Stop for a moment. You feel that? That’s the feeling of change. Everything is changing…the seasons, GM’s stock expectations, even long-held notions about the auto industry.
Take Subaru, for instance. The company has a long history of producing vehicles with questionable visual appeal. So when we heard a new concept for the Impreza was coming, we sorta assumed that we’d see more of the same.
Not even close.
Add in a future 40-mpg Italian Dodge and an attractive Jeep Compass, and not only do we have change, we have change that borders on the miraculous.
Subaru unveiled the design concept at the LA Auto Show, and honestly, it makes me wonder why anyone would buy a current Impreza. Wowza! Like the current car, the new design features large wheel arches but looks more like a Legacy from the front. Two massive air intakes dominate up front, and fins spreading across them are functional foglamps. How cool is that? Furrowed headlights and a trapezoidal grille round out the changes. I’m already drooling thinking about a WRX version…
Slightly less drool-worthy, but still cool, are spy shots of the 2011 Jeep Compass. An eagle-eyed enthusiast snapped some shots of the next Compass and sent them to Autoblog. I think the Compass is one of the most awkward looking cars around and was pleasantly surprised to see the next one will borrow the front-end treatment from the rugged-yet-refined Grand Cherokee. Assuming the cheap plastic interior gets significantly upgraded, too, the Compass may actually become a much-needed hit for Auburn Hills.
It seems Chrysler is actually starting to develop something of a swagger as it gains momentum. In addition to the changes at Jeep, the company is moving to position Dodge as an affordable American alternative to European sports sedans, which is good for us Yanks who lack deep pockets but still want something fun to drive.
Dodge CEO Ralph Gilles has high hopes for the brand, and his sights are aimed at the right target, having recently said, “I’m a big fan of high-end European cars. It doesn’t cost anything to tweak the handling.”
Can you imagine a Dodge that handles like a BMW? Sounds good to me! That’s the philosophy behind the new Charger and Durango, and with luck behind the company’s 40-mpg small car coming in 2014. That car will be based on a Fiat platform, but other than that, details are scarce. Considering, though, that Ford is about to add its fourth car that gets 40 mpg and Hyundai has already joined the club, 2014 seems a little late for Dodge to join the party.
But if it handles like a European sports sedan, perhaps it’ll be worth the wait.
Do you think Chrysler is making the right moves to succeed?