Tag: Sedans

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 23, 2020

1980 Honda Accord in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsIn rust-prone regions, first-generation Honda Accords oxidized to oblivion well before the 1980s were finished, but elsewhere they held together for decade after decade. I still see the occasional 1977-1981 Accord when I walk the rows of car graveyards in Colorado and California, though nearly all of those cars are hatchbacks.

Here’s a hard-to-find ’80 Accord sedan in Denver. (Read More…)

By on March 18, 2020

Hyundai has plumped up the Elantra for the 2021 model year — a task made possible by the manufacturer swapping to the new K3 platform. The architecture switcheroo means extra body but not the corresponding bulk. Despite adding roughly an inch to the model’s wheelbase and 2.2-inches to the vehicle’s entire length, Hyundai says the revamped sedan is lighter than before, with a lower center of gravity. That ought to pair well with its wider track during spirited bouts of driving.

However, let’s not pretend the Elantra is a sports sedan — not yet, anyway. As Hyundai works on the hotter N-Line variant (something the manufacturer just confirmed, with a full-blown N model rumored) most cars will be optioned closer to base. This is still a vehicle most people will buy to save money on their daily commute. Knowing this, the factory focused the brunt of its attention to enhancing passenger comfort, standard features, efficiency, and style.  (Read More…)

By on March 13, 2020

2018 Lexus LS500 AWD - Image: LexusOver the course of three decades, Lexus has accomplished remarkable feats in the U.S. marketplace. While the modern luxury landscape proves how challenging it is for a (non-Tesla) upstart such as Genesis to garner even an ounce of market share, Toyota’s premium brand generated relatively high volume levels from the get-go.

By 1991, only the third year on the market, Lexus had already overtaken all other import premium brands. By 1998, Lexus was able to top monthly luxury sales leaderboards. Then in 2000, Lexus became America’s top-selling premium marque. The Lexus LS, the brand’s flagship sedan, was an especially important piece of the puzzle in those early days. In fact, when Lexus first outsold Mercedes-Benz and BMW on an annual basis, the LS was one of just three Lexus nameplates. Nearly 43,000 copies of the LS were sold in 1990, for example, at a time when BMW’s 7 Series did just a quarter of that volume; and with Mercedes-Benz some 17,000 units abaft.

But as the LS gained license to move upmarket, as the Great Recession came and went, as the tastes of luxury car buyers became the tastes of luxury SUV buyers, the LS became something of a forgotten flagship. By the end of the fourth-generation LS’s tenure, Lexus was selling barely more than 300 LSs per month in America.

Yet with the launch of a new model in 2018, Lexus intended to dramatically increase the U.S. sales volume for its biggest and most costly sedan. And if at first it looked as though Lexus might just have forecasted accurately, a second glance reveals just how far off the mark even Lexus can be. (Read More…)

By on March 4, 2020

We continue our exploration of vehicular design from the 2010s today. Thus far, we’ve covered the best and worst examples of more affordable car design, following it up last week with the best design among upscale vehicles.

Now it’s time to consider the worst of the upscale.

(Read More…)

By on February 26, 2020

We’ve had two prior posts discussing the highs and lows of automotive design from the decade most recently closed. Both those times we kept our choices in the affordable category, where starting prices were under $100,000 when new. Today we double that limit, and consider upscale designs.

(Read More…)

By on February 18, 2020

Despite the reborn Aviator stumbling out of the gate this past summer, the Lincoln brand otherwise had a good year. Sales rose 8.3 percent in 2019, making it the best year for the resurgent brand since 2007.

Lincoln brass see an even better year ahead, projecting a retail sales bump of 20 percent. (Read More…)

By on February 13, 2020

1974 Lincoln Continental Mark IV in Denver junkyard, front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Nearly two years ago we asked whether the resurgent Lincoln brand should just give up on passenger cars in favor of an all-SUV lineup. Back then, things were heading in the wrong direction for the two remaining Lincoln cars, the Fusion-based MKZ and the equally Fusion-reliant Continental. Fast-forward a couple of calendars and the situation has almost reached its inevitable conclusion.

The MKZ will bow out before the end of the year, and 2021 spells the end for the Continental’s brief return to the full-size luxury car segment. In this regard Lincoln is acting like Buick, though GM’s semi-premium marque stands to reach car-free status first. Can you envision a time when Lincoln finds it worthwhile to introduce a new passenger car? (Read More…)

By on February 12, 2020

By the end of next year, Lincoln’s lineup will contain not a single passenger car. The decline of the Lincoln sedan has been well covered; you know all about the Fusion-based MKZ fading from the scene this year and the reborn Continental falling victim to declining sales, slated for execution sometime in 2021.

Parting is such sweet sorrow, and Lincoln’s national dealer council isn’t ready to say goodbye. However, the brand held up as an example of sedan success might not be a valid template for other automakers. (Read More…)

By on February 12, 2020

2011 BMW 535i GT - Image: BMWOn Wednesday last week we looked back on the recently ended decade, seeking the best design found on the sort of cars people can actually afford. Today, we’ll flip the question and go in search of the design failures.

(Read More…)

By on February 11, 2020

The road to America is often a long one, and the 2.2-liter diesel four-cylinder that finally set up shop in the Mazda CX-5 last year took a Donner Party-like detour after leaving Japan.

The Skyactiv-D engine was over half a decade late in arriving on these shores, and when it finally did — cleared by the EPA after certain modifications — journalists were underwhelmed by its power and economy. Now, it’s the midsize Mazda 6’s turn to try ditching gasoline. Will anyone be in line to greet it? (Read More…)

By on February 7, 2020

Today’s Rare Ride has a checkered history, as it served as quiet shuttle for secret police and terrorist spies alike. Let’s find out more about this rear-engine Czechoslovakian V8 luxury car.

(Read More…)

By on February 7, 2020

kia

Is there another automotive brand that offers as much mainstream passenger car choice as Kia Motors? Nothing springs to mind. The Korean automaker continues to temp American car buyers with a full range of cars, from subcompact and compact up through full-size. In the middle, there’s a choice of THREE midsize(ish) four-doors.

In 2020.

One of those models just appeared at the Chicago Auto Show wearing slightly new clothes. It’s the Cadenza, known in some auto journo circles as the Korean Buick — a soon-to-be-outdated moniker, as the Buick lineup loses its last car this year. (Read More…)

By on February 5, 2020

As we’ve entered a new decade, I thought it might be time to take a look back at the 2010s and see if, among the largely nondescript egg-shaped crossovers, there were some design gems. The sort of cars that’ll be looked back upon fondly down the road.

Got one in mind?

(Read More…)

By on January 17, 2020

Maserati’s Quattroporte has always been a large, sports-oriented luxury sedan, though the sports part occasionally waned in its influence. Through six total generations to date, Quatroporte serves as the pinnacle of the company’s sedan offerings.

Let’s have a look at where it all started, with this stunning first-gen example from 1967.

(Read More…)

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