“Sexy Beast” 2020 Mazda 3


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When it made its world debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November.  The word in the room was “Damm”.

While American auto makers are exiting the car market the rest of the world is foraging ahead.  With Hyundai/Kia, Toyota and now Mazda either refreshing or introducing all new models for 2019.

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Mazda, one of the smaller players in the Auto world, has taken a page out of the Hyundai\Kia playbook, by offering  value at a competitive price.

The new Mazda 3 comes in two flavors a Sedan or a Hatchback

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In its last generation, I preferred the hatchback.  In this generation, I prefer the lines of the sedan.

If you took away the Mazda logo, this car could pass for an Audi and while its looks good outside, the interior looks very expensive, again Audi and BMW

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There isn’t anything its segment that can touch it.

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Its available in automatic or six speed manual.  As in the previous generation.  The standard engine in the “3” is a 2.0 Skyactive engine producing 155 hp and 150 pound feet of torque.  The optional engine is the 2.5 Skyactive engines producing 185 hp and 180 pound feet of torque.   New for 2019 is an all wheel drive  model.  It would be nice in Mazda dropped a turbo into the “3” bringing back the days of the hot hatch Mazdaspeed.  One can dream.     To keep this car competitive they have dropped the independent suspension for a less expensive rear torsion beam set up.  Mazda is using more sound deadening in the car making it quieter

This sexy SEXY beast starts about just under $22 grand and the top version with sunroof and a Bose systems tops out about 30K .

Mazda is known for its handling. Later this spring, were gonna see not only how well it handles. We will see in the little “3′ will accommodate this Big City man.

The all new 2020 Toyota Corolla design isn’t earth shattering and  2018 and the Honda Civic is still bat shit ugly, But side by side, which would you drive?

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Mazda sales numbers are minisule compared to all the other players. Both Honda and Toyota out sale Mazda nearly 15 to one.  The big question, will the new Mazda 3 bring new and first time car buyers to the brand?

CityFella

 

 

 

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Watch Out Tesla: Hyundai and Kia is coming soon, like today


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The 2019 Kia Niro EV

The Hyundai Group (Hyundai-Kia-Genesis) is serious.    Hyundai’s popular Sonata and Elantra models as well has Kia’s Optima’s and Forte has seen huge declines in sales.  Like the most of auto industry, consumers are choosing SUV’s over passenger cars.  With one exception Tesla.  If you in any major city you have seen a Tesla.

There are more 2018 Model 3’s on the road than the Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu, and Nissan Altima.

Elon Musk now has the worlds attention.  Within the next 16 months, nearly every automaker will have an electric vehicle with a range of at least 200 miles in their lineup. The problem is, most of the planned vehicles are out of the price range of the average car buyer.  Jaguar I pace starts at 69K , Audi’s E-tron with 240 mile range will hit the streets in April starting at 74K.

The Tesla Model 3 was supposed to be at 35K the affordable electric car.  However, few has seen one. The average Tesla is selling for a pinch over 50k.   Tesla says, they will begin offering the base model this spring.  If you buy the base model as advertised, it will have a range of 264 miles and if your sticking to that price you must like the color black. Any other color is a fifteen hundred dollar option.

General Motors electric offering is the Chevy Bolt.  For 35,000 you can get a nicely equipped Bolt with a range of 240 miles.   The designers at GM went the Prius direction when it came to styling.   A car that said, I’m driving  I’m driving an environmental friendly non polluting car. Unfortunately the Prius isn’t selling and the Chevy Bolt are accumulating dust at Chevy Dealerships.

Its a sound car and a good alternative to Tesla. Unlike Tesla, no one would call the Chevy Bolt sexy.

Enter Hyundai

Hyundai, developed its first all electric car in 1991.  In 2011, the Company introduced the Hybrid Sonata Hybrid to the US Market. Currently, the automaker has seven variations of Hybrid, Plug In Hybrid models including two all electric models the Kia Soul EV and the Hyundai Ioniq models.  Those two electric models have a range of less than 115 miles.

