This is another journey down the lane of cars that will get your blood pumping in 2013.
Here goes a new list!
2013 Subaru WRX
When: Early 2013
How Much: TBD
Our Guess: $27,000 to $28,000
Recently the blogosphere has been alive with chatter that the next-gen Subaru WRX will get the FA motor developed for the Subaru BRZ, and this is one instance when there’s logic behind the rumor. The FA engine can sit a lot lower in the car because it’s more compact. A lower engine has many advantages, chief among them the ability to shove the mass farther rearward in the car for better balance.
Better still, Subaru engineered the FA for higher compression from the start, so it should tolerate the amount of forced induction required to take it from 200 hp in the BRZ to the expected benchmark of 265 hp. And let’s just say here that we’d bet Subaru designed its latest Impreza chassis with the WRX (not to mention the STi) in mind, and we’d bet the newest WRX will be lighter and more nimble as a result. A bonus: Fuel economy should jump a good 15 percent.
Chevy Corvette C7
When: Fall 2013
How Much: $50,000 and up
We know more about the next Vette than we did just a few months ago. Gone are thoughts of a split rear window, a turbocharged V-6, or a midengine design. It now appears that the C7 will debut at this coming winter’s North American auto show in Detroit with a 5.5-liter V-8 that still uses pushrods. However, thanks to direct injection and higher compression, it’s reasonable to expect the new Corvette to put out 440 hp, so it could match or best the outgoing 6.0-liter.
The car will be visually arresting for certain. Inspiration will come at least in part from the present Camaro. One sure bet—GM will finally, praise heaven, give its $50,000 Ferrari slayer an interior that’s gorgeous, and with seats that hold the driver comfortably on track day.
2014 Jeep Liberty
How Much: TBD
Our Guess: $22,000 to $24,000
Jeep has a real conundrum on its hands. Diehard off-roading loyalists want every Jeep to be capable of conquering mule paths and mud bogs. But the RAV4, CR-V, and Santa Fe buyers that Jeep would like to entice don’t care about rock-crawling prowess. They care about modern amenities such as hitting 70 mph highway speeds with low noise and vibration and little harshness; carlike handling; and reliability. All-wheel drive is fine if it gets you out of the driveway on a snowy morning, but that’s as much Trail Rating as they need.
We think that means Chrysler is going to push back against those sensitive Jeep fans, hard. That translates to a Liberty that is a Jeep in name but carries the same chassis that undergirds the new Dodge Dart. Expect a fully independent suspension and 4WD but no low range, even if hill-descent control is an option. There’s also rumor of an all-new V-6 (the outgoing 3.7-liter V-6 was anemic, unrefined, and thirsty), and a ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic. That would mean a whopping five more forward gears than the outdated four-speed auto in the old Liberty. The base Liberty could have the same 1.4-liter turbo deployed in the new Dart, and, though it is sacrilege to some Jeep fans, front-wheel drive.