The cars of 2013 have been catching our eyes for months. What are the most surprising, interesting ones we’ve seen?
Take a look at which cars made it into Boston.com correspondent Bill Griffith’s top 20.
It seems as if Nissan has been working on this for a long time, making the switch from a truck-based design to a car-based version. Let’s see if it’s like getting its expensive Infiniti JX sibling for less money. It delivers 15 city miles per gallon and 22 highway miles per gallon.
This is a whole new vehicle that gives Dodge an entry-level product with many variants and hopefully wide appeal. Dart buyers can choose between three different engines, which deliver up to 28 city miles per gallon and 41 highway miles per gallon. The car reflects its Alfa Romeo DNA, and the driving dynamics have a distinct European feel.
This Acura is a serious entry-level luxury vehicle based on the new Civic. It has a faster steering ratio and upgraded hardware, such as a larger-diameter steering shaft, for improved feel. There’s more noise abatement as well. The ILX three versions are the 2.0L, the 2.4L, and a gas-electric model, the 1.5L hybrid.
The ATS is a very important car for Cadillac, aimed at competing with the BMW 3 Series. It’s a compact luxury sedan with three engine choices: a 2.0L turbo, a 3.6L V6 engine, and a 2.5L engine that delivers more than 30 highway miles per gallon. The ATS’s new architecture includes a safe and lightweight chassis, according to Cadillac. Available features include dual-exhaust tips, vertical LED headlamps, and 17- or 18-inch wheels.
The Enclave’s V6 engine provides 24 highway miles per gallon. It comes with seven standard airbags, including an industry-first center side airbag. It seems like the Enclave has been ready to come over the horizon for a long time. The compact SUV segment is viciously competitive. Let’s see how Buick does in the shark tank.
BMW’s introductions of the X3 and X5 in the past have been impressive. Expect nothing less this time. The X1 takes design cues from signature BMX X models, according to the company, including a long wheelbase, set-back passenger compartment, and broad hood. The Sport Activity Vehicle is available in four- and six-cylinder form. Its sDrive281 engine delivers 24 city miles per gallon and 33 highway miles per gallon.
The 2013 Fusion has already received raves for its styling. It’s got a tough act to follow and apparently is ready to get the job done. The Fusion has a hexagonal grille, LED tail lamps, and available ambient lighting. It delivers 22 city miles per gallon and 34 highway miles per gallon. For $6,000 more, the Fusion is available as a hybrid with 47 combined miles per gallon capability.
It was time for a new Accord. It’s going to be interesting to see if Honda still has its fastball. The sedan is available in six models: LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, EX-L (V6), and Touring. The four-cylinder version provides 27 city miles per gallon and 36 highway miles per gallon.
Hyundai Santa Fe
It’s going to be available in 5- and 7-passenger versions. Early vibes: Hyundai has another winner. The Santa Fe comes with standard 17-inch alloy wheels, while 19-inch alloy wheels are available as an upgrade. It provides 22 city miles per gallon and 33 highway miles per gallon.
This great midsized sedan accounts for a large percentage of Nissan’s US sales. The car’s four-cylinder engine delivers 27 city miles per gallon and 38 highway miles per gallon. An ultra-high strength steel and aluminum body and chassis contribute to the Altima’s efficiency, according to Nissan. The car can be equipped with NissanConnect, which comes with navigation, streaming audio, hands-free text messaging, and hands-free phone capabilities.
Hyundai Veloster Turbo
A fun car with out-of-the-box styling and just enough “oomph’’ to be fun to drive. I like to think of it as the illegitimate descendant of the VW Karmann Ghia. The Veloster Turbo provides 26 city miles per gallon and 38 highway miles per gallon.
Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S
BRZ price: $25,495
FR-S price: $24,955
Affordable RWD sport coupes. Two ways to spell fun. The BRZ (top photo) delivers 34 highway miles per gallon and 25 city miles per gallon. It has a direct-injected Subaru Boxer engine. The FR-S has a 2-liter, four-cylinder boxer engine. It provides 34 highway miles per gallon and 25 city miles per gallon.
This almost made the Top 10 most interesting list but Mazda isn’t quite a big enough player. However, this should be a must-consider small SUV. The CX-5 has seating for five people, or up to 65.4 cubic feet of cargo space. It delivers 26 city miles per gallon and 35 highway miles per gallon.
Like the Mazda CX-5, this pickup truck barely missed the Top 10. It has an eight-speed automatic transmission, thermal management system, and active aerodynamics. The Ram 1500 delivers 18 city miles per gallon and 25 highway miles per gallon. It can tow 6,500 poinds.
The vehicle has had three recalls (relatively minor) and is following a tough act. Its aging predecessor had its best sales year as it was heading out the door. The 2013 Escape’s 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine provides 23 city miles per gallon and 33 highway miles per gallon. Its cushions and head restraint foam is derived from oils from plant seeds.
The original “new Mini’’ has morphed into a coupe, cabrio, Clubman, Countryman, and coming Clubvan. The hardtop Mini Cooper delivers 37 highway miles per gallon and 29 city miles per gallon.It has six airbags with an air curtain system.
Pictured: 2012 Mini Cooper.
Subaru XV Crosstrek
We liked the new Impreza. This crossover is on the Impreza chassis and should be interesting. The Crosstrek has symmetrical all-wheel drive and 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels. It produces 33 highway miles per gallon and 25 city miles per gallon.
Based on the A4 and Quattro, Audi says “with the traction of Audi quattro® all-wheel drive, the space of an SUV and the refinement of a luxury car, the Audi allroad® is at home just about anywhere.’’ We’ll see, but it’s definitely aimed at the US market.
If you like the Smart and Toyota IQ, you’ll know the market the Spark is aiming at. It’ll be interesting to see if it has reinvented the tiny car. The car has 10 airbags and 31.2 cubic feet of cagro space. It provides 38 highway miles per gallon.
A supercar returns. Hear one coming, “feel’’ the exhaust vibration as it goes by and be happy. The two-seater has a 8.4-liter V10 engine, able to produce 640 horsepower. The Viper will be offered in six colors, including the pictured “Race Yellow.’’ Fuel economy information is not yet avilable.