With more than 400 different car, truck and van models for sale in the United States, you’ll need a scorecard to know what’s new for the 2007 model year.
While some manufacturers have yet to reveal all that will be new — and others have already rolled out a couple of 2007 models — here’s Bankrate’s rundown of the vehicles buyers can expect to find in dealer showrooms that are all new or have had major redesigns.
|New cars and major redesigns|
RDX Honda’s upscale division is paying attention to changing buyer tastes when it comes to sport utility vehicles, and the end result is the smaller, more nimble 2007 RDX, set for an August debut at a list price that starts about $33,000. Based on a show car that debuted in 2002, the all-wheel-drive RDX is based on the same chassis as the Honda CR-V, but will feature a more powerful 240-horsepower turbocharged engine and a boatload of luxury features not available on the CR-V.
A4 Cabriolet In mid 2005 Audi redesigned the A4 sedan and station wagon, so it’s no surprise that the A4 Cabriolet would be next in line to get a fresh look. Fans of the four-seat convertible will notice that it now sports the prominent, open-mouth grille that is becoming Audi’s design signature. The base engine is a 200-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four that replaces last year’s 1.8-liter turbo four. It comes with a continuously variable automatic transmission and is available in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. A V6 and the S4 V8 model also will be available when the new car debuts this fall.
Q7 SUV Audi’s first venture into the luxury SUV category is already at dealer showrooms and is a “crossover” SUV, meaning it is based on a car chassis, not a truck chassis, for a more refined highway ride. In this case, the all-wheel-drive Q7 is riding on a chassis similar to the Volkswagen Touareg and is designed as a sports-oriented, seven-seat SUV. It’s available with either a V6 or a V8 and prices run from $40,000 to $60,000.
TT sports car Fans of the distinctively-styled TT sports car will get to see the first revision of the car since its debut when it arrives in the United States sometime after the first of the year. The coupe will arrive first followed a few months later by the convertible. The base TT is expected to get the 200-horsepower turbocharged four that’s in the revamped A4. There will be a wide range of other tweaks, both inside and out, but expect the new car to largely retain its unique styling.
3 Series convertible Following in the wake of the all new 3 Series sedan that debuted last year, the new convertible will soon arrive in BMW showrooms. The remarkable news here is that the 330Ci will be the first BMW to come with a three-piece retractable hardtop, which will allow it to compete with similar cars from Volvo, Volkswagen and even a hardtop convertible available from Pontiac. For those seeking maximum horsepower, BMW will offer the 335Ci, which will come with a 306-horsepower twin-turbo inline six. The 335Ci will also get upgrades to the suspension and brakes.
LaCrosse Super The average age of Buick buyers is finally inching down from the Social Security set, and Buick hopes to lure even more young buyers with its LaCrosse Super, which takes the current LaCrosse and stuffs a 303-horsepower V8 under the hood. Look for the street-racer Buick sometime late in 2007.
Escalade Who says huge SUVs are passé? Not Cadillac, where the 2007 Escalade rolls in as a no-apology tribute to largess. As in the past, it’s based on the same chassis as the Chevrolet Tahoe and, in the case of the extended Escalade ESV, the Chevy Suburban. The pickup/SUV Escalade EXT also gets a makeover. The exterior of all three models is sleeker and incorporates some of the same styling cues as the most recent Caddy sedans. Underneath, there’s an all new suspension that improves the ride and reduces body roll. The brakes have also been upgraded and will provide more confidence in stopping this two-and-a-half-ton SUV. There’s more — a new 6.2-liter V8 that’s mated to a new six-speed automatic transmission. It’s in dealer showrooms now with base prices that run from $54,000 to $59,000.
Silverado Chevrolet still runs second to Ford in the pickup truck sales race, but is hoping that when the all new Silverado (and its GMC sibling, the Sierra) debuts at the Texas State Fair in October it will close the gap. The new Silverado will put more emphasis on refining the interior, adding luxury touches and upgrading the fit and finish. The engines will produce more horsepower, including a 320-hp, 5.3-liter V8 and a 350-hp, 6.0-liter V8. To aid in fuel economy, both engines will have the ability to run on just four cylinders at highway speeds. Buyers can also expect more emphasis on safety features and computer-driven handling aids like GM’s StabiliTrak.
Tahoe Already in dealer showrooms at prices that range from $33,000-$38,000, the all new Tahoe (and its sibling, the GMC Yukon) is improved in nearly all areas, from a smoother ride to nicer interiors to better brakes. The new styling features smooth sides that improve aerodynamics and fuel economy.
