Acura is the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Honda Motor Company. The brand has been available in the United States and Canada since March 1986. It was introduced in Hong Kong in 1991, Mexico in 2004 and China in 2006. Acura holds the distinction of being the first Japanese automotive luxury brand. In its first few years of existence, Acura was among the best-selling luxury marques in the US. Acura has been setting new standards in automotive design and engineering for two decades through bold innovation, a refined sense of aesthetics, and precision manufacturing.
Entering its final year of production, with a successor for 2013 expected to make its debut at New York Auto Show in April 2012, the 2012 Acura RL has not undergone any changes from the previous model year. Acura’s flagship RL sedan competes with midlevel luxury car like the Infiniti M and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. While the Infiniti M and Mercedes E-Class offer all-whell drive as an option, it is standard on the Acura RL. The 2012 Acura RL seats up to five people.
The 2012 Acura RL is available in three trim levels: RL ( at $47,700 MSRP), RL with Technology Package (price from $ 51,850), and RL with Advance Package ( starting at $ 55,650 ). All RL’s feature as standard a Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, leather trimmed interior, 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlights, power actuated front seats, leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control system, power windows, power moonroof, Bose Surround Sound audio system, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink connectivity and a Multi-Information Display that allows easy access to multiple electronic functions. The Technology Package adds a satellite-linked Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition, AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic with Traffic Rerouting, rear view camera, back-up sensors, Active Front Lighting System (AFS), ventilated front seats and a simulated burlwood accented steering wheel and shift knob.
The top Acura RL trim is the Advance Package which adds Accura’s Collision Mitigation Braking System, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), power folding side mirrors and genuine maple wood instrument panel trim.
The 2012 Acura RL’s exterior styling is not only distinctive and upscale, but delivers excellent aerodynamics and a stable feel at higher speeds. At the front of the RL is a grill that teams with the athletically styled body to give visual indication of the vehicle’s performance capabilities.
Inside, the Acura RL features an elegantly styled interior that includes leather-trimmed heated front seats, comfortable space space for rear seat passengers, plenty of storage areas and easy-to-use functionality. Like the driver’s seat, the passenger front seat has 10-way power adjustability.
The advanced technology built into the 2012 RL includes a 3.7-liter SOHC V-6 engine that develops 300 horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque thanks to an innovative VTEC valvetrain system for both the intake and exhaust valves, a high compression ratio, along with a special dual-stage magnesium intake manifold that enables the intake to function as a simple- or dual-plenum manifold design based on engine operating parameters.
A sequential Sport Shift 6-speed automatic transmission is used that not only generates strong acceleration performance, but also helps delive good fuel economy. The 2012 Acura RL achieves an EPA rated of 17 mpg city / 24 mpg highway.
The 2012 Acura RL utilizes Acura’s rigid Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure that features extensive use of high-tensile steel and lightweight aluminum components to take vehicle construction beyond conventional safety protocols – all while keeping overall vehicle weight in check. Standard safety features for the 2012 Acura RL include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. The optional collision mitigation system uses a radar system to monitor the road ahead. If it detect a fast-approaching obstacle, it can alert the driver and if the driver fails to react in time, it can apply the brakes and tighten the front seat belts.
In the 2012 Acura RL review the experts from autos.aol.com conclude:
The Acura RL is a satisfying luxury sedan with a supple ride and ample power. Its cabin is comfortable and friendly and it offers seriously high tech features, making the RL one of the best buys in the class.
New in 2011, the GMC Terrain comes back for the 2012 model year with minor changes, especially in the infotainment system. For 2012, the GMC Terrain gets standard touchscreen audio interface that can be paired through Bluetooth audio streaming to internet-based services, and standard rearview camera display. Other significant change is new E85 flex-fuel capability for its 2.4-liter engine.
The 2012 GMC Terrain is a five-passenger crossover SUV available in SLE and SLT trim levels with two different model for each trim level and MSRP from $25,560 to $ 31,260. Standard equipment on the SLE-1 model includes 17-inch alloy wheels, tinted windows, foglights, heated mirrors, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a touchscreen interface, a CD player, satellite radio, auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB interface. The SLE-2 adds roof rails, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, automatic climate control and a premium eight-speaker Pioneer audio system. The available Convenience package adds heated front seats and remote ignition.
The 2012 GMC Terrain SLT-1 adds to the SLE2 with Convenience package an perforate leather upholstery. The SLT-2 adds 18-inch chrome-clad wheels, rear parking sensors, a power liftgate, chrome exterior trim and a sunroof.
2012 GMC Terrain is offered in front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models. All models include four-wheel disc brakes with StabiliTrak electronic stability control and traction control as well as six standard airbags: dual frontal airbags, head curtain side airbags and pelvic/thorax seat-mounted side airbags.
