Tag: Refresh

By on February 7, 2019

At the 2017 North American International Auto Show, Nissan revealed its plans to slot the North American version of its Qashqai crossover between the Juke and Rogue. While the company ultimately decided to call the model the “Rogue Sport” in the United States, replacing the Juke with the Kicks shortly thereafter, the rest of the plan went off without a hitch.

There was just one itty-bitty problem — the North American crossover was based on a model that debuted globally in 2013.

At the 2019 Chicago Auto Show, Nissan has once again decided to give North America the rest of the world’s leftovers. The Qashqai received a mid-life facelift in 2017 and now so will the Rogue Sport. Fortunately, both versions of the crossover should remain worthy of reasonable praise, as the changes help bring the model visually closer to the rest of Nissan’s fleet and further away from looking like a utility version of the 2004 Pontiac Sunfire.  (Read More…)

By on December 20, 2018

At the very start of 2018, Mini announced an update to its Cooper line. Were it not for their help, plus the marginally tacky inclusion of Union Jack taillights, we’d probably never have noticed the refresh.

Now, with 2019 bearing down on us, it’s the John Cooper Works’ turn. Predictably, the JCWs get all of the same upgrades the standard Coopers did — more interior customization, new 17-inch wheels (which are unique for Works), and the patriotic tail lamps. The biggest change is actually something you’d probably rather not see on a performance trim like the JCW, but it’s not Mini’s fault. It’s doing everything in its power to ensure it doesn’t sap power from the motor.  (Read More…)

By on November 16, 2018

Images of the refreshed 2020 Buick LaCrosse have leaked, thanks to some help from an unsecured Chinese government website used in the certification process of upcoming models. Finally, bureaucratic screw-ups are working in our favor. While we’ve seen heavily camouflaged test mules in the past, this is our first uncovered look at the third generation LaCrosse’s refreshed bodywork. Alterations are meaningful but not overbearing.

The front end has been completely worked over, making the LaCrosse more closely resemble the Chevrolet Malibu. However, the changes were no doubt made to keep it in line with modern Buick models. Headlamps are slimmer, designed around the placement of the model’s enlarged grille, just like on the Enclave, while the taillights are pure Regal. However, the LaCrosse carries just enough chrome to differentiate itself for those who like to pretend car spotting is a legitimate pastime.  (Read More…)

By on November 7, 2018

Hyundai is bestowing upon the Elantra Sport the same visual refresh that will modernize its less-aggressive twin. Like the standard Elantra sedan, the Sport will receive a new hood, triangular headlamps, fascias, and updated taillights for 2019.

In fact, the only apparent visual difference between the two is that the Sport has unique exhaust tips and a honeycomb mesh grille while the plain-jane sedan uses chromed slats. That could change, however, as what we’re actually seeing is the Korean equivalent of the car — the Avante. But there’s little reason for Hyundai to make any major alterations for the U.S. market; the Elantra Sport might even keep that bedazzled bar running between the headlights and will assuredly have a set of unique wheels to further differentiate itself.  (Read More…)

By on August 22, 2018

Currently the seventh best-selling sedan in the United States, the Hyundai Elantra is an fairly important model for the Korean brand. Sound engineering and some inoffensive bodywork has also made it a serious contender in a rather vicious little segment. Still in its sixth generation, the Elantra has undergone a mid-cycle update to maintain its edge within the group.

We’d like to give Hyundai credit for having the balls required to conduct a meaningful refresh. The 2019 Elantra almost looks like an entirely new model, rather than something slapped together to entice shoppers. Serious thought was put into this and, while we’re not ready to commit to it hosting superior styling to the comparably reserved 2018 model year, it’s definitely an acute car. (Read More…)

By on August 2, 2018

Tesla Motors’ refresh for the Model S and and Model X has been in the works for quite some time, with efforts focused on the vehicles’ interior above everything else. While we’re not about to call the present-day cockpit of either vehicle dated, they’ve been operating mostly unchanged for quite some time.

However, the update will surely rub some customers the wrong way. That’s because the new interior design is expected to be heavily influenced by the minimalist cabin of the Model 3. Scheduled for the second half of 2019, both of Tesla’s larger models will see their own adaptation of “less is more,” with a full exterior refresh to follow in 2021. Both are big deals for the company, which typically introduces small changes to its vehicles every so often rather than expansive alterations.  (Read More…)

By on July 25, 2018

When you think about Porsche, you’re probably thinking of the 911. However, you really should be thinking about the Macan. It may have started out as a supplementary model for families interested in the Cayenne SUV but who found it beyond their means, but it’s quickly become the company’s best-selling vehicle. You now see them in every neighborhood where status is the deciding factor in automobile purchases.

Fortunately, the Macan also drives better than any compact crossover has a right to — further helping its popularity. But, with more competition within the premium utility segment than ever before, Porsche can’t leave the model to rest on its laurels. The manufacturer has updated the model for 2019 with loads of changes, but spotting them is a little like tackling the Double Check in a Highlights magazine under the influence of a rather severe childhood learning disability. (Read More…)

By on June 27, 2018

Despite the pervasive nature of crossover vehicles, Audi has done alright with the A4 sedan. Sales have remained reasonably consistent over the past few years in both the North American market and abroad.

While it doesn’t appear to be gaining any ground, it also isn’t losing much. Still, Audi knows you have to update the recipe every so often to tempt consumers, so it’s updating the A4 sedan and A4 Avant wagon for the 2019 model year — subtly, and in the typical German fashion.

