AD #1357 – Chevy Trax to U.S., All New Hyundai Sonata, BMW Reveals X5 eDrive

April 16th, 2014 at 12:03pm

Runtime: 6:51

- Chevy Trax to U.S.
- 2015 MINI Countryman
- All New Hyundai Sonata
- BMW X5 eDrive
- Refreshed Toyota Camry
- Refreshed Infiniti QX80 Still Ugly
- Infiniti Stretches Q70

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily. Well today we’re in a New York Auto Show state of mind.

CHEVY TRAX TO US
Chevrolet is going to start selling the Trax crossover in the U.S. market. This vehicle has been on sale elsewhere in the world for a number of years. It will be sold in the U.S. with a 138 horsepower,1.4 liter turbocharged engine with a 6-speed automatic and will have all-wheel drive as an option. Inside it has a 7-inch touch screen and a GPS enabled navigation app is offered. The Trax is built off the same platform as the Chevrolet Sonic and is directly related to the Buick Encore and Opel Mokka. And the fact that Chevy is selling this car makes me wonder how long it will take Ford to decide to bring the EcoSport to the American market.

2015 MINI COUNTRYMAN
MINI revealed the all-new Countryman, which is now the second best selling model in the company’s line-up in the U.S. The 2015 version sports a refreshed design for both the exterior and interior. Not many details about the powertrain were revealed other than the 208 horsepower engine for the John Cooper Works model and all engines come standard with a six-speed manual, or an optional six-speed automatic. The 2015 model is built by Magna Steyr in Austria and goes on sale this summer in the U.S.

ALL NEW HYUNDAI SONATA
We showed you a teaser image of Hyundai’s all-new Sonata back in early March and now the covers have been pulled back on the rest of the car. The styling is a bit more conservative than the current model, but it has a more upscale look to it. It should also have a more upscale ride due to more high-strength steel used in the platform and a revised suspension setup that was tested at Hyundai’s proving grounds in California. Inside you’ll notice an 8-inch navigation screen, more soft-touch materials and improved ergonomics. Power still comes from a pair of 4-cylinders. A 2.4L unit and a 2.0L turbocharged engine. Both are mated to 6-speed automatics. The 2015 Sonata will be built at the automaker’s plant in Alabama and will go on sale early this summer.

BMW X5 eDRIVE
BMW unofficially kicked off the New York Auto Show at its New Jersey North American headquarters yesterday by giving journalists an early look — and drive — of its new concept vehicle — the X5 Plug-in Hybrid Electric. The car is your basic BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle only this one comes equipped with a 245 horsepower 4-cylinder turbocharged ICE combined with a 70-kilowatt electric motor. That motor, and the engineering that surrounds it, allows all-electric driving for a total of about 20 miles. But this is no golf cart because once you put the car into what they call “max e-drive,” you can even reach speeds as high as 75 miles per hour. It’s this kind of combination that BMW believes is the next logical step in its Efficient Dynamics strategy.

“Well basically we introduced the i3 already and we will soon see the i8 which mainly focus on electrical driving so the philosophy here is to have that BMW i technology transferred into the existing Series models, so the X5 here is a good example of how we could do that.” Gerhard Thiel, Project Leader, BMW X5 Hybrid Concept.

Even though after driving the prototype it seemed ready for the showroom, BMW went out of its way to remind us it’s still just a concept that they’re working on and we wouldn’t see the powertrain in 2014…but leaving open the possibility it may not be too far away.

Coming up next, a look at the the latest New York news from Infiniti and Toyota.

REFRESHED CAMRY
The Toyota Camry is still the best selling passenger car in the U.S., but other competitors are starting to breathe down its neck. And so Toyota isn’t taking any chances. Even though it’s early in its product cycle, Toyota changed all the sheetmetal on the car, all but the roof that is. It will likely meet the Insurance Institute’s small overlap crash test and the body has more torsional rigidity. As you can see, the car now has more prominent character lines and a more aggressive look. Inside it has additional soft touch materials and 30% more carpet insulation for a quieter ride.

REFRESHED QX80 STILL UGLY
Infiniti is also showing off refreshed versions of its large vehicles, the QX80 SUV and Q70 sedan. Lets start with the QX80, which has got to have one of the ugliest front ends in the industry and even though its been tweaked for 2015 it doesn’t look much better. It also gets LED lighting around, new interior appointments and a new Limited package, which offers a host of premium upgrades.

