You probably already know all the big stuff: The Dart gives Dodge its first competitive small car in a couple of generations, the Honda Accord is all new, and the redesigned Nissan Altima gets an EPA-estimated 38 mpg highway. So, I won’t bother rehashing the news that’s making headlines. Instead, here are a few things that may have slipped through the media cracks on the way to your inbox—you know, little stuff that’s still worth knowing.
2013 Fun Facts
1) Chrysler products get OnStar-style telematics system
Available first on the 2013 Dodge Ram and SRT Viper, Chrysler’s new Access Assist system will offer drivers OnStar-like safety and convenience services. The system will be part of the company’s Uconnect suite of connectivity features.
2) A big diesel
As in 2012, the 2013 Volkswagen Passat remains the largest sedan offered in the U.S. with the combination of a diesel engine and a manual transmission.
3) 6-cylinder über-sedan party
For 2013, all three large luxury sedans from Germany can be had with a 6-cylinder engine. The BMW 7-Series can be purchased with a turbocharged inline six, and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class can be had with either a hybrid-assisted or diesel V6. As for the Audi A8, it now comes standard with a 3.0-liter supercharged V6.
4) The last V8-powered non-luxury SUV
With the redesign of the Nissan Pathfinder, the Jeep Grand Cherokee becomes the last non-luxury brand midsize SUV to offer available V8 power. The Pathfinder was second-to-last, offering a 5.6-liter unit until its ’13 redesign. Note: Consumer Guide considers the Dodge Durango a large truck.
5) Naming engines is back!
Well, engines and engine technology, at least. Joining the recently introduced Mazda SKYACTIV collection of drivetrain features is Nissan’s Pure Drive clean-emissions system and Honda’s upcoming Earth Dreams engine family.
6) 50-buck navigation system
The all-new Chevrolet Spark just cut the cost of an in-dash navigation system by about $2,000. Powered by your smartphone, the BringGo navigation system interacts seamlessly with Spark’s MyLink interface and works as expected through the car’s in-dash monitor. The BringGo app costs just $50. There are no monthly fees.
7) There’s no longer a $50,000 Corvette
This happened last year, actually, when the base price of America’s sports car came to $50,500 with destination. For 2013, the price of Corvette entry climbs modestly to $50,575.
8) Who says this isn’t the Golden Age of the automobile?
This, too, has been true for a couple of years. Don’t think things are cool in car land? Consider this: The base horsepower on both of America’s pony cars is over 300. Twenty years ago, the Camaro’s 3.4-liter V6 chugged out just 160 horsepower, while the Mustang’s Pinto-derived 2.3-liter four meted out but 105.
9) 1,100 horsepower worth of his and hers wagons
Again, this isn’t the Golden Age? Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz continue to sell a couple of the coolest cars money can buy, and both are stately (looking) wagons. Packing 556 horsepower is the Caddy CTS-V wagon, while the Mercedes E63 wagon with the AMG Performance Package boasts 550. Nothing demonstrates your love of gardening like hitting 150 mph on your way back from Home Depot with a wagon full of mulch.
10) Jaguar goes V6
Meeting EPA mpg standards means doing things that feel wrong, like stuffing a V6 engine in Jaguar’s big XJ and midsize XF sedans. The good news is that in both cases the engine is supercharged to a respectable 340 horsepower, and that old V8 engines are still available. It’s the rumor of a 4-cylinder XF that makes us nervous.