The days of models like the 3000GT, Eclipse and even the Lancer Evo are long gone! Sad face! Now Mitsubishi is ditching its past and trying to regain market share by focusing all of its energy on SUVs. Even the really old Lancer is about to go away this summer. So what does that mean for the fledgling automaker?
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Back in 2008 when Hyundai revealed its new luxury, rear-wheel drive Genesis sedan, Hyundai grabbed the industry's attention. Could Hyundai, which for years had been known building budget-minded models, actually make a luxurious vehicle that could compete with the best from Germany and Japan? Now almost ten years later, Hyundai has finally decided to break off its luxury Genesis and Equus models into their own sub-brand, appropriately named Genesis. The first of these models is the Genesis G80, which is basically the same thing as the second-generation Hyundai Genesis.
Hybrids have been on the market over 15 years now and today they are often overshadowed by plug-in hybrids and full electric cars. At the other end of the spectrum, regular combustion-powered vehicles have caught up with hybrids in the MPG race, with models like the Honda Civic getting a very hybrid-like 42 mpg highway rating. So is there any point to looking at a standard hybrid anymore? Yes, if you still want something that gets great gas mileage and the idea plugging in your car isn't your cup of tea.
Just a few years ago, the subcompact crossover segment didn't even exist and now almost every automaker has introduced or is about to introduce one. Over the last year we've received new entries, like the Fiat 500X, Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade. While the segment may be getting a bit crowded, Mazda may have just introduced one of the best subcompact crossovers you can buy today. The tiny SUV is really that good!
The current generation of the Hyundai Elantra is on its way out, since it will soon be replaced by an all-new model that debuted last month at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Even though it's about to be replaced, the current Elantra has done well for Hyundai and proven that a compact sedan doesn't have to look boring. Buyers continue to flock to it, since the Elantra is one of the automaker's best selling models. To make the 2016 Elantra even more appealing, Hyundai has released a new Value Edition that makes the Elantra an even better value than it already is.
To date, Scion has spent $100 million on the arts to help engrain the brand into youth culture and it seems to have worked with the lowest average age for buyers of any car brand. Still, the child of Toyota has suffered a lack of popularity in recent years, due mostly to some rather stale product. Helping solve part of the problem, Scion launched the new FR-S model into the lineup to increase interest in the brand. With an average owner age of just 31, the FR-S proved to be another hit with younger buyers, despite its higher price tag (for a Scion). Although this could change soon with the just introduced entry-level iA and mid-lineup iM. That's nothing, however, compared to the tC, which continually wins over youth buyers with the youngest average age of any car in the industry at just 28.
Mitsubishi recently announced that it's refocusing its limited resources on its SUV lineup, but although we now know how Mitsubishi plans to stay alive in the competitive industry, we will have to wait a few years to see these new models. For now Mitsubishi offers the Outlander Sport and Outlander models. While the larger Outlander just received a through redo with a long list of updates, the smaller Outlander has remain largely unchanged the last few years (note a refreshed Outlander Sport is coming for 2016). While I haven't had a chance to drive the updated Outlander Sport, Mitsubishi did give me a week with the 2015 model. How did it do? Let's just say that I walked away feeling a bit sad about Mitsubishi's small SUV.
One of Jeep's brand objectives is that all of its products must be capable off-roaders (or at least have a variant that is up to the task). But how to do you do that with a subcompact SUV like the Renegade? We set out for a week long test to find out if the new baby Jeep is up the task. While it may look the part, we wanted to find out if it had real Jeep capabilities. In terms of the competition, right now there isn't much, as the subcompact SUV segment is just warming up. The Nissan Juke, Mini Countryman, and Buick Encore are the established entrants; the Chevrolet Trax just joinged the fray this year; and the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3 are starting off.
Honda has released its 2015 CR-V compact crossover with practically no extravagant hoopla. The Honda officials trumpeted the 2015 CR-V as a major update to an already fresh product. They claimed the changes this vehicle received are much more significant than what most cars and trucks get during mid-cycle updates. Almost every area of the vehicle was touched from the usual suspects including the exterior and cabin to the body structure, chassis and even powertrain. These enhancements were meant to take an already competitive product and propel it to the top of its segment.
