Hyundai Genesis 2016

Hyundai Genesis

Hyundai Genesis 2016

Striking the right balance of design, luxury, and performance, the Genesis represents a lot of car for the money. Under the hood is a 311-hp V-6 with rear-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is optional. If you want more performance, a 420-hp V-8 with rear-drive is available; an eight-speed automatic is standard on all. Blue Link works with smartwatches and phones for remote start and other functions. With supportive seats and a handsome interior, the Genesis is worth a look.

In the early 1980s, the band Genesis pulled off one of the most difficult feats in show business: turning a critically revered nerd-rock outfit with lukewarm U.S. sales into a multi-platinum-selling household name. By the end of the decade, the band’s place in pop culture was secured. In the automotive realm, Hyundai built its domestic following on the back of economical transportation devices—minus the critical acclaim—and is now hoping its excellent Genesis sedan will find a ubiquitous place in the consciousness of luxury-sedan buyers.

The results are tangible: Broken and pitted pavement that caused the previous car to go weak in the knees is handled adroitly, the independent front and rear suspension soaking up bumps and keeping even harsh impacts well isolated. The steering is nicely matched to this sedan’s luxury mission. Weighty, direct at 2.5 turns lock-to-lock, and devoid of twitchiness, it offers linear response and decent on-center feel. It does, however, lack the feedback we’d prefer in spirited maneuvering.

Ford Mustang Shelby

ford mustang shelby

Ford Mustang Shelby

Ford’s newest pony car on steroids, the Shelby GT350, is more than just a quarter-mile monster. Yes, the 5.2-liter V-8 can hustle it down the straight at a brain-melting pace. It’s not the 526 hp, the 429 lb-ft of torque, or the 4.3-second zero-to-60-mph run that has us drooling; it’s that Ford has finally built a muscle car that can hold its own through corners. True speed freaks can opt for the GT350R, which loses the rear seat, adds carbon fiber, and cuts 0.4 second off the zero-to-60 time.

Mustang lovers got sweaty, but as usual, the rest of the auto world just shrugged and moved on with evolution.

Ford says it’s different this time. It says thenew Shelby G350,  is a light-year leap in sophistication and handling. It says the flat-plane-crank V-8 delivers 8000 revelations per minute, that the magnetic suspension and custom, cross-drilled brake system and Michelin superstick tires prove that the company is serious about achieving world-class handling.

Well, Ford says a lot of things.

With the six-speed slotted into gear and the surprisingly light clutch lifted, the GT350 leapt onto the asphalt of Monterey’s Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. First corner and first impressions: tight, tied-down, stable, maybe a little bit of push but, hey, the car’s cold and a bit heavy. Wind it out—wait, where’s the redline? Nowhere. It doesn’t exist! The sucker just keeps straining, keeps revving, keeps swelling with a glorious brassy, unmuffled, rhapsodic roar.

The anticipated upshift was forgotten as another corner approached.

The brakes—oof, such brakes!—chomp down, but the nose doesn’t dive. The car isn’t crossed up or squirming, it’s flat and stable and ready to turn right now! Less understeer this time, a perfect arc scribed from the white line to apex to white line. And it’s on the gas again, the sound flooding back—that addictive, dazzling, erotic exhale of lyric fire.

Yes. Yes, indeed. Ford is serious.

Ford F150 2016

Ford F150 2016

Ford F150

Ford positioning its puny 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 atop the F-series lineup caused more than a few observers to choke on their chew. To see how the power structure shakes out, we lined up two nearly identical F-150s: one with the 5.0-liter V-8, one with the 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6. Both are four-wheel-drive crew cabs with 5.5-foot beds. They pack the same six-speed automatic and 3.55:1 final-drive ratio. Aside from the turbocharged truck’s option to display a digital boost gauge, the interiors are indistinguishable. Even the paints are similar shades, just in case UV saturation affects weight. The EcoBoost F-150 did, however, come in 213 pounds heavier, in part due to its dual-pane sunroof and the FX4 package’s skidplates.