INFINITI STRETCHES Q70
Now lets look at the Q70. Like the QX80 the sedan gets new front and rear fascias. But the big news is that Infiniti will now offer a long wheelbase version as well. It’s nearly 6 inches longer and can now boast best-in-class rear seat leg room. Rear passengers also get heated seats, reading lights and a 12 volt outlet. Look for both vehicles in Infiniti dealerships this fall.

And those are some of the highlights from the New York show, but don’t forget that tomorrow night’s Autoline After Hours will have Gary Vasilash hosting from New York, asking your questions to a host of automotive executives.

But that wraps up today’s report, thanks for watching and please join us again tomorrow.

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79 Comments to “AD #1357 – Chevy Trax to U.S., All New Hyundai Sonata, BMW Reveals X5 eDrive”

  1. Jon M Says:

    The quickest, most cost-effective way for Infiniti to improve the look of the front of the QX80 would be to park between a Nissan Juke and a Jeep Cherokee. You might still call the Infiniti ugly, but at least something much uglier surrounds it.

  2. Bradley Says:

    What is the weight of the Chevy Trax?

    I really wish GM would have used the same name for the car in all markets. I know GM isn’t the only one that uses different names in different markets, but I don’t see the value. Wouldn’t it build more of a global brand to allow owners of the same car to more easily identify each other online?

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    Or a permanent bug screen as standard equipment.

  4. Bradley Says:

    Camry…

    I like the styling.

  5. alex wellington Says:

    The pic of the new Camry in this video looked much better than the pic I saw in Autonews, which I commented on in yesterday’s show. This one looks smoother, and not as much of a Lexus Spindle Grille Clone. I will wait to see a full review of the refresh. Maybe it will work.

    Before the Chevy Trax was unveiled, the Buick Encore was not doing bad in sales. Now, however, who will be surprised if wise (or not) customers get the Chevy instead? The story of my life. Or, more accurately, GM’s life, to cannibalize one product from one division with a product from another. As if there was one iota of difference between 90s and 2000s Oldsmobiles (RIP), Buicks (Future RIP?), CHevys or Pontiacs (RIP)

  6. T. Bejma Says:

    #2

    Encore is 3190# so I would imagine a couple hundred pounds less due to less content.

  7. Jon Says:

    Who at autoline is covering the auto show in china this month?

  8. alex wellington Says:

    2 I fully agree, just think of the tens or hundreds of millions GM has to waste in advertising to make people know what the hell is a Trax, an Encore, an Opel or a Vauxhall, and many more if you include the Deceased (no surprise here!) Pontiac, Saturn, Oldsmobile, Buick (Hey! Ok.. soon to be deceased) etc.

  9. marshy Says:

    Bradley – from the GM Canada website:
    (kg/lbs)

    FWD Manual: 1,363 / 3,005
    FWD Automatic: 1,382 / 3,047
    AWD Automatic: 1,476 / 3,254

  10. marshy Says:

    @Bradley re the name:

    My guess changing from Tracker to Trax is an attempt to dis-associate it from the “good old days” of the Geo Tracker….

  11. aliisdad Says:

    I don’t think the QX80 is that bad.. In fact, it is actually kind of “beautiful” when I consider some of those Lexus spindle grill designs…
    The Camry update was just right in that it matured the design some without really changing the look of the original design.. That said, I have always thought Camry designs have seldom looked as good as their competition… We had a Camry a few years ago, and I remembered the first time I washed it in the driveway, and I thought, “Why didn’t Toyota make a better looking car since it would take the same amount of steel, rubber, glass, etc. to make a nice looking one???” I will say the it was a good car and the V6 was nice in it, though…

  12. alex wellington Says:

    11 Agree. However, the 1992-96 Camrys looked really great, the 97-01 or so looked OK, then they started messing with the grilles and made them look like fish caught near a Nuke plant with a leak. This one is a big improvement in the grille. They should repair the Avalon double grille next, which looks even more like a radioactive fish with two different mouths one on top of the other.

  13. Ron Paris Says:

    So let me get this straight, the QX80 had got one of the ugliest front ends in the industry, but the Refreshed Camry with its Darth Vader front end that Ford just jettisoned from the Focus is “a more aggressive look”? Hmmm..