Last year Chevrolet introduced the world class C7 Corvette Stingray while also creating the most track-focused muscle car of all time: the Camaro Z/28. Over at Dodge, a hydrogen bomb was lobbed into the horsepower wars with the introduction of the 707-hp Challenger Hellcat. Mopar fans looking for a bit more style and a few more cylinders, there's good news as the sinister Viper is still available. Meanwhile at Ford, a pair of ST hot hatches are redefining front-wheel drive performance. But that's not the biggest news coming out of Dearborn. No, this year an automotive icon is being born anew: the Ford Mustang.
Driving the brand's first ever hybrid, there's an immediate sense that the German automaker has succeeded in delivering customer satisfaction without many compromises. How VW managed to do so is by combining a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with a 27-hp electric motor, regenerative braking and an all-electric, zero-emissions operation. The combination delivers impressive performance and fuel economy. Matched with a 7-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission, the outcome defies regular hybrid expectations presenting a vehicle that feels powerful yet is extremely economical.
Chevrolet is now offering the subcompact Trax crossover for American consumption after a two-year run in the land of maple syrup and hockey. With an overall length of 168.5 inches, the Trax slots in between its two main competitors, the longer Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and the shorter Nissan Juke. Although taller than either of those vehicles, the Trax's 6.2 inches of ground clearance is less than the Outlander Sport or the Juke, highlighting the little Chevrolet's mission as more of an urban run-about than a mild off-roader.
With the compact crossover market red-hot right now, it makes sense that Lincoln chose this segment for its next premium import fighter. Keeping with current Lincoln tradition, the MKC is based on a Ford platform, the Escape in this case.
What we have here is the all-new tenth generation 2016 Honda Civic, which is new from the ground up as Honda attempts to bring the Civic back to its roots. With the current generation Civic, Honda somewhat lost its way when it decided to bring a de-contented and quite stale looking Civic to market in 2012. After a quick refresh the Civic did improve a bit, but not to levels that would satisfy diehard Honda fans. With the introduction of the 2016 Civic, Honda has gone back to the drawing board to make a Civic that will not only win over would be Corolla and Focus buyers, but will hopefully satisfy some of Honda's loyal fans.
The Subaru Legacy has become the forgotten family sedan. Currently, the Legacy is outsold by every other mainstream mid-sizer on the market. To gain some insight as to why, Subaru went straight to customers and found the key issues with the car were its exterior styling, interior quality and lackluster infotainment system.
Are you in the market for a midsize crossover? It's easily one of the most competitive segments, which explains why almost every automaker plays in it. Hyundai has been a player in the segment for years with the Santa Fe and with every new generation it continues to get better. The current generation Santa Fe was introduced back in 2012 and now three years later, it remains a top choice in the segment.
While Acura's sedan lineup has had its ups and downs over the years, one part of its lineup has remained the shinning star - its SUV lineup. The MDX continues to be the best-selling luxury three-row crossover and the smaller RDX has managed to outgun rivals, like the Audi Q5 and BMW X3. For 2016 Acura gave the RDX a nice update that adds a little more styling pizzaz, a little more fun under the hood and some small interior updates. Will the updates keep the RDX out front, or is there a chance now that others may catch up? Read on to find out.
Even though the minivan continues to be one of the most versatile vehicles on the market, the stigma that's attached to the people mover continues to hamper its appeal. In the 1990s almost every automaker had a minivan, but since then the number of offerings continues to disappear as more buyers flock to crossovers. So how can an automaker make their minivan stand out? By targeting a different segment altogether - active buyers that may not actually have kids. According to Kia, almost half of all minivan buyers don't even have kids, but actually buy minivans because of the added space and versatility that comes with them.
The small coupe segment continues to shrink as more buyers choose more practical sedans and even compact SUVs. But there are a few options left on the market if you want something a bit sportier. Here we have the 2015 Kia Forte Koup, which competes primarily with the Honda Civic Coupe and Scion tC. The Civic Coupe has been the mainstay of the segment since it was introduced in the early 1990s and since then several competitors have come and gone. How does the Kia Forte Koup stack up against the Civic and tC? Read on to find out.
