By on June 28, 2016

Golf Alltrack Subaru Outback combo

We don’t yet know the exact price of Volkswagen USA’s 2017 Golf Alltrack.

We are certain, however, that Volkswagen, a company with a brand image severely tarnished in the United States, will be able to do no better than slightly undercut the basic price of the Subaru Outback.

And that might be a problem. (Read More…)

By on June 27, 2016

Compass Patriot Replacement Poster, Image: © 2016 The Truth About Cars

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ fourth-quarter reveal of Jeep’s replacement for the Compass and Patriot comes after mountains of late-in-life success for the small SUV duo.

In Jeep’s U.S. home market, sales of the Compass — known as one of The Worst Cars Today since way back in 2006 — soared to an all-time record high of 66,698 units in calendar year 2015. Through the first five months of 2016, Compass sales are up 72 percent, a gain of 16,411 sales for Jeep’s lowest-volume model.

The Patriot, meanwhile, topped the list of TTAC’s The Worst Cars Today in 2016, sales of the Patriot also having shot up to record levels of 118,464 units in 2015. Year-over-year, U.S. Patriot sales through the first five months of 2016 grew 4 percent to 52,067 units. Combined, the Dodge Caliber-based tandem essentially produce one-quarter of Jeep’s sales in the brand’s home market, outselling every other individual Jeep nameplate.

Against this backdrop of outrageous success for two critically panned trucklets with seven-slot grilles, a single Jeep candidate will step in to fill their shoes at a Brazilian debut later this year. Jeep already has a subcompact SUV: the Renegade. Jeep already has a small and affordable off-roader: the non-Unlimited Wrangler. Jeep already has an entry to challenge America’s leading crossovers: the Cherokee.

Can Jeep find space in tight quarters for yet another small SUV? If not, we’re about to see the first Jeep flop since the Commander arrived in 2005. (Read More…)

By on June 23, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Camaro

On the Muscle Car Calendar, 2016 was supposed to be the Year of Camaro.

After outselling the Ford Mustang in the United States in five consecutive years between 2010 and 2014, it wasn’t surprising to see the Chevrolet Camaro fade into a distant second place in calendar year 2015. The Mustang was all-new in sixth-generation form for model year 2015; the Camaro was in its seventh and last year of its fifth iteration. The refreshed Dodge Challenger’s success may have played a role in the Camaro’s sharp decline, too, as 2015 was the seventh consecutive year of U.S. Challenger sales growth.

2016, with the reborn Camaro freshly reengineered and the Mustang no longer the freshest American muscle, is not turning out to be the Camaro’s time to shine.

Through the first five months of 2016, the Ford Mustang has outsold the Chevrolet Camaro by 21,324 units in the United States, a margin that may be impossible for the Camaro to overcome by year’s end. (Read More…)

By on June 22, 2016

Honda Civic Bing Maps Eastern Passage

We live on a small cul-de-sac with 19 other families. Until this past weekend, there were 33 vehicles parked in our street’s 20 driveways, not including the always different manufacturer-supplied press car parked in front of GCBC Towers.

But one family that already owned one Honda Civic just doubled the size of its fleet with another Civic, and in so doing also doubled the number of driveways on our 20-home street with two Honda Civics. This brought the total number of Honda Civics on our small cul-de-sac to nine, equal to a 26 percent share of the market.

Yes, it’s an extreme version of a typically Canadian story. Assembled in Honda Canada’s plant in Alliston, Ontario, the Civic is a long-running powerhouse, a reality intensified in our decidedly non-premium, working class community.

Meanwhile, the Honda Civic is climbing the leaderboard in the United States, as well. (Read More…)

By on June 17, 2016

Old Audi RS5 New Audi S5

“I can’t quite believe it, but it actually looks different to the last one. In a wild change of tack…,” CAR Magazine’s CJ Hubbard writes, “…Audi has built a new car that doesn’t look nearly indistinguishable from its predecessor.”

Er, sure.

To be fair, Hubbard is among an early group of drivers who spent a fair chunk of time with the new Audi A5 in Portugal, and with time comes familiarity, and with familiarity comes an ability to more easily distinguish the new car from the old. We’ll get there, too.

