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OBER 25, 2006 autoweek.co

KING YOU

MARTER

OPPER

L THE

HICLES

R 2007

’07 ULTIMATE CAR, TRUCK AND SPORT/UTE

BUYERS GUIDE

KING

LIVERY

ERSEAS…

JOY THE

E AND

ACATION!

BRID HYPE?

W TECH

ERNATIVES

TUNE

YOUR WA

FACTOR

SPECIALS V

AFTERMARKE

LEAS

VS. BU

WHAT YO

REALLY NEE

EXTENDE

WARRANTIE

HOW TO TE

A GOOD DEA


Sandwiched

between a cement mixer and a semi.

Never saw it coming.

47-car pileup in Nevada.

After they separated everything,

he drove himself home.


The three most important things in a truck:

Frame. Frame. Frame.

Ours is the strongest.*

Gamble in Vegas.

Not in your truck.

F-150

fordvehicles.com

*Class is full-size pickups under


’07 AW BUYERS GUIDE

ou hold not only the definitive

printed car, sport/utility and

truck ’07 Buyers Guide, but

something as important: an

fort of passion, emotion and insight

the AutoWeek editors. While other

ides give little more than basic statiscs,

we know you must go beyond the

mbers. For this compendium, you’ll

d stories you can use when shopping

r alternative vehicles, if you’re looking

go overseas to pick up your new ride,

if you’re contemplating the lease-vs.y

debate. Oh, and you get a witty and

sightful essence of each new, signifint

vehicle shared by our well-trained

aff. Essentially: You get a one-stop

opping source of information at the

ady for you, or for when friends and

ighbors come calling. Enjoy.

4>

10>

14>

16>

18>

22>

What to know about alternatives

to traditional gasoline-fueled cars

BY KEVIN A. WILSON

Taking delivery in Europe

combines a vacation with a

good deal. BY PETE LYONS

Leasing isn’t just for commuter

cars anymore. BY LARRY EDSALL

Should you buy an extended

warranty? BY ANDREW LUU

Tune it your way: Choosing

between factory and aftermarket

parts. BY ANDREW LUU

Comprehensive Buyers Guide:

2007 model cars and trucks,

from Acura to Volvo

AutoWeek (ISSN0192-9674), Volume 56, Issue 44, is published weekly, except for the last week in December, at Crain Communications Inc., 1155 Gratiot Ave., Detroit MI 48207-2997. Periodicals postage p

at Detroit, Michigan, and at additional mailing offices. Subscription and Customer Service, (888) 288-6954. Subscription price $39.95 per year. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to AutoWeek, 1155 Gra

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’07 AW BUYERS GUIDE

OOKING FOR

LTERNATIVES

OW TO DECIDE IF YOU’RE READY

KEVIN A. WILSON

NEW-CAR SHOPPERS WITH AN EYE ON CURRENT

events or a desire to align their buying decisions with personal

convictions have a growing number of alternatives to

traditional gasoline-fueled car or truck. Not long ago, it was

t gas or hybrid, but other options are proliferating. How do

know which is right for you?

Start by asking yourself which of the three primary motivans

for seeking alternatives is driving your decision. A big

tivation for many buyers recently has been the volatility of

prices—a taste of buying gasoline at $3.35 a gallon inspires

ny to seek out better fuel mileage in the interest of cost savs.

That’s probably the first thing that comes to mind, even as

l prices are declining again, because you can’t predict where

ces will be during the term of your car loan.

Other people, though, may put a higher priority on seeking

ernatives that contribute to America’s energy independence.

d still another group may be most interested in minimizing

ir carbon footprint—their personal addition to the emissions

t contribute to global warming.

When measured by these differing priorities, or some mix of

m, the alternatives are not equal. Before you decide that

’re ready for a hybrid, a diesel, a flex-fuel or even the rare

ctric car, consider the high-mileage options using the tradinal

internal-combustion approach. The top of the EPA

leage charts (www.fueleconomy.gov) includes a dozen small

s that get better than 30 mpg in the combined rating. If your

erest is saving money and you can live with the likes of a

yota Yaris, Honda Fit or Ford Focus, you’ll likely accomplish

r goal without putting up with the headaches of fuel access

the buy-in cost associated with the alternatives.

Okay, so your mind is set on a nontraditional vehicle. Let’s

e a look at each variety and evaluate the pros and cons in

ms of the three priorities we’re considering.

HYBRID MERCURY MARINER >

> HYBRIDS

Hybrid powertrains, as pioneered by Toyota and Honda, extend your

fuel economy by using electric power from batteries to carry some or

for brief periods, all the propulsion chores. When driven with fuel sav

ings in mind, they can get upward of 50 mpg. But they come at a pric

premium and, depending on your driving habits—and the availability o

tax credits to partially offset the price difference—may not save enoug

on gas to warrant the higher buy-in price.

If you’re most interested in reducing our dependence on oil or

reducing greenhouse gas emissions, you may be willing to spend a li

tle more to get the psychic rewards of making those contributions.

If you’re really committed, you could seek out those who convert

hybrids into plug-in operations, which offer the alternative of rechargin

the batteries at home by plugging into the electric grid. These cars ca

boast upward of 100 mpg but at the cost of reduced battery life and

voiding the manufacturer’s warranty (the converters do offer warranty

alternatives, but read the fine print).

If you’re considering the recent spate of performance-oriented or

SUV hybrids, your investment will go toward the sort of early-adopter

reward of having the latest in technology. But a high-power hybrid tha

gets, say, 23 mpg (such as the Lexus 450h), can’t be construed as a

contributor to fuel savings for either energy independence or globalwarming

purposes. You can do better than that with a smaller or less

powerful traditional gasoline vehicle. And you won’t be hit with the

rude surprise of spending thousands down the road to replace a

battery pack.


’07 AW BUYERS GUIDE

> DIESEL

The latest generation of clean diesels, which run on the new

cleaner fuel now showing up at stations, can do two things for

you: They generally get better fuel economy than an equivalent

gasoline-fueled car (in our test last spring, a Volkswagen Jetta

diesel got 50 mpg) and give you access to biodiesel, an alternative

that can reduce reliance on oil imports. The good fuel economy

also means a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,

though perhaps offset by some other pollutants (NOx and particulates

or soot).

Be aware, though, that unlike European markets where

diesel is more popular, the price of diesel fuel in the States is

equivalent to or higher than the price of gas. And if you’re looking

at the biodiesel contribution, the price may be higher yet.

Also, like bio-gasoline (usually ethanol or E85), biodiesel delivers

less fuel economy than the traditional fossil fuel or dinodiesel.

This is because each gallon of biodiesel contains less

energy than traditional diesel, which contains more energy than

gasoline (a big part of the fuel-economy improvement). Most

available biodiesel is B20, or 80 dino-diesel, and only 20 percent

comes from bio sources. The resulting energy content is

pretty close to that of gasoline. Diesel engines are more efficient,

though, and that VW we tested was running on B20

when it hit 50 mpg.

Diesel engines cost more to build, and that increases the

prices of cars. Small diesels such as that used by VW last year

are also challenged to meet stiffening emissions regulations.

VW doesn’t offer a diesel car in 2007 but is expected to have

one for 2008. So your alternatives—unless you’re in the market

for a large truck—are mostly European luxury cars. If you’re in

that buying segment anyway, it’s worth considering. But remember

that not every gas station stocks diesel. Make sure you have

a convenient source before you find yourself driving 10 miles

out of your way to find the fuel.

FLEX-FUEL CHEVROLET AVALANCHE >

> FLEX-FUEL

The array of flex-fuel cars and trucks available is expanding mo

rapidly than the availability of the fuel itself, generally a gasoline

ethanol blend called E85 because it’s 85 percent ethanol (an

alcohol). These vehicles will run on pretty much any mix of gas

and ethanol, so if you need fuel and can’t find an E85 station,

you can just use gasoline. In fact, most flex-fuel vehicles are ru

ning on gasoline today, though the widening availability of E85

gives you the option. Also, a lot of gas is being mixed with a 10

percent blend of ethanol as an octane enhancer, and a flex-fue

vehicle’s more robust fuel delivery system is designed to withstand

the corrosive effects of alcohol.

That said, the fuel generally costs as much as or more than

gas, and you get worse fuel economy (about 20 percent

worse) because alcohol contains less energy than gasoline. If

you’re most interested in saving money, this isn’t the answer.

From a greenhouse standpoint, there’s no real gain either,

especially after considering the energy used to produce

ethanol from corn, the dominant approach in America today.

What’s the big plus? Reduced reliance on imported

petroleum. Can enough of us use E85 to truly achieve energy

independence? Not in the short term, surely, but if that’s your

priority, you can view your small contribution as seriously as

any greenhouse-minded hybrid driver.

Bottom line? You’ll have to evaluate it for your particu

lar needs and priorities, but if you’re most interested in

saving money, an efficient gasoline car costs least in purchase

price and hassle or upkeep in daily use. The reward

for adopting one of the alternatives, though, can be real,

especially if—as most experts predict—gasoline prices

continue to fluctuate wildly over the coming years. ■


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GM divisions. ©2006 GM Corp. Buckle up, America!


’07 AW BUYERS GUIDE

TAKING OVER,

OVER THERE

FIVE AUTOMAKERS THAT OFFER

EUROPEAN DELIVERY TO AMERICANS

BY PETE LYONS

>>

Do you yearn to attack an Alp? Blitz a ’bahn? Or maybe

power-slide the rally roads of Scandinavia? Boy, have we

got a deal for you!

Okay, it’s not our deal, but you should know about

European delivery. Five continental car companies offer programs

whereby you initiate a purchase at your local U.S. deal

ership, fly over to the factory (or certain other delivery points

and drive your new vehicle anywhere across Europe that calls

to you. Then your new vehicle is shipped home for you.

The friendly five are BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Saab

and Volvo. Their individual plans are similar in some ways

and different in others—just like their products. Here’s what

you want to know.


1>

2>

BMW

If you’d like to taste your new driving machine under the very driving conditions

for which it was designed, and save up to 7 percent of the U.S. retail

price in the bargain (which can mean a savings from $2,165 to as much as

$8,220), the Munich manufacturer wants to hear from you. Wants to so

much that BMW throws in factory preparation and European road-registration

fees, 14 days’ worth of insurance coverage (it can be extended), gettin

the car from numerous drop-off points to a port, and trans-Atlantic shipping

including marine insurance, and customs and port fees.

There’s also a discount fare arrangement with Lufthansa: two-for-one in

economy or 75 percent off your companion’s business-class ticket. Most

models are available through the plan, with the obvious exception of the

U.S.-made Z4 and X5—which, however, can be picked up in South Carolina

(Sorry, bikers, there’s no equivalent motorcycle program.)

BMW’s Martha McKinley says customers choose models for European

delivery generally inline with U.S. buying patterns, with the 3 Series being

most popular. “But they tend to be very passionate BMW enthusiasts who

do it for the experience of driving their car on the roads where it was born,”

she says. “We’ve had people doing it in conjunction with wedding proposals,

surprise birthday parties—we’ve even had families who go over to pick u

new cars for everyone, three and four in one fell swoop!”

For more about this adventure, visit a dealer or www.bmwusa.com (click

on Experiences).

MERCEDES-BENZ

In parallel with its Bavarian rival, the Swabian automaker knocks 7 percent

from its U.S. list prices and throws in insurance (15 days, in this case; again

you can buy more), shipping, duties, etc. But air travel is up to you.

The standard package covers one night in a hotel near the Sindelfingen

factory plus one breakfast or lunch; for $1,300 you can add a Black Forest

Alps Rally (self-guided) package, which includes four more nights in a luxur

schlosshotel near Baden Baden. Cars available are specific C, E, CLK, CL

SL and SLK models. Ask a dealer about M-B’s European delivery program

go to www.mbusa.com (click on Mercedes in Depth).


’07 AW BUYERS GUIDE

3>

4>

5>

PORSCHE

This automaker is not into giving discounts; in fact,

Porsche is the only company charging extra for factory

delivery. But easing the pain is a just-announced deal

with Lufthansa that saves U.S. buyers 35 percent on

first-class and business-class airfares, 30 percent for

economy. That takes some sting out of the $1,150 to

$4,075, depending on model, that Porsche adds to

the vehicle purchase price to cover delivery formalities,

insurance for 16 days of driving (again, longer terms

can be arranged), trans-Atlantic shipping, one night’s

lodging on arrival and even a taxi ride from the airport to

the factory in either Stuttgart or Leipzig.

Though the Cayenne SUV and Cayman models are

included in the program, Porsche media man Paul

Seredynski says it’s still the ageless 911 that most

Euro-touring Americans choose. “They’re the people

most aware of the marque,” he says.

Re-enforcing marque loyalty is a major point of the

plan, which can include an optional, twice-yearly grand

tour featuring a visit to the Weissach tech center—complete

with laps of the test track. Learn more at

www.porsche.com/usa (click on Personalization and

Service) and www.lufthansa-usa.com.

SAAB

Fancy a night in the Ice Hotel? The Swedish automaker

will be happy to arrange that, a snowmobile safari and a

dog-sled ride as well. Just fly into Trollhättan (actually,

you have to fly into Gothenburg, but work with us here)

and fly off in your own born-from-a-jet 9-3 or 9-5. Factorydirect

savings range from $3,050 to $4,490 over U.S.

2006 pricing, and Saab hands you an additional $2,000

to help defray expenses. It also dispatches a chauffeur to

meet your flight. But unlike others, this manufacturer

doesn’t include insurance (two weeks’ worth runs

around $300, depending on model) or shipping. Details

at www.saabusa.com (click on Shopping Tools).

VOLVO

It’s a quiet brand, but it’s one screaming deal. Not only

does picking up a new Volvo at the factory in

Gothenburg save from $2,000 to more than $4,000 on

U.S. MSRP, depending on model, the company picks

up airfare for you and your favorite touring companion

on Scandinavian Airlines. Volvo also pays for 15 days’

driving insurance (good in Sweden only), shipping fees

even customs duty, plus the first night’s hotel.

Why such generosity? “It’s a great conquest tool fo

us,” says program manager Johan Rasmussen.

“Seventy percent of our customers are first-time Volvo

buyers, and over 40 percent say European delivery is

the reason for their choice. It takes away a lot of [our]

competitors.”

Once “dipped in Volvo blue,” he claims, buyers stay

loyal for life. It’s reasoning that the company has held fo

50 years now—the program began in 1956. These days

of roughly 2000 participating Americans per year, 55

percent are serious tourists who select one of the SUV

models for its interior volume. Demand is high, so book

early. Contact a dealer or check www.volvocars.us (clic

on Sales and Services).

>

Those are the programs; is one of them for

you? Not everybody is in the market for one of

the participating brands, and not everyone has the

money and/or time for such a holiday. Also, not

every North American motorist will immediately feel

at home in Europe (don’t turn right on red, do stay

right on the Autoroute—but not the British

Motorway). Traffic—and parking—congestion is

increasingly irksome, radar cams are sprouting like

home-grown terrorists so you’d have to be careful

about speeding, and the horror stories you’ve

heard about fuel and toll costs are all too true.

Also, factory pickup is not for the impatient, as

wait times can be months. Nor are these programs

designed for extended stays—stiff European taxes

can kick in as early as the three-month mark.

That said, driving Europe remains the best way

for a self-respecting AW reader to get around that

still-magical part of the world. If you’ve ever wanted

to drive a car there, we say damn the torpedoes

and go for it. ■


ow departing from 16

European cities.

ntroducing the Saab European Delivery Program.* Get a great deal on a new Saab while enjoying some

mazing benefits. First, buy your Saab with a 9% discount off MSRP** and receive a $2,000 travel bonus to go

o Europe to pick up your car. Then enjoy the roads of Europe in your new car. Finally, when your European

oad journey has come to an end, it will be shipped to the U.S. Saab dealership of your choice. † Once you’ve

uilt jets, you don’t build just another car. And you don’t sell them like any other car either. To learn more

bout the Saab European Delivery Program ask your local Saab dealer or visit Saabusa.com/europeandelivery

2006 SAAB AUTOMOBILE USA Manufacturers of Saab vehicles and jets are no longer affiliated. saabusa.com

*Available on Saab 9-3 or 9-5 only.


’07 AW BUYERS GUIDE

easing Your Heart’s Desire

HETHER YOUR DECISION IS DRIVEN BY RATIONAL ANALYSIS OR

RE PASSION, YOU HAVE A CHOICE OTHER THAN BUYING A CAR

LARRY EDSALL

Your daily newspaper, Consumer Reports

a dozen websites can probably tell you

re than you could ever wish to know

ut whether to lease or buy a daily comter-mobile.

We’ll even have a little ade

on that score later in this story.

Basically, the pluses for leasing are lower

nthly payments and/or the ability to

ve a larger/better/more luxurious car than

could afford to buy. The decision has a

to do with money management and the

ails of finance, and requires that you anae

the automobile as a rational purchase.

t let’s face it—many of you really don’t

e a tinker’s or any other sort of damn

ut capitalized cost reduction or residual

ue and could care even less about “The

nstant Yield,” whatever that might be.

But what you want is a particular car, one

’re passionate about driving. The car of

r dreams may have rolled off the assemline

just a few days ago or maybe it was

ilt decades ago.

That’s right, you can lease a collector car,

ether it’s a Duesie or a Hemi, or you can

se that exotic Italian sports car just as if

were leasing a new sedan or crossover

icle, or a minivan or a a full-size pickup

ck. Why, you can even lease a race car!

Regardless of your choice of make and

del, you need to decide whether it makes

se for you to buy that vehicle outright or

lease it for the next 36 or however many

nths. This applies whether your income

50,000 a year, $500,000 a year or even $5

llion (and that’s just your year-end bonus).

d yes, even those who could write a

ck to buy the entire dealership may find

antages in leasing.

