Although externally very similar to its previous incarnation, the new, larger 2007 Mini Cooper S ($TBA; late 2006) replaces nearly every internal piece, and all the body panels are new to this redesign. The S features a 175 hp turbocharged engine that comes coupled with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, an air intake on the hood, MINI's classic toggle-switch interior, and standard run-flat tires. With all this and more added on to what was already a solid package, we're left wishing we had waited to pick up our new rides until we test drove this.
The Toyota Yaris is small in size and price, but big in efficiency. While the Yaris (starting at $10,950) only produces 106 hp, the ultra-compact ride keeps you in the green with its 40 mpg fuel rating. Available in a liftback or sedan, the Yaris comes standard with a 1.5-liter DOHC 16-valve VVT-i 4-cylinder engine, tons of pockets and cup holders, and the most design you can buy for under $13K. Options include an AM/FM CD player with MP3/WMA playback capability, auxiliary audio jack, and remote keyless entry.
There hasn't been too many American-made cars we've wanted this year, but the Chrylser Crossfire SRT6 (starting at $46,100) is one that we wouldn't mind having in the garage. There's only one problem — it's not totally an American car. Packing the supercharged 3.2-liter V6 and five-speed automatic transmission found in the 2002-2004 Mercedes SLK32 AMG, the Crossfire SRT6 offers European power and some of the best styling the U.S. has to offer.
For those that live in a climate that has even relatively cold winters, regular convertibles are pretty much a half-year vehicle. This car may change all of that. The new Volvo C70 ($TBA; available Spring ‘06) was designed to replace 2 cars — the old C70 coupe and convertible. The new C70 features a three-piece hard top, a 2.5L supercharged inline-five that produces 218 hp, and legendary Volvo safety. Finally, a convertible that looks just as good as a coupe. [Thanks, John]