 The powertrains are closely matched. The 5.0-liter makes 385 horsepower at 5750 rpm; the EcoBoost, 365 at 5000. But the V-6 has a big lead in torque, 420 pound-feet to 387, and it peaks 1350 revs lower than the V-8, at 2500 rpm. We took our pair to the test track and, after the regular procedure was complete, hooked a pair of identically loaded 6400-pound trailers to the hitches for extra acceleration and fuel-economy tests. And with that, deciding a finishing order got a little complicated.

Unladen, the 5.0 trails the EcoBoost to 60 mph by a half-second, taking 6.3 seconds versus 5.8. With trailers in tow, that gap grows to nearly two full seconds. From behind the wheel, the difference is astounding. Not that this should come as a surprise: Ford rates the EcoBoost’s towing capacity higher than the V-8’s, and our four-wheel-drive V-6 is rated to pull 11,500 pounds to the V-8’s 9000. (We chose less than the maximum load to represent what these trucks are more likely to encounter in everyday use.)

Still, such a significant load shines an unforgiving light on power­train weaknesses. Laden, the V-8 needs a lot more pedal travel and a lot more revs than the EcoBoost does. From cruising speed, if you roll into the V-8’s throttle, you just keep on rolling in deeper and deeper until the throttle is wide open, waiting for a few more mph. With more than three tons out back, even moderate acceleration calls for full throttle or nothing. Under partial throttle, the turbocharged six gets things done that the V-8 can’t.

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

chevrolet corvette z06

Chevrolet Corvette z06

Think of the Corvette Z06 as the most amazing version of a sports car that is already amazing by anyone’s measure. Sold as either a coupe or convertible, the most important feature is its supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 that makes 650 hp and 650 lb-ft. A seven-speed manual is on hand for shifting duties, and an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is now available. The Z07 Performance package adds carbon-ceramic brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport Cups, and adjustable aero bits.

The Z06 is a formidable beast no matter which form it takes, as there’s essentially no fall-off in performance from coupe to convertible. Chopping the roof from the Z06 results in no palpable difference in rigidity—there’s next to no shake in the cowl or the windshield header—and the weight penalty is less than 90 pounds. Yet perhaps the biggest benefit to the convertible is that it allows pure, unfiltered access to an exhaust note that sounds like a Napalm Death concert being held inside a howitzer.

Punch the throttle and your first thought is something like, “Great holy [CENSORED] balls of [CENSORED], this thing is brutal.” The 650-hp, 650-lb-ft supercharged V-8 slingshots the Z06 to 60 mph from a rest in 3.3 seconds. The car reaches 150 mph in 17.7 seconds. It scorches a quarter-mile run in 11.4 seconds at 127 mph. These figures are essentially identical to those we’ve gathered from manual-transmission Z06 coupes.

Chevrolet Colorado 2016

chevrolet-colorado

Chevrolet Colorado

The quiet, clever, and capable Colorado offers nearly as much utility as full-size pickups—minus the lane-hogging size. A 2.5-liter four with 191 lb-ft of torque is standard; optional are a 3.6-liter V-6 (269 lb-ft) and a 2.8-liter turbo-diesel four (369 lb-ft), which has a maximum towing capacity of 7700 lb. Other choices are extended or crew cab body styles, two bed lengths, and rear- or four-wheel drive. A six-speed manual is available on base models, while others get a six-speed automatic. Colorado offers three ideal engine options to help you get back and forth from the city to the countryside. First up is the 2.5L I-4. Ingeniously designed, this gas engine offers three of the best numbers for midsize trucks. This includes Best-In-Class 4-cylinder gas horsepower, torque and fuel economy with 20 MPG in the city and 27 on the highway.Or if you need pulling power, upgrade to the 3.6L V6 that offers a Best-In-Class 7,000 lbs. towing.2 And if you are looking for the best of both worlds, you’re going to want to try the Duramax® 2.8L turbo-diesel.

Aside from performance, Colorado is the first midsize truck to offer 4G LTE Wi-Fi®3 making it ideal for city driving and weekend adventures. It also offers support for Apple CarPlayTM4, so you and your passengers can play music and hear texts through the speakers.

Not only is the Colorado innovative, it exceeds expectations in safety. The rear vision camera comes standard. And available Forward Collision Alert5 and Lane Departure Warning5 can help prevent collisions before they happen. All in all, you know you want a truck. This one.