Avalanche Gone is the body cladding that people either loved or hated about the Avalanche, replaced with a mild update to the exterior styling of this four-door SUV/pickup. Among other improvements to the Avalanche, which is already on sale, are a stiffer chassis to improve handling and a longer list of options. Deleted from the lineup is the heavy-duty 2500 model. Prices range from $32,000-$35,000.
Suburban Chevy’s mega-sized SUV, already in dealer showrooms, receives much the same styling refinements as the smaller Tahoe, as well as some handling improvements, including new rack-and-pinion steering and a new front suspension that delivers a smoother, quieter ride. Prices range from $36,000-$41,000.
Sebring The mid-sized sedan in the Chrysler lineup will be completely new for 2007 and incorporate a number of new features. It will ride on the same platform as the Mitsubishi Lancer and in base editions will have Chrysler’s new 2.4-liter, 172-horsepower four-cylinder engine. An all new 235-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 will be optional. Styling will feature a longer hood that incorporates the wind ripples that can be seen on the Chrysler Crossfire. Among the more unique features: cupholders that can cool or heat beverages. Chrysler says the new Sebring will be priced to compete with the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry.
Aspen SUV Who’s afraid of declining SUV sales? Not Chrysler, which will at long last debut its first truck-based SUV, named the Aspen, sometime this fall. Based on the Dodge Dakota chassis, the new Aspen will have a long list of luxury features added on. Power comes from the 5.7-liter Hemi V8, which now features the ability to run on four cylinders at highway speeds in search of better fuel economy. Its seating configuration accommodates up to eight people.
Caliber This small sedan is a replacement for the Dodge Neon, which was beginning to feel ancient. The good news is that the Caliber, which is now on sale at prices ranging from $13,000 to $19,000, is nothing like the Neon. Its styling may seem a little boxy to some, but the tall hatchback design generally gets rave reviews from younger drivers. It’s available in front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations and there’s even a sporty R/T version, though buyers who expect the R/T to be a speed demon may be disappointed.
Durango Hybrid Taking its first dip into the gas-electric hybrid market, Dodge’s Durango Hybrid will use a system developed jointly with General Motors, which will offer the system in its own GMC and Yukon SUVs. Details are sketchy and it’s unlikely the hybrid Durango will appear until late in 2007 after GM unveils its hybrid SUVs.
Five Hundred It’s no secret that buyers have checked out the Five Hundred sedan and collectively yawned. There’s no arguing that the basics of the Five Hundred are serviceable, but there’s nothing to excite the driver or the observer. Expect Ford to deliver a face-lifted Five Hundred late in 2007 that will add some visual pizzazz and additional horsepower under the hood.
Expedition A revised Expedition SUV will appear in showrooms this fall and shoppers should notice an improved ride, a quieter interior and a new six-speed automatic transmission. Styling will get some tweaks, but the new Expedition will look much like the current generation.
Shelby GT500 In an effort to cash in on the mania for the original Carroll Shelby-built Mustangs, Ford has rolled out a limited-edition Mustang that is packed with horsepower. Available as either a fastback or convertible, the GT500 has a 500-horsepower, supercharged 5.4-liter V8 that’s coupled to a six-speed manual transmission. It’s available now and sticker prices start at about $41,000. But dealers are getting premiums of at least $10,000 above sticker, so buyers, beware.
Fit Honda is among the foreign manufacturers that are bringing in new subcompact cars in the hopes of cashing in with buyers concerned about fuel costs. Available elsewhere in the world for several years, the Honda Fit is a well-designed people mover that comfortably holds four people. On sale now with base prices that range from $14,000 to $16,000, the Fit is a four-door hatchback design that sits tall, much like the Scion xB. It’s powered by a 1.5-liter, 109-horsepower four-cylinder engine that’s government rated at 33-38 mpg. It’s a good car for urban use, but is a little buzzy when driven at higher freeway speeds.
CR-V Honda’s small SUV will now be built on the all-new Civic platform, which should mean that the CR-V will be larger and more refined when it debuts this fall. There will almost certainly be more horsepower on tap to cure the current CR-V’s somewhat pokey performance. There are rumors of a hybrid gas-electric version, but don’t expect to see it until late in 2007.
Civic SI sedan For fans of the sporty, high-performance Civic Si coupe who need more than two doors, Honda has a surprise for 2007 — an Si sedan. The new model will have all the performance attributes of the Si coupe, including the 197-horsepower four-cylinder engine. But because of the expected extra weight inherent in a sedan, the new Si will still be No. 2 to the coupe.
Elantra Hyundai continues it march up the automotive status scale with a revamped Elantra, which becomes taller, wider and more stylish. It will gain a new 138-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Although its base price will be under $14,000 when it arrives in showrooms this fall, the Elantra will have an impressive list of standard equipment including power windows. A top-of-the-line Limited will be positively luxurious.
