Seven Cars We Think Will Do Well in 2012

2013 Ford Fusion

The New Year is a time for resolutions (which usually fail) and for predictions (ditto). So, in the following piece, we will hedge our bets by naming vehicles that have already shown promise, or the hope of promise. That, of course, is the trick behind making predictions—stack the deck a little bit.

There are no guarantees in the auto business, and while everyone looks forward to a banner year, some of the following cars are brand-new and as yet untested. All are reportedly good, and it will be interesting to see how the public responds. Let us know if we are off-base, out of line, or on the money.

Ford moves to a global platform and complete redesign with the 2013 Fusion and, except for some spy photos, its appearance is a secret. Above is a fair rendering of what the car may look like. It will go live at the Detroit Auto Show in January. The new car has lots of tech-y stuff and will be Ford’s big play in the midsize game, with a wide choice of powertrains.

The company should sell some 240,000 Fusions in 2011 and now has about 12 percent of the midsize segment. It is looking for a 50 percent sales increase.

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Green Update: 2012 Passat TDI—Why People Love Diesels

2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI SE, front

Owners of new TDI Passats have reported 45-48 mpg highway (see comments here), much better than the car’s EPA figures of 31/43. That’s one reason people like diesels. This car holds 18.5 gallons of fuel, which could easily give you close to 800 miles per tank.

The stink and clatter of older diesels is long gone. This one is quiet and clean. VW claims the engine, running on low-sulphur fuel, reduces emissions up to 90 percent over previous diesels.

We told you last month our feelings about the general snubbing of the Passat by the auto press. Though it won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year Award, there were plenty of naysayers, carpers and whiners putting it down.

The TDI has generally won their praise, though it got a predictably snide review on The Truth About Cars. Michael Karesh complains about the high mid-thirties price (he drove the top-of-the-line TDI SEL Premium), some cheap details (though its interior is much better than the bottom-line, gas-powered SE) and concludes that “it’s not the stellar car it could be with a few minor upgrades and alterations.” Hmph.

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