Now that we’re almost halfway through 2013, markets are beginning to shift into gear for the 2014 season — particularly auto manufacturers, who begin the launches of their 2014 model lines towards the end of 2013. It’s also a particularly exciting time for auto makers, many of which are in the midst of complete lineup overhauls in attempts to revitalize their images and give the market a more formidable opponent.
Here is a list of six cars due to be released as 2014 models that will be making waves upon their introduction. By no means is this list complete — 2014 will be a busy year for the auto industry — nor does it include more enterprise-related vehicles, such as Ford’s (NYSE:F) Transit Wagon. Instead, the following are consumer-oriented vehicles, each of which is aimed at regaining some of their respective brand’s mojo.
“Tomorrow’s cars, on the other hand, hold the allure of what’s next,” says the Kelley Blue Book. ”Whether it’s a brand new name or just a new design, there’s something magical about a car between the moment it’s unveiled and the day it begins arriving on dealers’ lots, showing up in television ads, and beginning the quick transformation from future to familiar.”
1. The Cadillac CTS
Not only is General Motors’ (NYSE:GM) Cadillac CTS completely new on the outside, but GM is infusing the car with a brand-new, potent twin-turbo V6 that will reportedly pump out horsepower in the 420 region, with equally impressive torque figures. The CTS is spearheading GM’s efforts to appeal to a younger set, who in the past have gravitated to European or Japanese alternatives to escape Cadillac’s historically geriatric image.
2. The Chevrolet Corvette
While criticized by some for its broad resemblances to members of the Ferrari family (as well as the rather un-Corvette like rear tail lights), there is no doubt that the new generation takes the Corvette styling to the next level. To match the rebirth of the Stingray tag (not seen on the car since the 70′s), GM is installing the new 6.2L LT1 V8, good for 455 horsepower. The car isn’t light on tech, either: cylinder deactivation, direct fuel injection, and continuously variable valve timing have been added to make sure the performance and efficiency can match its new suit.
3. The Chevrolet Silverado
Although the cosmetic overhaul for Chevy’s new flagship truck isn’t quite as extreme as some of the other face lifts that other models are undergoing, the revised model is a much-needed refresh from the dated predecessor that saw big overhauls happen to the Ford F-150 and Dodge Ram. Autoblog calls it the best Silverado ever built, and with only a handful of components ported over from the outgoing model, engineers at GM have more or less redesigned the truck from the ground up. The engine boasts 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, an increase of 40 and 48 over the previous model, respectively.
4. Lexus IS
Though the new appearance of the Lexus (NYSE:TM) IS has polarized automotive fans, the intense and radical new styling shows that the engineers at Toyota’s luxury arm are not afraid to take some risks. At base, the new IS will pack a 204 horsepower V6, or you can spring for a 305 horsepower V6 slipped into the IS350. Continued on the IS line will be the F-Sport package, which adds performance perks and bits of sporty trim to the base IS, for those who don’t want to spring for the wild and wonderful IS F.
5. The Mercedes-Benz CLA
The CLA, upon its release, will be the smallest car offered by Mercedes in the U.S. (at least, if you discount Mercedes’ Smart subsidiary), to undercut its popular C-Class sedans. Starting at $29,900, it will also be one of the cheapest — if not the cheapest — new Benz on the market. But don’t think it skimps on the traditional Benz-refinement: the CLA will still pack a turbo-four (all new) good for 208 horsepower, routed through a dual-clutch seven-speed transmission (with paddles!), full Bluetooth and iPod/MP3 integration, SiriusXM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) with Traffic and Weather, and navigation with voice control. It is due to hit stores in September, so keep an eye on the CLA AMG, set to be one of the most affordable AMG trims, with 360 horsepower being pumped from the same engine, making it the most powerful four cylinder on the market.
6. Toyota Highlander
The latest interpretation of Toyota’s Highlander continues the trend of pushing the corssover segment from a being dreary family cars to a more sporty, angular design-centric model. At base, the new Highlander will come equipped with a 2.7 litre four cylinder, coupled with a six speed transmission. However, other options will be available, including a 3.5 litre V6 (this trim can be found with front and four-wheel drive), and the hybrid, which mates the V6 with an electric power train. Although the roofline of the new model is lower, engineers have actually made the revised kid-carrier slightly larger.