for the 350. The biggest difference is in the driving dynamics. Lexus says steering is smoother and responds better to the driver, while a revised suspension improves performance. Lexus also did some spot welding on the body of the car to make it more rigid and improve the ride comfort. Inside, there's more room thanks to a 3-inch increase in the wheelbase and thinner front seats. Another feature new to the IS is standard folding rear seats. The IS 250 starts at $35,950, while the IS 350 starts at $39,465.
MKC: Ford relaunched its luxury Lincoln brand in the spring with the new MKZ midsize sedan. It was the first of four new Lincolns expected over the next four years. The company hasn't yet confirmed which new vehicle will be next, but it's widely expected to be the MKC small crossover. If it looks anything like the concept shown in January at the Detroit auto show, the MKC will have subtly undulating sides and a panoramic glass roof. It will also get the brand's new Black Label trim level, with exclusive paint colours and premium interior touches like suede-wrapped pillars. Pricing hasn't been released.
GHIBLI: Maserati hopes to expand its customer base with the new Ghibli, a smaller four-door sedan designed and priced to compete with the Audi A7, BMW 6-Series and other high-volume luxury car makers. Pricing hasn't been released, but it's expected to be in the $65,000 to $70,000 range, or around half the cost of the larger Quattroporte. There are two engine choices: a 3.0-litre V6 with 345 horsepower in the base model and a 3.0-litre V6 with 404 horsepower for the sporty S version. The transmission is an eight-speed manual. Maserati promises more details in late September.
QUATTROPORTE: The Quattroporte sedan is longer and lighter than before, but still has Maserati's distinctive oval grille and elegant, minimalist styling. The base engine is the 3.0-litre V6 with 404 horsepower shared with the smaller Ghibli S. Also offered is a new 3.8-litre turbocharged V8 with 523 horsepower. For the first time, the sedan is offered with four-wheel drive. Pricing will be released later this fall when the car goes on sale.
MAZDA3: The third generation Mazda3 small car, which goes on sale this fall, now has the same elegant swooping lines, elongated hood and narrow headlights of the larger Mazda6. The Mazda3 now has Mazda's Skyactiv suite of fuel-saving technologies, which include lighter materials and a more efficient engine. The interior is upgraded, with new standard features including push-button start, automatic power door locks and keyless entry. It also offers new safety features, including a lane departure warnings system, a forward collision warning system and a system that automatically applies the brakes in low-speed situations to avoid a collision. There are two four-cylinder engine choices: the 2.0-litre with 155 horsepower and a 2.5-litre borrowed from the Mazda6 with 184 horsepower. Hatchback and sedan models with the 2.0-litre are estimated to get around 40 mpg on the highway; fuel economy with the 2.5-litre is a little lower. The Mazda3 starts at $16,945.
MAZDA6: The 2014 Mazda6 midsize sedan went on sale early in 2013 but has already gotten an update. Mazda is now offering its iELOOP technology on the Mazda6's top trim level. The system captures energy during braking and uses it to power all the vehicle's electrical components, including headlights, climate control and audio systems. Mazda says the system makes the Mazda6 the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid on the market, at 40 mpg on the highway and 32 in combined city/highway driving. The iELOOP system is part of a $2,000 option package on the Grand Touring edition of the Mazda6, which starts at $29,695. Mazda also plans to offer a 2.2-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine in the Mazda6 this fall, which will make it the first Japanese automaker to sell a non-commercial diesel in the U.S. Fuel economy and pricing for the diesel hasn't yet been released.
CLA CLASS: Mercedes offers a relatively low-priced entry-level small four-door car with the CLA. It looks like a coupe and has a new inline four-cylinder turbocharged engine with gasoline injected directly into cylinders. It also has a seven-speed automatic transmission. Standard 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth technology and 5.8-inch colour display. CLA250 front-drive car goes on sale in September with a 208 horsepower engine and a base price under $31,000. An all-wheel drive version comes early next year. There's also the CLA45 AMG all-wheel-drive with 355 horses that goes on sale in November.
E CLASS: All models get freshening with new standard LED headlights and tail lamps and redesigned rear bumpers. Inside, there's new grain on the dash, an analog clock, and the gear shift lever is moved to the steering column. Models already are on sale, starting at $51,900 excluding shipping.
S CLASS: The brand's flagship big sedan is redesigned for 2014 and will be the first car with no light bulbs because all of its lights are LEDs. The base S550 has a 4.6-litre biturbo V-8 with 455 horsepower. Rear-drive versions get Mercedes "Magic Body Control" in which cameras scan the road and adjust the suspension for the best driving comfort. Car also gets a more luxurious interior and safety upgrades. The S550 goes on sale in November, as does the high-performance S63 AMG 4Matic. Prices weren't announced.
MIRAGE: The hatchback subcompact comes to America powered by a tiny 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine that puts out 74 horsepower. Has a continuously variable transmission and gets up to 44 mpg on the highway. Company says it's the most fuel-efficient gas-powered car in the U.S. that isn't a hybrid. Due out in the fall, price not yet announced.
