New car, SUV, crossover and truck models reviewed by the Chicago Tribune's Jim Mateja. Auto review archive
The 2009 Chicago Auto Show featured a Transit Connect outfitted with kayaks and camping gear. Small-business owners tricked out other models to haul guide dogs, cleaning crews, first-aid training gear and home child-proofing supplies.
In the battle of the boxes, Cube challenges the Scion xB. The Cube's power comes from a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder mated to a six-speed manual. More than 40 accessories, including shag carpet for the dash top, allow customization.
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2009 BMW 335d
Engine: 3-liter, 265-h.p., twin-turbo inline 6; 6-speed automatic
M.P.G.: 23 city/36 highway
Base price: $43,900
The newest member of the performing family takes only 6 seconds to reach 60 m.p.h. The "d," for diesel, also makes the 335d the most fuel-efficient car in BMW's lineup. It's also quick and nimble with no diesel clatter or stench. An $1,800 federal tax credit helps too.
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January 5, 2011
Bigger and better with real-time traffic and weather reports that put the regular and "super-handling all-wheel-drive" versions to better use.
2009 Toyota Corolla
Engine: 1.8-liter, 132-h.p. 4-cylinder
M.P.G.: 27 city/35 highway
Base price: $15,350
This old fogey has survived more than 40 years since its 1968 U.S. debut in an industry not known for longevity. Corolla is still an econocar, but one that has grown from subcompact to compact dimension. For 2009 it swells by 2.4 inches in width, a reaction to larger hips, not bigger briefcases. Four-wheel ABS is standard in all models.
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2009 Acura TL SH-AWD
Engine: 3.7-liter, 305-h.p. V-6; 5-speed automatic
M.P.G.: 17 city/25 highway
Base price: $38,505
Honda's luxury division added the midsize TL SH-AWD sedan -- SH for "super handling," hint, hint. Whether negotiating twisties or snow- or rain-soaked roads, the car goes and stays where pointed without nose traveling one way, tail another. If only heated and cooled seats were available.
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8:15 PM EDT, March 17, 2014
2009 Ford Flex
Engine: 3.5-liter, 24-valve, 260-h.p. V-6; 6-speed automatic
M.P.G.: 17 city/24 highway (FWD), 16/22 (AWD)
Base price: $28,895 (AWD adds about $1,800)
The crossover Flex, with three rows of seats and FWD or AWD, is long and low, so parking is no
chore ane neither is garaging. The stance means you don't wobble in corners like some SUVs with a high center of gravity.
An optional fridge between second-row seats will cool seven 12-ounce cans.
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2009 Honda Fit
Engine: 1.5-liter, 117-h.p. 4-cylinder
M.P.G.: 28 city/35 highway
Base price: $14,750
Redesigned Fit now has a sportier look, with its wheelbase stretched by 2 inches and overall length by 4 inches for more people and cargo space. Second-row leg and head room especially ample, cargo space behind the rear seat good, and rear seatbacks fold flat to hold more cargo.
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2009 Hyundai Genesis
Engine: 3.8-liter, 290-h.p. V-6; 4.6-liter, 375 h.p. V-8
M.P.G.: 18 city/27 highway; 17/25
Base price: $33,000; $38,000
Genesis gives Hyundai a grown-up sedan, to be joined by a coupe for 2010. RWD with stability and traction control. V-6 and V-8 are smooth and quiet, but the V-8 takes off like Road Runner, with "beep-beep" zero-to-60 m.p.h. acceleration in 5.7 seconds versus 6.2 with the V-6. Ride is luxury smooth. Holds tight in corners. Steering response is speed sensitive to sharpen handling.
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