Ed Yankowski, managing director of

tnam Leasing, offers a few reasons why

se making the big bucks consider leasing

ir big-buck cars.

First, he says, there are tax considerans.

If you live in California and buy a

0,000 car, you’re looking at 8.25 percent

te sales tax (the national average is 6.3), or

,625 in additional upfront costs. And

st luxury leases are traded in before the

of their lease periods. So what, I’m rich,

you say? Well, consider this:

“Leasing allows them to use their capital

for what they do best, whether it’s investing

or real estate or even for buying other cars,”

Yankowski says.

Why tie up all of that $250,000—or

$270,625 with tax—on one car when, for

that same quarter-mil, you can lease a fleet

of interesting vehicles or put the bulk into

your investment portfolio?

And finally, if you are a basketball player,

an actor or actress, or a business owner, your

accountant could point out the additional

tax advantages of not having a $250,000

vehicle show up on the books, says

Yankowski.

Putnam Leasing has been in business

since the early 1980s, founded, as Yankowski

puts it, “to fill a void in the marketplace

for high-end cars. ” The luxury automakers

either were not offering exotic car leases at

the time or they were making it too difficult

to get out of a lease when the lessee sought

something newer to drive after a few

months at the wheel.

Yankowski notes that perhaps 75 percent

of Putnam’s clients do not keep their vehicles

for the full term of their leases, preferring

instead to change vehicles more frequently.

Unlike the typical dealer’s lease

arrangement, Yankowski says, Putnam’s

leases are set up with turnover in mind.

Lease a Toyota Camry from your local

dealer, he notes, and you may have a deal

that spans 36 months and limits you to

10,000 miles a year. Then, when the lease

is over, you return the car, drop off the keys

and start over again.

But lease a $225,000 Ferrari F430 Spider,

put down $75,000 and take a five-year lease,

and it’s in the agreement that you can swap

that Ferrari for something else. Maybe by

then you want a 599 or a Bentley—with

Putnam’s deals, you can swap into that new

dream car without pesky penalties.

However, he adds, Putnam leases are not

set up like the aircraft-style shared-ownership

programs for luxury and exotic cars that

are springing up in various places. Putnam’s

are lease-to-own contracts, with a lot of flex-

ibility built in.

Putnam leases more than 1000 vehicles

year, ranging in price from $50,000 to more

than $1 million. Putnam offers “all makes,

all models, all years,” Yankowski says. You

can get a 1954 Ferrari 250 Europa or a 2004

Ferrari Enzo.

For example, you want the 250 Europa.

That’s a $650,000 car, Yankowski figures.

Putnam helps you find it, even if it means

going to a collector car auction. “You put

down $150,000 and lease $500,000 over 60

months,” and by setting a residual of, say,

$100,000, “you have a low payment of

$7,000 a month.” If you put the same

$150,000 down and borrowed the $500,000

at 7 percent, you’d have a monthly paymen

of $9,900. Or maybe you could just buy the


LAMBORGHINI MURCIELAGO

ropa for cash—but then you have to wonabout

what you might have made over

e years if you’d invested the $500,000, or

n just the $2,900/month difference. Plus,

re is no one helping you find the car at

tion or for private purchase and, perhaps

re significantly, no one standing by ready

help ease the transition two years later

en you decide that you really wish you’d

sen the Enzo, after all.

Provided you maintain acceptable onck

insurance, you can even lease a vintage

e car, perhaps a factory team spec’d 427

bra or a Porsche 906. And if you can drive

ll enough, you might convince Steve

le to let you enter the Monterey Historics

th your leased car.

Okay, maybe you’re not quite ready to

lease a collectible car or vintage racer

through Putnam or its biggest rival, Premier

Financial Services, but there may be good

reasons to lease rather than to buy your next

vehicle. Maybe you need to make the rational

decision more than the emotional one.

To make up your mind, consider something

like the “Buy or Lease Your Next

Car?” questionnaire on a website such

as bankrate.com. The Federal Reserve

(www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/leasing) provides

sample lease contracts, charts that get

into the details and compare the financial

aspects of buying (a 60-month loan) vs.

leasing (a 36-month term), as well as other

well-presented information you should have

before deciding.

Basically, unless you’re among the

wealthy looking for a way to build a fleet

and have a skilled accountant to deal with

tax issues, it probably comes down to the

fact that by leasing, you can get a more

expensive vehicle for the same monthly

payments. However, you will be restricted

on how many miles you can drive—and th

can be important for the auto enthusiast.

You’ll also face restrictions on personalization

or modification of that vehicle. Of

course, when the lease is up, you always ca

buy the vehicle for its residual value.

Or, buy the vehicle outright in the first

place and you can drive it as much as you

want, install that cat-back exhaust and

lower suspension, even aftermarket header

And when your loan is paid off, the car is

yours. No additional payments. ■


’07 AW BUYERS GUIDE

xtended

arranties:

o You

eed One?

ERE’S A LOT

KNOW WHEN

CIDING ON

TRA COVERAGE

ANDREW LUU

ou’ve heard it many times: A car or

truck is the biggest buying decision

you’ll make after your home, and there

are dozens of additional decisions: make,

odel, year, color and options. So you’re sitting

the dealership at the salesman’s desk signing

e papers, and he drops this in your lap: Do you

ant an extended warranty? Good question. Do

u, or is it a waste of money?

Essentially all manufacturer

ended-warranty programs are

ut the same. Nearly all offer

ns extending coverage up to

en years or 100,000 miles

range in price from a few

ndred dollars for an extra year

a few thousand for the holy

il of coverage.

Entry-level plans cover only

ic powertrain components

such as the engine and transmission,

whereas the higherpriced

premium plans cover

almost everything, from suspension

and brakes to air conditioning

and even audio systems.

Most premium plans also

have provisions for reimbursing

rental car and travel expenses in

the event your car breaks down

while out of town, and a road-

SAM JORDASH, GETTY IMAGES

side-assistance allowance.

In addition to paying for the

warranty, you’ll most likely

have to pay a deductible when

you file a claim–unless you have

a plan from Mercedes-Benz or

Hyundai, which have no

deductibles.

With Ford’s Extended Service

Plan, the standard deductible is

$100. Plans with zero, $50 and

$200 deductibles are optional

and change the price of the plan

just as it would with your auto

insurance.

And your car doesn’t have to

be new. Chrysler’s Service

Contracts program extends

warranty coverage to pre-owned

vehicles, including those of its

competitors. This allows you to

buy coverage for up to 125,000

miles on 1995 and newer preowned

cars.

But do you need extra coverage

when companies offer standard

extended coverage, such as

Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile

warranty and GM’s improved

five-year/100,000-mile coverage?

What you have to remember

is that both plans cover only

major powertrain components,

which means there’s a lot that

can go wrong that won’t be covered.

Plus, you won’t benefit

from perks such as a rental car

and travel reimbursement.

But such additional manufacturer

coverage can also help

lower the cost of an extended

warranty. Available extensions

and the subsequent cost of

added coverage will vary

depending on the standard

warranty already in place.

The dealership is not your

only option if you’re looking

for mechanical insurance.

Many aftermarket extendedwarranty

companies such as

Warranty Direct (www

.warrantydirect.com) are sometimes

more affordable and offer

additional forms of coverage

such as its PowerShield warranty

for cars as old as 1987

with up to 150,000 miles on

the odometer.

One big advantage that

Warranty Direct offers is it

allows you to use the repair

shop of your choice, be it a

dealership, chain store or your

favorite local garage.

If you really hate worrying

about unexpected out-of-pocke

costs, you should know that

Ford, Chrysler and some of the

other manufacturers offer prepaid

scheduled maintenance

plans. Ford even has coverage

for normal wear-and-tear item

such as spark plugs, wiper

blades, belts and brake pads.

Still not sure if you need an

extended warranty? In some

cases, you don’t have to make

up your mind when you buy th

car. With a new car from

Mercedes-Benz, you can decide

on extra coverage up to 48

months or 50,000 miles after

your purchase, whichever

comes first. Even with

Chrysler’s pre-owned program

you have up to three months o

3000 miles to decide (a surcharge

usually applies the

longer you wait). Be sure to ask

about such provisions if you

need more time to ponder the

ifs. Keep in mind that if you

plan to sell your car within a

few years, an extended warran

(most are transferable) can help

increase its resale value.

To extend or not to extend?

That is now the question.

Say your car needs a major

repair within the next few

years—can you afford something

like a new gearbox? If

not, an extended warranty

might be a good idea because

replacing an engine or gearbox

can cost more than the warran

ty. And the warranty can ofte

be rolled into manufacturers’

new-car financing.

But also consider that a com

prehensive extended warranty

can cost several thousand dollars,

and the repairs—if any—

you might incur over the cove

age term may not exceed the

cost of the warranty. There’s

no right or wrong answer whe

it comes to buying an extende

warranty. But if you do your

research, ask questions and ke

the pros and cons in mind, it

will help reveal the right path

for your car and your money.


The Audi Q7. From the creator of quattro ® .

The Audi Q7 has arrived. A 350 hp V8 or 280 hp V6 SUV that complements its aggressive

stance with coupe-like grace. What results is a synthesis of innovation and utilitarian

beauty for any lifestyle, with available seating for seven and amenities like an optional

Panorama sunroof and four-zone climate control system. Audi’s inspired achievement

redefines the category, inside and out – just as one would expect from the originator of

quattro all-wheel drive. Big yet beautiful, the Audi Q7 makes the impossible possible.

Big can be beautiful.


’07 AW BUYERS GUIDE

ACTORY vs.

FTERMARKET

OUPING UP YOUR RIDE HAS NEVER BEEN SO EASY,

UT WHICH WAY SHOULD YOU GO?

ANDREW LUU

HE WORLD OF FLASHY WHEELS,

polished exhaust systems, lowered

suspensions and in-car audio-visual

systems is a $34 billion-a-year

ustry known as the automotive afterrket.

And if you end up buying one of

shiny new machines that grace the pages

this issue and have any inclination to

sonalize it, chances are you’re going to

up helping that industry grow.

The aftermarket exists because few car

nufacturers offer, at the point of sale, the

st popular accessories and improvements

demanded by today’s enthusiasts.

While there is no shortage of car-customizing

businesses around the country,

finding a reputable aftermarket shop can

often intimidate the average consumer.

Unless you’re part of a car community or

know someone, it comes down to taking a

chance. Then you’ll plop down thousands of

dollars and hope everything is installed and

serviced properly afterward. There’s also

potential for voiding the new-car warranty,

one of the reasons consumers prefer to handle

the process when they buy the car from


example, are meeting consumers’ needs

warranty coverage with their aftermarket

grams. A customer who orders up a Mini

oper can opt to add accessories like bigger

eels or the John Cooper Works superrger

upgrade kit for the Cooper S.

The appeal is that all the parts will be

talled upon delivery of the vehicle and

covered under Mini’s new-car, fourr/50,000-mile

warranty, something that

ght be voided if the same work were

formed outside the dealership or with

n-factory parts. If Mini’s own parts are

talled by the dealer afterward, they carry

balance of the new-car warranty or run

o years from date of installation, whichevis

greater. An additional plus is that the

t of the aftermarket parts can be rolled

o the car’s price where the benefits of

ancing come into play.

Scion has an even larger parts bin from

ich to choose, but a slightly different

business model. Most of the performance

parts that Scion dealers sell are from Toyota

Racing Development and are warranted

through TRD and not Scion. The terms are

three-years/36,000-miles comprehensive,

All warranties are honored at Toyota/Scion

dealerships.

And while you can add things like a spo

er, exhaust and even a performance clutch

into the price of a new car, some parts like

the tC’s supercharger can only be sold and

installed after purchase (due to emission

regulations).

Other items like the cold-air intake are

clearly marked for “off-highway use only”

(read: racetracks or other closed courses). So

if you opt for one, there is no warranty, and

the fine print on the Scion website states

that the installation of this part may

adversely affect the warranty coverage of

your vehicle. However, the intake would

only conflict with coverage if the intake

specifically caused a problem.

Nissan follows a similar policy with its

line of Nismo parts, which are divided into

two categories: S-tune and R-tune. S-tune

parts include common upgrades such as

< JOHN COOPER WORKS MINI


’07 AW BUYERS GUIDE

TRD WEB SITE >

aust systems, suspension kits and

eels, and are factory-backed and come

th either a 12-month/12,500-mile limited

rranty or up to three years or 36,000 miles

nstalled on a new car.

If you’re looking to add intakes, headers,

tches and camshafts, you do so at your

n risk. Such parts are classified R-tune,

like the tC’s intake, are designed for

f-highway use only” and are sold as is,

th no warranty. The parts could violate

e state laws and void the new-car warty

in the event of a failure.

Hyundai has just recently jumped on the

tory-aftermarket bandwagon starting

th its three-door Accent. All parts that are

talled prior to the retail sale of the vehicle

ry the same warranty as any other vehicle

t; they carry a one-year warranty if they

bought over the counter.

Ford carries a catalog of go-fast parts, too,

but its up-front disclaimer reads: Most Ford

Racing Performance Parts are sold with no

warranty.

As you can imagine, non-automaker

aftermarket companies aren’t taking this

OEM challenge lying down. As the $34 billion

pie grows, many individual dealerships

aren’t waiting for their manufacturers to join

the factory-backed aftermarket movement.

Together with the Specialty Equipment

Market Association (SEMA) and their members,

they’re striking out on their own.

The result is ProPledge, launched this

past January as a direct result of customers

and dealers’ concerns about warranty coverage

when buying and selling aftermarket

parts.

If you buy a vehicle from a ProPledge

dealership, not only can the cost be added

to the new car’s price, the added parts also

carry a three-year/36,000-mile warranty that

the participating aftermarket product manu

facturers and installers have agreed to hono

To deal with any potential problems,

ProPledge set up a customer support center

for dealerships and customers in situations

where a new-vehicle warranty is denied as

the result of a defect in the product or fault

installation.

ProPledge is currently being tested in

dealerships in five markets: Dallas; Los

Angeles; Milwaukee; Orlando, Florida; and

Philadelphia.

Covered products include sunroofs, custom

wheels, mobile electronics, leather

interiors, suspension bits, air filters, cat-bac

exhausts and assorted truck parts. Expect

the list to grow as the program gains steam

and expands into more markets.

Dealerships and independent shops each

have advantages and disadvantages to consider.

Independent aftermarket shops tend

to offer a bigger parts selection and better

prices, particularly on labor rates, but follow-up

service procedures are usually not a

clear cut as a dealership’s.

Go the dealership route and you’ll likely

pay more for the same upgrade, however

financing and warranty preservation are

major advantages.

As demand for aftermarket accessories

grows, other manufacturers will have to

consider following the lead of Mini, Scion,

Hyundai and Nissan, while smaller shops

will have to improve their services to combat

the emerging competition from dealerships,

be it through manufacturer efforts or

consortium programs like ProPledge.

No matter which road is taken, enthusiasts

and their cars are better for it. ■


AUTOWEEK < ’07 BUYERS GUIDE

ACURA

American Honda Motor Co. acura.com

RDX

HIGHLIGHTS Honda’s first turbocharged production engine in North

America finds its way into this new entry-level luxury SUV.

BASE PRICE $33,610

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing for this new entry.

OUR OPINION With Honda’s first turbocharged engine and a host of

standard luxuries, the newest Acura should be a hit.

RL

HIGHLIGHTS Two new trim packages. Also, decontented versions.

BASE PRICE $46,450

WHAT’S NEXT Minor changes next year, redesign in 2010 or 2011.

OUR OPINION Lacks a V8 but performs like a flagship should.

TL

HIGHLIGHTS Revised styling. Type-S performance models return.

BASE PRICE $34,295

WHAT’S NEXT All-new TL in ’09, possibly with hybrid and awd options.

OUR OPINION Almost makes you forget about the BMW 3 Series. Almost.

TSX

HIGHLIGHTS Acura’s popular sports sedan gets tire pressure monitoring.

BASE PRICE $28,560 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT A new TSX arrives for ’09 in coupe and convertible forms

OUR OPINION A pleasant sports sedan for a relatively bargain price.

MDX

HIGHLIGHTS A sportier-looking and riding SUV. Cleaner sheetmetal, a more

driver-oriented interior and a new 3.7-liter, 300-hp V6.

BASE PRICE $40,665

WHAT’S NEXT Not much after this year’s major redo.

OUR OPINION Newfound power and fresh styling keep Acura in the hunt.

ASTON MARTIN

Aston Martin North America www.astonmartin.com

DB9 COUPE/VOLANTE

HIGHLIGHTS Occupant Classification Sensing, side airbags, full leather trim

and improved cargo space standard. Coupes get new Sport

Pack option (lighter wheels and revised suspension tuning).

BASE PRICE $165,750

WHAT’S NEXT Special-edition DBRS9 with wider track, lower ride height

and 500 hp.

OUR OPINION A perfect mixture of performance, technology and class.

V8 VANTAGE

HIGHLIGHTS Aston’s “affordable” car has new seats.

BASE PRICE $113,200

WHAT’S NEXT An open-air roadster.

AUDI

Volkswagen of America audiusa.com

R8

HIGHLIGHTS The exotically shaped, all-aluminum R8 offers two engines:

a 4.2-liter, 420-hp V8 and a 5.2-liter, 480-hp V10. It shares

much with its sister, the Lamborghini Gallardo.

BASE PRICE $110,000 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT New model.

OUR OPINION This big German has all the right attributes to come up huge

in the supercar realm.

A3

HIGHLIGHTS New technology package offered. S-line replaces the sport

package from ’06. Satellite radio added to audio package.

BASE PRICE $26,060

WHAT’S NEXT Convertible expected next year.

OUR OPINION Affordable luxury hatchback with compliant road manners.

A4

HIGHLIGHTS Carbon fiber trim and redesigned radio available for entire lin

New 16-inch wheels for base trims.

