As you may have noticed, February is the month of love and romance. I say phooey to all that mushy stuff, Let’s talk about cars.
That’s not to say that cars and love have nothing to do with each other. Many people express “love” for their cars, no matter how ugly or expensive they end up being. Like a special someone, cars can be sexy, playful, or endearing.
With that in mind, here’s my list for the six sexiest cars of the 2012.
1. Draggin’ Wagon: CTS-V Wagon
Long usurped by the SUV as the all-purpose suburban grocery hauler, the humble station wagon has seen better days, and few have ever called one sexy. Cadillac’s CTS-V Wagon aims to change all this. From the driver’s seat forward this car’s sharp, sexy creases and angles are identical to its two and four-door brethren, but take the party out back and you’ll be greeted by a sloped liftgate expertly grafted to the CTS-V’s bold lines. The story doesn’t end there; Caddy paired this shaggin’ wagon with a V-8 engine that produces north of 550 horsepower to move its 19-inch wheels. Sure, its price and power put you in Corvette territory, but how many ‘Vettes can you tailgate from? $62,990 www.cadillac.com
2. Not a Carbon Copy: Volkswagen CC
Sometime during the 20th century, automakers discovered computers, and car design has been downhill ever since. They’re constantly on a quest to make their cars cut more easily through air, and often style is sacrificed along the way. If you’re tired of sensible sedans that look like bars of soap, check out the Volkswagen CC. True, its coupe-like rear slant isn’t as purely practical as its cousin's, the Passat, but the Passat doesn’t radiate the same class and style as the CC. Inside the black-and-tan leatherette interior greets you in a way that suggests you’ve wandered into someone’s baby Bentley. A sweep of real wood trim bisects the dash, while metallic trim adds a bit of sporty flair.
If you’re the jealous type, you’ll be happy to know that the CC is a rare sight, but starting at $28,515 it’s surprisingly affordable. www.vw.com
3. High Maintenance: Land Rover Evoque
I’m going to level with you: Land Rovers have a terrible record when it comes to quality; but damn if they don’t build a fine-looking SUV - no small task. Their talent of draping curvaceous shapes over frumpy SUV frames is on full display with the 2012 Evoque. Lean and mean, the Evoque’s slitted eyes and electric-razor grill make quite the first impression while the Evoque’s sides sweep up to meet the rear roofline, leaving what I can only imagine to be a very impractical (but oh-so-stylish) rear window.
All versions come with a 240 horsepower engine, but since this is all about sexy, we recommend the sleek form of the two-door Evoque coupe, starting at $44,995. www.landrover.com
4. Hot Fusion: 2013 Ford Fusion
The current Ford Fusion is an alright mid-sized contender, but its three-blade grill is a face only Norelco could love. Last month Ford revealed its 2013 replacement, a muscular, creased machine whose shark-like profile suggests a little Aston Martin (formerly owned by Ford) got into the Ford gene pool. That’s not a bad guess; the Fusion’s design was penned by a British design firm. The result is an American midsized sedan that radiates European elegance and Yankee bravado. I’ll take mine in “cop magnet red” please. Prices are not set, but expect it to be a modest jump over the current base MSRP of $20,200. www.ford.com
5. Love Letters: Scion FR-S
To be frank there isn’t much sexy going on with Scion’s current line up of oblong boxes and angular coupes, but that all changes this year with the rollout of the Scion FR-S. Those who like to keep their love simple should check out the coupe’s windswept folds and low-slung lines. However, if you’re looking for more than a pretty face, you’ve got it; Scion’s first performance-minded car combines the timeless virtues of light weight, rear wheel drive, and excellent handling. Beware, though, this one may two-time you. Toyota developed the FR-S in a torrid affair with Subaru, which will release its own version, the equally alphabetical BRZ. Most estimate the price to be around $25,000 for either. www.toyota.com; www.subaru.com
6. Bull's Eye: the 2013 Dodge Dart
The last Dodge Dart rolled off the line in 1976, and in the world of American compact cars, it left at the right time. That was before the Japanese took the U.S. by storm, starting a dominance in the small car market that only recently began to ebb. I confess: until the past few years I didn’t have much love for the American small cars I’ve known, but Dodge’s 2013 Dart is a heart-tipped arrow straight through my cruel, Cavalier-hating heart.
Based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, it’s been given a thoroughly American redesign that recalls the bold lines of its big brother, the Charger. A blacked out version of Dodge’s trademark grill sits in between two aggressive-looking headlamp clusters that themselves sit below bulging hood flares. The interior is wrapped in leather-like material and textures punctuated with red accents - a decidedly dangerous look. This boyfriend’s back, and he’s going to be trouble. Pricing should start around $16,000. www.dodge.com