Remember the Hyundai Veracruz? It was Hyundai’s Lexus RX-ish three-row crossover (though the RX that it looked like never had more than two rows of seats) that was a slow seller. Well, Hyundai figured out a way to increase sales of the Veracruz: name it the Santa Fe. You see, Hyundai discontinued the Veracruz model at the end of its life cycle and instead split the Santa Fe into two models – the Santa Fe Sport (5 passenger, four cylinder only) and Santa Fe (6 or 7 passenger, V6 only). Though the two models share (most of) a name and all sheetmetal from the B-pillars forward, they really do feel quite different from behind the wheel. The non-Sport Santa Fe is just launching, so Hyundai invited us to New York a few days ago to put it through its paces outside the city.
About Chris HaakChris is the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Autosavant. He writes for the site, sets its overall strategy, and oversees the day-to-day efforts of the writers. Chris has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up around the retail side of the car business. He was perhaps one of the youngest people in history to walk the entire Spring Carlisle swap meet at age four in a hunt for hubcaps, and could identify the make of nearly every car on the road by the same age. He helped his father restore a 1969 Pontiac Firebird after graduating from high school and loves American V8s and 400-plus horsepower cars. Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating his sons into the world of cars and trucks; his oldest son knew the Toyota, Cadillac, Honda and Mitusbishi logos before he knew the first letter of his name.
Every few years, we hear about how Cadillac’s management team is appalled about the way their brand is barely selling any cars outside of the U.S., and how they really want to make inroads into the Chinese and European markets, not to mention developing markets. Then, almost like clockwork, about two or three years later, GM cuts its losses, retrenches, and Cadillac continues to be primarily a U.S.-f0cused brand. Today, Cadillac announced that it’s going to try again. Continue Reading →
Except for the fact that I don’t like the idea of “renting” the car that I’m driving, and therefore have always chosen buying over leasing, I’m probably an ideal candidate for leasing a car. I quickly grow tired of a new car that I own, prowling the build-your-own section of various websites, the eBay Motors classifieds, and more. I don’t put many miles each year on my own car, and I hate the idea of selling my old car (or worrying about being gouged by a dealer on the trade-in).
Here at Autosavant, we spend far too much time talking about cars that are self-propelled. But what about ones that are gravity-propelled? It’s about time that we investigated gravity as an automotive fuel; after all, gravity is even more constant than wind, water, sunlight, or other alternative energy sources. For this reason, we built a Pinewood Derby car as a proof of concept. If this one is successful, we’ll consider producing a full-size mock-up.
The name is Z/28. Not Z-28, and not Z28. You need the slash for it to really mean something. Much more than just an RPO code (and believe me, GM loves models with RPO code-like names (Z06, ZR1, Z51, Z24, etc.), the Z/28 name was first used in 1967 as a homologation effort to get a 5.0 liter race-ready Camaro into Trans Am racing. Using a 327′s block with a 283′s crankshaft, the 302 cubic inch (that’s right; Ford isn’t the only company to have a 5.0/302 in its history) Camaro Z/28 was very successful in its racing career and on the sales charts. Subsequent Z28s have not had the same racing pedigree, and the name has been dormant since 2002. Now, upon the occasion of the fifth generation Camaro’s mid-cycle refresh, the Z/28 is back, and it’s again a pure track machine.
“Evolve, or die.” –Eckhart Tolle
With the all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee, it appears that, despite bringing back the name of the Jeep that everyone loved, Jeep has finally given up on trying to recreate the mojo of the 1984-2001 XJ Jeep Cherokee. God knows they tried; the wrapped-in-an-American flag Liberty of 2001 tried, the boxy Liberty of 2008 tried harder, the 2006-2010 Commander tried, and even the car-based Patriot tried. But none of these vehicles captured the classic, Dick Teague-styled looks of the XJ Cherokee.
Kia created the original Soul during a different time in the company’s evolution. It was before they hired Peter Schreyer to head their design function, and therefore when Kia was a design also-ran. The original Soul, while cute and funky, was really little more thank Kia’s take on the Honda Element, first-generation Scion xB, and Nissan Cube. A funny thing happened, though: the Soul is Kia’s third-best seller, and completely destroyed the xB and Element in sales for 2012. So, now that it’s time to refresh the Soul, Kia had to tread carefully. Meet the 2014 Soul, which looks a lot like the 2013 model. Continue Reading →
Once upon a time, Toyota sold station wagons. There was one called the Camry wagon, which was based on the Camry sedan. Then, as buyer ditched wagones en masse, Toyota started offering a tall wagon-ish vehicle called the Highlander. Sharing its platform with the Lexus RX, the original Highlander looked very much like the old Camry wagon, only taller. Just look at the shape of the D-pillar compared to the old Camry Wagon’s. But now crossovers proliferate across the land, and many of the Highlander’s competitors are new or refreshed, so it’s time for Toyota to up its game. Meet the 2014 Highlander.
Today in New York, Volkswagen hosted the North American debut of the seventh-generation Golf lineup. We’ve seen photos of these cars online before, but it’s nice to see them in the metal. Built on VW’s new modular MQB platform – which I firmly believe is VW’s not-so-secret weapon for its designs on dominating auto industry profits, the new cars are larger but lighter than the models they replace.
Back in 2003, the Cadillac CTS represented a number of firsts for GM’s luxury brand. The first mainstream car created in Cadillac’s Art and Science design language. The first car on Cadillac’s bespoke rear wheel drive Sigma platform. The first Cadillac to offer a manual transmission since the Cavalier-based Cimarron. The second-generation CTS, launched for the 2008 model year (and of which yours truly is an owner) raised the bar in terms of design, performance, and interior materials. However, after six model years on the market with very few changes, the second-generation CTS has gotten a little stale. Time to shake things up. Meet the all-new 2014 Cadillac CTS.
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