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.
The next generation Lincoln Navigator concept has been shown at the 2016 New York Auto Show and it is an absolute WOW. Like Lincoln did in 2015 when they stealthily introduced the Continental concept at New York, the Navigator concept was kept very quiet until its initial reveal. With this new Navigator, Lincoln takes a different tack towards elegance, sophistication and quietness - a Personal Santuary. The new Navigator adopts new Lincoln styling cues like the strongly trapezoidal grille opening, Lincoln logo mesh grille, headlamps accented by LED running lights. The front end is very strong looking. The rear appearance adopts Lincoln's horizontal full-width taillamp treatment.
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.
The 2016 Honda Pilot is now well-styled with modern and contemporary lines. Gone is the BOX shape of the previous vehicle and curvaceous styling that is now more the norm has been adopted. Honda contends that Pilot moves from traditional and rugged (translated UGLY) to modern and refined. We agree. The 2016 Honda Pilot is a very good looker. The key, says Honda, is to keep Pilot's capability and clothe it in a style that makes its buyer feel serene, athletic and smart.
The 2016 Ford Explorer marks the 25th anniversary of the vehicle line. When it launched as a 1991 model, the Explorer redefined what a sport utility vehicle should be. 7,000,000 sales later, Ford is launching a nicely updated product. When the 2016 Ford Explorer launches, most people won't be able to tell the difference from the present Explorer. While the vehicle's sheetmetal ahead of the A-Pillar is all new and the liftgate and taillamps are all new, the differences are subtle to the casual observer. So while the change for 2016 is major, its appearance change is minor.
Fun to drive can be defined an infinite number of ways. The sports car driver will say power and acceleration, braking and handling are the main contributors to fun to drive. There is also the element of sexy head-turning styling ringing the sports car driver's bell. The sport utility driver will add functionality to that equation. A smart fortwo driver may think its quirky styling, minuscule size (even with its funky transmission) add to the fun to drive experience.
The most fun to drive vehicles in AutoPacific's New Vehicle Satisfaction Research - those with 85 % or more of their drivers totally satisfied with its fun to drive characteristics include: