Category: New Cars

By on August 5, 2017

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Lusso - Image: FCAJuly 2017 was the first month in which we could ascertain the year-over-year U.S. sales direction of the one-year-old Fiat 124 Spider.

That direction is down.

In fact, the rate of year-over-year decline — 124 Spider sales fell only 6 percent in a passenger car market that was down 15 percent — was by no means severe. But it’s yet another sign that when American roadster buyers want a Mazda Miata, they buy a Mazda Miata. Read More >

By on August 4, 2017

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT driving shot, Image: Hyundai

Hyundai, as we told you last month, has a pretty competent little hatchback on offer for 2018: the newly restyled, revamped, and (Hyundai hopes) reinvigorated Elantra GT. Sporting a mature European-designed body made possible by the overseas i30, the 2018 Elantra GT spices up its roomy hatch bonafides with available power — you’ll find 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque from the Elantra Sport-sourced 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder in the GT Sport.

Its base powerplant isn’t necessarily a slouch, either. (You’ll be able to read a TTAC review of the GT next week.) A direct-injection 2.0-liter generating 162 hp and 150 lb-ft puts the entry-level Elantra sedan’s powerplant to shame, and the cargo room — well, Hyundai’s all about that GT cargo volume. Why else would it call the model “a viable alternative to small CUVs for buyers desiring more fun-to-drive characteristics and greater utility” in the preamble to its price list?

The 2018 price floor for Hyundai’s front-wheel-drive CUV fighter isn’t much higher than last year’s, and those optional ponies won’t exactly break the bank. You can improve a Korean car 12 ways to Sunday, but you still can’t charge more than the Japanese or Germans. Read More >

By on August 2, 2017

2018 Toyota Camry production line - Image: ToyotaWe learned early in July that many of the early 2018 Toyota Camrys available in Toyota’s U.S. showrooms wouldn’t be built in Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky, assembly plant.

Through June, not a single one of the 2016 and 2017 Camrys sold in America were imported. But all of the 2018 Toyota Camrys sold in July came across the Pacific from Japan.

Granted, most of the Camrys leaving Toyota showrooms are still old new Camrys, not new new Camrys. Read More >

By on August 2, 2017

2018 Toyota Camry Georgetown Kentucky Production line - Image: ToyotaForget hybrids. Set aside, for this moment, plug-in hybrids as well. Ignore the EV hubbub and the pie-in-the-sky hydrogen fuel cells. While you’re at it, remove turbochargers and their accompanying displacement reductions from your memory, too.

The naturally aspirated internal combustion engine has legs. The proof is in the 2018 Toyota Camry’s 2.5-liter Dynamic Force four-cylinder. With no hybrid assist, no turbos, no cord that plugs into your garage wall, and no futuristic fuel source, the new Camry 2.5-liter produces 206 horsepower and hits 41 miles per gallon on the highway on regular 87 octane.

That’s 16-percent more power 24-percent more highway mpg than the 2017 Camry’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder. With improvements in conventional, naturally aspirated, gas-fired engines occurring in such leaps and bounds, it’s no wonder Toyota has bigger plans for the Dynamic Force blueprint. Read More >

By on August 2, 2017

CT6 Continental

Today’s Question of the Day isn’t our typical lighthearted, open-ended Choose Your Own Adventure inquiry. It’s serious business, pitting two serious flagship sedans against one another.

At the end of this post, you’ll have to choose: Lincoln Continental, or Cadillac CT6?

Read More >

By on August 1, 2017

2011-2015-2018 Hyundai Sonatas - Images: HyundaiAfter the forgotten third-generation car, the odd and bulbous fourth-generation car, and the dull fifth-generation car, the sixth Hyundai Sonata was unveiled at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show. It was surprising, even shocking, that Hyundai so dramatically transformed its staid midsize car into a radical “fluidic sculpture” sedan.

In the United States, after averaging 132,000 sales over the previous half-decade, the Hyundai Sonata exploded. By 2012, Hyundai sold more than 230,000 copies, and the Sonata averaged 215,000 U.S. sales between 2010 and 2014, a 63-percent increase compared with the previous half-decade average.

The momentum was not sustained. The seventh-generation Hyundai Sonata debuted in the United States at 2014’s New York International Auto Show. Where did the fun go? Where was the drama, the cat-like headlamps, the desire to stand out from the pack?

“We went from a very striking design, to a very beautiful car, but it just didn’t turn heads like the car before it did,” Hyundai Motor America’s vice president of product planning, Mike O’Brien, tells Automotive News. Read More >

By on August 1, 2017

2018 Ford Mustang GT - Image: FordLike a good neighbor, Ford Mustang is there.

We noticed last week that Ford’s more costly 2018 Ford Mustang GT offers an $895 Active Valve Performance Exhaust option. Only now, however, do we know just what that performance exhaust system entailed.

