- The Washington Times - Friday, January 30, 2009

HONDA ACCORD

The 2009 Honda Accord lineup is designed to impress with premium features, accommodating technology and efficient performance geared for both the finish line and the bottom line.

Available as a sedan or a coupe and powered by advanced four-cylinder or V-6 engines, the Accord embodies a sophisticated design and provides an accommodating, spacious interior.

An emphasis on safety includes highlights such as standard electronic stability control, standard side-curtain air bags and the advanced-compatibility-engineering body structure.

Premium technologies available on certain models include the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation1 System with voice activation, Bluetooth, HandsFreeLink and XM Satellite Radio2.

The 3.5-liter V-6 engine produces 271 horsepower - the most ever for any Accord - while implementing the latest generation of fuel-saving variable cylinder management. The VCM system operates in six-cylinder mode for power and four- and three-cylinder modes for efficiency.

Standard safety equipment includes electronic stability control, side-curtain air bags, front side air bags, active front-seat head restraints, anti-lock brakes and more.

Sedan trim levels range from the LX (177-horsepower four-cylinder engine), to the nicely-equipped EX (190-horsepower four-cylinder engine or 271-horsepower V-6 engine).

Base model estimated mpg: 22 city/31 highway

Estimated starting price: $20,755

HONDA CR-V

The Honda CR-V is designed to deliver an ideal balance of style, functionality and features in a versatile and accommodating five-passenger crossover sport utility vehicle package. The 2009 CR-V achieves the highest five-star crash safety rating by the federal government for frontal and side impacts.

A highly rigid body and fully independent suspension result in a quiet cabin and smooth, agile handling performance. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and standard five-speed automatic transmission provide an excellent balance of power (166-horsepower) and fuel economy.

A dynamic forward cabin blends the familiar CR-V identity into a sculpted lower body with a rugged appearance. A two-tier grille and a side profile with an arched window shape and chrome trim accent the CR-V’s distinctive and upscale presence.

The 2009 Honda CR-V offers refined and responsive performance with good fuel economy and low emissions. The drive-by-wire throttle control works closely with the transmission for extremely smooth shift points and intuitive gear holding on hilly roads.

The available four-wheel-drive system enhances the CR-V’s all-weather capabilities when driving in rain, snow and on dirt roads.

Three new colors have been introduced for the 2009 model year: crystal black pearl, alabaster silver metallic and urban titanium metallic.

Base model estimated mpg: 20 city/27 highway

Estimated starting price: $21,095

HONDA FIT

The all-new 2009 Honda Fit is designed to lead the subcompact segment with a quality feel and multifunctional interior. The Fit has a sportier demeanor through improved suspension, steering and body rigidity enhancements; an improved rear “magic seat”; and a high level of standard safety equipment, including the addition of the advanced-compatibility-engineering body structure and front-seat active head restraints.

Dimensionally compact on the outside with an overall length of 161.6 inches, the interior provides a surprisingly spacious passenger volume of 90.8 cubic feet and a rear cargo volume of 20.6 cubic feet. The seats offer multiple seating and cargo-carrying configurations - tall-object mode, long-object mode and utility mode - in addition to the standard five-passenger mode.

An improved rear “magic seat” provides one-motion dive-down functionality. It folds flat into the floor without having to remove the rear seat head restraints, creating a rear cargo volume of 57.3 cubic feet.

The engine produces 117 horsepower and 106 foot-pounds of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a five-speed automatic transmission is available. Steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters allow for manual gear selection on the Fit Sport, which is equipped with the available automatic transmission.

The suspension settings are tuned to provide a sporty, solid and dynamic driving experience.

Base model estimated mpg: 28 city/35 highway

Estimated starting price: $14,550

HUMMER H2

The Hummer H2 enters 2009 with new technologies - including Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free phone operation - new interior amenities, a black chrome limited-edition model and standard E85 flex-fuel capability.

The H2 and H2 SUT’s changes for 2009 increase the model line’s choices of amenities to enhance comfort and convenience. They complement a luxury-appointed interior that was redesigned for 2008. The new features include: available second-row captains chairs that deliver a more personal and luxurious seating choice, third-row seat storage that frees up more storage space in the interior, heated steering wheel, power-tilting steering wheel.