Last November, Hyundai announced they would sell an all electric version of the Hyundai Kona.  This car,while smaller than the Tesla has an all important range of  258 miles.  Only seven fewer miles than the standard Tesla model 3 and a well equipped model will begin at $37,000 excluding the $7500 Federal Tax Credit, no longer available on the Tesla***

The  Hyundai Kona, recently received the Prestigious “North American Utility Vehicle of the Year” a first for any Hyundai.   The Kona. should go on sale any moment in California. That’s the good news for California Residents.  The bad news, is there is a long waiting list.

However, the Kia is plans to release an all electric version of its Niro next month. The NiroEV is larger than the KonaEV. The two vehicles share the same  64-kWh battery  however the range on the NiroEV is 239 miles.    Unlike the KonaEV, the NiroEV will offer faster charging,  a CCS DC fast-charging setup, which can refill the battery to 80 percent in 75 minutes.  30 minute will add approximately 100 miles of range.

  Kia says the NiroEV will go on sale mid-to-late February and will be available in 12 states.  California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington.

Pricing for the Niro EV will began around 38,000 before the $7500 Federal Tax Credit.

What is the Federal Tax Credit and why is it no longer available on Tesla’s? 

The Federal EV Tax Credit is not a rebate on the price of the car that you get instantly when making the purchase. You have to apply to receive it when you file your annual tax return. You or your tax professional will fill out an IRS Form 8936, which is submitted with your return. Since it is a tax credit, you have to wait until you file your next year’s return before you will receive the tax incentive.

You cannot claim the tax credit until you take delivery of the new vehicle. Deposits and prepayments do not count. It is not available on leased vehicles.

Each vehicle manufacturer is allowed to sell up to 200,000 qualifying plug-in electric vehicles (battery-electric cars and plug-in hybrids) before the EV tax credit on their products begins to phase out.  This isn’t for one model, its applies to all EV models sold by a single Auto maker.

***Last year, Tesla sold nearly 150,000 Model 3’s,  When you include Tesla’s Model S and the Model X its has sold more than 200,000 cars.   To stay competitive, Tesla has reduced prices on all of their models.  

General Motors is projected to reach its maximum by late spring early summer**

In addition to the Federal Tax Credit,  some states are offering credits and rebates. Colorado is currently the most generous of the states, offering a credit of up to $5,000 that can be used in conjunction with the federal tax credit to save you up to $12,500 off the price of the car. In some cases, the incentives come in the form of an instant vehicle rebate.

California offers rebates up to $7000*  for residents on purchased and leased Electric Vehicles, plug in’s and fuel cell vehicle.  The state offers higher rebates for lower income car buyer.  *Unlike Colorado, California’s rebates are based on specific models and the is less you earn, the greater the rebate.

Sometime, Somewhere in 2019  “The 2020 Kia Soul EV “

The Kia Soul is Kia’s best selling model by a wide margin.  It is known for its generous interior space and urban dimensions.   It will also be powered by the same battery as the Kona EV, and the Niro EV.   The Kona and Niro storage is larger the the Soul’s but the Soul upright interior is larger.   The 2020 Soul’s are all new, and with an estimated range of 239 miles the 2020 SoulEV has more than double the driving range of the 2018 SoulEV . The release date of the SoulEv is unknown.  Some sources say next month, others say mid summer.

Currently on sale in California, is the first SUV fuel cell vehicle the Hyundai Nexo

with a base price of 59,000 and a range of 380 miles. Last month Hyundai sold 35 models.   The challenge for fuel cells vehicles, is refueling  stations.

If your keeping count, the Hyundai group has four electric vehicles, four plug in vehicles and one fuel cell SUV.

The demand is high for electric vehicles, with prices under 40K Hyundai will be Tesla’s largest competitor this year in the US.

