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4 redesigned cars to watch for in 2012

Tara Baukus MelloAuto show season recently kicked off with the 2011 Los Angeles International Auto Show, which featured introductions of more than 50 all-new and redesigned cars. Here are four models you'll want to check out if you are shopping for a new car early next year.

Cadillac XTS

Cadillac introduced its new sedan, the XTS. Larger than its CTS, the new XTS boasts the interior space of a full-size sedan in a mid-size sedan package. The trunk space exceeds mid-size and full-size sedan competitors. Arriving in early 2012, the new 2013 Cadillac XTS combines luxury with technology.

Among the high-tech features are CUE, short for Cadillac User Experience, which connects as many as 10 Bluetooth-enabled devices to allow drivers to integrate all of their portable gadgets. They can use them while on the go through voice commands, steering-wheel-mounted controls, and hand gestures such as taps and swipes commonly used in smartphones.

While pricing has not yet been announced, the Cadillac XTS will compete with the BMW 5 Series and Lincoln MKS, placing it in the $40,000 price range.

Ford Escape
Ford Escape

Ford Escape

Ford has redesigned its Escape for the 2013 model year in an effort to keep its status as the bestselling sport utility vehicle in America. The more modern design means increased cargo space and better fuel economy than the previous version, which Ford expects will give it the best fuel economy of any compact SUV on the market.

The 2013 Ford Escape also is loaded with useful technology including an updated version of its MyFord Touch system that synchronizes phone, navigation, climate control and entertainment features. It also comes equipped with a hands-free power rear liftgate that is operated by a person using a gentle kicking motion under the rear bumper as well as a parallel parking system that automatically steers the Escape into an open space.

Exact pricing for the 2013 Ford Escape has not been released, but expect Escape to remain in the same price range as the current model, starting around $21,400.

Honda CR-V

Set to go on sale in mid-December, the redesigned Honda CR-V features sleeker exterior styling and an all-new interior design that has more passenger room as well as more cargo space.

Honda is hoping this redesign will once again make the CR-V the top-selling compact SUV in America, a title it held until the Japan earthquake and tsunami hit earlier this year and caused problems in production.

Reduced body weight and engine refinements mean improved fuel economy for the CR-V while new technology features include a standard rearview camera, additional connectivity for cellphones, read-aloud text messaging, a Pandora music Internet radio interface and an optional rear-seat entertainment system.

Exact pricing was not available at press time, but the new Honda CR-V should go for about $21,895, the price of the current model.

Hyundai Azera

While Hyundai's Azera has been a slow seller, Hyundai is hoping its redesigned model will ignite buying interest in the large sedan. With a new head-turning design, mirroring the styling of its Sonata sedan, the new Azera now sports a sleek look along with a sleek new engine. The engine produces 293 horsepower while still getting a best-in-class combined fuel economy of 23 miles per gallon.

Loaded with luxury features at a budget price, the Hyundai Azera comes standard with leather seats, a 10-way power driver's seat, an eight-way power front passenger seat, heated front and rear seats, dual climate control and a navigation system with a rearview backup camera.

Despite the significant redesign, the new Hyundai Azera likely will remain priced in the mid-$25,000 range when it arrives early next year.

Ask the adviser

If you have a car question, email it to us at Driving for Dollars. Read more Driving for Dollars columns and Bankrate auto stories. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.
 

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