Category: Features

By on July 1, 2020

Everyone’s doing it, and now it seems Subaru has joined the maddening crowd of sales reporting conformity.

Not long ago, Subaru, like most every other automaker, reported its sales totals on a monthly basis. And why wouldn’t it? The previous decade saw the brand’s popularity expand massively in the U.S., with volume up not on an annual basis, but on a monthly, year-over-year basis. It pulled off the latter feat 93 consecutive times.

Alas, times change. Read More >

By on June 26, 2020

Mitsubishi burned a lot of what little street cred it had left by taking the name of a once-beloved affordable sports coupe and plunking it onto yet another crossover.

The good news, if there is any, is that the crossover that now bears the nameplate is more than a little quirky.

The bad news – it’s not an affordable, fun-to-drive sports coupe.

Not to mention that the brand may soon be history, at least on these shores.

Read More >

By on June 24, 2020

gm

The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon gain visual refreshes for 2021, but the updates foisted upon General Motors’ midsize twins won’t win over those who enjoy keeping their pickup expenditures to a bare minimum.

For the vast majority of the buying public, however, the revamped trucks might be viewed as an improvement over what came before. Read More >

By on June 21, 2020

Bronco6g.com

At this point, if Ford wants to keep the upcoming Bronco and Bronco Sport under wraps until their respective unveilings, it had best invest in surplus anti-aircraft batteries — or just never leave the confines of company-owned production facilities. Even those walls have proven a porous barrier, however.

As the weekend dawned, drone-provided aerial spy photos appeared of the two dissimilar Broncos congregating with a Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 out in the desert, far — at least, one would assume — from prying eyes. Read More >

By on June 19, 2020

Money might never sleep, but Wall Street never seems to learn.

We all remember those stories from a few years ago about Tesla being overvalued by investors. Hell, a quick Google shows me there are opinion pieces on that topic from just a few months ago.

Now comes Nikola.

Read More >

By on June 18, 2020

On Wednesday, ride-hailing company Lyft announced every vehicle using its platform will be electric by 2030. Since its fleet is comprised primarily of contractors using private vehicles, one might assume the company is planning to offer some financial assistance upon their next purchase. But being sensible rarely means being correct in the postmodern era.

Rather than encouraging its own drivers to make the switch, Lyft plans to work with NGOs, lawmakers, and pressure its industry rivals to make electrification mainstream. Obviously, this will include financial incentives for organizations willing to make the switch to EVs in exchange for a fat wad of cash. That’s what you’re now supposed to focus on. Ignore that Lyft’s announcement literally offers no personal commitment and passes every scrap of responsibility it pretends to be taking on to the government.

Lyft is trying to play the hero, and thinking about it too hard is going to muck everything up.  Read More >

By on June 17, 2020

2020 Toyota Avalon LimitedAs I wrote in April, the Toyota Avalon has taken great strides in moving from being a snoozer to a touring sedan with a bit of spice up its sleeve.

That was in reference to the hybrid. Try the gas-engine Avalon for a truly transformed experience.

Much of the overall hybrid experience remains true in models carrying the gas-only powertrain – the Avalon is sportier and rides more stiffly, though it remains more of a highway cruiser than a true sports sedan – yet the trade-off of a bit more power for a bit less fuel economy livens the car up even more.

Read More >

By on June 15, 2020

After coronavirus lockdowns wiped out vehicle production for a few months, dealer inventories are going to have to wait a little longer than normal to be resupplied with new product. Meanwhile, the used market has become awash with cars offloaded by rental agencies with no use for them — except as a way to drum up cash during a difficult time.

Chuck in every American citizen getting free money from the government and you’ve got yourself the perfect storm. Average folks are thinking about using that money on a new car and dealers need to offset depleted inventories and delayed deliveries by scooping up used ones for the purpose of flipping. That’s driven up prices, which could potentially work in your favor if you happen to have an automobile you no longer have much use for.  Read More >

By on June 12, 2020

Image: Hyundai

While we fully expected to issue rolling updates on factory shutdowns as industry suppliers struggled to catch up to manufacturers in the aftermath of coronavirus lockdowns, the last few have been impossible-to-predict curveballs.

