While you enjoy your Labor Day weekend, sitting back in a hammock or using your swimming pool for the last time this year—lest you’re into ice skating—we happily remind you that much labor is just beginning to bear fruit. From here on out, it’s going to be a busy time for new vehicle debuts and industry news right up through Memorial Day. You know, that other Monday you get to skip work.
Thoughtfully, we’ve compiled this week’s biggest happenings all in one place. We couldn’t get all the good ones—like the debuts of the 2014 Mazda6 sedan and 2014 Kia Forte being caught testing in the open—but we think we got the best of it. There are only so many days in the week.
Monday, August 27
What’s better than a Porsche 911? Well, not much. But if you’re in one of those snow-appreciating places, your answer is likely the Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and Carrera 4 S, the all-wheel-drive versions of Porsche’s iconic sports car. The latest generation, which just debuted as a 2013 model, isn’t yet available with all four wheels getting action. But it will be soon. Porsche just released photos and information of its upcoming 911 Carrera 4, letting us know it’s on its way for next month’s Paris Motor Show. As for pricing, the Carrera 4 will start at $91,480 and quickly go up into the six figures from there. We’re picking up some lottery tickets this afternoon.
Tuesday, August 28
Say what you will of the 2013 Buick Encore subcompact crossover, because Buick has this to say: It’s the most fuel-efficient crossover in the U.S. That probably didn’t help make the lives of Ford’s marketing department any easier with the Escape, but rarely does any one automaker get to rest on its laurels for too long. Powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 140 horsepower, the 2013 Buick Encore is able to achieve 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Buick claims it’ll have more interior space than the BMW X1, among several other small utility vehicles. We should get our first shot at seeing how those claims stack up closer to 2013 when the Encore goes on sale.
Wednesday, August 29
Very often, we see the next generations of vehicles getting bigger, more luxurious, and often gaining a little chub around the hips. But just how big have they gotten? We’ve put together an exclusive infographic to demonstrate just how much cars have grown. While it looks like some automakers are downsizing—the 2013 Honda Accord is anticipated to be slightly shorter than the one that preceded it—most aren’t. From the Honda Civic, the Ford Explorer, Porsche 911, and Volkswagen Golf, we’ve made a diagram to show just how much evolution has made our cars bigger and bulkier, for better or worse.
Thursday, August 30
Of the Big 3 U.S. automakers, General Motors and Chrysler have seen the most intense microscope put upon them for taking government loans during their 2009 bankruptcies. But, believe it or not, Ford is the only one that still owes the government money. Ford has taken a $5.9 billion green loan from the Department of Energy to develop next-gen hybrids and electric cars. It is expected to start making payments next year to the first tune of $577 million. What may be misleading, however, is that the federal government took in a lot of stock in lieu of bigger loans for GM and Chrysler, and some loans were forgiven, too. As always, it’s a lot more complicated story than it sounds like on the surface.
Friday, August 31
It’s about time the 2013 Nissan Sentra debuted. The current model, awkwardly bulbous from most angles, has stood on dealer lots since 2007 without much change. When automakers began going all-in with 40-mpg compact cars, the Nissan Sentra stayed at 34 mpg on the highway. Now, the 2013 Nissan Sentra is expected to achieve that number in mixed driving, 39 to 40 mpg on the highway depending on trim and options. For the new model, the sole engine that’s been announced thus far is a 130-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder, which falls 10 horsepower from the previous-generation car’s 2.0-liter engine. But Nissan has also made the new car bigger and managed to lop 150 pounds from its weight. Going in, we think it looks like a winner. Inclined to agree?