Tag: Sedan

By on February 17, 2016

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There’s something unique about Jaguars. For some people it’s the aristocratically British character, sporty pedigree and classic, elegant style of Jaguars that make them special. For others it’s the strange technical solutions, uncomfortable compromises and utter lack of reliability that make Jaguars a non-option.

These two groups aren’t likely to agree about much when it comes to Britain’s luxury marque, but both camps will likely be of the opinion that a four-cylinder diesel engine doesn’t fit the driving experience emoted by Jaguar’s iconic Leaper.

Will the upcoming Jaguar XF 2.0-liter diesel still be a proper Jag? Or will its stops at oily diesel pumps also frequented by Ford Super Duty pickups and NOx-belching Volkswagens cover the brand’s grand sporting image in a thin layer of soot?

We already have it in Europe, so I took the opportunity to find out.

(Read More…)

By on February 4, 2016

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Like cockroaches scattering in the light, Americans are fleeing sedans for the upright comfort and wagon-like space of crossovers.

The full-size sedan segment has recently been hit hard, Maxima included. Since 2012, the auto market has expanded 20 percent, while full-size sedan sales have contracted 14 percent. Based on an aging design and the entrance of Korean rivals, the Maxima’s 12-percent market share in 2012 dwindled to eight percent in 2015.

There is a fair chance no more than six people will read this review, and five of those readers will be future doctoral students deconstructing the final days of the sedan. Does that mean no matter how good the Maxima is — or could be — it’s doomed to fail?

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By on February 2, 2016

2016 Honda Civic Engine 2.0L-001

CivicX is reporting that Honda has ordered a stop sale on all 2-liter four-cylinder-equipped 2016 Honda Civics. To blame: piston pin snap rings, which may be incorrectly installed or not installed at all.

This is the first recall of Honda’s tenth-generation Civic and includes 33,735 units in the United States and an additional 8,000 units in Canada. The recall has not yet been disclosed by the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration or Transport Canada.

According to an official Honda communication to dealers, the missing or incorrectly installed piston pin snap rings “may cause engine stall or failure.”

(Read More…)

By on February 1, 2016

2016 Nissan Sentra-006

Traditional car shoppers are moving away from small sedans and toward compact crossovers. That’s the conventional wisdom used to explain the slowing sales we see in some models. But could there be another reason? Could it simply be a lack of focus and attention to the compact segment?

There is one model that’s seen a meteoric rise in sales since 2013: the Sentra. Nissan’s complete overhaul three years ago and aggressive pricing doubled Sentra sales since then, moving it from a “top 15” player in sales to number five in 2015.

In an effort to maintain the trajectory, Nissan opted for a major refresh after just three years on sale. (Sounds like the Honda plan with the Civic, doesn’t it?) Perhaps the key to compact success is a combination of frequent updates and more gadgets for shoppers to choose from. That sums up the 2016 Sentra perfectly.

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By on January 28, 2016

2016 Honda Civic EX Exterior

Honda received much flogging from the press for the last-generation Civic. The 2012 model was the result of Honda improperly reading the Magic 8-Ball amid the global slowdown. Honda’s decision makers assumed shoppers would be looking for something more modest, perhaps even austere, and changed direction to suit. The competition, assuming shoppers would be looking for greater creature comforts in a smaller package, went the opposite direction and doubled down on luxury features.

The conventional wisdom has been that Honda “stepped in it” with the ninth-generation sedan. Journalists complained about the plastic quality, the styling and … customers paid little attention. The Civic’s sales dipped slightly in 2011 during the changeover, but rapidly rebounded to over 315,000 units a year since. Some would say that Honda’s “emergency refreshes” were the reason for the sales success, but I propose a different answer: the continued sales success of the lesser-than Civic and an increase in sales of “premium” compacts showed there was plenty of room in the segment for both.

Whatever the reality, one thing is for certain: When it came time to design the tenth-generation Civic, Honda had “austere” removed from the company dictionary.