OUTLANDER: SUV is redesigned for the 2014 model year with a standard third-row seat that folds flat. Lightweight, more aerodynamic body with a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission. Starts at $23,820 including shipping.
VERSA NOTE: The Versa Note, which went on sale in July, adds a five-door hatchback to the subcompact Versa lineup. It has a sharper, more sculpted look than the Versa sedan but the same 109-horsepower, 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine. It gets 40 mpg on the highway and 31 mpg in the city. Among the high-end options are a 5.8-inch touch-screen display with navigation and hands-free text messaging. Also available are a rear-view mirror and around-view monitor, which combines images from several cameras to show the driver a bird's eye view around the car as its backing out. The Versa Note starts at $13,990 for a manual transmission and $15,240 for an automatic. Prices exclude shipping.
PATHFINDER HYBRID: For the first time, Nissan's Pathfinder midsize SUV gets a hybrid version. The Pathfinder hybrid, which goes on sale this fall, has a 2.4-litre, four-cylinder gas engine and an electric motor paired to a lithium-ion battery that sits under the third row of seats. Nissan says the result gets 250 horsepower, which is equivalent to the 3.5-litre V6 engine in the non-hybrid. Pricing and fuel economy estimates haven't been released.
ROGUE: A new version of the Rogue small crossover will debut in the fall. Nissan is releasing details in mid-September.
CAYMAN: Porsche's redesigned two-seater is about 60 pounds lighter and stiffer for a better ride. The reworked engines provide more power but better fuel economy, clocking in at 32 mpg on the highway (up from 19 mpg in the previous model). There's a 2.7-litre flat-six cylinder engine with 275 horsepower in the base model or an optional 3.4-litre flat-six cylinder with 325 horsepower. The Cayman also gets fuel economy gains from an electrical steering system, which replaces the old hydraulic one; a stop-start function that automatically stops the car and restarts it at traffic lights; and a separate system that recaptures energy during braking and coasting and uses it to charge the battery. There's a six-speed manual transmission or an optional seven-speed automatic. Other updates: Keyless entry and adaptive cruise control. Pricing starts at $52,600.
MACAN: The Macan, a new SUV one size smaller than the Cayenne, is expected to be unveiled in November. So far, few details are available.
PANAMERA: The Panamera sedan will come in three new variants later this fall: the S E-Hybrid, Porsche's first plug-in hybrid; and two executive versions of the Panamera 4S and Turbo models that are longer and come with a new 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 engine that gets 420 horsepower. Porsche says the hybrid can produce up to 95 horsepower in all-electric mode; a 333-horsepower, 3.0-litre V6 kicks in after about 20 miles or so of all-electric driving. Fuel economy hasn't been released for the hybrid, but the turbocharged versions get 18 mpg in combined city/highway driving. The base Panamera starts at $78,100. The hybrid is $99,000, while the Executive 4S is $125,600. The lineup tops out at $161,100 with the Executive Turbo.
HEAVY-DUTY PICKUPS: Ram updates its 2500 and 3500 work pickups. Both get new frames, and the 2500 gets the company's link-coil suspension. Also new is an optional 6.4-litre, 410 horsepower V-8 engine. Air suspensions are optional as well. The 2500 starts at $30,695 including shipping and is due in showrooms in the fourth quarter.
WRAITH: The two-door, four-seat Wraith has the unmistakable and imposing front end of a Rolls with a rakish slanted roof in the rear. It's the most powerful Rolls ever built, with a 6.6-litre V12 engine that gets 624 horsepower. Inside, there's a new system that uses GPS data and navigation to scan the road ahead and automatically pick out the right gear from the eight-speed transmission. Another first is a rotary controller for the dashboard screen that has a touch-sensitive pad that lets you "write" who you want to call or where you want to go with your finger. Want more? You can have 1,340 fiber optics sewn into the headliner to make it look like you're driving under a starry sky. Pricing will start around $300,000 when the Wraith goes on sale later this year.
tC: The 2014 Scion tC sports coupe, which went on sale in June, has sportier, more aggressive styling thanks to its bigger grille, narrower headlights and 18-inch wheels. Inside, a 6.1-inch touchscreen audio system is standard; Scion is making the system standard across its entire lineup in 2014, a first for a non-luxury brand. The tC coupe has a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder engine with 179 horsepower and either a six-speed manual transmission or an updated six-speed automatic. It gets an estimated 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. The tC coupe starts at $19,965.
FORESTER: The small SUV has been in dealers much of the year, and it's selling faster than just about any other car in America. The versatile Forester, with ample space in the back for a wet dog, comes standard with a 170-horsepower 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine to power all four wheels. It's the only small SUV to ace an insurance group's offset frontal crash test. Starts at just under $22,000 excluding shipping.
XV CROSSTREK: It's Subaru's first gas-electric hybrid, aimed at the environmentally sensitive outdoorsy crowd that wants efficiency while hauling kayaks to the river. It has stop-start technology that shuts down the engine at red lights to save fuel. Yet it has all-wheel-drive capability and the same 8.7-inch ground clearance so it can go on trails. The Crosstrek has a 2-litre Boxer engine with 148 horsepower, plus a 13.4 horsepower electric motor and a continuously variable transmission that keeps the engine revving in an optimal range for gas mileage and power. Automatic gets 33 mpg on the highway and 28 in the city. Starts at just under $22,000 excluding shipping.
