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By on September 28, 2017

2018 Kia Stinger GT - Image: KiaLet’s face it. Most American car buyers in 2017 don’t actually want cars. You know, the traditional passenger car. Most car buyers who actually want cars don’t want full-size sedans built by mainstream sedans. And among the few car buyers who actually want full-size volume brand sedans, the overwhelming majority — 99 percent, in fact — do not want a Kia Cadenza.

The U.S. market is about to get a lot more difficult for the Kia Cadenza, which is currently priced from $32,890. Admittedly more powerful than the forthcoming 2018 Kia Stinger, the Kia Cadenza is a nearly five-year-old front-wheel-drive luxury barge in a semi-attractive Kia body.

The 2018 Kia Stinger, on the other hand, is a flashy new cut-price sports sedan hatch, a model deserving of some anticipation that’s priced from $32,795, or ninety-five dollars less costly than the chronically unpopular Kia Cadenza. (Read More…)

By on September 28, 2017

stephan2018 Chevrolet Equinox trim

By all accounts, the upgraded and downsized 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is a competitive vehicle in a red-hot segment, priced and optioned to help boost its parent company’s fortunes in a time of falling auto sales.

Too bad they don’t build it anymore.

While editing TTAC writer Chris Tonn’s review of a mid-level 2018 Equinox last week, something jumped out from the page. “A close look reveals an inconsistency in the chrome trim surrounding the windows,” Tonn wrote, describing his futile attempts to push the rear door beltline trim back into position.

This jogged my memory. Back in the spring, a 2017 Buick LaCrosse tester displayed the exact same problem, leaving me wondering if it was a fluke issue or indicative of a wider-ranging problem. The suspicion only grew after I dropped the LaCrosse off at a participating dealership. There, I noticed the rear passenger door of a brand new, zero-mile Cadillac CT6 exhibiting worse trim lift than the Buick. (See photo after the break.)

Naturally, I sent the TTAC crew to their local General Motors lot in search of full-size sedans, but the effort went nowhere. Low-volume models, few sitting on lots, and those that were showed no discernable trim lift. Well, with the Equinox, it’s not a needle-in-a-haystack scenario — it’s everywhere. (Read More…)

By on September 28, 2017

Image: 1992 Pontiac Grand Prix SE, Richard Petty Edition, via sellerThere’s a bit of a history with Rare Rides entries featuring Pontiac models. First was the awesome all-wheel drive 6000, with a Pepsi Edition Grand Prix following on its heels just three days afterward. Now, three months have elapsed since we last saw a Pontiac on these pages — far too long!

Bend the knee, for the Richard Petty Pontiac Grand Prix SE has arrived.

(Read More…)

By on September 28, 2017

Ford Super Duty Limited. Image: © 2017 Matthew Guy

For years, Ford has wisely been pushing their trucks into the upper stratosphere of both price and luxurious content. Features once reserved for the finest Lincoln flagships now pop up in pickups with alarming regularity.

Hard working, heavy duty customers naturally want a piece of the action, too. That’s why Ford is applying the Limited trim to their Super Duty fleet for 2018.

(Read More…)

By on September 28, 2017

2018 Ram Southfork and Lone Star

People allege that everything’s bigger in Texas. At the State Fair, they’re probably right. Ram chose the long-running extravaganza to show off a couple of new trim packages now available on their pickups.

The current list of Ram trim levels reads like a menu at a good restaurant: lots on it and plenty that you want. Ahead of next January’s Detroit show, where we will presumably see a brand-new Ram 1500 pickup, the FCA team has dropped two new models into their lineup.

(Read More…)

By on September 28, 2017

mitsubishi-outlander-phev-america-5

Even though North American Mitsubishi sales have ticked upward in recent years, the current decade has not been kind to the brand. Volume is roughly a quarter of what it was just 15 years ago and the bulk of those deliveries come from the Outlander and Outlander Sport.

When your entire existence hinges on a couple of models, you do what you can to keep them relevant. While plug-in hybrids aren’t exactly a massive sales draw, they’re gaining ground and Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV bests most of its EV competition in Europe. Naturally, the automaker deemed it worthy of coming to America (on the slowest boat imaginable).

We know this exciting news probably has you squirming in your chair, covering your mouth as you utter uncontrollable squeaks of joy. But hold on, we haven’t even told you about the price.  (Read More…)

By on September 28, 2017

2017 Honda Civic Si Sedan - Image: HondaBoth Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book are forecasting marginal year-over-year sales increases for the U.S. auto industry in September 2017.

If the analysts prove correct, it will be the industry’s first month of growth since December of last year. What’ll it take to push the industry beyond the 1.43 million new vehicles sold in September 2016?

The big gains from General Motors and Toyota will have to be big enough to overcome big losses from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Hyundai-Kia. (Read More…)

By on September 28, 2017

2018 Ford Fiesta sedan and hatch - Image: FordAt TTAC, we’re big fans of Ford’s 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine. In the right application — the sixth-generation Ford Fiesta — the EcoBoost triple is a happy revver, a fuel miser, a torque manufacturer, a smooth operator.

In fact, we’re such big fans of the EcoBoost three-cylinder that our editor-at-large bought and paid for a Fiesta 1.0 EB long-termer with his own money. That’s a strong recommendation. Recommendations don’t come any stronger than that.

