Auto Highlights of the Month
By: Jay Chen
2011 Toyota Camry
The 2011 Camry blends performance and economy in an ideal way for midsize car customers. The DOHC 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which was new for the 2010 model year, is standard on all models. This engine equipped with Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (Dual VVT-i) to provide a wide torque band for responsive performance.
The DOHC 3.5-liter V6, available in the LE, SE and XLE grades, delivers a substantial performance boost with 268 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 248 lb.-ft. peak torque at 4,700 rpm. The chain-driven camshafts employ Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (Dual VVT-i) which controls valve timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts for optimal performance and efficiency at all engine speeds.
The Camry models come equipped exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission that offers a sequential mode for manual shifting when desired (all AT models have sequential shift). Intelligent control adapts shifting strategy in response to driver input, with very fast kick-down and noticeable response.
The 2011 Camry offers responsive handling while providing the smooth, quiet ride that sets a benchmark for the segment. Four-wheel independent suspension is via MacPherson struts in front and a dual-link strut rear configuration.
All Camry models are equipped with four-wheel disc brakes. Toyota designed the Camry SE model to spice up the daily commute. Chassis modifications specific to the SE include springs, shock absorbers and bushings with firmer, sportier values than those used in other grades. The Camry SE also has a lower ride height than other Camry models. Other modifications increase the SE’s torsional rigidity, which contributes to the model’s sharper handling response.
The Camry's body structure is designed to absorb collision-impact forces and help minimize impact deformation to the passenger cabin. High-strength steel is used for B-pillar and rocker panel reinforcements to help manage overall body deformation in the event of certain side collisions. The seat frames also are designed to help absorb side collision loads. Dual-stage advanced SRS front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver's knee airbag are standard on all Camry models.
Camry offers many storage spaces around the front-passenger area, including console side pockets. Storage options also include a large front console box equipped with an accessory power socket and auxiliary audio jack; this box is big enough to store nine CD jewel cases. Other storage areas include an accessory box behind the shift lever containing another power socket, a rear-console box with a card holder and a movable tray, and two large cupholders adjacent to the shift lever.
Camry is built on a 109.3 inch wheelbase to provide outstanding interior room: 101.4 cubic feet of passenger space, with 38.3 inches of rear legroom. Distinctive, athletic lines, which were enhanced for the previous model year, set Camry apart in a competitive segment. The XLE grade is equipped with 16-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels.
The Camry's roomy interior shows the attention to detail that has helped this model set such high standards for comfort in the midsize sedan segment. Controls on the two-level dash and console are easy to see and use. Large instrument panel gauges are easy to see at a glance, and the odometer and trip meters are illuminated at all times to improve visibility.
New 2011 Lincoln MKX
The 2011 Lincoln MKX is the newest vehicle in the premium maker's lineup to offer best-in-class horsepower and torque and the best fuel economy of any luxury crossover vehicle on the market.
The 2011 Lincoln MKX received final fuel economy certification this week, achieving 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, with a combined fuel economy of 21 mpg, topping all competitors, including the Lexus RX350, Cadillac SRX and BMW X5, with not only horsepower but now fuel efficiency as well.
The horsepower of the 2011 Lincoln MKX has increased to 305 – a 15 percent increase compared to the outgoing product – while torque has increased 12 percent to 280 lb.-ft.
Lincoln's first-ever hybrid – the 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid – was recently named the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in America, delivering 41 mpg in city driving and 36 mpg on the highway. This tops the vehicle's nearest competitor – the Lexus HS 250h – by 6 mpg.
The 2010 Lincoln MKT with EcoBoost™ continues to provide better gas highway fuel economy – 21 mpg – than any other all-wheel-drive vehicle in its class.
For the 2011 MKX, engineers integrated the new 3.7-liter V6 engine, which uses twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) to increase the vehicle's power and fuel economy. The broadened torque curve allows the intake valve to be advanced, delivering about a 10 percent power increase compared to non-Ti-VCT engines. Variable timing control of both the intake and exhaust camshafts helps extract more energy from each drop of fuel, leading to a 4.5 percent improvement in fuel economy.
The engine also employs a control strategy called aggressive deceleration fuel shutoff to save fuel. This strategy shuts off the engine when the driver doesn't need engine torque. It uses the momentum from the torque delivered to the transmission
The 2011 Lincoln MKX continues to reinforce Ford Motor Company's record largest increase in fuel economy gains over the past five years, according to the EPA.
2011 Infiniti G37 Coupe
Following extensive enhancements last year, the Infiniti G Coupe enters the 2011 model year with redesigned front fascias for both Sport and non-Sport models (with fog lights moved from the headlights to the lower fascia area). Other enhancements for 2011 include the availability of the Sport Package on G37 Coupe AWD models; the addition of Navigation Package content as standard on G37 Coupe Sport 6MT; revised 18-inch and 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheel designs; and two new exterior colors: Malbec Black and Lapis Blue.
The 2011 G Coupe is available in both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive. Every G37 Coupe comes equipped with a standard 3.7-liter VQ-series V6 with VVEL (for Variable Valve Event and Lift) rated at 330 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. The engine is backed by a choice of an electronically controlled 7-speed automatic transmission with available magnesium paddle shifters or a 6-speed manual.
The G37 Coupe also includes an extensive list of available technology features, including a touch screen navigation system with XM NavTraffic® Real-Time Traffic information (XM® subscription required, sold separately), RearView Monitor and an available 11-speaker Infiniti Studio on Wheels® by Bose® audio system with a 9.3GB Music Box Hard Drive.
Changes for 2011 include:
Sport Package now offered on G37 Coupe AWD models
Navigation Package content now standard on G37 Coupe Sport 6MT
Revised front fascia design (Sport and non-Sport) with fog lights moved from inside the headlight to the lower fascia area
Revised 18-inch and 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheel designs
Two new exterior colors: Malbec Black and Lapis Blue