If you haven’t heard by now, there’s a new project car in TTAC’s “garage,” a 2000 Grand Cherokee Limited. I of course use the term garage simply because “gravel driveway” fails to have the same ring. Why a car guy doesn’t have a garage is a story for a different time. All I will say on the matter is that I was promised a garage with a 2-post lift and I am still waiting… Back to the car. Before we chop the lid off the WJ Grand Cherokee to convert it into a two door, two seat Grand Comanche we needed to tackle a few projects. We need a lift kit, off-road rubber, then we need to ditch the interior and take care of some general housekeeping items.
Two of the newest Lexus products got an early reveal prior to their Tokyo Motor Show debut. The Lexus RC (above) is a coupe version of the new IS, with the IS350′s 3.5L V6 carrying over. World markets will get a hybrid version, dubbed the RC300h. Also debuting is the LF-NX concept, expected to preview a sub-RX sized crossover.
September’s record Canadian auto sales were powered by huge gains among many of the country’s most popular nameplates. The record-setting industry performance occurred despite the declining volume reported by the manufacturer which sells the greatest number of vehicles south of the border. Numerous small-scale luxury automakers continue to post vastly improved sales compared with results from 2012.
Automobile manufacturers collectively reported a 4.1% year-over-year improvement in September sales, an increase of nearly 6000 units, an increase of more than 14,000 units compared with September 2011. 42.9% of the new vehicles registered in Canada in September were sold by the Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Group, and General Motors, down slightly from 43.2% in September 2012 as volume at the Detroit Three grew 3.5%. In September, those three manufacturers owned 45.3% of the U.S. market, where General Motors wasn’t outsold by Hyundai-Kia. (Read More…)
At some point in the crush of the news cycle, Nissan unveiled an all-new Rogue for 2014, based off their new CMF platform. The Rogue will still retain 4-cylinder power, but will now seat seven, moving up a class size. But for those who want something smaller, Nissan’s got something for you as well. The old Rogue.
Much has been made over the one future product announcement in Chrysler’s IPO filing. Apparently, it will be a an SUV based off of the Small Wide platform. A bit of detective work can help us figure out what it will be.
When the RAV4 landed, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. In a world of unified corporate identity the RAv4 goes off script with a look all to its own. While the old RAV sold on mini-truck looks, the new one is undisguised crossover. The new nose has grown on me slightly since I recorded the video above, but I still find the look a little awkward. Since I was scolded for wearing striped pants with a striped shirt the week I tested the RAV4, feel free take my style opinion with a grain of salt as you click through the jump.
In every month since April, the four best-selling utility vehicles in America have fallen under the “small” banner. In July, the five top sellers were small. With one-third of 2013 remaining, the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox, and Toyota RAV4 are both America’s top-selling small crossovers and America’s four leading crossovers overall.
I would normally start a car review with an item of trivia or history about the vehicle under review, or about the segment in general. This time I’m going to start by talking about the elephant in the room: the 2014 4Runner SR5/Trail front end. Yikes! I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but when the attractive new 2014 Tundra pulled away revealing the 2014 4Runner, I was reminded of a woman I worked with in 1998. Drawn in by the promise of eternal good looks, she had her eyebrows surgically removed and lines tattooed on her face. The only problem was the tattoo artist (accidentally?) gave her a permanently surprised “eyebrows”. Oops. Perhaps the 4Runner also regrets going under the knife and that’s why the fog lamp slits make it look like it’s crying. What say the best and brightest? Click through the jump and sound off in the comment section.
There may not be a more important car launched this year than the Jeep Cherokee. A symbol of the union between Chrysler and Fiat, designed to lead Jeep’s push into the booming global crossover market, a bold new styling direction for the brand – these elements are all inextricably bound with the vehicle itself, with the Cherokee’s success in the marketplace vindicating all three. Predicting how well a vehicle will sell is always a crapshoot. I try to refrain from forming opinions of vehicles before driving them, but I couldn’t help but root for the Cherokee a little. It had sufficiently angered the Internet Product Planning division with its out-there styling, car-based platform and bold claims of off-road superiority. Charmed by the sheer gall of its contradictory mission (a CUV that can hang with true SUVs off-pavement), I wanted it to be a good vehicle on its own and succeed in the marketplace.
I have to admit, I’m a fan of the Fiat 500. Yes, I know it’s just a Fiat Panda with bubbly sheetmetal. Yes I know it’s a little peculiar. Yes I know it’s trying to ride on MINI success. It doesn’t matter, the wee Fiat makes me grin every time I drive one. Whether it’s the slow-as-dirt standard 500, the ludicrously loud Abarth, the almost-convertible 500c or the totally impractical 500e, the Cinquecento knows how to brighten my day. I was therefore excited when Fiat announced the 500′s success would spawn a four door stable-mate for 2014. Is the 500L 40% more smiles for 20% more cash?
Officially this is just a concept, but the Lexus LF-NX is supposed to preview an upcoming competitor to the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. Using the familiar 2.5L 4-cylinder hybrid powertrain, the LF-NX will be available in FWD or AWD variants, though specific figures like power output have yet to be announced.
Years of unrelenting speculation via the British motoring press are finally coming to fruition: Jaguar is about to launch a crossover, and this concept, dubbed the C-X17, appears to be it.
The Nissan Terrano, once a fairly rugged SUV, is now the nameplate by which Nissan will sell a rebadged Dacia Duster in India. How about some exports?