If you are wondering about the safety of small SUVs, The 2014 Subaru Forester is the only one out of 13 tested to earn the Top Safety Pick + by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It seems the IIHS is pretty disappointed with the safety in most of the rest of the vehicles tested. Joe Nolan, IIHS Vice President for Vehicle Research, commented, “With the redesigned Forester, Subaru’s engineers set out to do well in our new test, and they succeeded. This is exactly how we hoped manufacturers would respond to improve protection for people in these kinds of serious frontal crashes.”
Side protection tests seem to be the biggest challenge for small SUVs to pass with flying colors – or to pass at all. They didn’t start testing for this safety until 2003 and this category in particular is struggling to make the necessary design and feature updates in order to meet the stringent criteria for determining driver and passenger safety. Another test, the overlap test just began last year and that is another test that many small SUVs just aren’t able to prove to keep drivers and passengers safe in the event of.
Nine out of the 13 small SUVs tested did manage to earn Top Safety Pick even though they couldn’t quite make it into the Top Safety Pick + earnings. These vehicles include:
The new BMW X1
The new Buick Encore
2014 Jeep Patriot (When equipped with optional side torso airbags)
The 2013 Toyota RAV4 is still up for debate as it hasn’t gone through the small overlap test. Toyota has requested a delay for this test so it can make some changes. What that means for us is that you might want to wait and get a new RAV4 because you know Toyota put the extra work in it for safety.
The 2014 Subaru Forester XT is set to be the perfect vehicle for those who are too cool for a minivan, want to drive in a variety of road conditions, but also want to watch their budget. The XT is the top of the line model for the Forester and still comes in below $40,000. In fact, you are able to pick one up at around $36,220 which is almost a steal when you consider all the features that come along with it.
Speaking of features, the 2014 Subaru Forester XT has ten way power leather seats, navigation, a Harmon Kardon sound system that includes HD radio, Bluetooth and more features to make sure drivers and passengers are kept comfy and well entertained for their road trips. The XT Touring also throws in keyless access, HID headlights and Subaru’s EyeSight system (That includes adaptive cruise, lane departure warning and pre-collision braking).
It also has spunk! There is a turbocharged, direct injection 2.0 liter boxer four cylinder resting under the hood of the 2014 Subaru Forester XT. That will give you 250 horsepower and 258 pound feet of torque that powers an all wheel drive system. While it’s not the most powerful engine around, it is definitely assertive and will let you zip around the highways and byways without feeling as if you are lagging behind.
You have to know, the 2014 Subaru Forester XT isn’t a luxury class vehicle by any means. If you are looking for luxury, you will want to scope out the much higher priced competition such as the Volvo XC60, Acura RDX or Audi Q5. But if you want a reasonable CUV that will get you where you need to go and without worrying if the kids are spilling their milkshakes in the backseat, then the Forester might be the best bet.
The New York Auto Show will be going strong for those of you who can make it out to the show. The press days are all wrapped up though and the best of the best have gone through the pomp and circumstance of their great reveals. Some vehicles are jaw dropping spectacular, and some failed to capture the heart of even the most open minded critic, but with so many models on display, that is only to be expected. Here are the top cars that made it out to the annual event. (In no particular order)
2014 Cadillac CTS
Hands down, the Cadillac CTS was the most exciting debut to hit the stage. This luxury liner puts the “Caddy” back into Cadillac and reminds the world just how iconic this favorite luxury mobile has been for generations now. This model is longer, lower, leaner and meaner than any other midsize luxury sedan. It hosts the first ever eight speed automatic transmission that offers superb performance in a lighter weight vehicle filled to the brim with high tech and comfort features.
Bob Ferguson, vice president, Global Cadillac said, “The all-new 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan delivers crafted design, thrilling performance and sophisticated technology. The car that has always been Cadillac’s centerpiece stretches figuratively and literally to challenge the world’s best. With Cadillac growing globally, driven by rising product credibility, the new CTS elevates the brand to a new level.”
Not only did the Volkswagen Golf 7 make an appearance at the New York Auto Show, but it has been named the 2013 World Car of the Year, which definitely makes this outstanding electric compact worthy of being in the Best of the New York Auto Show. Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, shared, “We at Volkswagen are all delighted that the Golf has been named ‘World Car of the Year’. To win this award again shows that the Golf is and remains in a class of its own all around the world. This car sets new benchmarks again and again, not least in terms of efficiency and environmental credentials. Soon, for instance, the Golf will also be launched as a plug-in hybrid and as a 100% electric car.”
It’s been ten years since the Cherokee has done much of anything and the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee has had high expectations put on it. It has an unusual styling and downsized engine, but is still rough and touch and built to handle about any type of driving condition possible, which is what it’s designed for. While the sturdiness is there, it has also gotten a dash of luxury added in with better quality materials and high tech gadgetry. This new Jeep should quickly become a favorite. The base model hosts a 2.4 liter “Tigershark” good for 184 horsepower and 171 pound feet of torque that will get about 31 highway miles per gallon. Or, you can opt for a faster 3.2 liter Pentastar V6 which will give you 271 horsepower.
This great car is finally getting some looks to match! While this vehicle is only a concept version, our guess is the production version will come out looking pretty similar to what we can see and if it does, it just might become a top seller in its segment. It is designed for performance and has an all wheel drive grip and more athletic form to keep up on the roadways. There are no details in regard to what type of engine it will have, but it is expected to be something that will offer enough horses to keep up with the sporty look. The new paint color is called “WR Blue Pearl III”. Along with fluorescent yellow accents, it sets the style off to perfection.
General Motors has been hard at work on their Camaro lineup and all we can say is – it shows. The Camaro SS and Camaro Z/28 are clearly meant to rule the highways and byways in the sportscar segment and no bolt has been left unturned in the design and engineering of either of these cars.
