Starting in the 1997 model year, The General’s Cadillac Division glued Cadillac badges and some puzzling cartoon-duck advertising to the Opel Omega and called it the Catera. I’ve photographed just about every junkyard Catera I’ve found because they seem like relics from a long-ago past when Detroit car companies believed Americans would buy their European-market cars… or cars, period. Another Cadillac from the same era fits right in with American automotive trends of the last couple of decades, though, because it helped create them: The Cadillac Escalade. Here’s a first-model-year Escalade, found in a Silicon Valley self-service yard a few months back.
While Mitsubishi sold Montero-badged Pajeros in North America from the 1985 through 2006 model years, the boxy first-generation version (and its Dodge Raider twin— no, not the Mitsubishi Raider) is the one most of us recognize as the true Montero. Since I live in Montero-loving Colorado, I find plenty of these trucks in junkyards and have the privilege of choosing only the nicest ones to share as Junkyard Finds. Here’s a low-mile ’89 that now resides in a car graveyard just north of downtown Denver.
Kia has recalled 2021 Seltos SUVs and 2020-21 Soul wagons with 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engines. 147,249 vehicles are involved. Inconsistent piston ring heat treating may cause engine damage. This can lead to a loss of power, and an increased risk of fires or crashing.
The General had a healthy sales hit with the GMT360 platform in the 2002 model year, when the new Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, and Oldsmobile Bravada hit the showrooms. Since GM had devoured Saab in 2000 and most American car shoppers wanted trucks or truck-shaped machines by that point, it seemed to make sense to produce a Saab-badged GMT360 and extract some cash from that slice of the car-buying populace that craved both the rugged-lifestyle signifiers of a truck and the quirky-yet-sensible Swedish image of a Saab. The Isuzu-badged version— the Ascender— had had its debut for 2004, and so the Saab 9-7X appeared for 2005 (sadly, no Daewoo- or Vauxhall-badged versions were produced). Here’s a first-model-year 9-7X, found in a Denver self-service yard last week.
Orange Peelz, one of a half-dozen Jeep concepts unveiled at Easter Jeep Safari, is quite possibly the easiest to replicate and drive on a daily basis. A two-door Wrangler, it uses Jeep Performance Parts (JPP) prototype half doors and a custom removable sunroof to let the sunshine in.
Farout, a new Jeep Gladiator concept vehicle for 2021, is an overlander built for four, thanks to the addition of an AT Overland Equipment Habitat truck topper. At 16-feet long and 7.5-feet tall, the pop top fully deployed takes about three minutes to set up.
The Jeep Gladiator Top Dog concept vehicle is headed to Moab for the first time. First built in 2020, it sat in limbo for events to open up again, and the 55th Annual Easter Jeep Safari was the opportunity Jeep had been waiting for.
Due to COVID-19, the host group, Red Rock 4-Wheelers, had Easter Jeep Safari canceled, only to have the Grand County Commission in February approve a revision to the group’s special permit, and their event permit. Part of their compliance required cancellation of the vendor portion of the show, although the group has announced they will do a virtual live-streamed giveaway, to be held Friday, April 2nd at 6:30 p.m. Mountain time on their Facebook page.
Hyundai’s New-for 2022 Kona N has been revealed along with the previously-announced Kona, but this time supposedly without masking. A glimpse was provided to tease viewers, and heighten the hype around what they’re calling an addition to their high-performance N division.
Pricing for the all-new 2022 Tucson SUV was announced by Hyundai Motor America today, with 15 variations available to suit a wide range of needs and budgets. Starting at $24,950 MSRP for a base SE model with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, 8-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive, the range tops out at $37,350 for a Limited HEV, which is a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder hybrid with a 6-speed automatic transmission and HTRAC all-wheel drive.
Don’t get too excited. Hyundai’s Bayon is at present a European-only crossover SUV that the brand announced today. All-new in the B-segment, Bayon is named after Bayonne, a sought-after vacation destination in the south of France.
The growing popularity of SUVs in Europe was the reason for Hyundai’s introduction, and the forward-motion stance of the Bayon is in keeping with the design characteristics of the segment. Bayon is the seventh new or enhanced model Hyundai has released in the past year.