The 2012 GMC Terrain provides 31.6 cubic feet of cargospace with all seats in use and 63.9 cubic feet with the second row folded down. The Terrain’s rear seats are roomy, which is a rare find within the compact SUV class. Thanks to the Terrain’s sliding rear seats, passengers can adjust the rear seats for more leg space.
The 2012 GMC Terrain features a choice of two engines: a 2.4-liter four-cylinder or a 3.0-liter V-6. Both engines feature fuel-saving direct-injection and continuously variable valve timing technology. Standard 2.4-liter Ecotec engine delivers 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. EPA estimated fuel economy for 2012 Terrain with 2.4-liter engine stands at 22 mpg city/ 32 mpg highway with front-wheel drive and 20 mpg city/ 23 mpg highway with all-wheel drive. The 3.0-liter V6 engine is rated at 264 hp and 222 lb-ft of torque with EPA estimated fuel economy of 17 mpg city/ 25 mpg highway with FWD and 17 mpg city/ 20 mpg highway with AWD.
Standard transmission of 2012 GMC Terrain is an efficient six-speed automatic with “Eco” mode.
The experts of autos.aol.com website say about 2012 GMC Terrain:
The GMC Terrain is a generously sized compact (or small midsize) crossover SUV best suited to young families. It’s well designed and executed, with state of the art powertrains, features and safety systems.
The 2012 Ford Expedition is a truck-based (F150), full-size SUV that can carry up to eight people. It competes with GMC Acadia, Dodge Durango, Chevrolet Tahoe and Toyota Sequoia. The 2012 Ford Expedition is one of the most spacious vehicle on sale in U.S., even bigger when you decide on the EL version. The 2012 Expedition continues to carry the traditional SUV flag in a market place that’s being flooded with more and more car-based crossovers.
The 2012 Ford Expedition (MSRP range $38,355 – $50,425) is a full-size body-on-frame SUV available in two body lengths: regular and the EL, which adds 15 inches of overall length. Each is offered in four trim levels: base XL, midrange XLT, upscale Limited and top-of-the line King Ranch. Every Ford Expedition comes with standard seating for eight, except the regular length XL which comes standard with five.
The 2012 Expedition base XL comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels (18-inch on the EL), foglamps, a roof rack, automatic headlights, keyless entry, heated mirror, air-conditioning, cruise control, cloth upholstery, a six-way power driver seat, a 40/20/40-split second row seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player with rear audio controls. Upgrading to the XLT adds 18-inch alloy wheels to the regular body style, rear parking sensor, a trip computer, power-adjustable pedals, the voice-operated Sync system and an upgrade sound system with steering-wheel mounted controls. The Sport Appearance package adds to the XLT a body-colored grille and black interior trim.
The Limited trim level of 2012 Ford Expedition packs on 20-inch alloy wheels; front parking sensors; driver-side auto-dimming mirror; power-folding mirrors; a power liftgate; a rearview camera; dual-zone automatic climate control; leather upholstery; automatic wippers ; a premium sound-system with subwoofer. The King Ranch edition of Expedition sports features similar to the Limited while adding 20-inch painted alloy wheels, upgraded headlamps, upgraded leather upholstery and wood trim. Many amenities found on upper trim levels can be had as options on the less expensive models.
The 2012 Ford Expedition features an independent multilink rear suspension, which allows each rear wheel to react independently to road impacts to provide a smooth, controlled ride. Expedition also offers an available power liftgate. A push of the button on the key fob or inside the cabin conveniently opens or closes the liftgate, allowing easy loading and unloading. Cargo storage options for 2012 Expedition are enhanced by the clever solution enabled by the second- and third-row seats. The second-row seats are 40/20/40 split bench with standard CenterSlide feature that allows the center section to be moved forward almost 11 inches for easier access from the front-row seats. Third-row seats have an available PowerFold 60/40 split bench by which one or both seatbacks can be lowered flat to the floor with the touch of a button.
Regular-wheelbase models of the 2012 Ford Expedition offer 18.6 cubic feet behind the third row of seats and maximum of 108.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the first row. Extended-wheelbase EL trims offer 42.6 cubic feet of space behind the third row of seats and a maximum 130.8 cubic feet behind the first row.
The standard powertrain for the 2012 Ford Expedition is a 5.4-liter V8 engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The 5.4-liter V8 engine delivers 310 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque and it is flex-fuel capable, meaning the engine can run on unleaded gasoline E85 ( up to 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline) or any mix of the two. With a wider gear ratio, Expedition’s six-speed automatic transmission has smaller steps between gears than a typical four-speed automatic, giving the customer improved shift quality, faster acceleration and improved fuel economy.