While Tesla has an apple like following, Hyundai will put a sizable dent into Tesla’s sales by the third quarter of this year.    Tesla’s Model 3 was to be the peoples car, and its technology is superior to anything on Hyundai’s drawing board.   However, what separates these companies is price and service.

 Tesla, has a much smaller dealer network than the Hyundai Group and a shorter warranty.  However, many of Tesla’s fixes can be done electronically without the customer stepping into a service department.  Hyundai has more experience building cars.

If I wanted to buy an electric car today, are there any deals?  

With the exception of the European makes and the Chrysler Pacific plug in hybrid models, deep discounts are available.  There are also deep discounts for the lower range (less than 150 miles) all electric vehicles.

However, the best buy is on the all electric Chevy Bolt.  The Bolt has a range of nearly 240 miles.  When it was released, they sold quickly at full price.  Today, they are sitting on dealers lots.  Deep discounts and are available (check Chevy’s website for rebates) and as of this writing The Chevy Bolt still qualify for the full ($7500 Tax Credit-today**)  

How does the Niro Drive?

CityFella

Tesla Protest in North Carolina? (Superchargers Blocked)


By: Fred Lambert/Electrek.com

In what appears to be an act of protest against Tesla, a bunch of pickup truck drivers used their trucks to block access to a Supercharger station and reportedly yelled profanities about Tesla until they were removed from the premises.

The incident happened in Hickory, North Carolina last weekend.

A Tesla owner and Reddit user Leicina stopped to charge at the local Supercharger station located next to a Sheetz, but all the stalls were blocked by 3 large pickup trucks.

This is not exactly uncommon and it is referred to in EV community as ‘Icing’ a charging station – when ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles are occupying a space for an EV.

Most often than not, it’s a mistake from the driver or someone who simply doesn’t care, but the situation in Hickory appeared to be different:

It was certainly not a mistake and the pickup truck drivers actually appeared to be targeting Tesla in protest.

Leicina wrote about the incident:

“I’ve never had a supercharging experience like this one. These trucks blocked all the chargers, chanted “F” Tesla, and were kicked out by a Sheetz employee.”

An employee from Sheetz, who is in charge of the parking lot, ended making them leave at the request of the Tesla owner.

Leicina said that it “took them 10 minutes or so and one of them did that ‘I’m going to hit you’ maneuver after circling the parking lot.”

Electrek’s Take

ICEd charging stations are certainly nothing new, but this is a particularly extreme case of it.

99% of my interactions with strangers related to my Tesla vehicles have been positive and I think that has mostly been the case for other owners so I wouldn’t want anyone to think that this is normal, but it’s still worrying.

I guess it also depends on where you live.

Leilani Münter, a racecar driver, environmental activist, and Tesla owner, also lives in North Carolina and reported truck drivers coal rolling, basically spewing black sooty exhaust fumes, on her when she is driving her Tesla.

Leilani Münter

@LeilaniMunter

This is scary. I’ve been coal-rolled in my Tesla by several trucks in NC, the drivers were hostile. If you don’t know what it is google “Stephen Colbert Coal Rolling.” One day these conflicts will end very badly. @Tesla @hickorypd @StephenAtHome @cleanairNC @cleanenergyorg @CMPD

Mike Hoffman@McHoffa

@LeilaniMunter careful charging in Hickory. The ignorant people are aware of us https://www.reddit.com/r/teslamotors/comments/a8rl0a/ive_never_had_a_supercharging_experience_like/?st=JQ0DQJLU&sh=73d632fe 

It’s hard to imagine the reasoning behind doing something like that or hating Tesla in general.

Even if you love gas-guzzling trucks, that doesn’t mean you should hate Tesla. I don’t know if something like this has ever happened to another car brand at some point.

I know that some American were insulting and shaming people who drove foreign vehicles back in the day, but I don’t know if it ever got to that point.

Speaking of that, what some of these morons forget sometimes is that Tesla is actually an American brand, creating a lot of American jobs.