BASE PRICE $28,960

WHAT’S NEXT Redesign comes by ’09. A four-passenger A5 coupe built

on the A4 platform and a convertible lie ahead.

OUR OPINION Worthy alternative to the benchmark BMW 3 Series.

A6

HIGHLIGHTS S-Line package offered. New S6, armed with a 5.2-liter, 432

hp V10, paddle shift and sport mode, will battle BMW’s M5

BASE PRICE $42,670

WHAT’S NEXT Refresh for next year and a likely redesign for ’10.

OUR OPINION The A6 is impressive, but the Lamborghini engine powering

the S6 thrills us.

A8

HIGHLIGHTS New 4.2-liter, 350-hp V8 engine, and revised driver information

center. S8 arrives with a 5.2-liter, 450-hp V10.

BASE PRICE $69,620

WHAT’S NEXT Redesign is two years out.

OUR OPINION Not the fastest, but one of the best-dressed cruisers around

RS 4

HIGHLIGHTS Gets a 4.2-liter, 420-hp V8, quattro awd and reworked

suspension. Larger brakes, more cooling ducts.

BASE PRICE $68,820

WHAT’S NEXT Big brother RS6 returns by 2010.

OUR OPINION AMG and M divisions better get to work.

TT

HIGHLIGHTS No TT for ’07. Returns for ’08 with a 2.0-liter turbo-four and

3.2-liter V6 with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.

BASE PRICE n/a

WHAT’S NEXT Redesign arrives as an ’08.

OUR OPINION Not just styling, but plenty of driving substance.

Q7

HIGHLIGHTS Stretched VW Touareg platform with standard 3.6-liter V6, o

upgrade to a 4.2-liter, 350-hp V8. Quattro is standard.

BASE PRICE $40,620

WHAT’S NEXT Diesel-powered hybrid in 2008. Smaller Q5 for ’09.


BENTLEY

Volkswagen AG bentleymotor.com

CONTINENTAL GT/GTC

HIGHLIGHTS With a top speed of 195 mph (with the roof up), the GTC is

the fastest production drop-top. Power comes from the same

twin-turbo, 552-hp W12 engine found in the GT.

BASE PRICE $169,990 GT; $189,990 GTC

WHAT’S NEXT A freshened GT comes for next year.

OUR OPINION Hustling 500 hp down the road has never been so luxurious.

ARNAGE/AZURE

HIGHLIGHTS Carries on unchanged.

BASE PRICE $221,990

WHAT’S NEXT Due for redesign in 2009, at latest.

OUR OPINION A classic Bentley design but in need of a makeover.

FLYING SPUR

HIGHLIGHTS DVD nav system and Bluetooth wireless standard.

BASE PRICE $169,990

WHAT’S NEXT A light freshening is expected in two years.

OUR OPINION A luxo cruiser that runs with almost any car in the world.

BMW

BMW of North America bmwusa.com

X3

HIGHLIGHTS Powered by a 3.0-liter, 260-hp I6 mated to a new six-speed

automatic or a six-speed manual. New front and rear fascias,

chrome exhaust tips and optional adaptive xenon headlights.

BASE PRICE $38,695

WHAT’S NEXT The facelift, shown in Paris, comes next year.

OUR OPINION It’s refreshing to find a manual in a small SUV.

3 SERIES

HIGHLIGHTS 3.0-liter, 230-hp I6-powered 328i/xi models replace the 325

line, while a 300-hp twin-turbo I6-powered 335i replaces the

330. A 328i Sports Wagon is new, as is the Coupe.

BASE PRICE $33,095

WHAT’S NEXT Convertible next. The M3 returns in a year with V8 power.

OUR OPINION Improving on the 3 Series is a tall order, but BMW pulls it off.

5 SERIES

HIGHLIGHTS HD radio and Night Vision are new options. Nav includes fouryear

subscription to Real Time Traffic Information.

BASE PRICE $44,195

WHAT’S NEXT Freshening is expected next year.

’07 BUYERS GUIDE > AUTOWEEK

6 SERIES

HIGHLIGHTS Premium Sound Package goes away; Logic7 system

becomes a stand-alone option. The M6 adds a convertible.

BASE PRICE $74,595

WHAT’S NEXT A clear forecast for the next few years.

OUR OPINION Among the best; the growl from the M6’s V10 is addicting.

7 SERIES

HIGHLIGHTS Power folding mirrors standard. 750 models get heated fron

seats. BMW Individual vehicles available featuring Merino

leather, Alcantara headliner, 20-inch wheels and the like.

BASE PRICE $75,695

WHAT’S NEXT Redesign in ’08, with some hydrogen versions for lease.

OUR OPINION A comforting and worthwhile technological cruise ship.

Z4/Z4 M ROADSTER & COUPE

HIGHLIGHTS Hexagon aluminum trim replaces brushed in M versions.

BASE PRICE $37,095

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing known for the Z4. Look for an entry-level Z2 roadste

around ’09 to battle the likes of Mazda’s MX-5.

OUR OPINION M versions will have you reaching for your wallet.

X5

HIGHLIGHTS Larger X5 now able to accommodate seven with optional

third row. Engines include a 3.0-liter, 272-hp I6 and a 4.8-lite

355-hp V8.

BASE PRICE $46,595

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing for now.

OUR OPINION One of the best-handling SUVs on the market.

BUGATTI

Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. bugatti.com

VEYRON

HIGHLIGHTS Carryover with annual production of 50 cars.

BASE PRICE $1,200,000

WHAT’S NEXT Possibly a four-seat sedan variant with the same

16-cylinder engine.

OUR OPINION An engineering marvel worth mortgaging the house (or

several of them) for and dipping into college funds.

BUICK

General Motors Corp. buick.com

LACROSSE

HIGHLIGHTS OnStar Turn-by-Turn navigation, burl-wood trim and heated

front seat options. Two new 17-inch wheel designs on CSX

BASE PRICE $22,845

WHAT’S NEXT Ultra V8 model next year. Redo in ’10 on Epsilon 2 platform.

OUR OPINION Well-rounded luxury entry, but check the competition.

GO TO AUTOWEEK.COM/BUYERSGUIDE

FOR MORE INFO ON ALL THE NEW CARS


AUTOWEEK < ’07 BUYERS GUIDE

ENCLAVE

HIGHLIGHTS Standard power is from a 3.6-liter, 275-hp V6. Available in

either fwd or awd form and offers seating for up to eight.

StabiliTrak and traction control for fwd models standard.

BASE PRICE $30,000 (est)

WHAT’S NEXT New (really an early ’08), so minor additions.

OUR OPINION Looks impressive, and impressive is something Buick needs.

LUCERNE

HIGHLIGHTS Options include a heated and leather-wrapped steering

wheel, and OnStar Turn-by-Turn navigation.

BASE PRICE $26,190

WHAT’S NEXT Rwd version is expected in 2010, likely with a new name.

OUR OPINION The Lucerne gives Buick some real driving credibility.

RAINIER

HIGHLIGHTS OnStar Turn-by-Turn navigation offered. Tire pressure

monitoring and regulated voltage control are standard.

BASE PRICE $32,060

WHAT’S NEXT Production ends this year.

OUR OPINION A bit pricey as options are added, but a decent SUV.

RENDEZVOUS

HIGHLIGHTS Four-wheel disc brakes and four-wheel ABS now standard.

OnStar Turn-by-Turn navigation available.

BASE PRICE $25,710

WHAT’S NEXT It dies and is replaced by Enclave next year.

OUR OPINION Never a standout, the Aztek sibling has reached its end.

TERRAZA

HIGHLIGHTS One-year subscription to OnStar’s Directions & Connections

plan standard. A flex-fuel E85 version is available.

BASE PRICE $27,195

WHAT’S NEXT Available until the middle of next year.

OUR OPINION The best of GM’s lackluster minivans.

CADILLAC

General Motors Corp. cadillac.com

CTS

HIGHLIGHTS OnStar Connections & Directions service added .

BASE PRICE $30,190

WHAT’S NEXT Redesign next year, with coupe version arriving later.

OUR OPINION Entry-level Caddy won’t disappoint, but it’s due for an update.

DTS

HIGHLIGHTS Standard equipment includes chrome rims and an analog

clock. Satellite radio, cargo mat and rear sunshade optional.

BASE PRICE $42,190

WHAT’S NEXT The sole fwd Caddy redone for ’11 and moves to rwd.

STS

HIGHLIGHTS New six-speed automatic for V8 and STS-V models.

BASE PRICE $42,590

WHAT’S NEXT Next year sees a reskin, followed by a redesign in 2010.

OUR OPINION Proof that America has what it takes to compete with the be

XLR

HIGHLIGHTS Six-speed auto added to base and XLR-V models. Ultra-

Luxury Platinum and Passion Red special-edition models.

BASE PRICE $78,495

WHAT’S NEXT Facelift comes in ’09 with an overhaul for 2011.

OUR OPINION A refined, luxury roadster with Corvette spirit.

ESCALADE

HIGHLIGHTS Gets a new 6.2-liter, 403-hp V8 mated to a six-speed automatic,

a stiffer frame, larger brake rotors and improved ABS.

BASE PRICE $54,725

WHAT’S NEXT Facelift slated for 2010.

OUR OPINION For those who wish to make a big, bad and bold statement.

SRX

HIGHLIGHTS New interior layout. Six-speed automatic paired with V8s.

Sport package features limited-slip and 20-inch wheels.

BASE PRICE $37,455

WHAT’S NEXT Possible redesign in ’11. Smaller BRX crossover bows in ’0

OUR OPINION Better interior makes this luxury SUVs even more inviting.

CHEVROLET

General Motors Corp. chevrolet.com

SUBURBAN

HIGHLIGHTS Completely redesigned, with Gen IV V8s adding both powe

and fuel economy, plus a quieter, more comfortable interior.

BASE PRICE $37,190

WHAT’S NEXT A hybrid is expected to arrive next year.

OUR OPINION A large and powerful hauler with a new interior that puts the

last model to shame.

AVEO

HIGHLIGHTS Minor exterior and interior updates, more responsive

suspension. LS and LT sedans are new for ’07.

BASE PRICE $9,995

WHAT’S NEXT A redesign lands next year.

OUR OPINION Competitive entry-level, no-nonsense car.

COBALT

HIGHLIGHTS Slight power increases. Remote starter is now available.

BASE PRICE $13,590

WHAT’S NEXT Changes will be seen in 2008.

OUR OPINION Easily matches compact competition; a real car to consider.

CORVETTE

HIGHLIGHTS Steering-wheel-mounted controls for premium audio system

Cross-drilled brake rotors included with magnetic ride contr

BASE PRICE $44,995

WHAT’S NEXT A limited, even more powerful Vette is inevitable. Yippee!

OUR OPINION Simply, the Corvette is the best sports car deal going.


FloorLiner

The NEW FloorLiner is Made from a Sturdy High-Density Tri-Extruded Material, and is Digitally Measured to

Perfectly Fit Your Vehicle! Available for Popular Trucks, SUV’s and Minivans in Black, Tan or Grey.

Accessories available for:

Acura • Audi • BMW • Buick • Cadillac • Chevy • Chrysler •

Dodge • Ford • GMC • Honda • Hummer • Hyundai • Infiniti •

Isuzu • Jaguar • Jeep • Kia • Land Rover • Lexus • Lincoln •

Mazda • Mercury • Mini • Mitsubishi • Nissan • Oldsmobile •

Pontiac • Porsche • Saab • Saturn • Subaru • Suzuki • Toyota •

Volkswagen • Volvo

Nissan Pathfinder Ford F350

Chevrolet Trailblazer Toyota Camry

800-441-6287

Specialists in Original Equipment and


AUTOWEEK < ’07 BUYERS GUIDE

HHR

HIGHLIGHTS Power increase in 2.2-liter and 2.4-liter engines.

BASE PRICE $16,390

WHAT’S NEXT Update will be seen in ’09.

OUR OPINION Intruding on PT Cruiser territory with plenty of cargo room.

IMPALA

HIGHLIGHTS Improved 3.9-liter engine with Active Fuel Management. The

3.5 gets flex-fuel capabilities. OnStar updated.

BASE PRICE $21,445

WHAT’S NEXT Uncertain. Will last though 2009, but a redesign may move it

to an rwd platform in 2010.

OUR OPINION Nipping at the heels of competitors in the highly competitive

midsize class.

MALIBU

HIGHLIGHTS The 3.5-liter gets variable valve timing. Dual-stage airbags

standard on all models. Maxx LT adds standard remote starter.

BASE PRICE $17,640

WHAT’S NEXT Maxx is dropped after 2007. Redesign next year with hybrid.

OUR OPINION Engine is a bit thrashy, but a competitive midsize entry.

MONTE CARLO

HIGHLIGHTS Satellite radio standard and Rally Stripe, optional on SS. The

3.5-liter engine gets flex-fuel capabilities. 3.9-liter V6 dropped.

BASE PRICE $21,445

WHAT’S NEXT Bows after 2008.

OUR OPINION Even with the V8, it doesn’t look or feel like a NASCAR racer.

AVALANCHE

HIGHLIGHTS Stronger GMT-900 platform yields better handling and a

smoother ride. Updated small-block V8s pack more power.

BASE PRICE $32,690

WHAT’S NEXT Hybrid model is expected.

OUR OPINION Bigger than Honda Ridgeline with similar adaptability.

COLORADO

HIGHLIGHTS New 2.9-liter, 185-hp I4 and 3.7-liter, 242-hp I5. Improved

gear shifts, revised interior, standard tire pressure monitoring.

BASE PRICE $14,495

WHAT’S NEXT Changes lie ahead for next year.

OUR OPINION Added power is nice, but still not as good as competition.

EQUINOX

HIGHLIGHTS Redesigned front and rear fascias, gauge cluster and

instruments. Four-wheel discs and StabiliTrak standard.

BASE PRICE $22,465

WHAT’S NEXT Redesigned in ’10 with possible third-row seating.

OUR OPINION One of the better car-based SUVs.

EXPRESS

HIGHLIGHTS 5.3-liter V8 is now standard. Flex-fuel offered.

BASE PRICE $22,660

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing major expected.

OUR OPINION Only good for passenger hauling or as a work vehicle.

SILVERADO

HIGHLIGHTS Three cab configurations: regular, extended and crew variants.

StabiliTrak is standard, and six small-block V8s are offered.

BASE PRICE $22,705

WHAT’S NEXT Refresh in 2010.

OUR OPINION Ready to face the challenge of the new Toyota Tundra.

SILVERADO CLASSIC

HIGHLIGHTS Recovery hooks standard on HD models.

BASE PRICE $16,740

WHAT’S NEXT Retirement.

OUR OPINION Unless you’re irrationally in love with this old truck or get a

barnburner of a deal, choose the new one.

HIGHLIGHTS

TAHOE

As with all GM’s new trucks, features Gen IV V8 engines,

stronger chassis and a more aerodynamic exterior.

BASE PRICE $34,190

WHAT’S NEXT Available hybrid powertrain for 2008.

OUR OPINION On par with the best competition, an American-sized SUV.

TRAILBLAZER

HIGHLIGHTS SS now now offers two equipment packages.

BASE PRICE $25,365

WHAT’S NEXT Eventually dropped from lineup.

OUR OPINION There are better and more economical alternatives.

UPLANDER

HIGHLIGHTS 3.9-liter, 240-hp V6 with variable valve timing is standard on

all models. StabiliTrak is added to extended-length models.

BASE PRICE $20,695

WHAT’S NEXT Dropped; replaced by a new SUV-like minivan in 2010.

OUR OPINION A half-hearted effort exposed by virtually all other minivans.

CHRYSLER

DaimlerChrysler Corp. chrysler.com

ASPEN

HIGHLIGHTS The first Chrysler-badged SUV is based on the Dodge

Durango. Standard is a 4.7-liter, 235-hp V8 while the 5.7-lite

335-hp Hemi V8 with MDS is available.

BASE PRICE $31,490

WHAT’S NEXT Makeover arrives in 2009.

OUR OPINION A lower-priced option in the large-ish luxury SUV segment.

300/300C/SRT8

HIGHLIGHTS Long-wheelbase 300 Touring and 300C rwd models.

Adaptive Cruise Control offered on Limited and 300C.

BASE PRICE $24,480

WHAT’S NEXT Wagon and diesel variants may appear; 2009 redesign.

OUR OPINION Our right foot likes the Hemi, but the V6 is adequate for mos

CROSSFIRE COUPE/ROADSTE

HIGHLIGHTS Numerous new safety features.

BASE PRICE $30,070

WHAT’S NEXT Design elements from Chrysler’s Firepower may end up on

a replacement after 2007; could be dropped entirely.

OUR OPINION Stylish and fun to drive; watch for overstock.com sales.

HIGHLIGHTS

SEBRING

New model promises more style, quality and value. Engines:

a base 2.4-liter, 172-hp I4; a 2.7-liter, 190-hp V6; and a

3.5-liter, 235-hp V6 found in Limited models.

BASE PRICE $18,995

WHAT’S NEXT A fresh convertible next year with soft-top and retractable

hard-top options.

OUR OPINION Design and powertrain variety make Sebring a contender.

PACIFICA

HIGHLIGHTS New front fascia, wheels, colors, instrument graphics, etc.

BASE PRICE $24,890

WHAT’S NEXT A major change lies ahead in 2010.

OUR OPINION Recommended for traveling families of four.


PT CRUISER/CONVERTIBLE

HIGHLIGHTS Stain- and odor-resistant seat fabric from Yes Essentials

available. All models receive standard console floodlight.

BASE PRICE $15,125

WHAT’S NEXT Redo for 2009 or 2010 with a V6 engine offering.

OUR OPINION Full of character, but in need of a makeover.

TOWN & COUNTRY

HIGHLIGHTS New exterior color selections.

