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Acura’s product lineup has been undergoing an exterior-design transformation over the last few years, and the styling makeover has reached full fruition with the 2019 model year. As promised, the brand’s “Diamond Pentagon” grill treatment, a look that debuted on the Acura Precision concept car of 2016, has now proliferated across every Acura model. We recently attended the 2019 Acura full-line media preview, where we got some seat time in the refreshed ILX compact and a couple of hot laps in the NSX supercar, as well as an overview of the rest of the Acura lineup. Check out what’s new:
While the biggest 2019 news from Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has been covered in our First Spin of the Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack and SRT Hellcat Redeye — and also in the Alfa Romeo and Maserati update — here is more from the car side. And there will be even more in our upcoming truck overview, so stay tuned ….
Some may not know that Alfa Romeo and Maserati — both upscale Italian brands — are part of FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), and thus “corporate cousins” to Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, and Ram vehicles. But that’s about where the similarities end.
Over the past couple of years, Volvo has released a surprising number of new or significantly revised models for such a small and focused automaker. The string started in 2016 with the redesigned XC90 midsize crossover, its technology and styling themes trickling down to the S90 sedan, XC60 compact crossover, V90 wagon, and “raised” V90 Cross Country wagon. At the start of the 2018 model year, some of those see new variants or powertrains, but the real news arrives later, with expected debuts of a smaller compact crossover named XC40 and a redesigned 60-Series midsize line. Also, all 2018 Volvos come with the Volvo On Call telematics system, which includes emergency notification, remote starting and lock/unlock capabilities, and the ability to find your car in a parking lot, with the free trial period being extended from 6 months to 4 years.
Nissan just unveiled a refreshed version of its Rogue compact SUV in conjunction with the 2016 Miami Auto Show. The 2017 Rogue not only adopts a bolder “face,” but adds several new features along with a thrifty hybrid variant.
Spurred by the success of Ford’s Transit Connect and the various versions of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Ram tapped its Fiat partner for a couple of commercial vans of its own. Both the big ProMaster and smaller ProMaster City were already being sold overseas when they adopted Ram badges a couple of years ago. Notable is that both are front-wheel drive, both are of unibody construction, and both are also offered in chassis-cab configurations “over there”; yet only the ProMaster’s has been sent stateside … so far.
Jeep is certainly the brightest jewel in the Fiat-Chrysler crown. Most models get only minor changes as they enter the 2017 model year, though more might be coming later on. Stay tuned….
While car sales haven’t exactly set the world on fire under the Fiat-Chrysler partnership, truck (and Jeep) sales have been going great guns. So it’s not particularly surprising that Ram has made only minor changes for 2017, which perhaps is for the best. Notable, however, is a new 2500 that wears graphics that recall those from one of its earlier – and rather famous — Dodge siblings.
Big in Europe but not so much here, Fiat fights to strengthen its foothold in the U.S. market by expanding its model lineup, offering more option combinations, and dropping some prices.
With the demise last year of the midsize Avenger and this year of the compact Dart, Dodge has few mainstream cars in its lineup for 2017. What it does have, however, are some fire-breathing performance cars, a pair of 3-row SUVs, and the most popular minivan of all time.