DETROIT (AP) — After a blitz of new models hit the United States last year, automakers have slowed down this year, at least on the surface.
But the new models for 2013 are in key parts of the auto market and will have a bigger impact on car buyers.
For the 2012 model year, car companies flooded the market with 47 new or revamped vehicles. So far for 2013, there are only 32, according to the Edmunds.com auto website. But many of the introductions are in small and midsize cars — the two biggest segments in this country,
Nissan's Altima midsize sedan, with its luxury interior and 38 miles per gallon on the freeway, is raising the bar. But Ford's new Fusion comes out later in the year, as does a new Honda Accord. Chevrolet's four-cylinder Malibu also is just getting to showrooms.
In the small-car market, Chrysler's Dodge brand introduced a brand-new Dart during the summer built with Fiat technology, giving the company a strong competitor in a market where it hasn't been for years. The Dart isn't alone. Honda, stung by criticism of its revamped Civic last year, is making it quieter, and upgrading the interior and handling to quiet the critics. Nissan also is revamping the Sentra and promises it will be at the top of the segment.
There also are critical models for several brands. Cadillac rolls out three new cars, including the ATS small sports sedan that will compete with the BMW 3 Series. Ford is trying to end the Toyota Prius' lock on the gas-electric hybrid market with a new C-Max small wagon, and even Jaguar is trying to appeal to more people by offering smaller engines and all-wheel-drive in more of its cars.
Here's a rundown of what's new for the 2013 model year:
ILX: All-new compact luxury car went on sale in May. It has three engine choices: a 2-liter, 150-horsepower four-cylinder; a 2.4-liter four with 201 horsepower; and Acura's first gas-electric hybrid with a 1.5-liter engine and an electric motor. The car starts at $25,900.
RDX: Crossover SUV is all-new and a little bigger. Went on sale last April. Has a new 3.5-liter, 273-horsepower V-6 and a new six-speed automatic transmission. It's available with all-wheel-drive. The RDX starts at $34,320.
ZDX: The cross between a coupe, sedan and SUV gets minor exterior styling changes for the new model year. Goes on sale in October. Current version starts at $46,120.
ALLROAD: The wagon returns after a seven-year absence, powered by the brand's 2-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Wider track and more ground clearance to handle snow and gravel. On sale already. Starts at $39,600.
A4/S4: Both get a new grille, hood, and front and rear bumpers. Minor interior changes. Already on sale. A4 starts at $32,500 and the S4 performance model at $47,600.
A5/S5/RS5: The coupes also get a new grille, hood, and front and rear bumpers. Minor interior changes. S5 performance model gets the 3-liter supercharged V-6. RS5 track-ready supercar comes here with a 4.2-liter V-8. Already on sale. A5 starts at $37,850. S5 begins at $50,900. RS5 starts at $68,900.
A6/S6: The A6's 2-liter four-cylinder turbo model comes with all-wheel-drive and eight-speed automatic transmission. S6 performance model gets 4-liter, 420-horsepower, twin-turbo V-8 and a seven-speed double clutch transmission. A6 on sale already and the S6 is coming soon. The A6 starts at $42,200 and the S6 at $71,900.
A7/S7: A7 gets five-passenger seating option with rear middle seat. S7 gets the 4-liter, 420-horsepower, twin-turbo V8 with a seven-speed double clutch transmission. A7 is already on sale and starts at $60,100. S7 due in fall at $78,800.
A8/S8: The big cruiser lineup gets two new engines to attract more buyers: the 3-liter, supercharged V-6 and the new 4-liter, twin-turbo V-8. S8 gets an even beefier version of the new 4-liter V-8 at 520 horsepower, and eight-speed automatic transmission. A8 is already on sale and starts at $72,200. S8 goes on sale in the fall starting at $110,000.
Q5: The SUV gets cosmetic changes including a new grille, bumper and rear tail lamps, and lift gate. Gets an optional 3-liter supercharged V-6. There's a new hybrid gas-electric version with lithium-ion batteries and the 2-liter, four-cylinder engine. It has an eight-speed automatic transmission. All models come out in the fall. Pricing hasn't been announced.
CONTINENTAL GT SPEED: If the distinctive coupe's looks don't draw you in, then the performance will. The GT Speed is the fastest road car Bentley has ever made, with a 6-liter, 616-horsepower, 12-cylinder engine that can go from zero to 60 in four seconds. It gets a new eight-speed automatic transmission, and has a top speed of 205 mph, just in case the freeway is empty. It's due in showrooms in October. Starts at $215,000.
CONTINENTAL GT and GTC CONVERTIBLE: Both available with a V-8 engine for the first time, but it's no slouch. It's a 4-liter powerplant with 500 horsepower. It also gets a new eight-speed automatic transmission, and the engine runs on only four cylinders in cruise/light throttle mode. Available early in the fall. V-8 GT Coupe starts at $174,000; V-8 GTC Convertible at $191,400.
