The 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class offers a two new models in addition to last year’s coupe and sedan with a wagon and cabriolet now available, plus the tire-shredding power and capable handling of the E63 AMG. All E-Class models share similarly aggressive styling cues, adapting them to their varying shapes with equal succes. The many angles, curves and chrome accents may prove busy for some eyes, but the overall impact is unmistakably German.
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is available in sedan, wagon, convertible (cabriolet) and coupe body styles. The sedan is available in E350 ($49.400 MSRP), E350Bluetec ($50.900 MSRP), E550 ($57.100 MSRP) and E63 AMG ($87.600 MSRP) variants. The 2011 E-Class coupe, convertible and wagon are offered in E350 trim levels (starting at $49.800 coupe, $57.720 cabriolet and $ 56.200 wagon).
The E350 and E350 Bluetec sedans come standard with 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, the comand electronics interface, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker stereo with a six-CD charger and auxiliary audio jack. The E350 coupe adds a panoramic sunroof and sport seats. 18-inch wheels and a sport suspension are optional for E350 coupe. The E350 wagon adds to the sedan a power tailgate and rearview camera. The cabriolet adds standard leather upholstery and the AirCap wind-deflector system.
The E550 sedans adds an air suspension and V8 engine.
The E63 AMG includes most of the E550’s equipment plus a larger V8 engine, sport transmission, adjustable drive settings, adaptive sport suspension and a sport steering wheel.
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 sedan and wagon are powered by a 3.5 liter V6 engine that produces 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The E350 Bluetec comes with a turbodiesel 3.0 liter V6 engine that produces 210 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard. The 2011 Mercedes Benz E350 coupe and cabriolet are powered by a all-new 3.5 liter V6 Direct injection engine that produce 302 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque.
The E550 sedan is powered by a 5.5 liter V8 engine that produce 382 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque. The seven-speed automatic transmission is again standard.
The E350 and E550 sedans are available with either rear-wheel drive or 4Matic all-wheel drive. The E350 wagon is offered solely with the all-wheel-drive powertrain. All E-Class coupes and convertibles are available only with rear-wheel drive.
The E63 AMG has a 6.3-liter V8 engine that produces 518 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. It is coupled to a sport-tuned seven-speed automatic with a paddle-shift manual mode.
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, front pelvic airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag.
The Edmunds says about 2011 E-Class:
Enjoyable to drive, offering superior quality and available in a host of different body styles, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a luxury-car triumph that deserves serious consideration.
The Volkswagen Routan is a seven-seat minivan and rebadged variant of the Chrysler RT platform, with revised styling, content features and suspension tuning from the fifth-generation Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town&Country. Manufactured alongside the Chrysler and Dodge minivans at Windsor Assembly and marketed in the United States, Canada and Mexico, the Routan debuted at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show and went on sale in the U.S. in september 2008.
Competitors of 2011 Volkswagen Routan include the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna and Nissan Quest. The 2011 Routan comes in S, SE, SEL and SEL Premium trims.
The base S ( starting at $ 26.930) comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, power rear vent-windows, cruise control, a tilt-only steering wheel, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, rear air-conditioning controls and a six-speaker sound system with CD player. The SE trim of 2011 Routan (starting at $31.700) gains 17-inch alloy wheels, upgraded exterior trim, power-adjustable pedals, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a trip computer, Bluetooth and six-CD charger. The RSE (Rear Seat Entertainment) package is optional.
The SEL (at $37.390) adds to the SE’s equipment automatic headlamps, a sunroof, a remote ignition, a rearview camera, automatic three-zone climate control, leather upholstery, heated second-row seats, the touchscreen audio interface, a Chrysler-sourced navigation system, voice controls, satellite radio and an iPod interface.
The SEL Premium ($43.240) gets xenon headlamps, fog lamps, keyless ignition/entry, additional chrome exterior trim, driver memory functions, interior wood trim, an advanced trip computer and nine-speaker sound system.
With space for up to seven adults and their belongings, amenities similar to those of a home theater and a maximum towing capacity of 3.600 lbs., the 2011 Routan can go distance without leaving anyone or anything behind. The 2011 Volkswagen Routan combines German sensibilities in design, fit and finish with refined ride and handling characteristics all while delivering outstanding value.
New for the 2011 model year, all Routans are powered by a new 3.6 liter V6 engine which provides 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. The 2011 VW Routan is equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode. The EPA estimated mileage of 2011 Routan is 17 mpg city/ 25 mpg highway.
To accomodate the needs of today’s families, the 2011 Routan features standard 12 V power outlets and an available 115 V AC outlet for powering up phones, mp3 players and game consoles.
For 2011, the Routan comes standard with a host of new safety features. Front-row seats now include standard side-airbags and drivers are now protected with a standard knee-airbag. All seating positions have a three-point safety belt, with a pre-tensioner and height adjustment for the driver and front passenger.
The Edmunds says about 2011 Routan:
….the Routan continues to provide the sort of interior layout and space expected by American minivan customers, while also offering family-friendly features like power sliding doors, a DVD entertainment system, heated rear seats and an iPod interface.
The Audi A3 is a premium hatchback that competes with models like Volvo V50. The Audi A3 created an entirely new premium compact car segment when the first-generation model debuted globally in 1996, and the car has enjoyed tremendous succes since it arrived on U.S. shores in 2005. In 2009 Audi had sold more than 1.9 million Audi A3 models worldwide, and that number continues to grow. The combination of quality, craftsmanship and efficiency make the Audi A3 a leader in its segment.
