By on April 30, 2021

In Part I of the D2 Audi S8 story, we covered the foundations of the A8 as Audi attempted a do-over after the V8 Quattro. Today we’re all about S8.

(Read More…)

By on April 28, 2021

Rare Rides has featured the predecessor of today’s sedan previously, in a very pearly 1990 V8 Quattro. After Audi spent a few years unsuccessfully trying to sell its first-ever attempt at a flagship full-size sedan, it took the lessons learned from the D1 and developed the D2 A8 and S8. (Read More…)

By on March 17, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride was commonplace a couple of decades ago, but it’s one of those cars by and large ruined via neglectful owners, inattentive build quality from the factory, and BHPH lots.

Come along as we learn about the most luxurious Chrysler LH sedan of the Nineties.

(Read More…)

By on December 4, 2020

Today’s Cadillac is an example of what happens when you combine consumer tastes in places like Miami in the late Eighties with the refusal of some domestic manufacturers to make luxury convertibles.

Presenting a Cadillac coupe that’s custom, cabriolet, and cool DeVille.

(Read More…)

By on August 14, 2020

Rare Rides has featured plenty of Chrysler vehicles before, and some of them were even as large as today’s range-topping sedan. But none of them had quite as much trim as today’s subject.

From the last gasp of the truly full-size offerings from domestic manufacturers, it’s the 1979 Chrysler New Yorker Fifth Avenue Edition.

(Read More…)

By on March 26, 2020

About a year ago Rare Rides featured its first Nash, the tiny Metropolitan. Today we take a look at the full-size car that occupied the showroom floor alongside its smallest sibling.

Hailing from 1955, it’s a Statesman.

(Read More…)

By on March 10, 2020

Pontiac is one of the most featured marques of the Rare Rides series, and to date there have been seven of its models represented here. Today’s Rare Ride was in showrooms the very same time as the odd and short-lived Sunbird Safari Wagon, but was intended to entice a much more traditional customer.

Let’s have a look at the upright and respectable Bonneville coupe.

(Read More…)

By on September 14, 2018

As we told you yesterday, passenger car market share dropped to 30.6 percent in the month of August as a tide of crossovers, trucks, and SUVs continued swamping the automotive landscape. Few automakers can say their traditional passenger cars are making headway against the current.

Out of the struggling mass of drowning cars, compacts seem to have the most strength left, if only because of their affordability. It’s easier to flip a midsize buyer into a crossover than an entry-level buyer who wants to keep their monthly payments as low as possible, versatility be damned. Most small cars still see significant volume. At the upper end of the scale, however, large cars have become ghosts. I’ve taken to peering at drivers in any new Buick LaCrosse or Cadillac CT6 (etc) I encounter on the roads, checking out their age and gender, as it’s not a regular occurrence.

Still, despite ceding nearly all of its market share, the large car category isn’t entirely a room full of sob stories.  (Read More…)

By on June 7, 2018

It seems like lately I’ve developed a habit of reviewing vehicles on the verge of being replaced by a brand new generation. And by habit, I mean one review. But it seemed fitting when the local Enterprise location handed me keys to a “Full Size” and it turned out to be the soon-to-depart, current-generation Nissan Altima.

With a new Altima already unveiled, promising more/better/faster everything, is there anything to miss about the outgoing model? After a week living with one, I can definitely say there might be.

Probably.

(Read More…)

By on April 10, 2018

A recent report on the potential demise of the long-running Taurus nameplate brought mixed reactions in the comments section, and is still doing so as of this writing. Said report also inspired today’s Buy/Drive/Burn, in a get it while you can sort of way. Soon, the Blue Oval in this trio will take the dirt nap.

But that’s then and this is now — and you must choose what to do with three full-size American sedans on sale in 2018.

(Read More…)

By on December 9, 2017

2019 Toyota Avalon, Image: Toyota

A quick glance of the North American automotive landscape reveals an environment not too welcoming for traditional passenger cars. Actually, it’s beyond unfriendly. The public’s desire for crossovers, crossovers, crossovers makes the market as hospitable to large sedans as Pripyat, Ukraine, is to human life.

Nevertheless, Toyota’s unyielding desire for a full-size flagship sedan means the Avalon — a solid, safe, conservative model launched for the 1995 model year — will live to see another generation. And, judging by a teaser image released by the automaker on Friday, the 2019 Avalon is dressed to impress.

