I spent a few days in the Florida sunshine this week, behind the wheel of a most basic 2023 Corolla LE. It's a design that's been with us for a few years now, a sedan shape so common that it’s totally unnoticeable. Unfortunately, driving it was an experience I don't care to repeat.
Though electric vehicles can be brutally quick and offer staggering performance, there’s nothing like the sound of a howling exhaust and a rowdy gas engine. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Giulia Quadrifoglio have one of the best-sounding V6 engines around, and the automaker recently announced a new appearance package for the pair that brings sinister styling to the supremely powerful Italians.
In its current guise since 2016, the ninth-gen Chevrolet Malibu is no spring chicken; the rumor is an all-new model will arrive in 2025. And after three days and some 700 miles behind the wheel of a 2023 example, your author has a few observations and a strong overall opinion on the very last domestic midsize sedan in production. Let’s hop in and journey east, through the Appalachian Plateau.
Despite hearing corporate and government actors praise the merits of electrification for years, a sobering reality appears to be taking hold. Despite boasting exquisite torque delivery and the ability to benefit from at-home charging, the public is beginning to doubt their status as economical and environmentally sound transportation. EV prices haven’t fallen as promised, battery mining turned out to be rather contentious, and the vehicles themselves continue getting heavier — resulting in some record-setting curb weights that are likely serving to undermine roadway health and automotive safety.
While the weight issue may be more pronounced among EVs, it’s hardly limited to them. Just about every modern vehicle outweighs its ancestors by a staggering amount and a National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) study has claimed that an extra 1,000 pounds increases the chance of crash fatalities between vehicles by 47 percent.
As we’ve already seen, BMW is building a record number of variants of its next-generation 3 Series, including “GT” hatchback and X4 “Sport Activity Coupe.” But as this photo shows, there is at least one other Dreier bodystyle that we hadn’t heard about yet: the long wheelbase sedan (top). Given the brand’s post-Bangle swing towards extreme styling consistency, the decision between a LWB 3 series and a 5 series seems to have serious head-scratching potential… but it’s not something we’ll have to worry about. The LWB sports sedan will only be sold in China, according to Auto Motor und Sport, where upmarket buyers favor chauffeurs… even in the Ultimate Driving Machine.
Buick is an old nameplate, both in terms of how long the brand has existed and its perceived target market.
OK, the latter probably isn't true anymore and probably hasn't been for a while. Certainly, the brand's actual target market appears, at least based on recent TV ad campaigns, to be young-ish and attractive folks between the ages of 30 and 50.
I am typing this from 40,000 feet over the middle of nowhere as I travel to L.A. for the auto show. Sometime tonight I will see the next Toyota Prius for the first time, along with hordes of other shrimp-eaters. Until then, however, I can surf my browser over to the Google machine and find information on the Japan-spec Prius, which has already broken cover.
Believe it or not, the Ford Escape has been around for over two decades. It is currently in its fourth generation, with the current suppository-like styling first blighting landscapes in 2019. Now, the Blue Oval has gifted it a midcycle refresh, installing new engines and a face that no longer looks like a rolling tribute to the noble lungfish.
TTAC has received the following protocol, developed by GM in the wake of the June Volt fire at a NHTSA facility in Wisconsin, from a GM source and has confirmed its legitimacy with a second GM source. Though the procedure may be refined based on the findings of NHTSA’s latest round of tests, it gives a good picture of what GM currently does to ensure the safety of Volt driver and passengers as well as rescue workers, towing company workers and salvage yards. And, I have to say, it puts some of my fears about this safety scare to rest. It hadn’t occurred to me that GM’s Onstar system could provide opportunities to respond to crashes in real-time, and apparently the system provides a wide variety of data with which GM’s “corporate SWAT team” can tailor its response to any Volt crash event. Hit the jump for the full procedure.
I want to be perfectly honest with you guys — this is The Truth About Cars, after all — I didn’t like driving the 2022 Lexus RX450h AWD F Sport. It’s not that the Lexus is a bad car, it’s that it’s not the right fit for me … and I mean that both figuratively and literally.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about Lexus’ NX compact crossover. I’ve found it to be fairly sporty – in general, and not just by staid Lexus standards – and overall more engaging to drive than the larger (and highly popular) RX, but also a bit cramped inside. Not to mention that the NX, like most Toyota and Lexus products, just seemed a step behind when it came to infotainment.
