CarGurus was honored to attend yesterday’s press preview of the 2016 New England International Auto Show. With more than 600 cars from 37 manufacturers valued at over $22 million, we were able to see and get into a bunch of brand-new vehicles for the first time. The show offers any car fan with an interest in new vehicles an unbeatable opportunity to take a close look at and ask experts questions about the wide world of cars available to American buyers.
Last week I wrote about seven Detroit Auto Show debuts to watch. The only one I got remotely wrong was the 2017 Chrysler Town & Country, but that was only because FCA pulled a fast one and changed that vehicle’s name to the Chrysler Pacifica.
Here are the five vehicles that made the biggest impact at the North American International Auto Show, which runs through Jan. 24 at Detroit’s Cobo Hall.
The Honda Ridgeline is all the truck you’ll ever need.
Not the truck that languished on dealer lots between 2003 and 2014. That Ridgeline lasted far longer than it should have and became something of a laughing stock in the truck world.
It’s unfortunate, really, because the past-generation Ridgeline was good enough at doing the things most truck owners do with their trucks. By which I mean get stuck in the same traffic jams as the rest of us, sometimes while hauling a couch.
The new Honda Ridgeline, which debuted at the North American International Auto Show, is similar, but could also revolutionize how we see midsize trucks.
If people buy it, that is.
So now Volkswagen didn’t lie.
If you’ve been following the VW emissions saga with even an occasional passing glance, you know that the German automaker was caught in the midst of a lie. There’s incredibly compelling evidence that the company lied to the U.S. government about the emissions of its cars and lied to consumers who purchased those cars.
The problem, of course, was a piece of software that detected when a vehicle was being tested for emissions, allowing the car to emit acceptable levels of exhaust during testing before returning to its normal toxic-fume-spewing self once back on the road.
In the midst of a lawsuit with the United States, VW CEO Matthias Müller now says his company never lied, and the problem can be attributed to a “technical problem.”
Excuse us, but… what?
Volvo is about to become more popular than ever.
The Swedish automaker gained a reputation for safety as early as the 1920s, when Managing Director Assar Gabrielsson said,
Cars are driven by people. The guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo, therefore, is and must remain, safety.
That’s a sentiment that remains with the company to this day. More recently, the principles of design, comfort, and performance have also played a large part in the company’s strategy.
With new models on the way, Volvo is evolving from the old days of “boxy-but-good” to a new era of innovation in technology and design.
The 2016 XC90 is a bit of an oxymoron because it’s the first all-new vehicle the company has introduced since being sold by Ford and picked up China’s Geely Automotive. Even under Chinese ownership, the XC90 is the most Swedish Volvo the company has built in decades.
There’s a German automaker in the midst of a turnaround. The company has redesigned many of its vehicles and has plans to introduce additional models, including sedans, crossovers, and SUVs.
The brand is also forging ahead with plans for dedicated electric vehicles and cars with advanced autonomous driving technology.
The front-end design has evolved over the years into a signature look that the automaker hopes to expand into new models, while continuing to push design limits in future concept vehicles.
The automaker has also sworn off trends such as convertible SUVs and 2-door SUVs in favor of more traditional sedans, SUVs, and crossovers.
We’re talking about the new face of Mercedes-Benz.
But could the German car giant be gunning for some of Audi’s success?
I can’t imagine anything much scarier than finding out your business is being sued by the United States of America.
Of course, to avoid that from happening, all you have to do is play by the rules and not intentionally deceive the government while taking home millions of dollars in profit. Pretty easy, right?
Volkswagen is learning that lesson the hard way. The U.S. Department of Justice has filed suit against the automaker over the emissions scandal that saw the German car giant install software in hundreds of thousands of cars to cheat emissions tests.
The allegations in the lawsuit, which accuse Volkswagen of intentionally violating the Clean Air Act by installing illegal devices to impair emission control systems in 600,000 vehicles, carries penalties that could cost Volkswagen billions of dollars. Yes, the wrath of the U.S. government will finally rain down on VW.
Welcome to 2016, friends.
If the Chinese did their calendar correctly, this would have been the year of the car. I mean, the year of the monkey is all well and good, but 2016 will be among the best in a long time as far as new car debuts go.
There are a few cars, though, that aren’t available yet but should set the pace for excitement in 2016. Are you ready for these?
Saab is the zombie of cars.
The company has a convoluted history that has put it among the walking dead since the turn of the century.
Saab was in its prime as an independent Swedish automaker from 1948 to 1989. That’s when it built some of the quirkiest (some might say coolest) automobiles the world has ever seen.
General Motors acquired a 50 percent stake in Saab in 1989, and 100 percent in 2000. Some say that’s when the slow death of Saab began. By 2008 it was clear that the GM/Saab experiment was failing, mostly because the behemoth automaker stripped Saab of its personality and replaced it with rebadged Malibus and Trailblazers.
In 2009, Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg announced plans to buy Saab, but that fell apart a few months later. In 2010, another supercar maker, Spyker, completed the purchase of Saab but then went bankrupt a year later.
In 2012, a Chinese consortium that went by the name of National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) purchased what was left of Saab with the intent of transforming the brand into a line of electric cars. Now we’re on the cusp of 2016 and it appears the once-dead Saab brand is lumbering back to life.
The original Subaru Outback ultimately changed the landscape of the auto business. That first Outback was just a Legacy wagon with a lift and some body cladding, but it ultimately resulted in a whole new class of vehicle.
The irony here is that Subaru is the only automaker to see major commercial success with the sedan-like crossover. Others have tried, but so far the Outback is the only car of its kind to routinely sell in large volumes year after year, and it has evolved today into one of the best all-wheel-drive family wagons/crossovers that money can buy.
It’s a lucrative market but no one else has succeeded with an Outback-like wagon because no one else can do it like Subaru.