BASE PRICE $21,985

WHAT’S NEXT Major redo next year, front styling hints at the 300.

OUR OPINION Remains the champion minivan.

DODGE

DaimlerChrysler Corp. dodge.com

NITRO

HIGHLIGHTS Based on Jeep Liberty, with two V6 choices: standard

3.7-liter, 210-hp with six-speed manual or a 4.0-liter, 255-hp

model with standard automatic.

BASE PRICE $20,545

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing is in the cards for this new model.

OUR OPINION Standout styling should make the Nitro successful.

CALIBER

HIGHLIGHTS Available with engines ranging from a 1.8-liter, 148- hp

I4 to a 2.4-liter turbo making about 300 hp for SRT4

variants. R/T trims come in fwd and awd.

BASE PRICE $13,985

WHAT’S NEXT Slated for a five-year cycle.

OUR OPINION Strong styling and trick features.

CHARGER

HIGHLIGHTS Awd SXT and R/T versions join lineup. SRT8 comes with SRT

Track Experience, and a rear-seat video system is optional.

BASE PRICE $23,275

WHAT’S NEXT Extra doors still bother you? Wait for the Challenger. Big

changes sit as far off as 2010. A diesel may appear next year.

OUR OPINION Excellent argument for the rwd sedan; SRT8 will win you over.

MAGNUM

HIGHLIGHTS Low-risk deployment airbags and sunscreen privacy glass

added. SRT8 rear-seat video system is an option.

BASE PRICE $23,545

WHAT’S NEXT A diesel may show next year, and a redo is expected in 2009.

OUR OPINION Redefines what an American wagon should be.

VIPER

HIGHLIGHTS A special VOI.9 Edition commemorates the ninth Viper

Owner’s Invitational; the SRT Track Experience is standard.

BASE PRICE $82,745

WHAT’S NEXT Updates coming for ’08 with a new front-end design and

engine modifications.

OUR OPINION A raw and unique experience that’s able to offer a rush only a

few can duplicate.

CARAVAN

HIGHLIGHTS Two new blue pearl color choices.

BASE PRICE $19,345

WHAT’S NEXT New model next year with Magnum-like front end.

’07 BUYERS GUIDE > AUTOWEEK

HIGHLIGHTS

DAKOTA

Dual-position tailgate standard. 3.7-liter V6 has electronic

throttle control and EGR; 4.7-liter V8 now flex-fuel capable.

BASE PRICE $19,705

WHAT’S NEXT New model for ’10 on an updated version of the platform.

OUR OPINION The V8 is good; if a six is all you need, shop Toyota Tacoma

DURANGO

HIGHLIGHTS Fresh exterior with new front/rear fascias, body-side molding

Flex-fuel 4.7-liter engine now available in most states.

BASE PRICE $29,570

WHAT’S NEXT Hybrid powertrain comes next year. Restyling arrives for 200

OUR OPINION A decent rig in a sea of oversized SUVs.

RAM

HIGHLIGHTS 4.7-liter V8s now flex-fuel compatible. 2500/3500 and Meg

Cabs get a 6.7-liter Cummins diesel with 350 hp and

650 lb-ft of torque mated to a new six-speed automatic.

BASE PRICE $22,060

WHAT’S NEXT Next Ram is set to arrive for 2009.

OUR OPINION A trusty workhorse that is always a player.

FERRARI

Ferrari North America

599 GTB FIORANO

ferrariusa.com

HIGHLIGHTS Ferrari’s latest V12 coupe, the all-aluminum 599 boasts an

impressive 612 hp from the 6.0-liter Enzo-derived engine.

BASE PRICE $280,000 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT New model, nothing major planned.

OUR OPINION Insanely fast and uniquely styled Ferrari goodness.

F430/F430SPIDER

HIGHLIGHTS No changes.

BASE PRICE $174,535 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT Redesign in ’09.

OUR OPINION Supercar handling and an astonishing engine soundtrack.

612 SCAGLIETTI

HIGHLIGHTS No changes.

BASE PRICE $256,959 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT No changes planned.

OUR OPINION It may seat four, but it still lives up to the Ferrari nameplate

with aluminum construction and performance to boot.

FISKER

Fisker Coachbuild LLC fiskercb.com

LATIGO CS

HIGHLIGHTS Fisker-designed carbon fiber and aluminum body panels,

20-inch wheels on either a BMW 650 Ci or M6.

Upgraded power available with performance-plus package.

BASE PRICE $182,000

WHAT’S NEXT Production limited to 150 cars.

OUR OPINION Potent underpinnings made to look unlike anything else.


There was no wind today,

but the kite fl ew higher than ever.

Of course, the look on my daughter’s face sent me soaring as well.

My dream is to be a hero.

Only, who knew it would be through the eyes of a six-year-old.

Starting at $34,795.

Tax, title and license fees extra. As shown with optional equipment, MSRP $36,690.

Wind diffuser with available Vista Roof not shown. Do not put objects through roof.


Introducing the all-new 2007 Lincoln MKX with a responsive 265 hp V-6 and

a panoramic Vista Roof. * The sky is the limit. Life’s calling. Where to next?


AUTOWEEK < ’07 BUYERS GUIDE

TRAMONTO

HIGHLIGHTS Begin with a Mercedes SL55 AMG, add customized carbon

fiber and aluminum bodywork designed by Henrik Fisker. A

610-hp performance package and custom interior available.

BASE PRICE $234,000

WHAT’S NEXT To be killed after 150 copies are produced.

OUR OPINION Highly exclusive, but it doesn’t come cheap.

FORD

Ford Motor Co. ford.com

FORD EDGE

HIGHLIGHTS New Fusion-based crossover links a 3.5-liter, 265-hp V6

to a six-speed automatic, available in front- and all-wheel-drive

forms. Options include a panoramic roof, navigation and a

rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

BASE PRICE $25,995

WHAT’S NEXT New for 2007.

OUR OPINION Comes at the right time to propel Ford into instant contention.

CROWN VICTORIA

HIGHLIGHTS Available only in Standard and LX trims. LX has optional

Premium Sport Handling and Performance package with

high-flowing exhaust to bump power to 239 hp.

BASE PRICE $25,310

WHAT’S NEXT Will likely carry on through ’09. Ford may head Down Under

for the next-gen Falcon platform to bring us a new model.

OUR OPINION Affordable, spacious, comfy old-style Detroit sedan.

FIVE-HUNDRED

HIGHLIGHTS Only SEL and Limited trims. Side airbags and Safety Canopy

standard. Fwd models get a six-speed automatic.

BASE PRICE $23,730

WHAT’S NEXT A mild freshening for next year with a new 3.5-liter V6.

OUR OPINION A good car overall but stuck in a boring and bland body.

FOCUS

HIGHLIGHTS Upgrade package with leather. Street-appearance package

has spoiler, fogs, bright exhaust tip. CD/MP3 player standard.

BASE PRICE $13,995

WHAT’S NEXT The ’08 Focus re-engineered and restyled. Wagon may die.

OUR OPINION Why doesn’t Ford bring over the Euro-spec Focus?

FUSION

HIGHLIGHTS Front-side and curtain airbags standard.

BASE PRICE $17,995

WHAT’S NEXT A hybrid powertrain and Ford’s new 3.5-liter V6 to follow.

MUSTANG

HIGHLIGHTS California Special package with18-inch wheels, side scoops

leather seat inserts, larger intake and special fascias for GTs

Appearance pack with exhaust tips, scoop and engine cove

BASE PRICE $19,995

WHAT’S NEXT Special editions will follow annually; minor refresh is set for

2010. Bigger engines may follow from the Hurricane progra

OUR OPINION Modern pony car that looks, sounds and drives like it should

SHELBY GT500

HIGHLIGHTS The most powerful Mustang has a 5.4-liter, 500-hp, supercharged

V8, a six-speed manual, SVT-tuned suspension and

four-piston Brembo brakes. Offered as coupe or convertible

BASE PRICE $42,975

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing at the moment for this limited-production vehicle.

OUR OPINION Modern interpretation of a classic that will surely sell out fast

E-SERIES

HIGHLIGHTS Electronic throttle control and engine-oil cooler standard

for all models. Minor revisions to increase payload on E-150

BASE PRICE $25,375 9 (est.)

WHAT’S next Slight refresh for ’08 and a new 6.4-liter diesel V8 offering.

OUR OPINION Ordinary minivans have nothing on you: You can carry 15.

ESCAPE

HIGHLIGHTS Keypad entry is standard on Limiteds, while XLT Sport mode

get an updated monochromatic appearance package.

BASE PRICE $19,805

WHAT’S NEXT Redone for ’08; new model debuts at L.A. show in Novembe

OUR OPINION Remains a venerable small ute but due for that redesign.

EXPEDITION

HIGHLIGHTS New model in regular or long wheelbase with design

elements from the F-150 pickup. Improved quietness and rid

comfort thanks to a new independent rear suspension.

BASE PRICE $29,995

WHAT’S NEXT Diesel and hybrid power among possible future powerplants

OUR OPINION A big, refined SUV. If you miss the Excursion, check the EL.

EXPLORER

HIGHLIGHTS Side-curtains standard, power running boards optional for

Eddie Bauer and Limited; nav, heated windshield options.

BASE PRICE $25,995

WHAT’S NEXT Facelift for ’09.

OUR OPINION Better but with some interior ergonomic peculiarities.

EXPLORER SPORT TRAC

HIGHLIGHTS Returns after a year’s layoff with a new 292-hp V8 and a

cleaner V6. Has a composite bed, two-tier storage, stiffer

frame and rear independent suspension.

BASE PRICE $24,940

WHAT’S NEXT Do not expect anything major for a few years.

OUR OPINION Honda Ridgeline-like utility but in need of sportier flare.

F-150

HIGHLIGHTS 4.6-liter V8 sees a bump in power to 248 hp. A 5.4-liter, flex

fuel V8 optional. Tire pressure monitor, audio jack standard.

BASE PRICE $19,120

WHAT’S NEXT Redesign for ’09 with a 6.2-liter V8, possible diesel power.

OUR OPINION Ready to take on the challengers from GM and Toyota.

FREESTAR

HIGHLIGHTS Third-row tailgate benchseat standard. Models with Advanc

Trac receive Panic Brake Assist. Six exterior colors are new.

BASE PRICE $24,405

WHAT’S NEXT Gone after ’07; replaced by something like Fairlane concept

OUR OPINION Scores high on safety but low on desirability.

GO TO AUTOWEEK.COM/BUYERSGUIDE


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2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GT

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Bold

collects the hardware.

“Most Appealing Midsize Car.”

J.D. Power and Associates

fordvehicles.com

Ford Fusion received the highest

numer ical score among midsize cars

in the proprietary J.D. Power and

Associates 2006 Automotive

Performance, Execution and Layout

Study. SM Study based on responses

from 63,607 new vehicle owners,

measuring 251 models and measures

opinions of consumers after 90 days

of ownership. Proprietary study

results are based on experiences

and perceptions of consumers

surveyed in February-May 2006.

Your experiences may vary. Visit

jdpower.com. *EPA estimated 23

city/31 hwy mpg (I4/automatic).

Fusion

31-mpg fuel economy *


AUTOWEEK < ’07 BUYERS GUIDE

FREESTYLE

HIGHLIGHTS Front side-impact and side-curtain airbags standard. Limiteds

receive standard 18-inch rims. New optional packages.

BASE PRICE $26,615

WHAT’S NEXT A minor freshening next year with Ford’s new 3.5-liter V6.

OUR OPINION We like the Freestyle, but Ford needs to give it more power.

F-SERIES SUPER DUTY

HIGHLIGHTS SuperCab Lariat Highline Edition with chrome accents and

Crew Cab Lariat Outlaw are new. A 4.10:1 limited-slip axle

is standard on 5.4-liter F-250 and rear-wheel F-350.

BASE PRICE $23,370

WHAT’S NEXT Next Super Duty due in ’08 offering a 6.4-liter V8 diesel.

OUR OPINION This industry hit has no signs of letting up.

RANGER

HIGHLIGHTS Personal safety system now standard with tire pressure

monitor and anti-theft system.

BASE PRICE $14,495

WHAT’S NEXT Future is up in the air. It could see a redesign or be killed.

OUR OPINION Senior member of the compact truck market needs an heir.

GMC

General Motors Corp. gmc.com

ACADIA

HIGHLIGHTS GMC storms into the popular crossover game with the

midsize Acadia in either fwd or awd form. Standard is a

3.6-liter, 275-hp V6. Seating for up to eight. Six standard

airbags, tire pressure monitor, StabiliTrak and traction control.

BASE PRICE $30,000 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT New, so minor additions.

OUR OPINION Appears to be a strong addition to the GMC line.

HIGHLIGHTS

CANYON

2.9-liter, 185-hp four-cylinder and 3.7-liter, 242-hp I5 engines

available. Transmission shift quality is improved.

BASE PRICE $15,960

WHAT’S NEXT Restyled for next year.

OUR OPINION Drop the inline-five and give us a V6.

ENVOY

HIGHLIGHTS 18-inch wheels available on SLE and SLT. The XL is dropped.

BASE PRICE $27,065

WHAT’S NEXT Discontinued sometime in the future.

OUR OPINION Like the TrailBlazer, it’s getting old.

SAVANNA

HIGHLIGHTS 5.3-liter V8 standard. Flex-fuel 5.3-liter offered.

BASE PRICE $22,660

WHAT’S NEXT No major changes planned.

OUR OPINION For work-related activities or church buses; skip it otherwise.

SIERRA

HIGHLIGHTS New design with improved ride quality and handling.

StabiliTrak standard on crew-cab. Denali offers 6.2-liter V8.

BASE PRICE $21,210

WHAT’S NEXT The redesigned heavy-duty models follow next year.

OUR OPINION GM raises its full-size truck game.

HIGHLIGHTS

SIERRA CLASSIC

Recovery hooks standard on HD models.

BASE PRICE $16,740

WHAT’S NEXT The end, being replaced by GMT-900 Sierra.

OUR OPINION Good deals, but can you resist the new one?

YUKON/YUKON XL

HIGHLIGHTS Stronger, fully boxed chassis improves on responsiveness

and ride quality and carries new, more fuel-efficient V8s.

Denali offers 6.2-liter, 400-hp V8 with six-speed auto.

BASE PRICE $34,895

WHAT’S NEXT Minor changes, as it is new.

OUR OPINION Finally, an acceptable and worthy interior.

HONDA

American Honda Co. hondacars.com

CR-V

HIGHLIGHTS New CR-V grows slightly to yield increased interior space.

The 2.4-liter I4 carries over but sees a 10-hp jump. Five-spe

automatic is the sole gearbox.

BASE PRICE $21,400

WHAT’S NEXT With this year’s makeover, nothing is in sight.

OUR OPINION A strong redesign solidifies its place at the head of its class.

ACCORD

HIGHLIGHTS New special-edition V6 sedan includes stability control,

17-inch alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, six-disc in-dash CD

changer, steering-wheel audio controls and alarm system.

BASE PRICE $19,220

WHAT’S NEXT Next-gen arrives for ’08, with possible diesel offered.

OUR OPINION The Accord remains a car we never hesitate to recommend.

CIVIC

HIGHLIGHTS Civic Si sedan shares the 197-hp I4, six-speed manual and

limited-slip diff found in the coupe.

BASE PRICE $15,405

WHAT’S NEXT Freshening in a couple of years with murmurs of a diesel.

OUR OPINION Civic offers something for everyone. The Si is our choice.

FIT

HIGHLIGHTS Fit marks Honda’s return to the subcompact segment. A

1.5-liter, 109-hp I4 provides ample power with estimated fue

economy in the mid-30s.

BASE PRICE $14,445

WHAT’S NEXT A sedan version with a hybrid powertrain may appear sportin

a new name.

OUR OPINION Annoying jokes involving its name aside, the Honda is our

favorite among the onslaught of new subcompact vehicles in

the market.

S2000

HIGHLIGHTS Unchanged.

BASE PRICE $34,645

WHAT’S NEXT ’07 may serve as the last call for Honda’s capable roadster.

OUR OPINION A driver’s car that is truly rewarding when driven at the limit.


ELEMENT

HIGHLIGHTS New front fascia and interior cluster styling. Stability control,

brake assist, side-curtain airbags and keyless entry standard.

Power jumps 10 hp to 166. A sporty SC model arrives with a

lower suspension, 18-inch wheels, auxiliary audio inputs and

exclusive interior and exterior touches.

BASE PRICE $19,495

WHAT’S NEXT A redesigned Honda box is expected for 2009.

OUR OPINION Most agree that it’s ugly, but it’s hard to object to the amount

of utility it embodies.

ODYSSEY

HIGHLIGHTS Tilt and telescoping steering wheel, center-pocket coin holder

and tire pressure monitor are added to all trim levels.

BASE PRICE $26,240

WHAT’S NEXT Facelift possible next year. Honda may also add the smaller

Stream being sold in Japan. Redesign slated for 2010.

OUR OPINION Endless amenities and storage compartments make this an

office favorite among minivans.

PILOT

HIGHLIGHTS New colors include nimbus gray, dark cherry pearl, Aberdeen

green and formal black.

BASE PRICE $27,690

WHAT’S NEXT Overhaul comes in ’09 with possible 3.8-liter V6.

OUR OPINION An abundance of storage and decent gas mileage make this a

great entry in the SUV market.

RIDGELINE

HIGHLIGHTS Moonroof is now standard on RTL trims. New RTX model

adds a trailer hitch, gray alloy wheels, accessory grille and

body-color door handles.

BASE PRICE $28,395

WHAT’S NEXT Anything drastic sits a few years away.

OUR OPINION Innovative features such as the underbed trunk and

respectable hauling capabilities make this the perfect truck for

people not in the need of heavy-duty domestic offerings.