I feel that the reason they hate Tesla is probably due to years of listening to the media back when they were attacking Tesla for taking subsidies from the government.

Of course, if there was any good logic behind their thinking they would go against pickup truck making brands like GM and Chrysler who not only took subsidies from the government but also took bailout money from them.

Somehow, I don’t see that happening.

Why the General Motors plant closures are good for America and not so good for Donald Trump


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2019 Cadillac CT6
One of the best cars on the road and discontinued

Toyota Camry has been the best selling car in America for more than two decades. In the last few years the Honda Accord was the second best selling car in America.    Last year, Toyota and Honda introduced all new versions of the Camry and Accord and while the cars two remain the best selling cars in America. Sales of the two cars are substantially lower than 2017. 

Its not just Toyota and Honda, most passengers cars are crawling off dealer lots.  With one exception, nearly every automaker is offering incentives to move  passenger cars off the lots as American tastes have shifted to SUV’s.  

Kelly Blue Book says passenger cars sales are down 12% this year. Autodata says passengers cars represented 32% of all vehicles sold this year. This is a major drop from 2015 when passenger cars represented 51%. 

General Motors has spent billions in developing new fuel efficient cars.     The newest generation Chevrolet Impala and the Chevy Cruise received some of the best reviews for the brand in decades.   Consumer Reports said the Impala was the best in class. And despite the good reviews both models are under preforming, selling fewer cars than the previous generation.  

General Motors revamped its stodgy Buick and Cadillac divisions with Cadillac building cars that can out maneuver Germany’s best.   The problem is no one wants the relatively new Buick Lacrosse and the Cadillac’s CT6.  

General Motors recently announced they were closing down five plants in North America.   The Lordstown Ohio plant that builds the Chevrolet Cruze. The Hamtramck Plant in Detroit that builds the Chevrolet Volt, Buick Lacrosse and the Cadillac CT6.   Transmission plants in Michigan and Maryland and the plant in Oshawa, Ontario that builds the Chevrolet Impala.  An estimated 14,000 workers will be affected.

Donald Trump is outraged. During his candidacy he promised to increase auto manufacturing jobs. To punish GM, he’s threaten to cut all subsidies. The President is particularly angry about the closing of the Lordstown Ohio plant,in state that overwhelmingly supported him in 2016.  It was a foolhardy promise, as no one can predict changes in the marketplace.   

While our president was tweeting, the auto industry changed.  Automakers like Volkswagen, Hyundai Kia and General Motors underestimated the popularity of the SUV’s and no one predicted the popularity of Tesla and Electric Car. 

Preparing for a New World

Some believe in the next few years fewer people in urban areas will purchase cars. A new generation is embracing ride sharing and other modes of transportation.  Technology is allowing millions to work from the home and the growing demand for Electric Cars may, require a                                                        different type of auto worker.                                                      

For years, domestic automakers ignored changes in the marketplace.  In the early 70’s Americans were attracted to the low prices and quality of the Japanese automakers.   The Ford, Chrysler and General Motors (The Big 3) responded with mediocre small cars.  The profits for the Big 3, was in large cars with V8 engines and trucks     

In 1973, (OPEC) The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries  stopped sending oil to the US. Resulting in fuel shortages and higher prices.   Buyers, of fuel efficient small cars, abandon Ford, Chrysler and General Motors for small cars at Toyota, Datsun (Nissan) Honda and Volkswagen. Many of them continued buying cars from the Japanese Automakers.

 When Gas Prices increased again in the early 2000′ American Automakers heavenly invested in SUV’s  Despite slowing sales American  Automakers continued to build over saturating the market.   The industry was to slow to react to changes in the industry, the demand for more fuel efficient cars and trucks. 

General Motors one of the largest automakers in the world and Chrysler needed a bailout loan from the government to remain in business.  

General Motors Positioning Itself for the Future

If the Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had their way, GM would continue to build  unprofitable vehicles to keep their constituents employed. 