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    Now the Camry looks like the Corolla, they both have that bass mouth fascia that Mazda first introduced.

  15. aliisdad Says:

    #12.. Yes, you are right, and I was actually thinking that, but I couldn’t really remember where it went “wrong”.. Ours was a 2002, and it did look exactly as you described! Thanks

  16. alex wellington Says:

    Camrys sell, in the US alone, 400k-450k copies a year, even in a short 4-year run they sell almost 1.7 million, and probably over 2 million world-wide.

    If Toyota had the brains to go to any half-decent Italian design studio, and even if it gave them 10 million bucks for a better design, spread over 2 million vehicles, that’s a mere $5 a vehicle, but would bring it added profits of $1,000s per vehicle as well, as it would become far more desirable. The success of the new Fusion, which sells at really high transaction prices, proves that. But some managers in Japan (Subaru is another example) are really stubborn and don’t understand that we have different aesthetics, we don’t think Sumo Wrestlers are elegant…

  17. alex wellington Says:

    13 IMHO no Infiniti sedan looks half as good as it ought to, especially being a luxury brand. Acuras also have looked rather poor (for an alleged luxury vehicle) for a decade now.

    All Infinitis tend to have too many unnecessary twists and bends that do not seem to accomplish a damned thing. Form should follow Function, Serious Designs are Expensive-looking Designs.

  18. Ed Says:

    The infinity in person looks like a Dr Seuss vehicle , they always make me smile, in a bad way! An now GM is pressing the no liability issue in the bankruptcy court, I think they may do well but not in the court of public opinion. Ed

  19. alex wellington Says:

    X5 plug-in Hybrid is a really silly idea. X5′s natural powerplant is the DIESEL. X5s that waste most of their time driving around town (and hence profiting from the hybrid plug-in) are used improperly.

    Many models, esp plug-ins and pure EVS, from many makers, would not exist without all kinds of credits, quotas and regulations that make them necessary so the makers can sometimes sell their cars at all in some important states (CA especially).

  20. cwolf Says:

    The Encore drives and rides very well. The interior was also quite attractive. The 1.4L I drove was lackluster, at best, and should not have been considered as a base. I drove only about 30 miles and noticed the fuel gauge had moved. I think the poor mpg’s reported are accurate.

    The new Camry will do well, as usual. However, I think the front end reminds me of a feeding Manta Ray!;….Fugly IMO

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    19,
    “X5s that waste most of their time driving around town (and hence profiting from the hybrid plug-in) are used improperly.”

    They may be used improperly, but that’s how most X5′s, and pretty much all SUV’s are used, running around town with one or two people, hauling almost nothing.

  22. Bradley Says:

    #6 #9
    Thanks!

    #10
    Yea, I see that Tracker is used in Russia. The Tracker name is probably bruised in the North America. I like Chevy Mokka. Which makes the name consistent with the product’s origins.

    #8
    Yes, GM does self imposed competition the best.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    22,
    It looks like Trax is competing with itself in Europe too. It is sold as Opel Mokka in the big markets, like Germany and France and, for now, is also sold as Chevy Trax. The Chevy brand leaving Europe will help, though.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    From the photos, I think the Camry front end is an improvement, but they could do so much better, as demonstrated by Fusion and Accord. Those two have gone in totally different directions, but both with very good styling results.

    I agree, AW, that Toyota should hire some outsiders. They just don’t seem to have the styling expertise in-house. Lexus could use some help too.

  25. Phil Says:

    Hi John,

    re: Chevy Trax

    I remember hearing on Autoline a couple of years ago, when the Trax first came to Canada but not the U.S., that the reason given by Mark Reuss as to why it wasn’t going to be sold in the US. was that it wasn’t of sufficiently quality – so what happened? Did they improve the quality of the Trax that much or did GM relax its standards? Or was the reason Mr Reuss gave a load of baloney in the first place?

    Thanks,

    Phil

  26. T. Bejma Says:

    #20

    Lot of talk out there about the Trifecta tune for the Encore. That’s the same company that does the tune for my Cruze 1.4L Turbo and I have driven a car with the improvements and it is quite impressive cwolf (not Verano Turbo good, but still will put a smile on your face).

    Hard to believe the mileage is that bad. My Cruze has gotten 33 mpg mixed city/hwy over it’s 18,000 mile life and some 37 mpg stretches on the highway and we all know what a pig the Cruze is.