With the existing, aged, increasingly antiquated Mexico-built Ford Fiesta continuing as a 2018 model year subcompact whilst much of the world benefits from the launch of a new generation of Fiestas, Ford is trimming the Fiesta lineup. The standard 1.6-liter four-cylinder persists; the Fiesta ST forges on.

But the Ford Fiesta’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder is signing off. (Read More…)

By on September 28, 2017

Image: Honda/Youtube

Just two days ago, I asked you to help me find a deserving home for my overpriced, top-of-the-line car seat. I got about 15 emails almost immediately, with suggestions ranging from “Sell it on Craigslist” to “I think my girlfriend is pregnant and we’d like to save a few bucks.”

One of the emails stood out as the immediate and obvious winner.

(Read More…)

By on September 28, 2017

1996 Chevrolet Impala SS - Image: ChevroletAztek. Cimarron. Le Mans. General Motors has gotten it wrong more than once.

But General Motors, in business for nearly 110 years — and eight years in its current post-bankruptcy iteration — also gets it right. Sometimes GM gets the styling right. Sometimes GM perfectly meets the segment’s needs. Sometimes the performance bargain is unbeatable. Every now and then, those factors merge together and General Motors introduces a thoroughly impressive vehicle.

You could make a case for the C7 Chevrolet Corvette. A 1960 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham is a stunning example of GM knowing precisely what Cadillac should be. A mid-90s Chevrolet Impala SS represents GM boldly thumbing its nose at conventional performance. Cars such as the Pontiac GTO, Buick Regal GNX, and Chevrolet Nomad hold a special place in the hearts of many.

But what do you believe is the best General Motors vehicle of all time? (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2017

road highway

Last week, I defended the president’s honor and lamented that I probably wouldn’t have a follow-up opportunity for some time. As it turns out, that claim is in no danger of becoming a falsehood. On Tuesday, President Trump told lawmakers he was ditching a key aspect of his planned $1 trillion infrastructure package — namely, who is going to pay for it.

Spoiler alert: its going to be taxpayers.

The White House previously envisioned a strategy where private investors would be lured into rebuilding roadways, bridges, and rail networks with promises of federal backing and a less-daunting approvals process. But now it’s saying partnerships between the private sector and federal government might not work.  (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2017

Detroit (Bryan Debus/Flickr)

Detroit’s dominance in the domestic automotive sphere continues to erode. Whereas the manufacturing hub, home to Ford, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, once churned out the bulk of vehicles built — and sold — in the United States, times have changed.

The former Big Three automakers no longer hold the majority market share in the U.S. (in 2016 it was 44.9 percent), necessitating a name demotion to “Detroit Three.” From Silicon Valley to the Midwest and South, a diverse group of automakers is busily assembling cars and SUVs for a population with very wide-ranging tastes. We’ve long since become used to the idea that many Hyundais now hail from Alabama, several Subarus come from Indiana, Honda models grow in Ohio, and BMWs arrive from South Carolina with a Southern drawl.

Now, one industry watcher claims the Detroit Three won’t even finish the year as the majority builder of North American-made vehicles. (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2017

2018 Hyundai i30 N - Image: HyundaiUnfortunately, the new Hyundai i30 N is, by all accounts, a terrific hot hatchback.

The i30, you’ll recall, is essentially the Hyundai Elantra GT that’s beginning to arrive in U.S. showrooms, a pleasantly tasty car in Sport trim.

But Hyundai’s new performance N sub-brand, headed up by former BMW dynamics sage Albert Biermann, is not yet America-bound. And while European critics broadly praise the i30 N — not just as “a pretty stunning first effort from Hyundai’s N division” but “up there with the best” competitors — and celebrate the availability of yet another viable performance car, the car will not make it across the pond. (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2017

eq concept mercedes-benz

Daimler has fired back after Telsa CEO Elon Musk returned to Twitter to speak his mind on the company’s decision to drop $1 billion into its Alabama plant. The investment is intended to aid production of a forthcoming electric SUV but, earlier this week, Musk said that wasn’t “a lot of money for a giant like Daimler/Mercedes. Wish they’d do more. Off by a zero.”

The following day, the Daimler responded over social media, suggesting Musk was “absolutely right” and pointed out that it’s actually investing over $10 billion, with only the first billion going into the assembly plant.

Whether you’re interested in electric vehicles or not, you have to admit these inter-automotive squabbles make the entire happening a lot more interesting. While cars themselves can be exciting, the corporate environment that facilitates their production is usually much less so. There’s also a chance that this type of good-natured clashing might result in a more competitive spirit — something we definitely would not mind seeing more of.  (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2017

Jaguar F-Pace 2.0TD - Image: JaguarJaguar’s U.S. outlets are benefiting not just from last year’s introduction of a new XE entry-level sedan and the brand’s top-selling F-Pace SUV but also the broad availability of diesel powerplants.

In the shadows of Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal that broke in late 2015, Jaguar began offering diesel engines in the United States for the first time in 2016. Through the first eight months of 2017, 13 percent of the vehicles sold by the Jaguar brand in America were powered by the company’s 2.0-liter turbodiesel.

It’s not surprising then that Jaguar told TTAC’s own Adam Tonge at the North American unveiling of the new E-Pace crossover that diesel will continue to be a focus for Jaguar Land Rover in the United States. The company sees a niche for diesel vehicles in the premium space, particularly now with the complete absence of Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Porsche in the sphere.

And yet you won’t really be hearing about Jaguar’s diesel offerings. (Read More…)

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  • Matthew Guy
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