To avoid a catastrophic 2008 meltdown, General Motors and other automakers are being proactive. 

General Motors CEO Mary Barra  is implementing billions of dollars in cost-cutting measures in preparation for the next economic downturn. Shifting the company’s focus toward costly, emerging technologies such as autonomous and fully electric vehicles.  

 Shrinking its employee ranks is part of the plan, especially on the manufacturing side of its business, but GM also is sending a message that it’s working to change the makeup of the work force that remains.

“We are going to continue to hire, because when we look at the skill sets that we need for the future, the vehicle has become much more software-oriented, when you think about the hundreds of millions of lines of code that are in a vehicle that operates today,” “That’s only going to increase.”     Mary Barra

Just the first round……….

This is just first round of layoffs and plant closures.    Ford Motor Company is planning to stop building every sedan except the Mustang, and the Focus which will be built in China.   Unlike General Motors, Ford doesn’t plan to close any plants, however some shifts may be eliminated.  Most of Fords sedans are assembled in Mexico.   

Tesla and the new world order

A few years ago the California Air Resources Board required 15 percent of cars sold in California to be all-electric, plug-in hybrid electric or hydrogen vehicles.  This requirement would cost the industry billions in an untested market.  Billions more to build a hydrogen car.  Initially most of the industry converted gas engines for short range electric engines in existing models.    In 2010, GM Introduced one of the first plug in hybrids, the Chevrolet Volt, which allow the car to drive on pure electric power for up to 60 miles and then the car combustion engine powered the car and recharged the battery. 

Enter the California Fuel Cell Partnership:   In January 1999, two state government agencies—California Air Resources Board and California Energy Commission joined with six private sector companies—Ballard Power Systems, DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Company, BP, Shell Hydrogen and ChevronTexaco—to form the California Fuel Cell Partnership. Headquartered in West Sacrmamento.  The goal was to demonstrate and promote the potential for fuel cell vehicles as a clean, safe, and practical alternative to vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. Within a very short time, other government agencies and private businesses became members.  Today, the members include Hyundai, Volkswagen, Nissan, Toyota, Honda and General Motors.  Today there are three hydrogen fuel cell cars for sale in selected markets.  Honda Clarity, Hyundai Nexo and the Toyota Mirai. The challenge for hydrogen vehicles is suppliers of hydrogen and a network of fueling stations.  

In 2010 Nissan introduced the Leaf, one of the first all electric cars sold in several countries including the United States.  Nearly 400,000 Leafs has been sold globally.  Most of the Leafs sold in the US were sold in California.  Initially the Leaf had a range of less than 80 miles.  The newest models have a range of 151 miles.

In 2012, Tesla Inc. A small company in Northern California. Introduced the first full size luxury, all electric car called the Model S.  The standard Model S had a driving  range of 208 miles, more than double the Leaf . Buyers could  increase the driving range to over 300 miles by opting for a larger battery.  By 2016 the Model S was the second best selling electric vehicle in the world. 

While sales of nearly all combustion engines passengers cars are down.  Sales for Tesla’s Model 3 us up over 400%  It was the sixth best selling sedan last month in the United States. 

  American and Domestic automakers are investing more than 100 billion dollars to bring more electric and  hydrogen vehicles to the marketplace. 

The transition in the Auto Industry is troublesome for Donald Trump as some workers will not survive.   The proactive measures taken by Ford and General Motors to avoid a repeat of the 2008 meltdown may not be good for the President, however it is good for America. 

CityFella 

The Hyundai Kona EV is Coming to California


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Actually Hyundai’s Kona is already here and is being sold all over the United States and Canada. However, the Kona EV (Electric Vehicle) initially will only be sold in the Golden State.   The New Hyundai’s funky looking subcompact SUV was introduced last spring. 