  27. alex wellington Says:

    20, 26 the Encore is much taller than the Cruze or the Verano and should get much worse MPG at high speed on the Highway. (In addition it is heavier so it will also get worse city MPG)

    But these are not accurate measurements, one should do it manually, zero the trip odometer when you fill the tank next, to the same point always (say when it makes a “click” sound) and then easily calc the MPG by dividing the odometer reading by the gallons to fill to the click next time. And note the kind of driving between fillups (% pure city, % pure highway, % country roads at 40-50 MPH which would be far better than HWY, etc)

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    They should put the diesel from the Cruze in the Encore. That would be a good combination.

  29. cwolf Says:

    The Encore felt a bit too heavy for the 1.4L, esp. from a standstill. It felt sufficient once you got it rolling, yet seemed lacking when passing. For such a small thing, it still rides like a Buick should.

  30. alex wellington Says:

    #29 No Buick rides as a Buick should. Especially if they ride like Buicks of 20 and 30 years ago, with ultra-light steering and no feeling of safety that you are going straight as an arrow, handle as if on rails, etc.

    Fortunately all current Buicks are thinly disguised German Opels, and I hope they did not mess with their adequate (but not Mercedes, Audi and sure not BMW-perfect) rides and handling.

  31. T. Bejma Says:

    #29

    Exactly how the Cruze feels cwolf. Even with the tune, it is a dog until you get up around 3500 rpm.

  32. T. Bejma Says:

    LaCrosse, Verano and Enclave are not Opels. In fact the only Opels are the Regal (Insignia) and the Encore (Mokka).

  33. Earl Says:

    #2)….GM using the same on vehicles for all markets…they did that on a car known in North America and called it a Nova. In South America ‘Nova’ was not an appropriate name. However, I still like names instead initials
    #14….I like your term ‘bass mouth facia’ to describe the grille on the Corolla and now the Camry. Is there a fish specie that would better describe the grille on Lexus brand?
    To me a grille needs some chrome,not black plastic.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    According to CR’s data, the Encore weighs about 3300 pounds, about 200 pounds more than a Cruze.

    They should be able to bump up the boost of that 1.4 turbo a little, and still use regular gas. The Fiat 1.4 turbo in the Dart is 160 hp, while the GM one is only 138 hp. Maybe they are just waiting for sales of the Encore to slow down, after which they will offer a bigger engine to re-start sales.

  35. alex wellington Says:

    As I will need to fill my tank this weekend, I checked gas prices in my area (the 89 midgrade specified by my manual) and they were almost all above $4.00! (within a 5 mile radius from my place). I guess it is the annual fuel changeover thing for the summer all over again, and the start of the driving season. I wonder what it will be on Mem Day Weekend. $5?

    It bugs me, and I only fill it once a month if I have no long trips.

  36. RumNCoke Says:

    Way to go, John. Call it like it is. That QX80 is so ugly, I’ve given it a new adjective – it’s AZTEK ugly.

    Methinks you might have been a little kinder if it was, say, a Hyundai!

  37. T. Bejma Says:

    #34

    Kit, the 1.4L has a lot of potential to increase boost. There are several 12 second quarter mile Sonic’s out there on the web. I think that they purposely keep it a little lower to increase reliability and longevity. Any increase in boost will hit the mpg unfavorably as well. The turbo on this engine is also very small to reduce lag.

  38. alex wellington Says:

    36 Hyundai-Kia. I am not interested in any of their models, but was I the only one who noticed how great the new Minivan (I think it was the Kia Sedona) in the photo I saw yesterday? Maybe it was the angle, but it looked surprisingly good, agile, had “flair”, whatever. No Chryslers or Dodge Minivans ever looked so good. It looked better even than the Honda Odyssey that has ruled this segment since its first full size model (now on its third).

    I believe Hyundai-Kia was an outfit that did what I suggested above, went to the Italian studios and for a few million bucks got attractive designs for many of their models. I would not be at all surprised if that new Sedona was designed by Pininfarina or Giugaro or…

  39. Drew Says:

    Alex… filling the tank to the 1st shut-off click does not guarantee a consistent fill level as you still cannot control an external variable – the pump’s flow speed. And the same pump at the same fuel station can have a different flow speed depending if more pumps are in use one day, and fewer the next.

