2013 Dodge Dart SXTEnlarge Photo
2012 is a leap year, and it's fitting that, for many of the new 2013 models emerging this summer and fall, there's a lot more than facelifts and refreshed feature lists. Most notably, a lot of the trends that we’ve seen over the past several years in luxury models—engine downsizing, fuel-efficient technologies, and in-car connectivity—are making the leap into some of the market’s top sellers.
The Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, and Ford Escape—all some of the top-selling U.S. models—are each completely redesigned this year.
There's also a rebirth of sorts coming from Detroit. This is the year when we're seeing even more of the fruits of some mammoth investment at Ford Motor Co. [NYSE: F], in the form of radically new Fusion mid-size sedan and Escape compact crossover models that load up on the style, trends, and tech of high-end luxury cars yet stay relatively affordable; and at the same time we're seeing the first Chrysler product conceived under Fiat ownership—the Dodge Dart—hitting dealerships and looking to take back some of the small-car market.
Meanwhile, the rebirth extends to other kinds of models as well. Cadillac looks poised to be taken very seriously next to the likes of the BMW 3-Series and Infiniti G37 with its all-new ATS sport sedan. And while the Ram 1500 full-size pickup doesn't look all that different, the new powertrain technologies on board boost fuel economy by about 20 percent—helping to keep full-size trucks relevant as we head toward higher gas-mileage targets and, perhaps, higher gas prices.
Taking a step back to look at the market as a whole, here are ten vehicles that are especially important—for the market, for innovation, and for looking to the future—here for the 2013 model year:
2013 Ford C-Max HybridEnlarge Photo
2013 Ford EscapeEnlarge Photo