Entourage Minivan Taking aim at the full-size minivan market the new Entourage follows the Hyundai marketing philosophy of offering a plethora of features at a price the competition can’t match. The Entourage has seating for as many as seven passengers and has a stowable third-row seat. Maximum cargo space is more than the Honda Odyssey. Power comes from a 3.8-liter V6 that delivers 242 horsepower mated to five-speed automatic transmission. List prices start at about $24,000.
G35 The second generation of Infiniti’s popular performance sedan gets a new nose and some refinements to the tail. Fans of the current car will not be shocked by the new styling — in fact, they may have to look hard to see the difference. A new chassis is stronger, which should mean incrementally better handling and a quieter interior. The 3.5-liter V6 will also get some tweaks that should push horsepower to at least 300.
XK After 10 years, Jaguar has finally redesigned the XK luxury sports car. The shape is much the same as before, but there are more modern design cues at the nose, the rear and the front fenders. The big news is that, like the XJ sedan, the new XK makes widespread use of aluminum to keep the weight down. Available as a coupe or convertible, the XK will have the same 300-horsepower, 4.2-liter V8 as the previous model. That limits the XK’s performance in an era when Jaguar’s competitors are pumping up their engines. Available now, prices range from $75,000 to $81,000.
Compass Based on the same chassis as the Dodge Caliber, the all-new Jeep Compass compact SUV sets a significant milestone for Jeep: The Compass is the first front-wheel-drive vehicle to carry the Jeep name. It is also available in an all-wheel-drive configuration. Designed to compete with the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4, the Compass comes with a 2.4-liter, 172-horsepower four-cylinder engine. It’s available with either a five-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic transmission, another first in a Jeep. On sale now, prices range from $17,000 to $21,000.
Grand Cherokee Diesel The 2007 model year is one of transition for diesel engines in the United States. Because of new, stricter emission regulations, many diesel-powered vehicles that were available in 2006 will disappear until their manufacturers can develop new, cleaner engines. But sometime after the first of the year Jeep will introduce a diesel-powered Grand Cherokee using the same, new 3.0-liter diesel engine found in the E-Class Mercedes-Benz sedan. No word on pricing yet, but fuel mileage should be significantly better than a comparable gasoline-powered Grand Cherokee.
Wrangler When it is introduced this fall, the new Jeep Wrangler will attempt to keep the model’s rugged, go-absolutely-anywhere image and yet add enough refinements to make it more suitable for the daily commute. A new, smoother 3.8-liter V6 that produces 208 horsepower should go a long way toward sanding off a few of the Wrangler’s rough edges. There’s more interior room, a softer suspension and some new safety features, including side-impact air bags.
ES 350 To go along with the redesign of its lower-priced sibling — the Toyota Camry — Lexus has redesigned the entry-level ES 350 for 2007. In keeping with industry trends, the ES 350 has luxury touches that put it in good company with the first-generation Lexus flagship LS sedan. The ES 350 interior boasts a significant amount of wood, polished metal and leather. Under the hood is a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 272 horsepower, coupled to a new six-speed automatic transmission. On sale now, prices start at about $33,000.
GS 450h Give Lexus the prize for making the first luxury gas-electric hybrid sedan, the GS 450h. Like all hybrids, Lexus mates a conventional gasoline engine to an electric motor that draws its power from a bank of batteries that recharge as you drive. Unlike some hybrids, Lexus didn’t tune the GS for fuel economy. Performance is the goal, and the GS hybrid delivers 340 horsepower. The EPA rates it at 28 mpg, which is quite good for a vehicle with this much horsepower. Innovation doesn’t come cheap. Loaded with just about every luxury option, the GS 450h stickers at almost $55,000.
Navigator The bigger-is-better theme rules at Lincoln when it comes to the redesigned Navigator SUV. In an effort to compete with the Cadillac Escalade ESV, Navigator adds a model dubbed the Navigator L. It adds 15 inches of length that results in more than 25 cubic feet of extra cargo space behind the third-row seats. The L won’t debut until after the first of the year and will likely add a couple of thousand dollars to the Navigator’s approximately $55,000 list price. Both the standard and the L model Navigators for 2007 get suspension improvements for a quieter, smoother ride. Inside, Lincoln has upgraded the leather and the wood.
MKS The Zephyr sedan has never been a hit, so Lincoln will try again with a new sedan called the MKS. Positioned to compete with the Cadillac STS, the MKS will come to market this fall with a 4.4-liter V8 rated at 315 horsepower. It will have an all-wheel-drive chassis and a six-speed automatic transmission.
