After Kriss’ list of his Top 5 disappointments from the North American International Auto Show (Detroit 2016 to you and me), now it’s time for you to tell us – what do you think were the Top 5 disappointments?
Unlike Lexus, which changed only a few minor details when turning the LF-LC concept car into the LC500 production vehicle, Lincoln has watered down the cool and sexy Continental Concept from the New York Auto Show last year. That doesn’t mean the production version is ugly or dull, it’s still one of the best looking Lincolns of the last decade, but I can’t help feeling a bit let down by the final design. Maybe it just looks better in dark colors and the white of the press images doesn’t really help it, but you’d think the marketing folks would figure that out themselves, wouldn’t you?
Take for example the rear fenders: the Continental Concept had pronounced shoulders, giving it a bit of a rear-wheel drive look. The flared fenders have been flattened and straightened out in the production version, which makes the Continental looks less energetic and less powerful. It also seems like the C-pillar flows into the rear quarter more smoothly in the concept than in the final version. [Read more…]
Honda introduced the second generation Ridgeline mid-sized pick-up truck at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which is launched at the perfect moment as the US mid-sized pick-up segment is booming thanks to the rebirth of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, the new generation Toyota Tacoma and hopefully later this year a new Nissan Frontier (a.k.a. Navara or NP300 in other parts of the world). That would mean all entrants in this segment, which appeared to have been forgotten just a few years ago, will be less than 3 years old by the end of this year. And then there are rumors that Ford may re-enter the segment with a new Ranger (and Bronco!) as well, so exciting times indeed.
The first generation Honda Ridgeline stood out from the crowd both technically and aesthetically and hasn’t really been a huge sales success in North America, peaking at 50.000 US sales in 2006 but quickly dropping to 10.000-18.000 annual sales. But Honda clearly thought that the odd exterior design with the high rear side-panels must have been one of the main stumbling blocks, as the brand has opted for a more straightforward design, not to call it plain dull in a time when the competition is putting some flair into their mid-sized trucks. [Read more…]
The two Japanese luxury brands Lexus and Infiniti stole the show at the North American International Auto Show with sexy production versions of their new luxury sports coupes, and both stunned the audience by looking surprisingly similar to their concept versions. That’s always a good thing, because concept cars are usually sexy, futuristic and out-of-this-world, but then often the resulting production version is no more than a watered down, compromised and ordinary rehash with all the things that made the concept so sexy removed. Ask Subaru, they know all about this strategy.
None of that disappointment with these two, as both have a low, wide look and an aggressive appearance, the Lexus LC clearly even more so than the Infiniti Q60. Lexus has designed a wild looking, widebody coupe with angular lines, a mesh spindle grille, grey detailing around the triangular headlights, and droopy Prius-style rear lights. The Infiniti Q60 is less extreme, but not less sexy with its low grille and long, wide nose and a muscular shoulder line above the rear wheels, ending in a wide rear end. [Read more…]
Earlier today Chrysler revealed its crucial new model, the Pacifica minivan. “Wait, isn’t this the new Town&Country?” I hear you say? Yes, the name change is pretty surprising, given that the Town & Country and Voyager were pioneers of the segment and enjoy great name-recognition, but Chrysler’s logic is that they’ve become too synonymous with the old-style minivan and were tainted by the lackluster predecessor. Enter the “Pacifica” name, which last served on an upmarket minivan/crossover model, sort of like the Mercedes-Benz R-Class, that Chrysler retired in 2008 after only five years of sales. Such a name change is not unprecedented, but only time will tell if the new name will stick (as it did when Ford replaced the Escort with the Focus) or whether the carmaker will have a change of heart (as Ford had when it replaced the Taurus with the Five Hundred, only to change the name back a few years later). [Read more…]