Posts from ‘First Spin’
In a quest for better fuel economy in traditionally thirsty trucks, Ram takes a page from the automotive playbook and banks on … a hybrid.
Well, a mild hybrid, actually, and while unique in today’s marketplace, it’s not the first.
GMC has long used the tagline, “Professional Grade,” promoting the brand as being a cut above others in the same class. That has been best demonstrated in the top-line Denali trim level — recently offered on nearly all GMC models — which has been elevated to essentially a “luxury” sub-brand. It’s been particularly noteworthy in the case of the company’s Sierra full-size pickups, as the rest of the lineup didn’t really offer much over its very similar Chevrolet Silverado cousin. But that’s changing.
OK, stick with us here—this gets a bit complicated. With the introduction of the redesigned 2019 Santa Fe, Hyundai is changing up its midsize-SUV strategy. Previously, the Santa Fe was offered in a 3-row, 7-passenger version called Santa Fe, and a shorter 2-row, 5-passenger version named Santa Fe Sport.
Honda’s popular midsize crossover has long been a Consumer Guide Best Buy, and revisions to the freshened 2019 Pilot only serve to make it better.
As this is a “refresh” and not a redesign, the Pilot platform and appearance haven’t changed much. Oh, the grille is different – taking on what Honda deems as a “more rugged” demeanor to reflect Pilot’s admittedly good off-road prowess – but the vehicle still looks and drives like a Pilot … which is just fine.
Recent history has shown that one byproduct of war is technical advancement. And rarely has that held more true than in the current battle for pickup-truck supremacy.
Yikes, where does the time go? The MX-5 Miata is fast closing in on its 30th birthday, but Mazda apparently couldn’t wait until the pearl-anniversary year of its beloved two-seat roadster to roll out a welcome round of enhancements. Ever since the first Miata debuted at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show as a 1990 model, Mazda has stayed wonderfully true to its original MX-5 concept: a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, lightweight two-seat sports car with modest power, an easily removable roof, and a sporty-yet-compliant suspension.
You had to figure this was coming.
After setting the record books ablaze last year with the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon — and keeping its promise that it would be a one-year-only model — Dodge unveiled a more “streetable” version of much the same car for 2019. Plus it carried over some of the Demon’s drag-racing technology to a more budget-priced model aimed at … well … drag racing.
Although somewhat late to the subcompact-crossover party, at least Hyundai showed up with a nice present: the 2018 Kona, introduced earlier this year.
Our first exposure to the Kona came recently in Detroit, perhaps one of the few major cities in this country with roads as bad as ours here in Chicago. That’s notable because our preview drives usually take place in areas with smoother pavement, making it tough to judge ride quality. Not a problem in this case.