CX-7 Aiming to attract upscale SUV buyers who are looking for performance, Mazda created the 2007 CX-7, which takes the spirit of the MazdaSpeed6 and transforms it into a five-passenger vehicle that can also haul a lot of gear. Its turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine makes 244 horsepower, which moves the CX-7 with gusto. The transmission is a six-speed automatic that powers the front wheels. An all-wheel-drive version is available. In looks and disposition, it’s closer to the more expensive Nissan Murano SUV than anything in its $24,000-$28,000 price range. It’s available at dealerships now.
S Class The flagship of the Mercedes-Benz sedan lineup, the new S Class pushes the technology and convenience envelopes to new limits. On board or available on the option list are features that range from infrared imaging that reveals what’s beyond the range of the headlights to seats that that inflate side bolsters automatically to keep you in place on sharp turns. The seats are also set up to deliver a massage while you drive. The base model is the S550, which stickers for about $85,000, while the 12-cylinder S600 starts at about $140,000 and the AMG super performance S65 lists for a whopping $181,500. There’s a lot to like in the new S Class, which is on sale now. It’s too bad so few can afford it.
GL 450 Perceiving a gap in its SUV lineup between the mid-size M Class and the rugged, ultra expensive G Glass, Mercedes has introduced the GL Class, which is, in essence, a full-size SUV with all-wheel-drive. There are three rows of seats to accommodate seven people and the third row folds into the floor at the push of a button. Available now is the GL 450, which has a 335-horsepower 4.5-liter V8 linked to a seven-speed automatic transmission. A more powerful GL 500 with a 5.0-liter V8 is due, as is a 3.2-liter diesel version that should please buyers concerned about fuel mileage. Sticker prices start at about $54,000.
CL coupe Working from the successful, swoopy design of the larger CLS sedan, Mercedes will launch a redesign of its CL Coupe as a 2007 model. The two-door, four-passenger car, which goes on sale in the United State late this fall, is larger than the model it replaces. It will be available with either a 382-horsepower 5.5-liter V8 or a 510-horsepower twin-turbo V12. Also on board will be some of the luxury features that debuted on the new S Class.
E Class The mid-sized Benz sedan gets a very minor facelift for 2007, mostly in the grille area. The 3.5-liter V6 in the base model remains unchanged, but buyers seeking V8 power will get a new 5.5-liter V8 rated at 382 horsepower. Also coming for 2007 is the E320 Bluetec Diesel, which promises to meet the new, more stringent U.S. emission standards.
Lancer Evolution X The “Fast and the Furious” crowd will be overjoyed to hear that there’s a new, more powerful Lancer that should arrive in dealer showrooms late this fall or early next year. The redesigned sedan will ride on a new chassis that Mitsubishi shares with the Dodge Caliber and the next-generation PT Cruiser. The exterior will be significantly revised and overall the vehicle is expected to be lighter than the previous model. Already an amazing powerhouse, the 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine will make more than 300 horsepower. To make using that power more fun and efficient, a clutchless six-speed manual transmission with paddle shifters will be standard.
Outlander Trying to stretch the familiar Outlander into mid-size SUV territory, Mitsubishi will introduce a seven-seat Outlander in the hopes that buyers will accept it as a replacement for the departed Montero Sport SUV.
Versa Attempting to cash in on U.S. consumer concerns about high gas prices, Nissan will import its Versa subcompact sedan for the first time. A trim but unremarkably styled four-door hatchback, the Versa is very affordable with base prices starting at $12,450. It’s powered by a 122-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a five-speed automatic is optional. The manual transmission version is rated at 30-34 mpg.
Altima Using a new chassis, Nissan will introduce this fall a substantially reworked Altima that promises more body rigidity and a smoother suspension. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 165 horsepower will be standard, as will be a continuously variable automatic transmission. A six-speed manual transmission will be optional. The optional 3.5-liter V6 will make 265 horsepower and will be available only with the CVT gearbox.
Sentra A larger, more powerful version of the Sentra compact sedan will arrive later this fall. In keeping with the trend in this category, the Sentra will come with a wide range of convenience and performance upgrades, including keyless starting and Bluetooth cellphone compatibility. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine will be rated at about 135 horsepower and be mated to a six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment. A continuously variable automatic transmission will be optional. Look for a high-performance Sentra R sometime in 2007.