Infiniti’s wanderlust has taken the QX80 to other faraway locations, but none quite as exotic as Privolzhskoe, Tver Oblast, Russia, to go glamping in Villi Ulei’s geodesic domes.
In what’s termed a comfort zone for climatic conditions in Russia, temperatures range from 9-degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, to a high of 66-degrees in the summer. As you can see, snowfall is abundant in the region, from a low of about 16 inches, to almost 32 inches, and it spans anywhere from four to five months of the year. Home to 1.35 million Russians, 30% of whom are Russian Orthodox, it might seem like a great place to go if it were summer at the Boishoe Zavidovo, when Nashestvie, the largest Russian rock festival, is being held.
Ford has announced that 1,666 2021 Ford Bronco Sports are being called back for jiggly rear suspension modules. Seems that someone in the Hermosillo, Mexico assembly plant didn’t secure the rear suspension module to the subframe, which could affect the vehicle’s stability.
Russian SUV maker UAZ, and Bremach, Inc., an American automotive manufacturer in Southern California, are introducing the Bremach 2022 Taos 4X4 mid-sized SUV. It matters little that you’ve not heard of UAZ or Bremach, they are collaborating to bring the Russian SUV and other vehicles to the U.S.
Toyota’s Land Cruiser is soon to be a casualty of technological advancement, after rumors of the venerable SUV being dropped were confirmed by Car and Driver when they spoke with a partner in a large dealer franchise who said that 2021 would be the end of the road for this premium SUV. This seems to confirm some earlier reporting we shared from Motor Authority.
Camper vans, ubiquitous homes on wheels for digital nomads, were up 125 percent in total shipments in November, according to the RV Industry Association. This was part of total RV shipments that finished the month with 42,513 units, a 43.4 percent increase over the 29,644 units shipped in November of last year.
Acura has unveiled the 2022 Acura MDX, peeling back the curtain on the latest iteration of the luxury SUV with its most dramatic redesign in 20 years. For a brand more reliant on technology, Acura’s new flagship model is daring if not somewhat fearless in its appearance.
Sporting an all-new platform and chassis, the MDX also has new sheetmetal.
Zero to sixty in 3.8 seconds, or 0.3 seconds faster than the outgoing version, the 2021 Jaguar F-PACE SVR is also said to be 2 mph faster, with a top speed of 178 mph. The real question is where outside of Iredell County, North Carolina, scene of NASCAR racer Kyle Busch’s infamous 2011 speeding ticket (128 mph in a 45 mph zone), could you get anywhere near those limits?
Acura will reveal the 2022 Acura MDX on December 8. America’s best-selling three-row luxury SUV gets its most dramatic redesign in 20 years. Bolder inside and out, Acura’s new flagship model is claimed to be the most performance-focused, technologically advanced premium SUV in the company’s history.
Is it possible to be more American that a Kia Telluride? Probably not. Clint Eastwood drove one in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. John Rambo rolled into a small, Northwestern town behind the wheel of one shortly after his repatriation. John Wayne owned two, and the Telluride was the first vehicle to storm Omaha Beach. From its exhaust pipes come clouds of red, white, and blue.
Folks, this vehicle is more American than a bald eagle eating apple pie on July 4th. It is the three-row SUV that rowed across the Potomac to get to a dealership near you, and don’t you forget it.
The sky’s apparently the limit when it comes to the variety of vehicles that might emerge from Volkswagen’s dedicated MEB electric architecture. While the automaker’s looming EV onslaught already contains a hatchback, crossover, microbus, panel van, and possible luxury sedan, VW feels something’s missing: a tough, off-road ute.
One VW exec is pushing hard to give electric vehicles a brawnier image.
After rocking the same design with only minor alterations since 2011, Ford will soon debut an all-new Explorer. Arriving this year as a 2020 model, the model adopts the modular CD6 platform shared with Lincoln’s Aviator, making the new version of the venerable SUV rear-drive biased once again. New powerplants are also on the way.
Before we lay eyes on the new ute, however, Ford wants to show us, once again, the Explorer’s law enforcement brother: the Police Interceptor Utility, which the company first revealed under the cloak of darkness last June. We now have light. A wildly common sight on North American roads, the new version of the copped-up Explorer is all about nabbing bad guys … and saving departments money. The vehicle you see here arrives with a standard hybrid drivetrain.
