Posts from ‘First Spin’
Toyota’s Camry has been the best-selling car for most of the past couple of decades, and its 2018 redesign brings it thoroughly up to date with leading class rivals. Yet it probably won’t tally the kind of sales numbers it has managed to amass in the past.
That’s not due to any failing with the new Camry itself, however. Rather, it’s a sociological thing.
Volvo is on a tear.
After years of product stagnation, the Swedish company recently announced that it would bring out a string of eight new or redesigned models over a four-year period – a rather ambitious undertaking for such a small company.
Maybe Acura saw it coming.
Back in 2015, the company replaced its TSX compact and TL midsize sedans with the singular TLX that slotted between the two in size and price, offering both the TSX’s 4-cylinder engine and the TL’s V6 (and available all-wheel drive) to cover the spread. Considered a midsize, it was on the small end of that class, which always hurt it in comparisons of interior space.
When the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica debuted last spring, it brought a new level of family-friendly features and all-around refinement to the minivan category. Now, the 2018 Honda Odyssey is set to arrive in dealerships as the first redesigned minivan to hit the market in the Pacifica’s wake… and based on our preview test drive of a top-line Odyssey Elite model, it’s clear that Honda has done a little bar-raising of its own.
It seems you just can’t cut the crossover pie into small enough slices.
Nearly all manufacturers have multiple crossovers in their model lineup, some with multiples in the same class. And Nissan just became one of the latter, slotting the new Rogue Sport into the gap between the company’s subcompact Juke and the compact Rogue with which it shares a moniker.
Over the past few years, the compact and midsize crossover SUV segments have grown hotter than ever, but Volkswagen’s two entries in those categories have fallen a bit behind the pack as they’ve aged. While it’s a perfectly capable and pleasant compact SUV, the current VW Tiguan is seriously long in the tooth—it has soldiered on for a full nine seasons with no major changes to its 2009-model-year platform. Likewise, the current Touareg—VW’s pricey, luxuriously trimmed midsize SUV contender—dates back to 2011, and hasn’t seen any significant architectural updates since.
There’s a lot on the minds of Chevrolet sales and marketing people, judging by the diverse array of new products the brand has placed on the market in 2017. New vehicles being added starting in the spring include a pure-electric subcompact, a compact crossover, performance cars, and compact and large pickups.
It’s still not often you see the words “Sport” and “Hybrid” in the same sentence – let alone in the same name – but the concept is growing in popularity. And few companies are leveraging the principle of using an electric motor’s instant low-speed torque to augment the high-end power of a gas engine as thoroughly as Acura.
Despite their current popularity, it has come to my attention that some people just don’t like SUVs. Even when branded with the cuter “crossover” tag, they strike some as too boxy, too tall … and too common.
Chevrolet has no fewer than five SUVs in its corporate lineup, yet none fit neatly into the “compact crossover” segment, currently the most popular in all of autodom. None, that is, until now.