  40. alex wellington Says:

    From Autoblog: “…When the Trax arrives in the US market at some unspecified future date (probably early 2015), it will have a fair amount in common with the Encore, with which it shares a platform.

    Underhood, the same 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder will send power to either the front or to all four wheels..

    In the cabin, the Encore and the Trax share identical measurements..

    Not surprisingly, the Chevy’s cabin materials don’t look quite as nice as its tri-shielded cousin, although this sort of difference between Chevy and Buick is to be expected….”

    So let me understand here. The Encore and the Trax share the same platform, have identical engines, and identical exterior and interior measurements! Other than the cheaper materials in the Trax, where is the product differentiation that will allow anybody to say that they are not clones?

    Other companies use the same platform for multiple products, even the BMW 7 series platform is used for the Rolls Royce Ghost, but almost everything in the Ghost, even the Engines and HP, are different from the 7, even the L version. Similarly for its ride, and of course the interior room AND fittings.

    Speaking of BMWs and my earlier comment on the X5 and Kit’s reply:

    For many years, BMW offered station wagons, quite attractive looking, for the 5 and 3 series, and those could have been alternatives to the X3 and X5 for rational buyers with half a brain who do not need any off road capability. These wagons were also available with 4WD/AWD.

    So why does everybody prefer the X5 and X3 instead of the Wagons? It is not that they are dumb or math illiterate. In fact, the wagons, being much smaller vehicles, were priced just as expensively, or even more expensively, than their larger cousins the crossovers. This explains it!

  41. alex wellington Says:

    39 Can you calculate what difference does that make? I say it is totally insificant for our purposes. I have kept detailed, total records of all my fillings in all my vehicles since 1984, and have topped the fuel to the click every time (almost), but even when I put slightly more or less than the right amount one time, the MPG will go a tiny bit up or down, BUT it will compensate itself the next time! (ie, if I take the total of the two fillups, I will have a fairly accurate read, and sure far more accurate than the optimistic and inaccurate trip computers!)

  42. T. Bejma Says:

    Trax and Encore are clones the way the Escape and Lincoln MKC, the Honda Civic and the Acura ILX, the Fusion and MKZ, Silverado and Sierra, etc., etc. are clones.

    Both the Encore and the Trax are already tooled and being sold around the globe, are in two different price brackets and would rarely be cross shopped. What is the problem?

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    38,
    I thought the new Sedona looked pretty good too. I’d think they’d need to price it substantially below the Odyssey and Sienna for it to sell well, even though it looks much better than the Odyssey. OK, some people like the looks of the Odyssey, but I’m not one of them, at least I don’t like the way it looks from the side.

    It’s unfortunate that no one except Mazda will sell a real minivan in the U.S. any more, but I guess its understandable, given that the “only game in town” Mazda 5 isn’t selling very well.

  44. Drew Says:

    Alex, the difference depends on your fuel tank size and sample rate. A slower pump is more likely to click off later, resulting in a higher percentage delta for a small fuel tank than a largee fuel tank. And larger sample sizes tend to neutralize the effects of pump, traffic, and temperature variability.

    So, the best method is to run multiple samples during a time of relatively consistent temperatures and drive routes.

    In over 4 decades of driving, I find I can extract the best fuel economy when I avoid A/C and avoid the defrost modes, when tire pressure is not low, and when I use drive routes that avoid stops and permit consistent 45-60 MPH speeds. I also no longer race to the red light. The resultant fuel ecconomy for either the Vanden Plas or the Grand Marquis is within 15% of the fuel economy of our compact 4-cylinder rice burner. Why? Those large V8 egnines are hardly turning any RPM.

  45. Drew Says:

    42. – Don’t look now, but the Z and Fusion (and C and Escape) share nothing on the outside and nothing on the inside. Greasy bits are shared, but this is a common industry practice (Lexus and Toyota).

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    39, 41,
    When I full up with gas and check mileage, I always fill it as full as I can get it. Yes, I know I’m no supposed to do that, but I think I probably get better mpg checks, and I definitely reduce number of gas stops I need to make. If I get an extra gallon the the Prius, that’s almost 50 miles.

    In the end, the mpg that I trust, is a total of multiple tanks over many miles. I know that I got 46,xx (I forget the xx) mpg for the first ~10K miles on my Prius, with a combination of everything from short, low speed trips, to “perfect conditions” of moderate, steady speed, to 75+ on the interstate. That, to me, is meaningful gas mileage data.

