Posts from ‘First Spin’

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

2021 Nissan Rogue Review

2021 Nissan Rogue Platinum

Consumer Guide Automotive It’s no secret that the Rogue compact SUV is the single most important vehicle in Nissan’s model lineup. It’s far and away the best-selling vehicle Nissan sells in the U.S.—more than 350,000 were sold during the 2019 calendar year, enough to rank as the sixth best-selling vehicle in America (the next best-selling Nissan, the Altima midsize sedan, was in eighteenth place, with around 209,000 units sold).

First Spin: 2021 GMC Yukon

2021 GMC Yukon Denali

Consumer Guide AutomotiveOver the past 20 years or so, most SUVs have morphed from a body-on-frame, truck-based construction to become “crossover” SUVs that utilize car-like unibody construction. The upside of this shift in design is better on-road driving dynamics and better driver ergonomics. The downside is reduced towing capacity and diminished capabilities in serious off-roading.

2020 Toyota Highlander

2020 Toyota Highlander

Consumer Guide Automotive

Toyota’s Highlander has long been a top-seller in the hot midsize-crossover class, at least in part due to the host of accolades it has received (though wearing a Toyota badge doesn’t hurt, either.) It gets a redesign for 2020 that brings an additional 2.4 inches of wheelbase and overall length, a host of new tech features, and a decidedly more miserly Hybrid variant.

2020 Nissan Sentra, 2020 Sentra, Monarch Orange

2020 Nissan Sentra

Consumer Guide Automotive

When the redesigned – and decidedly upmarket – Nissan Versa was introduced earlier this year, one of the biggest questions surrounding it was, “Will this spell the end of the Sentra?”

It didn’t take Nissan long to answer.

2020 Mazda CX-30

2020 Mazda CX-30

Consumer Guide Automotive

This is a vehicle Goldilocks may have influenced.

While the burgeoning popularity of crossovers has caused some hair-splitting additions to model lineups of late, the new Mazda CX-30 fills a surprisingly large gap between the company’s CX-3 subcompact and CX-5 compact. And it fills that gap nearly dead-center, as its 173-inch length falls almost midway between the 168- and 179-inch spans, respectively, of its stablemates.

It also fills a gap in price.