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 2013 New York International Auto Show was full of important reveals this year… renewed crossovers – Toyota Highlander, Acura MDX, an all new Range Rover Sport, the new BMW 335GT, freshened Dodge Durango, the all new Cadillac CTS and many more. The most important, however, were the Audi A3 and the Jeep Cherokee. Why? Both vehicles are very important to their brands and have the potential to generate substantial sales.
Audi Takes the Safe Route with A3: The 2015 Audi A3 really was not at the New York Auto Show. The A3 will be officially introduced at the Shanghai Auto Show in late April 2013, but there was a reveal for about 120 journalists the evening before the first press day. It will be launched in the USA in early 2014.
No Longer a LARGE CAR - Now Avalon is a Premium Mid-Size Car The 4th generation car is slightly smaller with much more expressive styling. It goes a long way in changing the perception of the vehicle. Based on the Camry platform, the Avalon shares much under the skin with the Camry and Lexus ES350. The Avalon is the product of Toyota's Calty Design Research in Newport Beach, CA and the huge and growing Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is, of course, assembled in Georgetown, KY.
During a brief drive from Hollywood to Malibu and back through the Hollywood Hills to Sunset Boulevard, the 2013 Ford C-Max showed what a small hybrid-powered people mover could be. Ford, of course, touted the clear advantages of the C-Max over its designated competitor the Prius V. C-Max has 50 more horsepower. C-Max has 7-miles per gallon better fuel economy through its third generation hybrid powertrain. And, C-Max is priced $1,300 lower than the Prius V. While earlier Ford hybrids had used a similar hybrid system as Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive, Ford was clear to state that the C-Max lithium-ion batteries are an in-house development as is the all new CVT (continuously variable transmission).
Owners of the 2012 Scion tC give the car top ratings in thirteen of forty-eight characteristics included in AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award research. The tC has won the VSA in five of the past six years, an incredibly impressive result.
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.
A few weeks ago I ventured to the middle of no where in Washington to feast on all of the new Camry variants for the 2012 model year. Did Toyota churn up a revolution or an evolution? With the Camry tattered and torn during the past few years I was excited to see what Toyota had done to turn the page on the next chapter for the Camry.
If you think back, GM developed the 2 Mode Hybrid system in collaboration with BMW and Daimler-Chrysler. Chrysler had about a two month run of Durango and Aspen hybrids. If you see one on the road you might consider it to be an exotic due to how rare it is. BMW has a hybrid system in their X6, but it is for performance more than fuel economy. Daimler has a RWD hybrid system in the Mercedes-Benz S Class, but the fuel economy hasn’t been anything to make headlines with. While not being much of a success for any party involved in that collaboration, one GM engineer described the 2 Mode hybrid system to me as a [...]