Moreover, while reviews in Top Gear and The Telegraph were more direct in regards to the new A5’s, “same-again bodywork,” and the idea that, “designers phones in the changes,” Hubbard simply said the new A5 does not look nearly indistinguishable from the old A5, which could be translated to mean that it does look somewhat indistinguishable.

Of course the new Audi A5 looks entirely like the old Audi A5. That’s how Audi does things, particularly when the predecessor was a home run. Why mess with success? (Read More…)

By on June 16, 2016

Chevrolet vs. Ford rock drop

After watching General Motors drop 825 pounds of rock into the beds of a Chevrolet Silverado and a Ford F-150, I wasn’t caught up in fairness or relevance or with the advertisement’s status as a marketing stunt. Some observers asked whether GM crossed an unwritten line shared by Detroit’s cross-town truck rivals, as if in a year when presidential candidates toss deeply personal insults around like water balloons at a summer picnic a pickup truck critique would be over the line.

To me, it simply seemed clear from the moment of the ad’s YouTube launch that the Chevrolet Silverado’s apparent toughness advantage would be more frequently viewed than a traditional truck commercial. As of this writing, Chevrolet’s YouTube channel has racked up 4.4 million views with “Silverado Strong: Steel Bed Outperforms Aluminum Bed,” ten times more views than the channel’s 22 previous ads have generated in the last month, combined.

The Silverado could use the increased attention. U.S. sales of GM’s best-selling model line are flat despite a six-percent sales increase in the truck market so far this year. (Read More…)

By on June 15, 2016

2011 Honda CR-Z EX red

We’re as certain as can be that the Honda CR-Z is dead. Defunct. Discontinued. Done for. Any other applicable d word you can think of.

Not only was the CR-Z long since discontinued in Europe and Australia, Honda is now offering a Final Label edition of the CR-Z in Japan, the company’s home market and the location of CR-Z assembly. Moreover, American Honda’s PR department already indicated to TTAC that they thought everybody knew the CR-Z was deceased, down the drain, discarded.

Dead, yes. But not yet departed. Honda’s U.S. dealers have plenty of CR-Z inventory. Don’t all storm the gates at once now. Tamp down that excitement. Let’s all remain calm. (Read More…)

By on June 13, 2016

Roush Mustang Blue

“Three to five 727-horsepower Mustangs leave the lot daily,” TTAC’s associate editor, Steph Willems, wrote this past weekend.

Naturally, that got me thinking.

After Ohio’s Lebanon Ford dealer began marketing its 727-horsepower Lebanon Ford Performance Mustang GT as a $39,995 performance bargain, Chris Tonn’s story blew up on TTAC a month ago. Now, Lebanon Ford answers 1,000 Performance Mustang-related inquiries per day and says it sells three to five per day.

So let’s do some math. It’ll be fun. (Read More…)

By on June 13, 2016

2014 Toyota Tundra 1794 CrewMax

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Dan Neil fairly torched the 2016 Toyota Tundra CrewMax in a recent review for The Wall Street Journal’s Rumble Seat.

“It is not the strongest, the swiftest and definitely not the most fuel efficient,” Neil wrote in a particularly stinging paragraph which began by Neil calling the Tundra, “not the most technically advanced truck on the market.”

The Tundra faithful, not particularly numerous at the best of times relative to rival Detroit nameplates, is an ever more compact group of individuals. With each passing month, America’s truck buyers make increasingly clear that they heartily agree with Dan Neil. (Read More…)

By on June 10, 2016

2017 Acura ILX blue

There is a new Honda Civic on a new platform with a very well-equipped Touring trim available. The tenth-generation is a hot seller and it claimed top sales honours among passenger cars in April.

Yet sales of another car, based on the old Honda Civic’s platform, are on the rise. Indeed, sales of the Acura ILX, admittedly updated for 2016 but very much a close relative of the ninth-generation Civic, have risen nine percent in a car market which tumbled eight percent through the first five months of 2016.

Why? (Read More…)

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