    The readout gives me an idea of “how I’m doing now,” but from my experience, those readouts are always optimistic. The car companies know that people will brag about the mileage they see on the readout, so they make it a few percent high to make the bragging sound better, but short of making the readouts totally bogus.

  47. T. Bejma Says:

    #45

    Exactly and neither do the Trax and Encore except for the dimensions (“measurements”) as was stated. That was the point of the comment.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    45, The Ford/Lincoln near twins are “more different” than the Trax/Encore will be, but the price premium for the Lincolns is much greater than it is likely to be for the Encore over the Trax.

    Some Lexus models, like the ES, are nearly identical to Toyota models, but some, like the LS and GS are not. To me, the ES, and all of today’s Lincolns are decidedly bad deals, but not everyone see things that way. I see an ES in my condo parking lot every day.

  49. shan Says:

    I wonder what the base price will be for the Chevy Trax? Something tells me they will mark it up to almost 25k, which would be absolutely absurd give its off the Sonic platform.

  50. T. Bejma Says:

    #49

    Based on the price paid in Canada it should start around $17K.

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    49,
    The base price of the Encore is 24 something, so I’d expect the Trax to be 20 or so.

    If I wanted a smallish, tall wagon, I’d probably check out the X1. It starts at about $31K, and you can even get it with RWD. Most Encores on dealers lots are probably over $30K.

  52. Chuck @ GM Says:

    The key to a consistent fill is be consistent. Generally a 3 click fill is more consistent than a 1 click fill in the short term. But over time the differences of a 1 click will average to insignificance. Unless you have a teeny weeny tank, aka Volt, the differences don’t amount to all that anyway, especially high teen gallons or more. You’ll get the pretty close to the same.

  53. T. Bejma Says:

    Pretty interesting data, not just how much is made in America…

    http://www.american.edu/kogod/autoindex/2014.cfm

  54. Drew Says:

    46 Kit, I do the exact same thing (top off completely to minimize fuel stops). I would bounce cars with softer springs to get a ouple of more clicks, but today’s cars don’t have much static bounce (unless I risk denting the top of the quarter panel). It drives my wife nuts.

  55. Michael Western Says:

    #1 – Great comment. I think the Nissan Juke is so ugly they should have changed one letter in the name and called it either the “Puke” or the “Joke”. The Nissan Joke sounds about right.

  56. T. Bejma Says:

    Off Topic

    HtG – What’s the story with the Chromebook 2?

  57. HtG Says:

    55 I’d like to know the story myself, TB. It’s priced about $50 above a cheap laptop PC like an Asus, yet has no optical drive and is smaller. The Chromebook 2 uses a Samsung 8 core chip rather than an Intel’s. It’s a very tough call for a consumer. I see the bigger story as Intel ferociously trying to move into mobile and IoT, even using something they call ‘contra flow’ to give away processors. Intel dropped almost a Billion last quarter on mobile(see me shivering?). I’ll have to get my hands on the 2, to see if it’s more than incrementally improved over what’s already available. Good time to be a consumer, just like in autos.

  58. pedro fernandez Says:

    That geek auto “expert” from CR says in a report from the NY auto show that only “4″ people out there follow the Camry, then how does he explain it’s # 1 standing in sales for many years now?

  59. HtG Says:

    Toyota was saying that their customers want style now, beyond the traditional strengths. I’ll be very interested to see the Camry, also the Sonata. The pics of the Sonata interior looked pretty good to me.

  60. pedro fernandez Says:

    As Dirty Harry once said: “That’s a hell of a price to pay for being stylish”

  61. Kit Gerhart Says:

    57, He could be mostly right in that people don’t “follow” the Camry, they just buy it for its reputation, and its virtues as a transportation appliance.

  62. pedro fernandez Says:

    I can understand them not being “enthusiasts” per se, but people who follow cars certainly follow the top sellers in the segment including this car.