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Hyundai Kona (W combustion engine)

Subcompact SUV’s are on fire and the Kona is what the struggling car maker needed.  Hyundai, Kia, Genesis group is car rich and SUV poor at a time when more people are buying SUV’s 

 Hyundai’s Kona is the first vehicle sold with a combustion engine and an all electric engine.    Hyundai says the Kona will have an electric range of  258 miles, which is higher than Nissan, the new Jaguar, the future Audi E tron and Chevy’s Bolt.  The only electric vehicle has a longer range, is Tesla. 

Timing

Pricing for the Kona EV starts at $37,000 before the $7500 Federal Tax Credit (for purchasers of an electric car ).   The Electric Kona should be on sales early next year, however only in California and eventually to the rest of the country.      

Tesla’s Model 3 is a bonafide hit. Out selling established players like, the Ford Fusion and the Nissan Altima.  As a result, by the time the Kona hits the market  Tesla buyers tax credit will be cut in half.   Tesla says they plan to sell a basic Model 3, at $35,000 base price, however this model with have a range of 220 miles. 

Yes Matilda, an Electic Car is in your future

Like the Model 3,   Kona EV is a hit before it hits showrooms.    Hyundai says, there is currently a 10 month wait for the electric vehicle.  While there isn’t much of a demand for cars these days there is a huge demand for electric vehicles.

Tesla’s Model 3, sold more cars than the entire brand of Mercedes, BMW, and Audi.  The Model 3, is the fifth bestselling car in the US,  only the Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Honda Accord, and the Toyota Corolla is out selling the Model 3 and the average price of the Model 3 is more than double of those makes. 

Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have committed billions to the Electric market.  Mercedes Benz may jointly build electric cars with Tesla.  Volkswagen and Ford are talking about jointly building electric cars. 

Big Man Rides

While I haven’t completed a full test of the combustion Kona, I like the funkyness of the car  But it is a subcompact. Leg room for this 6.4 giant was just ok, and its a narrow vehicle .  It was tolerable but only for small jonts. It put together well and rides well for a subcompact .   For big people the nice driving yet homely Chevy Bolt has more room and the price for the two are nearly the same , however the driving range on the Hyundai is a little longer. Average sized people  wont have issue with the Kona.   

As for SUV’s the  Hyundai Kona is exceptional.  Its the only Subcompact SUV that offers two engine choices, and the only Subcompact that offers 4 wheel drive*     *The Kona EV will is only offered as a two wheel drive car. 

So if you live in the other 49 states and want a Hyundai Kona EV you’ll have to wait.  and if you live in the Golden State and want a Hyundai Kona EV, you’ll need to zip on down to your nearest Hyundai dealer and leave your deposit. What we learned from the Tesla, the line will only grow longer. 

CityFella

Auto Reliability ( Re think the wiz bang)


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All new could be all wrong if your buying a new car.  Buyers of the latest and greatest are more often than not, are  The unofficial guinea pigs for Automakers   If often takes a few years to get the bugs out of all new car.  Last week, Consumer Reports released their annual new-car reliability ranking.   The culprit in some of the newer models seems to be the infotainment systems, the complex nine and ten speed automatic transmissions and the new Turbo Charged engines.

In this report there seems to be a trend. Some Vehicles with new technology:  engines, transmission, infotainment systems have dropped in reliability.  Highly rated brands like Buick, Honda, Tesla, and other reliable name plates have seen steep drops from 2017.  Older lower rated cars like the Dodge Charger and the Chrysler 300 with designs that date back to 2006 have risen in reliability.   In some cars, like the Tesla nearly every function is handled via the infotainment system. In those cars, some owners complained about freezing screens, preventing them from changing station, to adjusting the temperature.  Some systems like Chrysler’s give you the option of using knobs or the screen.

The Ford Fusion, one of the best built domestic vehicles, have seen its ratings fall due to problems with Ford’s new Sync 3 system.  The second generation Buick LaCrosse enjoyed a good repair history. The third generation introduced in 2017 was all new with a new  8 speed transmission, buyers of the third generation complained about a rough transmission.

