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.
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:
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.
The 3rd generation Mitsubishi Outlander will be introduced in mid-2013 as a 2014 model year product. The new Outlander is based on carryover architecture, but has all new sheetmetal giving it a much more mainstream look. Where its predecessor has a very distinctive front end theme - admittedly controversial because of its "shark nose" style - the new Outlander goes decidedly mainstream. This is an example of Mitsu taking a very conservative approach and attempting to sell a style that no one will find controversial.
Mitsubishi has been on something of a downturn over the last few years, even more so than most of the automakers during this recession. Aging model lines and relatively little marketing have reduced the brand’s visibility over the years despite some exciting turbocharged and all wheel drive products, in stark contrast to Mitsubishi’s relatively high profile at the turn of the century due to extroverted products, catchy commercials, and creative financing.
Ed Kim got an exclusive interview and drive with Kenichiro Wada, the project manager for Mitsubishi’s innovative i-Miev electric car. Hear Wada-san talk about some of the car’s innovative features as well as his take on some of the infrastructure challenges that face pure electrics.