Category: New Cars

By on July 27, 2017

2017 Chrysler 200C Platinum - Image: ChryslerAt Hyundai dealers across America, there are 964 copies of the discontinued Azera strewn about, waiting for the final 964 Hyundai Azera buyers.

A raft of recently discontinued models has resulted in opportunities for consumers to potentially snatch up terrific deals while attractive financing terms remain on 2017 models. The Azera, a large volume-brand sedan unable to function in a market that’s rapidly turning its back on such vehicles, is only one such dead model. Production of the first (and only) generation of Jeep’s Patriot, for example, ended late last year, but there are more than 6,600 in dealer inventory, according to Cars.com.

Don’t wait too long, or you’ll end up like that buyer of a new 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution who paid $138,000 just this month, July 2017. Read More >

By on July 27, 2017

2018 Honda Accord Touring - Image: HondaThe 2018 Honda Accord will be assembled in Marysville, Ohio. The overwhelming majority of its sales will occur in the United States of America. Its dimensions, inside and out, suit the U.S. market. In 2016, the Accord ranked second on Cars.com’s American-Made Index.

Open its trunk and a family of bald eagles fly out, having successfully incubated apple pies, having binge-watched every season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. There’s a subtle Statue of Liberty easter egg on the windshield, Hollywood signs engraved in its cupholders, and a 3D hologram of Mount Rushmore featuring a fifth character — Soichiro Honda — that emerges from the glovebox if you shift the manual transmission into sixth, say VTEC three times, and spit over your left shoulder.

The Accord, according to lead exterior designer Tetsuji Morikawa, “is an American car.”

To make sure of that, however, Morikawa said the design team, “wanted to feel like Americans.” And they wanted to finish their design of the 10th-generation Accord in the United States, not Japan. Read More >

By on July 27, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Traverse: Image: GMThe first-generation Chevrolet Traverse was the fourth Lambda platform crossover to arrive, a value-oriented follow-up to the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, and Saturn Outlook.

The Outlook died with Saturn following the 2010 model year. The GMC Acadia has migrated to a slightly smaller segment — it’s now available with a four-cylinder engine and two rows of seats.

And after a lengthy first-gen run, the second-generation 2018 Chevrolet Traverse is finally upon us. We learned earlier in July that the Traverse would reach high up into GMC Acadia Denali and Buick Enclave territory. Now the configurator is live, and the $30,875 2018 Traverse L is $1,280 more costly than the most basic 2017 Chevrolet Traverse — only $1,660 more than the basic Traverse was in 2009. Read More >

By on July 26, 2017

Bugatti Chiron, Front, Image: BugattiThe Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 debuted in 2005 to spec sheet acclaim. On paper, there had never been anything like it. 16 cylinders, four turbos, 987 horsepower.

And 10 miles per gallon of premium gasoline.

The 2018 Bugatti Chiron is a better car, as it should be after more than a decade passed between development cycles. There are still 16 cylinders and four turbos, but Bugatti increased the power (having intermittently done so during the Veyron’s tenure) to 1,500 horses.

That 52 percent increase in power is not quite matched by a commensurate improvement in the distance travelled per gallon of premium gasoline. Not quite. Read More >

By on July 26, 2017

2017 chrysler pacifica

We’ve always been slightly hesitant to share J.D. Power and Associates’ Initial Quality Study, especially given how easily analysis can be clouded by customers failing to understand the technology within their own vehicles. However, the market research firm still provides an interesting peek into what consumers seem to covet versus what they actually purchase.

In J.D. Power’s U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study, consumers were asked how they “feel” about their vehicles on a more visceral level in order to evaluate the car’s overall appeal — or its APEAL, as it were.

Based on a 1,000-point scale, the 2017 survey showed overall satisfaction increased from a score of 801 points to 810 — the highest in the study’s 22-years of existence. Perched at the top of the most appealing brands list is Porsche, for a 13th consecutive year of glory, but it didn’t record the most marked improvement.

Chrysler did.   Read More >

By on July 26, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Chattanooga - Image: VolkswagenJune 2017 was only the Volkswagen Atlas’s first full month on sale in the United States, but the Atlas, still ramping up inventory, already accounts for more than half of Volkswagen’s U.S. utility vehicle sales. In fact, the only Volkswagens that sold more often than the Atlas in June were the Jetta, Passat, and (if you count all variants together) the Golf.

2,413 units is not a terribly impressive number, although it’s stronger than what the Mitsubishi Outlander, Ford Flex, Mazda CX-9, and Volkswagen’s two other utility vehicles managed last month. But the rate at which Volkswagen is building the Atlas at the company’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, assembly plant suggests dealers are only beginning to see just how many copies of the Atlas they’ll soon have to sell.

Will there be buyers? Read More >

By on July 26, 2017

2018 Honda CR-V three-row - Images: Honda AustraliaWith the launch of the seven-seat Honda CR-V in another ASEAN market, this time Australia, one wonders about the potential popularity of a three-row CR-V in the United States.

The Honda CR-V, America’s top-selling utility vehicle in each of the last five years, currently tops American Honda’s sales charts. The CR-V now accounts for more than one-quarter of Honda’s U.S. sales and generated more volume in the first half of 2017 than in any of the CR-V nameplates’s first 10 calendar years.

Broadening the already popular CR-V’s appeal sounds, at first glance, like an entirely reasonable plan.  Read More >

By on July 26, 2017

2018 Ford Mustang GT rear - Image: FordThe 2018 Ford Mustang GT, freshly facelifted and powered up, will cost you 6 percent more than the 2017 Ford Mustang GT.