It might be the model’s last chance to make an impression. (Read More…)

By on August 16, 2017

2018 Buick LaCrosse - Image: BuickAs General Motors seeks to get the company’s U.S. inventory down to the industry average of 70 days’ supply by the end of 2017, once-prominent passenger cars are inhibiting the company from achieving its vital goal.

At Cadillac, where even the company’s three utility vehicles have far more than 70 days of stock, the brand’s four car nameplates have 137 days’ supply. At Chevrolet, where the brand’s somewhat excessive light truck inventory is largely due to an intentional increase in Silverado stock, there’s a 128-day supply of passenger cars. Granted, that figure is worsened by a stop-sale on Chevrolet Sparks that limited the city car to only 1,132 U.S. sales in the last three months and by a necessary Corvette stockpile in advance of a Bowling Green shutdown.

But it’s at Buick, where new and old designs alike are suffering from dramatically lower-than-anticipated demand, that GM’s inventory reduction methodology doesn’t seem to be taking hold. According to Automotive News, Buick dealers have enough LaCrosses in stock to last until the July 4th holiday next summer.

How did Buick develop such a LaCrosse glut, and is there a silver lining to this black inventory cloud? (Read More…)

By on August 15, 2017

2016 Toyota Avalon - Image: ToyotaU.S. sales of full-size, volume-brand sedans fell 17 percent in the first seven months of 2017, a sharp drop following noteworthy declines in each of the last three years. Despite the growth the market has seen since the auto industry’s collapse in 2009, big sedans have lost 37 percent of their U.S. sales volume over the last four years.

Compared with 2013, that’s 18,000 fewer sales for the segment every month. Even compared with 2016, that’s 6,500 fewer sales every month.

In what was historically a fleet-dependent corner of the passenger-car market, many automakers’ reduced emphasis on sales to daily rental companies plays a major role. Numerous players in the segment also attempted to move upmarket, further away from the midsize cars that now offer the requisite interior volume. It hasn’t turned out so well for some. Remember the Mitsubishi Diamante and Mercury Montego? We’ll soon forget the discontinued Hyundai Azera. The Ford Taurus is likely not long for this market, either.

Yet in a market that’s lost 17 percent of its sales this year, the Toyota Avalon has shed 28 percent of its year-to-date volume, a loss of 7,475 sales. With an all-new 2018 Camry set to generate more than its fair share of Toyota sedan sales, does the Avalon even deserve a place in Toyota’s 2018 lineup?

Indeed it does, as Toyota will launch the fifth-generation, TNGA-based Avalon in 2018. “We’re committed to Avalon,” says Toyota North America’s executive vice president for sales, Bob Carter. (Read More…)

By on July 12, 2017

2016 Toyota Avalon - Image: ToyotaStiffer structures, a lower center of gravity for improved handling, more shared components, and a 20-percent cost cut are all benefits of the Toyota New Global Architecture. Eventually, Toyota wants all of its front-wheel-drive vehicles to use TNGA as a starting point.

You first witnessed TNGA in the 2016 Toyota Prius, then in the 2018 Toyota C-HR, and most recently in the 2018 Toyota Camry that’s trickling into dealers now.

But beyond the ability to improve existing nameplates and spawn dramatically different new cars, TNGA is also intended to improve plant efficiency. Yet a massive shift at Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky assembly plant, detailed by Wards Auto, hasn’t yet resulted in the efficiency rewards.

“When we change over in the future with the Avalon, we’ll be able to pull that efficiency out of (the operation),” Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky president Wil James told Wards.

Ah yes, Avalon. How could we forget? (Read More…)

By on July 6, 2017

lincoln-continental-2017-iihs-crash-test

Like the rest of North America’s passenger car market, full-size sedan sales are waning. While luxury vehicles haven’t taken quite the same hit as more affordable models, big cars are not in fashion for 2017. However, some buyers still prefer the distinction and mass that only a full-size automobile can provide. They want a luxurious, low-slung ride and, if possible, an equally elegant crash experience.

While big cars tend to perform better in accidents than the majority of their petite contemporaries, very few vehicles do well in the small overlap crash test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently took six of its favorite picks from the segment to evaluate side impact crashes, roof strength, protection from head restraints, moderate overlap front crashes, and the dreaded small overlap front impact.

“This group of large cars includes some with stellar ratings, but our small overlap front test remains a hurdle for some vehicles,” explained David Zuby, IIHS executive vice president and chief research officer.  (Read More…)

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