The Toyota Avalon earned an overall road test score of 87. Avalon remains of one of CR’s top rated sedans thanks to its quiet, spacious cabin; comfortable ride; strong performance; and good fuel economy. Tranquil motoring helps the Toyota Avalon pass for a luxury car that costs twice as much money. The Toyota Avalon XLS as tested (with a suggested retail price of $34,974) is powered by a 265-hp 3.5 liter 6-cylinder engine that provides smooth and strong performance while maintaining a 24mpg in CR’s own fuel economy tests.
Toyota America reported an 11.5 percent increase last month in sales up from last November with a total of 133,700 units being sold.
Hyundai received notification from the 2009 annual Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAF‰), that it is the most fuel efficient auto manufacturer in the U.S. Overall fuel economy averages over 30mpg with Hyundai providing 30.1mpg knocking the traditional leaders of Honda, Toyota and Volkswagen out of the top spot.
Mazda eager to join in on the American success of small cars announced that in their 2011 line up they would debut the Mazda 2 that is already doing well in other markets. The Mazda 2 is a genuinely attractive option to the every growing small car segment. Exact details have not been released yet as to the U.S. version will vary from the Japan and Europe options since Mazda is forgoing the 1.3 and 1.5 liter engines.
General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson resigned December 1 effective immediately. The resignation was described as equal between Henderson and the GM board as both decided changes needed to be made. Which comes down to the once GM go to man getting the boot right when GM reported a 2.2 percent decrease in sales the previous month. Chairman Ed Whitacre, will fill the CEO role until a new CEO/President can be found which is anticipated to take months, not weeks.
Chevrolet continues on with the launch next year with the Volt. Chevy plans to release the first 100 copies to the state of California along with rolling out 500 electric-car charging stations throughout the state. OnStar technologies will provide GM performance monitoring to ensure proper mass release here in the states. The Volt will be launched nationwide once GM can partner with other utility companies.
The "New Beetle" will make an appearance in 2011. The current model has been on sale since 1998 with variations in models offered. The new version is expected to keep its cute retro appeal but with an edge to appeal to a broader base. It is not known if it will continue to carry the Beetle name. Further details on the upcoming models are due out over the next couple months.
The Ford Fusion Hybrid finishes out the remainder of 2009 with several honors. Car and Driver named it a "10 Best", Motor Trend "Car of the Year" and the EPA announced it’s the most fuel efficient midsize car with 41 mpg in the city and 36 mpg highway ratings. All conclude why the Fusion is the number one selling domestic car.
Mustang will be pumping up the ponies for 2011 in both the base and GT models. The base muscle car will now come with a 305 horsepower engine. A 45 percent increase over the long used 4.0 liter V6 that only spits out 210-hp. The new 3.7 liter will come equipped with 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions that along with the fuel sipping 2:73 gears will allow this muscle car to earn 19 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. The GT version will bring back the 5.0 status with over 400 horsepower helping to scoot this heavy beast down the road and in better chance of outperforming its competitors. As it stands if the new V6 was released now, there would only be a 10-hp difference between the new 3.7 and the current 4.6 liter used in the GT so this will provide a noticeable difference between the two when they are both released next year.
Audi’s Q7 TDI was awarded the most "Environmentally Progressive Truck of the year" by Earth, Wind and Power. The TDI clean diesel delivers 30 percent better fuel economy and reduces carbon emissions by 20 percent over gasoline. TDI allows you to travel range up to 600 miles with 12 percent more power in each drop of diesel. Audi introduced the Q7 TDI this summer with a public awareness campaign about the positive effects clean diesel can have on America’s dependency on foreign oil. A U.S. EPA study found that if one-third of Americans fueled their vehicles with clean diesel instead of gasoline, the United States could send back 1.5 million barrels of foreign oil per day.
Kelley Blue Book awarded the A5 as 2010 "Best resale value" in both Top 10 and Best Luxury class. These awards recognize projected retained value by 2015 demonstrating the Audi value of their engineering years after the initial sale.
Audi showed record sales for the month of November with 8.5 percent of the imported luxury vehicle sales in the U.S.