By on August 17, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan - Image: VolkswagenThe Nissan Juke and Mini Countryman arrived in the United States in 2010. The Subaru Crosstrek appeared two years later.

Buick’s Encore appeared at U.S. dealers in 2013; its Chevrolet Trax partner the following year. 2015 saw the arrival of the Fiat 500X, Jeep Renegade, Honda HR-V, and Mazda CX-3. The (FWD-only) Toyota C-HR landed in April 2017. The Hyundai Kona was unveiled in June 2017 and will show up in U.S. Hyundai stores this coming winter.

And on August 23, 2017, Volkswagen will unveil the T-Roc, which isn’t likely to go on sale in the United States until 2019. That’s nine years late.

Will the T-Roc’s tardiness cause the subcompact Volkswagen crossover to suffer the marketplace consequences just as its overdue siblings always have? Read More >

By on August 16, 2017

1966 Chevrolet Impala in Colorado wrecking yard, air conditioning decal - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Yesterday, Tim Cain reported on the new Chevrolet Tahoe Custom trim, which lowers the point of entry on the Tahoe by $3,750 for 2018. If you’re a nerd and enjoy trim-level discussions like I do, this is an important moment. For the first time since the Tahoe grew to four doors in 1995, you’ll be able to buy a trim lower than the LS.

This new (relatively) low-cost trim is seen by many Internet Car Enthusiasts here at TTAC as the way forward: dispensing with unnecessary options like infotainment, large wheels, and a third row seat that rarely sees use. Seems like a decent enough idea, so let’s take it across the board today.

Which vehicles deserve a cost-cutting trim level?

Read More >

By on August 15, 2017

FCA China flag

As you’re probably aware, this week began with rumblings that several Chinese automakers, some of them state-owned, are taking an interest in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Not entirely surprising, as we all know FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne’s spent the past year or so positioning his company for a potential takeover. Slashing debt, consolidating its operations, all to look pretty for that potential mate.

Sure, General Motors and Volkswagen rebuffed the company’s awkward advances, but there’s plenty of fish in the sea for a company with an urge to merge. However, with cash-flush Chinese manufacturers, buyouts are more likely than partnerships.

If it comes to pass, it might not be a bad thing for the volatile American automaker. China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., owner of Volvo Cars, did great things for the Swedish brand, overcoming its financial issues while affording the automaker a hands-off approach. Is Volvo making great cars again? Is it on solid footing?

All signs point to “yes.” Read More >

By on August 14, 2017

broken old chair chairs, Image: juriskraulis/Bigstock

Most readers know of our weekly Ace of Base series, which turns a jaundiced eye to the instant-ramen end of the price scale for a particular model. Thanks for all the comments on those, by the way.

Sometimes, though, there is no cut-rate model. No trim on which to hang the placard of “Value Leader.” Let’s fix that, shall we?

Read More >

By on August 11, 2017

broken down car breakdown, Image: Marta_Photo/Bigstock

Long-time readers of TTAC know I am always willing to criticize Porsche in general, and PCNA in particular, for their oft-spectacular indifference towards their own customer base. For much of the previous decade, the company vacillated between denying fundamental problems with their M96/M97 engines and blaming those problems on the customers. When a reckoning finally came, it involved the United States legal system. I stopped buying Porsches more than a decade ago and have rarely felt tempted by the brand since.

With that said, it’s obvious the firm learned from its previous misadventures in consumer relations. The latest generation of flat-six engine, though not perfect, appears far less failure-prone than its predecessor. I’m hearing good things about the quality of recent-build Macans and Cayennes. Finally, there is this: Porsche has just announced a warranty extension to 120,000-miles on their 991.1 GT3 models. This program will go a long way towards holding up the resale value of these occasionally fragile automobiles.

Naturally, Porsche’s absolute mastery of PR has ensured that this warranty extension received nothing but positive press. Compare that to the infamous Honda “glass transmission” goodwill campaign that often saw cars with 90,000-miles on the odometer receive free transmissions nearly a decade after leaving the assembly line. It was often treated by autowriters as an example of Honda’s post-millennium fallibility, rather than as an example of monstrously expensive devotion to customer satisfaction.

We should commend both companies for their sensible and ethical approach to known defects in their automobiles. Which leads to the question: What other candidates are there out there for a program like this?

Read More >

By on August 10, 2017

2018 Toyota Camry and 2018 Honda Accord - Images: Toyota & HondaBy the time the all-new 2018 Honda Accord debuted at a July 14, 2017, launch event, the all-new 2018 Toyota Camry was already on sale.

There are still sedan buyers alive in this world, you see. You might just be among them. Toyota and Honda will sell some 700,000 Camrys and Accords in the United States in 2017, roughly four out of every 10 midsize cars.

So, presented with two new options from the preeminent manufacturers of midsize sedans, what choice do you make? A 2018 Toyota Camry right now, with all the glory of a J-VIN and a 301-horsepower V6? Or do you wait a few weeks for the 2018 Honda Accord, a sports sedan on the cheap with a 2.0T and a six-speed manual? Read More >

By on August 9, 2017

2015 Nissan Juke, Image: Nissan

Today’s Question of the Day is the inverse of one I posited back in March of this year. At that time, we took your suggestions for current vehicle designs which you thought would stand the test of time.

It’s now time to cover the other side of the ugly coin; the vehicles on sale today which will become dated-looking quicker than all others.

Read More >

By on August 8, 2017

car crash (Daniel X. O'Neil/Flickr)

The Civic Holiday I mentioned yesterday didn’t prove very civil for yours truly and his red Chevrolet Cruze Eco. Sadly, a second-generation Volkswagen Passat made mostly of rust, primer, and pure, simmering evil decided to make a play at the poor Cruze in the midst of a nightmarish traffic jam. I don’t want to get too specific about the locale for fear of tarring a whole community of drivers with the same brush. (It was Montreal.)

