2013 looks to be an excellent model year for cars, with new entrants from Cadillac, Ford, and BMW, plus some high tech updates for existing models from Honda, Lexus, and SRT.
2013 SRT Viper
Availability: Late 2012
The outlook: The new Viper is a halo car for the Chrysler Group, marking its reorganization under Fiat. Where the old Viper was a massive engine with a little bit of car wrapped around it, this new model is a high tech race car, set to compete with the likes of supercars from Ferrari and Lamborghini.
The outlook: The ATS is Cadillac's new entry-level model, a car designed from the ground up to compete with the BMW 3-series. Combining sport and luxury characteristics, the ATS can be had with two different engines and will get Cadillac's new CUE infotainment system, which brings in navigation, Bluetooth phone support, digital music, and other features.
The outlook: The U.S. finally gets BMW's mini SUV, the X1. This car is substantially smaller than BMW's X3, but comes with the same engine options, BMW's new turbocharged four cylinder and the turbocharged inline six cylinder. It will be one of the least expensive BMWs available.
Please check back with CNET for more updated information on this new model.
2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid
Availability: September 2012
The outlook: Ford hedging its hybrid bet with a tall wagon that takes on the Prius and the Prius v at the same time. With more passenger volume than standard Prius and better power and economy than the larger v. Will it be an odd compromise or will it be just right?
The outlook: Ford gave its Fusion mid-size sedan a big update, which included the hybrid model. The new Fusion Hybrid gets fuel economy in the mid-40s, approaching that of the Toyota Prius. It can also be had with a number of driver assistance technologies, such as blind spot monitoring, lane departure prevention, and automatic parking.
The outlook: On the outside the 2013 LS appears to be a simple mid-cycle styling refresh. Settle into the driver's seat and you'll see that the automaker's flagship model has undergone a complete transformation with over 3,000 new parts, new interior styling, and a revamped suite of cabin tech and performance tech options.
The outlook: It may seem odd to replace the iPhone that's suction-cupped to your windshield with another device that's suction-cupped to your windshield. However, the Next Gate only displays those apps that are appropriate for in-car use on its massive 7-inch screen, which should be easier to view and touch.
The outlook: Aiming to take the place of that GoPro Hero or Contour HD stuck to your car's bumper, the windshield, or your helmet, the Sony Action Cam enters the fray with HD video capture, rugged construction, and optional Wi-Fi connectivity with your Android or iOS device.