Platform-sharing makes for some unlikely bedfellows, with seemingly unrelated vehicles concealing a considerable amount of similar DNA underneath the skin. This goes for both in-house collaborations and partnerships between different automakers looking to take advantage of the strengths of the other, with results ranging from intriguing to unusual. While sometimes it can be easy to spot a pair of cars or trucks that share the same platform, in other cases it's not nearly as obvious.
Let's take a look at 10 new cars and trucks that borrow bits and pieces from each other and examine a few of the main differences between them.
The 2012 Ford Taurus is the brand's flagship full-size sedan, and in addition to offering a an exceptionally large passenger compartment, huge trunk, and beefy styling the vehicle additionally features several different drivetrain choices. The Ford Taurus can be had with a 3.5-liter, 263 horsepower V-6, a twin-turbo, 365 horsepower EcoBoost edition of the same motor, and soon it will also come with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder unit designed to offer solid fuel economy. All-wheel drive is available with the Taurus, and a six-speed automatic transmission is standard.
02. 2012 Lincoln MKS
The 2012 Lincoln MKS nabs the Ford Taurus platform and makes several key changes. Obviously, the Lincoln MKS features interior trappings that are several cuts above the Taurus in terms of comfort and exclusivity, and the vehicle also comes with a host of technological goodies that include a lane-keeping feature as well as THX-certified audio. Under the hood, the MKS shares the availability of the EcoBoost V-6 (although packing 10 fewer ponies for 2012), but its base engine is a more robust, 3.7-liter V-6 that is good for 273 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. The four-cylinder EcoBoost motor is not offered with the luxury car.
03. 2012 Volkswagen Golf
The 2012 Volkswagen Golf has become the go-to hatchback choice for thousands of young families who appreciate the fact that it can be had in either two-door or four-door configurations, each of which provide a total of 46 cubic feet of total cargo space with the rear seats folded forward. The nimble Volkswagen Golf is offered with either a 2.5-liter, 170 horsepower five-cylinder engine or a 2.0-liter, turbodiesel four-cylinder unit (that also produces 236 lb-ft of torque and returns 41-mpg during highway cruising). Transmission choices for the Golf include a five-speed manual, a six-speed automatic, a six-speed manual, and a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual, depending on which motor is selected.
04. 2012 Volkswagen Jetta
The 2012 Volkswagen Jetta is a sedan that might look a significantly bigger than the VW Golf, but strip away the cosmetics and you'll find that both of these vehicles have a whole lot in common. Not only do the Golf and the Volkswagen Jetta share all of the same engine options, but they also offer very similar fuel economy and sit on a shared platform. Key differences include interior room (with the Jetta providing extra space for backseat riders), and unique suspension and braking setups that see the Jetta provide a more comfortable but not necessarily as-fun-to-drive experience when compared to the hatchback.
05. 2012 Ford Fusion
The 2012 Ford Fusion is one of the Blue Oval's best selling passenger cars, in part because it offers an affordable combination of sportiness, practicality, fuel efficiency, and style. The Ford Fusion also comes with a wide range of feature sets and options packages. From a drivetrain perspective, the Fusion provides the choice between front-wheel and all-wheel drive, and can be had with four-cylinder (2.5-liters, 175 horsepower), and V-6 (3.0-liters, 240 horsepower or 3.5-liters, 263 horsepower) engines. There is even a hybrid edition of the mid-size sedan available for those seeking to benefit from its 41-mpg city and 36-mpg highway EPA rating.
06. 2012 Mazda MAZDA6
The 2012 Mazda Mazda6 is definitely a member of the same family as the Ford Fusion. Where things get complicated, however, is when tracing the lineage of the Mazda MAZDA6's platform. The MAZDA6 sits on a modified version of the Fusion's chassis, a fact that is driven home by Mazda's more performance-oriented suspension tuning that gives the mid-size sedan an engaging flavor from behind the wheel. The MAZDA6 doesn't offer as extensive an equipment list as the Fusion, but it does come with a similar 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that is rated at 175 horsepower as well as a more robust top-tier option: a 3.7-liter V-6 that generates 272 ponies and 269 lb-ft of twist.
07. 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan
The 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan is one of the most recognizable names in the world of minivans and represents the direct descendent of the very first of the breed to be embraced by the American public. Key features of the Dodge Grand Caravan include the Stow 'n Go seating system, which makes it a cinch to free up the van's 143 cubic feet of interior storage room, as well as the availability of the sporty-looking R/T trim level. All versions of the Grand Caravan are motivated by a 3.6-liter, 282 horsepower V-6 that is managed by a six-speed automatic transmission.
08. 2012 Volkswagen Routan
The 2012 Volkswagen Routan might seem like it's out-of-step with the rest of the VW lineup, and there's a good reason for this: it's actually a re-badged Grand Caravan. The Volkswagen Routan provides eight-passenger seating and comparable interior cargo room when compared to its American compatriot thanks to the fact that it rides on a near-identical chassis (albeit one with a stiffer suspension system installed underneath). Most of the vehicle's features are also the same - minus Stow 'n Go - and the Routan also matches the Dodge's drivetrain. Aside from the more connected ride, the VW provides styling that is a little less butch when placed alongside its domestic progenitor.
09. 2012 Honda Pilot
The 2012 Honda Pilot is a big, three-row crossover vehicle that can not only swallow 87 cubic feet of gear but can also handle as many as eight passengers without breaking a sweat. The Honda Pilot can be outfitted with premium features such as a navigation system, heated leather seats, and a DVD entertainment system, and it also makes use of a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that can be counted on to produce 250 horsepower and 253 lb-ft of torque. Fuel mileage for the Pilot checks in at a respectable 25-mpg during highway cruising, and all-wheel drive is of course available as an option.
10. 2012 Honda Ridgeline
The 2012 Honda Ridgeline is a pickup for people who don't really want a truck, and it therefore makes sense that this vehicle is based on the other utility-focused member of the Honda lineup: the Pilot. Unlike several of the other shared platforms on this list, however, the Honda Ridgeline's underpinnings have been significantly re-worked, with well more than half of its chassis and systems standing apart from their Pilot origins. The Ridgeline can seat as many as five passengers, borrows the same 3.5-liter V-6 as its crossover cousin, and adds standard all-wheel drive (along with an five-foot cargo bed that features a lockable trunk compartment).