TC: The 2014 Scion tC sports coupe, which went on sale in June, has sportier, more aggressive styling thanks to its bigger grille, narrower headlights and 18-inch wheels. Inside, a 6.1-inch touchscreen audio system is standard; Scion is making the system standard across its entire lineup in 2014, a first for a non-luxury brand. The tC coupe has a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine with 179 horsepower and either a six-speed manual transmission or an updated six-speed automatic. It gets an estimated 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. The tC coupe starts at $19,965.
Forester: The small SUV has been in dealers much of the year, and it's selling faster than just about any other car in America. The versatile Forester, with ample space in the back for a wet dog, comes standard with a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine to power all four wheels. It's the only small SUV to ace an insurance group's offset frontal crash test. Starts at just under $22,000 excluding shipping.
XV Crosstrek: It's Subaru's first gas-electric hybrid, aimed at the environmentally sensitive outdoorsy crowd that wants efficiency while hauling kayaks to the river. It has stop-start technology that shuts down the engine at red lights to save fuel. Yet it has all-wheel-drive capability and the same 8.7-inch ground clearance so it can go on trails. The Crosstrek has a 2-liter Boxer engine with 148 horsepower, plus a 13.4 horsepower electric motor and a continuously variable transmission that keeps the engine revving in an optimal range for gas mileage and power. Automatic gets 33 mpg on the highway and 28 in the city. Starts at just under $22,000 excluding shipping.
Model X: Electric car maker Tesla currently makes just one sedan, the Model S. Its next vehicle, the Model X crossover, is expected to go on sale toward the end of 2014. A preproduction version shown at the Detroit auto show last January had seven seats and unique gull-wing doors that open vertically instead of sliding to the side. Like the Model S, the Model X will have a choice of batteries — 60 kWh or 85 kWh — and a large touchscreen dashboard. The Model X will also have an all-wheel-drive option, something the Model S doesn't have right now. More details, including price and equivalent fuel economy, will be released next year.
Corolla: The 11th generation of the Corolla — one of the best-selling small cars on the planet — goes on sale in September. Toyota took a risk with an edgier, more chiseled design, and LED headlights give the car a more premium look. The car is nearly 4 inches longer, which makes the interior roomier, especially for the rear passengers. Toyota also added more carpet insulation and other materials to make the cabin quieter. There are two four-cylinder engine choices: a 1.8-liter with 132 horsepower, which is carried over from the previous generation, and the 1.8-liter with Toyota's Valvematic technology, which slightly improves fuel economy and horsepower by offering a broader range of valve timing. There's a four-speed automatic transmission in base models, but Toyota expects most buyers will opt for its new six-speed continuously variable transmission. Toyota estimates the Corolla gets 37 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg in the city. An Eco version gets 40 mpg on the highway with the help of aerodynamic improvements, low rolling resistance tires, a spoiler and the Valvematic engine. The Corolla starts at $17,610 — including an $810 shipping fee — for a base version with a manual transmission or $18,210 for a base automatic. The ECO version starts at $19,510.
4Runner: The redesigned 2014 4Runner has a distinctive, architectural front grille and a standard roof rack on all trim levels. Inside, there's more second-row leg room thanks to sculpted front seats, and lower trim levels get nicer features like a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter. The 4.0-liter, 270-horsepower V6 remains, and gets 17 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway for the 4x4 or 23 for the 4x2. Pricing hasn't been released for the SUV, which goes on sale in September.
Highlander: Toyota hasn't yet released details on the new Highlander SUV, which will go on sale early in 2014. A hybrid version will hit the market in the spring.
Tundra: The 2014 Tundra full-size pickup truck gets a complete makeover, with a bigger, bolder grille up front, improved suspension below and an integrated spoiler in the rear to improve fuel economy. A backup camera is standard on all trim levels, a first for the full-size pickup segment. On the inside, Toyota has made ergonomic improvements, including installing more comfortable front seats that move back farther, and reduced wind noise. There's a new top-of-the-line model, the 1794 Edition, which pays homage to the San Antonio ranch, founded in 1794, where Toyota's plant is now located. It has a western theme, with saddle brown leather seats, suede accents, and premium features like heated and cooled seats and navigation. The engine choices — a 4.0-liter, 270 horsepower V6; 4.6-liter, 310-horsepower V8; and a 5.7-liter, 381-horsepower V8 — are carried over from the previous model, which got up to 17 mpg in city and highway driving. Pricing hasn't been released for the truck, which goes on sale in September.
Beetle: Sometime during the model year, the base 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine will be replaced by a 170-horsepower, 1.8-liter turbocharged four to increase gas mileage by 17 percent. Current five-cylinder Beetle gets 31 mpg on highway. New GSR retro racer line is added, and Beetle Turbo becomes the R-Line. Price wasn't announced. The Beetle Coupe starts at $19,995 excluding shipping, while the convertible starts at $24,995.
Jetta: VW's top seller gets the new 1.8-liter turbocharged and a direct-injection four-cylinder engine to replace the 2.5-liter five-cylinder. New engine gets 36 mpg on highway. A 30th anniversary GLI performance model comes late in the model year. Jetta starts at $16,720 excluding shipping.
Passat: The midsize VW gets the same 1.8-liter turbocharged engine to replace the five cylinder. Starts at $20,845 without shipping.
XC60: The XC60 small SUV gets its most extensive refresh since it was introduced four years ago. A new hood and grille give the vehicle a wider, more confident stance. Inside, Volvo now offers sporty paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel, which let drivers shift without taking their hands off the wheel. The interior also has upgraded materials and a high-tech instrument cluster. Corner traction control, which helps the vehicle on wet or winding streets, is now standard. Also standard are a new blind spot monitoring system and cross-traffic alert, a radar system that warns the driver if vehicles are approaching the rear sides. An optional technology package offers active high beams, which automatically switch to low beams if oncoming traffic is detected, and a system that automatically brakes if the car is about to hit a pedestrian or cyclist. The three engines remain, including a 3.2-liter V6 with 240 horsepower, a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 with 300 horsepower and a top-of-the-line 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 with 325 horsepower. The base engine gets up to 25 mpg on the highway. Pricing starts at $35,765 including shipping.