1997 Black Enterprise Auto Guide

The latest in cars and auto trends for the new model year

full-time all-wheel-drive system, large 4.3 liter V6 engine and smooth automatic transmission. There’s no low range for extreme off-road use, but the Bravada provides pleasant comfort on pavement or rough dirt roads.

Porsche is the third German car company to bring out a new roadster within a 12-month period. When comparably equipped, it’s priced a bit higher than BMW’s Z3 2.8 and Mercedes-Benz’s SLK230. The Boxster portends to be the sportiest of this new trio. It arts out at $40,725, w
ith a quick jump to $43,875 if you want Porsche’s Tiptronic transmission.

Under its skin, the Boxster has many chassis and suspension components from the previous generation Porsche 911. Clever use of such readily available components from Porsche’s parts bin result in tremendous savings, making this the cheapest Porsche by a wide margin. The engine is a smaller displacement version of the traditional opposed sixcylinder engine now found in all Porsche cars. The soft top is power operated. Those who want more weather protection will be able to purchase a bolt-on hard top.

With more than 200 horsepower pushing around a small two-passenger car, the Boxster should be rather quick. The sacrifice will be in comfort, something you’ll find a bit more of in the BMW, Mercedes and even Mazda Miata alternatives.

Oldsmobile will be introducing its first 1998 model, the Intrigue, this spring. This is a roomy midsize car with some remarkable abilities in terms of overall performance, comfort and luxury. Designed to fit the $20,000-$25,000 segment, this is a front-drive, four-door sedan. The 3.8liter engine pumps out a healthy 195 horsepower. Later models will get a more powerful overhead cam engine, but this V6 already has a track record for reliability and economy.

There will be two trim levels–base and GL–with relatively few options. Standard equipment includes four-wheel-disc anti-lock brakes. traction control. power windows/locks. tilt steering, air conditioning and alloy wheels. The large trunk can be expanded with folding seats, but the unfortunate lack of a locking device seriously compromises trunk security.

Intrigue has considerably more passenger room than such rivals as Toyota Camry or Nissan Maxima. And while it offers equal levels of ride comfort and quiet, the stout engine and sophisticated independent suspension make it more fun to drive.

This car is a sibling to Pontiac’s recently renewed Grand Prix, but it’s aimed at a more import-oriented audience. With comfortable seats and well-designed interior, the Intrigue is going to please a lot of owners for many miles.

In February, Toyota brought its new 4Runner into the popular sportutility market. With domestic brands raising prices with seeming wanton abandon, what was once an expensive import is starting to look like it offers some real value. With prices for the base model four cylinder rear-drive starting at $20,308 and a loaded 4WD VG Limited hitting $34,158, the 4Runner isn’t cheap. But this remains a truck with
an unmatched reputation for durability and the ability to tackle the toughest terrain and curving pavement with surprising finesse.

With a 1 50-horsepower 2.7-liter four-cylinder, base models accelerate

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8