Hoping to generate some buzz ahead of its reveal, Land Rover released an incomplete, low-resolution side-on image of the upcoming, reborn Defender on Tuesday. The model, which disappeared from European dealers after its aging body was declared a danger to modern pedestrians, will return next year as a 2020 model. Apparently, it will hold on to its beloved boxy shape, as anything less would inspire French-style street protests on United Kingdom carriageways.
Also, unlike the last Defender, this one’s coming to America.
When Jeep finally rolls out the Grand Wagoneer early next decade, there’s a chance buyers might fork over upwards of $100,000 for the hulking luxo-ute, depending on trim. Two years before ascending to the CEO’s office, then-Jeep head Mike Manley speculated that, if the vehicle was right, people might spend up to $140,000 on a Jeep-badged SUV.
Well, British buyers will be able to do that next year.
It’s been a rough couple of years for Hyundai of America, but the automaker’s crossover-stacked product strategy is now bearing fruit. It’s not alone in this. The addition of new utility models like the subcompact Kona helped the brand shrug off slagging car sales, posting crucial monthly sales gains in 2018, just as the large Ascent crossover helped keep rival Subaru on a good sales footing.
While there’s change afoot among Hyundai’s car offerings, it’s big vehicles that fill both coffers and imaginations, and the Korean brand needs a large (but not too large) three-row utility to stimulate sales and profit in the North American region. Hyundai feels the Palisade is just the ticket. In fact, you’re already forgetting the Santa Fe XL nameplate as you read this.
General Motors’ full-size, body-on-frame SUVs are growing long in the tooth, but man, are they popular. It helps that The General keeps finding ways of sweetening the pot here and there, all while ticking the MSRP slightly skyward. By all accounts, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship between consumer and manufacturer.
Last year brought the RST (Rally Sport Truck) versions of the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, which GM followed up with this year’s appearance of an extra half-step of luxury in the form of the “Premier Plus” trim. For the extra expenditure, customers gained newfound access to the company’s coveted 6.2-liter V8 and refined 10-speed automatic.
Cadillac Escalade buyers don’t have that desire, as the top-flight powertrain comes standard in all trim levels. They might, however, wish to look meaner. And Cadillac’s banking that they’ll pay more for the privilege.
During Jaguar Land Rover’s unveiling of the updated version of its smallest Range Rover model, the automaker made sure everyone knew the only carryover components from the not-fully-baked first-generation model were the door hinges. This is not your realtor’s Evoque, JLR assures us.
Revealed in its native UK, the second-gen Range Rover Evoque — arriving next year as a 2020 model — keeps the tidy footprint of its predecessor while boosting the model’s high-zoot trappings and technology. It’s more powerful, greener, and capable off-road than before, JLR claims, and there’s no longer even a whiff of Ford about the thing. Under that hood is an engine proudly flying the Union Jack.
It’s possible the 2020 Ford Bronco just had an unlikely reveal after photos of last month’s Las Vegas dealer convention found their way online. On a Ford website, no less.
Slated for production alongside the 2019 Ranger in Wayne, Michigan, the Bronco is returning to satisfy the burning itch felt by longtime fans of the rugged, body-on-frame SUV. But is this that vehicle?
A couple of weeks out from the LA Auto Show at which it is scheduled to debut, a Russian car enthusiast site has published a picture of what certainly appears to be the 2020 Hyundai Palisade.
Cribbing a few styling cues from other recent Hyundai crossovers, including a grille vaguely shaped like a pointy mushroom bookended by low-slung headlight peepers, the ride shown here looks all set to appear in a school drop-off queue near you.
Or, at least, Italian communities. In an unexpected benefit of Fiat Chrysler and its Italian-American relations, a few of the Arma dei Carabinieri are being outfitted with armored Jeep Grand Cherokees. Nineteen of them, to be precise.
With power going to all four wheels, Italian cops should be able to chase their quarry clear across Trevi Fountain. All it needs are some Boadicea wheel attachments.
While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s probe into reports of exhaust gasses leaking into the cabin of certain Ford Explorers continues, the company doesn’t have to worry about the brakes on its law enforcement variants anymore.
After launching an investigation into front brake hose failures — at the request of the Sacramento Police Department — in 2015, the NHTSA returned the verdict this week. Nothing inherently wrong with those front stoppers, it said. It seems the Sacramento PD really, really pushes its vehicles in pursuit training.