The 2011 Audi A3 retains the same attractive style elements introduced in 2009. The leaning hood and fenders are expressively styled and the bumper keeps its large, easily identifiable singleframe radiator grille. In 2011 two new paint colors make their debut – Scuba Blue and Deep Sea Blue.
The 2011 Audi A3 is available in Premium (starting at $27.270 MSRP) and Premium Plus (starting at $29.270) trim levels. Standard features on the 2011 Audi A3 Premium include 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seating and a 10-speaker sound system. Premium Plus include xenon headlights, Bluetooth and a power driver seat. Major option include a navigation system, heated seats, a sunroof and adaptive suspension dampers.
The 2011 Audi A3 is offered with two different engines. The first is the gasoline-fueled 2.0 liter turbocharged DOHC in-line four-cylinder engine with FSi direct injection, intercooler and four valves per cylinder that produces 200 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired with six-speed manual transmission or six-speed S-tronic automatic transmission. The quattro permanent all-wheel drive system with Haldex center differential is offered only for Audi A3 with 2.0 liter FSi engine. The fuel economy for this engine is 21 MPG city/30 MPG highway for manual, 22/28 MPG for Stronic and 21/28 MPG for STronic with quattro system.
The second engine of 2011 Audi A3 is an 2.0 liter turbocharged, DOHC in-line four-cylinder with TDI, clean diesel common rail direct injection, intercooler and four valves per cylinder that produces 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired only with S tronic automatic transmission. The mileage of 2011 Audi A3 with TDI engine is 30 MPG city and 42 MPG highway.
The 2011 Audi A3 provides a comprehensive network of safety features designed to protect occupants. Chief among these is A3’s light weight and rigid body structure. Designed with a stiff cabin shell and specific crumple zones, the 2011 Audi A3 directs collision energy down and away from passengers. Front and side airbags also protect occupants in the front seats. Rear passengers are protected from side impact by curtain airbags. In addition, the 2011 A3 uses seatbelts with automatic pretensioners to reduce the risk of post-collision injury.
Toyota’s RAV4 is a sporty compact utility vehicle that can fit up to seven people. The 2011 RAV4 comes with front or all-wheel drive and three trim levels available: base (starting at $22.475 MSRP), Sport (starting at $24.175 MSRP) and top-of-the -line Limited (starting at $25.465 MSRP). Competitors include the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape.
The RAV4 was last redesigned for the 2006 model year and a new dwsign is coming for 2012.
New for 2011 Toyota RAV4 is a brake override system that takes precedence over the accelerator if both pedals are pressed simultaneously. Also new for 2011 Toyota RAV4 is an Extra Value Package for the base RAV4 that includes a six-disc CD charger, steering-wheel audio controls, 17-inch alloy wheels, a power moonroof, privacy glass and other optional items.
The 2011 Toyota RAV4 is equipped with two available engine. First is an 2.5 liter DOHC 16 valve 4-cylinder with Dual VVT-i that produce 179 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque. Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) controls timing on both the intake and exhaust camshaft. Integrated twin balance shaft reduce noise and vibration. This four-cylinder engine is paired with a four-speed Electronically Controlled automatic Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i). Fuel efficiency is excellent for its class, with EPA MPG estimates of 22 city/28 highway on 4×2 models and 21/27 mpg on 4×4 models.
The second engine available is an powerful 3.5-liter, DOHC 24 Valve V6 with dual VVT-i generating 269 hp and 249 lb-ft of torque. The V6 RAV4 is equipped exclusively with a five-speed automatic transmission and it offers better fuel efficiency than some less powerful competitors: 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway for 2WD models and 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway for 4WD models.
A strong stiff body structure, four-wheel independent suspention and Electronic Power Steering (EPS) give the 2011 RAV4 sporty handling and a comfortable car-like ride. The compact EPS unit contributes to fuel economy by eliminating the traditional power steering pump and provides computer-controlled assist only when required.
The 2011 Toyota RAV4’s available automatic on-demand four-wheel-drive system uses an electronically controlled coupling to distribute torque between the front and rear wheels, depending on road conditions and driver input. In Auto mode, torque distribution to the rear wheels is decreased during low speed cornering for better maneuverability. 4WD manual locking switch maximizes torque distribution to the rear wheels. When vehicle speed reaches 25 mph, the system reverts to Auto mode.
Like all SUVs in the Toyota lineup, the 2011 RAV4 comes standard with the STAR Safety System. On 2011 Toyota RAV4 that includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC) and an ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA).
Form, fun, functionality and value are plentiful in the 2011 Toyota Rav4 with a generous array of standard convenience features across all three grades including air-conditioning, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, AM/FM CD stereo with MP3/WMA playback capability, XM Radio, six speakers, an auxiliary audio jack, cruise control, outside temperature gauge, remote keyless entry, power mirrors with folding feature and three 12-volt auxiliary power outlets.
Edmunds says about 2011 Toyota RAV4:
Spacious, comfortable and easy to drive, the 2011 Toyota RAV4 is a top pick for a small-to-midsize crossover SUV, especially if you want a V6 or a usable kid-size third-row seat.