The seats have a chiseled appearance and offer excellent comfort; front-seat safety belt pretensioners are standard. Complementing the seats are upscale door trim panels and an instrument panel with a six-gauge instrument cluster.

The pulling power of the H2 comes from its 6.2-liter V-8 engine rated at 393 horsepower and 415 foot-pounds of torque. A six-speed rear-wheel-drive electronically controlled automatic transmission backs the engine. The transmission has a “tap up/tap down” capability that allows the driver to manually select upshifts and downshifts with buttons on the steering wheel. New for 2009, the engine is calibrated for flex-fuel capability, so it can run on E85 ethanol, gasoline or any combination of the two fuels.

Base model estimated mpg: N/A

Estimated starting price: $61,850

HYUNDAI ELANTRA TOURING

The all-new 2009 Elantra Touring is a sportier, more functional variant of Hyundai’s popular Elantra sedan. The Elantra Touring, with its modern, sleek styling and fun-to-drive qualities, was developed by Hyundai in response to the growing demand for stylish and functional five-door vehicles.

Flowing curves and strong character lines highlight the broad stance and long wheelbase of the Elantra Touring. The clearly defined, unbroken, rising beltline unifies the vehicle’s functional proportions.

Sporty front seats, designed to complement the athletic driving dynamics of the vehicle, and carefully contoured rear seats, provide long-distance comfort and support. Hyundai engineers focused not just on the seats’ form and function, but also on the stitching, materials and bolstering.

The Elantra Touring matches best-in-class passenger volume with best-in-class cargo capacity. There is a useful 24.3 cubic feet of luggage space with rear seats upright and a cavernous 65.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat.

Elantra Touring is powered by the same fuel-efficient 2.0-liter, four-cylinder found in the Elantra sedan. This sophisticated 16-valve power plant employs continuously variable valve timing for a very broad power band, coupled with high fuel efficiency and low emissions.

Base model estimated mpg: 23 city/31 highway

Estimated starting price: TBA

HYUNDAI SANTA FE

For 2009, the Santa Fe adds the convenience of Hyundai’s USB/iPod auxiliary inputs, realigns option packages to better match consumer desires and adds new exterior colors. Combine these improvements with a roomy, well-crafted interior, optional third-row seat and the 2009 Santa Fe continues to raise the bar in the crossover segment.

Santa Fe also delivers on the safety front, earning the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s top five-star crash test rating for front and side impacts and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s highest honor - top safety pick.

Santa Fe is available with a choice of two powerful and efficient V-6 engines, the economical 2.7-liter or the modern 3.3-liter. The 2.7-liter V-6 produces 185 horsepower and 183 foot-pounds of torque. The 3.3-liter V-6’s output is 242 horsepower and 226 foot-pounds of torque.

The 2009 Santa Fe underscores Hyundai’s leadership in standardizing the most effective safety technologies. All Santa Fe trim levels come standard with electronic stability control.

Base model estimated mpg: 18 city/24 highway

Estimated starting price: TBA

HYUNDAI VERACRUZ

The seven-passenger Hyundai Veracruz has raised the bar on what consumers expect in the premium, midsize crossover segment. For 2009, Veracruz adds Hyundai’s USB/iPod auxiliary inputs, making it easier for customers to operate and listen to an iPod through the vehicle’s audio system.

Smooth and solid in its stance, the Veracruz is impressive even as it departs. A rear spoiler enhances the Veracruz’s sporty profile.

Inside, passengers are coddled in a rich, sophisticated environment inspired by boutique hotels. The result is an interior found in the finest luxury sedans, thanks to intelligent ergonomic engineering, intuitive design and superior craftsmanship.

Seating for seven adults is made possible because of Hyundai’s standard hideaway third-row seat. Brushed metal accents and blue backlighting for all interior gauges, switches and buttons highlight the modern, integrated interior design. Even the front cup holders are accented with blue light to aid nighttime driving, while soft blue lighting in the overhead console provides subdued mood lighting.

Veracruz offers capable, fuel-efficient performance with a 3.8-liter dual-overhead-cam V-6 engine. It delivers 260 horsepower and 257 foot-pounds of torque.

Base model estimated mpg: 16 city/23 highway

Estimated starting price: TBA


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