A super light two-seater, mid-engine sports car, the 4C will mark Alfa’s return to the States when it goes on sale this summer at Maserati dealerships. This striking car is powered by a 1.7-liter turbo four that cranks out 237 horsepower and uses a dual-clutch six-speed automated manual that can be shifted manually. With its light 2,600-lb. curb weight, low center of gravity, and a race-car-like weight distribution, the 4C promises to be an enthusiast-focused car.
Looking for a bigger slice of the competitive midsized sedan segment, Hyundai has given the Sonata a more mainstream appearance. That conservative sheetmetal wraps a model that aims to be more refined, with a 40-percent stiffer chassis, redesigned suspension, and increased emphasis on noise reduction. The new Sonata has a longer roster of available equipment, including a full suite of active safety systems, and luxury amenities like cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and hands-free trunk release.
With aggressive new styling reminiscent of the recently redesigned Rogue, Nissan’s midsize SUV gets a new, airier interior with larger windows, a lower dashboard, and an optional full-length panoramic sunroof. An available eight-inch color display houses the NissanConnect infotainment system, with access to mobile apps, navigation, entertainment, and more. Nissan’s punchy and refined 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine soldiers on under the hood, paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission. New electronic safety features, include moving object detection and blind-spot and cross-traffic warnings, along with forward-collision warning with emergency braking.
Joining the emerging subcompact SUV segment, started by the Nissan Juke, and soon to include the Chevrolet Trax and Honda H-RV, Jeep has tapped its global resources to develop the Renegade. Built in Italy and spun off the Fiat 500L platform, the Renegade is a tall, relatively roomy small vehicle with abundant brand styling cues and youthful attitude. It offers two familiar engines: a 160-hp, 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder or 184-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder. As with the larger Cherokee, the Renegade will be offered in a TrailHawk configuration, equipped for Jeep-worthy off-roading. Likewise, it will also offer a broad range of active safety features.
The sixth-generation Outback doesn’t stray from its successful formula, but it brings more civility to this popular SUV alternative. The exterior demonstrates better proportions than the outgoing model, with a sharp side crease and upscale light treatments. Power again comes from a flat four- and flat six-cylinder engines, with fuel economy promised to make significant gains with the 3.6R, thanks in part to a continuously variable transmission. The interior benefits from more rear leg room and a modern infotainment system, with Internet radio streaming, smart phone integration, and 7-inch screen.