All Things Being Equal: The Changing Face of Luxury

There’s a growing assumption that automobiles have become so universally satisfactory, there’s nothing to gripe about anymore. We’re inclined to disagree. There will always be models that fail to meet our expectations and industry trends we’re not particularly fond of. However, we will happily acknowledge that low-tier automobiles have become decidedly less terrible when thrown together into a pool.

A weird side effect of this has been mainstream brands moving upmarket and offering a bevy of luxury options while extravagant nameplates do the inverse. For example, the Kia Cadenza can easily be outfitted to surpass the base Cadillac ATS in terms of luxury features and overall price. It doesn’t have the prestige, but you’re still buying a larger automobile with a focus on lavishness that can deliver on an exceptionally quiet and comfortable ride.

On the flip side of things, Cadillac is busy prepping its new small crossover for the general market. Priced for a mainstream budget, the XT4 should be a win for General Motors. But it further showcases the amount of overlap happening within the industry right now. Value manufacturers are becoming increasingly willing to move upmarket while luxury brands are trying to burn the money candle at both ends.

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2016 Kia Sorento Limited V6 Review - Not Your Father's Kia [Video]

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?

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Review: 2013 Ford Fusion SE 1.6L Ecoboost (Video)

The 2013 Fusion is a critical car for Ford. Despite the rise of the Koreans, an Americanized Passat, refreshed GM and Chrysler products and a dip in Fusion sales between the 2012 and the all-new 2013 model, the Ford is still the fourth-best-selling mid-size sedan in America. Michael was invited to a regional Ford event in September where he revealed his opinions, but what most readers seem to recall is Derek’s proclamation that the 2013 Fusion is a “ gamechanger.” To answer the question once and for all, Ford tosses us the keys to the volume-selling SE model with Ford’s recall-beleaguered 1.6L Ecoboost engine for a week.

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  • Stanley Steamer What is that white roadster in the background?
  • Bufguy The Seville was not an X car....Yes the Seville was based on the x car platform but the changes were so extensive that GM designated the platform “K,” because it very little in common with the X. Only the rear subframe, front suspension, part of the floor and the roof were carried over unchanged.
  • Spookiness I kind of like this. Somebody in my building had a late (77?) Chevy Concours, silver with burgundy cloth interior.
  • Jeff S These were good cars. Came close to buying a new 75 Chevy Nova 2 door. My father had a 62 Chevy II 300 for 12 years which my 2 brothers and I drove to high school and then I drove the 1st year of college. My middle brother had a 2 door Limited Skylark X car with the 4 cylinder, fuel injection, and 4 speed manual that went well over 200k miles--it had the most comfortable red velour seats it was light gray with a maroon half vinyl top. He never had to replace the clutch and mostly routine mileage mostly highway.
  • MrIcky Toyota keeps hinting at 'the next big' and hasn't really delivered that much new since the prius. Maybe the most conservative company on the face of the planet for good and bad and if it's a 3-5 year time frame to come into existence, who cares. Hopefully the new Taco brings that vehicle up to date and it isn't just a new fascia and a 12 inch touch screen. Yes I've read all the rumors, we'll see. Maybe they'll close the c channel frame and put disc brakes on it?