  63. cwolf Says:

    @ TB: O.K, my friend, now that I’m tired of painting allow me to convey my day experience driving the turbo Verono.
    Though content with first choosing the “convenience group pkg.”, I found the many included options in the “turbo pkg” just shy of overwhelming. Sure the audio system was fantastic for the short time used, but my only focus was on the difference in performance, thus none of the toys were really explored. I did find the lane departure and forward collision alert a useful tool that I would like to have , but not a necessity for me.
    I believe I drove maybe 30-40 miles through area towns and noticed no real differences between the turbo and the 2.4L’s I have been driving in a conservative manner. As I recall, both cars mpg’s were in the low 20′s.
    The real notable difference in the turbo was when I hit the gas between stop lights. For sure, this car had oodles of power down low which put a nicely formed smile, not only on my face, but my wifes as well! I’m not sure if I was expecting too much, but I thought the steering would have been a little more exact in the turbo, but it wasn’t. Still it handled just fine for me.
    I bet I spent another hour or so on the back roads. When taking curves up to 58 mph and traveling over the many swells and slight hills, I’m almost certain the turbo suspension was somewhat stiffer, but well dampened. The car really hugged the road at speeds greater than I was willing to go.
    I also put another 60+ miles on the turnpike. I don’t care what speed one travels at,..this car rides like a dream for a mid-size and is almost scarry quiet! This is where I began to appreciate these warning systems! While booking down the highway at 78, I decided to pass a few cars just to exercize the turbo. Hells-bells, boy, it was so quiet inside, I didn’t notice I was going 108 mph…PDQ, too!!! The given mpg’s on the pike were 28-31.4 mpg. Not bad considering the abuse.
    All things combined, I found this car to give me the luxury ride I desire, yet has some balls when ya need’em.
    The wife took the car the rest of the day. She called 3 times; Once to listen to the added rumble of the exhaust as she hit the gas at a stop light. Another call was to tell me she couldn’t believe she was going 90 in a 70 and a third time to ask if I was serious about getting a turbo. When she got home, she asked if this was to be my work car or OUR car. Can you believe the nerve of this girl? She then asked if I still had the 5.0 Stang on my short list.
    TB, all I can say is that for 59 yr. old kid, who prefers a nice ride, the turbo Verono provides that and a lil’ juice to youth within.

  64. HtG Says:

    Cool review, cwolf

  65. T. Bejma Says:

    I agree with HtG – cool.

    Man, I wish that engine came in the Cruze!!

  66. alex wellington Says:

    57 Value priced, cheaper spare parts than the Accord, discounts, but above all, FLEET sales.

    The Accord has been the number one in this segment if you look at Retail Only.

    The Altima, BTW, has sold more units than the Camry for several months already. But Toyota has deeper pockets and can afford to sell more of them to fleets, and put more $ on the hoods.

    59 I don’t remember when/where he may have said it, but in any case, he is dead wrong. There price of being stylish is next to zero. John Mc Elroy, who worked for automakers and knows the business, has said so himself once, he wondered why makers produce ugly vehicles, when it does NOT cost any more money to design them to be better looking.

    Also, re the clone-no clone business, just because the utterly failed Lincoln is doing it, does it mean that everybody else should follow their failed example?

  67. alex wellington Says:

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/vellum-venom-vignette-2015-camry-regression-analysis/#more-800242

    TTAC actually hates the redesigned Camry more than the original deal?

    As for the “new” Hyundai Son-of-an-ata,

    Yaaaaawwwwwnnnn….

  68. alex wellington Says:

    ” Kit Gerhart Says:
    April 16th, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    If I wanted a smallish, tall wagon, I’d probably check out the X1. It starts at about $31K, and you can even get it with RWD. Most Encores on dealers lots are probably over $30K.”

    Wow! And the X1 is a far larger, far more elegant, and far more luxurious vehicle than any Encore. And never mind about handling and performance, it is as any BMW should be, AND that is also as any other car should be!

    It seems that unrealistic pricing (or pricing that anticipates unavoidable placing of $5,000( or $25,000+, for the ELR) on the hood to move the monster inventories, is an epidemic at GM!

  69. alex wellington Says:

    I can’t believe what Dodge did to its successful and well-designed Charger.

    Instead of leaving alone what works, the suicidal designers at Dodge messed with it and made it look like the failed, stupid, far cheaper, DART!

    “The Lord makes fools of those he wants to perish”, said the great Euripides in one of his tragedies… (from memory)

  70. alex wellington Says:

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/too-big-to-fail-too-confused-to-operate-analysis-of-619-pages-of-cobalt-engineering-documents-w-full-text/#more-799138

  71. Brett Says:

    You seem fond of portraying your subjective opinion as gospel…

    The new front end on the Charger isn’t bad, it is just doesn’t integrate that well with the rest of the styling language applied to the car.

