Posts from ‘Future Cars’
by Don Sikora II
Today’s Jeep Wrangler was originally introduced for the 2007 model year. It remains one of Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s best sellers, but at more than eight years old, it’s officially getting a bit long in the tooth. Given that the Jeep Wrangler is one of the most iconic, tradition-bound vehicles on the market today, FCA doesn’t want to veer very far from Wrangler’s tried-and-true formula with the forthcoming new-generation model. Still, uncertain fuel prices and tightening efficiency standards in the United States mean the redesigned “JL” generation 2018 Jeep Wrangler must address the current JK model’s greatest weakness: Fuel economy.
If you don’t have a lucky number, you likely at least have a number or two you prefer to other digits. I, for example, rather like the numbers 2, 5, 14, and 21. I became aware of my fondness for these numbers one night while nursing a $2 gin and tonic at a now-defunct Iowa riverboat-casino roulette table.
Automakers like numbers, too. Many storied model names have been enhanced by a carefully placed numeric suffix. Think of such classic monikers as Cougar XR-7, Fury II, and Galaxie 500, and you get the idea.
by Kirk Bell
Any luxury brand worth its salt should have a “halo” car. It should either be a performance car that sets new standards for power and handling or a luxury flagship with creature comforts you’d be embarrassed to have in your house. Cadillac has hinted at building a halo car several times in the new century with such concept cars as the Cadillac Sixteen of 2003, the convertible Ciel Concept of 2011, and the Elmiraj Concept introduced at the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours. It’s that last car that gives us hope for the future.
By Jim Gorzelany
Honda’s top-selling vehicle, the Honda Accord, should receive a complete redesign for the 2018 model year, but we don’t anticipate the automaker will veer far from what’s been a successful direction for this midsize sedan and coupe combo. We expect the next-generation Accord will continue to offer a winning combination of commuter-friendly performance, a comfortable and spacious interior, good fuel economy and sufficient–though perhaps not class-leading–features, all at competitive pricing. A fuel-saving Accord Hybrid, and an even more frugal plug-in Accord Hybrid sedan will likely continue in the lineup. The question is whether Honda will be satisfied playing the perennial number two to the top-selling car in the U.S., the Toyota Camry, or will it pull out all the proverbial stops to gain segment supremacy?
By Chris Poole
A snappy roadster headlines redesigned fleets of BMW compact cars with front-wheel drive—a first for this brand. The Z2 will be smaller, more economical and more affordable than the Z4, but no less fun to drive. In fact, it may drive a lot like a Mini Cooper.
GENEVA — The following is excerpted from a press release issued today in conjunction with the Geneva Auto Show.
(MAHWAH, N.J.) – March 4, 2014 – Today, Jaguar confirmed details of the brand’s all-new compact sport sedan, the Jaguar XE which will launch globally in 2015 and comes to the United States in 2016. The Jaguar XE will be the first product built on the new advanced aluminum architecture which was showcased in the C-X17 concept car in 2013. This aluminum intensive structure provides the benefits of lightness and strength for exceptional handling, performance, refinement and efficiency.
The auto industry has thrust a great deal on the buying public in the last decade or so. After about a century of fairly predictable motoring progress, car builders rather suddenly began throwing once-unheard-of options at consumers.
A famed Italian brand issues its first SUV to challenge the likes of Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover Sport. The premium-midsize Levante is a distant cousin of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, but promises to uphold Maserati’s reputation for style, performance, and luxury.
By Chris Poole
An evergreen supercar favorite is redesigned with more power, less weight, and—says the rumor mill—very edgy new styling. Like the Gallardo it replaces, the “entry-level” Cabrera should be offered in all manner of special editions with rear- and all-wheel drive.
What It Is
The 2015 Lamborghini Cabrera is the renamed, redesigned replacement for the decade-old Gallardo, the all-time best-selling model for the famed Italian supercar brand. Lamborghini celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2013, and a thinly veiled Cabrera concept is expected at the autumn Frankfurt Auto Show as part of the celebrations. The production model, codenamed LP724, is slated to start sale in calendar 2014, perhaps toward the end of the year, so the Cabrera will almost certainly be a 2015-model U.S. debut. The new “entry-level” Lambo will launch with a lone coupe model, followed by a soft-top Spyder convertible. Special editions of both are sure to be added later on to keep sales afloat once the early novelty value wears thin.
By Chris Poole
The U.S. market’s last mainstream-brand station wagon is redesigned with crisper styling, a new gasoline engine, less weight, and a bit more room. No longer a Jetta, the compact SportWagen is based on VW’s latest Golf hatchback and should be even more appealing.
What It Is
The 2015 Volkswagen SportWagen is the redesigned version of the last traditional, mainstream-brand station wagon on the American market. Replacing the compact 2009-2014 Jetta SportWagen, it will likely start U.S. sale toward the end of calendar 2014, several months after the seventh-generation 2015 Golf/GTI hatchbacks that use the same basic design. The new model is already rolling out in Europe, where it’s called Golf Variant or Golf Estate, depending on market. U.S. pricing probably won’t be announced until shortly on-sale time, but VW may drop a hint at an upcoming major auto show, perhaps as early as the November 2013 Los Angeles expo.
Like the departing Jetta wagon, the U.S.-market 2015 Volkswagen SportWagen will be sourced from VW’s Puebla, Mexico complex that also supplies Jetta compact sedans and sporty/performance Beetle coupes and convertibles for NAFTA-zone sale. VW has also assigned Puebla to build Golf/GTI hatchbacks for the NAFTA region in a bid for greater price competitiveness and as a hedge against currency fluctuations versus selling imported units from high-cost Germany.