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.
There’s an argument to be made Mazda is the little car company that could. Representing a sliver of the American market compared to its larger competitors, the Hiroshima-made vehicles are typically infused with the type of driving fun that’s seemingly been surgically removed from the vehicles with which it competes.
Actually, the term ‘Hiroshima-made’ is no longer totally correct. With the introduction of the 2023 CX-50 crossover you see on these digital pages, Mazda now has a manufacturing footprint in this country to the annual tune of 150,000 vehicles. It’s only fitting they’d deploy this new capability for the type of rig most Americans prefer: An all-wheel-drive crossover with an off-road attitude.
This 2022 model year marks the introduction of a fifth-generation WRX – that all-wheel-drive hooligan that some of us first discovered on the screens of a PlayStation. The car has gone through several permutations over the years, including some ill-advised styling choices, but has never left the psyche of most gearheads as one of the preferred turbocharged tools for sliding around a dirt-covered back road.
For 2022, the WRX adds a new top-of-the-line GT trim, featuring electronically controlled dampers that can tailor the dynamic performance to the driver’s preferences. But – hang on a minute; according to the bumf, that trim is only available with a CVT!
The midcycle refresh is a tool that has been used by carmakers for eons, giving them the opportunity to inject new interest into a machine that’s been on the market for a few years. Chevrolet has taken this step with the 2023 Blazer and, in the process, made it a great candidate for those old Spot The Difference games which used to appear in the Sunday paper.
Fresh off a substantial redesign for 2021, the Nissan Rogue enters its sophomore year with a new engine option. On tap is a version of the brand’s variable compression technology, applied to a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-banger good for 201 horsepower and 225 lb-ft of torque. And, as is Nissan’s apparent M.O., the CVT ‘box remains.
Believe it or not, the ubiquitous RAV4 has been around for two-and-a-half decades, appearing on the scene as a right-sized trucklet available in either two- or four-door guise. Remember when the RAV could be had with a removable roof? Pepperidge Farm remembers.
Twenty-five years on, the model has grown in size and cemented itself as a leader in its segment. Fun fact: the original four-door RAV was just 162 inches long, about two feet shorter than a Camry of the day, on a wheelbase of 94.5 inches. For 2022, Toyota has added a couple of extra trims and fiddled with some of its styling details.
While this year’s L.A. Auto Show will be the location in which Subaru shows its new all-electric Solterra on this side on the pond, the new EV – developed in conjunction with Toyota – popped up in an official capacity at a reveal event in Japan. Save for having its steering wheel on the opposite side of the cabin, the machine you see here will be much like the one appearing next week in Los Angeles.
It also looks a lot like its Toyota cousin – much more so than some industry observers expected.