By Darlene Donloe
It’s time to get serious about the car you drive. There are lots of vehicles from which to pick. Here are some stellar choices.
2012 VW BEETLE TURBO
THE CAR: 2012 BEETLE TURBO
This is not your momma’s Beetle. This is a Beetle Turbo, baby and it has the 200 horsepower to prove it. For a small vehicle, it’s big on looks, power and prestige. It goes from 0 to 60 in 6.3 seconds. The interior is spacious and the ride is smooth and comfy. The steering is A-OK and the hatchback is practical. Everyone loves the Beetle. It’s legendary.
VEHICLE AT A GLANCE: 2.0L turbocharged, 200 horsepower, 207 lbs-ft. torque in line, 4 cylinder direct injection engine, six-speed dual-clutch automatic, electro-mechanical power steering, independent front and rear suspension,, electronic stability control, anti-slip regulation, 18” alloy wheels and more.
FUEL ECONOMY: 22/30
THE DRIVE: Turbo-licious!
2012 NISSAN PATHFINDER
THE CAR: 2012 NISSAN PATHFINDER
I like this car! This car is fun and it’s easy to drive. But, in reality, I can also say – this truck is fun and it’s easy to drive. Take your pick. It’s roomy, it’s cool looking, it’s efficient, it’s sturdy and it’s still trendy! Ok, to be honest, the Pathfinder hasn’t changed in a while. It’s skews toward a more mature audience. Can you say family vehicle? But the ride is still smooth enough and it’s well-balanced.
VEHICLE AT A GLANCE: Standard engine – 266-horsepower, 4.0-liter V-6. There is an optional 310-hp, 5.6-liter V-8. A flat-fold passenger seat in front, a 40/20/40-split second row, and a 50/50-split third row—with the third row only good for kids. Multi-function display, power driver's seat, power-adjustable pedals, upgraded seat fabric, illuminated steering-wheel audio controls, rear climate control, fog lamps, running boards, a garage-door opener, and a rear-view monitor. The Silver Edition adds Bluetooth, heated seats, leather upholstery, power-adjustable pedals, and more. Depending on the model: Intelligent Key, XM Satellite Radio, and upgraded Bose audio with ten speakers, a heated steering wheel, leather seats, and wood trim on the top LE. For 2012, the LE includes navigation, and the Silver Edition can be optioned with a moonroof and DVD player.
FUEL ECONOMY: 2WD-4WD - 13-15/18-22
THE DRIVE: Cool!
2012 QUEST 3.5 LE
THE CAR: 2012 QUEST 3.5 LE
Yes, it’s a minivan. It’s big, it’s bold and it’s confident! Teens and young adults might not have it on the top of their lists, but it’s a great vehicle for families. It seats up to seven. It’s not only spacious, it has some power under its hood.
When it comes to safety, features include antilock disc brakes with stability control, traction control, brake assist, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front-seat active head restraints.
Dash controls are within a reasonable reach for driver. Power is right, steering is good, turns are tight. It does well with bumps in the road, thanks to the suspension.
VEHICLE AT A GLANCE: 3.5 liter DOHC 24-VALVE 6-Cylinder, 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft. torque, 4-wheel vented disc brakes, Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), 18” alloy wheels, 8-way power driver’s seat with memory function, 4-way power front passenger’s seat, and heated front seats.
FUEL ECONOMY: 19/24
THE DRIVE: SOLID!
2012 PASSAT SE
THE CAR: 2012 PASSAT SE
Make no mistake about it, you will like this car. Why? For the money, it rocks! Volkswagen also wants you to like this car. This is a solid, practical car with several engine choices including: a 3.6-liter V6 and a 2.0-liter turbo diesel four . It looks good, it’s comfortable, it handles well and has nice, wide leather seats and adequate interior space. The dash is cool. You don’t have to guess what a thousand buttons are for Thank you for that, Volkswagen!!! There is lots of legroom in the rear and a big trunk
VEHICLE AT A GLANCE: 2.5 L, 170 horsepower, 177 lbs. ft. torque, in line five cylinder engine, partial zero emission vehicle, hydraulic power steering, electronic stability control, anti slip regulation, 17”alloy wheels, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity, anti-lock braking system.
FUEL ECONOMY: 22/31
THE DRIVE: Whoo Hoo!
THE CAR: 2012 TIGUAN
The Tiguan, available in the S, SE and SEL levels, is practical for a single person or a small family. Technically, it’s not a sporty car, but it’s sleek chrome grille and other chrome accents give it some sporty overtones. Space is not an issue and there is plenty of storage in the front of the cabin. Some cars are a bear when it comes to connecting the Bluetooth, but not this car. I was able to pair my phone quite easily. The only downside is that occasionally, during acceleration, the car seems a bit sluggish. However, after a minute or so, the speed kicks in.
VEHICLE AT A GLANCE: Features include: redesigned exterior, roof rails, Bi-Xenon headlights with LED, daytime running lights and AFS, panoramic sunroof and keyless access with push-button start, power tilting/sliding panoramic sunroof, RNS 315 navigation system with touchscreen, SIRIUS satellite radio, 8" alloy wheels, 3-spoke, leather-wrapped, multi-function steering wheel, height-adjustable, with telescopic steering column, Chrome application to exterior side window frames and doors, silver roof rails
FUEL ECONOMY: 22/27
THE DRIVE: Me likey!