The base price for a Ford Mustang EcoBoost falls to $26,085, a $610 drop as Ford eliminates the basic Ford Mustang V6 from the lineup and moves the EcoBoost downmarket to aid affordability. Now with 310 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque, the least expensive 2018 Ford Mustang is $400 more than the least expensive 2017 Ford Mustang.

But it’s the 2018 Mustang GT, now priced from $35,995, that’s growing increasingly expensive. A $1,900 jump is nothing to sneeze at, particularly given the speed with which the $40K barrier is now crossed.

Non-Shelby Mustangs can get pricey in a hurry. Read More >

By on July 25, 2017

2018 Hyundai Sonata sunroof - Image: Hyundai“It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your roofs.” — Not Nelly, 2002

Citing weight reduction and consequent improvements in fuel economy, Hyundai Motor America has removed the panoramic sunroof from every Sonata model for the 2018 model year.

Is the move away from vast sunroofs, spanning the breadth and length of the roof, back to conventional sunroofs truly going to result in measurable real-world fuel savings? No. Even a major engineering change such as the Sonata 2.0T’s new eight-speed automatic doesn’t translate to meaningful fuel efficiency gains: the combined EPA fuel economy for the 2018 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T remains the same as it was in 2017 at 26 miles per gallon.

Nor is the reduction of high-mounted panoramic sunroof’s weight and the subsequent lowering of the Sonata’s center of gravity going to be a major boon to the everyday handling of a mainstream midsize sedan.

Maybe the 2018 Sonata’s handling improves, unnoticeably. Perhaps the Sonata becomes more fuel efficient, insignificantly. But the real reason Hyundai has removed the panoramic sunroof from the 2018 Sonata? Blame Vitamin D. Read More >

By on July 25, 2017

2018 Toyota Prius C - Image: Toyota.comIt started last year. Toyota, in concert with upgrading the Prius C with Toyota Safety Sense C added a matte black bodykit to the lower portions of the 2017 Prius C.

But for 2018, the Toyota Prius C is a veritable off-roader — a Rubicon-rolling, 4×4 river-fording FJ Cruiser successor.

The 2018 Prius C’s black cladding reaches up and around the wheel arches, and that cladding is interrupted at the Prius C’s chin by skidplate-aping metallic accents, heaven forfend. Read More >

By on July 24, 2017

2018 Mustang GT, Image: Ford

As evidenced by its constantly evolving truck and SUV lineup, Ford isn’t happy printing the same horsepower and torque figures year after year. Fuel economy and cargo volume are all nice and good, and God knows American consumers love space for unnecessary, child-related crap, but performance cars aren’t dead yet. Nor is the desire for ever more rubber-shredding power.

In the hopes of satisfying those not waiting lustily for the upcoming 1.0-liter EcoSport, engineers at the Blue Oval cranked the power output of its facelifted EcoBoost and GT Mustang variants a few notches higher for 2018. The company’s also making noise about speed. Specifically, the time it takes to reach 60 mph in the 2018 Mustang GT.

Ford claims a 0-60 figure of less than four seconds when equipped with newly available Drag Strip mode — a stunning, if vague, figure that should garner bragging rights if owners are capable of replicating the feat themselves. With no exact 0-60 time given, the 2018 Mustang’s 13.5 cubic-foot trunk provides ample room for those grains of salt. Read More >

By on July 24, 2017

2018 Honda Accord Interior - Image: HondaThe 2018 Honda Accord is not a refresh. It’s not a refurbished, reconditioned revamp.

The 2018 Honda Accord is very much a new car, a 10th-generation follow-up to the five-year, 2013-2017 run of the outgoing Accord. That’s obvious when you look at the design of the new Accord — another midsize car attempting to banish boredom in an attempt to maintain healthy U.S. car sale volumes when more and more people want crossovers. You see it in the 2018 Toyota Camry, the 2018 Hyundai Sonata’s new grille, and the 2018 Accord’s squarer nose and faster roofline.

But Accord buyers will spend far more time inside the car than they do looking at its exterior. For owners, Honda wanted to make the 10th-generation Accord roomier, more capacious, better suited for ferrying five passengers.

So Honda moved the two front passengers closer together. Read More >

By on July 21, 2017

Image: 2018 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400, image © Corey Lewis

Power and performance. Luxury and emotionBalance and elegance. These are the seductive adjectives experts in automotive marketing insist can be found in a company’s newest offering, especially in the premium sports sedan segment.

After spending time on the back roads of Tennessee with the revised-for-2018 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400, is the marketing hype true? Does it really deliver all the desirable adjectives you’d like in your premium sports sedan offering?

In a word, no.

Read More >

By on July 21, 2017

Mercedes-Benz X-Class Nissan Navara - Images: Mercedes-Benz & NissanAustralia’s pickup truck markets wants to know: is the Mercedes-Benz X-Class more than just a badge-engineered Nissan Navara?

“This is hardly a double badge,” Mercedes-Benz Vans’ global boss Volker Mornhinweg told Motoring.

But there’s a tendency to see matters another way. The production X-Class, not yet bound for North America’s nonexistent premium midsize pickup truck market, isn’t exactly a carbon copy of the X-Class Concept shown in late 2016.

Moreover, that X-Class gear lever looks downright familiar to Navara drivers. Read More >

By on July 20, 2017

2018 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400

At the 2018 Infiniti Q50 First Drive event in Nashville (expect a full review Friday), I was able to spend a few moments with the top-of-the-line Q60 for 2018 — the Red Sport 400. While I didn’t get enough time behind the wheel to provide you with the sort of detailed and meaningful review you’d like to see, the pictures turned out alright. It’s nice to see a luxury coupe with a (mostly) white interior.

Holy Eldorado!

Read More >

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