HUMMER

General Motors Corp. hummer.com

H2

HIGHLIGHTS Limited Glacier Blue Metallic H2 is new, and rear-vision

camera system is now optional.

BASE PRICE $54,075

WHAT’S NEXT Redesign for the 2010 model year.

OUR OPINION With the passing of the H1 Alpha, the H2 inherits leadership

of the line, with enough off-road prowess and size to do so.

H3

HIGHLIGHTS A 3.7-liter, 242-hp I5 replaces the previous 3.5-liter unit for a

22-hp jump. A new H3x model joins the mix, based on the H3

Street concept, featuring chrome elements and two exclusive

paint colors. StabiliTrak is standard on all models.

BASE PRICE $29,940

WHAT’S NEXT 5.3-liter V8 is likely, while a crew-cab version should land in

’09. Smaller H4 remains a possibility for ’09.

OUR OPINION Even with the slight power increase, an extra cylinder under

’07 BUYERS GUIDE > AUTOWEEK

HYUNDAI

Hyundai Motor America hyundaiusa.com

ACCENT

HIGHLIGHTS New three-door hatchback; a/c now standard on GLS seda

BASE PRICE $10,415

WHAT’S NEXT New last year, no major changes expected in near term.

OUR OPINION An entry-level car with six standard airbags, variable valve

timing and dohc engine. Times have certainly changed.

AZERA

HIGHLIGHTS Steering-wheel audio functions, while Limited trims have new

electroluminescent instruments.

BASE PRICE $24,335

WHAT’S NEXT Only minor changes in near term.

OUR OPINION Enough features and value to wax most of its domestic

competition.

ELANTRA

HIGHLIGHTS New design for 2007 with more interior space, six airbags,

larger four-wheel disc brakes, ABS and electronic brake

distribution. Heated seats available.

BASE PRICE $13,995

WHAT’S NEXT Just arriving for ’07.

OUR OPINION A strong redesign that is priced modestly and has a good

warranty.

SONATA

HIGHLIGHTS SE version is new with 17-inch wheels and 234-hp V6

engine. Limited model features a chrome grille and optional

Infinity sound system. Satellite radio comes standard. GL

and LX trims are dropped.

BASE PRICE $17,195

WHAT’S NEXT New last year.

OUR OPINION A strong Korean midsize showing with more powerful

engines.

TIBURON

HIGHLIGHTS Front-end facelift. Stability control, cross-drilled brake rotors,

full-size spare and Euro-tuned suspension standard on SE;

GT deluxe dropped.

BASE PRICE $16,095

WHAT’S NEXT Full redesign in 2009, moving to rear-wheel drive?

OUR OPINION Sporty looks, comfortable cockpit and decent power at low

cost.

ENTOURAGE

HIGHLIGHTS Hyundai’s first minivan, with six airbags and stability control

standard, dual-power sliding doors and a 242-hp V6 engine

BASE PRICE $23,795

WHAT’S NEXT New model.

OUR OPINION Hyundai’s entrance into the minivan segment proves

competitive with top brands.

GO TO AUTOWEEK.COM/BUYERSGUIDE

FOR MORE INFO ON ALL THE NEW CARS


AUTOWEEK < ’07 BUYERS GUIDE

SANTA FE

HIGHLIGHTS New for 2007 with five- or seven-passenger seating and two

V6 engine choices: a 2.7-liter with 185-hp and new 3.3-liter

242-hp unit. Standard safety features including six airbags,

stability control and four-wheel disc brakes all around.

BASE PRICE $20,945

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing foreseen yet for this new model.

OUR OPINION Returns vastly improved and ready to win over shoppers.

TUCSON

HIGHLIGHTS Improved radio display with digital tuner, dual-mode trip

computer for SE and Limited.

BASE PRICE $17,845

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing significant is expected.

OUR OPINION Hyundai’s entry in the highly contested compact SUV

segment is decently priced but average at best.

VERACRUZ

HIGHLIGHTS Hyundai brings the midsize Veracruz SUV, featuring sevenpassenger

seating and standard 3.8-liter V6 engine paired

with six-speed automatic. Electronic stability control and side

airbags are standard, and awd is available.

BASE PRICE $25,000 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT New.

OUR OPINION Hyundai wants to stomp the competition with more cargo

and interior space and more premium content at a lower price.

INFINITI

Nissan North America infiniti.com

G35 SEDAN

HIGHLIGHTS Powering the second-gen G35 is a higher-revving 3.5-liter V6,

with 306 hp, coupled to either rear- or all-wheel drive. Adaptive

front lighting, intelligent cruise control, rearview camera

and navigation optional. Four-wheel steer available on Sport.

BASE PRICE $32,800 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT Freshening scheduled for 2010.

OUR OPINION The new G sedan has become a more capable alternative to

the BMW 3 Series.

G35 SPORT COUPE

HIGHLIGHTS Intelligent Key and automatic on/off lights now standard.

BASE PRICE $34,000 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT Expect enhancements comparable to those found on the new

sedan to arrive next year for the 2008 model.

OUR OPINION A grown man’s 350Z for those who require more than

two seats.

M35/M45

HIGHLIGHTS Climate-controlled seats, xenon headlamps with adaptive

front-lighting system. Advanced Technology package includes

Bose surround sound system and intelligent cruise control.

BASE PRICE $42,100

WHAT’S NEXT Facelift to come in 2010.

OUR OPINION A champion driver among Japanese luxury sedans.

Q45

HIGHLIGHTS No Q for 2007, and maybe even ’08.

BASE PRICE n/a

WHAT’S NEXT New model should be coming within a couple of years.

OUR OPINION You still might find an ’06–and it’s a lot of car for the money.

FX35/FX45

HIGHLIGHTS Pre-wiring for iPod, seatbelt reminder system standard. FX4

also has power-folding side-view mirrors standard.

BASE PRICE $35,950 (est.)/$46,300 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT The FX grows in 2009. A smaller five-seat crossover is

expected next year to slot below the FX.

OUR OPINION A quirky SUV with a slightly rough ride, sporty performance

especially in 4.5-liter V8 model.

QX56

HIGHLIGHTS Engine output jumps to 320 hp.

BASE PRICE $50,450 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT A freshening is possible next year, followed by a redesign

for 2010.

OUR OPINION A giant ute that’s surprisingly light on its feet.

ISUZU

Isuzu Motors America isuzu.com

I-290/I-370

HIGHLIGHTS Cloned from GM’s Colorado/Canyon, with new 2.9-liter and

3.7-liter engines providing power. The I-290 now offers both

automatic and manual transmissions. A tire pressure

monitoring system is standard. Chrome accents for interior.

BASE PRICE $16,989

WHAT’S NEXT Discontinued in 2009 or 2010.

OUR OPINION Seemingly a better deal than the Chevy/GMC versions, if yo

can find an Isuzu dealership.

ASCENDER

HIGHLIGHTS Tire pressure monitoring standard, six-spoke alloy wheels.

OnStar dropped. Seven-passenger model discontinued.

BASE PRICE $25,959

WHAT’S NEXT Likely to be dropped in ’09.

OUR OPINION Isuzu-branded Chevy TrailBlazer with a decent amount of

standard features.

JAGUAR

Jaguar Cars jaguarusa.com

X-TYPE

HIGHLIGHTS Standard moonroof and optional 17-inch wheels. Standard

stability control.

BASE PRICE $34,995

WHAT’S NEXT Only two years left before retirement.


AUTOWEEK < ’07 BUYERS GUIDE

XK

HIGHLIGHTS New XK boasts best-in-class rigidity in coupe form, while the

convertible sees a 50 percent improvement over the old car.

A 4.2-liter, 300-hp V8 is standard. XKR, packing a

supercharged 4.2-liter V8 good for 420 hp with stiffer springs,

larger brakes and 20-inch wheels, will bow by year’s end.

BASE PRICE $75,500

WHAT’S NEXT End-of-the-year appearance by XKR.

OUR OPINION Performance and responsive handling have Jag headed in the

right direction.

S-TYPE

HIGHLIGHTS Premium package items are now standard on 3.0 trim. 4.2

and R gain navigation and Bluetooth; R models also have a

luxury package with high-grade leather, walnut trim, electric

rear sunshade and adaptive cruise.

BASE PRICE $49,000

WHAT’S NEXT Redesign claws in next year.

OUR OPINION Still beautiful, but the old outfit is getting tired.

XJ

HIGHLIGHTS Bluetooth standard. XJ8 and XJ8L get additional chrome trim,

heated 16-way adjustable front seats and heated rear seats.

XJR returns, featuring some cues from the Concept Eight.

BASE PRICE $64,250

WHAT’S NEXT Complete makeover in 2010.

OUR OPINION Classic looks don’t sufficiently distinguish this aluminumchassis

performer from its predecessors.

JEEP

DaimlerChrysler Corp. jeep.com

COMPASS

HIGHLIGHTS Like the Dodge Caliber, the Compass sits on Mitsubishi’s

next-gen Lancer platform. Standard 2.4-liter, 172-hp fourcylinder

in front- or all-wheel drive. Features include 60/40

fold-flat rear seats, removable vinyl floor, stain-and odorresistant

fabric and available fold-flat front-passenger seat.

BASE PRICE $15,985

WHAT’S NEXT A diesel version will be available outside North America.

OUR OPINION While not “Trail Rated,” the Compass offers many Jeep-like

qualities to fend off incursions from the growing number

of crossovers.

COMMANDER

HIGHLIGHTS Overland model includes front tow hooks, exterior platinum

finishes, wire lattice grille, platinum-clad wheels and leather

interior touches. The 4.7-liter V8 is now flex-fuel compatible.

Remote starter, rear backup camera and body-colored door

handles are standard.

WHAT’S NEXT Small facelift scheduled for 2009 but could come sooner if

sales do not improve.

OUR OPINION A large, stable and smooth SUV capable not only off-road,

but on highways and byways, too.

GRAND CHEROKEE/SRT8

HIGHLIGHTS 4.7-liter V8 becomes flex-fuel compatible and a 3.0-liter dies

joins 2wd models. Remote start and side-curtain airbags no

standard. Taillights restyled. Laredo trims have ParkSense

standard, while a backup camera is optional for Laredo and

Limited variants. SRT8s get a standard rear camera.

BASE PRICE $28,235

WHAT’S NEXT Possible re-engineering and styling for 2010.

OUR OPINION Full-size without being too big. Consider also the wickedly

fast SRT8.

LIBERTY

HIGHLIGHTS Sport and Limited 4x2 and 4x4 are new models. Jeep-green

metallic is a new exterior color.

BASE PRICE $21,950

WHAT’S NEXT A new Liberty crawls in for 2008.

OUR OPINION A capable enough off-road machine but with comfort not

found in the Wrangler.

PATRIOT

HIGHLIGHTS To further appeal to the masses, Jeep brings us the Patriot,

providing yet another entry-level player into the off-road famil

Using the same hardware as Compass, Patriot employs a

more classic Jeep design theme and capabilities.

BASE PRICE $15,585

WHAT’S NEXT New now.

OUR OPINION It looks like a Jeep but without the hard-core off-road DNA.

WRANGLER/WRANGLER UNLIMITED

HIGHLIGHTS All-new with a wider stance, greater ground clearance,

increased interior space, more power and a four-door Unlim

ited version. New 3.8-liter V6 provides 205 hp to raise towin

capacity to a ton. Two new top systems provide greater

choices for your open-air motoring configurations.

BASE PRICE $18,765

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing on the horizon.

OUR OPINION Carrying the rugged off-road ability of the Jeep brand, the

Wrangler gains practicality and highway safety features to

broaden its appeal.

KIA

Kia Motors America kia.com

SORENTO

HIGHLIGHTS New 3.8-liter, 262-hp V6 with increased towing ability.

Suspension tuning revised; exterior refresh front and rear.

BASE PRICE $19,865 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT Refresh for fall of 2008.

OUR OPINION More powerful engine and fresher look keep the Sorento a

value-priced competitor.

AMANTI

HIGHLIGHTS New 3.8-liter, 264-hp V6 standard. Front and rear fascias,

alloy wheels, retuned suspension and instrument cluster


AUTOWEEK < ’07 BUYERS GUIDE

pedals and premium package added to option list.

BASE PRICE $28,675 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT Redesign in two years on Hyundai Azera platform.

OUR OPINION Pricey Kia offers high-end amenities.

OPTIMA

HIGHLIGHTS Updated steering-wheel audio controls and updated

aluminum trim pattern. Base 2.4-liter four rated at 162 hp.

BASE PRICE $16,995 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT No changes for now.

OUR OPINION A long standard equipment list and nice warranty do lots for

this clean-looking midsize sedan.

RIO/RIO5

HIGHLIGHTS New SX trim features 15-inch alloy wheels, chrome interior

accents, sport seat fabric and door-panel inserts.

BASE PRICE $11,350 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing major anytime soon.

OUR OPINION Competent, but there are better offerings at the same price.

SPECTRA/SPECTRA5

HIGHLIGHTS Freshened front, rear and interior for entire range. New

16-inch alloy wheel design for SX and Spectra5 variants.

BASE PRICE $13,475 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT No major changes in the near future.

OUR OPINION A budget price for a decent enough ride.

RONDO

HIGHLIGHTS New mini-minivan features either a 2.5-liter I4 or a 2.7-liter V6.

Built on a shrunken Optima platform, the Rondo offers seating

for five or seven with an optional third row. Six standard airbags,

ABS, stability control and power accessories standard.

BASE PRICE $17,000 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT New model, so nothing major.

OUR OPINION This small minivan takes aim at Mazda 5 and may have the

upper hand with its V6 option.

SEDONA

HIGHLIGHTS Center stack may receive revision and engine power increase.

BASE PRICE $23,985 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing significant expected.

OUR OPINION A minivan high on content but not on price.

SPORTAGE

HIGHLIGHTS Mostly carryover.

BASE PRICE $16,495 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing big is foreseen.

OUR OPINION Small SUV with utility, comfort and the right price.

KOENIGSEGG

Koenigsegg Automotive AB koenigsegg.com

CCX

HIGHLIGHTS The first Koenigsegg vehicle sold in the United States. Power

comes from a twin-supercharged V8 engine making 806 hp,

and shoots the CCX to 62 mph in 3.2 seconds.

BASE PRICE $695,000

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing at the moment.

OUR OPINION If the Bugatti Veyron is too rich for your blood, the CCX

wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize.

LAMBORGHINI

Volkswagen AG www.lamborghini.com

MURCIELAGO

HIGHLIGHTS LP640 coupe sees power climb to 631 hp from 572. The c

also features a slightly revised exterior. Roadster variants car

on unchanged. A ceramic carbon brake option is available o

the entire line.

BASE PRICE $313,500 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT Freshening for the roadster to come shortly.

OUR OPINION More than 600 horsepower in an exotic four-wheel-drive

sports car. What’s not to love?

GALLARDO

HIGHLIGHTS No major changes.

BASE PRICE $177,550 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT Minor changes for the coupe come for 2008 and for

Spyder in 2009.

OUR OPINION Sleek street performer with looks sure to turn heads.

LAND ROVER

Land Rover North America landroverusa.com

LR2

HIGHLIGHTS New entry-level SUV built on the Volvo S40’s platform with a

3.2-liter, 230-hp inline-six. The junior Rover features

independent suspension providing agile handling and

comfortable on-road manners. All LR2s are equipped with

standard Roll Stability Control.

BASE PRICE $39,000 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT New vehicle, so no changes.

OUR OPINION Land Rover’s latest looks poised to steal sales from

BMW’s X3.

LR3

HIGHLIGHTS Available power lumbar adjustment and one-touch power

windows. Leather trim, power sunroof and nine-speaker

sound system now standard.

BASE PRICE $42,000

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing major.

OUR OPINION Family-friendly, capable off-road vehicle.

RANGE ROVER

HIGHLIGHTS Rear differential lock and optional air-cooled seats available.

Dashboard design is freshened.


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AUTOWEEK < ’07 BUYERS GUIDE

WHAT’S NEXT Moves to the LR3 platform for its 2010 redesign.

OUR OPINION An excellently performing 5400-pound vehicle.

RANGE ROVER SPORT

HIGHLIGHTS Personal Telephone Integration System with Bluetooth

capability and one-touch power windows standard. Satellite

radio standard on the supercharged V8.

BASE PRICE $57,650

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing known.

OUR OPINION Stupid-fast on-road but not at the expense of trail worthiness.

LEXUS

Toyota Motor Sales lexus.com

LS 460/460 L/600 HL

HIGHLIGHTS All new, offers a long-wheelbase model for the first time, along

with the world’s first eight-speed automatic transmission. Also,

first-ever full-hybrid V8 powering the LS 600 hL. LS 460 has a

4.6-liter V8 available with rear- and all-wheel drive. To raise its

luxury game, the LS offers power rear reclining seats, power

leg rests with massage functions and body-heat sensors.

BASE PRICE $59,000 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT All-new now.

OUR OPINION The new LS raises the benchmark for luxury sedans.

ES 350

HIGHLIGHTS New for ’07, available since April. Interior space expands with

more hip-, shoulder- and legroom. More power from a 3.5-liter,

272-hp V6. Keyless entry, push-button ignition, power

tilt/telescoping steering wheel, stability control and traction

control all come standard. Backup camera available with

optional navigation, along with optional adaptive front lighting.

BASE PRICE $33,865

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing foreseen at the moment.

OUR OPINION The baby Lexus grows up and packs lots of luxury in the nearluxury

segment.

GS 350/430/450H

HIGHLIGHTS GS 300 is replaced by the GS 350 to symbolize the 3.5-liter,

306-hp powerplant, which also benefits from highperformance

brakes and available 18-inch rims for rwd

models. GS 430 now equipped with stability control system

cutoff switch. The hybrid GS 450h, available since May,

became the world’s first luxury hybrid sedan.

