The mid-size sedan market is extremely competitive, but has been losing sales to the booming crossover sport utility vehicle market. SUVs provide the usefulness buyers want without making the sacrifices that used to be required. Carmakers now can make their cars "cars" again.
The Chevrolet Bolt EV is a compelling all-electric crossover vehicle with a 238-mile range. That range pretty much eliminates range anxiety for a majority of its drivers. The powerful 200-horsepower, 266 lb-ft of torque powerpack delivers acceleration worthy of a turbocharged small car. The Bolt EV is the real deal.
Ford is updating its iconic sporty coupe giving us a more aggressive Mustang for 2018. In industry parlance this could be termed a "front and rear six" meaning the front and rear six inches of the car has been changed. The 2018 change is a bit more than that. The front end is the main contributor to the more aggressive Mustang look. The standard LED headlamps flank a redesigned grille which has a new sporty texture. The front fenders, front fascia, and hood are all new. In the rear end, the taillamp graphics are tweaked a bit, not so you'd notice.
AutoPacific surveys new car and light truck buyers annually to determine how satisfied they are with their vehicle and what changes they want made. Based on this owner research, AutoPacific calculates the vehicles that owners want changed the least. The people who have purchased the vehicle are the people it was designed for. The data result in the AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Award. Every year there are some results that stand out. The 2016 awards are no different.
Ford's F-Series Super Duty pickups are all new for the 2017 model year. The Super Duty line includes the F-250, F-350, F-450 and F-550 heavy duty pickups. The term all new here is an actual fact because the last time the Super Duty was all new was over a decade ago. The high volume F-150 light duty full size pickup was all new and all aluminum for 2016. The Super Duty follows a year later, but Ford says the product update cadence should be shorter for both the F-150 and the Super Duties in the future.
AutoPacific, an automotive specialist research and product planning consultancy, forecasts that trucks, including XSUVs will be about 60% of the market for the foreseeable future. In fact, reading the crystal ball for the next five years, this percentage of the mix may be low.
Cheap and cheerful is gone. The 2016 Honda Civic sedan has raised the bar for a compact car to new levels. After realizing that the 9th generation 2012 Civic was a dud, and quickly adding band-aids for 2013, Honda has gotten very, very serious with the all new 10th generation Civic. In fact, for awhile there the automotive analyst and journalist community was sensing Honda was losing its mojo. After updates to the Accord, the new Pilot, the HR-V and now the New 2016 Honda Civic, it is clear Honda is back. Honda's development name for the new Civic is "EPIC" Civic and it fits. To achieve this "epicness" Honda benchmarked not only the usual suspects, but also the C-Class entries from Audi, BMW and Mercedes.
Raising the Bar in a Competitive Segment The Koreans keep getting better and the new 2016 Hyundai Tucson (product code TL) is an example of how Hyundai has executed a segment-beater. Competing against big sellers Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, Jeep Cherokee, Chevrolet Equinox, Mazda CX-5, etc. the new Tucson checks all the boxes. It is well styled and immediately identifiable as a Hyundai (looks almost too much like the Santa Fe Sport). It has a great package - good visibility, spacious front and rear seating, good cargo room, easy ingress/egress. The fit and finish is excellent inside and out. The interior trim materials have moved upwards - almost up to the next higher price class.
AutoPacific today announced its 19th annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSAs), identifying the most satisfying vehicles on the market. An industry benchmark for measuring how satisfied an owner is with his/her new vehicle, VSAs are based on survey responses from over 66,000 owners of new 2015 model year cars and light trucks.
Maxima remains easy to get into and out of and the interior seems very spacious with good headroom. Like the 2015 Nissan Murano, the Maxima has "floating roof" styling with a black character line sweeping through the C-Pillar. The beltline has a bright character molding flowing to a kicked up rear quarter. Like most newly released vehicles these days, Maxima's headlamps are highlighted by boomerang shaped LED light pipes. Adopting Nissan's new front end DNA, Maxima gets a prominent V-Motion Grille. The boomerang headlamp graphic is repeated in the taillamps. Maxima's coefficient of drag has been reduced from 0.34 to 0.29 for improved aerodynamics. For some, exterior styling of the 2016 Nissan Maxima will be too busy. Others will like the fact that it turns heads.