135is: This is a performance model that sits at the top of BMW's 1 Series lineup. The 135is has a 3.0-liter V-6 with 320 horsepower (compared with 230 horsepower for the base 128i coupe). Buyers can choose a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission. It also has a sport suspension, special rims and grille, and other sporty touches. The 135is starts at $44,145 and goes on sale this fall.
7-Series: Other than new LED headlights and a new grille, the 7-Series looks similar to the outgoing model. The differences are mostly under the hood. Both the V-6 and V-8 engine options have been upgraded to offer more power, and 20 percent to 25 percent better fuel economy. Horsepower with the V-8, for example, has jumped 10 percent to 445, even though the company promises it will get better fuel economy than the 17 mpg average on the outgoing V-8-equipped model. The top-of-the-line option remains the 6.0-liter V-12, with 544 horsepower. All the engines are now mated with eight-speed transmissions, up from six. Automatic start/stop technology, which shuts down the vehicle at stop lights, and regenerative brakes also help save on fuel, although official fuel economy numbers won't be out until later this summer when the 7-Series goes on sale. A hybrid version, which borrows the ActiveHybrid technology from BMW's 3- and 5-Series, is due out this fall. Pricing starts at $74,195.
X1: The small crossover is finally coming over from Europe, where it went on sale four years ago. It's nearly 7 inches shorter and 3 inches narrower than the X3, making its long BMW hood seem even more prominent. The base model has a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder with 240 horsepower and an estimated 27 mpg in combined city and highway driving. Buyers can upgrade to a 3.0-liter V-6 with all-wheel-drive that gets 300 horsepower and 25 mpg. The X1 goes on sale this fall starting at $31,545.
ENCLAVE: GM's 5-year-old big crossover SUVs, including the Enclave, Chevy Traverse and GMC Acadia, get a bit of a facelift to try and stretch their lifespan. The Enclave, which seats up to eight, keeps its 3.6-liter V-6 engine, and its six-speed automatic transmission gets an update. Engineers also refined the people-hauler to make it quieter. It gets new front and rear fascias, a new grille and headlight design, and new tail lamps. Inside there's new lighting, softer materials and chrome accents, and a new center stack. It goes on sale in October or November. The price has not been announced, but it'll almost certainly be more than the 2012 model, which starts at $36,500.
ENCORE: The all-new upscale small crossover SUV gives Buick its first entry in a segment now dominated by the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Ford Escape. But General Motors is aiming the Encore a little higher, trying to make it more luxurious than the top sellers. The Encore, which hits showrooms early next year, seats five and has up to 48.4 cubic feet of cargo room, more than the BMW X1 or Audi Q3. It also will be all-wheel-drive capable, and GM claims it will be quieter than the competition. It will be powered by GM's 140-horsepower, 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a six-speed automatic transmission. It's the same engine used in the Chevy Sonic. It'll have 10 standard air bags. The price has not been announced.
ATS: The General's all-new rear-wheel-drive small sports sedan hit showrooms during the summer. Cadillac has high hopes that it can compete with BMW's 3-Series, which dominates the segment. Last year, BMW sold more than 94,000 3-Series cars, including sedans, coupes, stations wagons and convertibles. Cadillac says the ATS is quick, nimble and quiet. Its styling is like a small CTS sedan. The ATS is powered by a choice of three engines: a 2-liter four-cylinder turbo with 270 horsepower; a 2.5-liter inline four with 200 horsepower; and a 3.6-liter V-6 with 318 horsepower. Manual and automatic transmissions are available. It starts at $33,095, and the 2.5-liter version can get up to 33 mpg on the highway.
XTS: Caddy's new, big, front-drive car hit showrooms last spring to give the brand a sorely needed model. The XTS has GM's fast-responding magnetic ride control suspension, and the company says the top-line models will offer the highest level of technology and luxury. The car has a 3.6-liter, 304-horsepower V-6 engine that gets an estimated 28 mpg on the highway. The starting price is $44,995.
SPARK: It's an all-new mini-car, even smaller than the dinky Chevrolet Sonic. The Spark, which comes only as a hatchback, seats four. GM says it has bold colors and comes with 10 air bags for safety. It also has a 7-inch touch screen which can display smart phone navigation, videos, photos and contacts for dialing. Designed to compete against the Fiat 500, the Smart fortwo and the Scion iQ, the Spark has a 1.25-liter four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission. It can get up to 38 mpg on the highway. It went on sale during the summer and has a starting price of $12,245.
