Posts from ‘First Spin’

Nov
29
2023 GR Toyota Corolla Morizo, 2023 Toyota GR Corolla

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Morizo Edition

Consumer Guide Automotive The “hot-hatch” segment, for a longtime defined by Volkswagen’s enthusiast-beloved Golf GTI, is inarguably shrinking, in sales volume and in number of models offered. In fact, the whole small, sporty-car thing is in serious decline. Sadly, buyer attitudes have changed, and shoppers—especially young shoppers—seem to value utility over fun these days. I curse their pragmatism.

Jun
08
2023 Toyota Sequoia Platinum

2023 Toyota Sequoia Platinum

Consumer Guide Automotive

One of the most old-school SUVs on the market is about to get a lot less old-school. It’s been a long time coming, but late this summer an all-new, third-generation version of Toyota’s full-size SUV is slated to go on sale. The Toyota Sequoia is redesigned from the ground up for 2023, finally doing away with its 2008-vintage platform and adopting new body-on-frame architecture that’s shared with Toyota’s redesigned-for-2022 Tundra full-size pickup truck.

May
16
2023 Nissan Z

2023 Nissan Z

Consumer Guide Automotive

It’s tough out there for traditional sporty/performance cars these days, especially for the true two-seater or 2+2 sports cars. The things just don’t sell like they used to American shoppers, and as a result, the automakers who are still sticking it out in this segment have had to get creative. Toyota partnered with BMW to revive the Supra for 2020, and renewed its partnership with Subaru to introduce a new-generation version of the Toyota 86 rear-wheel-drive sports car (now dubbed GR 86) for 2022 (Subaru’s variant continues as the BRZ). Mazda partnered with Fiat to share some of the load for the 2016 redesign of the MX-5 Miata; Fiat got its own version in the revived 124 Spider, which only lasted through the 2017-2020 model years before it was dropped.

Apr
27
2023 Subaru Solterra

2023 Subaru Solterra

Consumer Guide Automotive

The stereotypical Subaru owner is an outdoorsy nature lover who’s at least a bit more environmentally conscious than the average American consumer, so it seems inevitable that Subaru would eventually enter the electric-vehicle market. And now it has. The 2023 Solterra is Subaru’s first pure EV: a two-row, five-passenger compact crossover SUV that is built on a platform shared with Toyota’s new bZ4X pure-electric SUV.

Apr
19
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe

Consumer Guide Automotive

There’s no moss growing under the feet of Jeep engineers and product planners these days. About a year ago, the brand introduced its first plug-in-hybrid vehicle: the Wrangler 4xe. Approximately 30,000 units found buyers last year, which Jeep says makes the Wrangler 4xe (pronounced “four by e”) America’s best-selling plug-in hybrid. Last summer, the fifth generation of Jeep’s Grand Cherokee debuted with the all-new 2021 Grand Cherokee L—the first Grand Cherokee with three rows of seats. Late last year, a redesign of the traditional two-row, five-passenger Grand Cherokee was introduced on a shorter version of the L’s all-new unibody platform. That’s all history now—along with the equally new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer full-size SUVs—and Jeep’s engineers are on to their next act: the 2022 Grand Cherokee 4xe. It’s an intriguing mix-and-match that combines the Wrangler 4xe’s powerful plug-in-hybrid powertrain with the redesigned Grand Cherokee.

Mar
29
2023 Mazda CX-50

2023 Mazda CX-50

Consumer Guide Automotive Is one of the unexpected long-term side effects of COVID-19 the public’s increased interest in outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and kayaking? The timing could be a coincidence, but it’s clear that car companies are introducing an ever-increasing array of off-road-focused SUVs—or at least off-road-flavored SUVs—to meet the market’s embrace of these more adventurous lifestyles. Even well-established outdoorsy brands like Subaru are getting more outdoorsy.

Feb
01
2022 Toyota Tundra Capstone

2022 Toyota Tundra Capstone

Consumer Guide Automotive Last October, Toyota gave us our first chance to drive the all-new redesigned 2022 Tundra full-size pickup in Texas, which you can read all about in our First Spin report. Since then, Toyota has announced a new top-of-the-line Capstone trim level and filled in few more details about the new Tundra lineup that were left blank last fall. Now, we’ve had the opportunity to spend some time behind the wheel of the new Tundra Capstone and better experience the new i-FORCE MAX hybrid powertrain.

Dec
20
2022 Subaru WRX

2022 Subaru WRX Limited

Consumer Guide Automotive Among hot-rod compact cars, the all-new, redesigned-for-2022 Subaru WRX doesn’t really have any direct competitors. This rally-racing-bred, all-wheel-drive sport compact’s closest historical rival, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, has already been gone for seven years–it was discontinued after the 2015 model year. At the moment, the WRX’s nearest competitor from an engineering standpoint is the redesigned-for-2022 Volkswagen Golf R, though that German-built AWD hatchback is significantly pricier to start and not rally-terrain focused like the WRX. Subaru identifies two equally new front-drive-only performance compacts as the WRX’s main competition: the 200-horsepower Honda Civic Si and the 241-horsepower Volkswagen GTI hatchback, both of which are also redesigned for ’22. Likewise in the ballpark (and also front-drive-only) are the 276-hp Hyundai Elantra N and Veloster N hatchback, and the Honda Civic Type R (we don’t know yet how powerful the soon-to-be-revealed new-generation Type R will be, but the previous-gen car made 306 hp).

Nov
15
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited

Consumer Guide Automotive Earlier this year, the Jeep Grand Cherokee kicked off its fifth generation with the all-new 2021 Grand Cherokee L—the first Grand Cherokee to offer three rows of seats. Meanwhile, the 2021 two-row Grand Cherokee soldiered on for one more season with the previous, fourth-gen design. Now, for the 2022 model year, a redesigned two-row five-passenger Grand Cherokee is being introduced. The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee is built on a shorter version of the L’s all-new unibody platform, and it’s scheduled to go on sale by the end of the 2021 calendar year. Shortly after the new year, Jeep will add 4xe plug-in-hybrid electrified variants of the two-row Grand Cherokee.

Oct
25
2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness

2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness

Consumer Guide Automotive Here’s a factoid for you: Nearly 1 out of every 5 Subarus ever sold has been a Forester, and since its debut as a 1998 model, Subaru has sold more than 2.3 million of its popular compact crossover SUV. For the last several years, the Forester’s annual sales have been running in the neighborhood of 170,000-180,000 units in the US, and Subaru says those totals have been limited by production capacity rather than consumer demand. The current-generation Forester debuted for 2019, and for 2022 it gets a mild freshening, along with the addition of an outdoor-adventure-focused Wilderness model with improved off-road capabilities.