Great things can happen when you combine something that’s already good with a symphony orchestra. Procol Harum’s 1971 live recording of Conquistador is proof of that. For Lincoln Motor Company, a marque which just suffered another disappointing sales month, the vehicle on which it has placed so much hope isn’t leaving any luxury stone unturned.
Next year’s Aviator, a rear-biased midsize SUV that makes the MKX look like a minivan, plans to woo buyers by taking them out on the town. You won’t be able to avoid a night at the symphony in this vehicle.
The world needs to adopt North America’s penchant for high-riding SUVs if Volkswagen has any hope of building a clean, green, safe future for your kids. That’s basically the message coming from the automaker, which wants 50 percent of its global product mix to be made up of crossovers and SUVs by 2025.
High-margin SUVs will bolster the brand’s business, the company says, helping bring in the cash needed to eventually take your internal combustion engine and steering wheel away.
It’s finally here and it’s, um, polarizing. BMW’s largest utility vehicle, the X7, uses the brand’s versatile CLAR platform as a starting point for the most controversially styled Bimmer since Chris Bangle left the building.
Arriving at dealers in March, the X7’s derrière is not, nor ever will be, the main source of viewer displeasure. This large vehicle has a big face and BMW knows it. It’s proud of it. Poised to tackle the likes of Mercedes-Benz’s GLS and other capacious, three-row premium utilities, the X7 makes sure it will never go unnoticed.
The headline should read “teased again,” as this isn’t the first peek we’ve had of the automaker’s upcoming three-row SUV. Much of the model’s visage was already on display a year ago, when BMW unveiled the X7 iPerformance concept. (It’s funny how the passage of time lessens visual horrors.)
A pre-production model also appeared in a photo taken at BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina factory late last year, looking no less grotesque than the concept. This is the real thing, however, and a quick brightening of the above photo shows Bimmer took pains to tone things down.
Jeep’s smallest model has a new uplevel engine for 2019, one that brings to mind the revered and diminutive Suzuki Samurai of the late 1980s. That model also housed a 1.3-liter engine, though the Suzuki’s mill boasted, in a manner of speaking, just 63 horsepower.
The Jeep Renegade’s new 1.3-liter four-cylinder isn’t likely to remind anyone of ’80s featherweight Japanese utes.
Two years before his untimely death, former Fiat Chrysler and Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne promised not to build a sport-utility vehicle with the prancing horse badge stuck to it. To do so would be sacrilege, he implied. Alas, the passage of time revealed the folly in that plan, especially for an automaker trying to stand on its own two feet after being spun off by its parent.
At the time, luxury automakers like FCA’s Maserati and its competitors had come to the realization that a stable devoid of high-riding vehicles was not what consumers — or forward-looking investors — wanted to see. Fast-forward to the present day, and even Rolls-Royce has an SUV. Lotus, maker of tiny sports cars, has one in development. Ferrari would be the odd man out without one, and thus more vulnerable to changing consumer preferences.
On Tuesday, Ferrari told investors what they can expect from the company, as well as its upcoming SUV.
Not to hammer too obvious a point here, but the decreasing popularity of a certain car model, combined with increasing incentivization, can seriously influence that model’s depreciation. Ask Cadillac about that. While a boon for savvy used car buyers a few years down the road, it doesn’t help anyone’s lease payment and can leave you upside down on a long-term loan.
In its annual Your Driving Costs study, the American Automobile Association broke down the average vehicle, fuel, insurance, maintenance, loan interest, and depreciation costs of various vehicle segments to show what a hypothetical new car buyer can expect to pay, annually, over the course of a five-year loan.
Naturally, your overall bill’s going to be lower with a smaller, cheaper, thriftier vehicle. That said, after looking at the findings of last year’s study, cars in certain segments are shedding their value at a growing clip. And you’ll pay for that.
The pride of Tuscaloosa is getting a very German revamp for its next generation, adopting evolutionary changes in design while slipping in some new tech that only reveals itself to the driver.
First gracing our shores in 1997, Mercedes-Benz’s GLE debuted as the ML320, finding fans in successful realtors everywhere. Since then, M-B has made sure not to push the the model’s boundaries too much, leaving much of the experimentation to its Mercedes-AMG division. It’s unlikely return buyers will find much to hate about the 2019 version, unless they’re particularly averse to six-pot engines with cylinders arranged all in a row.
