2014 Chevrolet SS

The 2014 Chevrolet SS has all the boxes checked on what constitutes a hot performance sedan: 415-horsepower V-8 engine, rear-wheel drive, ultra-high-performance Bridgestone tires, 14-inch Brembo front brakes and a 0 to 60 mph time of about 5 seconds. But then, it adds the unexpected, like a blind-spot monitor, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, rearview camera with cross traffic alert, navigation, Bose stereo, an automatic parking assist and a comfortable interior.

2014 BMW X5 xDrive35i

The all-new 2014 BMW X5 is the third generation of this sports utility vehicle that handles much like a sports sedan. The new X5 has several engine choices, including a 3.0-liter diesel, the standard twin-turbo six-cylinder or the 445-horsepower twin-turbo V-8. All engines use an eight-speed automatic that can be shifted manually. BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system adjusts the distribution of power between the front and rear wheels according to available traction.

2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed

This Bentley coupe has the rare combination of British luxury with the performance provided by a 616-horsepower 12-cylinder engine and a top speed of 205 miles an hour. Still, it does all this without the ticket-me looks of a Ferrari or Lamborghini. It even has all-wheel drive, which gave it outstanding traction. The cabin breathes so much old-world luxury that it feels like the world’s fastest drawing room. The ride, even in Sport mode, is surprisingly compliant given the low profile tires. On the highway the car glides yet never floats.

2014 Toyota Highlander Limited V-6 AWD

The Toyota Highlander is big enough for three rows of seating and seven passengers without being excessively bloated. The third row is small, but appropriately sized for children. Its second row has captain’s chairs that could be moved forward and back to increase legroom for the third seat. The Highlander is designed with several nicely designed storage areas, and its 3.5-liter V-6 engine delivers nicely.

Luxurious XJLR is one big, hot cat

Full-size luxury sedans such as the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Hyundai Equus, Audi A8, Bentley Flying Spur, Porsche Panamera and the Jaguar XJL are pretty amazing pieces of work. Each of these aspirational vehicles has a distinct personality and each combines all-out luxury with exceptional performance and serious price tags. Think ground-bound private jets and you get the picture.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4X4 EcoDiesel

Jeep has diversified its lineup by adding a diesel version of its Grand Cherokee Summit. The diesel can tow 7,400 pounds and delivers its torque as low as 2,000 rpm. The Grand Cherokee also has the amenities of a luxury car, while the diesel gives it 28 mpg on the highway, and a range of 730 miles on one tank.

2014 Dodge Avenger SXT

The 2014 Dodge Avenger SXT with the Blacktop package of black wheels, a black grille and black headlight bezels makes the car look like a smaller version of the Charger. With an optional 283-horsepower V-6 engine, the Avenger can back up its performance looks. The interior is now more comfortable, thanks to upgraded seats and better padding, and it’s quieter, too, with the addition of 45 sound-deadening items.

2014 Chrysler 300S

The 300 has been a success story for Chrysler since 2005 when the front-engine, rear-wheel-drive model made its debut. New bold styling and a totally new interior give the 300S some swagger. The optional Hemi V-8 has more than enough power, and it shuts down four cylinders under light loads to save fuel. The ride quality is a nice blend of control and suppleness.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Z51

The 2014 Stingray packs a powerful wallop for a reasonable price, compared to imported competitors. It is even a big step forward from last year’s Vette. It feels livelier and more athletic. The 6.2-liter V-8 puts out 455 horsepower and is smooth and silky at modest rpm, fierce and powerful when you hammer the throttle. The interior is vastly improved, handling is racetrack sharp, and amazingly, the car is capable of returning 29 miles per gallon on the highway.