Lexus addressed two of those criticisms with the current model and did so quite nicely.
One of the things this author has always appreciated about the Honda Ridgeline is its car-like qualities. More than once, the phrase “Accord on stilts” has escaped my lips when talking about the Ridgeline with fellow auto scribes, and I meant it as a compliment.
Imagine my dismay to find that the refreshed 2021 Honda Ridgeline felt jussssst a bit more “trucky” than before.
It’s a new week, and I’m back with another German car Rental Review for your enjoyment! Today’s rental is one of two American market entrants into the premium compact five-door liftback segment, and not a car one expects to find in an Enterprise lot. Presenting a 2020 Audi A5 Sportback, two years and 50,000 rental miles later.
As a fan of the midsize luxury sedan class, it’s sad to see how many manufacturers have given up on the segment. The German trio still has their stalwarts, but Japan gave up in 2020 (RIP Lexus GS), the only American still in the ring is the Cadillac CT5, and its outlier status is accompanied by newcomer Genesis with the G80.
It’s a dying class, which is why your author was especially pleased to spend the Memorial Day weekend with a longstanding headliner of the German luxury sedan genre: A 2021 BMW 5-Series.
I’ll admit it – I sometimes forget Kia’s Sportage exists.
That’s not because the current-generation Sportage is a bad vehicle. No, it’s because it competes in a crowded class and certain stalwarts and newcomers have commanded the market’s attention in recent years.
Enter the 2023 Kia Sportage. Thanks to a major redesign, this five-seat crossover is ready to ram its way back into the spotlight, for better or for worse.
Everybody’s going electric these days, it seems. Or at least, electrified. The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe is Jeep’s latest entry in the electrified-vehicle space (sorry for that bit of marketing speak, I must need more coffee), following, of course, the Wrangler 4xe.
Getting electrified might be good for the ‘ole CAFE standards – but is it worth the price premium? Will electrification change a vehicle’s character – and if so, for the better or for worse?
To find out, I headed deep to the heart of Texas last month.
The 2022 New York Auto Show isn’t the first major auto show to be held since COVID-19 shut the world down in March 2020 – Chicago had shows in 2021 and 2022, and Los Angeles was in its usual slot last year. And there was Motorbella in Detroit last summer.
Still, for whatever reason – the loosening of COVID restrictions, the fact it was the first New York show since COVID, the presence of NY-based journos who don’t deign to travel west of the Hudson for those other shows – there was a pre-show feeling that this was it. This would be the show that marked the return of normalcy. Not LA in 2021 or Chicago just a couple of months ago – no, it would be this one.
Hyundai’s Palisade separates itself from Kia’s Telluride, at least in terms of appearance, by being the more “urban”, stylistically speaking, of the two.
The former looks boxy and rugged, while the latter has curves that evoke urban luxury — at least to this author’s eye.*
Launching a new vehicle under embargo must be a stressful endeavor for all those who are involved on the OEM side.
Take the Toyota GR Corolla. The brand has been so careful to build up interest via teases, and has plans to take the wraps off tonight — and it all got spoiled by some careless management of the company’s consumer Web site.
There has been much speculation over the past week regarding General Motors’ trademark application for a new Buick logo. Likely related to a swath of new EVs on the horizon (but not yet confirmed), the news fired up the old Abandoned History thought box. Why not take a look at all of Buick’s past logos? We began yesterday in 1903, and pick up today in 1942.
According to a recently filed trademark application, Buick’s familiar tri-shield logo may be going the way of the dodo. It’s been suggested the potential logo change is in pursuit of a revised image, in preparation for the Brave New World of EVs that Buick will soon unleash upon millions of eager customers. However, given the company has been around for over 120 years this is far from the first time Buick has swapped its badge.
I was sitting in line for a car wash this morning, readying a test vehicle for photos, and since the line was long and moving slow, I started perusing Twitter on my iPhone while listening to the radio.
The same phone that was plugged into the Ford Maverick’s USB port so that I could run Apple CarPlay.
Not to be outdone by corporate siblings Hyundai and Genesis, which have announced plans to launch 17 electric, or at least electrified, vehicles combined by 2030, Kia has claimed it will have 14 EVs (or, again, vehicles that at least have some electrification) by 2027.