BASE PRICE $44,845

WHAT’S NEXT Awaits the arrival of the new 4.6-liter V8.

OUR OPINION The hidden control panel is annoying in this otherwise

handsome and top-notch luxury sedan.

IS 250/350

HIGHLIGHTS Shark fin antenna, fog light indicator and stability control cutoff

switch now standard. Xenon headlights with adaptive front

lighting now a stand-alone option. A new optional X package

for IS 250 rwd and 350 models adds sport suspension, sport

pedals, illuminated scuff plates, front skirt and 18-inch rims.

WHAT’S NEXT Coupe is expected for 2008, with a convertible to arrive late

Hybrid power may come during its mid-cycle freshening.

OUR OPINION Lexus is getting closer to BMW but needs a true six-speed

manual in the 350.

SC 430

HIGHLIGHTS Front-passenger knee airbags standard.

BASE PRICE $66,150

WHAT’S NEXT Redesign moving to IS platform and will use the 4.6-liter V8.

OUR OPINION Remains attractive and sleek, but the fresh model will help it

stand up to the BMW 6 Series.

GX 470

HIGHLIGHTS Auxiliary audio inputs standard; rear-seat entertainment

system option now equipped with larger nine-inch screen an

Mark Levinson audio system option.

BASE PRICE $47,330

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing expected in the immediate future.

OUR OPINION A smooth and ultra-quiet SUV.

LX 470

HIGHLIGHTS Carryover.

BASE PRICE $68,090

WHAT’S NEXT Carries on until its Land Cruiser counterpart sees redesign.

OUR OPINION Lots of space typical of a big ute, but closing in on its

expiration date.

RX 350/RX 400H

HIGHLIGHTS New 3.5-liter, 270-hp V6 calls for the new RX 350 badge.

Six-disc in-dash CD changer and acoustic glass windshield

are standard. Rear-seat entertainment screens upgraded to

nine-inch unit, and a Mark Levinson 11-speaker premium

audio system is a new option. The hybrid adds a center

console coin holder and available wood interior trim.

BASE PRICE $38,095

WHAT’S NEXT A new RX arrives next year.

OUR OPINION Lexus has the formula down pat for the luxury SUV, and the

hybrid is the only way to go if you’re looking for a high-end

hybrid SUV, for now.

LINCOLN

Ford Motor Co. lincoln.com

MKX

HIGHLIGHTS Lincoln is ready and waiting to help feed the demand for

crossovers with the MKX. Power comes from a 265-hp V6 i

either front- or optional all-wheel-drive variants. Sharing the

Fusion/Milan/MKZ platform with four-wheel independent

suspension enables the MKX to provide a car-like ride with

efficient fuel economy. The roomy interior features a

panoramic roof, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear

seats and available THX audio system and navigation.

BASE PRICE $34,155

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing planned at the moment.

OUR OPINION Crossover luxury with cool panoramic roof option, but not so

sure about the cheese-grater grille.


MKZ

HIGHLIGHTS MKZ replaces Zephyr badge. New 3.5-liter, 263-hp V6

provides power, and awd becomes available. Grille, front

fascia and 17-inch, eight-spoke wheels are new.

BASE PRICE $29,890

WHAT’S NEXT Hybrid variant may arrive next year.

OUR OPINION An entry-level Lincoln with a welcome increase in thrust

from the new V6.

TOWN CAR

HIGHLIGHTS Power open-and-close trunk standard on Signature Limited,

Designer and L models.

BASE PRICE $42,900

WHAT’S NEXT It appears 2007 is the end of the road for the Town Car, with

the MKS coming in for 2008.

OUR OPINION We like the smooth and comfortable ride that has always

characterized the big Town Car.

MARK LT

HIGHLIGHTS New grille, headlamp design, chrome rear tail lamp surrounds

and standard auto-dimming rearview mirror. Options include

navigation, 6.5-foot cargo box, 20-inch chrome wheels, and

power folding and heated exterior mirrors. Elite package adds

chrome step rails, navigation, moonroof, reverse sensing

system and tow package.

BASE PRICE $38,995

WHAT’S NEXT Next edition in 2009?

OUR OPINION This workman masquerading as a high-power

CEO doesn’t fool us.

NAVIGATOR

HIGHLIGHTS Like Ford Expedition, Navigator boasts a long version.

Improved interior with real wood trim, chrome accents and

quieter ride, thanks to a new independent rear suspension

and frame. Available power folding third-row seats provide

54.5 cubic feet of cargo area with the touch of a button.

BASE PRICE $46,505

WHAT’S NEXT More power may come next year in the form of a 6.2-liter V8.

OUR OPINION The new model reaffirms the Navigator as an elite luxury SUV,

but the front grille needs work.

LOTUS

Lotus Cars USA lotuscars.com

ELISE

HIGHLIGHTS Limited Elise Sport edition with adjustable Ohlins shocks,

front adjustable antiroll bar, stainless-steel brake lines,

competition clutch, roll hoop and harness bar. Production

is limited to 50 units.

BASE PRICE $43,915

WHAT’S NEXT More power is foreseen. Esprit returns next year.

OUR OPINION Stealing the hearts of drivers the world over.

’07 BUYERS GUIDE > AUTOWEEK

EXIGE

HIGHLIGHTS Carryover for 2007. A limited, track-only Cup version came i

2006 with 243 supercharged horsepower. A performance

exhaust, race shocks, upgraded brakes, adjustable front

antiroll bars, roll cage and limited-slip differential complete th

package. Unfortunately, all 15 cars are spoken for.

BASE PRICE $50,990

WHAT’S NEXT A second wave of Cup models if demand warrants it,

so lobby hard.

OUR OPINION The weapon of choice for every weekend track-day warrior.

MASERATI

Maserati North America www.maserati.com

QUATTROPORTE

HIGHLIGHTS Enhancements include a passenger detection sensor for

airbag activation, recalibrated shock absorbers all-around, an

a more powerful a/c system. A Sport GT model gets 20-inch

rims, carbon trim and race pedals, while Executive GT mode

have folding rear tables.

BASE PRICE $108,350

WHAT’S NEXT Expect a true automatic transmission as an alternative to the

current paddle-shifted gearbox.

OUR OPINION A spectacular luxury sport sedan that is powerful, balanced

and a thrill to drive.

COUPE/SPYDER/

GRANSPORT/SPORT SPYDER

HIGHLIGHTS Unchanged for ’07. The “Contemporary Classic” shown at

Paris is just an appearance package for the GranSport.

BASE PRICE $84,550

WHAT’S NEXT Redesign in near future.

OUR OPINION A legitimate alternative to some of the world’s

more expensive exotics.

MAYBACH

DaimlerChrysler AG maybachusa.com

57/57 S/62

HIGHLIGHTS Business Package includes a wireless Internet router, color

printer and Bluetooth. A pumped-up 57 S model gets a

604-hp twin-turbocharged V12 and firmer suspension.

BASE PRICE $338,250

WHAT’S NEXT Disappointing sales mean the Maybach brand’s

future is uncertain.

OUR OPINION Provides the opulence demanded by discriminating CEOs.


AUTOWEEK < ’07 BUYERS GUIDE

MAZDA

Mazda Motors of America mazdausa.com

CX-9

HIGHLIGHTS After dismissing MPV from the States, Mazda introduces the

CX-9 to take over people-mover duty. The midsize crossover

features the longest wheelbase in class and third-row seats.

A 3.5-liter V6 powers the package in either front- or all-wheeldrive.

Roll stability control and side-curtain airbags come

standard, while a Bose stereo system and navigation

are optional.

BASE PRICE $29,630

WHAT’S NEXT New entry.

OUR OPINION Crossover craziness continues.

MAZDA 3/MAZDASPEED 3

HIGHLIGHTS Exterior and interior freshened; optional MazdaSpeed

treatment with a 250-hp turbocharged four and

limited-slip differential.

BASE PRICE $14,390

WHAT’S NEXT All-new in 2009.

OUR OPINION The engaging 3 becomes even better with the addition

of the MazdaSpeed 3.

MAZDA 5

HIGHLIGHTS A grand touring package offers leather-trimmed heated seats,

xenon headlamps and black headlights and taillight bezels.

BASE PRICE $18,230

WHAT’S NEXT Unknown.

OUR OPINION Interior configurations are wonderfully useful, though the 5

would benefit from extra scoot.

MAZDA 6/MAZDASPEED 6

HIGHLIGHTS Antilock brakes, traction control and side airbags with

side curtains are now standard.

BASE PRICE $19,525

WHAT’S NEXT The 6 line receives a makeover next year, growing

in size and power.

OUR OPINION A practical and fun-to-drive sporty midsize sedan.

MX-5

HIGHLIGHTS Mazda’s legendary roadster gets a power-retractable

hardtop option.

BASE PRICE $21,030

WHAT’S NEXT Unknown.

OUR OPINION Beefier and more upscale than the old Miata, the MX-5

remains simple and fun, and retains much of the

original’s character.

RX-8

HIGHLIGHTS Touring and Grand Touring trims now come standard with a

six-disc CD changer.

BASE PRICE $27,030

WHAT’S NEXT 2010 redesign; rumored two-seat coupe a no-go.

OUR OPINION One of the best chassis on the market includes useable back

seats, but the rev-happy rotary is thirsty and lacks

B-SERIES PICKUP

HIGHLIGHTS Tire pressure monitor standard.

BASE PRICE $16,170

WHAT’S NEXT Curtain call likely when Ford finally redesigns the Ranger.

OUR OPINION Wait for the next one.

CX-7

HIGHLIGHTS Spawned from the 6, the CX-7 crossover uses a detuned,

244-hp turbocharged four and offers either front- or rearwheel-drive,

responsive handling and respectable

fuel economy.

BASE PRICE $24,345

WHAT’S NEXT Smaller Tribute on hiatus for 2007, returning as a 2008 mod

and bearing the CX-5 nameplate.

OUR OPINION One of the best crossovers available.

MERCEDES-BENZ

Mercedes-Benz USA mbusa.com

CL-CLASS

HIGHLIGHTS Full redesign grows in size and gets more power. A new 5.5

liter, 382-hp V8 powers the CL550; twin-turbo V12 in

CL600 yields 510 hp.

BASE PRICE $67,675

WHAT’S NEXT A pumped-up AMG version.

OUR OPINION The new luxury coupe cruiser is sexy and fast—very fast.

C-CLASS

HIGHLIGHTS New wheel designs; C230 is now flex-fuel capable, and

C280 has standard dual-power front seats. C55

AMG discontinued.

BASE PRICE $30,425

WHAT’S NEXT Complete makeover next year.

OUR OPINION A nice but aging sedan; loss of the AMG version saddens u

CLK-CLASS

HIGHLIGHTS CLK63 AMG Cabriolet with 475 hp replaces the CLK55

AMG, while 382-hp CLK550 takes the place of the CLK500

New sports appearance package for CLK350 includes cros

drilled brakes, rubber-studded aluminum pedals, 17-inch

10-spoke wheels, and a lowered sport suspension.

BASE PRICE $46,975

WHAT’S NEXT Redesign in two years.

OUR OPINION A classy coupe and convertible.

CLS-CLASS

HIGHLIGHTS Harman/Kardon sound system and PRE-SAFE anticipatory

safety system now standard equipment, while 382-hp

CLS550 replaces CLS500. CLS63 AMG with 507 hp

replaces the CLS55 AMG.

BASE PRICE $67,675

WHAT’S NEXT Facelift for 2009 model.

OUR OPINION Killer looks; power increases sweeten the pot.


E-CLASS

HIGHLIGHTS Redesigned front bumper, grille, head and taillights. Standard

sunroof, six-disc CD changer and Harman/Kardon sound

system for all models. More powerful, 382-hp E550 replaces

the E500; 507-hp E63 AMG replaces E55 AMG. E320

Bluetec with Mercedes’ new, cleaner diesel engine

replaces the E320 CDI.

BASE PRICE $51,325

WHAT’S NEXT Minor changes likely.

OUR OPINION An AutoWeek favorite in any of its forms.

S-CLASS

HIGHLIGHTS New ninth-generation S-Class engine choices include a

382-hp V8 and two V12s, a 510-hp version and 604 hp

in the S65 AMG.

BASE PRICE $86,175

WHAT’S NEXT All-wheel drive by year’s end, diesel coming.

OUR OPINION Back on top of the luxury sedan heap.

SL-CLASS

HIGHLIGHTS Freshening with new wheel designs, more direct steering,

new grille, clear taillights and interior colors. More powerful,

510-hp SL55 AMG and 510-hp SL600 are new. SL550 with

382 hp replaces SL500; 50th anniversary-edition SL550

features pewter metallic paint, black ash interior trim and

cognac brown leather upholstery.

BASE PRICE $95,575

WHAT’S NEXT Redesign next year.

OUR OPINION If SLR is out of reach, the SL will do quite nicely.

SLK-CLASS

HIGHLIGHTS Enhanced AMG Sport Package features a carbon fiber

reinforced roof; new Appearance Package for SLK280 and

350 includes 17-inch, six-spoke wheels and black

headlight inlays.

BASE PRICE $44,125

WHAT’S NEXT Refresh next year.

OUR OPINION The latest SLK is a strong performer and light-years ahead

of its predecessor.

SLR-MCLAREN

HIGHLIGHTS SLR722 edition with a more powerful, 650-hp engine, larger

brakes, stiffer dampers and reworked selectable transmission

modes. Mercedes has not decided whether to import the

722 stateside.

BASE PRICE $452,750

WHAT’S NEXT No plans.

OUR OPINION Insanely fast and beautiful, as it should be at this price.

G-CLASS

HIGHLIGHTS DVD navigation, bi-xenon headlights and seven-speed

transmission now standard. Fog lamps and console controls

redesigned, and front-seat cushioning improved.

BASE PRICE $81,675

WHAT’S NEXT Likely to linger for a while.

OUR OPINION Manly power and off-road ability in military-like form, if a bit

ostentatious for the real world.

GL-CLASS

HIGHLIGHTS First full-size SUV from Mercedes-Benz, with 335-hp V8 and

power-folding third-row seats.

BASE PRICE $55,675

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing for a couple of years.

OUR OPINION A luxury full-size SUV with comfortable road manners

lacking in the G.

M-CLASS

HIGHLIGHTS ML63 AMG with 503 hp, vented disc brakes, sport seats and

stainless steel pedals. ML320 CDI diesel joins range.

’07 BUYERS GUIDE > AUTOWEEK

WHAT’S NEXT Light refresh next year.

OUR OPINION AMG and diesel models keep the line interesting.

R-CLASS

HIGHLIGHTS High-performance 507-hp R63 AMG model and R320

CDI diesel.

BASE PRICE $43,775

WHAT’S NEXT Next update might come in 2009.

OUR OPINION Spring for the R500’s V8 or, better yet, the R63 AMG.

MERCURY

Ford Motor Co. mercuryvehicles.com

MILAN

HIGHLIGHTS V6 awd and Premier awd models. Front-side and side-curta

airbags, ABS and auxiliary audio jacks standard.

BASE PRICE $19,445

WHAT’S NEXT Hybrid next year.

OUR OPINION If the Fusion is too civilian and the MKZ too flashy, then Mila

is your ticket.

GRAND MARQUIS

HIGHLIGHTS Lineup simplified to include only GS and LS trim. Palm Beac

Edition option on LS includes heated chrome mirrors,

leather, side-impact airbags and 16-inch chrome wheels.

BASE PRICE $25,580

WHAT’S NEXT Minor changes in 2009.

OUR OPINION One of Detroit’s last old-school, big, rear-wheel-drive sedans

MARINER

HIGHLIGHTS Side-impact airbags and reverse sensing system now

standard on Premier model.

BASE PRICE $21,780

WHAT’S NEXT Overhaul for 2008.

OUR OPINION Plusher than Ford counterpart. Fuel-efficient hybrid available

MONTEGO

HIGHLIGHTS Side airbags, Safety Canopy and traction control standard;

18-inch chrome wheels available.

BASE PRICE $28,080

WHAT’S NEXT Expect a 3.5-liter V6 next year and a minor facelift.

OUR OPINION A good-looking, roomy sedan. Awd versions easily

tame Old Man Winter.

MONTEREY

HIGHLIGHTS Six new exterior colors.

BASE PRICE $29,350

WHAT’S NEXT The misery ends after ’07 with a replacement in developmen

OUR OPINION Snapping up one of these might be a good idea if you are

looking for a bargain people mover.

MOUNTAINEER

HIGHLIGHTS Safety Canopy and auxiliary audio jacks standard. Optional

rear DVD entertainment gets larger, eight-inch screen.

BASE PRICE $27,995

WHAT’S NEXT May disappear in a couple of years.

OUR OPINION A nice-driving and comfortable truck that remains a decent

player in the SUV world.


AUTOWEEK < ’07 BUYERS GUIDE

MINI

BMW of North America miniusa.com

MINI COOPER/MINI COOPER S

HIGHLIGHTS A bigger Cooper, growing 2.76 inches in length. New 1.6-liter

four-cylinder makes 120 hp in base Coopers, while S models

employ a turbo version with 175 hp.

BASE PRICE $18,350 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT New drop-top next year, along with the Clubman wagon

inspired by the Traveller concept.

OUR OPINION Growing up is hard to do, but Mini keeps all its fun-to-drive

traits while being more livable.

MITSUBISHI

Mitsubishi Motors of America mitsucars.com

OUTLANDER

HIGHLIGHTS Second-generation Outlander is first to wear Mitsubishi’s new

design language featuring clean, sharp lines, sculpted front

fenders and a diamond-cut front fascia. Changes include

larger wheelbase and track, and new 3.0-liter, 220-hp V6.

BASE PRICE $21,995

WHAT’S NEXT 2.4-liter four in 2009.

OUR OPINION Car-like handling and available third-row seating appeal to

heart of the market.

