Has the 2014 Auto Show Season been a bust so far? Well, with the exception of the all new Ford F-150, there has not been much to justify all the fabricated hoopla at either the North American International Auto Show in Detroit or the Chicago Auto Show. You can almost count the significant new news on one hand. In order of importance to the United States market and their manufacturers
We at AutoPacific have just completed a week's worth of driving the Thailand-built Mitsubishi Mirage. Now we know what drivers in a third world country experience when they drive locally assembled cars. And we don't like it much. Mirage is not Mitsubishi's best effort. At $15,990 for the car we drove, it seems a bit steep.
Only 37% of hybrid owners are extremely satisfied with power and acceleration compared with 40% of small car owners. This might be expected since these products are biased toward maximum fuel economy usually at the expense of spirited driving.
AutoPacific's Ideal Vehicle Awards for 2o13 are given to brands and vehicles that best meet the expectations of their buyers. The person driving the car does not want it to be bigger or more powerful or have better info/entertainment systems. Based on the results of over 52,000 respondents, the IVAs are owner-based awards that can serve to give car and truck buyers an idea of how well manufacturers have designed vehicles with their customers in mind.
The all new 2013 Honda Accord is Honda's most important vehicle EVER. That's right, EVER! It comes after lackluster reviews of the latest cost-reduced mind-numbing Civic. It enters the mid-size car product segment where the oldest high volume competitor was launched as a 2011 model in early 2010 (Hyundai Sonata) and each new model is more impressive than the one that came before it... Toyota Camry, Kia Optima, Volkswagen Passat, Nissan Altima, the coming-soon Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu and next year's Mazda6. Each new mid-size entry is better, more finessed, more technologically capable and available with a wider range of features than ever before. The question is "Did Honda bring their 'A Game' to the 2013 Accord, or is it another misstep like the Civic?"
Bring their "A Game"? Wow, did they! This Accord is a take-no-prisoners attempt by Honda to reclaim leadership in the premium mid-size car class. With this car, Honda appears to have its MOJO back!
Traditionally, the mid-size car class has had relatively bland styling. That changed with the launch of the 2011 Sonata in early 2010 where over half of the buyers indicated that exterior styling was extremely important in their selection of the car. Sonata's swoopy styling broke the mid-size car mold. The 2011 Kia Optima that followed the Sonata is strikingly handsome in its own EuroKorean way. Toyota stayed very conservative with its new 2012 entry and Honda is rumored to have continued its very conservative streak with the next generation Accord coming this fall. The 2013 Ford Fusion is another game changer in the mold of Sonata and Optima, but even with Fusion's advanced styling, Altima may have pushed the envelope the farthest.
The all new Elantra is the top ranked Compact Car in AutoPacific’s 2011 Ideal Vehicle Research. As the class winner, its owners indicate there is little they would change about the car with only a few notable exceptions. About 30% of Elantra owners want improved visibility (somewhat compromised by the swoopy styling of the new body). About 25% want more power and a softer ride. About 20% want more infotainment technology. Elantra owners most like the Elantra for its seat comfort, styling and exterior size. Elantra outpoints the second place Volkswagen Golf by a wide margin.
The Azera is the top ranked Large Car in AutoPacific’s 2011 Ideal Vehicle Research. Its owners indicate there is little they would change about their new car with a few notable exceptions. About 25% of the owners want more infotainment technology. About 20% want the Azera to be easier to get into and out of. About 30% would like a softer ride in their Azera. They most like the Azera’s seat comfort, tires and wheels and exterior size. The Azera wins its class by a wide margin over the second place Toyota Avalon.
The new V-Platform Nissan Versa is poised to be launched for the 2012 model year as the lowest price new car available in the USA. You wonder if a new car priced so low is a bad car? The answer is a resounding no.