While the Cruze escaped intact, it didn’t leave the scrap unmolested. Looks like I’ll be heading out in search of paint and rubbing compound tonight (Note: first-gen Cruze bumpers seem to hold up under pressure; I can’t speak for the second-generation models).

The incident nonetheless reminded me of past run-ins, be it with large animals or large vehicles. My 1993 Corsica of years gone by didn’t weather a front-quarter hit from a circa 2000 Impala all that well. Curtain call. Six feet under. Pushing up daisies. Contrast the Corsica’s  “folded like Superman on laundry day” performance to my beloved ’94 Camry, which soaked up two whitetail deer and politely asked for more. Zero dollars spent on repairs with that one. Just a minute or two spent evening out the hood with my rear end and some wooden shims inserted for headlight alignment. Duct tape wasn’t required.

What a tank that car was. Bland? Absolutely. Beige? What else? But beastly when push comes to shove. Read More >

By on August 7, 2017

welders teamwork, Image: lisafx/Bigstock

On Friday, Matt Posky brought us the news that Mazda and Toyota are shacking up, striking a deal to construct a joint-venture manufacturing facility plus a sharing of EV tech. Mazda’s no stranger to cooperating with other car companies, from churning out sister vehicles to Ford in the 90s and lending the MX-5 platform to Fiat just last year.

These partnerships make sense, given the scale and complexity of auto manufacturing. Tossing aside geography, finance, and politics for a moment, let us ask you this: what two companies would you like to see collaborate with the goal of making something truly fantastic?

Read More >

By on August 4, 2017

Lincoln Mk. V (public domain)

Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends. In this special edition of QOTD, I answer your search engine queries with all the sincerity I can muster. So let’s start with your above question: Where is Silverado made? The answer is simple. Silverado, the alt-Western starring basically the cast of The Big Chill, was filmed on location in New Mexico.

Let’s roll the tape and see what else you asked.

Read More >

By on August 3, 2017

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Sport - Image: FCAThere are a large number of major new vehicle introductions happening in the United States in 2017.

The all-new 2018 Toyota Camry is arriving at dealers as we speak. The all-new 2018 Honda Accord is weeks away. Ford’s 2018 F-150 revamp is a thorough mid-cycle update. The Kia Niro, a unique Toyota Prius alternative, arrived early this year. Mazda brought a new bodystyle to the MX-5 Miata in RF trim. The Subaru Crosstrek, quickly becoming a mainstream compact car option, is new for 2018. The Alfa Romeo rebirth continues with the Giulia, still ramping up, and the arriving-now Stelvio. The all-electric Chevrolet Bolt arrived in late December, as did a new version of America’s historic best-selling utility vehicle, the Honda CR-V. The list goes on: Tesla Model 3, Jeep Compass, Ford Expedition, Land Rover Discovery, Lexus LC, Toyota C-HR, Volkswagen Atlas, Volvo XC60.

And, thank our lucky stars, we can’t forget the early summer arrival of Honda’s fifth-generation Odyssey.

New engines, new transmissions, new wiring harnesses, new technology, new roof-folding mechanisms, new Italians. Is it just too much… new everything? Would you buy any of these vehicles in 2017, or is it best to wait until the second model year? 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

2017 Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited Sahara - Image: Jeep

As we told you yesterday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne is spooked. He can’t count on diesel engines for fuel economy gains anymore — at least, not for long. With governments big and small braying for lower emissions and cracking down on the use of diesel vehicles, FCA’s future lineup requires a gas-sipping solution.

And so, after sitting on the fence for years, the Auburn Hills automaker (which still carries a big, albeit shrinking, debt) has given in. It’ll pour money into electrifying its lineup. In five years, 50-percent of its models should boast some form of electric propulsion, Marchionne claims.

As we’ve learned from the past, FCA’s product promises — and especially its timelines — carry a big grain of salt. But let’s say the company sticks to its goal. And, because this question can go any way the author chooses, you’re replacing Marchionne at the helm. Read More >

By on July 31, 2017

abandoned rusty Datsun truck, Image: Mr Hicks46/Flickr

You know the type: it’s the one who starts their ad with “RARE!” and ends it with “I know what I’ve got!!!1!” No matter what type of cars you’re into – classic muscle, JDM imports, or modern supercars – there’s almost always one person in the crew who thinks what they own is worth a king’s ransom.

Never, though, have I even seen someone so massively, incredibly, ginormously overvalue their car like this seller.

Read More >

By on July 27, 2017

2018 Toyota Camry Georgetown Kentucky assembly plant - Image: ToyotaAmericans who take possession of a new Jaguar E-Pace can check their VIN to see that the subcompact luxury crossover was assembled in Austria. Each of the 36,813 Buick Envisions sold in the United States through June were imported from China. The Ford Fusion comes from Hermosillo, Mexico; the Honda Accord comes from Marysville, Ohio.

BMW builds SUVs in South Carolina. Mercedes-Benz builds cars and SUVs in Alabama. Volkswagen builds the Atlas and Passat in Tennessee. The Toyota Camry is built in Kentucky, although there’ll be a handful of new 2018 models coming all the way from Japan.

The global automotive market has spoken. “A lot of consumers have no idea where their cars are built,” Renault’s Francois Mariotte tells AutoExpress. Perhaps there are customers who struggle with the notion of German cars being assembled in Mexico, for example, but as Renault’s Mariotte says: “The quality of the car is never determined by the country it’s built in. It’s determined by the processes we put into the factory.”

But do you care where your next new vehicle is assembled? Read More >

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