You would be hard-pressed to spot the differences under any kind of pressure. As mid-cycle refreshes go, this one has to be one of the least obvious we’ve ever encountered. (Read More…)

By on May 3, 2018

Mazda has released pricing details for the 2019 CX-3. Refreshed for the upcoming model year, the subcompact crossover doesn’t change its already handsome looks all that much, but it does include more standard tech. This translates into a higher MSRP.

However, we doubt many buyers will mind a modest increase in price when the new CX-3 goes on sale later this month. All models now receive direct tire pressure monitoring, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control as standard equipment. In addition to the gently touched-up visuals, tacking on an extra $290 to the pre-destination base price doesn’t sting all that badly.  (Read More…)

By on February 4, 2017

2018 Subaru Legacy Exterior, Image: Subaru

Subaru has refreshed its Legacy for 2018 and the updated sedan will make its debut at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show.

It’s tough to spot all the 2018 Subaru Legacy’s updates, but the Japanese automaker assures us they exist. Subaru has revised the Legacy’s sheetmetal, front and rear, for a sportier appearance, while upgrading the interior with more premium materials. Subaru’s engineers have also focused on making the Legacy’s ride smoother and quieter.

(Read More…)

By on February 16, 2016

2016 Toyota RAV4 LImited Exterior

Compact crossovers are big business and the Toyota RAV4 is one of the segment’s corporate all-stars.

In 2015, the RAV4 almost outsold Mazda. I’m not talking about the RAV4 outselling the Mazda CX-5, which it did handily by over 200,000 units. No, I’m talking about the RAV4 outselling Mazda in its entirely. Everything Mazda sells. All model sales put together. The RAV4 almost outsold MAZDA.

Toyota’s fourth-generation crossover has received a nip-tuck to keep it fresh after just three model years on the market. Its lineup is bolstered this year with the addition of the new RAV4 Hybrid, which we’ll be getting our hands on that in a few weeks. In the meantime, let’s take a deep dive into the second best-selling CUV in the USA in traditional gas-burner guise.

(Read More…)

By on February 1, 2016

2016 Nissan Sentra-006

Traditional car shoppers are moving away from small sedans and toward compact crossovers. That’s the conventional wisdom used to explain the slowing sales we see in some models. But could there be another reason? Could it simply be a lack of focus and attention to the compact segment?

There is one model that’s seen a meteoric rise in sales since 2013: the Sentra. Nissan’s complete overhaul three years ago and aggressive pricing doubled Sentra sales since then, moving it from a “top 15” player in sales to number five in 2015.

In an effort to maintain the trajectory, Nissan opted for a major refresh after just three years on sale. (Sounds like the Honda plan with the Civic, doesn’t it?) Perhaps the key to compact success is a combination of frequent updates and more gadgets for shoppers to choose from. That sums up the 2016 Sentra perfectly.

(Read More…)

By on January 19, 2016

2016 Lexus IS 200t Exterior

Lexus has tended to prefer conservative design in almost every aspect of product development. Words like reliable and dependable usually spring to mind before sporty or exciting.

Yet, the brand has been trying to change that over the last few years with love-it-or-hate-it designs; in particular, Lexus’ new “Predator mouth.” The changes aren’t simply skin deep. The current-generation IS sedan also stepped outside the luxury brand’s comfort zone with sharp handling and a focus on dynamics. Of course, this is Lexus we’re talking about, so this change in a more aggressive direction is happening at, you guessed it, a conservative pace.

Now in its third year of production, the third-generation IS isn’t getting a refresh like we’d typically see in from ze Germans. Instead, Lexus has decided to focus its attention under the hood with a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a de-tuned V-6 for mid-level shoppers.

Can a refreshed drivetrain help the IS stand out in a crowded segment? Let’s find out.

(Read More…)

By on November 30, 2015

2016 Audi S7 Exterior Front

Coupé-like styling is one of the biggest buzzwords at new car launch parties. Although this is more of a modern phenomenon, the root of the seemingly contradictory four-door coupé is older than you might think.

In 1962, Rover dropped the rear roofline on its P5 sedan and dared to call it a four-door coupé. In 2004, Mercedes picked up on this idea with the CLS-class Coupe. It was only a matter of time before Audi and BMW joined the party with the A7 and 6-Series Gran Coupé.

Now, many of you may say we already have a name for the four-door coupé. It’s a sedan. I agree with you. Audi isn’t entirely convinced by the “coupé” designation either, and they only dare mention it twice in the 62-page brochure. This means the S7 is a $12,000 styling exercise atop a tasty and more practical S6.

(Read More…)

By on November 19, 2015

2017 Mirage GT

Seriously, they did! Look at it! Instead of being some anonymous South Asian egg, the Mitsubishi Mirage now looks like an anonymous European egg.

Okay, okay. It isn’t going to set your heart alight with desire, but Mitsubishi has done a stellar job upgrading the Mirage with the few resources it has at its disposal. This little subcompact hatchback will be the first Mitsubishi ever to offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Its 1.2-liter MIVEC three-cylinder engine gets an ever-so slight bump to 78 horsepower (+4 over the current Mirage). The Japanese automaker even gave the exterior and interior a fairly thorough re-work considering this is a mid-cycle refresh. And considering this is Mitsubishi we’re talking about here.

Those of you who were totally sold on the Rockford Fosgate special edition, fear not! You can still get that in the new Mirage, too, though minus the badging that tells thieves which car to hit in the Kroger parking lot.

(Read More…)

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