Sure, it can be loud, but the 2018 Mustang GT’s optional exhaust is more than just a baffle that opens under heavy throttle. Now you can hush your Mustang at the crack of dawn to avoid waking Dan and Mary next door; the pesky neighbors who mow their lawn at 8 a.m. on Saturdays but hate everything about your all-American muscle car. Read More >

By on July 31, 2017

2018 Subaru Crosstrek: Image: SubaruAfter the Impreza-based Subaru Outback Sport failed to catch fire with all the ignition of the Legacy-based Subaru Outback, Subaru’s approach differed only slightly when the XV Crosstrek debuted as an upsized rival for vehicles such as the Nissan Juke. Beating the Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax, and Jeep Renegade to the punch, the XV Crosstrek produced consistent and significant year-over-year U.S. sales growth.

From the 53,741 sold in 2013, Subaru reported a 32-percent improvement in 2014, a 25-percent gain in 2015, and a further 8-percent uptick to 95,677 in 2016.

Now that Subaru is preparing to launch the second-generation Crosstrek — the XV tag disappeared after MY2015 — it’s becoming increasingly apparent that Subaru isn’t just making hay off the Crosstrek by selling a whole bunch of Impreza-based tall hatchbacks.

Subaru also sells Crosstreks to the right people. Read More >

By on July 29, 2017

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

Perhaps the most anticipated automotive event of the year (Tesla disciples might say millenium) took place in California last night, as electric car guru Elon Musk handed over the first 30 production Tesla Model 3 sedans to customers — most, if not all, of them employees — at a glitzy, livestreamed event.

Eyesight was restored to the blind. Others rose from their wheelchairs, walking for the first time in years. Okay, that’s not true, but the depths to which some Tesla fans deify Musk and his car company cannot be understated. Certainly, after seeing the final production model, learning its specifications, and hearing Tesla’s lofty production plans, even a cynic drowning in a vast ocean of media-driven hype can’t help but feel impressed.

Hailed as the first affordable, long-range, mass-produced electric car — a crown stolen by the Chevrolet Bolt months ago — the Model 3 will retail for $35,000 before federal incentives, but not just yet. The only version available at launch is the $44,000 Long Range model, good for 310 miles of range per charge.

The 220-mile base sedan, which carries that vaunted lower sticker price, won’t be available until this fall. So, what can the roughly 500,000 reservation holders expect? If they’re on a budget, black had better be their favorite color. Read More >

By on July 28, 2017

2017 Hyundai Ioniq - Image: HyundaiSince arriving early this year, Hyundai Motor America has managed only a meager 4,881 sales of its Prius-fighting Ioniq. Hyundai is certain there are far more Ioniq sales that could occur, however, if only Hyundai had the Ioniqs to sell.

Supply isn’t just tight — the Ioniq Electric is essentially nonexistent at Hyundai’s showrooms in California, the only state where it’s (supposed to be) available.

Yet while Hyundai awaits greater Ioniq inventory, the lack of which is clearly to blame for the low volume to date, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that Kia came out on top in this deal. Read More >

By on July 28, 2017

2017 Honda Accord Coupe Touring - Image: Honda

Although it seemed hard to believe, we were under the impression up until a few weeks before the 10th-generation Honda Accord’s launch, that the 2018 Honda Accord would spawn yet another Honda Accord coupe.

On July 14, 2017, we learned the Honda Accord coupe would die an honorable death. The 10th-generation Accord sedan, according to Honda, will hold sufficient appeal for those former Accord coupe buyers — Accordians, who made up roughly 5 percent of Honda’s midsize clientele.

But the Honda Accord coupe, while futureless, isn’t dead yet. There are more than 5,000 on dealer lots across the United States right now. And according to CarsDirect, they’re pretty cheap. Read More >

By on July 28, 2017

2018 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo - Image: PorscheIn most cases, it’s a foregone conclusion. When there are multiple bodystyles available, the fewest number of buyers exist for the wagon.

The Porsche Panamera’s case is unique, however. There is no Porsche Panamera sedan. This is a battle between the regular second-generation Porsche Panamera — a hatchback or liftback or fastback or backbackbackgone or whatever you want to call it — and the new Sport Turismo, a shooting brake five years in the making.

Yet with limited practical benefit, “It’s a question of taste; some people like the Sport Turismo more, some people like the sports sedan more,” Porsche’s sales and marketing director told Stefan Utsch, told Motoring.

80 percent of taste buds apparently prefer the regular Panamera. Read More >

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 >

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