Posts from ‘First Spin’

Mar
23
2022 Infiniti QX55

2022 Infiniti QX55 Sensory

Consumer Guide Automotive We’ll admit that when the first wave of fastback-roofed sport-utility vehicles started hitting the market, kicked off by the BMW X6 back in 2008, we didn’t really “get it.” Why would an automaker take a vehicle that’s primarily designed for utility—heck, the word is right in the name!—and deliberately turn it into something less practical?

Mar
15
2021 Lincoln Nautilus

2021 Lincoln Nautilus Black Label

Consumer Guide Automotive The Lincoln Nautilus midsize 5-passenger crossover debuted for 2019 as a thoroughly revamped version of the Lincoln MKX. In fact, the Nautilus was a key part of Lincoln’s transition away from the alphabetic (and not particularly well received) “MK” naming convention the brand began using around 2007. The 2020 model year saw the debuts of the all-new compact Corsair compact SUV (which took the place of the MKC) and Aviator three-row midsize SUV (which essentially replaced the MKT). These vehicles bookended the Nautilus in Lincoln’s model lineup, and they also introduced new interior/exterior styling themes and a further refinement of the Lincoln brand’s “Quiet Flight” design philosophy—all elements that weren’t fully formed at the time of the Nautilus’s introduction just two model years prior.

Feb
24
2021 Buick Envision Essence

2021 Buick Envision Essence

Consumer Guide Automotive

Well, believe it or not, we’re already almost at the end of Buick’s first full model year as an SUV-only brand. The LaCrosse large sedan and Cascada convertible both said sayonara after the 2019 model year, and Buick’s last traditional passenger-car holdouts—the midsize Regal Sportback hatchback sedan and Regal TourX wagon—were dropped after the 2020 model year.

Feb
09
Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo

2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo

Consumer Guide Automotive

The Mazda CX-30 debuted for 2020 as a “gap-filler” crossover SUV between the subcompact CX-3 and the compact CX-5 in Mazda’s crossover SUV lineup. With more and more shoppers eschewing traditional passenger cars in favor of SUVs, there’s room for more variety in automakers’ SUV lineups, and the CX-30 promised a Goldilocks-style “just right” fit for shoppers who needed something larger than the diminutive, urban-chic CX-3 but didn’t want to step up to the pricier, bigger CX-5.

Jan
15
2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX in Runway Red (a $445 option)

Consumer Guide Automotive

When the outstanding Kia Telluride debuted as a 2020 model, it was an instant hit. This all-new “plus-size” midsize three-row SUV garnered many industry accolades (including a Consumer Guide Best Buy award), and continues to be a top seller for the brand. The Telluride’s success made it easy to forget that Kia already had a strong-selling, albeit smaller, three-row midsize SUV in its model lineup. The Kia Sorento was introduced as a 2003 model, and for 2021 it gets a complete redesign that brings it out of the shadow of the Telluride and back into the spotlight.

Jan
06
2021 Nissan Kicks

2021 Nissan Kicks in Aspen White TriCoat/Super Black two-tone

Consumer Guide Automotive

Traditional subcompact sedans and hatchbacks are dying off in significant numbers in the U.S.—the Chevrolet Sonic, Honda Fit, and Toyota Yaris sedan and hatchback were all dropped for 2021, and the Ford Fiesta and Toyota Prius C were discontinued for 2020. Subcompact crossover SUVs, however, are proliferating—and the entry-level end of the segment is essentially taking the place of subcompact cars.

Nov
18
2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid

2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Limited

Consumer Guide Automotive By Don Sikora II

In the United States last year, the new-vehicle market ran about 70 percent light trucks—SUVs and pickups, essentially. With traditional car sales continuing to shrink, even high-volume classes have seen some competitors drop out. In the compact car segment, recent casualties have included the Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus. Still, compact cars are an extremely competitive category with some excellent entries, including the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

Nov
12
First Spin: 2021 Lexus IS

2021 Lexus IS 300 AWD in “Grecian Water” blue

Consumer Guide Automotive

The 2021 Lexus IS is a case study in how the new-vehicle market’s shift to SUVs has affected the way automakers allocate their product-development dollars. Now that the average shopper in both the mainstream-brand and luxury-brand segments is more likely to choose a crossover SUV instead of a traditional passenger car, it’s not surprising that automakers are focusing the bulk of their resources on SUVs. Though many traditional-car offerings still sell in respectable numbers, they are no longer at the forefront of their respective product lineups.

Oct
28
2021 Toyota Sienna Review

2021 Toyota Sienna LE

Consumer Guide Automotive

Minivans are family haulers first and foremost, right? They’re vehicles designed to schlep around your whole brood and all their stuff—soccer cleats, baseball gear, that class-project diorama, and… JUSTIN! Wh–WHY didn’t you tell me you spilled half your milk back here?! Yes, that’s why it smells bad! It soaked in there all weekend!

Oct
20
2021 Toyota Camry XLE

2021 Toyota Camry XLE AWD

Consumer Guide Automotive

Seemingly undaunted by conventional wisdom that says the sedan is dead, Toyota is pressing ahead with a physically freshened and technologically improved Camry for 2021.