Each year, Consumer Reports sends a questionnaire to its members to learn about issues that they’ve had with their cars over the past year, and the severity of those issues. In their latest survey , CR got info on over 500,000 vehicles from model years 2000 to 2018, gathering information bout problems that owners have had in twelve key areas, including engine internals, accessory drive, cooling system, transmission internals, drive train, fuel system, electrical system, brakes, climate control, exhaust, in-car electronics, and others.

                         Consumer Reports Most Reliable Brands for 2018                                                     

  1. LEXUS-(Best Model-GX\ Worst-IS)
  2. TOYOTA (Best Model PriusC\Worst-Tacoma)
  3. MAZDA (Best Model-Miata\Worst-CX-3)
  4. SUBARU (Best Model-Crosstrek\Worst WRX)
  5. KIA (Best Model-Sedona\Worst Cadenza)
  6. INFINITI (Best Model-Q60\Worst Q50)
  7. AUDI (Best Model-Q5\Worst-A3)
  8. BMW (Best Model i3\Worst X1)
  9. MINI (Best Model Countryman\Worst Cooper)
  10. HYUNDAI (Best Model Santa Fe XL\ Worst Ioniq)
  11. PORSCHE (Best Model 911\ Worst-Cayenne)
  12. GENESIS (Best Model G80\Worst G90)
  13. ACURA (Best Model ILC\Worst MDX)
  14. NISSAN (Best Model Maxima\Worst Versa Note)
  15. HONDA (Best Model Fix\Worst Clarity)
  16. VOLKSWAGEN(Best Model Passat\ Worst Atlas)
  17. MERCEDES-BENZ (Best Model GLS\ Worst E-Class)
  18. FORD (Best Model Taurus\Worst Mustang)
  19. BUICK (Best Model Encore\Worst Enclave)]
  20. LINCOLN (Best Model Continental\Worst MKZ )
  21. DODGE (Best Model Charger\Worst Journey)
  22. JEEP (Best Model Renegade\Worst Compass)
  23. CHEVROLET (Best Model Impala\Worst Traverse)
  24. CHRYSLER (Best Model 300\Worst Pacifica)
  25. GMC (Best Model Yukon\Worst Sierra 2500 HD)
  26. RAM (Best Model 2500\Worst 3500)
  27. TESLA (Best Model  Model 3\Worst Model X)
  28. CADILLAC (Best Model XTS\ Worst Model ATS)
  29. VOLVO (Best Model XC60\ Worst Model S90)

A Mighty Fall

In a quest to build lighter, more fuel efficient cars.  Automakers have turned to smaller turbo charged four cylinder engines and complex 8, 9 and 10 speed transmissions.  Four cylinder engines that are as powerful as the old mighty V8 engines.  Ford has replaced large displacement V8 for smaller displacement engines in their trucks and large SUV’s. The massive 5800 pound Ford Expedition Max is powered by 3.5 (213 cubic inch) turbo charged six cylinder engine generating 400 horsepower and 480 pound feet or Torque. Chrysler’s, 5.7-liter (345 cubic inch)  HEMI V8 engine produces 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque. To give you a sense of size, the first Ford Mustang was a six cylinder was 200 cubic inches.   

 

Nearly all manufactures foreign and domestic has made major changes with all new engines, transmissions, infotainment systems.   To put things in perspective, for nearly twenty years most of the automatic transmissions built were four speed transmissions .  Twelve years ago, six speed transmissions were common.   Four years ago, eight speed transmissions came to market.  In the last few years 9 and 10 speed transmissions have come to market.     Every manufacturer is now building smaller displacement turbo charged cars for the first time.  Longevity for the most part is unknown.

According to Consumer Reports, this new technology has damaged the reliability of some brands.  Buick, the most reliable American brand fell 11 spots from 2017 to 2018.  Tesla also dropped sharply.

Honda, a brand known for its reliability also dropped sharply in Consumer Reports Ratings .   Honda, added turbo charge engines to some of its current generation Civics.  The new Accords has new 9 and 10 speed transmissions, all new turbo charged engines and new infotainment systems.  As a result the all new Accord, one of the most reliable cars was down graded to average.

