Hightech

These elements of high technology should be on your new car. In fact, we believe they could well be standard fitments of all new cars. Alphabetically:

& Adaptive headlamps:

Illuminating the twists and turns of life.

& Dual climate controls:

No more fighting over temperatures.

h Navigation systems:

The maps are handy; the progress updates even better.

Proximity cameras:

Backup/blind T/bird s eye; they all augment mirrors.

^Traction/stability controls:

Let us choose when to disengage it, though.

Dodge

A midyear 2010 update to the Challenger included a Super Track Pak option, with tires from the SRT8, Nivomat shock absorbers, a larger rear anti-roll bar, a 3.06:1 rear-axle ratio and an ESP-off button that actually turns the stability system off. A special edition Challenger called the Mopar '10, stuffed with Mopar goodies, will have to satisfy enthusiasts until the Challenger undergoes a significant update in 2012.

But before that, there'll be an all-new Charger to think about (good thing, because the current one is starting to look positively vintage). Spy photos have so far revealed a new grille and an aggressive face that will certainly separate it from the 300 with which it shares a platform. Like the 300, expect the Charger to receive the new Pentastar V-6, although possibly with slightly more horsepower. Also, don't be surprised if the next Charger has an optional manual transmission borrowed from the Challenger.

The Avenger, like its cousin the Sebring, will get an updated engine package and, if everything works to our liking, more aggressive suspension tuning to go with it. The Caliber, Nitro and Journey should also receive engine updates and interior improvements for 2011.

Dodge Charger.

44 ROAD & TRACK

Fiat

It's been more than 25 years since Fiats have been sold in North America, and the brand will make its return via a network of select dealers in 125 markets when it begins selling the diminutive 500 by the end of the year. The front-drive 3-door hatch is powered by a 100-bhp 1.4-liter 4-cylinder mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. The first 500 examples will be called Prima Edizione and will be offered in a choice of three colors: white, red or gray. The cars were first offered to members of Club Fiat-Lancia Unlimited and then to the public at large through the ciaofiat. com website. Following the initial launch of the car at the end of the current model year, the lineup will be expanded in 2011 to include a Cabrio version.

Fisker

The latest word has Fisker Karma production beginning in the first quarter of 2011, "a short three years after the car was introduced as a concept at the 2008 North American International Auto Show." Indeed, introducing a new car is no mean feat. Fisker has raised more than S320 million in private capital and we've also kicked in S528.7 million of taxpayer money by way of a U.S. Department of Energy loan. Thus, we all have good reason to wish the Karma well.

A pair of electric motors drives the car's rear wheels, claimed with enough oomph to accelerate it to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds or travel 50 miles on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery pack (not both simultaneously, mind). Range extension to a claimed 300 miles comes with its gasoline engine/generator pair.

We're eager to experience this luxurious, swoopy 4-door hybrid.

Ford

Ford is on a roll. The 2011 Mustang is already on the market with a host of upgrades, most notably a return to the 5.0-liter V-8—only now with 412 bhp. There's a new 3.7-liter V-6 with 305 bhp as well—that's about a 100-bhp bump for both engines. Without question, the Mustang is the best it's ever been. But it doesn't stop there, as a Boss Mustang is set to make a comeback early next year. The Shelby team also has a new GT500, the 5.4-liter supercharged V-8's aluminum block derived from that of the Ford CT supercar. Now lighter and faster, the GT500 also handles better than ever.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Ford is preparing to flood the market with the Fiesta, a small premium car that comes loaded with standard features. And while fuel economy is of high importance, the Fiesta maintains a fun-to-drive character with either a 6-speed manual or a dual-dutch automatic transmission.

Primed for release next year is an all-new Focus as a 2012 model. Like the Fiesta, the new Focus will offer premium features in a small package. The Focus will come in both hatchback and sedan body styles with a 2.0-

liter direct-injection inline-4 making 155 bhp. But we'll be licking our lips for the soon-to-fol-low EcoBoost turbocharged RS or SVT variant. And if that's not your style, Ford is promising an all-electric Focus sedan sometime in 2011.

The Taurus and its SH0 variant will see few changes, while the Edge crossover has been resculpted for 2011. An all-new unit-body Explorer has just been released, offering the new EcoBoost turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that sees huge gains in fuel efficiency with little sacrifice in performance.

FORD Focus Price range: est$18,000-$22,000 Body/seats: 4D,5D/5

Base engine: 2.0-liter dohc 16V1-4, est 155 bhp Opt. engine: 2.0-liter turbo dohc 16V1-4, est 240 bhp

Transmission: 6-speed manual, 6-speed dual-dutch Layout: front engine/front drive Length: 178.7 in.Csedan] Weight: est 2800 lb EPA,dty/hwy: est 26/36 0-60 mph: est 7.0 sec

»Ford Focus.

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