Posts By: Timothy Cain

By on June 24, 2016

2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature front

I want you to sit down for this.

The 2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature we’re driving this week costs $45,215.

Mazda USA’s $45,215 sticker includes the destination fee and $300 for Machine Grey Metallic.

Yes, that’s 34-percent more than the next-most-expensive Mazda.

No, there’s not a panoramic sunroof at this price point; no ventilated seats, either. On paper, the new CX-9 produces only 227 horsepower from its 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four when filled with regular fuel. Cargo space behind the third row? Negligible. Third row seating? Technically, yes, there is a third row for the headless and legless among us, like many of its rivals. The eight-inch Mazda Connect infotainment unit is intuitive but not the swiftest operator.

And other than that, the all-new second-generation Mazda CX-9 is pretty much, well … is perfect too strong a word? (Read More…)

By on June 24, 2016

2017 Jaguar lineup

The UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders is tasked with, according to the SMMT, promoting “the interests of the UK automotive industry at home and abroad.”

Prior to the June 23 Brexit vote for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, the SMMT insisted that voting “remain” was critical to the UK automotive industry. Brexit could jeopardise jobs, automakers were in agreement that remaining was important, and pointed to the UK’s 800,000 auto industry jobs and its £15.5 billion contribution to the economy as reasons to stay in the European Union.

(Read More…)

By on June 23, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Camaro

On the Muscle Car Calendar, 2016 was supposed to be the Year of Camaro.

After outselling the Ford Mustang in the United States in five consecutive years between 2010 and 2014, it wasn’t surprising to see the Chevrolet Camaro fade into a distant second place in calendar year 2015. The Mustang was all-new in sixth-generation form for model year 2015; the Camaro was in its seventh and last year of its fifth iteration. The refreshed Dodge Challenger’s success may have played a role in the Camaro’s sharp decline, too, as 2015 was the seventh consecutive year of U.S. Challenger sales growth.

2016, with the reborn Camaro freshly reengineered and the Mustang no longer the freshest American muscle, is not turning out to be the Camaro’s time to shine.

Through the first five months of 2016, the Ford Mustang has outsold the Chevrolet Camaro by 21,324 units in the United States, a margin that may be impossible for the Camaro to overcome by year’s end. (Read More…)

By on June 22, 2016

Honda Civic Bing Maps Eastern Passage

We live on a small cul-de-sac with 19 other families. Until this past weekend, there were 33 vehicles parked in our street’s 20 driveways, not including the always different manufacturer-supplied press car parked in front of GCBC Towers.

But one family that already owned one Honda Civic just doubled the size of its fleet with another Civic, and in so doing also doubled the number of driveways on our 20-home street with two Honda Civics. This brought the total number of Honda Civics on our small cul-de-sac to nine, equal to a 26 percent share of the market.

Yes, it’s an extreme version of a typically Canadian story. Assembled in Honda Canada’s plant in Alliston, Ontario, the Civic is a long-running powerhouse, a reality intensified in our decidedly non-premium, working class community.

Meanwhile, the Honda Civic is climbing the leaderboard in the United States, as well. (Read More…)

By on June 21, 2016

2016 Dacia Duster Commercial “Another one bites the dust.” Queen, 1980.
“Another one drives the Duster.” Dacia, 2016.

As the elites gaze at yet another Dacia Duster drive by, they adopt the 36-year-old words of Queen. Sort of.

“Another one drives the Duster,” Dacia’s latest ad repeatedly says.

“Relax, you can drive one too,” the commercial ends. And if you live in one of Dacia’s mostly European markets, you surely can. The Dacia is priced from only £9,495 in the United Kingdom, less than half the price of Nissan UK’s Rogue twin, the X-Trail. (Read More…)

By on June 21, 2016

The overwhelming majority of mileage I accumulated in manufacturer-supplied test cars in May was spent in direct hybrid rivals from Ford and Toyota. The 2016 Ford C-Max SE, Ford’s base model, visited for one week. Then following a stretch in the 2016 Volkswagen Golf R, a base version of Toyota’s new, fourth-generation Prius was dropped […]

By on June 20, 2016

2016 BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon

Why? Surely you jest.

Why is an automobile manufacturer’s U.S. arm killing off its lone remaining wagon? You don’t need to ask, for the answer lies therein: it’s a wagon. So they’re done with it. Insert the proverbial duh.

A report on BimmerFile.com, sourced both anonymously and from prolific BMW forum user Scott26, says the current BMW 3 Series Sport Wagon will be the last iteration of the car imported by BMW USA. (Read More…)

By on June 20, 2016

2016 Fiat 500X Trekking Plus

Nearly one-third of the workforce at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ plant in Kragujevac, Serbia, was laid off last week because of poor Fiat 500L demand.

In the United States, the 500L is by no means the only Fiat that isn’t selling.

Besides the 500L’s sharp U.S. sales decline — year-over-year volume has tumbled each month in the last nine months — the core 500 model which brought Fiat back to life in the U.S. has lost nearly half its volume this year, a 6,288-unit loss through only five months.

Meanwhile, the expectation that a crossover could make up for the poorly received 500L and rapidly aging 500 turned out to be false. A crossover, yes, that will be the ticket. Surely a crossover could work wonders. A relative of the Jeep Renegade, only prettier, could definitely restore Fiat to the peak glory days of 2014.

Glory days, when with two models in its lineup, Fiat USA failed to match its stated goal of 50,000 annual sales for the 500 alone? Of course, that Sergio Marchionne sales forecast was way off target.

Just as the 500L and 500X have missed the mark, as well. (Read More…)

By on June 17, 2016

Old Audi RS5 New Audi S5

“I can’t quite believe it, but it actually looks different to the last one. In a wild change of tack…,” CAR Magazine’s CJ Hubbard writes, “…Audi has built a new car that doesn’t look nearly indistinguishable from its predecessor.”

Er, sure.

To be fair, Hubbard is among an early group of drivers who spent a fair chunk of time with the new Audi A5 in Portugal, and with time comes familiarity, and with familiarity comes an ability to more easily distinguish the new car from the old. We’ll get there, too.

Moreover, while reviews in Top Gear and The Telegraph were more direct in regards to the new A5’s, “same-again bodywork,” and the idea that, “designers phones in the changes,” Hubbard simply said the new A5 does not look nearly indistinguishable from the old A5, which could be translated to mean that it does look somewhat indistinguishable.

Of course the new Audi A5 looks entirely like the old Audi A5. That’s how Audi does things, particularly when the predecessor was a home run. Why mess with success? (Read More…)

By on June 17, 2016

2016 Ram 1500 Tradesman 4x4 EcoDieselAt this moment, according to AutoTrader and Cars.com, there are fewer than three dozen new Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman 4×4 Regular Cab pickup trucks available in the United States.

That’s right, of the roughly 8,000 Ram EcoDiesels and nearly 80,000 Ram 1500s available in the United States, there are approximately 30 available in a traditional working pickup truck format: diesel power, two doors, long box, base trim, four-wheel drive.

This is no slight on Ram or Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ dealers. They’re simply responding to the market’s demands.

You, by which we mean the truck buying collective, don’t want real trucks. So you can’t have one. Because it’s highly unlikely you can find one, because dealers know you don’t want one. (Read More…)

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