By on February 24, 2017

Mercedes-Benz Concept X-CLASS

Colorado. Canyon. Tacoma. Frontier. Ridgeline. X-Class?

That could be the lineup Mercedes-Benz has in mind for the competitive — and growing — U.S. midsize pickup segment. Ever since the automaker unveiled its questionable-looking X-Class midsize pickup last fall and declared America off limits for now, there’s been no end to the speculation that we’d eventually end up with a German offering on these shores.

The midsize pickup segment has now grown to 17 percent of all U.S. truck sales, and Mercedes apparently likes what it sees. (Read More…)

By on February 23, 2017

Volkswagen Arteon

Volkswagen’s CC replacement, the Arteon, will make its debut at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show and it looks exactly like we predicted — right down to the color, no less.

Based on VW’s recent teaser shots, the new four-door fastback looks almost identical to the Sport Coupe Concept GTE. However, as fun as it is to gloat, most of the automotive community expected this. Germany’s biggest automaker isn’t exactly known for its flamboyant redesigns and bold styling choices. There are a few remaining unsolved mysteries surrounding the car, however. (Read More…)

By on February 22, 2017

2017 Land Rover Discovery

Call it a case of thinking out loud, or perhaps the spark that could propel a company in a new and potentially disastrous direction.

Either way, Land Rover and Range Rover’s design chief, Gerry McGovern, is pretty open-minded about a future where a British automaker famous for making utility vehicles — and only utility vehicles — spawns a car-like model or two. And by open-minded, we mean in a first-year university kind of way. (Read More…)

By on February 22, 2017

2018 Lexus LS at NAIAS Front 3/4, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Lexus’ next-generation LS has already thrown design heritage out the window and kicked its traditional V8 to the curb, so why not add more totally new hardware?

For 2018, the brand’s redesigned flagship sedan will again offer a hybrid variant, but that last version is yesterday’s news. Lexus didn’t need to look far to find a replacement. (Read More…)

By on February 16, 2017

2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure Trail - Image: Toyota USARidicule it if you must, but the 2017 Toyota RAV4 Adventure gives the people more of what the people want.

Yes, consumers are buying utility vehicles for reasons related to hatchback practicality, all-wheel-drive availability, and peer review equivalency. But they’re also buying SUVs and crossovers — more often than cars now — because they sit up high.

And the RAV4 Adventure sits up a little higher. Improved towing capacity, black wheels, more black cladding, and “dirt-inspired styling” have, however, led Toyota Canada to call the 2017 Toyota RAV4 Adventure the Toyota RAV4 Trail.

Yes, Trail — a name Toyota off-road enthusiasts will know well. Why isn’t Toyota using the Trail name in the United States?

Because the Trail, my friends, has ended. (Read More…)

By on February 15, 2017

2018 Ford Fiesta - Image: Ford Europe

It’s been nearly three months since Ford introduced the seventh-generation Fiesta B-segment hatchback. We’ve still not received any U.S.-market specifics for the 2018 Ford Fiesta.

At the time, you may recall TTAC’s Steph Willems saying, “Because this was a Ford of Europe event, we’re still waiting on U.S.-specific details.”

But December and January and half of February flew by, and Ford’s U.S. PR corps still has no information to provide regarding the new subcompact. In fact, on Valentine’s Day, the day for committing to a loved one, we asked Ford to confirm the new Fiesta for the United States.

Ford declined to do so.

Is the new Ford Fiesta DOA?  (Read More…)

By on February 13, 2017

2017 Nissan Titan King Cab - Image: Nissan

By broadening its lineup, rethinking the dealer approach, and focusing on prime markets, Nissan intends to increase its Titan pickup truck’s share of America’s full-size market to 5 percent.

5 percent. One in twenty trucks. One Titan for every 19 Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, Ram P/U, GMC Sierra, and Toyota Tundra.

That doesn’t sound so crazy, does it?

Nah, at least until you realize that in 2016, Nissan sold fewer than 22,000 Titans, or slightly less than 1 percent market share. (Read More…)

By on February 9, 2017

Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Man, they really make you suffer for it.

