Tag: Refresh

By on November 19, 2015

2017 Mirage GT

Seriously, they did! Look at it! Instead of being some anonymous South Asian egg, the Mitsubishi Mirage now looks like an anonymous European egg.

Okay, okay. It isn’t going to set your heart alight with desire, but Mitsubishi has done a stellar job upgrading the Mirage with the few resources it has at its disposal. This little subcompact hatchback will be the first Mitsubishi ever to offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Its 1.2-liter MIVEC three-cylinder engine gets an ever-so slight bump to 78 horsepower (+4 over the current Mirage). The Japanese automaker even gave the exterior and interior a fairly thorough re-work considering this is a mid-cycle refresh. And considering this is Mitsubishi we’re talking about here.

Those of you who were totally sold on the Rockford Fosgate special edition, fear not! You can still get that in the new Mirage, too, though minus the badging that tells thieves which car to hit in the Kroger parking lot.

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By on November 16, 2015

2016 Honda Accord Exterior

Accord sales are down 11 percent versus last year. Surprised? So was I. Looking at the numbers, the winner is even more surprising: the Chrysler 200.

Tim’s numbers at GoodCarBadCar tell an interesting tale. Overall segment sales are down slightly with most models seeing only modest sales differences. Then we have the Accord and 200. Honda sold 35,000 fewer sedans so far this year than last while Chrysler sold 72,000 more.

While the 200 is far from a sales segment leader, the increase is impressive nonetheless, and begs the question: Are Honda’s traditional buyers opting for an American alternative? It’s not possible to answer that question simply by the sales numbers, but it is an interesting question.

Despite Americans getting bigger in every generation, the family sedan’s focus on the back seat is in decline. This is partly due to the crossover revolution and partly because cars like the Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, Kia Optima and even the Subaru Legacy are cutting rear headroom in an effort to look sexier from the 3/4 shot.

Fear not, families of four: Honda continues to carry the torch for pragmatic sedan shoppers with the refreshed 2016 Accord.

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By on October 21, 2015

2016 Volkswagen Passat (2 of 14)

“What brings you to Vermont?” asked the young woman I was sitting beside on my flight to Burlington to drive the newly refreshed Passat.

“Volkswagen,” I replied simply.

After a pause, and with an eyebrow raised, she came back with the question: “Diesel?”

This is how every conversation about Volkswagen will start for years to come. And, to be fair, it’s also how we’ve talked about Volkswagen for the last 20 years — minus the eyebrow. Volkswagen is as intrinsically connected with diesel as Vermont is to small-town values that border on being Canadianesque.

Except now, conversations about Volkswagen diesels are punctuated with that eyebrow — and for all the wrong reasons.

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By on October 12, 2015

2016 Audi A6 3.0T Exterior-001

Audi is a brand associated with all-wheel drive, well-fitted interiors and design evolution that requires you to park a new model next to an old one to tell what has been changed. The 2016 A6 doesn’t diverge much from this formula despite being a thorough refresh of the outgoing A6.

This Audi plays in the crowded midsize luxury pool with competition coming from every angle. The big boys are, of course, the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but 2016 also brings an all-new and all-aluminum Jaguar XF. We also have Cadillac’s latest CTS, a Maserati Ghibli for those that want something less reliable than a Jag, the Lexus GS and Infiniti Q70 from the land of the rising sun and the Koreans have the Genesis — and that’s before we start including the more distant competition from Volvo, Acura, Lincoln, etc. The last A6 was a midsized luxury unicorn, because not even Nissan thought they could sell a front-wheel drive luxury car in America with a CVT. As it turns out, not even Audi could defend the CVT in a luxury entry, so 2016 sees the end of Audi’s dalliance with the cogless tranny. Fear not folks, the A6 is still the odd German out since the base model is still front-wheel drive.

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By on August 15, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 12.32.30 PM

Is this the refreshed 2017 Fusion? A Ford slideshow presentation used at the J.P. Morgan Auto Conference sure points to the affirmative, according to AutoBlog. Yet, it doesn’t look like much in the way of change is afoot with the Blue Oval’s midsize sedan. You’d be hard pressed to find much of a difference at all.

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By on June 15, 2015

2014 Jaguar XJ

Jaguar has revealed the refreshed XJ for 2016 equipped with a new InControl Touch Pro touch-screen infotainment system. It also has a slightly revised front fascia.

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By on March 27, 2015

2016 Acura ILX Exterior Front.CR2

It has been two years since we last looked at the ILX, and my conclusion went like this:

The 2.4L engine needs an automatic and some infotainment love, the 2.0L engine needs more grunt and the hybrid needs to be euthanized. Without changes like these, the Acura ILX will remain a sensible Civic upgrade but as a competitor to Buick’s new-found mojo, Acura has some catching up to do.

2016 brings what I was expecting: a mid-cycle refresh with a new nose and new rump to keep the photos fresh. What I didn’t expect was for Acura to also address the major mechanical systems that we all complained about. Neither did I expect the ILX to be so transformed by a “simple” heart transplant. Can the ILX live up to the legendary Acura Legend? I snagged the keys to a “A-Spec Technology Plus” model to find out.

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By on November 13, 2013

2014 Buick Enclave Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

I’ve dished out plenty of Buick love lately. The Verano beats Acura and Lexus at the entry-luxury game and the tiny Encore is an oddly attractive (albeit underpowered) crossover that is outselling the Mini Countryman and Range Rover Evoque by a wide margin. What can we attribute this sales success to? I posit that the original Buick Enclave is the impetus. Landing in 2007 as a 2008 model, it was the poster child of the “new Buick.” On the surface, the Enclave was the replacement for the Buick Rainier, the only GMT360 SUV I haven’t owned. (Just kidding, I’ve only owned 2 of the 11 varieties.) But that’s a simplistic view. In reality the Enclave was intended to elevate the brand enough to compete with three row luxury crossovers from Germany and Japan. This brings us to today’s question: six years and a mild face-lift later, does the Buick still have the goods?

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By on January 18, 2013

The minor model change for the Chevrolet Malibu will be more than just a Honda Civic-style refresh. Chevrolet will apparently address the cramped rear seating area as part of the overhaul.

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By on July 2, 2012

Mazda will be refreshing the MX-5 for 2013, as they attempt to hold us over for the long-awaited “ND” Miata, due in a couple years, that will share a platform with the Alfa Romeo Spider.

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