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By on January 25, 2016

Sneak Peek at New Mitsubishi Motors Sedan Destined for Toronto Show

Mitsubishi in Canada on Monday posted a teaser shot of the rear end of the new Mitsubishi Attrage that’ll make its debut in Toronto at the 2016 Canadian International Auto Show next month before it goes on sale in the U.S. and Canada.

Mitsubishi’s spokesman John Arnone posted a picture of himself standing next to the sedan at a shoot in Vancouver, which doesn’t really leave much to question. It’s clearly the small sedan, which will be one of two new models bound for Canada and the U.S. in 2016.

Perhaps next we’ll get a teaser of the Outlander PHEV’s roof with a Tim Hortons coffee cup sitting on it. Thrilling stuff.

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By on January 20, 2016

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Once more into the breach, dear friends / Or close up the segment with our heavily-rebated dead.

This is the third time I’ve encountered this generation of Ford Focus SE, having enjoyed the car on its press preview and suffered through an overheated PowerShift sedan in Florida traffic a year later. Now I return once again to this vaguely-Germanic ground, this time for a 448-mile odyssey through the Michigan winter.

Since we last met, the Focus SE has been given a thorough and comprehensive revamp, from the new global front end to what looks like an all-new interior. The price has also been favorably adjusted. Is it enough to put the aging Euro-compact back on your personal radar screen?

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By on January 10, 2016

Mercedes-Benz E-Klasse Limousine (W 213) 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Cl

When you consider the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class will spawn nearly a baker’s dozen variants in its time — coupes, performance models, wagons (please?) — the donor sedan can end up less thrilling than white bread. The remedy for this, like anything else in life, is to put a screen on it.

Fussy child? Screen. Long flight? Screen. Mid-size luxury sedan? You guessed it.

In addition to sporting the much hyped configurable screen setup from this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, the new 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class will sport two fewer cylinders (to start) and a longer list of semi-autonomous driving features that won’t be available in the U.S. to start.

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By on December 29, 2015

2016 Chevrolet Impala V6-004

The Impala exists in an odd segment of its own. The full-sized Chevy is one of the largest sedans on sale in America, yet its base engine is only a 2.5-liter four cylinder. Based on the pricing and feature options, the Impala is designed to be a semi-step above the Malibu, yet the number of true competitors the Impala has is extremely small. That’s because GM’s philosophy in the large sedan segment is different from the rest. Most of its competitors have two entries in this segment: one mass-market option and one luxury option. GM, however, slices its pie three ways with the Chevy Impala, Buick LaCrosse and Cadillac XTS.

That puts the Impala in the dubious position of the least expensive option in GM’s full-sized portfolio. It also means the Impala’s full-sized competition narrows to just the Taurus and the Charger. Why? Because the real competitor to the Chrysler 300, Hyundai Azera, Kia Cadenza, Acura RLX and most trims of the Toyota Avalon isn’t the Impala, but the Buick LaCrosse. Meanwhile, top-end trims of the RLX, Cadenza, Azera, Chrysler 300 and Lexus ES cross shop with the Cadillac.

Has GM sliced things just a little bit too fine with the Impala? Let’s find out.

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By on December 22, 2015

2016 Kia Optima SXL Exterior-012

It’s easy to see why some automakers resist putting premium features in mass market models. All you need to do is look at that luxury showroom to the right. In the quest to differentiate, say, the Ford Fusion from its Lincoln counterpart, or the Toyota Avalon from the Lexus ES, and so forth, manufacturers limit the options and luxuries available on the more pedestrian models.

On the surface, the Optima SXL’s mission could be confused with that of competitors from other non-luxury marques — Accord Touring and Fusion Titanium to name two — but Kia takes its top-trim game a couple steps further. You see, Kia is in a different position as the Optima has no luxury branded sistership and Kia has nothing to lose by creating an Optima trim that could arguably compete with the Acura TLX and Lincoln MKZ.

However, the Optima SXL’s existence does give rise to a very important question: Can a gussied-up family sedan be a value alternative to a near-luxury option, such as the TLX or MKZ? Or is this a case of “making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear?”

Let’s find out.

(Read More…)

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