Make us your home page
The Daily Drivers | By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek, Times Staff Writers

The Daily Drivers: From Honda Accord to Infiniti M37, six cars get a second look

As the new model year arrives, manufacturers are making changes from tweaks to major updates in their lineups. Here are six vehicles we've driven before with new features or powerplants.

2013 Infiniti M37: There aren't many changes to the M37, which is a good thing. This car is a sedan with attitude, which seems to be how Infiniti chooses to define itself. The 330-horsepower V-6 has a seven-speed automatic that shifts crisply and also has a manual shift mode with Nissan's excellent Downshift Rev Matching. In Sport mode, there's even a nice growl to the exhaust note. If the M37 doesn't reach the refined heights of German luxury, it nevertheless offers a compelling blend of style and performance. $61,845 as tested.

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander GT: The Outlander is often overlooked by those in the market for a small SUV, and that's too bad. The new model gets a bit bigger — a full redesign comes late next year — and the GT trim line has a much nicer-looking cabin. The Outlander handles well, and its Super All Wheel Control is, well, super. We also appreciated the GT's V-6, but like all Mitsubishis, the Outlander's styling can be divisive. We wrestled with the third-row seats, which were a pain to fold and unfold by using pull straps. $33,920 as tested.

2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club: To drive this fun little sports car is to love it. It handles like a go-kart, has a smooth-shifting manual transmission and is no slouch in the acceleration department despite its 167 horsepower. The manual convertible top is oh-so-easy to put up or down. Our tester was the new Club trim, which adds contrasting Gunmetal Black wheels, badging and other styling features to eye-catching red paint. The only downside to the roadster is its cabin size, which makes for a tight fit that can get tiring in everyday use. $27,500 as tested.

2013 Acura ILX Hybrid: When we first drove the ILX, Acura's new entry in the compact luxury segment, we found it underwhelming. Now comes the ILX Hybrid, which has one of the better continuously variable transmissions we've driven, a quiet, comfortable cabin and a refined regenerative braking system. On the downside, its idle start/stop system can be a bit annoying in stop-and-go traffic, and it suffers from being underpowered. We're split on whether this ILX is worth the move up from a nonpremium hybrid like the Honda Civic. $35,295 as tested.

2012 Dodge Charger SRT8: The Charger is a big, heavy rear-wheel-drive sedan that, in its SRT performance trim, seems transported backward in time to the era of cheap gas (MPG is 14 city, 23 highway even with cylinder deactivation). The 6.4-liter 470-horsepower Hemi is one of our favorite V-8 powerplants and it didn't disappoint. But the car's somewhat subdued exhaust note and its archaic 5-speed automatic were letdowns. (Non-SRT models come with an 8-speed.) Our tester came loaded with luxury options. Lyra felt a side-to-side rocking on the highway. $50,260 as tested.

2013 Accord Coupe: Take everything we like about the new Accord sedan and add a large dose of fun. This handsome car, which doesn't bill itself as a performance coupe, is nonetheless a sporty yet practical car. The short-throw manual transmission is a delight and the handling, suspension and steering are well-balanced. The interior is attractive, comfortable and has a useful backseat with easy access. The V-6 makes 278 horsepower that doesn't stint on performance. Who says grownups have to compromise? $33,140.

The Daily Drivers: From Honda Accord to Infiniti M37, six cars get a second look 12/14/12 [Last modified: Friday, December 14, 2012 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bealls and West Marine to join Pollo Tropical at redeveloped Kmart site in Clearwater

    Economic Development

    CLEARWATER — The long-vacant shopping plaza on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, formerly home to Kmart, is nearing completion, bringing a handful of well-known retailers to the area.

    The long-vacant shopping plaza on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, formerly home to Kmart, is nearing completion. .JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
  2. Justice Department says civil rights law does not protect gay people

    Working Life

    The Department of Justice has filed court papers arguing that a major federal civil rights law does not protect employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation in a case now being considered by a New York appeals court.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions boards his plane at Andrews Air Force Base on Thursday. Sessions is traveling to El Salvador to meet with local leaders and discuss their efforts to fight gangs like MS-13. [Pablo Martinez Monsivais | Associated Press]
  3. Duke Energy quietly builds a $1.5 billion plant in Citrus County


    CRYSTAL RIVER — Sequestered in a remote part of Citrus County is the most expensive development project you likely haven't heard of.

    Robby Armstrong, Sr., construction specialist at Duke Energy, leads a tour through construction on the combined cycle natural gas plant at the Crystal River Energy Complex. The $1.5 billion project is the largest Duke Energy combined cycle project. Construction is about midway through and expected to be completed in 2018.
[MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
  4. Sign up for the daily News at Noon email newsletter


    The Tampa Bay Times has launched a daily newsletter called News at Noon. It'll be the perfect way to catch up with the latest breaking news and our top stories right in your inbox each weekday.

  5. Jeff Bezos tops Bill Gates as world's richest person — for now


    A surge in Inc. shares Thursday morning in advance of the online retailer's earnings report has propelled founder Jeff Bezos past Bill Gates as the world's richest person, according to a Bloomberg report.

    Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, discusses his Blue Origin reusable rocket project in Colorado Springs in April. A bump in the price of Amazon shares in July of 2017 was enough to move  Bezos above Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, who has topped Forbes' billionaires list 18 out of the last 23 years. 
(Nick Cote | The New York Times]