If you’re one of the many thousands of motorists who plan on returning to new-car dealerships in the coming months to renew your rides you might be confronted with an assortment of never-before seen cars with what are unfamiliar nameplates. The auto business has undergone dramatic changes over the last few years, and if you haven’t gone car shopping since before the economy crashed you’ll find it to be the proverbial brave new world.
As they say, you can’t tell the players without a scorecard, so we’ve compiled a slideshow that highlights the 10 hottest models that are brand-new for the 2013 model year and which fresh elements each brings to the market. So let’s get ready to meet the freshman class of 2013.
For starters, you’ll find a lot more small cars on showroom floors these days, many of which offer amenities like heated seats and advanced data connectivity features that were likely limited to luxury cars the last time you looked. Buyers are embracing the latest round of compact and subcompact cars with a passion these days, from empty nesters looking to downsize their rides but maintain desired levels of comfort and conveniences to younger motorists looking to minimize their carbon footprints and budget-conscious buyers looking for a lower sticker price and higher fuel economy.
And for those keeping track of both sides of the scorecard, models being discontinued for 2013 include the Hyundai Veracruz, Jeep Liberty, Mazda CX-7 and Mercedes-Benz R-Class crossovers/SUVs, the Kia Sedona minivan, Lexus HS 250h hybrid and the Mitsubishi Eclipse sports coupe/convertible and Galant sedan.
BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe
“Gran Coupe” variants are newly added to the 6 Series line for 2013 as part of the current “four door coupe” craze. Unlike the two-door versions, the Gran Coupe can seat four passengers in some degree of comfort. As with the rest of the line, the 640i comes powered by a sufficiently lively 3.0-liter 315-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder engine, while the 650i packs a 4.4-liter V8 that generates a quicker 445 horses. A quick-shifting six-speed manual transmission is standard on the 650i, with an eight-speed automatic optional there and standard with the 640i. Handling is sufficiently sporty, with an array of advanced chassis control systems on hand to help the car maintain its poise in even the most demanding situations. Options include both active steering and rear-wheel steering to further improve the car’s stability and cornering abilities.