Volkswagen Tarok: Harbinger of What, Exactly?

You’ve seen this vehicle on these digital pages before, but Volkswagen now plans to bring its Brazil-bound Tarok unibody pickup to the United States … if only for an appearance at the New York Auto Show.

Yes, the Tarok’s role this week and next is to give U.S. consumers a come-hither look and whisper, “See anything you like, boys? You let me know.” In this case, “me” means VW brass, who have a decision to make.

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Hyundai: Is This Venue Big Enough for You?

Hyundai hopes the answer to that question, for a good number of young or otherwise cash-strapped buyers, is “yes.”

As it performs a slow leak of its upcoming small Venue crossover ahead of the New York Auto Show, the Korean automaker wants would-be buyers to know the subcompact Kona won’t be the cheapest Hyundai crossover for long. Nor the smallest.

But how small is too small for America?

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2020 Toyota Highlander Appears Ahead of New York Debut

Not content with releasing a high contrast, nearly blacked-out photo or rendering of its upcoming fourth-generation Highlander, Toyota decided to go all artsy-fartsy. In place of a single image, Toyota commissioned an artist to create a 3D art installation made up of 200 individual panels.

Buyers, however, will be more interested in the actual, physical vehicle, which makes its debut on April 17th at the New York Auto Show. A sales stud, Toyota’s three-row midsizer promises a new platform and slightly sexier flanks.

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QOTD: Approaching the Turnoff Point?

You got an eyeful last week. Alluring, SEXY new vehicles, all displayed under high-intensity lighting specifically for your your viewing pleasure. Objectify this, the automakers implored.

It’s likely you’re still losing sleep over the 2019 RAV4. Okay, maybe not.

Still, with every show comes a new vehicle that gets under your skin, burrows its way into your brain, and compels a reader to go in search of a nonexistent online build and price tool. Was there a New York reveal that legitimately knocked your socks off, or did you walk away wanting so much more?

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Mid-size Refresh: 2019 Kia Optima

In the midst of a market that apparently abhors the traditional four-door sedan, Kia showrooms are awash with them. The new K900 appeared in New York this week, the Cadenza occupies a sliver of segment, the Stinger is taking care of the sporty crowd, and the Optima goes head-to-head with Camcords.

For 2019, Kia has bestowed the latter with new driver assists, some infotainment tweaks, and a choice of no fewer than three different engines. If a sedan is on your shopping list, it would seem the Korean automaker has plenty of choices (and choices within those choices) from which to select. As for visual clues that you’re looking at a 2019, well, meet the new 보스, same as the old 보스.

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2019 Kia K900 Debuts, Does Its Damndest to Get Noticed

“Hey, what are you doing with my car?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I thought this was my Kia K900.”

That’s the scene Kia Motors wants to see play out in parking lots across America, now that the second generation of the brand’s flagship has seen the spotlight at the New York International Auto Show.

On sale later this year, the 2019 K900 — which sounds like the name of a Soviet submarine — aims to attract the buyers its predecessor lacked through understated style, piles of luxury features, attractive interior fittings, and improved driving dynamics. Kia’s an eternal optimist, we’ll give it that.

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2019 Hyundai Tucson: There's No Replacement for Displacement, It Seems

The [s]radically[/s] mildly refreshed 2019 Hyundai Tucson, unveiled Wednesday at the New York International Auto Show, might not attract stares and selfies in the same way as the show’s more exotic sheetmetal, but it’ll sure draw buyers to the showroom.

Hyundai needs to collect those buyers. Amid a sales slump it hopes to remedy with an onslaught of crossovers, the compact Tucson crossover is one of the automaker’s largest meal tickets. Sales rose 31 percent, year over year, in the U.S. last month. And, while the Elantra and Santa Fe boast larger sales volumes, the Tucson has the best growth rate — sales are up 32.1 percent over the first two months of 2018.

To reward the buying public for their continued support, Hyundai has made changes to the 2019 model. Who wants a larger engine?

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Adventures in Marketing: Mazda Wants You to Feel Alive

Mazda recently dropped a very brief teaser video suggesting a reveal of some sort during the New York auto show. Only the smallest of glimpses were given of a Mazda-esque headlight and grille edging, leaving speculation running from a CX-9 crossover refresh to an all-wheel-drive 6 sedan.

Well, wonder no more, as Mazda has just shown a new RX-9 coupe with twin rotary engines, a rear-drive 929 sedan, and an importation of the Bongo Friendee.

No, wait, hang on. What I meant to say was Mazda spent nearly 30 minutes talking about a new marketing campaign and about how its customers aren’t customers — they’re fans. Sigh.

At least the tantalizing Mazda KAI Concept, a vehicle which this author has dubbed “Son of Brera,” was in the background during the TED Talk press conference.

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2019 Hyundai Kona Electric: Possibly 250 Miles of Range in a Real Crossover That Actually Exists

Last month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said we’ll learn more about the company’s future Model Y electric crossover — its production date and build location — probably in another six months. Money might start flowing to that project late this year.

Well, by the fourth quarter of this year, electric Hyundai Kona crossovers will actually be arriving in California driveways, followed soon after by Northeastern states and other U.S. locales with zero emission vehicle mandates. This vehicle exists, in the flesh, right now. As the first mainstream crossover EV to land on our shores, the gas-free Kona’s estimated range tops that of the Chevrolet Bolt and (still unproduced) base model Tesla Model 3.

If you can see beyond the Jason Voorhees face, a bland yet revolutionary vehicle awaits.