ECLIPSE

HIGHLIGHTS Spyder arrives for 2007; anti-theft system with hood

switch is new.

BASE PRICE $20,324

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing expected.

OUR OPINION We will continue to demand a turbo awd model until we get it.

GALANT

HIGHLIGHTS Ralliart edition packs a more powerful, 3.8-liter, 258-hp V6,

stiffer suspension and two-tone bumpers. All models get

updated interior trim, standard side-curtain airbags

and freshened fascias.

BASE PRICE $20,524

WHAT’S NEXT Redesign around 2010. Lancer returns for 2008. Evolution

follows in ’09 with 300-plus hp.

OUR OPINION The Ralliart version looks promising for this often unnoticed

midsize entry.

ENDEAVOR

HIGHLIGHTS XLS and Limited trims eliminated. SE variant added. Vehicles

with awd get active skid and traction control standard.

WHAT’S NEXT Redesign in 2011.

OUR OPINION A well-executed and standout SUV.

RAIDER

HIGHLIGHTS Updated transfer case on 4wd double-cab model; DuroCro

trim has fog lamps, sliding rear window and revised

wheel design.

BASE PRICE $19,500 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT Less than stellar sales put Raider on the chopping block.

OUR OPINION Attractively styled, and proven genes make it a worthy choic

but one that’s not made often.

MORGAN

Morgan Motor Co. morgan-motor.co.u

AERO 8

HIGHLIGHTS Larger air-conditioning capacity, xenon headlights with powe

washers, optional hardtop and trunk-fitted Schedoni leather

luggage.

BASE PRICE $119,000 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT A pumped-up AeroMax coupe arrives in 2008 with a

limited production of 10.

OUR OPINION Modern-day performance with traditional flair.

MOSLER

Mosler Automotive moslerauto.com

MT900S

HIGHLIGHTS Drawing on racing experience and development, a Corvette

LS6 powerplant sits midship in the carbon fiber monocoque

Suspension is also Corvette based.

BASE PRICE $189,000

WHAT’S NEXT We know nothing.

OUR OPINION A street-legal race car.

NISSAN

Nissan North America www.nissan-usa.com

ALTIMA

HIGHLIGHTS Fully redesigned, packing a 265-hp V6 option or more

powerful base four-cylinder. New CVT automatic and shortshifting

six-speed manuals are available for V6 and I4

applications. Optional equipment includes Bluetooth, rear

camera and navigation.

BASE PRICE $20,415 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT A hybrid version.

OUR OPINION Redesign should receive strong consideration among the

Camry and Accord faithful.


VERSA

HIGHLIGHTS New subcompact offered as five-door hatchback or sedan,

Versa features a spacious interior, side-impact airbags, sidecurtain

airbags and front active head restraints. The 1.8-liter,

122-hp four achieves roughly 30 miles per gallon. Six-speed

manual transmission is standard with four-speed automatic

and CVT optional.

BASE PRICE $13,055

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing in near future.

OUR OPINION One of the strong new entry-level vehicles to join the

fray this year.

350Z/Z ROADSTER

HIGHLIGHTS New colors, active head restraints and performance

enhancements from a massaged 3.5-liter V6.

BASE PRICE $28,465/29,965 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT A new Z is expected in 2009 or 2010; GT-R bolsters

Nissan’s sports car lineup in 2008.

OUR OPINION Fine handling and fast; a good value in the sports car world.

MAXIMA

HIGHLIGHTS Sport-tuned Xtronic CVT standard, front and rear fascias

redone and interior updated.

BASE PRICE $28,655

WHAT’S NEXT Redesign in 2009, possible hybrid.

OUR OPINION A favorable package overall, but mind that torque steer.

SENTRA

HIGHLIGHTS All-new version is longer, wider and taller, gains nearly nine

cubic feet of interior volume, uses a 140-hp 2.0-liter fourcylinder

with standard six-speed manual or available Xtronic

CVT.

BASE PRICE $15,365

WHAT’S NEXT Pumped-up SE-R model in a year.

OUR OPINION Shaping up to be a real player.

ARMADA

HIGHLIGHTS Flexible-fuel technology with power bumped to 317 hp and

385 lb-ft of torque.

BASE PRICE $35,685

WHAT’S NEXT Facelift next year, redo for 2010.

OUR OPINION Surprisingly nimble and quick for a vehicle big enough to

cruise the Atlantic Ocean.

FRONTIER

HIGHLIGHTS Crew Cab SE and LE Long Bed models are 13 inches longer

than standard.

BASE PRICE $16,700

WHAT’S NEXT Freshening next year.

OUR OPINION A player in the midsize truck market that is more than capable

of taking care of business and hard work.

MURANO

HIGHLIGHTS Tire pressure monitor and front seatbelt warning lamps.

BASE PRICE $28,400

WHAT’S NEXT Redesign next year. A smaller crossover sibling bows in

the next couple of years.

OUR OPINION Stylish and remains among the best performing crossovers.

’07 BUYERS GUIDE > AUTOWEEK

PATHFINDER

HIGHLIGHTS Front-passenger window now with auto up-down and auto

reverse; auxiliary audio inputs added.

BASE PRICE $26,250

WHAT’S NEXT Freshening in 2008, redesign in 2010 or 2011.

OUR OPINION A rugged and athletic midsize SUV.

QUEST

HIGHLIGHTS Redone front and rear fascias along with wheel designs, new

five-speed automatic trans, new instrument cluster and third

row seats with auto-folding head restraints and spring

assist for easier operation.

BASE PRICE $24,955

WHAT’S NEXT Next Quest docks for 2010.

OUR OPINION Thumbs-up on the roomy interior and available SkyView glas

panel roof, but it ain’t pretty.

TITAN

HIGHLIGHTS Power shoots to 317 hp and 385 lb-ft. Flexible-fuel

technology added.

BASE PRICE $24,435

WHAT’S NEXT A diesel, medium- and heavy-duty versions. Redesign should

appear in 2010.

OUR OPINION Can go toe-to-toe with domestic pickups except in

sales—could it be the looks?

XTERRA

HIGHLIGHTS SE adds body-side molding and MP3 playback on Rockford

Fosgate Audio Package. All 4x4 models get standard

mudguards.

BASE PRICE $20,700

WHAT’S NEXT Facelift in a couple of years.

OUR OPINION Rugged and capable for the active outdoorsman, but may

prove too rough for urbanites.

NOBLE

Noble Automotive LTD

M12 GTO-3R

noblecars.com

HIGHLIGHTS Handmade composite body panels and full roll cage.

BASE PRICE $83,000 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT 455-hp M15 may head Stateside, pending

federal certification.

OUR OPINION Big-league performance for a relatively bargain price.

M400

HIGHLIGHTS More powerful than the M12, with spec engine, dynamic rac

dampers and stiffer spring rates. Air conditioning deleted in

the name of weight reduction.

BASE PRICE $93,000 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT Unknown.

OUR OPINION The United Kingdom’s supercar slayer.

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AUTOWEEK < ’07 BUYERS GUIDE

PANOZ

Panoz Auto Development panozauto.com

ESPERANTE/ESPERANTE GT/

ESPERANTE GTLM

HIGHLIGHTS Mostly unchanged.

BASE PRICE $92,256

WHAT’S NEXT MK II Esperante sometime next year with a new

aluminum/carbon fiber chassis, new interior and

freshened fascias.

OUR OPINION An American exotic that separates you from the run-of-themill

Corvettes and Vipers.

PONTIAC

General Motors Corp. pontiac.com

G5

HIGHLIGHTS Cobalt sibling with 2.2-liter, 148-hp four-cylinder engine for

base models; GT gets a 2.4-liter, 173-hp four, sport-tuned

suspension, 17-inch aluminum wheels and fog lamps.

BASE PRICE $15,610

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing immediately.

OUR OPINION More than just a badge; some engineering, too.

G6

HIGHLIGHTS 3.6-liter with six-speed automatic standard on GTP. Coupe

and sedan come standard with side-impact airbags.

Seventeen-inch five-spoke wheels are new.

BASE PRICE $18,295

WHAT’S NEXT Redesign for 2010 on Epsilon 2 platform.

OUR OPINION A good all-around player with a sweet panoramic roof option.

GRAND PRIX

HIGHLIGHTS New colors, tire pressure monitor.

BASE PRICE $22,245

WHAT’S NEXT Gone after 2008; replaced by rwd G8?

OUR OPINION Practical performance.

SOLSTICE

HIGHLIGHTS GXP with turbocharged 2.0-liter Ecotec four producing

260 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, StabiliTrak, front and rear

fascia extensions and stainless-steel dual-exhaust outlets.

Non-GXP cars’ preferred package provides power everything

and keyless entry. Two-way power seats standard

on all models.

BASE PRICE $20,995

WHAT’S NEXT Coupe next year. Power output increases yearly until redesign

in 2011.

OUR OPINION Hot roadster gets better, more exciting.

TORRENT

HIGHLIGHTS Four-wheel disc brakes, StabiliTrak, driver information cente

tire pressure monitor and rear spoiler standard.

BASE PRICE $23,305

WHAT’S NEXT May jump to the GMC family in 2008.

OUR OPINION Chevy Equinox or Pontiac Torrent? Which dealer is closer to

your home?

VIBE

HIGHLIGHTS New-wave blue paint, optional cargo cover.

BASE PRICE $17,730

WHAT’S NEXT Depends on Toyota’s plans for the Matrix sister car.

OUR OPINION An efficient, practical Toyota-based Pontiac.

PORSCHE

Porsche Cars North America www.porsche.com

911

HIGHLIGHTS Four new versions for 2007: 415-hp track-focused

GT3 model; 480-hp 911 Turbo (available now); Targa 4 and

Targa 4S versions coming with sliding glass roof, glass rear

hatch and all-wheel drive. Familiar 325-hp 3.6-liter flat-six

powers the Targa 4, while the 4S uses Porsche’s 3.8-liter th

makes 355 hp.

BASE PRICE $73,195

WHAT’S NEXT Porsche’s long-awaited double-clutch gearbox (PDK).

OUR OPINION Remains one of the greatest driver’s cars ever.

BOXSTER/BOXSTER S

HIGHLIGHTS Variable intake valve timing and lift control add 5 hp to

Boxster’s 2.7-liter flat-six (total is 245), while Boxster S

moves to 3.4 liters and 295 hp. Optional Tiptronic automatic

revised for improved response.

BASE PRICE $46,395

WHAT’S NEXT Freshening may come next year.

OUR OPINION The roadster benchmark.

CAYMAN/CAYMAN S

HIGHLIGHTS Base version of mid-engine coupe joins range, powered by

245-hp, 2.7-liter flat-six.

BASE PRICE $50,195

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing for now.

OUR OPINION Better Boxster or 911 alternative? Either way, it’s one

sweet experience.

CAYENNE/CAYENNE S/CAYENN

TURBO/CAYENNE TURBO S

HIGHLIGHTS Officially, there will be no 2007 Cayenne, but dealers will se

2006 models until freshened 2008 arrives next year.

BASE PRICE $43,015

WHAT’S NEXT Facelift for 2008 and redo for 2009 with a hybrid

joining the range.

OUR OPINION Amazing dynamics in a 5000-pound package.

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AUTOWEEK < ’07 BUYERS GUIDE

ROLLS-ROYCE

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars rolls-roycemotorcars.com

PHANTOM

HIGHLIGHTS Extended-wheelbase version allows large Americans a

roomier rear-occupant space. Other changes include an

auxiliary audio input jack and four new exterior colors.

BASE PRICE $338,350

WHAT’S NEXT The arrival of a convertible modeled after the 100EX concept.

OUR OPINION If curbside presence is your aim, this is your choice in the

super-luxury sedan segment.

SALEEN

Saleen Inc. saleen.com

S7

HIGHLIGHTS The twin-turbocharged V8-powered American supercar is

mostly a carryover for 2007.

BASE PRICE $589,950

WHAT’S NEXT Unknown.

OUR OPINION As Mosler is to Chevy, S7 is to Ford—a high-profile supercar

based on a racing machine.

SAAB

Saab Cars USA saabusa.com

9-3

HIGHLIGHTS Restyled interior, new 16- and 17-inch wheel options, Bose

stereo option. The 2.0T boasts an upgraded six-speed

manual. OnStar is an option on entire line.

BASE PRICE $26,645

WHAT’S NEXT Redesign on Epsilon 2 platform in 2009.

OUR OPINION A talented Swede offering good power from its base

turbo engine.

9-5

HIGHLIGHTS Anniversary edition with styling upgrades. Aero replaces

sport package.

BASE PRICE $34,845

WHAT’S NEXT Moving to Epsilon 2 platform in two years.

OUR OPINION Long in the tooth with old-school Saab characteristics.

9-7X

HIGHLIGHTS OnStar and Turn-by-Turn navigation optional.

BASE PRICE $39,465

WHAT’S NEXT Likely to be the last year and replaced by a smaller

Theta/Epsilon-based SUV.

OUR OPINION Definitely the nicest TrailBlazer variant, but it’ll cost ya.

SATURN

General Motors Corp. saturn.com

AURA

HIGHLIGHTS Flagship sedan aims for high levels of refinement and

trumpets new design scheme. Base XE uses a 3.5-liter,

224-hp engine; XR employs a 3.6-liter, 252-hp V6. XR gets

six-speed automatic. Standard are six airbags, ABS, traction

control on XE and StabiliTrak for the XR.

BASE PRICE $20,595

WHAT’S NEXT Hybrid soon, possibly a wagon by 2010.

OUR OPINION The best Saturn sedan aims at Honda Accord and Toyota

Camry, and hits the target—not yet better, but right there.

ION

HIGHLIGHTS Power increases as 2.2-liter puts out 145 hp and 2.4-liter

engine 175 hp.

BASE PRICE $12,750

WHAT’S NEXT Production ends this year, to be replaced by a rebadged

Opel Astra.

OUR OPINION Never a favorite and still not one.

SKY

HIGHLIGHTS Red Line has a 2.0-liter, 260-hp turbocharged engine, stiffer

suspension, StabiliTrak, limited slip and 18-inch rims.

BASE PRICE $24,195

WHAT’S NEXT Supercharged in 2008.

OUR OPINION Looks even better than the Solstice.

OUTLOOK

HIGHLIGHTS Crossover offered in fwd and awd configurations with seats

for eight; 3.6-liter V6 and six-speed automatic.

BASE PRICE $30,000 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing for now.

OUR OPINION The hotly contested crossover market has another notewort

player here.

RELAY

HIGHLIGHTS The 3.9-liter, 240-hp V6 and StabiliTrak are now standard

issue. Relay 3 trim receives standard dual-zone climate

controls and painted 17-inch aluminum wheels.

BASE PRICE $22,140

WHAT’S NEXT 2008 will be its last year.

OUR OPINION The nicest of GM’s minivan clones but outclassed by the res


VUE

HIGHLIGHTS Green Line hybrid. New 16- and 17-inch wheel options for

fwd and awd V6 models.

BASE PRICE $17,995

WHAT’S NEXT Redesigned for 2008.

OUR OPINION Spring for the Honda-powered Red Line if the hybrid

isn’t your style.

SCION

Toyota Motor Sales scion.com

TC

HIGHLIGHTS All trims now include updated seat fabric, sun visors with

sliding extensions and tire pressure monitor. New

decontented Spec package with fixed-glass roof provides a

clean canvas for import tuners.

BASE PRICE $15,580

WHAT’S NEXT Redo for 2010. xA and xB replacements likely to come from

Toyota’s existing Japanese product portfolio next year.

OUR OPINION For the customer base, the tC gets it with a spirited driving

characteristic and a mile-long option list.

SHELBY

Shelby Automobiles shelbyautos.com

CSX 4000 SERIES 427 S/C

HIGHLIGHTS Choose from carbon fiber, fiberglass or aluminum bodies.

BASE PRICE $46,995

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing is expected.

OUR OPINION A customizable American icon.

CSX 7000/8000 SERIES 289 COBRA

HIGHLIGHTS Available in aluminum or fiberglass.

BASE PRICE $45,000

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing appears to be on the horizon.

OUR OPINION Own a copy of the car that put Shelby on the map.

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MORE INFO ON ALL THE NEW CARS

’07 BUYERS GUIDE > AUTOWEEK

SPYKER

Spyker Automobielen spykercars.com

C8 LAVIOLETTE/SPYDER

HIGHLIGHTS Aluminum space-frame chassis with aluminum body-panel

construction. It features fully adjustable F1-inspired rear

suspension and midship-mounted 400-hp Audi V8 engine.

BASE PRICE $269,995

WHAT’S NEXT D12 Peking-to-Paris heads into production by the end of

2007, dubbed as the first four-door super sport/utility vehicl

OUR OPINION Painstaking craftsmanship and exclusivity not even found in

Lamborghini’s tilting-door flagship.

SUBARU

Subaru of America subaru.com

LEGACY

HIGHLIGHTS 2.5 GT spec.B becomes a permanent lineup player, with

upgraded six-speed manual and Torsen limited-slip diff.

2.5-liter turbocharged and spec.B models receive adjustable

SI-Drive, offering three engine maps: a fuel-frugal Intelligent

setting, spirited Sport mode and max-performance Sport

Sharp mode. 2.5 GT Limited models get restyled rims,

auxiliary audio inputs, tire pressure monitors and a splitfolding

rear seat.

BASE PRICE $21,120

WHAT’S NEXT Freshening for next year, and redesign comes in 2010.

OUR OPINION The next logical step after graduating from an Impreza.

IMPREZA WRX/STI

HIGHLIGHTS Special-edition STI Limited is new. It packs the same

mechanical specs of the STI but trades the boy-racer wing f

a subtle lip spoiler, leather seats and moonroof. Production

is limited to 800.

BASE PRICE $18,620

WHAT’S NEXT A major redesign comes next year with Legacy and Tribeca

styling influences.

