Lexus: The Car Company for Stodgy Old People.
There was a time when that could have been the slogan for the Japanese luxury brand. The popular LS 400 is what the “in” crowd of 60+ year-olds had to be seen driving. The era of comfortable cruising cars continued with the LS 460, and Lexus’ reputation for offering “Toyotas with a spit shine” continued with its ES and GS cars. The RX, GX and LX SUVs were, and are, popular among moms in upper-class suburbia.
What Lexus never stood for before was sexy performance.
But then something incredible happened.
Lexus went and built what just might be the sexiest and most exhilarating supercar ever: the LFA. Now the LFA’s DNA will begin filtering down the model line, starting with the company’s still mostly secret LF-LC.
Crafted from a clean sheet of paper at the request of Lexus headquarters in Japan, the LF-LC blends both high technology and organic shapes to connect the driver to the machine.
Right. But here’s what we really want to know: What is it, and will it be produced? For that answer, we wait till Detroit.
Less exciting but still interesting is news from Honda, which is reeling from poor reviews of the latest Civic. The 2012 Civic has been on the market for less than a year and is already getting a once-over for the 2013 model year. The current version suffers from poor ride quality, a cheap interior and epic road noise, all contributing to the Civic’s getting beaten by competition from Chevrolet, Ford, Kia and Hyundai.
John Mendel, Honda’s executive vice president of sales in the U.S. said,
Building a good car isn’t enough for us, we have to build a great car.
And that is what sums up the troubles at Honda recently. “Good enough” cars have become good enough, while the competition has churned out greatness. We’ll see if the improved 2013 Civic can return to greatness.
A car that’s never been great is the Honda Accord Crosstour. For the 2012 edition, the bulky crossover/wagon gets a 4-cylinder option for the first time. The 2.4-liter inline-four will be offered in EX and EX-L FWD trims. Rated at 192 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, the 4-cylinder Crosstour is good for up to 29 miles per gallon on the highway.
Slow and ugly hasn’t made the Crosstour a success, so maybe even slower and ugly will.
Which company is on the right path to success: Lexus or Honda?