Honda found itself at the mercy of digital criminals who held its network for ransom, forcing numerous factory shutdowns around the globe as it tried to make sense of the attack. Meanwhile, Hyundai has had to belay assembly in South Korea after an employee at supplier Duckyang Industry Co. fell into the machinery.

The fatal incident stopped production at the supplier, leading to parts shortages at Hyundai that required work stoppages on numerous production lines — including those responsible for the Palisade and Kona.  Read More >

By on June 12, 2020

2020 Land Rover Defender

This interview should’ve been posted months ago.

I sat with Jaguar Land Rover North America Product Planning Director Rob Filipovic at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show (remember those?) to talk about the reborn Defender.

Then, I screwed up. I didn’t write the piece right away due to other work and travel. Still, the first drive was scheduled for mid-April, and I thought maybe the interview would work well as a companion piece to our first drive of the Defender.

You know the rest.

Read More >

By on June 12, 2020

2019 Cadillac XT4

Cadillac is a brand beleaguered. Part of the reason is its misadventures in Crossover Land.

In a world where Acura, Lexus, and others are serving up premium crossovers at premium prices, and building competitive vehicles while so doing, Cadillac has served up something that’s more like a glorified Chevy.

That, obviously, is a problem.

Read More >

By on June 11, 2020

fullsizebronco.com

It’s been a rough go for Ford Bronco fans. Just when they thought they’d get to feast their eyes on a real, physical, reborn Bronco, the pandemic arrived and pushed everything back. No glitzy premiere at the now nonexistent Detroit auto show, just tears.

The returning model’s debut is now set for sometime in July, likely early in the month, but photos of a manual-transmission model leaked to the web are better than nothing. Read More >

By on June 8, 2020

Mitsubishi Logo

You may have spotted a crop of recent headlines and briefly thought that Mitsubishi has designs on returning to the sports car market.

Sorry to burst that particular bubble.

However, if, like me, you spent at least a portion of the 1990s daydreaming about the 3000GT, a report from Motor1 suggests that you might have reason to dream. Well, only if the automaker listens to outsiders who have talent and enthusiasm but not an employee ID.

Read More >

By on June 6, 2020

2020 Mazda 3 hatchback grey - Image: Mazda

The redesigned Mazda 3 arrived for 2019 with upgrades in both looks and cabin refinement, elevating the sporty compact sedan and hatch to a level of class it never occupied before. Also new was optional all-wheel drive to temp those who like a little tail action in sandy corners (or just getting through the winter).

Unpredictably, the new 3 landed with a resounding thud.

Launched with too high an entry price in the U.S., the attractive model’s sales plunge was swift and jarring, forcing Mazda brass to re-think the whole effort. They’re still thinking, and it seems the latest move will bring moar power to the little KODOmobile. Read More >

By on June 4, 2020

Sport Mazda dealer storefront - Image: MazdaMonth after month, as the Mazda product lineup improves and as plaudits pour in, we chronicle the company’s tragic dearth of U.S. sales success. The automaker’s goals for performance in the American marketplace are modest: a good 2 percent market share, for example. Yet generating meaningful demand for deserving products – the second-generation CX-9 and the new-for-2019 Mazda 3, as examples – has proven remarkably challenging.

At least it was remarkably challenging, until a pandemic battered and bruised the U.S. auto market beyond all recognition. U.S. auto sales in the first quarter of 2020 tumbled by more than 12 percent, yet Mazda sales during the same period were off by just 4 percent. Mazda market share ticked up to 1.9 percent in Q1.

But it was Mazda’s May 2020 performance, in which the brand’s sales in the United States dropped by fewer than 300 units, that Mazda appeared downright hopeful. You won’t be surprised to learn the market fared much, much worse.

Read More >

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