Black Enterprise 1998 SPRING AUTO GUIDE

Our Picks For The Vehicles This Season

$23,095 that can surpass $30,000 when loaded, the Passport may not be the best bargain. www.honda.com

Nissan Frontier
New compact pickup trucks don’t come along too often, so when Nissan revamps its truck, it’s big news. Not only is the truck mostly new. the name is too. The Frontier is a turnaround for Nissan, putting its truck back into the mainstream after the failed styling experiment of the Hardbody.

Under the hood of the Frontier is a heavily revised four-cylinder engine. This double overhead cam 2.4-liter power plant puts out a very smooth and quiet 143 horsepower. That’s as much as you’ll find in the base engine of any compact truck. For now, however, you won’t be able to upgrade that power plant. The V-6 is temporarily unavailable, due for a return next fall.

Meanwhile, you ton hove a choice of manual or automatic transmission, rear-or port-time four-wheel drive, and standard or King Cab. At its most basis, you get a stripped-down truck for a measly $12,480. There isn’t much luxury, but it’s still plenty peppy with a beefy frame, decent ride comfort and roomy bed, all ready to work. The top of the line King Cab SE four-wheel drive will set you bark 521,480, but it’s got all the luxuries, including keyless remote entry and four wheel anti-lock brakes. www.nissanmotors.com

Porsche 911
Porsche calls this the first all-new 911 in 34 years. Of course, you wouldn’t know by looking at it. That traditional slantnose, rear engine and very familiar shape remain very much intact. Porsche has simply smooched the edges a bit.

Powering the 911 is still a familiar 3.4-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine. Big news for Porsche fans is the switch to water-tooling. This will make the engine a bit quieter while enabling Porsche to meet vehicle emissions standards.

This n
ew 911 is forger. Wheelbase is up by 3.2 inches, overall length by 6.8 inches and width by 1.2 inches. Although height remains the same, the car is squeezed a bit by increasing ground clearance nearly on inch.

With the move from two to four valves per cylinder and a horsepower increase by 14 to 296, performance is also improved. Prices ore increased only mildly, starting at $65,795. Of course, with dozens of pricey options (e.g., footwell lights for $747 or cork maple dashboard wood for a whopping $5,279!), the numbers can increase quickly. www.porsche.com

Toyota Land Cruiser
An entirely new Land Cruiser adds luxury and versatility to the marketplace. Already one of the roughest and toughest SUVs in the dirt, its on-rood performance has left something to be desired. For 1998, however that all changes. Start with a 230-horsepower 32-valve V-8 engine that pumps out a massive 320 foot-pounds of torque. A stiffer chassis eliminates shake, and the new independent front suspension gives this brute the rood manners of a ballerina.

You can still get an optional locking center and rear differential system for outstanding ability in the dirt. However, the front locker is no longer available, mildly reducing off-road ability from incredible to merely best in its

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