Standard safety features of 2012 Expedition include front-seat side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags, electronic stability system with anti-rollover technology and four-wheel-disc antilock brakes. A trailer-sway control feature is standard and works in conjuction with the electronic stability system to detect trailer movement and appli braking, as well as reduce engine torque to keep the vehicle in control.
Among full-size sport-utilities, the Ford Expedition stands apart with its superior driving comfort and utility package. Ford is right on target with its family adventure concept, and the Ford Expedition is one of the best vehicles for family vacation travel on the American road. It makes an excellent tow vehicle, smooth and stable, with tow capacities in the 9,000-pound range.
says autos.aol.com website about 2012 Ford Expedition.
The 2012 Toyota Matrix is a compact hatchback that can carry up to five people and plenty of cargo. The 2012 Matrix competes with Kia Forte, Mazda3 and Honda Fit. The versatile and sporty Toyota Matrix, wich received a significant refresh for 2011, moves into 2012 continuing with two model grades and two powertrain offerings and available all-wheel drive.
The 2012 Toyota Matrix is available in L (MSRP from $ 18,845) and S ( starting at $ 19,565 MSRP) trim levels. The 2012 Matrix L comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, full power accesories and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and auxiliary audio jack. The Matrix S adds foglamps, a fold-flat passenger seat, a six-speaker sound system and a 115-volt power outlet.
The second-generation Toyota Matrix displays sport-coupe-inspired styling cues while maintaining impressive interior utility. The result is a sporty, dynamic shape that provides a quiet interior for five people to ride in comfort. Cockpit styling in the Matrix is anchored by a driver-oriented instrument panel and console controls. The Optitron instrument-panel gauges feature bright white lighting and new silver ornamentation, with a large round speedometer mounted in the center and a tachometer to its left.
A choice between two interior color schemes includes dark charcoal or a combination of dark charcoal and ash gray, and a three-spoke steering wheel adds a sporty touch. 2012 Matrix S comes with a leather-trimmed steering wheel that includes spoke-mounted audio controls and hands-free Bluetooth capability. Multiple storage spaces are located throughout the interior, including front and rear door pockets that each holds a 20-ounce plastic bottle.
Available options on the 2012 Matrix grade include a base Sport Package with front and rear underbody spoilers and 17-inch alloy wheels. The Sport Package for Matrix S adds color keyed rear spoiler and a unique S badge. The Premium Package offers a power tilt/slide moonroof, an audio system with six speakers, MP3 playback capability, USB port with iPod connectivity and hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth technology.
Powertrain choices of 2012 Toyota Matrix include 1.8-liter and 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines, a five speed manual transmission, and either four- or five-speed automatic transmissions. The all-wheel-drive ( AWD ) 2012 Matrix S is equipped with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and the ECT four-speed automatic transmission.
The 2012 Toyota Matrix L is powered by 1.8-liter DOHC engine which produces 132 hp at 6,000 rpm and 128 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) controls valve timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts to help optimize performance and economy. The 2012 Matrix L has earned an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 26 mpg city and 32 mpg highway with the manual transmission and 25 mpg city/ 32 mpg highway with automatic transmission.
The 2012 Toyota Matrix S exclusively features a 2.4-liter engine that produces 158 hp at 6000 rpm and 162 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. The Matrix S with five-speed manual transmission achieves an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. With the five-speed automatic transmission it earns 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. The 2012 Toyota Matrix S AWD is rated by the EPA at 20 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.
The 2012 Toyota Matrix continues to feature the standard Toyota Star Safety System which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), ABS, Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. All Matrix models are equipped with six standard airbags, including advanced front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, and front-and-rear side-curtain airbags.
The edmunds.com website says about 2012 Toyota Matrix:
For about a decade, the Matrix has been a convincingly sporty, reasonably fuel-efficient four-door hatchback with the promise of Toyota reliability.
The Volkswagen Cross Coupe concept debuted in Tokyo last December and it is back to the 2012 Gneva Motor Show with an innovative diesel hybrid drivetrain under the hood. Like the original version unveiled in Japan, this one pairs its internal combustion engine with an electric motor and uses this combination to drive the front axle, while a second electric motor is used to power the rear axle.
This new hybrid system, mates a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder common-rail diesel engine with a pair of electric motors. The diesel engine offers 187 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque. The electric motors are driven by a 9.8 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and produce 54 hp for front wheels and 114 hp for rear wheels. With a combined system output of 302 hp and up to 516 lb-ft of torque, the Volkswagen Cross Coupe claim a mileage from 131 mpg (800 miles in hybrid mode with its 14.5-gallon fuel tank).