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2019 Subaru Forester Keeps Styling Safe, Dumps Manual Transmission and XT Trim

The next-generation 2019 Subaru Forester, which debuted Wednesday at the New York International Auto Show, looks mighty familiar. That’s because, despite the updated lines, the compact crossover retains the blocky, tall-greenhouse shape of its predecessors.

Subaru flirts with conformity, but never fully succumbs.

Now riding atop the Subaru Global Platform (shares with the Impreza and Crosstrek), the 2019 Forester offers a new trim level, a power boost for the stalwart 2.5-liter flat-four, and greater standard content — especially when it comes to driver assist technology. Unfortunately for brand purists, these standard driver’s aids have eliminated the manual transmission from the Forester lineup.

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2019 Nissan Altima: Midsize Bag of Tricks

In a flurry of robots and futuristic music, Nissan introduced the 2019 Altima today at the New York Auto Show. With available all-wheel drive and a variable compression engine, the sixth-gen Altima has a couple of tricks up its sleeve to take on the Accord and Camry.

Writers in different corners of the internet have been, rightly or wrongly, sounding a death knell for the traditional three-box sedan, citing sales declines for most models in the segment. For certain, Altima sales are off by about 100,000 units since its 2014 peak, but over a quarter-million buyers did drive off in a new Altima last year. That is not a number at which to sneeze.

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Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak: A Concept Pickup to Chew On

We told you the other day that Volkswagen planned to dangle a carrot in front of American consumers. Well, here it is. Like what you see? If you do, Volkswagen wants to know about it, as this Atlas Tanoak concept truck could become a reality — provided enough people feel the same as you.

Eager to gain a stronger foothold in the U.S. light truck market, VW would love to market a unibody pickup built off a lengthened version of its Atlas platform. Unlike the crossover market, however, truck buyers can be fickle. Tribal, even. Does the midsize Tanoak have what it takes to mix it up with the likes of Ford, Chevrolet, Nissan, and Toyota?

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Lincoln Aviator: Right-sized SUV Cleared for Takeoff

Remember that scene where a severally obsessive-compulsive Howard Hughes (played by the boy from Titanic) can’t stop repeating the same phrase in the movie The Aviator? I suspect a similar phrase hung in the minds of Ford Motor Company executives while signing off on this model.

A large-ish, rear-wheel-drive, three-row crossover (SUV, according to Lincoln) is surely just the ticket to make up for declining passenger car sales — after all, is there any evidence to the contrary? The way of the future, indeed.

What’s amusing is that, in this case, Lincoln’s future success appears to rest partially on a model resurrected from the past. The first Lincoln Aviator graced our landscape for just three model years, 2003 to 2005, and looked very much like a shrunken Navigator. Well, the second-generation model is clearly cut from the same cloth as its larger sibling, but differences abound.

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Prototype No More: 2019 Honda Insight Prepares to Wade Back Into the Hybrid Fray

Honda’s remarkably fleshed-out Insight prototype has now emerged in production form, looking remarkably like the prototype. Go figure, that.

With the 2019 Insight now positioned between the compact Civic, from which it borrows a platform, and the midsize Accord, Honda wants to tempt green car buyers with an upscale appearance (and experience) they can’t find in the Toyota Prius line. If Honda’s estimate pans out, the sedan will boast better city fuel economy than the stalwart Prius.

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Are Americans Ready for a Volkswagen Pickup? VW Aims to Find Out

Buyers in foreign markets enjoy far greater midsize pickup choice than their counterparts in North America. Besides the usual products from General Motors and Ford ( the latter of which we’re only just being introduced to), there’s offerings from Mitsubishi, Fiat, even Volkswagen. Has decades of full-size truck dominance made North America too unforgiving for smaller entries? Sales of the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, and Chevrolet Colorado say otherwise.

There’s midsize ground to be gained here, but no new model faces a guarantee of success. Volkswagen, which sells the body-on-frame Amarok (seen above) overseas, apparently wants to find out how Americans would feel about a smaller, lighter entry in the midsize pickup game. According to sources, it wants to find out this week.

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  • Namesakeone If you want a Thunderbird like your neighbor's 1990s model, this is not the car. This is a Fox-body car, which was produced as a Thunderbird from MY 1980 through 1988 (with styling revisions). The 1989-1997 car, like your neighbor's, was based on the much heavier (but with independent rear suspension) MN-15 chassis.
  • Inside Looking Out I watched only his Youtube channel. Had no idea that there is TV show too. But it is 8 years or more that I cut the cable and do not watch TV except of local Fox News. There is too much politics and brainwashing including ads on TV. But I am subscribed to CNBC Youtube channel.
  • Jeff S Just to think we are now down to basically 3 minivans the Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna. I wonder how much longer those will last. Today's minivan has grown in size over the original minivans and isn't so mini anymore considering it is bigger than a lot of short wheel based full size vans from the 70s and 80s. Back in the 70s and 80s everything smaller was mini--mini skirt, mini fridge, mini car, and mini truck. Mini cars were actually subcompact cars and mini trucks were compact trucks. Funny how some words are so prevalent in a specific era and how they go away and are unheard of in the following decades.
  • Jeff S Isn't this the same van Mercury used for the Villager? I believe it was the 1s and 2nd generations of this Quest.
  • VoGhost I don't understand the author's point. Two of the top five selling vehicles globally are Teslas. We have great data on the Model 3 for the past 5 years. What specifically is mysterious about used car values?