By now, you’ve probably read all about Matt’s adventures in fashion, but the unexpected reveal of Kia’s upcoming Telluride SUV during New York City’s Fashion Week has me reeling. And it shouldn’t.
It shouldn’t, because alluring concept vehicle morph into far less savory production vehicles all the time. Or, in the case of Buick and Cadillac’s concepts, they morph back into the invisible nothingness from which they came. Spy photos of the Telluride pointed us towards an expectation of what appeared on Sunday.
Still, it hurts. Why?
Fashion is not a subject this author is particularly familiar with. While I know that a button-up and suit jacket serves me better than an oversized Space Jam t-shirt, the reasons why remain a complete mystery. I just know that people are less likely to ask me to leave their establishment when I’m wearing a tie.
Be that as it may, I am savvy enough to know that Fashion Week is a strange locale in which to introduce a new vehicle. However, fashion designer Brandon Maxwell convinced Kia to donate to his childhood school district in Marfa, Texas, in exchange for the opportunity to showcase the automaker’s giant, unibody SUV. Created by Kia’s American design studio in Irvine, California, the customized Telluride that appeared on the runway drew influence from Texas (where everything is bigger). Fittingly, that was also Maxwell’s inspiration for the Spring/Summer 2019 collection — which I’m told is “fabulous.”
“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Former British PM Winston Churchill used this somewhat confusing quote to describe the status of the war following the defeat of Axis forces in North Africa, and it popped into my head while scanning Hyundai’s U.S. sales data for the month of August.
The sales slump experienced by a once-skyrocketing Hyundai is well covered. Last year was a grim one for the brand, as a combination of falling passenger car sales and not enough crossovers saw the automaker’s U.S. fortunes tumble. Since then, Hyundai’s been on a new or refreshed model tear, and it’s not over yet. Has the automaker’s recovery seen the end of the beginning?
The diesel emissions scandal that continues swirling around Volkswagen’s German workforce is merely a far-off cloud for the folks at Volkswagen of America. Sunny skies reign, thanks to a decision to go heavy into “Americanized” crossovers.
Sure, the Jetta and Golf families continued their downward trajectory, joined in the descent by VW’s Passat sedan, but those lost sales are more than made up for by two nameplates: Tiguan and Atlas. Break out the iced tea.
Fiat Chrysler Heads in Different Sales Directions North and South of the Border, But We Can All Agree on Jeep (or Can We?)
Without its juggernaut Jeep division, Fiat Chrysler would find itself in deep trouble. We’re talking Mitsubishi, circa 2013, sorts of trouble. On a year-to-date basis, all of FCA’s brands save for Jeep and the low-volume, niche Alfa Romeo took a sales tumble in the United States. It’s the same story north of the border.
In both countries, Jeep is FCA’s knight in shining armor (coming to its financial rescue), only in Canada it’s not enough to boost flagging year-over-year sales. FCA’s volume sank 10 percent in August, while in the U.S. it rose 10 percent. Year to date, FCA’s up 5 percent in the U.S. and down 14 percent in the Great White North.
Why such a disparity between sales directions? It seems to come down, at least partly, to Jeep posting far greater gains in the U.S. than in Canada. Even within the division, there’s quite a difference between what buyers in both countries want.
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- AMcA Phoenix. Awful. The roads are huge and wide, with dedicated lanes for turning, always. Requires no attention to what you're doing. The roads are idiot proofed, so all the idiots drive - they have no choice, because everything is so spread out.
- Leonard Ostrander Pet peeve: Drivers who swerve to the left to make a right turn and vice versa. They take up as much space as possible for as long as possible as though they're driving trailer trucks or school busses. It's a Kia people, not a Kenworth! Oh, and use your turn signals if you ever figure out where you're going.
- Master Baiter This is horrible. Delaying this ban will raise the Earth's temperature by 0.00000001°C in the year 2100.
- Alan Buy a Skoda Superb.
- Alan In Australia only hairdressers would buy this Monaro as its known as. Real men had 4 door sedans and well hung men drive 4x4 dual cab utes with bullbars and towbars. I personally think this is butt ugly. Later iterations of the Commodore were far better looking.