Tag: New Cars

By on May 15, 2019

It’s a period of flux for Cadillac’s sedan lineup, one that mirrors the changes occurring across the segment as a whole. Old models are out, and in their place, a range of updated and restyled offerings aim to rekindle America’s love for traditional four-doors.

Fewer restyled offerings, one should note. As nameplates bleed out of the marketplace, Cadillac’s passenger car range will shrink from four models to three next year. We’ve already seen Caddy’s plan for its CTS successor — the Escala-inspired CT5 seen above — but the brand’s second sedan shoe has yet to drop.

You won’t have to wait long for the ATS’ replacement. The CT4 drops the curtain on May 30th, and, as many expected, both it and the CT5 will appear with V-badged performance editions. (Find Out…)

By on May 13, 2019

The howling denizens of the Internet may not be a representative sample of real life, but they are loud nonetheless, and they’ve seemingly had it in for the Toyota Supra since the wraps came off.

It’s too much a BMW, they say. It doesn’t feel like a real Supra, thanks to all those German parts underneath. Others (understandably) whined about teaser fatigue, or complained about the car’s styling.

While subjective complaints about a car’s looks are understandable, and while I understand the complaints about the new Supra not being Toyota enough (I did ask for a percentage breakdown of Toyota/BMW parts content; the company politely declined to comment), all of the noise ignored one thing – what it’s like to actually drive the damn thing.

That’s what will likely matter most to those who will drop over 50 large on this car.

Oh, that “GR” stands for Gazoo Racing, but everyone is just gonna call it Supra.

(Find Out…)

By on May 8, 2019

The large-car class is a weird place these days. Not exactly a ghost town, but not exactly a hotly contested segment, either.

Rear-drive remains the purview of the Dodge/Chrysler bunch, while the rest of the segment consists of entry-luxury cruisers (Toyota Avalon, Lexus ES) and semi-sporty cars such as the Acura TLX, Nissan Maxima, Buick Regal GS, four-cylinder Kia Stinger – and now the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon.

Finally reaching our shores after a delay due to unspecified homologation hangups, the Arteon is positioned as the brand’s flagship, and it is in some ways a successor to the late CC.

Volkswagen gave us a crack at driving the Arteon, offering an opportunity to figure out exactly where it fits in the market.

(Find Out…)

By on May 2, 2019

Image: FCAToday’s truck trio includes three very expensive rigs that aren’t likely be used for hauling duties or any other truck-type responsibilities. And that’s a good thing, because they’re loaded up on equipment and leather, and covered in nice metallic paint. Which nice truck gets used as kindling? Let’s find out.

(Find Out…)

By on April 18, 2019

Image: Subaru

For 2020, Subaru’s revered Outback wagon undergoes a host of changes while remaining unmistakably an Outback. And, as New York is hardly the first locale that springs to mind when thinking “Outback,” Subaru decided to have the great outdoors accompany the next-generation wagon to this week’s auto show. The automaker brought both the Outback and an eye-catching display showcasing America’s national parks (as well as Subaru’s partnership with the National Park Foundation).

Yes, Outbacks look great with coniferous trees in the background. As for the car itself, we called it. As predicted, the turbocharged 2.4-liter Boxer four that appeared in the Subaru stable for 2019 didn’t remain the sole property of the Ascent crossover for long. (Find Out…)

By on April 18, 2019

Designing cars is a mix of art and science – and it’s about more than just looks.

Especially when the brand you work for has a lot on its plate. In the past year, Nissan has launched all-new models that represent a departure from the past (Kicks), updated others significantly (Altima) and not so significantly (Maxima and Murano), and has a few older models in the lineup that are getting very long in the tooth (Z, Frontier).

(Find Out…)

By on April 17, 2019

Hyundai

Hyundai’s new Venue is not a large vehicle. At 158.9 inches in length, the sub-subcompact crossover is 5.1 inches shorter than the already petite Kona and 5.9 inches shorter than the Elantra GT. Despite its modest length, the upcoming 2020 Venue, pegged as a cheaper entry point to the Hyundai crossover lineup, doesn’t make many concessions in terms of interior room.

If you’re a hip, urban entrepreneur, Hyundai wants to get you into this front-drive-only Venue. C’mon, you had no intention of taking this thing off-road. (Find Out…)

By on April 17, 2019

While Lincoln’s compact MKC crossover sold reliably following its mid-2014 introduction, the still-vulnerable brand couldn’t let it grow stale in a hotly competitive segment. Thanks to shrinking sedan sales, Lincoln took a sales hit in 2018 as it awaited salvation in the form of the midsize, rear-drive Aviator — a vehicle designed to add heavily to the profits generated by the top-flight Navigator.

In a market like this, utility vehicles need to pull more than just their own weight. With that in mind, after making the decision to kill off the confusing MK(?) naming strategy, Lincoln set about turning the MKC into a stronger, more compelling entry in the compact premium class.

