In addition to the new look and an upgraded interior with more soft-touch materials and chrome accents, the Forte has a new chassis. Standard is a 148-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder. Option: 173-hp 2.0-liter.
After pledging to continue its pattern of value pricing, the South Korean maker ticked off new features to be available on the Forte, which will come in LX and EX trim levels.
An optional Eco package includes ignition start-stop that shuts off the engine at long lights. And the power steering, now electric, will have an optional system that lets the driver choose "comfort," "normal" or "sport" steering response. Also available: heated front and rear seats, with cooling also for the power driver's seat, and heated steering wheel.
Fiat 500L sports a hatchback
Watch out, Mini: Here comes the hatchback version of the Fiat 500.
Basically, the 500L, introduced here, is the familiar Italian-inspired minicar with a squared-off back. Toyota took a similar approach with its Prius in making the Prius V. In Fiat's case, the 500L is sized just about right to take on the popular Mini fun cars.
Fiat even refers to its "small-wide" architecture. The 500L is 26 inches longer than a Mini but 6 inches wider and higher. And the 500L adds up to 42% more interior space than the 500. It's all about keeping customers as they get older and families grow.
"The all-new Fiat 500L will keep our customers within the brand as their lifestyle needs expand," said Tim Kuniskis, head of Fiat Brand North America. "Those who love the style and performance that only the Italians can create, can now enjoy space for five, functionality, practicality and value."
The hatchback is powered by Fiat's 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine designed to provide 160 horsepower. It will come with either a manual or automatic six-speed transmission.
New Beetle ragtop
Volkswagen unveiled the Beetle convertible in a trio of unique "launch" colors that will go out of production once 1,000 of the special-edition models are produced.
The regular but brand new version of the Beetle ragtop hits showrooms in December, starting at $25,790. No limit on making that one.
The convertible styling differs slightly from the hardtop Beetle, and the folding-top car sits slightly lower. The top can be operated while the car is moving up to 30 mph. Many convertibles lock out top movement if the car's underway.
The top drops in 9.5 seconds and goes up in 11 seconds, VW says. Those times are about half what it often takes on other folding-top cars.
The three special-edition versions all have standard leather interiors rather than the normal VW leatherette (fancy vinyl). The trio and the eras they are meant to represent:
1950s. Black, tan interior, wheels with large chrome centers, 2.5-liter five-cylinder gasoline engine rated 170 horsepower, 177 pounds-feet of torque.
1960s. Denim blue, two-tone seats, 2-liter turbo four rated 200 hp and 207 lbs.-ft.
1970s. Toffee brown, a color not otherwise available on the Beetle droptop, and 2-liter engine.
If you want to make a grand entrance, Land Rover and Jaguar decided, there is no better way than to try to upstage Moses, er, Charlton Heston, when he parted the Red Sea.
The new Range Rover SUV and Jaguar F-Type made spectacular debuts on the Paramount Studios movie lot.
The two British brands, owned by India's Tata Motors, once again created a lake by flooding a famous parking lot. It's there that Heston, as Moses, performed a miracle for The Ten Commandments and Jim Carrey tried to escape a cloistered life by boat in The Truman Show. The backdrop was a movie screen flashing images of the vehicles in action and Great Britain's fluttering Union Jack.
The scene gave Land Rover a chance to send the Range Rover splashing through tire-high water to get to the review stand. The Jaguar made an equally grand entrance through billowing fog, while a throng that included a few celebs and British rockers sipped Pimm's Cups and other thoroughly English cocktails.
The Range Rover sports cleaner lines and a simplified cockpit in which the glove box and other storage is virtually invisible. The rear bench seats now have power recline with massage. And a new system senses the terrain and adjusts the suspension and traction accordingly.
The Jaguar F-Type gets its own makeover. It will come with three supercharged engines, ranging from 340 to 495 horsepower. There's a sport suspension with active damping, assessing body motion and rolls 100 times a second and acting to counteract the effect.
Veloster's colorful wheels
Hyundai has created a hot new version of the sporty Veloster that asks the question we never thought to ask: Why do car's wheels all have to be the same color?
The Veloster C3 Roll Top concept unveiled here takes the three-door coupe to a whole new, and fun, level. The front wheels and back wheels are different colors.
What's more, the roof is a roll top, not unlike the desks of the past century. With the top and tailgate open, there's room for a kayak.
In the concept, a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces 201 horsepower.
(c) Copyright 2012 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
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