The Spokesman-Review

Making Their Debuts

Meet the freshman class of cars and trucks that are newly arriving for the 2014 model year

“New” is a major selling point in the automotive business, as never-before-seen cars lure buyers into dealerships, especially those that want to be the first in their subdivision to drive the latest model. Here’s a quick look at 10 all-new cars and crossovers that are sure to turn heads and generate the most buzz for 2014:

• Acura RLX. Acura’s new flagship sedan remains conservatively styled, but offers a roomier interior and more-sophisticated technology than the RL it replaces. The base version features a 3.5-liter 310-horsepower V6 engine, with the all-wheel drive alternative packing a 370-horsepower V6. Its standard Performance All-Wheel Steering system adjusts the angle of the rear wheels slightly through the curves to quicken the car’s handling.

• BMW 4 Series. The BMW 3 Series coupes and convertibles are redesigned and reclassified for 2014 as 4 Series models, offering a choice of a 240 horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine or a faster 300-horsepower 3.0-liter turbo-six. Myriad high-tech features include adaptive cruise control that works in stop and go traffic and a collision warning system that can warn of a potential encounter with a pedestrian.

• Cadillac ELR. The midsize ELR coupe is essentially a luxury-minded two-door version of the Chevrolet Volt “extended range” electric car, with distinctive styling inside and out. It can run exclusively on battery power for about 35 miles on a charge, after which a small gasoline engine engages to run a generator that, in turn, powers the motor for virtually unlimited range.

• Chevrolet SS. The new top sedan at Chevy is a sporty, aggressively styled rear-drive model that comes via General Motors’ Holden subsidiary in Australia. It packs a punch with the 2013 Corvette’s 6.2-liter 415-horsepower V8 engine, and can sprint from 0-60 mph in around five seconds. A long list of features includes an Automatic Parking Assist function that can steer the car into a parallel or diagonal parking space.

• Fiat 500L. This is a larger and more practical four-door hatchback alternative to the Italian automaker’s perky two-door 500 subcompact that features unique exterior styling and a five-passenger cabin. A 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine generates 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque to deliver lively acceleration.

• Jaguar F-Type. Coming wrapped in curvaceous styling, this new low-slung rear-drive roadster packs a lively 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine that generates either 340 or 380 horsepower, depending on the version. A 5.0-liter 495-horsepower supercharged V8 is also available and enables the F-Type to hit 60 mph in about four seconds.

• Jeep Cherokee. This new midsize SUV sports a classic nameplate and features a dramatically sculpted exterior. Both the standard 184 horsepower four-cylinder engine and optional 271-horsepower V6 come mated to an advanced nine-speed automatic transmission. Jeep’s Selec-Terrain traction control system and either of three available four-wheel-drive systems promise exceptional off-road abilities.

• Kia Cadenza. Kia takes a step into luxury-car territory with this new large sedan, which shares components with the Hyundai Azera. Featuring a posh and elegantly styled interior, it’s enabled by a 3.3-liter direct-injected 293-horsepower V6 engine. Top-shelf options include a power retractable rear sunshade and a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel.

• Mercedes-Benz CLA. This is the German automaker’s first-ever front-drive compact luxury sedan. It may be small, but it neither scrimps on performance nor luxury. Featuring so-called “four-door coupe” styling, a 208-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine is standard, with a hand-built 355-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four highlighting the high-performance CLA45 AMG variant.

• Infiniti Q50. Replacing the former G37, this crisply cast midsize luxury sedan comes in both V6-powered gasoline and fuel-saving gas/electric hybrid versions. Its leading-edge amenities include an Active Lane Control system that automatically keeps the car centered between highway lane markers.

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