MALIBU: GM began selling an Eco version of the new Malibu early this year at the behest of the chief executive, who wanted the car on the market faster than originally planned. He didn't get everything he wanted. The normal version of the car with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine didn't hit showrooms until summer. The Eco gets an estimated 37 mpg on the highway with its small electric motor that aids the four-cylinder engine. The normal version has a 2.5-liter, direct-injected four-cylinder engine with 197 horsepower. It gets 34 mpg on the highway. It will be joined in the fall by a 259-horsepower, 2-liter turborcharged four. GM says the new car is the quietest Chevy in history with handling that rivals high-end sedans. It starts at $22,390.
TRAVERSE: The aging crossover SUV that can seat eight people gets a small facelift. The interior gets softer, more premium materials and the outside gets some minor changes. It also gets the industry's first front-center air bag to help protect people in side-impact crashes. It's due in showrooms in in the fall. The price hasn't been announced. The 2012 model starts at $30,485.
300: Chrysler's stylish flagship is mostly unchanged, except that the 3.6-liter V-6 engine on the 300S sport model now has eight more horsepower, for a total of 300. The base model, which starts at $29,845, now includes heated leather seats and optional all-wheel-drive.
DART: A game-changing small car for Dodge, which hasn't really competed in this segment since the Dodge Neon in the 1990s. The Dart looks more expensive than its $15,995 starting price would suggest, thanks to exterior touches like big wheels and LED lighting across the back, and interior features like the softly wrapped, backlit dashboard. The Dart, which went on sale in June, is a product of Chrysler's marriage with Italian automaker Fiat, and is built on the platform of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, a five-door hatchback sold in Europe. It also borrows Fiat's penchant for personalization, with 14 different interior and trim combinations and 12 exterior paint colors. Under the hood is the standard 2-liter I4 dubbed the Tigershark that puts out 160 horsepower and a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo, also with 160 horsepower. A 2.4-liter turbo in the sporty R/T version comes out toward the end of 2012 with 184 horsepower. Transmissions include a six-speed automatic, a six-speed manual and a six-speed dual clutch transmission. The base model gets 36 mpg on the highway and 25 in the city; the Aero version gets up to 41 mpg on the highway.
SRT VIPER: The Viper returns for the first time since Chrysler shut down production in 2010, when it was desperately trying to stay afloat during the recession. The sizzling sports car — designer Ralph Gilles has famously said its design was inspired by "a naked woman on the beach" — has some of Viper's hallmarks, including a "double bubble" roof that gives the driver and passenger more headroom and gills along the fender to release heat from the engine. The headlights are designed to look like snake eyes, while the LED tail lights have a snakeskin texture on the lens. The Viper roars with an 8.4-liter V-10 engine, which is expected to get around 640 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque. There's a six-speed manual transmission. The car is built by hand and won't make a lot of money for Chrysler even with its expected price tag near $100,000. But it's a halo car that shows what the company can do now that it's back on its feet. The Viper is expected to go on sale later this fall.
F12 BERLINETTA: Ferrari says the Berlinetta, which replaces the 599GTB, has the most powerful naturally aspirated V-12 engine yet, with 730 horsepower (79 more than the GTB) and 508 foot-pounds of torque. The Berlinetta also gets 30 percent better fuel economy than the GTB's 15 mpg on the highway, thanks to reduction in internal friction, a reworked transmission and a more aerodynamic design. Pricing hasn't been announced, but it's likely to top the $310,500 price tag of the GTB.
500 TURBO: The Fiat 500 Turbo, which goes on sale this fall, sits between the Fiat 500 and the performance Fiat 500 Abarth in the Italian carmaker's lineup. It has a 135-horsepower, 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine linked to a five-speed manual transmission. That's 25 horses less than the Abarth. The 500 Turbo also has some styling differences, including a larger fascia and a liftgate-mounted spoiler. It starts at $20,200, or around $2,500 less than the 2012 Abarth.
C-MAX: Ford hopes to make a dent in Toyota Prius sales with the C-Max, a new small wagon that only comes in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric versions. Gas and diesel versions of the C-Max have been on sale in Europe for nearly a decade, but Ford wanted a dedicated hybrid, like the Prius, so it won't sell gas or diesel versions here. The C-Max is built on the same platform as the Ford Focus small car but sits up higher and is a few inches longer. It gets 47 mpg in both city and highway driving — topping the Toyota Prius V wagon, which gets a combined 42 — and it starts at $25,200, which is $1,300 less than the Prius V. The C-Max hybrid goes on sale this fall, while the plug-in hybrid C-Max Energi — which can go up to 85 miles per hour in all-electric mode — will go on sale in 19 U.S. markets this fall and in all 50 states by early next year.
