Toyota techs up the 2008 Toyota 4Runner with an available Urban Runner Package, an experiment in integrating a portable navigation device into the car's dashboard. The navigation device is a TomTom, branded as a TomTom Toyota, and it does much more than simple navigation, potentially catapulting the 4Runner into the ranks of the most technically advanced cars. But the inclusion of the Urban Runner Package affects the 4Runner's electronics and cosmetic details, without changing the SUV's off-road capabilities. The ride height is unchanged, and our four-wheel-drive version included a locking center differential and a hill descent program. … Read more
One of the prettiest coupes around, the 2008 Audi A5 comes in with excellent handling, thanks to the standard Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Its 3.2-liter engine produces adequate power, but you'll have to step up to the Audi S5 for real fun. Our test car came with a smooth-shifting six-speed manual transmission in lieu of the available six-speed automatic.
We also had all the goodies in the cabin, including an excellent sounding Bang & Olufsen audio system and the Audi Music Interface, which let us connect a crazy variety of music devices to the car. We're also very … Read more
The 2008 Lexus GS 460 works as a good example of powertrain engineering, where Lexus took its existing GS model and dropped in the engine and transmission that it launched in the 2007 LS 460. We were very impressed with this powertrain in the LS for its fuel economy, and it loses nothing in the smaller GS 460. Of course, being a Lexus, this car also offers a very comfortable cabin with a solid array of technology, from a rich graphical interface to a superb-sounding Mark Levinson audio system. None of this cabin tech is particularly cutting-edge at this point, … Read more
The 2008 Suzuki XL7 Limited is about as much crossover SUV as you can get for the money. Its ride quality and cabin materials might not be on a par with those of other models in the segment, but the XL7 Limited does pack an impressive payload of features--including one safety-tech system that we've not seen anywhere else.
Two sketches of the next Rolls-Royce model, code-named RR4, were released today, showing a car with a meaty body and squashed cab. Of the new car, chief designer Ian Cameron said "The RR4 has a more informal presence than the Phantom models with a greater emphasis on driving. In design terms this is expressed through its slightly smaller dimensions and more organic form, yet with powerful, purposeful proportions." From the sketches, it looks as if the RR4 will be a four-door sedan with a less blocky grille than the current Phantom model, but will still sport the Spirit … Read more
Infiniti delivers a unique new car with the 2008 Infiniti EX35 Journey, packing it full of over-the-top technology that all proves useful. The EX35 fits the crossover mold, a segment in which Nissan/Infiniti has plenty of experience from prior models, such as the Murano and FX45. But the EX35 leans more toward the car side, with a front end designed after the G35. The roofline of the EX35 isn't much taller than a typical sedan, and the quick drop-off at the rear leads to minimal cargo space.
But the EX35 wins us over with driving tech that includes … Read more
The stuff of calendars and posters, exotics are cars you will rarely see in real life. Lucky indeed is the individual who gets to see a Bentley Continental GT Speed or a Spyker C8 Aileron drive by on the street. We've gone through our auto show photographs to select rare new production cars.
The new Mini continues its automotive archeology by bringing back the Clubman version. The 2008 Mini Cooper S Clubman shares the same powertrain and cabin gadget options with the Mini Cooper S, yet the Clubman gets a bit more cargo space and easier access to the back seats. With its extra length and weight, we expected it to lose that fun Mini driving character, but it maintains its sprightliness. Mini's BMW owners let it share excellent cabin technology, including navigation with live traffic and HD radio. But the only significant cabin tech option on our Clubman was Mini's … Read more
With the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ, Chevrolet makes its strongest bid yet to unseat the Toyota Camry as America's most popular car. For cabin quality, the Malibu LTZ equals the Camry and even the Honda Accord. The Malibu features the most modern powertrain we've yet seen from Chevrolet, although the handling feels wobbly, especially at freeway speeds. The head unit in the Malibu LTZ is GM-standard, it has a decent interface for playing MP3 CDs and a standard auxiliary input. The cabin electronics are rounded out with OnStar's various services, including hands-free-calling and turn-by-turn directions.
Although we frequently see car models get updated at car shows, it's uncommon to see a completely new model. We've gathered new cars that debuted at the recent batch of auto shows here, so you can see what to expect in showrooms.