All We Want for Christmas Is a New Engine

Old man dressed as Santa Claus driving a drawn car and looking in the camera

Congratulations everyone, we’ve done it. The school year is under way, Halloween is long past, and we all made it through Thanksgiving and Black Friday with minimal bodily harm. Welcome to the holiday season. It wouldn’t be December without strings of Christmas lights, plenty of holiday cheer, and a few wish lists. We at CarGurus figured we’d get in the act, too, but rather than simply running through the latest sports cars or the best automotive-related gifts (those may come later), we thought we’d get into the eggnog and think outside the box a little. After all, why settle for something on the market when there’s a whole world of dream cars to imagine?

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What Are We Thankful For? Automotive Evolution

jaguar_i_pace

Remember when Tesla was just a small startup company with a big dream? Very few people saw the potential for electric cars. GM had killed its original electric project, the EV1, and batteries were seen as an inefficient alternative to plentiful gasoline.

The Tesla Roadster was built for a very small niche of people who wanted the novelty of an electric sports car.

Compare the Tesla of 2009 with the Tesla of 2016, and it’s astonishing to see the growth of the company and the widespread acceptance of its automobiles.

Not only has Tesla represented the evolution toward electricity, it has spurred a revolution in automotive engineering.

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Can Subaru and Volkswagen Compete with GM SUVs?

subaru-viziv-7-concept

Chevrolet’s monopoly on the large SUV industry might be threatened by a few up-and-coming newcomers.

We recently covered the sales explosion of full-size SUVs that’s happening over at GM. Obviously other automakers would love to tap into some of that success, but existing alternatives, such as the Toyota Sequoia and Nissan Armada, don’t have the same rabid following (or price discounts) as the GM offerings.

A couple of new vehicles will hit the market soon, but can they make a dent in the General’s market share?

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Ford Unveils New EcoSport Subcompact SUV

2018-ford-ecosport

Just this weekend my wife asked about the word ‘nomenclature.’ I explained it by giving the example of Ford’s naming strategy, or nomenclature, for its line of SUVs.

There’s the Excursion, Expedition, Explorer, Edge, and Escape.

Ford likes the letter ‘E’ for its SUVs, with the one exception being the Flex, which could be classified more as a wagon than an SUV. It should be no surprise, then, that Ford’s newest SUV, unveiled over the weekend via Snapchat, will conform to that nomenclature and carry the name EcoSport.

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GM Defies the Odds and Sells Plenty of Tahoes, Yukons, and Suburbans

2017 Chevrolet Tahoe LT Midnight Edition

Perhaps the last third of 2016 will be remembered for the theme, “Expect the Unexpected.”

Tuesday night’s election results shocked the world as President-elect Trump overcame astronomical odds to secure the nation’s highest office. That’s as far as our political commentary will go on this blog, but rest assured the significance of the election isn’t lost on us. We’ll be sure to keep a close eye on the election’s effects on the auto industry.

Slightly less significant, October’s car sales report had a few unexpected twists too. In a time of slowing sales, when we might expect passenger cars and full-size trucks to maintain the status quo, something else has happened.

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Will Volkswagen’s Atlas Rise?

volkswagen_atlas_front

Two interesting things happened this week that must be a crazy coincidence, but make me wonder if Volkswagen and Metallica have some kind of secret marketing deal in place.

First, the legendary metal band released a rocking new single called “Atlas, Rise!” Shortly after, Volkswagen unveiled a new SUV called the Atlas.

Coincidence?

Perhaps.

Both Metallica and Volkswagen are staging a comeback of sorts. The aging band finally seems to have gotten back to its roots, and the German automaker desperately wants to leave its diesel scandal in the past.

Could Atlas save them both?

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Mercedes-Benz May Bring Compact Truck to America

Powerful Adventurer concept

Powerful Adventurer concept

The long-rumored Mercedes-Benz pickup is one step away from reality, but its fate in the United States remains undecided.

As the midsize truck market explodes around the world, luxury carmakers are wanting a piece of the ever-expanding pie. It’s a logical transition as traditional midsize trucks such as the GMC Canyon and full-size trucks like the F-150 Lariat have become essentially luxury trucks in workhorse clothing.

A luxury-branded truck makes sense, and the Mercedes-Benz X-Class will be the next to hit showrooms around the world. The question is will, and should, Mercedes bring it to the States?

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IMPA Test Days: We’ll Be Back

#IMPATestDays2016

The spectacular trees of New York State’s Catskill Mountains had to settle for backdrop status early last week. The New York City-based International Motor Press Association assembled a magnificent collection of cars, trucks, and motorcycles as well as a bunch of car and motorcycle writers at the Monticello Motor Club‘s (MMC) racetrack and extensive off-road course for IMPA Test Days 2016, 48 hours of intense on- and off-road testing.

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The Changing Purpose SUVs

2017-audi-q7-inline4

Sport utility vehicles entered the automotive scene as 4×4 alternatives to station wagons, sedans, and minivans. They quickly became the go-anywhere, haul-anything preference for families across the United States. These were the vehicles that allowed drivers to skip the Holiday Inn and venture deep into the woods if they so desired.

They were large, heavy, and capable rigs that rode high and gave drivers a commanding view and comforting presence in the midst of the surrounding Civics and Corollas. The fact that early V8-powered SUVs sucked gas fast enough to watch the fuel gauge drop didn’t matter, because gasoline was cheap and the economy was strong.

Then the bottom fell out in 2007 and the game completely changed. Large SUVs became symbols of excess and waste. Filling their gas tanks required a second mortgage. Falling sales inspired a new breed of SUVs, one that could still haul up to 8 people, but compromised some off-road ability for more civilized fuel economy numbers.

It’s an evolution that continues into this day and is embodied by the new Audi Q7.

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Here’s Our First Glance at the New Jeep Grand Wagoneer

Photo: KGP Photography

Photo: KGP Photography

The Jeep Commander has earned a spot on our list of the best “dead” cars to buy, but its successor might be worth waiting for if you have the desire for a luxury SUV that carries the name of a Jeep with a legendary past.

The Commander was supposed to be Jeep’s answer to the Chevy Tahoe and other large 3-row SUVs, but its dismal fuel economy sent owners and potential buyers running. The SUV probably would have been a success if it debuted in 2000, but the high gas prices and uncertain economy between 2006 and 2010 led to the Commander’s demise.

Now that we’re in more stable times, Jeep has decided that it’s time to try again, only this time it’ll be with an all-new Grand Wagoneer.

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