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The 2013 Models are Coming!

Posted by: Monica Gostkiewicz

It's that time of year again where Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) members jump in the driver's seat of many all-new 2013 models. Held at an unnamed hotel in the northwest suburbs (we don't want to tip off any local troopers with all of these nice cars whizzing through the streets...kidding!), MAMA members couldn't wait to get behind the wheel and put these cars to the test.

Each journalist had a different strategy on rating the vehicles - from luxury to style to practicality -- but I selected my top five based on the following categories: best family sedan, SUV, sports car, econo-friendly offering and most innovative vehicle. The choice was tough -- as each manufacturer brought their "A" game -- but without further adieu, here are our winners:

Top Sedan Pick: 2013 Nissan Altima
The all-new fifth generation 2013 Nissan Altima is a perfect family choice. Altima earned a 5-star overall vehicle safety rating as part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) New Car Assessment Program (NCAP).  With a suite of safety innovations including intelligent headlights, LATCH System, Blind Spot Warning, Moving Object Detection, and Tire Pressure Monitoring System with Easy Fill Tire Alert, this is one family sedan that shouldn't be overlooked.

Its dynamic performance, upscale interior (with new NASA-inspired "zero-gravity" front seats), premium exterior styling and luxurious ride comfort are just a few of the phenomenal features.

2013 Nissan Altima

Top SUV Pick: 2013 Ford Explorer Sport
Need more room and space for carpooling or family trips? We think the all-new 2013 Ford Explorer Sport is a perfect fit. In the 2013 model, the chassis is structurally reinforced for stiffness to enhance handling with sport-tuned electric power-assisted steering. Additionally, the 2013 version has larger brakes for improved stopping power and confident trailering.

Wherever the road takes you, Explorer's 4WD Terrain Management System can be set to accommodate sand, snow, mud, and hill decent to aid in your adventure.

Additionally, the vehicle has a large panoramic front window for hard-to-beat visibility. Passengers in the back seat can enjoy the ride with Bluetooth entertainment devices enabling them to watch movies, listen to music or even play video games.

The all-new Explorer is your home on wheels with all the tools you need to have a safe and comfortable ride!

2013 Ford Explorer Sport

Top Sports Car Pick: 2012 Jaguar XKR-S
Feeling a need for speed? With a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine and 550hp on tap, the 2012 Jaguar XKR-S convertible will definitely have you burning rubber on the streets. (Now do you see why we avoided disclosing the address of the event?) With advanced chassis technology combined with the inherent weight and stiffness benefits of an aluminum-intensive structure, allows the XKR-S to shine in the corners while still providing a very comfortable ride.

When the light turns green, The XKR-S can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds and is electronically limited to a maximum track speed of 186 mph! The XKR-S is additionally equipped with a Performance Active Exhaust system in which valves open at higher speeds to provide an even more powerful note. Now you know why the famed British marque is named after an extremely fast cat.

2013 Jaguar XKR-S

Econo-friendly Car Top Pick: 2013 Chevy Spark
This European-inspired car takes on the American streets in with panache. A few feature highlights include a 1.2-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine, MyLinks Hands-free Smartphone integration and 32 mpg combined city/highway. While the car might appear small, it actually provides spacious leg room and is the largest micro car sold in the U.S.

With a sleek, leather interior trim, the all-new Spark is well-balanced and provides traction control with easy-to-maneuver steering. The vehicle is equipped with OnStar to bring assistance when experiencing car troubles. Overall, this is a great choice for its affordability and fuel economy.

2013 Chevrolet Spark

Most Innovative Top Pick: Cadillac ATS
A sports car and luxury sedan combined into one? Innovativeness at its best, the Cadillac ATS is a natural pick. The four-door luxury sport sedan is an outstanding addition to the Cadillac family. ATS is smaller than the CTS but still sports rear- or all-wheel drive. It got one of the lowest curb weights in the segment -- less than 3,400 pounds and a 2.5-liter engine with 202 hp.

The bold vertical lighting elements -- including new LED front signature lighting detail -- illuminate the technologically advanced style and functions of the ATS. A seven-speaker Bose sound system is offered on the standard model which eliminates the active noise surroundings creating a more pleasurable ride experience.

2013 Cadillac ATS

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@Italkaboutcars Great article!