In this instance, “they” refers to the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles team that inserted a line from Metallica in the ongoing peep show that is the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon’s teaser campaign. Sigh…

Besides a quote from the most cheesily overused song in the automotive playlist, there’s a technical tidbit to be found in the latest release that sheds a whole lot of light on how the Demon will top its Hellcat sibling in terms of power output.

This antisocial, one-seater Challenger variant sucks a whole lot of air. (Read More…)

By on February 8, 2017

Volvo Emblem logo badge

After surviving a very rough patch that could have easily sunk it for good, Volvo is feeling confident enough to be boastful, albeit in a restrained, Scandinavian way.

The Swedish automaker is riding high after posting record worldwide sales last year, and its CEO claims the groundwork is in place to have that trend continue in 2017 and beyond. Part of that optimism lies in a South Carolina plant expected to come online in 2018.

While the Berkeley County plant will be home to the next-generation S60 sedan, a second promised model is no clearer now than when shovels broke ground in 2015. (Read More…)

By on February 7, 2017

2016 Ford Explorer

By the year 2020, you’ll probably forget all about words like “Focus” and “Fusion.”

That’s because Ford, to capitalize on the relentless juggernaut that is the utility vehicle market, plans to add five crossovers or SUVs on the market in three years. Lincoln will see another non-car join its ranks, too.

That’ll bring the Ford brand’s utility lineup up to 12 vehicles, and Lincoln’s to four. The identity of four of the vehicles is well known, but we now have a better grasp of what to expect from the remainder. (Read More…)

By on February 6, 2017

Longer, sleeker, and lighter than before. That’s the gist of General Motors’ next-generation Opel Insignia, the Euro midsizer that provides the template for Buick’s upcoming Regal.

Long in the tooth and a little cramped, the Regal is poised to shed its cloak of invisibility by adopting the Insignia’s E2XX platform and most of its styling cues for the 2018 model year. Expect greater interior volume, up to 440 pounds of weight loss, and an available V6 powerplant.

Oh, and expect a wagon, according to a TTAC source. And not just any wagon — a faux crossover that GM, crossing its fingers, hopes can lure buyers away from the overstocked buffet of lifted utility options. (Read More…)

By on February 3, 2017

Sometimes, a brand, person, or thing is forever tainted by an unfortunate occurrence.

Think of Anthony Perkins and the movie Psycho. Because a character can be played a little too well, the roles really didn’t pour in after that. The same goes for Ted Kennedy and a certain incident involving an Olds 88.

In the automotive world, few people bothered picking up a second-generation Chevrolet Corvair, despite the elimination of the previous generation’s wildly controversial — an potentially deadly — swing-axle rear suspension.

Stigma skews people’s perception, and Volkswagen, frankly, has had enough of it. So, in an effort to keep the name of its most fuel-efficient production vehicle clean, VW has dropped a certain fuel from a model that once knew nothing else. (Read More…)

By on February 2, 2017

2017 Cadillac XT5 luxury crossover

Okay, who’s getting all excited about the upcoming refreshed XTS? Anybody? Hello?

While the prospect of a mildly revamped front-drive holdover might not set the enthusiast blogs on fire, the sedan’s recent salvation from the Island of Defunct Models is a prudent move for the troubled automaker.

It’s also the only “new” product you’ll see between now and the middle of next year.

(Read More…)

By on February 2, 2017

Sick of seeing Alfa Romeo Giulias everywhere you go? Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would love that to be the case, but the model is only just ramping up in the U.S. after its December introduction. January saw a whopping 70 sales, beating December’s 29 by a mile.

Positioned as a rear-drive alternative to BMW’s 3 and 4 Series, as well as other German competitors, the long-to-arrive Giulia’s American success is far from guaranteed, though its broad price range leaves plenty of room for new customers enticed by its Italian flair.

Alfa’s plan to cement its U.S. return includes launching nine new models over the next five years. According to one report, the next model coming down the pipe is a no-brainer. (Read More…)

By on February 1, 2017

2018 dodge srt hellcat demon

Things are getting downright kooky in Auburn Hills.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has become quite chatty in the past day, with company spokespersons confirming bizarre new details about the upcoming Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. Apparently, the beastly LX-platform variant is a real stripper.

Yes, to shed as much weight as possible from the Challenger Hellcat’s considerable mass, the mysterious Demon with make do without many of the things we’ve come to associate with modern automobiles.

Including seats. (Read More…)

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