Toyota’s Scion sub-brand has been struggling since the auto market crashed during the Great Recession. Sales are about a quarter of their pre-recession peak, and the best-selling Scion model, the tC, had fewer sales (19,094) during 2013 than did the slowest-selling Toyota car model (Yaris, 21,342). Members of the inaugural Scion buyer demographic class (those who were 22 years old in 2002) are now in their thirties with children, families, and better jobs, and don’t want a brash, quirky car. Scion’s buyers have grown up, and the brand must grow up with them. We spent a week in Scion’s updated-for-2014 Scion tC to get a feel for whether the car’s [mostly cosmetic] updates can keep it atop the Scion sales race.
There are trips that one dreams about, and trips that one never forgets. My trip to Baja to test the new BFGoodrich KO2 All-Terrain T/A tires falls into the latter category. I never before had the opportunity to rub elbows with Baja off-road legends and drive and co-drive roughly 300 miles of the legendary Baja 1000 off-road course, and most likely I never will again. BFGoodrich was so confident in their new all-terrain radials that they flew me and several other journalists to Baja to put the new tires to the test in the environment they were developed in. The tires survived what we threw at them without skipping a beat, and appeared to genuinely live up to the claims that the BFG marketing department laid out for us.
I made an interesting discovery recently when I got my hands on a tome called “Top Muscle: The Rarest Cars from America’s Fastest Decade.” The team at Motorbooks had sent it to me for review and—unsurprisingly—I was expecting to learn a thing or two about rare muscle-cars when it arrived. Now, that did happen, but before I even opened it, I was first struck by the uncanny glow of the Daytona Yellow 1969 Douglass-Yenko Super Camaro on the front. The car had a nearly three-dimensional presence that brought its streamlined shape to life in a way you rarely see on the printed page.
Mercedes-Benz (CLA), Lincoln (MKC) and Audi (A3) aren’t the only automakers searching for additional sales volume by moving
downmarket to smaller vehicles that are intended to hopefully maintain the brand’s character at a lower price point. The idea is to then keep those buyers as they move to larger, more-profitable models. The latest brand to take a play from this book is Jeep, with the all-new 2015 Jeep Renegade.
It wouldn’t be a proper auto show without a new limited-edition Mustang making its debut. With an all-new Mustang about to hit the streets, Ford is eager to begin making special editions with its new blank canvas. On the occasion of the iconic car’s 50th anniversary this week, New York was the perfect place to reveal the 2015 Ford Mustang 50th Anniversary Limited Edition. It remains to be seen whether there will eventually be a GT500, Super Snake, KR, Bullitt, Mach 1, Boss 302, or even Warriors in Pink Breast Cancer Awareness model, but we’ll start with the 50th anniversary car.
Having a track record of success can lead to complacency. Success is not easy and is not typically sustainable without considerable effort. In Toyota’s case, having the Camry as the best-selling car (note: full-size trucks kill it in sales) for the past dozen years allowed it to take its eye off the ball for the past few. The new-for-2012 Camry attempted to add a nicer interior, more style, and better performance, but competitors are constantly upping their game, and the 2012 Camry was not setting the class benchmark.
I’ve always enjoyed driving the Lexus IS, certainly much more so than other Lexus models. ES? RX? Pshaw. Though I’ve never owned one, I have gotten close to doing so twice, only to have the purchase vetoed by my ever-sensible wife. Does the all-new third-generation 2014 Lexus IS 350 AWD finally appease my wife’s reservations? Read on to find out.
It’s hard to overstate what huge plans Toyota had for the its then-new Tundra pickup, circa 2007. The company spent a fortune developing their jumbo-sized 2007 Tundra, talking to people who used trucks (though every truck manufacturer says they do that), shedding the “good but small” mantra of the first-generation Tundra and going with a truck that went toe-to-toe with the dominant American-brand pickups. Toyota even built an all-new factory for the Tundra in San Antonio, Texas, in the heart of truck country. Strong initial sales tapered off, and the Tundra remained an also-ran while GM, Ford, and Ram sold hundreds of thousands of pickups. Toyota reckons it’s time to fire another salvo in the pickup wars, so we spent a week with the refreshed 2014 Tundra to see how the truck stacks up against some tough competition.