The midsize sedan segment has been one of the most competitive segments for years with top players like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry vying for the top spot. But even though these two sedans may win the most signatures at dealers, are they truly the best? There are alternatives in the segment, like the Mazda6 that in some cases may offer more than the typical best sellers. Mazda is known for offering sportier alternatives, but can the Mazda6 find the sweet spot that can help it win over would be Accord or Camry buyers?
The Honda Accord has been the leader for midsize sedans for decades now. Long established as the benchmark by which others are judged, it stands the test of time by being unique in that it's occasionally the best at one criteria, yet as often very good at almost all of them. To quote the adage; "it really is greater than the sum of it's parts." For the Accord though, being top dog also means having competitors sights set on you. With the latest round of midsize domination with the Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, and Kia Optima nipping at your heels, how does the Accord compare?
Acura originally introduced the ILX for 2013. Based on the Civic it was Acura's attempt to compete in the ever growing small car luxury segment. Unfortunately the ILX didn't offer much to differentiate it from the Civic. With new players from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, the ILX just couldn't complete. Luckily for 2016 that has all changed with pretty much the entire car getting reworked, especially where it was needed most - under the hood.
The Chevrolet Suburban is an icon. The suburban came into being when trucks were trucks and "SUV's" didn't even exist. Since it's introduction in 1957 the Suburban has evolved from it's barebones roots into a true luxury ride coddling its occupants. In the process though, has the Suburban become less of a truck? We spent the week with the all-new generation for 2015 in the 4WD LTZ trim and here's what we found.
Audi first introduced the A3 to the US market for 2007. Here in the US it basically began the premium small car market. There weren't any other players at the time, except for perhaps Mini one size down, but that's more a niche player. Since that time though the competition has caught up. Every high line manufacturer either now offers a small vehicle or is planning to shortly. So luckily Audi has released an all new generation to protect it's market share.
Volvo's S60 has been in it's second generation since 2010. Having received a slight facelift last year, this year Volvo has imbued the S60 with its new range of impressive Drive-E powertrains. The S60 competes in one of the most hotly contested segments, the near-luxury class that contains some formidable players such as the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and the king of the class, BMW 3-Series. So how does the Volvo S60 compare?
Today Volvo's lineup as grown quite stale with the only updates being mild updates to its existing lineup, but some big things are on the horizon for the Swedish brand. What we have here is the all-new 2016 Volvo XC90 SUV, which is getting its first full redesign since it was introduced way back in 2002. The new XC90 is also the first of many new Volvo models, since Volvo says that by 2018 every model in its current lineup will be replaced.
The Nissan Rogue was all new for 2014. Entering it's second generation the Rogue has grown in size and styling just in time, as the small SUV segment is currently the most hotly contested. With stalwarts such as the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4, Nissan had its work cut out for it to remain competitive. Luckily the new Rogue has shed its rental car image and is now a formidable contender.
Ten years ago no one would have ever put the words luxury and Hyundai in the same sentence, but 30 years after the first Sonata rolled off the line, Hyundai has proven that it can build respectable luxury models with the Genesis and Equus. With the first generation Genesis sedan, Hyundai sought to prove that it could build a large, rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan that could sit in the same ring as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus. Now Hyundai has released an all-new second-generation Genesis, which Hyundai hopes will move the brand further away from the econocar status that it held for years.
I'm often asked what is the best small car on the market and the list always includes top models, like the Honda Fit and Mazda3, but one small car easily makes the top list - the VW Golf and specifically the GTI. The last-generation GTI was the definition of the perfect hot hatch and I loved it so much, that I actually bought one. Now for 2015 VW has completely revamped the Golf and the GTI, but is it just as good? Yes!
It's been decades since we had rear-wheel-drive coupes, like the Toyota Supra, Nissan 240SX and Mazda RX-7 and even though today we do have the Scion FR-S and BR-Z twins, the rear-wheel-drive coupe market is now largely dominated by the Mustang, Camaro and Challenger, but what about the Hyundai Genesis? Six years ago Hyundai decided to add more spirited models to its lineup with the introduction of the rear-wheel-drive Genesis sedan and coupe and while the Genesis sedan had aspirations to take on the best from Germany, the Genesis Coupe sought to take on models like the Mustang and Camaro, in addition to somewhat filling the gap that Japanese automakers once held.
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