MODEL X: Electric car maker Tesla currently makes just one sedan, the Model S. Its next vehicle, the Model X crossover, is expected to go on sale toward the end of 2014. A preproduction version shown at the Detroit auto show last January had seven seats and unique gull-wing doors that open vertically instead of sliding to the side. Like the Model S, the Model X will have a choice of batteries — 60 kWh or 85 kWh — and a large touchscreen dashboard. The Model X will also have an all-wheel-drive option, something the Model S doesn't have right now. More details, including price and equivalent fuel economy, will be released next year.
COROLLA: The 11th generation of the Corolla — one of the bestselling small cars on the planet — goes on sale in September. Toyota took a risk with an edgier, more chiseled design, and LED headlights give the car a more premium look. The car is nearly 4 inches longer, which makes the interior roomier, especially for the rear passengers. Toyota also added more carpet insulation and other materials to make the cabin quieter. There are two four-cylinder engine choices: a 1.8-litre with 132 horsepower, which is carried over from the previous generation, and the 1.8-litre with Toyota's Valvematic technology, which slightly improves fuel economy and horsepower by offering a broader range of valve timing. There's a four-speed automatic transmission in base models, but Toyota expects most buyers will opt for its new six-speed continuously variable transmission. Toyota estimates the Corolla gets 37 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg in the city. An Eco version gets 40 mpg on the highway with the help of aerodynamic improvements, low rolling resistance tires, a spoiler and the Valvematic engine. The Corolla starts at $17,610 — including an $810 shipping fee — for a base version with a manual transmission or $18,210 for a base automatic. The ECO version starts at $19,510.
4RUNNER: The redesigned 2014 4Runner has a distinctive, architectural front grille and a standard roof rack on all trim levels. Inside, there's more second-row leg room thanks to sculpted front seats, and lower trim levels get nicer features like a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter. The 4.0-litre, 270-horsepower V6 remains, and gets 17 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway for the 4x4 or 23 for the 4x2. Pricing hasn't been released for the SUV, which goes on sale in September.
HIGHLANDER: Toyota hasn't yet released details on the new Highlander SUV, which will go on sale early in 2014. A hybrid version will hit the market in the spring.
TUNDRA: The 2014 Tundra full-size pickup truck gets a complete makeover, with a bigger, bolder grille up front, improved suspension below and an integrated spoiler in the rear to improve fuel economy. A backup camera is standard on all trim levels, a first for the full-size pickup segment. On the inside, Toyota has made ergonomic improvements, including installing more comfortable front seats that move back farther, and reduced wind noise. There's a new top-of-the-line model, the 1794 Edition, which pays homage to the San Antonio ranch, founded in 1794, where Toyota's plant is now located. It has a western theme, with saddle brown leather seats, suede accents, and premium features like heated and cooled seats and navigation. The engine choices — a 4.0-litre, 270 horsepower V6; 4.6-litre, 310-horsepower V8; and a 5.7-litre, 381-horsepower V8 — are carried over from the previous model, which got up to 17 mpg in city and highway driving. Pricing hasn't been released for the truck, which goes on sale in September.
BEETLE: Sometime during the model year, the base 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine will be replaced by a 170-horsepower, 1.8-litre turbocharged four to increase gas mileage by 17 per cent. Current five-cylinder Beetle gets 31 mpg on highway. New GSR retro racer line is added, and Beetle Turbo becomes the R-Line. Price wasn't announced. The Beetle Coupe starts at $19,995 excluding shipping, while the convertible starts at $24,995.
JETTA: VW's top seller gets the new 1.8-litre turbocharged and a direct-injection four-cylinder engine to replace the 2.5-litre five-cylinder. New engine gets 36 mpg on highway. A 30th anniversary GLI performance model comes late in the model year. Jetta starts at $16,720 excluding shipping.
PASSAT: The midsize VW gets the same 1.8-litre turbocharged engine to replace the five cylinder. Starts at $20,845 without shipping.
XC60: The XC60 small SUV gets its most extensive refresh since it was introduced four years ago. A new hood and grille give the vehicle a wider, more confident stance. Inside, Volvo now offers sporty paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel, which let drivers shift without taking their hands off the wheel. The interior also has upgraded materials and a high-tech instrument cluster. Corner traction control, which helps the vehicle on wet or winding streets, is now standard. Also standard are a new blind spot monitoring system and cross-traffic alert, a radar system that warns the driver if vehicles are approaching the rear sides. An optional technology package offers active high beams, which automatically switch to low beams if oncoming traffic is detected, and a system that automatically brakes if the car is about to hit a pedestrian or cyclist. The three engines remain, including a 3.2-litre V6 with 240 horsepower, a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 with 300 horsepower and a top-of-the-line 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 with 325 horsepower. The base engine gets up to 25 mpg on the highway. Pricing starts at $35,765 including shipping.