Archive for the ‘Cars Coming Soon’ Category

Electric Cars That Don’t Look Like Electric Cars

October 27th, 2015


“Why do electric cars have to look like that?” she asked.

My wife referenced a parked BMW i3, a vehicle that certainly qualifies as eye-catching if not attractive.

I answered her question with some pre-programmed babble that included a perceived need by automakers to make their EVs stand out from the crowd, and a desire by EV owners to tell the world what they are driving.

Electric vehicles like the i3, i8, and Nissan Leaf are designed to invoke immediate recognition, but I questioned the logic as I spoke.

Why DO electric cars look like that? If we want them to be incorporated into the mainstream, they need to look like mainstream cars. Tesla understands that, but will other automakers evolve their EVs to suite the tastes of a mass audience?

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Defining the Driver’s Car: Our Experience at IMPA’s Test Days

October 23rd, 2015

While many auto journalists will tell you they’re just trying to scratch a living out of whatever they can, it’s an undisputed fact that the job has some definite perks. Although we can’t live the life of the rich and famous every day, we do occasionally get invited to drive the cars we cover. For a couple of beautiful days in October, Monticello Motor Club—one of the most exclusive and impressive automotive country clubs in America—opens its doors for the International Motor Press Association‘s (IMPA) Test Days, where schlubs like us get asked to drive some of the best new cars in the world on both a technical race track and the back roads of the Catskill Mountains.

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Volkswagen Golf Cabrio Coming to the U.S.

October 21st, 2015

2016 Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet

Perhaps Volkswagen is trying to make amends for all the trouble it’s caused. Or maybe it just wants to do something to make up for all the diesels it can no longer sell here in the United States.

The VW brand will struggle for a long time to overcome the damage its emission scandal has done to the brand. On top of that, money that would have been used to develop new products will likely be diverted to pay for massive fines and recall costs.

So how can Volkswagen continue to sell new product and survive? It needs to try to make us forget about its indiscretions. One way to do that is to introduce cars that previously weren’t available here.

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Here Comes the $75,000 Honda

October 15th, 2015
2016 Acura NSX

2016 Acura NSX

Hondas are known for their practicality. Ask anyone to describe a Honda in one word, and you’ll get responses such as, “reliable,” “safe,” “comfortable,” and of course, “practical.”

Honda is one of those quiet innovators in the car world. While its cars indeed fit the above adjectives, Honda is perfectly capable of unleashing a true performance car upon the world when it feels so inclined.

The Honda/Acura NSX, naturally, is the prime example of such supercar prowess. The Civic Type-R and the old S2000 are other examples of what happens when stodgy old Honda decides to have some fun.

With the all-new hybrid-powered NSX ready to jump off the line, Honda might have a little something else special planned as well.

It probably won’t come cheap, though.

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Jaguar Poised to Claw Back Up the Sales Charts

October 13th, 2015


My wife and I did something crazy this weekend. More details will come in a later blog post, but we embarked on a spur-of-the-moment 2,500-mile round-trip road trip.

Over the course of two and a half days.

Why would we do such a thing? Well, as my mom said, because we’re the kind of people who like to do fun things in the amount of time other people think is impossible. So, after work on Friday and before returning to the grind Monday morning, we drove from Spokane, WA to Palisade, CO and back. Most of the way there we talked about cars, and one topic was Jaguar’s presence in America.

My wife respects the brand but thinks it’s on the way down. I believe the new XE and F-Pace will do for Jag what the Cayenne did for Porsche.

Then again, we can’t even agree on how to pronounce the automaker’s name.

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Tesla Model X Will Set New Standard for SUVs

October 2nd, 2015

Tesla Model X

It won’t be long before the traditional automakers put out an SUV that has gull-wing doors, electric power, and front doors that open as the driver approaches the vehicle.

Just as the Tesla Model S made German automakers step up their premium sedan game and forced them into building electric sedan concepts, the newly unveiled Tesla Model X will do the same for SUVs. Yesterday we compared some currently available models to the X, and it’s pretty clear there just isn’t any competition.

The Model X isn’t a vehicle that’s the result of an evolution of SUVs to this point. This is a vehicle that completely revolutionizes the SUV. As such, it will be only for those who are looking to join that revolution.

Those looking for predictable dependability and practicality need not apply. There’s a Kia Soul for that.

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The Jeep-Fighting Ford Everest

September 18th, 2015
Is this the new Ford Everest or Bronco?

Is this the new Ford Everest or Bronco?

I remember when I realized that Ford SUVs in this country have names that start with the letter E.

It happened when Ford discontinued the Excursion in 2007. I realized that the remaining Fords were the Escape, Explorer, Edge, and Expedition. Those SUVs made up Ford’s alliteration-happy little world and I wondered what the company would choose next. My thought was something along the lines of Everest.

It’s a name that conveys strength and capability, it’s foreboding and nearly impossible to conquer. It’s the perfect name for a SUV, but it never came to fruition in the United States.

The Ford Everest has, however, existed in Asia, South Africa, and Australia since 2003. Could it finally come here?

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Hyundai N: The New Standard of Performance?

September 17th, 2015

Hyundai N 2025 Vision GT

Hyundai: maker of cheap, utilitarian cars or competitor to established high-performance brands?

Most of us would agree that Hyundai, the South Korean automaker that introduced the 100,000-mile warranty, falls into the cheap, utilitarian category.

The carmaker gained its fame for building inexpensive alternatives to the mainstream brands, but in the process became a mainstream brand. The next challenge is to build cheaper alternatives to high-performance brands and try to change the landscape of the high-powered car business.

The best way to do that is to hire one of the industry’s most successful engineers and let him loose on a new performance sub-brand.

Ready be driven wild by Hyundai?

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Could One-Dollar Gas Be on the Horizon?

September 11th, 2015

2016 Chevrolet Volt pic-7085065711858782732-640x480

A post on our page yesterday introduced CarGurus readers to the 2016 Toyota Prius, a car that will get 55 miles per gallon and a new, more aggressive look.

Five years ago a car like this would have been considered a gift from the heavens, but today Toyota is trying its best to keep it relevant. The same can be said for the new Chevy Volt, which comes with 53 miles of electric range and a gas-powered engine good for a total of 430 miles.

Cars that use fuel sparingly find themselves in a tough market now that gas is well below $3 per gallon. The battle will only get harder if predictions of sub-$2 gas hold true.

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Demand Drops as New Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Volt Introduced

September 10th, 2015

2016 Toyota PriusThe 2016 Toyota Prius had its global debut Tuesday in Las Vegas. The main message at the premiere was not fuel economy. It was looks and handling.

Sure, almost every car in the world is sold on looks and handling, but that’s a huge change in direction for the most fuel-efficient car on the market that doesn’t have a plug. Toyota didn’t totally step away from that message. After all, it expects the Prius, when it goes on sale early in 2016, to get a combined 55 mpg.

It’s not a problem unique to the Prius, either. Fuel efficiency is an almost impossible selling point when the national price for gas is $2.39, according to AAA, which predicts prices could fall below $2. That’s great for us as consumers, but lousy for Toyota as it introduces its latest and greatest hybrid vehicle.

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