Mark Reuss, president, GM North America, comments about the Z/28, “As the ultimate track-capable Camaro, this car restores the mission of the original Z/28, and serves as a testament to the expertise of Chevrolet as the best-selling brand of performance cars. The build sheet is the wish list of any racer: lightweight, high-revving, dry-sump LS7 engine; carbon-ceramic brakes; integrated coolers for track use; true aerodynamic downforce, and a significant reduction in curb weight. This car could only come from Chevrolet, and could only be called the Z/28.”
While the Audi A3 comes in at the entry level for small sports sedans, the luxury has nothing to do with “entry level” and Audi makes it very clear to point that out. The standard models come fully loaded with what hardcore Audi fans expect in their vehicle, even if it is a big shorter and sportier. The A3 is set to arrive at the dealerships sometime next summer, ahead of schedule. If you are considering one, expect to pay about $39,000 for the standard model. You can also expect heads to turn wherever you drive, and a driving experience worth writing home about with feature such as a sunroof, 18-inch wheels, full leather, Sirius satellite radio, the three-spoke sport steering wheel with shift paddles for the also-standard six-speed S-tronic, and fully automated adjustable sport seats.
The long awaited new Buick Regal was happy to take the stage at the New York Auto Show. This sportier version looks as if it is going to be a hit no matter which way you look at it with advanced performance, comfort and safety features. The new radar and camera features were introduced for this model and include Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Change Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert and Collision Mitigation Braking. Natural speech recognition has also been added to cut down on driver distraction.
As far as style Ven Lai, Buick creative designer for color and trim comments, “The advanced technologies in the 2014 Regal complement its flowing passenger environment, with integrated elegance. The cabin’s rich, tailored elements are executed in warm tones and soft-touch materials that enhance the premium ambience in a thoroughly contemporary manner.”
The Subaru WRX is building up quite a mystic for itself before the New York Auto Show. Apparently this is the new all-new performance concept car that Subaru has been hinting about bringing to the oldest auto show in the world. As you can see from the video, this new addition to the Subaru family is going to be an exciting one, although the full details are still being kept under lock and key. You do have to keep in mind that this is in concept form, but if the actual production model comes out anything close, it should be a hit.
While the Subaru WRX is a sedan, you can’t deny the sporty features including the dominating hood scoop, wide performance hinting stance and wheels that look like they are begging to be burned down the pavement. The tail lamps are another innovative feature which give the overall look of this new sedan something that will turn heads. Of course, as mentioned, this is a concept and not the final draft, but many times production models come out to closely resemble the concept, so we may be in luck.
Further rumors about the Subaru WRX points to an engine that just might turn out to be a turbocharged boxer four cylinder engine that will get between 275 to 300 horsepower and more speculation will tell you to expect ventilated disc brakes and six piston calipers to better handle the all wheel drive. Of course rumors are rumors and another one that is particularly interesting is that this new model just might have an electric turbo joining the engine under the hood. While the facts and rumors get sorted through, you can take a peek at what the WRX will look like cruising down the road in the following video:
In order for Consumer Reports to come up with their top picks, they literally picked apart over 280 different vehicles to come up with the best of the best, separated them into domestic or foreign origin vehicles and chose the autos that had the highest markets for reliability, safety, performance and handling, price points, fuel efficiency and just about every other test you can think of to make a car prove it’s got what it takes to become a “Top Pick.” Here is how it turned out for the foreign models:
2013 Top Picks
Midsized sedan: Honda Accord
Sports cars: Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ
Budget car: Hyundai Elantra
Green car: Toyota Prius
Compact car: Subaru Impreza
Luxury car: Audi A6
Small SUV: Honda CR-V
Midsized SUV: Toyota Highlander
Sports sedan: BMW 328i
Minivan: Honda Odyssey
You can compare this list with the American made automobiles. The 2013 Top Picks that came from the United States automakers also lists if the testing criteria was met, and who got the top score(s) from each class while the foreign picks didn’t offer that information. We can assume that these vehicles were the top scoring and met at least enough of the criteria to have made it out of the heap of almost 300 vehicles to make it as a top choice for consumers.
Now that you are armed with the Consumer Reports Top Picks for 2013 you can choose exactly the right vehicle that not only will fit your needs, but will offer the reliability, safety and economical features that will make your ride one you can count on for all your daily commuting needs and road trip pleasures.
It won’t be long now before some happy automaker walks away with the 2013 Car of the Year Award. This coveted award will be given away later today at the Geneva Auto Show and the finalists have all ready been chosen. The judges’ panel for this award includes 59 automotive journalists from 23 European countries. This is a European auto show after all.
Well, these judges have been haggling and voting and have narrowed their choices down to eight finalists. While we aren’t quite sure what criteria they used, we know it was a comprehensive collection of specific points to make up what that “Car of the Year” should require.
Eight Finalists for the 2013 Car of the Year Award:
Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT86
Congratulations to these finalists. We’ll be excited to hear who the Grand Prize Winner is. In the meantime, the 83rd International Geneva Motor Show is the first one to have 10% of the 130 World and European premier autos listed as Clean. Along with these premier vehicles, there are 260 exhibitors from around 30 countries showing up in the following categories:
Motor cars (3 or 4 wheels)
Electric cars and alternative powered cars
Special bodywork for motor cars, design and engineering
Converted cars (tuners)
Accessories and parts for motor cars
OEM: original equipment manufacturers
Workshop installations for the repair and maintenance of motor cars
As you can imagine, the news will be pouring in about all the premiers, awards and other particulars from the Geneva Auto Show. So keep a close eye out so you can stay up to date on the most exciting news from the top automakers.