Including two pickup trucks.
You’ve probably seen them, especially if you live in a big city. Three-wheeled vehicles that straddle the line between car and motorcycle that often travel in packs, driven mostly by men in their 30s and 40s.
Adult toys of the non-sexual variety.
Can-Am Spyders. Morgan 3 Wheelers. And Polaris Slingshots. I was loaned one of the latter last year.
Let me start this by saying that I considered the previous Golf R to be the all-around best enthusiast vehicle available in its price range during its time on sale. That’s particularly high praise coming from someone whose performance tastes generally gravitate toward V8-powered, rear-wheel-drive coupes, but I think Volkswagen had achieved something remarkable with the Mk7. It was a car that had the dynamic chops to hang with some very serious hardware out in the canyons but didn’t need to shout about it from an aesthetic standpoint, and it also sacrificed very little in terms of daily drivability and practicality to get there.
Beyond the fundamentals, the Mk7 Golf R had other important elements sorted out too – solid interior materials in a well laid out and comfortable cabin, a class-leading infotainment system with a nice-sounding stereo – that sort of thing. Automakers can get away with phoning in some of that stuff when it comes to their top-tier performance cars because enthusiasts tend to have different priorities than mainstream buyers do, but Volkswagen didn’t half-ass it. This is all to say that the Mk7 Golf R set the bar pretty high.
America’s love affair with the pickup truck is long from being over, and for good reason.
Modern full-size pickup trucks are more capable, efficient, comfortable, and technologically advanced than ever before. They really have become the jack-of-all-trades choice amongst the automotive world. So when an all-new pick-up debuts, it’s a big deal.
Just like with the heavily updated Golf GTI, that’s cause for a sigh of relief.
Perhaps even more so, since the Jetta GLI doesn’t get the same high-falutin’ interior treatment. Thank God for keeping it old school.
Mazda has announced that the 2023 CX-50 will debut on November 15th, foreshadowing its production launch in January of 2022 at the Alabama plant it shares with Toyota. That means odds are good that the model will share more than a few components with the Toyota Corolla Cross. But Mazda has been adamant that CX-50 is a unique vehicle riding on its very own platform.
Unique is a relative term, however, when the upcoming model represents another “lifestyle vehicle” designed to convince consumers that a jack-of-all-trades crossover is ready and willing to drag them up the side of a mountain. Officially, Mazda is claiming this one caters to adults with particularly active lifestyles and has surrounded it with nature-themed marketing materials. That presumably has something to do with the CX-50 boasting “enhanced all-wheel-drive capabilities.”
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- SCE to AUX I don't understand how BMW keeps this brand in business.
- JJ I have this same car and drive it every summer. Only difference is mine does not have the swing roof. Same interior, engine, etc. Found it in British Columbia about 15 years ago with 90,000 km and zero rust. I know it's not a popular member of the Mustang family, but I love it and lots of people stop to tell me their memories of the Mustang II.
- Ajla "the state worked with BMW, Ford, Honda, and Volkswagen in 2020 to agree to a different playbook.""The automaker applied to join the group but was denied over what it said was retaliation"This seems like a pretty important part to the story that folks are ignoring.
- Theflyersfan Some of my extended family have lived in Orange County/Anaheim area since WW2 ended. They were in Anaheim before Disney and when there were actually orange groves. When I lived out there, I battled up from Ventura County down there a few times a month for dinner and ballgames and it was always interesting to hear from the older members about what things were like out there before it all really blew up. And how starting in the 1950s, they could no longer see the mountains anywhere and the sky was frequently this sick brownish haze. And then starting in the late 1990s, when things really started to clean up, they said there were now more days when they could see the mountains again compared to not, and it was really only the Santa Ana winds that brought in the gunk from the Inland Empire into the basin. There's still a long way to go - during the pandemic, it was wild seeing videos of how clean the air got when so many people were working from home, but it shows that even with all of the heavy industry there, it can be done. I know everyone is all over the map when it comes to climate change and causes or if it's happening, but regardless of views on that, I think we can all agree that burning less gasoline and diesel helps everyone breathe a bit easier when we don't have as many smog alert days.
- Fred It's always someone else's fault. Now where is my bonus?