Honda’s Odyssey minivan is no longer recommended and  Consumer Reports says,  the Clarity line of cars apparently has “electronic glitches” that bring it to “much-worse-than-average.

Consumer complaints about the 1.5 Turbocharged engine in Honda’s best selling CR-V to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could lead to major recall.   Honda says ,A fix will be issued by dealers by mid-November and will be covered under the vehicle’s warranty. Honda will also preemptively fix 2019 CR-V models before they go on sale, although it does not yet say what exactly the fix entails.

Toyota Magic 

Toyota’s to my eye aren’t necessarily sexy, they aren’t exciting to drive. But they sure are reliable.  There are more twenty, and thirty year old Toyota’s on the road than nearly any other car.

Unlike Honda, most of Toyota engines are naturally aspirated.  The company hasn’t rushed to turbos.   The company still build 6 speed transmissions. Last year it added 8 speed transmissions to the Camry and Avalon.

The magic started early on.  On auto production lines in Europe and American the lines buzzed on.   If there was a defect, it was handled after the car rolled off the line.  At Toyota, workers could stop the entire production line if they realized anything was wrong. Management could fix the problem before it was an issue down the line.

Slow and Steady 

One of the first infotainment system came from Ford,designed by Microsoft it was called Ford Sync.  In 2008, it was optional on nearly every Ford or Lincoln vehicle.   With a push of a button, one could make a phone call, change a radio station, change a CD track by a voice command.

By 2010,a more complex system was introduced called “My Ford Touch”  This system allowed the user with the aid of touch screen to read text messages and more.   While it was very profitable for Ford, it was an utter failure, with owners saying that it crashed and was unreliable.  There were several attempts by Ford to repair the system but they were not successful. JD Power said “My Ford Touch” had a negative effect on Ford’s overall reliability.   Consumer Reports suggested buyers avoid the system entirely.  Despite all the negative press, the public wanted this expensive option.

Automaker went all in adopting this new technology.  Toyota didn’t.  It was one of the last carmakers to adopt the technology.

And that is the theme or secret sauce to Toyota.  While the other automakers rush new technologies to market. Toyota and Lexus (Toyota’s luxury division) is slow and conservative.  Unlike other automakers adding new engines and other technology to all models across the line, they gradually add new engines, electronics and transmissions to the product line.   The trade off is superior reliability.

Brand Recommendations for 2019 

If your buying a new car you may just want to keep it simple and stay clear of the infotainment systems.  All of the cars will have Bluetooth, that will allow hands free calling.   You may even consider installing  an after market stereo from establish brand like Pioneer, Alpine, Kenwood and JVC.   This would require some modification to your car.  They all have bluetooth and the  trade off is in most cases superior sound, and better electronics.  Many of these units have back up cameras, navigation and your steering wheel controls will control these units.

If you must have a infotainment, the best are from Audi, BMW, Hyundai/Kia/Genesis,  and Mercedes Benz.  Chrysler has a conditional recommendation. Prior to 2018, their U-connect system was considered one of the best in the industry.   However, some software additions has made the system buggy with occasional screen freezing.  We suspect they will work the bugs out in 2019.   The worst of the worst, is Volvo. The company has built award winning and compelling cars with some of the BEST interiors in the industry . However, like many luxury cars infotainment system if you want a Volvo you do not have any other option.

Other vehicles on the caution list includes the Honda Accord and Civic.   Honda has a solid reputation.  With new turbo engines and transmissions, have resulted in a decline in ratings.    However, in a couple of years we think they will have worked out of these issues.     Tesla’s  Gull wing Model X has been an disaster,doors, rattles and electronic issues.   The Model S air suspension and door handles has problematic for the company.  The popular Model 3 isn’t as complex as the other models two and more expensive models and so far its most reliable vehicle.

CityFella