Enter the Corsair. (Find Out…)

By on April 16, 2019

Image: Nissan

As journos pack themselves into cramped regional airliners headed for New York, Auto Shanghai 2019 is already delivering the goods, providing a taste of global-market vehicles to come. We showed you a brace of Buick Encores yesterday, but Tuesday brings another model destined to arrive on your doorstep, albeit with another name: the 2020 Nissan Sentra.

It’s not called that in China and other Asian markets. There, the compact Nissan sedan bears the name Sylphy. Meet Sylphy. (Find Out…)

By on April 15, 2019

General Motors’ best-selling Buick, the subcompact Encore, has a new face and body — and also a sibling. Both vehicles, each carrying the Encore name, saw the light of day Monday at Auto Shanghai, but only one will grace dealerships on this side of the Pacific. (Find Out…)

By on April 12, 2019

The script for the first-gen Range Rover Evoque included downsizing the Discovery luxury experience to a compact size and extending the distinct styling and off-road capability the brand is known for. The first-generation Evoque came in two-door and four-door variants, followed by a two-door cabrio version.

The second-gen Evoque follows the original script, but drops the three-door and cabrio versions. Land Rover will offer Evoque in six trim levels: S, SE, First Edition, R-Dynamic S, R-Dynamic SE, and R-Dynamic HSE. I tested several pilot-production 2020 European-spec SE trimmed Evoques during a media-launch program. In freakin’ Greece, of all places.

Over several days we were able to test the Evoque on-highway, off-road, and even suspended high in the air – more on that shortly. After all that extensive on-road driving and some mild-to-moderate difficulty wet/dry off-road driving, here’s what buyers can expect of the second-generation Evoque.

(Find Out…)

By on April 11, 2019

One of my personal auto reviewer “rules” is that I try to test any vehicle I drove on a press junket later, at home, even if it’s months later (and even if it’s many months before I get around to writing about it). I do this because the potholed roads and unpredictable weather of the city I call home stand in stark contrast to the pleasant places where automakers hold their splashy first drive events.

I also do this because driving a car in normal grocery-getting duty is different than driving it hard on a twisty road, because I don’t always get to drive on the freeway on a junket, and because a car reveals things about itself over the course of several days or a week that it wouldn’t in just a few hours.

Enter the 2018 Hyundai Kona. Several months after driving it on the Big Island of Hawaii (not long before that volcano erupted — the same one I toured while there. Did I piss off the volcano gods somehow?), I took possession of one here in Chicago. Would I think differently about the Kona, in one way or another, after a week behind the wheel? Or would I just end up confirming my first-drive review?

Spoiler: It’s more the latter than the former.

(Find Out…)

By on April 2, 2019

Volkswagen’s latest iteration of the Jetta is a well-rounded commuter car, but a tad boring. VW had an easy fix for that in mind – just implant the heart of the GTI hot hatch along with some Golf R bits. Boom, instant sports sedan.

There’s been a GLI version of the Jetta since 1984, and every previous one I’ve driven has been a fun little hoot to drive; a way to put a little spice in the otherwise sorta bland Jetta recipe. This one, though, ups the ante. Instead of a nice little sprinkle of seasoning, someone in the kitchen doused it with cayenne pepper.

What you get here is not just a Jetta that’s more fun to drive, but a proper affordable sport sedan. (Find Out…)

By on April 2, 2019

Ford unveiled the all-new 2020 Escape in dramatic fashion by turning the fabulous Henry Ford Museum’s Greenfield Village into “Escapeville.” The automaker seated members of the media on bleachers, but in a moment of trickery, it turned out said bleachers were mobile (insert Jim Hackett “mobility” joke here), and as they moved rearward, the Escape moved out from under sheets (Ed. note — This sentence has been changed to provide clarification. The original wording incorrectly implied that the Escape drove out from under the bleachers). Quite the effort, but it shows how important the Escape is, especially to Ford’s sedan-free future.

Initial press reaction to the Escape’s frontal appearance was, “huh … unexpectedly nice.” Following the moving bleacher introduction was a trip down a fictitious “Main St., USA,” with groups of actors playing out scenes of 2019 Americana, doing things that Americans do. Playing basketball. Unloading suitcases. Dancing, singing, and playing instruments. A man in camo returning home from war, presumably, with a dog that was being fed many treats to comply with his military master’s directions.

As we passed over an intersection, the first car left and three more entered our field of view.  The whole town joined in celebration around the new Escapes as the music ended.

As we sat in the middle of a transformed Greenfield Village, I couldn’t help but wonder … is Ford trying to convey that the new Escape might be to today’s market what the Model T was to America a century ago?

(Find Out…)

By on April 1, 2019

Jeep engineers and PR folks wasted no time in telling media, assembled in Sacramento to drive the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator mid-size pickup, that this truck is more than just a Wrangler with a pickup bed slapped on the back.

Technically speaking, it’s true — there are key mechanical and structural differences. So no one who uttered this assertion was lying.

But while those mechanical differences are important, they don’t change the fact that the Gladiator still feels just like a Wrangler with a bed. No matter what anyone from Jeep tells you, the Gladiator is, in a way, a Wrangler with a bed.

And that will be a good thing for many, if not most, potential buyers.

(Find Out…)

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