What better place to experience Toyota’s all-new RAV4 than in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California? Staging out of the Carmel Valley Ranch, Toyota gave journalists and analysts the chance to drive the all-new RAV4. As Toyota’s top-seller in 2017 with about 400,000 units sold, Toyota cannot afford to make a mistake that would damage its sales potential. The RAV4 started the XSUV (crossover SUV) category in 1996. The 2019 version is the fifth generation of RAV4.
TNGA-K Platform: From a product standpoint the all-new RAV4 is a significant upgrade to its predecessor. Riding on Toyota’s new TNGA-K (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform, the RAV4 rides and handles very well. The body is tight and the ride is quiet – at least [...]
Driving the new Cadillac XT4 on the excellent country roads around Seattle and Bainbridge Island revealed a vehicle that is well conceived and well put-together.
Let’s Talk About the Styling: Cadillac designers and engineers have developed a vehicle with outstanding proportions using an all new platform. They have pushed the wheels out to the corners of the vehicle so the stance of the XT4 is great. Some small XSUVs seem too narrow and too tall. The XT4 looks wide enough to have a very purposeful appearance.
The styling cues are pretty distinctive. Cadillac is known for unique “light pipe” daylight running lights. The XT4 goes the typical light pipe one better. An eyebrow flowing towards the grille from the vertical light pipe gives XT4 a hard-to-miss look. Carried over into the vertical taillamps, XT4 takes advantage of new LED lighting technology. While XT4 looks modern, it does not rely on an extremely fast windshield to [...]
The all new 2018 Hyundai Kona small crossover SUV (XSUV) has just been shown to the press in an event held, wait for it, on the Kona Coast of The Big Island of Hawaii. There were 23 or 24 Konas on hand for the journalists to drive around the island. So, this was a pretty big event for Hyundai Motor America (HMA).
In AutoPacific’s 2017 Small XSUV Consultancy, 38 XSUVs with a wheelbase of 110-inches or less are included. There were enough data to do complete analyses on that many individual vehicles. There are an additional seven all new small XSUVs on sale now but too new to have been included in the AutoPacific database. That makes 45 entries in the small XSUV category. Now comes the 2018 Hyundai Kona wading into the fray.
The 2018 Hyundai Accent looks good and doesn't look particularly downscale. Accent now has the signature Hyundai grille. Its profile is semi-fastback like the Sonata. The ride is good. Handling is better than many small cars. Ergonomics are excellent.
The all new VW Tiguan gives Volkswagen a much needed competitor in the hot compact crossover SUV market. Competing with the likes of the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape, Tiguan has to be outstanding to win in the consideration set including those vehicles. Is it good enough?
2017 Honda Civic Si brings enthusiast-oriented driving to the Honda Civic small car lineup. Exterior, interior, powertrain and chassis upgrades differentiate the Honda Civic Si from the rest of the Civic lineup.
Mid-Cycle Freshening of the 2018 Acura TLX substantially improves the appearance of the car and improves its competitiveness. Under the skin, TLX is basically the same, but the latest driver assistance safety features have been added.
Mazda is developing its vehicles to compete against luxury brands. This Mazda Premium strategy will ultimately improve Mazda's image with dealers and consumers. Well done, Mazda Premium products should achieve higher profits per vehicle.