Five years ago, Lincoln was a brand that seemed to be on its last legs. The products felt uninspired and no one seemed to know why Ford was still pouring money into its last premium brand. Despite that, Ford recommitted to the brand, appointing Kumar Galhotra as president of Lincoln and the resurgence began. That continues under current Lincoln president Joy Falotico with this week’s reveal of the 2020 Corsair. Lincoln has fleshed out its SUV lineup with new or revamped products from bottom to top, leaving the MKZ and MKT for as long as they last as the only remnants of the old product lineup.(more…)
The first-phase of the ground up revamp of the entire Volvo product portfolio is nearing completion. Like most brands, Volvo has shifted heavily toward utility vehicles such as the midsize and large XC60 and XC90 as well as the slightly higher riding car variants like the V90 Cross-country. This year Volvo finally has an entry in the fast growing compact utility segment as well with the new XC40 and it has a lot to recommend it.
Over the history of the automobile, we’ve come up with a wide variety of descriptors that immediately give us a pretty solid idea of the type of vehicle being discussed. When we here pickup, station wagon or minivan, we largely know what to expect. But ever since marketers coined the term crossover utility vehicle sometime probably in the early 1990s, it has come to encompass such a broad array of designs so as to become essentially meaningless. A current prime example of that is the 2018 Toyota C-HR.
Twelve years ago when I first started writing professionally about cars, the very first review I ever wrote for AutoblogGreen was a fuel cell electric car, the Ford Focus FCV. In the years since I’ve had the opportunity to drive a number of different concept, prototype and production fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) from Ford, GM, Honda and Toyota. While the technology has absolutely advanced over that time, all of them have had some compromises. Until now that is. Aside from the obviously limited network of hydrogen filling stations, the 2019 Hyundai Nexo felt like the most finished fuel cell vehicle yet.
If someone were to ask which automaker offers more electric vehicle nameplates in America than any other, your first instinct would probably be Tesla. But note the qualifier in the question – nameplates. Tesla currently only has three, the Model S, X and 3. Within the next few months, Hyundai Motor Group will offer five across its Hyundai and Kia brands. The Ioniq electric and Kia Soul EV have already been on sale for some time. The Hyundai Nexo arrives in a few weeks and electric versions of the Hyundai Kona and Kia Niro crossovers will be here soon.
Tesla has won. Not in the sense that the Silicon Valley electric vehicle maker has taken over the industry because they haven’t and probably won’t. But in the sense that the ultimate goal of the founders was to push the industry to electrification. Regardless of whether Tesla’s share price goes to $4,000 or zero, virtually every major automaker is or will soon be selling very compelling zero emissions vehicles. Joining the party this week is Audi with its new e-Tron quattro which got its global reveal today in San Francisco.
Earlier this decade, Ford had to make some tough decisions about the future of the Lincoln brand. Over at least the past ten years, the entire brand has consistently been outsold by most of the Ford nameplates including Mustang. The powers that be in Dearborn decided not abandon the brand, but to focus on a theme of quiet luxury rather than taking on the German heavyweights directly. The latest weapon in Lincoln’s battle to bring serenity to the world is the refreshed and rebranded 2109 Nautilus.
Since the turn of the current century, Cadillac has struggled mightily to transform its brand image from a purveyor of old-school American land barges to a creator of engaging drivers cars. In that time, particularly the last half decade, GM’s premium brand has created some excellent cars. Unfortunately, the market is increasingly disinterested in sedans. In response, Cadillac is expanding its crossover utility lineup, slotting in the compact XT4 at the leading edge of the spear. Is it sharp enough to win over customers?
From time to time, certain vehicles come along that attain an iconic status to such a degree that not only does the model stay in production for decades, but even the fundamentals of the basic design are retained even as the mechanicals evolve. The Porsche 911, the Volkswagen Beetle, the Mini and of course the Jeep Wrangler. For 2018, the Wrangler with its updated internal code of JL is all-new and yet it remains as ever a direct descendent of the utility vehicles utilized by the U.S. Army beginning in 1941.
During my last jaunt to the west coast, I took another drive up to Petaluma and finally met Megan Morrone in person as we went for a drive in the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell for the New Screen Savers episode 172