Maxima plays up sportiness, a sexy Hyundai and more

What:Small two-door, four-door sedans. Pedigree:Introduced in 2000, the Focus got a significant update for 2008. Personality:A passel of young folks are falling for the Focus, with sales up 30% compared with last year. Ford says it's getting a growing number of buyers ages 16 to 35. When:On sale last November. Why:Because Ford needed a small car that could grab younger buyers, who tend to be loyal if they like a brand. Marquee feature:Ford's Sync technology, which lets drivers speak commands to their stereo instead of pushing buttons. How much:Entry-level two-door starts at $14,664, four-door at $14,995

Ford Verve

What:Subcompact sedan. Pedigree:The Verve concept will become the next-generation Ford Fiesta, starting in Europe later this year as a 2009. Personality:The sleek little car is aimed to attract even more young buyers than the new Focus. Ford even is considering bringing the USA a hatchback version, which traditionally has sold poorly here, because younger tastes are changing When: Goes on sale here as a 2010 model. Why:Ford is trying to win back street cred with younger buyers, who they hope will stay loyal to the brand Marquee feature:A panoramic glass roof and no side pillars between the doors, giving it an open, airy feel and a sporty look. How much:Not yet set.

BMW M3 convertible

What:BMW's signature open-air experience, will offer a V-8 engine and its first retractable hardtop. Pedigree:The fourth generation of the M3 convertible, which BMW aims to be a showpiece of high-powered engineering and droptop luxury. Personality:Young and racy, just like the Hollywood crowd expected to buy it. Just the car for a 30-something talent agent who aspires to be a movie studio chief. When: Will be in showrooms by summer. Why:Probably BMW's best weapon to keep its image fresh and vital, all the more necessary because of the challenge it is getting from Audi the same big-money party crowd. Marquee features:Instead of only offering a six-cylinder engine, the M3 convertible has a 4.0 liter V-8 engine that develops 414 horsepower. It goes from zero to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and hits a top speed of 155 mph. The convertible top stows in a compartment in the rear. How much:Expected to be mid-$60,000 range. The M3 sedan will sell for $54,575 and the coupe will go for $57,275.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...