QOTD: What Modern Automaker is the Most Daring?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
qotd what modern automaker is the most daring

Daring. Thinking outside the box, as it were (a three box, naturally). Putting forth a car which is a bit risky and against the grain of the accepted beige [s]sedan[/s] CUV. Increasingly, automakers are unwilling or unable to play in this space. Regulations, fuel economy and stiff competition force each manufacturer in line with the others. A midsize vehicle that’s almost identical to the offering at the dealer across the street is not out of the question.

But there has to be an answer to my Question of the Day, which is thus: Which modern auto manufacturer is the most daring?

It’s a bit harder to narrow it down in 2017 than it would have been in, say, 1995. Fewer brands exist today, and more homogenized offerings clog up all the showrooms. Today I’m going to apply three very simple rules, as my crystal ball says you’ll need them.

  1. Daring means product offerings which have major features that go against the norm. A trim level, appearance package, or a nice paint color is not daring. We’re looking for something of significance here.
  2. Modern automakers which are in business in 2017, and have made at least one model you consider daring in the past five model years. Despite your opinion, the 1990 Celica All-Trac is not a modern and daring product offering.
  3. Your selected brand is just that — a singular brand. Selecting Toyota means there shouldn’t be any Lexus models in your argument.

I’m not going to give a singular answer today, just a couple examples of daring food for thought.

Example number one: the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet. It doesn’t matter if you like this vehicle, or if you’re a regular person and absolutely hate it — it was daring. For 2011 through 2014, Nissan offered a midsize, two-door convertible CUV. Nobody else has done this, ever (and there’s a reason for that). But Nissan dared to offer it, and it isn’t as though the engineering of that rear deck and removing two doors was simple. I applaud the chance they took.

Secondly, the Volvo V90. This brand new model is certainly daring in the context of the North American market. It’s large, expensive, and a wagon. It’s stunning to behold, and has styling lacking the flim-flam present on most car designs today. And with front-wheel or all-wheel drive and 250 to 316 horsepower, it won’t be a slouch. The best part is how you can order this V90, and Volvo isn’t forcing the cladded Cross Country AWD model on you like other automakers would. See what I mean? Daring.

So off to you, B&B. What’s your pick for the most daring automaker? And don’t forget the rules.

[Image: timbphotography/ Bigstock.com]

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2 of 138 comments
  • ToddAtlasF1 ToddAtlasF1 on May 24, 2017

    Nissan. Being daring isn't the same thing as knowing what to do.

  • Kc1980 Kc1980 on May 24, 2017

    To me its Volkswagen. A hatchback as is bread a butter seller, with not 1 but 2 performance variants. A Niche retro coupe called the Bettle that almost no one buy's but is still around. Diesel engines proliferating the lineup.....until recently of course. A sport wagon, and lifted all track version of said wagon, in a country that hate's wagons. Very hesitant to jump on the Crossover trend, until recently. Very restrained evolutionary styling is also a bit of a risk in these times. People want flash.

  • Wolfwagen I always thought the HRV and CHR looked similar and ugly and unuseful
  • DedBull How much of that debt is directly tied to their purchase of ADESA? While wholesale volumes are down, the dealer auction is still a backbone of the used automotive industry. I assume ADESA was a functional and profitable business before it's acquisition. Break it back off, with some amount of it's debt following, and start shrinking the retail side until it is stable.
  • Jon This does not seem like anything new for Oxford. In my one visit to England 10 years ago I received a random bill from the rental car agency for a ticket long after I had come home. I was driving in Oxford, made a wrong turn, and needed to turn around. The street ended at a cross street so the only way to do so was to cross over a "bus gate" which was just some lettering painted on the street. I think it was a weekend and there was no traffic, no busses around, etc. I drove over it made my u-turn and drove back down the road I was on. I did not continue on in a bus lane or cause harm or danger to anyone. One of their cameras caught my error and sent a hefty fine. After I received it I did some research and found many folks complaining of the same thing after visits to Oxford.
  • SCE to AUX Probably couldn't afford it - happens all the time.
  • MaintenanceCosts An ugly-a$s Challenger with poor equipment choices and an ugly Dealership Default color combination, not even a manual to redeem it, still no sale.