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With the 2013 model year fast upon us, I got to thinking: Which of the 160-plus new rides will make the biggest impact, in terms of sales, brand image, or segment domination? To keep my list to a reasonable numeration, I figure my “Top 13 of 2013″ makes sense, or at least has a nice ring to it. Some of my roster I’ve driven, and like immensely. As for the others, well, I look forward to experiencing what I project will be standouts. Without further ado…


(1) Ford Fusion: With swoopy, coupelike lines, the Fusion adopts small-displacement turbo engines as well as hybrid and plug-in-hybrid options to lure midsize sedan shoppers. The last gen won our 2010 Car of the Year award, and this new one appears on track to make a run at the ’13 title.


(2) Honda Accord: Will Honda get its mojo back with its ninth-gen Accord? An all-new DI four-cylinder/CVT powertrain and a plug-in hybrid say yes.


(3) Nissan Altima: In case you missed it, the last gen was the second-best-selling car in 2011. Ditto through May 2012. For 2013, with a 38-mpg-highway, 7.4-second-to-60 four-cylinder and 43-pounds-lighter curb weight (2.5 SL), the Altima could easily surge to number one.
 

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(4) Ford Focus ST: Ford hasn’t had a hot hatch in the U.S. since the SVT Focus departed in 2004. The new ST, with a 252-hp turbo 2.0-liter, 18-inch alloys, available Recaros, and a $24,495 price tag rejuvenates the Blue Oval in a big hurry.


(5) Hyundai Veloster Turbo: Through May 2012, the funky three-door Veloster nearly outsold the entire Genesis lineup. A finalist in last year’s COTY program, the ’13 Veloster adds a turbo, whose 201 hp, $22,725 sticker, and 38-mpg highway rating make it a bargain banshee on paper, and, I hope, on the road.


(6) Subaru BRZ: Front engine, rear drive, light weight, low Cg. Oh, and it beat the Scion FR-S, Mazda Miata, Ford Mustang, VW GTI, and Hyundai Genesis Coupe in a recent MT comparison test.


(7) BMW M3: The M division’s icon is set to get its first turbocharged engine, a force-fed I-6 that will replace the high-revving outgoing V-8. With more power and torque than ever before, as well as an even quicker DCT, the M3 should be a sub-4.0-second car.
 

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(8) Cadillac ATS: Can Caddy finally outgun the formidable 3 Series? Whether or not it does, a rear-drive, Nuerburgring-tested 270-hp sport sedan from the General can’t be a bad thing.


(9) Lexus GS: The styling may be polarizing, but the driving dynamics are anything but. If you’re disenchanted with the 5 Series, this is your car.


Large and in Charge. (10) Toyota Avalon: With the Chevy Impala set to debut as a 2014 model, the all-new Avalon has the opportunity to reign over the large-car segment, at least for a year. No longer Grandpa’s Toy, the new all-American Avalon looks decidedly upscale and sporty. Who knows, it may even appeal to Gen X.


(11) Ford Shelby GT500: 662 supercharged horses, 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, and 196 mph under imperfect conditions. At $54,995, an unbelievable bargain.
 

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(12) Ferrari F12: OK, this one actually belongs in the 700 Club, but you get the idea. With a V-12 screaming to 8700 rpm, the 211-mph F12 will set the supercar benchmark.


(13) SRT Viper: Chrysler’s venomous snake has lost the Dodge name, but it’s gained power (rumored to be 640 hp), carbon fiber bodywork, stability control, and a price-appropriate cockpit. With a new Corvette due for 2014, the SRT will be eagerly awaiting. So will I.
 
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