About 50 years after first launching the Fiat 124 Spider in the United States, Fiat is launching a new Spider in Summer 2017. The last time the Fiat 124 Spider was sold in the USA was in 1983. To gain a desirable roadster without having to develop the car themselves, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) turned to Mazda.
Honda launches its all-new 2016 HR-V sub-compact crossover sport utility vehicle in May, 2015. The 2016 Honda HR-V, based on Honda's diminutive Fit sub-compact, is very spacious for what it is. The interior - at least the passenger compartment - feels about as big as the larger Honda CR-V. HR-V's wheelbase is only a half inch shorter than CR-V allowing the big seating area, but its overall length is about ten inches shorter - less cargo room. The front seating area feels wider than you would expect in a vehicle this small. Ingress and egress are easy to the front seats. The rear seats are a bit tight. You have to maneuver your feet to get between the B-pillar and the seat and there is not much knee room. Cargo room is larger than it looks. The best feature Honda takes from the architecture of the Fit are the "Magic Seat" rear seats that flip and fold several ways to maximize the flexibility of the area behind the front seats.
At a glance, the 2016 Fiat 500X is a solid addition to the Fiat lineup in the USA. Built alongside the Jeep Renegade at FCA's Melfi, Italy plant the 500X shares the Renegade's platform but has a dramatically different mission that demands tuning and settings to be very different. While the Renegade Trailhawk is at home off-road, the 500X is for the cities and suburbs.
Ford's One Ford strategy dictates that vehicles be as common as possible around the world. While the E-Series has been the top selling large van in the USA for years, it was basically a North America only product. The European Transit van was completely different. Also, the American E-Series never had the breadth of product choices that the European Transit had. Now that has changed with the American-made Transit about as complex as the European model.
The 2014 Fiat 500L is on sale now. Fiat unloaded the first boatload of 500Ls in early June and by mid-June they had begun arriving at nearby Fiat Studios. Adding this larger four door vehicle to the Fiat line-up is very welcome to Fiat dealers who have been limited to the Fiat 500 albeit with two bodystyles and a multitude of models. The 500L is based on Fiat's new "Small Wide" platform and shares nothing with the smaller 500 except for the "500" nomenclature and its engine.
The 2012 Grand Cherokee has been arguably the best affordable "real" SUV on the market since the latest generation was launched for the 2011 model year. The Grand Cherokee was so good that its owners rated it higher enough against its competition to win AutoPacific's Vehicle Satisfaction Award in 2011 and 2012 AND AutoPacific's Ideal Vehicle Award in 2011 and 2012! This sweep in these tough-to-win owner awards is testament to the excellence of the Grand Cherokee.
Driver satisfaction is a critical measure of vehicle acceptance. Having a satisfied buyer results in better loyalty, better word-of-mouth, stronger image. Satisfaction is a central building block of a brand. AutoPacific has been measuring driver satisfaction since 1993 and it is always instructive to look at the differences between women and men drivers.
In AutoPacific's annual 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction research, women drivers score 39 rating points higher than men - 674 over 635 in their overall Vehicle Satisfaction score.
After driving the Fiat 500 and 500 Cabriolet, I was ready to relegate it to the ranks of "chick car". Its high-style accents and accoutrements scream "feminine". But, now there is a Fiat a guy can be proud to drive - the Abarth model. Abarth Fiats have been high performance versions of Fiat car lines for decades since Austrian Karl Abarth began modifying them in the late '50s. This is America's chance to have the most up-to-date Abarth available.