    The old front and was pretty good, but it was getting a bit stale.

    So, do you go with the new corporate “face” and try to have a unified, contemporary look across your product line? Or do you let your older products just look more and more dated so to not “rock the boat”?

    Frankly, the Charger was never “well designed” from a styling perspective. The original stylists/designers weren’t even informed that it would be called a “Charger” until too late in the game to imbue it with some heritage styling cues. It always looked like a kludge.

    They did a fair job of integrating some more heritage cues into the reskin of it recently, but, in comparison, the new Challenger is a clear heir of the original Challenger, and the Charger only vaguely reminds one of the original because of a crease here and there and the outline of a tail lamp valance.

    The Dart and the 200 are the definition of the contemporary corporate styling language. They’re just trying to drag the rest of the product line in that direction prior to their full redesign someday.

  72. Brett Says:

    I had a closeup look at a new Jeep Cherokee today as one pulled up beside me into the left-turn lane at a traffic light.

    It actually looks pretty good and I think they’ve pulled off the trick of sensing just how far to take the styling in the direction buyers feel comfortable going without trying to take them too far.

    One interesting thing I noticed as I was driving off and they were at the crosswalk waiting for the traffic to clear was that those upper DRL units high on the front fenders also contain the turn signals.

    With their left turn signal on, I noticed that it kills the DRL LEDs on that side. I presume that the turn signal would be barely visible with the high-intensity LEDs of the DRL on right beside them.

    It looked odd, though, as if there was something wrong with the DRL on that side.

  73. Kit Gerhart Says:

    71,
    I think the Challenger looks great, except that it is too damned big.

  74. HtG Says:

    I’ve learned to wait until I see a car moving on the road before I decide anything. That doesn’t stop me from reacting to photographs, but photographs is all they are. Even seeing a car in a show falls short of having it come at me at 100mph on the highway, with the sun bouncing off it at infinite angles.

  75. alex wellington Says:

    71 you seem fond of overlooking all the facts.

    Such as

    1. The Dart is two classes cheaper than the Charger. It should be the OTHER WAY AROUND, the Dart should be improved to look like the excellent Charger-300-Challenger.

    2. The Dart has been an utter sales failure. The Charger, before they messed with it, was selling very briskly, for such a large car (not a popular segment sales-wise. The top family sedan sells 40,000 a month, the top large car, if it’s lucky, sells 15,000!)

    3. The Dart is based on a 100 times better looking ALFA. Dodge would have saved tens of millions if they never designed the ugly failure, but sold the Alfa instead, if they thought it was wise. But they had NO CHOICE. Developing the Dart was part of the conditions of the Bailout agreement and the deal with FIAT.

  76. T. Bejma Says:

    #72

    The LED DRL’s turning off when the turn signal is on is a characteristic of every vehicle I have seen with that type of light. I believe it is probably a government safety standard because, although it makes it easier to see the signal, it does look rather hokey.

    The aftermarket has a incandescent light bulb, LED replacement called a “switchback” that you put in your turn signal location and when on regular driving it is a bright white but when the turn signal is activated it switches to yellow in the same way.

  77. alex wellington Says:

    73 The redesign that looks like the faied Dart was on the Charger, not the Challenger.

    All three cars (300, Charger, Challenger) have similar proportions and also the same outstanding wheelbase of 120″, a record for US cars. AND of course RWD, as any serious vehicle should. If anything, the Challenger is lower and probably has less interior room, but for its type it is OK.

  78. Kit Gerhart Says:

    77, Yes, I know the redesign was on the Charger. I just commented that I like the Challenger, except that it’s too big.

    The thing that really stood out about the Challenger when introduced, other than its good appearance, was its weight. As I remember, the Challenger was heavier than the Magnum wagon it replaced.

  79. Brett Says:

    #75

    I am not overlooking any facts. I was being objective. Try it sometime.

    Who is in what price category has zip to do with a corporate styling language and your subjective opinion regarding that said language.

    Your speaking ex-cathedra from your bellybutton about how the European Alfa looks better than the Dart and that the Charger was more expensive and better looking than the Dart are utterly irrelevant to the process clearly underway within the company to attempt to unify the look and feel of the product line while making it feel fresh and contemporary.

    While you are welcome to do so, I’m also welcome to point it out to you and anybody else who missed it on their own.