NOVEMBER: 2012 Hyundai Veloster

Hyundai is pulling a very neat trick with its Veloster. It’s a slightly larger car inside than the Scion tC (and Mini Clubman or Honda CR-Z hybrid). Yet thanks to a very low 2,600-pound curb weight—400 pounds less than the tC— it’s said to get up to 40 mpg from its directly injected, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. That would best Honda’s CR-Z numbers without necessity of hybrid technology, and with the benefit of a bigger cabin. One oddity: Access to the interior is a bit quirky, with one door on the driver’s side, but both front and rear doors on the passenger side. Remember that weight? Fewer doors allow a carmaker to reduce structural reinforcements, and that keeps down bulk. And a low weight allows an increase in fun factor—indeed, Hyundai is promising greater sportiness than its rivals. Can the Veloster “out-fun” a Mini? Hmm, we’re not sure, but Hyundai is promising a tighter turning circle than even a base Mini Cooper and a sophisticated, buttoned-down-sounding suspension. Transmissions include Hyundai’s first dual-clutch six speed (hopefully with paddles) or a six-speed manual. Pricing should be in the $20,000 range.

Read more: Best New Cars for 2012 – 12 Cool Cars Worth Waiting For – Popular Mechanics

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SEPTEMBER: 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

While we’ve heard reports that the SRT (or SRT8, depending on whom you trust) will get as much as 500 hp from its new 6.4-liter Hemi V8, we’re at least certain that the SRT is actually coming, and likely to arrive late this summer. If it’s anything like the already deeply impressive Grand, the SRT8 is going to be both refined and scary fast, with a predicted eight-speed transmission and at a price (roughly $45,000) that deeply undercuts the likes of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and other performance crossovers.

ALSO: In 2012 we’ll see a Maserati 4×4 based on this Jeep’s platform, with a Ferrari-designed V8 under the hood. How come? Because Fiat owns both Chrysler (Jeep’s parent) and Maserati/Ferrari. If you have a deeper philosophical question, like, “Does the world need a Jeeperati?,” we’ll advise that you sit back and let the market decide.

 

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