10. Chrysler 200 – Extreme Makeover, Automotive Edition
Base price range: $22,695-$31,420
Radically redesigned for 2015 with an amalgam of U.S. and European engineering and design, what was until recently the poster child for automotive mediocrity has suddenly become a worthy contender among midsize sedans. Looking and feeling richer than its competitive price would suggest, the recast 200 is expressively styled, with a roomy and cleverly cast cabin. And it’s available with all-wheel drive for added foul-weather prowess. Standard is a reasonably efficient 173-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder from Chrysler’s parent-company, Fiat. Pay a little more and you get Chrysler’s familiar “Pentastar” 3.6-liter V-6. It puts a smoother, quicker 295 horsepower to the pavement and is mandatory if you want all-wheel drive. Both engines link to a nine-speed automatic transmission operated via rotary dial on the console instead of a conventional shift lever to help free up real estate for other controls. The 200’s European-infused driving dynamics deliver well-balanced ride and handling. A selectable “sport” mode enlivens it a notch. An impressive assortment of high-tech safety and convenience is also features.
Ouch! The average transaction price for a new vehicle is around $30,000. That forces lots of us to shop small and cheap. Fortunately, we’ve found an amenable assortment of 11 cars from the 2015 model year that look and feel far richer than their affordable sticker prices suggest. Ride in style by choosing one of these classy cars, presented alphabetically, that start around $25,000 or less. (Base prices include the manufacturer’s destination charges, which average around $900).
11. Buick Verano – Small but Stately
Base price range: $24,305-$30,140
Arguably the most luxurious way to downsize, the compact Verano sedan is styled like a far costlier European import. Flowing curves front to rear accentuate a bold front-end treatment and tasteful chrome trim. Occupants are treated to a plush and incredibly quiet interior that’s tastefully designed and features a touchscreen-based multimedia control system that’s surprisingly easy to master. Engine choices are a 180-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder or a 250-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four,. The turbo gives this small car quick, V-6-like acceleration. A six-speed manual transmission is available for enthusiasts but most buyers choose the smooth-shifting six-speed automatic. The Verano is tuned for a smoother ride than most small luxury sedans, though it still holds its own though the corners. Ten airbags and a long list of upscale features are standard. Optional amenities include a heated steering wheel and forward-collision-alert and lane-departure-warning safety systems.
2015 Jaguar XE Revealed at Paris Auto Show
Jaguar Land Rover unveiled their new Land Rover Discovery Sport and the Jaguar XE models at the Paris Auto Show today. The Jaguar XE will feature a new, high tech Ingenium engine, which has ultra low emissions, four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines from the Engine Manufacturing Center. Phil Popham, Group Marketing Director, stated “Both the Discovery Sport and XE are exciting developments for Jaguar Land Rover that demonstrate our commitment to continued investment in new models and innovation.” Land Rover Discovery Sport will be the first vehicle in the new Discovery category of vehicles. Jaguar Land Rover plans to roll out 50 new products or updates within this family over the next five years. Not only did Jaguar Land Rover debut their two new car models, but they also debuted their new luxury goods. Jaguar will release a Jaguar Heritage ’57 collection, which is inspired by their 60th anniversary coming up. The collection will feature goods such as a Jaguar Heritage Leather Jacket and Leather Race Holdall. Land Rover will partner with Barbour to launch a clothing collaboration that will be available for Winter 2014.