OUR OPINION An affordable and practical vehicle offering supercar-like

performance.

OUTBACK

HIGHLIGHTS 2.5 XT Limited model now comes standard with SI-Drive.

BASE PRICE $22,820

WHAT’S NEXT Slated for a facelift next year and to be redone for 2010.

OUR OPINION Decent room, nice-looking sheetmetal and solid, confident


AUTOWEEK < ’07 BUYERS GUIDE

B9 TRIBECA

HIGHLIGHTS Roll-sensing system, brake assist and auxiliary audio inputs

become standard. Suspension tuning revised for smoother

ride. Rearview camera now included in Limited models

equipped with navigation.

BASE PRICE $30,620

WHAT’S NEXT Freshening comes next year. Expect a redesign for 2011.

OUR OPINION Thankfully, pleasant interior surroundings prevent you from

seeing the front end.

FORESTER

HIGHLIGHTS Mostly carryover.

BASE PRICE $21,820

WHAT’S NEXT Planned redesign in 2009.

OUR OPINION A useful mini-SUV in need of a better-quality interior.

SUZUKI

American Suzuki Motor Corp. suzukiauto.com

AERIO

HIGHLIGHTS Only the sedan is offered for 2007. Standard equipment

includes a 2.3-liter, 155-hp four-cylinder, air conditioning,

ABS, cruise control and six-speaker sound system. QuadGrip

awd is available.

BASE PRICE $14,894

WHAT’S NEXT Wagon is gone, leaving only the sedan. Sport edition may

come later in an attempt to boost lackluster sales.

OUR OPINION We like Suzuki’s small-car all-wheel-drive options.

FORENZA

HIGHLIGHTS Tire pressure monitoring system now standard. Keyless entry

with remote trunk release and antilock brakes are options.

BASE PRICE $15,294

WHAT’S NEXT Possible freshening next year.

OUR OPINION Relatively well-equipped with pleasant road manners.

RENO

HIGHLIGHTS Tire pressure monitoring system, four-wheel disc brakes, ABS,

eight-speaker sound system, and power doors and locks are

now standard.

BASE PRICE $14,094

WHAT’S NEXT More power likely by next year.

OUR OPINION More power is certainly wanted, but the current engine has

adequate juice for everyday tasks.

SX4

HIGHLIGHTS Suzuki’s 2007 new-car entry arrives in the form of the SX4. A

2.0-liter, 143-hp four-cylinder drives all four wheels. Base and

Sport trims are offered. Both trims get six standard airbags,

ABS, Electronic Brake Distribution and keyless entry. Sport

versions add traction control, stability control, auto climate

control and premium sound.

BASE PRICE $15,594

WHAT’S NEXT New vehicle, nothing major planned.

OUR OPINION One of the more powerful entry-level small cars that entices

with standard all-wheel drive.

GRAND VITARA

HIGHLIGHTS Fuel-economy average and range functions are added to the

trip computer. Tire pressure monitoring system and hard-she

spare tire cover are now standard.

BASE PRICE $19,999

WHAT’S NEXT Facelift sits two years away.

OUR OPINION A little more power and refinement out of the engine would

bring this SUV into a more competitive position.

XL7

HIGHLIGHTS For 2007, Suzuki brings its brand-new flagship XL7

crossover. A 3.6-liter, 252-hp V6 is the only engine offered.

Standard features include four airbags, antilock brakes,

stability control, traction control and keyless entry. The XL7 i

offered in either front- or all-wheel-drive formats. Third-row

seating, DVD entertainment system and navigation are

options. Top-of-the-line luxury trims come standard with

leather, third-row seating, fog lamps, rear spoiler, remote

starter and DVD entertainment system.

BASE PRICE $23,534

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing major on the horizon.

OUR OPINION A comfortable crossover based on a modified General Moto

Theta platform.

TOYOTA

Toyota Motor Sales toyota.com

TUNDRA

HIGHLIGHTS Toyota breaches the American full-size pickup stronghold w

the redone Tundra. A new 5.7-liter V8 capable of towing mo

than 10,000 pounds, a venerable 4.7-liter V8 and a 4.0-liter

V6 make up the engine range. Bigger in every dimension,

length grows 10 inches, height by five inches and width by

four. Three cab options will be offered, including regular,

double and four-door configurations. Thirty combinations of

the Tundra will be available.

BASE PRICE $17,000 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT A heavy-duty version.

OUR OPINION GM had good reason to hustle its new trucks to market

sooner than first planned. Tundra is now a legitimate full-size

threat to the Big Three.

AVALON

HIGHLIGHTS Touring grades receive available navigation system, and tire

pressure monitoring system is now standard for entire range

BASE PRICE $27,495

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing major is planned at the moment.

OUR OPINION A solid, beautifully built big car.

CAMRY

HIGHLIGHTS The king of midsize sedans is all-new for 2007 with more

aggressive styling. Engines include a 158-hp inline-four, a

268-hp V6 and a hybrid four-cylinder. Standard safety,

entertainment and comfort amenities are all there, and Toyot

has thrown some excitement into the vanilla equation. The

sporty SE trim features a sport-tuned suspension, enhanced

underbody aerodynamics, 17-inch alloy wheels and a numbe


BASE PRICE $18,985

WHAT’S NEXT A 2010 freshening is in the plans.

OUR OPINION Great build quality, nice interior materials and value make this

a perennial best-seller.

CAMRY SOLARA

HIGHLIGHTS All models receive a redesigned front fascia. Coupe benefits

with standard side-curtain airbag. Xenon headlamps, auxiliary

audio jacks and six-disc in-dash CD changer get added to

Sport models. SE and SLE variants now come standard

with rear spoiler.

BASE PRICE $20,550

WHAT’S NEXT The Solara coupe and convertible will likely be canceled in

2008. Coupe may return in 2010.

OUR OPINION These coupes and convertibles are solid drivers and a good

choice for Toyota fans with sportier intentions.

COROLLA

HIGHLIGHTS XRS trim is discontinued.

BASE PRICE $14,825

WHAT’S NEXT New car bows next year, powered by a family of cleaner fourcylinder

engines.

OUR OPINION It remains a venerable small-sedan option.

MATRIX

HIGHLIGHTS XRS and all-wheel-drive trims are discontinued.

BASE PRICE $15,880

WHAT’S NEXT A redone Matrix bows for 2009.

OUR OPINION Worth considering for those who want more room and fun

than normal Corollas.

PRIUS

HIGHLIGHTS Side-curtain airbags are now standard. New touring edition

includes 16-inch alloy wheels, larger spoiler, xenon headlights,

fog lights and stiffer suspension tuning.

BASE PRICE $22,795

WHAT’S NEXT Upgrades to come with hybrid technological advancements,

but a time frame for restyling is not known yet.

OUR OPINION Perfect for trumpeting your green intention.

YARIS

HIGHLIGHTS Debuting this past spring, the Echo replacement is available in

three-door hatchback and four-door sedan form. Adequate

power comes from the same 1.5-liter, 106-hp four-cylinder.

The interior boasts an abundance of storage compartments

and cupholders.

BASE PRICE $11,670

WHAT’S NEXT A five-door hatchback may join the U.S. lineup.

OUR OPINION A small car that inspires comfortable and confident driving.

4RUNNER

HIGHLIGHTS Unchanged.

BASE PRICE $28,280

WHAT’S NEXT Due for a major change in 2009.

OUR OPINION Sporty, capable and rugged but compliant enough for

everyday on-road duties.

FJ CRUISER

HIGHLIGHTS Drawing on heritage from the FJ40, Toyota brings us the FJ

Cruiser. Today’s iteration of the FJ features contemporary

styling and capable off-road reflexes at an affordable price.

Power comes from a 4.0-liter V6 and generates 239 hp.

BASE PRICE $22,555

WHAT’S NEXT Do not expect much for the new FJ at this point.

OUR OPINION Spunky and adventurous traits but with hit-or-miss styling.

HIGHLANDER/HIGHLANDER HYBRID

HIGHLIGHTS Headlights are redesigned, and two-row side-curtain airbags

become standard issue. Hybrid variant is now available in

two-row seating configuration.

’07 BUYERS GUIDE > AUTOWEEK

WHAT’S NEXT New model increases in size with a move to the Avalon

platform next year.

OUR OPINION A high-quality small SUV that also gives you the opportunity

hug a tree in hybrid form.

LAND CRUISER

HIGHLIGHTS Standard front-side airbags and two-row side-curtain airbag

BASE PRICE $56,860

WHAT’S NEXT Next year brings a freshly re-engineered model.

OUR OPINION Next year’s redesign will be welcome, but the current truck

remains a respectable giant SUV.

RAV4

HIGHLIGHTS Two-row side-curtain airbags are now standard. A JBL audio

system with Bluetooth and steering-wheel-mounted controls

is now an option.

BASE PRICE $21,470

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing is known at the moment.

OUR OPINION Last year’s redesign has put Toyota back into the

small-SUV game.

SEQUOIA

HIGHLIGHTS SR5 trim receives color-keyed grille, while Limited models g

chrome rearview mirrors. Front-passenger side airbags and

two-row side-curtain airbags become standard on

entire range.

BASE PRICE $33,805

WHAT’S NEXT A redesign arrives next year on the Tundra platform with mor

aggressive styling.

OUR OPINION A luxuriant and comfortable gas hog of an SUV.

SIENNA

HIGHLIGHTS A 3.5-liter V6 producing 268 hp is new.

BASE PRICE $24,430 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT 2010 redesign will add a hybrid powertrain option.

OUR OPINION A new heart with more power is always welcome and furthe

solidifies the Sienna as one of the top-dog minivans.

TACOMA

HIGHLIGHTS Upgrades include redesigned stereo head units, larger seats

and stability control and roll-sensing curtain-airbag off switch

BASE PRICE $14,725

WHAT’S NEXT For now, nothing is foreseen.

OUR OPINION Sporty and aggressive styling paired with great build quality

make this tough to beat.

VOLKSWAGEN

Volkswagen of America vw.com

EOS

HIGHLIGHTS Volkswagen joins the hard-top convertible craze with its four

seater Eos. It trumps the competition by offering an integrate

sunroof. Engines include a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder and

3.2-liter, 250-hp V6.

BASE PRICE $28,620

WHAT’S NEXT New now.

OUR OPINION A sunroof-equipped hardtop is cool and should help move

some cars, and makes it special enough to lure the young

contingent that used to love the Golf cabrio.


AUTOWEEK < ’07 BUYERS GUIDE

RABBIT

HIGHLIGHTS In hopes of stirring up attention, VW re-rebadges the Golf as

the Rabbit. An iPod adapter and tire pressure monitor are

optional. Later, a screaming R32 version of the Rabbit is due

with a 3.2-liter, 250-hp V6 sending power to all four wheels

with a choice of a six-speed manual or a DSG transmission.

BASE PRICE $15,620

WHAT’S NEXT Diesel model for 2008.

OUR OPINION This bunny is a terrific around-town scooter, but what took so

long getting it here?

GTI

HIGHLIGHTS New alloy wheel design and reduced ride height for sportier

appearance. Auxiliary audio inputs and tire pressure monitor

are now standard equipment. Cars with DSG transmissions

receive launch control. A premium sound system is a

new option.

BASE PRICE $22,730

WHAT’S NEXT Experiences a freshening for ’08.

OUR OPINION A perfect package of power, handling and refinement.

JETTA/GLI

HIGHLIGHTS Rolling in with a lower base price, the Jetta adds audio input

jacks and a tire pressure monitor as standard. New options

include an iPod adapter, premium sound system, 115-volt

power outlet, Homelink and memory mirrors. The sporty GLI

has reduced ride height and launch control for DSGequipped

vehicles.

BASE PRICE $17,120

WHAT’S NEXT A wagon comes next year.

OUR OPINION Sharp looks inside and out. The GLI is an excellent choice for

driving enthusiasts.

NEW BEETLE

HIGHLIGHTS 16-inch alloy wheels get a revised finish and leatherette seat

stitching altered to yield a different look. The 1.9-liter TDI

engine goes away.

BASE PRICE $17,810

WHAT’S NEXT Probable redesign for ’08 with new diesel power.

OUR OPINION The Beetle remains a cute and fun-to-drive standout.

PASSAT

HIGHLIGHTS The wagon joined the lineup as an ’07. Adaptive cruise

control and auxiliary audio input jacks added. The 2.0T

models receive available manual transmissions and 18-inch

wheels. Twelve-way power seats are now included in an

optional package on 2.0T.

BASE PRICE $23,590

WHAT’S NEXT Facelift likely in ’09.

OUR OPINION A spacious and amenity-rich interior makes it deserving of

consideration.

TOUAREG

HIGHLIGHTS New 3.6-liter V6 and 4.2-liter V8 engines. 5.0-liter V10

diesel returns to the fold. Servotronic steering and silver

parallel roof rails standard.

BASE PRICE $38,660

WHAT’S NEXT Next Touareg is expected for ’09 with a possible hybrid

version. For growing VW families, a Chrysler-developed van

will bow.

OUR OPINION VW’s SUV distances itself from the competition with its

best-in-class interior and monster V10 diesel option.

GO TO AUTOWEEK.COM/BUYERSGUIDE

FOR MORE INFO ON ALL THE NEW CARS

VOLVO

Volvo Cars of North America volvocars.u

S80

HIGHLIGHTS The S80 arrives all-new with a larger 3.2-liter straight-six and

a 4.4-liter, 315-hp V8 option to do battle with German rivals

The S80 has adaptive cruise control, advanced head

restraints, side-impact airbags and Personal Car

Communicator, which is a key fob that can detect the

heartbeat of would-be assaulters hiding in the back seat.

Overall, the new car is wider and taller than its predecessor

to improve interior space.

BASE PRICE $39,995 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT New model.

OUR OPINION A lower-cost alternative to the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series,

the S80 won’t drive you mad with driver-interfaced

electronic knobs and doodads.

C30

HIGHLIGHTS Expect the C30 to come stateside in July. A turbocharged

inline-five making 218 hp provides the power for Volvo’s

smallest car, developed from the S40. The hatchback sits

8.5 inches lower while retaining its 103.9-inch wheelbase.

BASE PRICE $23,500 (est.)

WHAT’S NEXT An awd model later.

OUR OPINION America rediscovers hatchbacks. We’ll see if it embraces

them.

C70

HIGHLIGHTS Auxiliary audio input and MP3 playback capabilities via

in-dash CD changer are new standard features. Satellite rad

becomes a stand-alone option.

BASE PRICE $39,785

WHAT’S NEXT No plans for now.

OUR OPINION Its trick top and sleek profile make for one flashy convertible

S40

HIGHLIGHTS Dynamic Stability Traction Control (DSTC) is now standard,

along with new overhead console. Simplified option

packages are available for the 2.4i and T5 and T5 awd

models. Satellite radio is also an option.

BASE PRICE $24,935

WHAT’S NEXT Nothing major planned.

OUR OPINION Handsome styling at a reasonable price.

S60/S60R

HIGHLIGHTS New front fascia, outside mirrors with integrated turn signals

tire pressure monitor and firmer springs and shock

absorbers. Dynamic Stability Traction Control now standard

BASE PRICE $31,580

WHAT’S NEXT New car is pushed back until ’09 and should have more

interior room.

OUR OPINION Sportier styling updates are welcome to this

comfortable package.


V50

HIGHLIGHTS Stability control, new overhead console and satellite radio

option are added to all trim levels.

BASE PRICE $27,385

WHAT’S NEXT No plans at the moment.

OUR OPINION A stylish wagon with good power in turbo form.

V70/V70 R

HIGHLIGHTS Redesigned outside mirrors with integrated turn signals.

Dynamic Stability Traction Control with relocated button to

steering-wheel stalk and tire pressure monitor standard.

Dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system becomes

optional on 2.4 and 2.5T models. The V70 R also adds a

12-volt outlet in cargo area, child locks and rearview

mirror compass.

BASE PRICE $30,740

WHAT’S NEXT A new model arrives next year sharing the S80 platform.

OUR OPINION Volvo’s box-on-wheels is a safe, sporty and practical

alternative for those who refuse to resort to minivans.

XC70

HIGHLIGHTS Sixteen-inch Xenia alloy wheels, tire pressure monitor and

Dynamic Stability Traction Control are now standard

equipment. Outside mirrors redesigned with integrated turn

signals. Dual-screen rear-entertainment system and active

bi-Xenon headlamps options.

BASE PRICE $37,115

WHAT’S NEXT New model comes late in 2007.

OUR OPINION If you like the versatility of an SUV but prefer not to deal with

the girth of one, this is your answer.

XC90

HIGHLIGHTS 2.5T axed in favor of a 3.2-liter I6 with 235 hp. Minor

freshening inside and out. Tire pressure monitor standard.

BASE PRICE $36,830

WHAT’S NEXT Next model will feature more room for third row and better

fuel economy in 2010. A smaller model, dubbed XC60,

is possible.

OUR OPINION Impressive as the V8 is, the smaller engine option is sufficient

for this application.

sufficient for this application.

GO TO AUTOWEEK.COM/BUYERSGUIDE

FOR MORE INFO ON ALL THE NEW CARS

’07 BUYERS GUIDE > AUTOWEEK

PUBLISHER Tony Merpi

EDITOR & ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Dutch Mandel

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EDITORIAL INTERNS Jamie K. Gardner, Jacob Lingeman

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Starting at $29,890. *

*Excludes tax, title and license fee.**As shown with optional equipment $32,855.

Like an astronaut counting down to launch.

A racehorse stomping at the gate.

An archer’s arrow trembling just before releas

My dream is to unleash my potential.

Ready or not, here I come.


Introducing the new 2007 Lincoln MKZ with a 263 hp V-6 and all-wheel

drive.** Never keep a good road waiting. Life’s calling. Where to next?

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