Fiat 500e

Price: TBD

Availability: Second quarter, 2013

The outlook: Fiat takes its cute little retro Italian car and gives it an electric drivetrain. As with many new electric vehicles, the 500e will have a range of about 100 miles, so it will serve primarily as a commute car. Fiat is using it to test the waters of the electric vehicle market, and will only sell it in California.

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Acura RLX

Price: $48,450

Availability: March 2013

The outlook: The RLX not only replaces the outgoing RL sedan, but showcases a new era in Acura technology. A direct-injection engine adds efficiency and four-wheel steering enhances handling. An optional Krell audio system gives Acura a new hi-fi partner. Later this year, Acura will launch an innovative hybrid version of the RLX.

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Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET / Caption by: ,

Alfa Romeo 4C

Price: $60,000

Availability: June 2013

The outlook: Alfa Romeo hopes for a premium market success in the U.S. with the new 4C, a sprightly little two-seat sports car. Carbon fiber materials help keep the weight down to about 2,000 pounds, while a midmounted 1.75-liter engine produces 240 horsepower, all ingredients for an exciting sport driver. A lack of practicality suggests that the 4C will end up as a rich person's toy.

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Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET / Caption by: ,

Infiniti Q50

Price: TBD

Availability: Summer 2013

The outlook: The Q50 replaces the G37, and debuts a reworked Infiniti brand. The Q50 sedan will feature standard and hybrid drivetrains, both available in rear- or all-wheel drive. Infiniti's cabin tech has been stagnant over the past few years, but the Q50 will come out with the new InTouch infotainment system.

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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by: ,

Lexus IS 350

Price: TBD

Availability: Summer 2013

The outlook: Lexus updates its IS model with the design language previously seen on the new GS, LS, and ES. The car gets a redesigned suspension and should feature Lexus' Enform app, which integrates features such as Yelp and Bing search into the cabin electronics. Although Lexus will make a hybrid version, the company does not plan on selling it in the U.S.

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Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET / Caption by: ,

Jaguar F-type

Price: $69,000

Availability: Summer 2013

The outlook: Jaguar expands its lineup with the F-type, a dedicated two-seat roadster model that prints smaller than its stablemates. Despite the size, Jaguar will offer it with a supercharged V-8 engine, similar to that found in the company's larger models. Jaguar claims perfect 50:50 balance with the F-type to enhance handling.

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Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET / Caption by: ,

Automatic Smart Driving Assistant

Price: $70

Availability: May 2013

The outlook: We've seen driving and fuel economy monitors before, but the Automatic represents a massive simplification of the technology to almost a Fitbit level of user friendliness. Just plug, pair, and go -- the smartphone app takes care of all monitoring via Bluetooth. There's also an OnStar-like emergency crash/911 assist with no monthly fee. I can't wait to get one in for long-term review.

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Photo by: Antuan Goodwin/CNET / Caption by: ,

Garmin Nuvi 3597 portable navigation device

Price: $379.99

Availability: TBD

The outlook: The next generation of Garmin Nuvi portables sets itself apart with more a natural speech engine for turn-by-turn directions, using nearby landmarks and businesses in addition to street names. "Turn left in 600 feet" becomes "Turn left at the gas station." Garmin hopes that this will help drivers to keep their eyes on the road ahead, rather than scrutinizing street signs.

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Photo by: Antuan Goodwin/CNET / Caption by: ,

Alpine ICS-X7HD in-dash app receiver

Price: $800

Availability: March 2013

The outlook: MirrorLink finally reaches the dashboard, and this Alpine receiver is part of the first wave of aftermarket car stereos to offer the technology. When connected to compatible smartphones, the ICS-X7HD is able to display simplified, driver-friendly versions of the apps and interfaces already on your smartphone with its a large touch screen. Is this finally a good solution for using navigation and audio streaming apps safely in the car?

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Photo by: Antuan Goodwin/CNET / Caption by: ,
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