ESCAPE: The new Escape small SUV, which went on sale in June, ditches the boxy styling of the old version in favor of the aerodynamic, chiseled look of Ford's new cars. At first glance, the new Escape looks smaller than the old one, but it's actually 4 inches longer and has slightly more cargo space thanks to design tricks like thinner seats. It also has the same 3,500-pound towing capacity. The Escape comes with three four-cylinder engine choices, including a 1.6-liter EcoBoost that can get up to 33 mpg on the highway. It also has an industry-first feature: an optional liftgate that opens automatically when the driver waves a foot under the bumper. The Escape starts at $22,470.
FOCUS ST: The sporty small car that enthusiasts are drooling about. The ST has a sport-tuned suspension, six-speed manual transmission and 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine with 252 horsepower (compared with 160 horsepower on the base Focus) and 270 pound-feet of torque. Unique, 18-inch wheels are paired with high-performance front and rear disc brakes. Recaro racing seats are optional. The ST goes on sale later this year with the starting price of $23,700, or $7,500 more than the base Focus.
FUSION: The Fusion midsize car has been a hit since it went on sale in 2005. Ford hopes to finally unseat the Toyota Camry — America's best-selling car — with the new Fusion. It has sharper lines than the outgoing version, with a new, more aggressive-looking trapezoidal grille. Inside, there is softer leather and thinner seats, which offer passengers more leg room. Ford is offering five engine choices: the base 1.6-liter I4, which saves fuel by temporarily shutting off power when the car stops; two versions of the EcoBoost engine, which uses turbocharging and direct injection to improve power and fuel economy; a hybrid that is expected to get 47 mpg; and a plug-in hybrid that runs longer on electric power than the regular hybrid. Pricing and exact fuel economy numbers haven't been announced. The Fusion goes on sale this fall.
TAURUS: Ford's largest sedan gets a reworked grille and hood and a new optional engine: Ford's 240-horsepower, four-cylinder EcoBoost, which gets an estimated 26 mpg in combined city and highway driving. The base engine, a 3.5-liter V-6, gets a horsepower boost, from 263 to 288. It gets up to 23 mpg. The high-performance Taurus SHO has a new spoiler and other minor upgrades. Its 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 remains the same. The Taurus starts at $26,600; the SHO, at $36,995.
ACADIA: The eight-seat big crossover SUV gets an update, including an exterior design with LED lighting. Inside, there are more soft-touch materials and ambient lighting. A rear camera is standard, as is a front-center air bag. The Acadia goes on sale in the fall. Pricing hasn't been announced. The 2012 version starts at $32,835.
ACCORD: Honda's top-selling vehicle is new from the ground up with a sedan and coupe. It faces serious competition from midsize competitors in the largest segment of the U.S. auto market. The new car has a more sculpted, athletic look on the outside and an interior that Honda promises to be luxurious. It's smaller on the outside yet bigger on the inside, with improved handling over the old version. The new version gets three new engines that Honda says will be among the class leaders in efficiency. There's a 2.4-liter direct-injected four-cylinder, a revised 3.5-liter V-6 and a two-motor plug-in hybrid that runs on gas and electricity. The four-cylinder comes with a continuously variable transmission that doesn't shift gears but allows the engine to run at optimal speed all the time. It also has a six-speed manual transmission. The V-6 comes with a six-speed automatic transmission or a six-gear manual on the coupe. The plug-in hybrid has a six kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and an electric motor. It can go 10 to 15 miles on battery power. The Accord goes on sale in the fall. Pricing wasn't announced. The current sedan starts at $21,480.
CROSSTOUR: Crossover vehicle is updated with more rugged styling outside and interior upgrades. Gets the updated more efficient and powerful 3.5-liter engine and six-speed automatic transmission. Goes on sale in the fall. Price wasn't released. Current model starts at $27,755.
CIVIC: All new for 2012, but panned by critics as for having a choppy ride, noisy cabin and mediocre interior. Honda says it will update the car to address some of the criticism. New Civic comes out in the fall. The 2012 model starts at $15,955.
GENESIS: Hyundai cuts the 4.6-liter V-8 from the engine choices, leaving the 5-liter V-8 in the R-Spec model and the 3.8-liter V6 in other models. The luxury sedan gets a new 8-inch dashboard display and new telematics.
SANTA FE: Two new versions of the crossover SUV. One model, the Long Wheel Base, or LWB, has three rows of seats and can seat up to seven people, better appealing to big families. It's due out in January. The other version is the Sport, which seats five. It debuted in August. The Sport has two engines, both four-cylinders. Standard is a 190-horsepower 2.4-liter. There's also a 2-liter, 264-horsepower turbo. Both have direct fuel injection, meaning the gas and air are mixed in the cylinder surrounding the piston. That's more powerful and efficient than older engines. The LWB has only one engine, a 290-horsepower direct-injection V-6. The price of the LWB hasn't been released. The Sport starts at $24,450.