In our question of the day post last Wednesday, we asked you to submit the vehicles that left you wondering what the manufacturers behind them were thinking. Today, we’ll take the opposite tack and focus our attention on the automotive products which came along at exactly the right time.
Update: An earlier version of this story stated the 2017 Honda CR-V was “American-made.” However, the CR-V is manufactured in both the United States and Canada for North American consumption. Sorry, Allistonians.
We sat down for dinner in a rented space shortly after arriving in Monterey, California. The food, standard fare for such a gathering, consisted of no less than three different types of meat, the usual suspects of sides, and one or two items my small-town mind couldn’t infer from the non-Anglo-Saxon names printed on the buffet placement cards.
This was normal for a manufacturer press launch dinner: provide just enough “exotic” items for attendees to feel fancy, privileged, and cultured, but make sure the usual assortment of normal standbys are present so as not to confuse the rest of us with indecipherable choice.
Not adventurous enough to take on that mystery sushi? Here’s some roast beef.
That sauteed vegetable of dubious origin giving you second thoughts? Here, have a potato.
To the front of the room stood two new 2017 Honda CR-Vs. Much like the edibles offered to the journosaur guests, one of the examples wore a resplendent, bright hue; the other a more muted pigmentation for those with more conservative sensibilities.
Around fall of last year, my girlfriend and I learned we were going to have a baby. I already have two girls and she has three boys. With the existing brood, we were already traveling places in convoy as her Nissan Maxima and my Honda Accord Coupe V6 could not fit everyone together. We threw our money together to get a third vehicle that could carry the entire family and our future baby.
After much research on my end and exploring all other alternatives, we concluded that we wanted a good ol’ Chevy Suburban. It has plenty of room for all of us, can be had relatively cheap, it’s simple enough to troubleshoot and work on, yet will be pretty handy for future home improvement projects.
The SUV’s rise to king of the automotive fiefdom is well documented. Seizing the chance for fat profits and sales glory, manufacturers took their existing product, added a couple of doors and ladled on the chrome. Buyers flocked to them like Brexiters lining up to change their vote. In time, thanks to Prius driving tofu-twinks wearing nuclear-free peace sandals, these brutes became as politically correct as a Monsanto home fracking kit and, with a few exceptions, have been resigned to the dustbin of history.
OEMs recognized the trend, slowly backing away from the behemoth machines. Modifying their smaller unibody offerings, tall two-box crossovers soon dotted the landscape, watering down the SUV formula until buyers were left with the automotive equivalent of Metamucil.
Quality of life is about making the best of your surroundings. There isn’t a car on the market today that reflects that ethos more than the Honda Accord.
After years of growing to make room for smaller models in the lineup, the Accord — which has gathered accolades as the most reliable choice in the family car segment for decades — has skipped having a midlife crisis, and is still playing like a kid. It would be easy to say the Accord has always been a favorite for us, but as the competition improves, we wanted to come back and give the Accord another go.
Here’s what we learned after several days of puttering around southern California in the Accord Sport, the value-priced model that hits the sweet spot of what you have and what you want.
Ford will sell a backseat kit for its Ford Mustang GT350R because it’s the family car you’ve been asking for, the automaker announced Thursday.
Ford will sell the backseat it removed back to you for $999 (before installation), and it’s even made from the same herd of Alcantaras as the front seats. The rear seats will sport seatbelts and all original GT350 restraint systems.
The demand was clear, according to Ford Performance folks: people want a four-seater, track-ready car that could pull double duty owning all the apexes and hauling kids — which is not already called a Focus RS.
I have a ’15 Subaru WRX and a ’68 Ford Mustang. I pick my daughter up from daycare everyday. When the weather is nice, I drive the Mustang.
My wife and I are thinking of having a second kid, which would render my Mustang unusable since there’s no middle seat and zero space behind the driver. I’ve been lurking on a bunch of model-specific sites and on The H.A.M.B., but I can’t find much info on classics that will fit two car seats comfortably, at least one of which would be rear-facing.
