Come this summer, there will be a new contender in town for the choice of Default Car. Gifted a comfortingly familiar name, standard all-wheel drive, and a price tag south of thirty grand, it is all but assured Toyota will be able to quickly sell every single Corolla Cross Hybrid they can produce.
When American Motors introduced the Eagle for the 1980 model year, followed by Audi beginning Quattro sales here a year later, it was finally possible to buy cars—not trucks—that powered all four wheels with no confusing decisions demanded of drivers. Toyota's response to this was the All-Trac AWD system, which first appeared here in 1988 models. Here's one of those first-year cars: a Camry All-Trac found in a Denver self-service yard recently.
Incomprehensible naming schemes aside (CX-50 versus CX-5 will be spoken of in marketing case studies for years to come), Mazda has made a habit of cranking out attractive-looking vehicles with an eye towards driving enjoyment. Helping the latter immensely is the smart decision to have serious gearheads at the helm of most Mazda projects.
Leaving aside the absolutely psychotic dealer markup being slapped on these things by some sellers over the last couple of years, the squared-off Telluride represents a good-looking and reasonably equipped SUV which has been eating the lunch of more than a few established competitors.
This model year brings a few cosmetic changes and a dizzying 10 different trim levels. Which one do we prefer? Why, the one without any greedy markup, of course.
The Honda Pilot has been with us for four generations now, showing up for duty after the suits at Honda finally figured out two decades ago that Americans were serious about their thirst for XL SUVs. For 2023, the model earns new looks, a revamped interior, and a more powerful V6 engine.
The self-proclaimed muscle car brand is finally dipping a toe into the ultra-hot (and ultra-competitive) compact crossover market. It will launch as a 2023 model – the first new Dodge in recent memory, it should be noted – with the choice of a gasoline powerplant or a plug-in hybrid.
And as part of the festivities, Dodge is bringing back a trio of consonants from their history books: GLH.
Chasing the active lifestyle crowd, or perhaps cluing in that the CX-5 is an excellent machine but there’s room on the lot for a variant with a smidgen of off-road cred, Mazda introduced the CX-50 earlier this year. Think of it as a CX-5 in hiking boots and an L.L. Bean coat.
Now, the brand is taking it a step further with the CX-50 Meridian, a trim that brings all-terrain tires and a smattering of exterior accents to imply it’s ready for the trail – or at least that gravel patch at the mall.
Stylists at the Exploding Galaxy have tweaked the front end of their Outback and Legacy models for 2023, with a wide-mouth mason grille now bookended by redesigned LED headlamps. There’s also a smattering of new technology, all of which the company figures is worth a $1,000 price hike.
And, in the fine print, we learned Subaru is now charging different Destination & Delivery charges for different states.
Americans have got a fever, and the only prescription is more crossovers. Virtually every automaker trying to do business in this country has some sort of lifted wagon – if not a handful. Large ones, small ones, performance ones, economy ones. No convertible crossovers anymore, thank goodness. They’re shoehorning a crossover into nearly every possible market segment.
Here, we have the 2023 Mazda CX-50, with a name very much like their popular CX-5. And it’s very close in size to said CX-5. Of the six distinct non-electric vehicles offered by Mazda, four are crossovers – but why did they bring us something so very clearly similar to something they’ve been selling well for many years without replacing it?
Oh, and don’t give Mazda any ideas about a Miata crossover, please.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – or at least that’s the tack Subaru of America seems to be taking with their popular Crosstrek. Forging ahead for the 2023 model year, the little tall wagon crossover sees a microscopic bump in price and the addition of different paint options. There’s also a new trim level for those of you who play ridiculously detailed games of Car Bingo.
Despite the propensity of most North American shoppers to gravitate solidly towards crossovers and SUVs, there remain a few gloriously stubborn souls who prefer the look and feel of a four-door midsize sedan. This explains why a vanishingly few companies still sell the things, taking advantage of holes in the marketplace left by the exodus of brands such as Ford.
Nissan has decided to re-up its Altima for 2022, giving it a nose job and infusing its interior with updated technology.
If the Venn Diagram of your friends has an overlap of people who like all-terrain tires and hybrid powertrains (you may need a magnifying glass to find that sliver), then Toyota has a solution. Enter the RAV4 Hybrid Woodland, an all-wheel-drive machine featuring TRD-tuned suspenders and an efficient four-banger hybrid engine.
Those of you with checkered shirts in yer closet and a few pogs still kicking around may recall it was the original Lexus RX from the late ‘90s which arguably kicked off the “tall wagon” car-based luxury crossover craze. Sure, the first Ford Explorer put us all on a path to what we see in suburban driveways today, but it was the RX which placed them in the hands of moneyed types.
Lexus introduced a new RX yesterday near its home base in Texas, expanding the number of powertrains and (finally) dumping the ill-advised three-row model. And, oh yeah – we need to have a conversation about that grille.
Following an abundance of rumor and conjecture (plus a bit of trying to wring the grapevine for news), top brass at General Motors have confirmed an electrified Corvette will prowl the streets and tracks of America as soon as next year. Even more interesting? An all-electric Corvette, based on The General’s new Ultium EV architecture, will also show up in due course.
Even though everything in the General Motors universe looked pretty shaky in 2009 and GM-affiliated Suzuki gave up on its attempts to sell Suzuki-badged cars in America in 2013, somehow an interesting new Suzuki midsize sedan managed to appear on our shores for the 2010 model year: The Kizashi. Just under 23,000 Kizashis were sold in the United States and Canada during the car’s 2010-2013 sales run, and I’ve found this clean ’11 in a yard just south of Denver, Colorado.
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- SCE to AUX A question nobody asks is how Tesla sells so many EVs without charge-at-home incentives.Here are some options for you:[list][*]Tesla drivers don't charge at home; they just squat at Superchargers.[/*][*]Tesla drivers are rich, so they just pay for a $2000 charger installation with the loose change in their pocket.[/*][*]Tesla drivers don't actually drive their cars much; they plug into 110V and only manage about 32 miles/day.[/*][/list]
- SCE to AUX "Despite the EV segment having enjoyed steady growth over the past several years, sales volumes have remained flatter through 2023."Not so. How can EV sales be increasing and flatter at the same time?https://insideevs.com/news/667516/us-electric-car-sales-2023q1/Tesla and H/K/G are all up for EV sales, as are several other brands.
- ToolGuy Here is an interesting graphic, if you're into that sort of thing.
- ToolGuy Nice website you got there (even the glitches have glitches)
- Namesakeone Actually, per the IIHS ratings, "Acceptable" is second best, not second worst. The ratings are "Good," "Acceptable," "Marginal" and "Poor."