Wheel Love

Auto choices for 2007

Are you passionate for IT? Do you anticipate the new models every year? Do you dream in exhilarating colors, muscular shapes, swiveling headlamps, carbon-fiber bodies, and supercharged engines? Just how much do we love IT? By IT I mean our love affair with the automobile. Today’s ever-rising gas prices, air pollution, and even traffic nightmares don’t seem to deter us from our love affair with the car.

According to the Bureau of Transportation, there are 107 million U.S. households, each with an average of 1.9 cars, trucks, or sport utility vehicles and 1.8 drivers. That comes to 204 million vehicles and 191 million drivers across the United States.

Obviously, there is a passionate affair with the road! So let’s talk about some of the choices for 2007.


2007 Saturn Aura XR
Saturn Aura XR

This new model from Kansas is based upon the German Opel Vectra, making it a sibling of the Pontiac G6 but with Euro-classy skin and inspired tuning. The Aura XR comes with a six-speed automatic alloy DOHC V-6 producing 252 hp. Acceleration to 110 mph is identical to the 240-hp G6 GT’s, although there is more subtleness due to the double-paned front glass, laminated steel, and sound deadening. The XR interior is Euro-sleek, offering an alternative to the run-of-the-mill GM product line of the past. Consider this car if you want something different and edgy.

Volkswagen GTI

2007 Volkswagen GTI

The spirit continues in the GTI tradition in this turbo-charged, direct-injected 2.0-liter, 4-C that develops a smooth 200 hp. The GTI offers a long list of standard features as well as an optional navigation system. Volkswagen has stepped up to the standard, offering a nice level of interior trim and amenities. The German autobahn never looked so fun, 30 years after the first GTI appeared on the market. It is roomier, more sophisticated, and a great car to drive.

2007 Miata MX-5

Miata MX-5

One of the all-time favorite roadsters among car enthusiasts now gets even better. Mazda began modernizing the droptop in 1990. It has a new unibody, new skin, a new interior, and now a new folding hardtop. Undo the latch, press the button, and twelve seconds later the sky is yours. The top is stowed behind the seats with no trunk-capacity consequences. The pricing is even better. The Miata starts at just under $25,000, making it the least expensive hardtop convertible in the U.S.

Toyota RAV4

2007 Toyota RAV4

This third generation RAV4 is a gem among small sport-utility vehicles. This year it comes with new amenities such as the new, optional 269-hp, 3.5-liter V-6, which revs this baby up to to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds. The RAV4’s combination of compact size, useful interior space, and Toyota reliability proves to be a sport-utility that is hard to beat. Pricing starts at barely over $20 grand. Just a note, Toyota plans to offer a hybrid version on all of its models in the near future.

Porsche Cayman

2007 Porsche Cayman and Boxster

This baby Porsche comes to us in two models–one has a solid roof while the other is a top-down model hair blowing in the wind. They’re essentially identical down to the robust flat-six engine bolted in behind the cockpit and ahead of the tires, giving this fun machine incredible mid-engine balance and agility. Certainly a car everyone should own when they win the lottery.

Honda Fit

2007 Honda Fit

The Fit raises the bar for small-car expectations. Not only does it have an impressive array of standard features and an upscale interior; but it offers room for four adults and exceptional cargo adaptability with sports-car agility. A car with 109 hp won’t generate enthusiasm on the Corvette scale, but it does run up attractive fuel-economy numbers — 33 city, 38 highway, according to the EPA. The boring subcompact econo-cars aren’t so basic anymore. The Honda Fit is certainly a hit for 2007.

Chevrolet Corvette

2007 Chevrolet Corvette

In its sixth generation, the Corvette offers an incredible blend of fun, technology, and warp speed. The Corvette’s composite body hearkens back to the seminal 1953 model, but now with newer materials, such as balsa-core composite panels in combination with a sophisticated body structure to produce one of the cars that has not gotten heavier over the years. The combination of American heritage, high-performance, and modern-day livability becomes amplified in the 505-hp Z06 limited edition. Chevrolet delivers this incredible street machine at a price vastly lower than any of its competitors. The car of your dreams!

Mazdaspeed 3

2007 Mazdaspeed 3

Mazda has thrown us a curve with this new turbocharged, inter-cooled DOHC 16-valve 2.3 liter inline-4. This tiger in disguise offers the Subaru WRX STI some competition. Other elements include suspension and brake enhancements, notice-me exterior trim, and racing styled interior seats. The Mazdaspeed 3 starts at a base price of $22,835, but dealers will be offering a cold-air intake and cat-back exhaust system, adding 30 more horsepower to this bad boy.

BMW 335i Coupe

2007 BMW 335i Coupe

This newest version of the 3 Coupe is longer, lower, and completely restyled. Although it shares critical chassis and suspension components with the sedan, it certainly is sexier and easier on the eyes. With the 2007 BMW Coupe 335i, power comes from a twin-turbocharged, intercooled 3.0 liter inline 6. BMW pegs the 335i’s zero-to-62-mph acceleration at 5.5 and 5.7 seconds for the manual and automatic, courtesy of the new 300-hp engine. Inside the coupe is all BMW, although redesigned somewhat to meet the packaging. The 2+2 is divided by an extension of the center console-nice touch, trust me.

Chrysler 300

2007 Chrysler 300

The Chrysler 300 stands out for bold styling, excellent handling, and optional HEMI V-8 engine. Of course, also available are V-6s for a more sedate blend of performance and mileage. This year the 300 offers a long-wheel version, capacious trunk, and fold-down rear seats to provide cargo utility. The cabin is big, quiet, and impressive. Whether you judge a car by its looks, speed, practicality, or value, the Chrysler 300 is a popular sedan not to be overlooked.

Got a comment?—[email protected].


James T. Hurst

James Hurst is a regular contributor to OutSmart Magazine.

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