The Impala exists in an odd segment of its own. The full-sized Chevy is one of the largest sedans on sale in America, yet its base engine is only a 2.5-liter four cylinder. Based on the pricing and feature options, the Impala is designed to be a semi-step above the Malibu, yet the number of true competitors the Impala has is extremely small. That’s because GM’s philosophy in the large sedan segment is different from the rest. Most of its competitors have two entries in this segment: one mass-market option and one luxury option. GM, however, slices its pie three ways with the Chevy Impala, Buick LaCrosse and Cadillac XTS.
That puts the Impala in the dubious position of the least expensive option in GM’s full-sized portfolio. It also means the Impala’s full-sized competition narrows to just the Taurus and the Charger. Why? Because the real competitor to the Chrysler 300, Hyundai Azera, Kia Cadenza, Acura RLX and most trims of the Toyota Avalon isn’t the Impala, but the Buick LaCrosse. Meanwhile, top-end trims of the RLX, Cadenza, Azera, Chrysler 300 and Lexus ES cross shop with the Cadillac.
Has GM sliced things just a little bit too fine with the Impala? Let’s find out.
TTAC commentator tedward writes:
I thought I’d finally throw my hat into the ring as my wife and I are on the hunt for a second family car.
We currently own a ’91 BMW 318is and a ’13 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen 2.5 — both manual, of course. In our previous lives as NYC residents, this was an extravagant stable that required personal sacrifice and demanded constant justification in casual conversation.
On one hand, we find ourselves with one real life car that fits us all; on the other, a relatively unsafe car that shouldn’t be relied upon (at 200,000+ miles) for day-to-day duties.
Kia gained a well-deserved reputation in the ’90s for cheap and nasty transportation, but lately they are the greatest social climber since Cinderella. “2016 Kia” and “1996 Kia” are totally different from one another. Even “2006 Kia” seems like a distant memory.
Unusual for a car company, Kia doesn’t shy away from its troubled beginnings in America, which can be seen both in its marketing toward the press and in its product portfolio.
The 2016 Sorento is a perfect example. While the model we were lent for a week is a solid contender to the Ford Edge, Toyota Highlander and even the Acura MDX, Kia also sells a model priced at $24,900, just above the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Ford Escape.
Does this make the Sorento conflicted? Or is the Korean born, German designed and American built crossover the “just right” CUV?
Hi Sajeev and Steve,
I’ve always enjoyed this column, and several years ago I took a piece of the advice you provided: I bought a used Ford Taurus for a teen driver.
Anyway, I’m curious for your thoughts on what we should drive now. My wife and I have long commutes as well as 3 children. It’ll be a year before the oldest can sit up front and, at that point, the youngest can go from a massive car seat to a booster.
I log about 18,000 miles per year in an E39 M5. I have little time for it to be down, though I can borrow a relative’s extra car in a pinch. As expected, the car costs a few thousand to maintain per year, plus fuel is about $3,000 per year at today’s prices.
My wife drives a 2007 Lincoln MKX in need of shrewd replacement. The good lady finds the Mark Ten a chore to use around DC: clumsy, hard to see from, and very thirsty for all the enjoyment she gets from it. It also lacks exactly the features that she prizes: a sunroof, and up-to-date bluetooth – iDrive – voice/nav goodies. After a 16-month test drive of this very kind gift, it’s time to trade it towards something more suitable.
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- Surakmn Wrong question, for a lot of people even a PHEV has enough range for commute or errands. The problem is lack of a cost effective, speedy and available charging infrastructure. With an ICE you're usually never more than a few miles away from a ten minute fill up. THAT is what makes me comfortable on a cross country trip. Electrics can manage more routes than many people realize but you have to plan it out and allow for charging times and pray charging stations are real and working shopping the way. It's a few years out yet.
- John I had an 87 escort GT that was silver, it was a fun little car and got 35+ mpg average, one time I got 42 average on a turnpike trip.
- Jho65697139 That's going to take a lot of buffing.
- Corey Lewis No need for unique qualifications to care for this thing, it's just a Corolla with a different body on it.
- Jeff S How's you Fiat doing?