G6 convertible There was a time about four decades ago that American manufacturers created the best and most convenient convertible tops. Now German and Japanese manufacturers have taken the lead with retractable hardtop models. For 2007, Pontiac has fought back with a four-seat G6 convertible that has a retractable hardtop. Just push a button and the top breaks into three segments and disappears into the trunk. It comes in a GT package with a 3.5-liter, 217-horsepower V6 that’s linked to a four-speed automatic transmission. With the top down, there’s not much luggage space and the V6 has only adequate power for a car this heavy. But at a base list price of $28,500, it’s the bargain of the class.
Aura sedan Saturn is taking a turn into uncharted territory for 2007 with its all-new Aura mid-size sports sedan. Based on the same chassis as the Pontiac G6 sedan, the Aura is the largest four-door car ever to wear the Saturn name. The front-wheel-drive Aura also is the most attractive Saturn sedan ever and it should lure a whole new herd of customers to Saturn showrooms. Power comes from a 224-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 that’s linked to a four-speed automatic transmission. An optional 3.6-liter V6 makes 252 horsepower. Either engine makes the Aura the most powerful Saturn sedan ever. Prices range from $20,000 to $24,000 and the Aura is on sale now.
XL7 Suzuki is switching its game plan for its XL7 SUV, changing it for 2007 from a truck-based vehicle to one based on a platform borrowed from the Chevrolet Equinox, which is a car-based SUV. The new XL7, which will grow to mid-size SUV proportions, will get a new 3.6-liter V6 that’s estimated to produce 250 horsepower. It will be hooked up to a five-speed automatic transmission and be available in either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive formats.
Yaris Yet another of the subcompact cars that are starting to arrive in U.S. showrooms, the Yaris is one of the least-expensive vehicles on the market for 2007. With a sticker price that starts at less than $11,000 for a two-door hatchback model and slightly more for the four-door version, the Yaris is about fuel economy — 34-40 mpg — and basic transportation. Yet because it’s a Toyota, there’s a surprising amount of value in its standard equipment and the smoothness of its ride. The performance of the 106-horsepower, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine won’t shock anyone, nor will it leave a driver feeling vulnerable on the highway.
FJ Cruiser Nostalgia is all the rage with some U.S. manufacturers, as witnessed by the current Ford Mustang, Pontiac GTO and Dodge Charger. But most Japanese manufacturers have few vehicles from long ago that U.S. buyers are likely to feel warm and fuzzy about. Which brings us to the new FJ Cruiser, which is Toyota’s effort to cash in on some of the nostalgia for the first Land Cruiser that arrived in the U.S. more than four decades ago. With styling cues reminiscent of the first Land Cruiser and a stance that says cute but capable, the FJ Cruiser is a small SUV that’s turning a few heads. It has four doors, though the two at the rear are like the mini doors found on many pickups these days, and a rugged truck-based chassis that promises off-road capability. The interior is made of materials that are meant to get dirty and then wash clean. Power comes from a 4.0-liter V6 that makes 239 horsepower. It can be connected to either a five-speed automatic or, in 4-wheel-drive configuration, a six-speed manual. On sale now, prices start at about $22,000.
Tundra pickup Toyota is taking a cue from its Detroit-based competitors and expanding the body styles of the redesigned Tundra for 2007. When the new pickup debuts later this year, it will be available in a standard two-door cab, a four-door extended cab and a full-sized four-door crew cab. The addition of a new 5.7-liter V8 will expand Tundra’s engine lineup to three as well. That will also boost maximum towing capacity to 10,000 pounds, which should delight owners of big boats.
Camry One of the best-selling sedans in the United States got a lot prettier, larger and more sophisticated for 2007. There are now five trim levels that run the gamut from nicely equipped basic transportation to near opulent luxury. There are three engine choices — the base 158-horsepower 2.4-liter four; the 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V6; and the gasoline/electric hybrid that produces 187 horsepower. Prices range from about $18,000 to $28,000.
Eos convertible Volkswagen will be expanding its convertible lineup to two models for 2007 with the introduction of the Eos, which will be positioned in price and marketing above the existing New Beetle Convertible. The Eos will seat four and has the distinction of having a retractable hardtop. A front-wheel-drive car, the Eos will be available with either a 200-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, or a 250-horsepower V6. A six-speed manual transmission will be standard with a six-speed automatic as an option. Expect a base price above $26,000 when it arrives later this year.
Bankrate automotive consultant, Terry Jackson, is the author of six automotive books and has been writing about cars for 25 years. He is the former editor-in-chief of AMI Auto World Magazine and NOPI Street Performance Compact and currently is an automotive columnist for the Miami Herald. He has also written for Automobile, Road & Track and AutoWeek. He races a vintage Mustang in SCCA competition and evaluates as many as 100 new cars each year.
Create a news alert for “new car feature”