Vehicle Preview: Lucid Air Setting the Definition of Luxury Mobility By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | February 2018 At the recent Los Angeles Auto Show, Car-ED had an exclusive chat with Lucid Motors VP of Design Derek Jenkins. He is what you would call "a designer's designer," with an impressive resume that shows he's helped put into place some of the most exciting and respected design languages in the industry, at brands like Audi and Mazda. Jenkins is tasked with bringing the company's first luxury EV sedan, the Lucid Air, to market by 2019, and he and Marketing Director Zak Edson gave us a thorough walk-around of their upcoming vehicle and some insight into the company’s plans for the rollout. Who is this company? Lucid has been around since 2007, at first focusing on battery technology under the name Atieva, but in the past few years has parlayed that research into developing their own car. Lucid is an electric vehicle luxury brand, and as such some see it as a challenger to Tesla. It has also lured away a decent number of Elon Musk’s employees, including Lucid Chief Technology Officer Peter Rawlinson, but the upstart is aiming to best the Silicon Valley star in a few key ways. First of all is their battery and powertrain technology. Lucid says it’s making big advances in energy density and charging speed. In fact, the company has said [...]
Jeep Wrangler Don’t Mess With a Good Thing By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | January 2018 The Jeep Wrangler is hitting showrooms with a major redesign, and enthusiasts are stoked. Without losing its legendary capability, the Wrangler will be more refined, with better fuel economy and more technology. With either two or four doors and a choice of 3 different roof types, plus its first ever full-time 4WD system, there’s a Wrangler for…well, not everyone, but more people than ever. What is this vehicle? It’s exactly what you think: a rugged, go-anywhere, do-anything off-roader, with unmatched rock-crawling abilities and a whole host of removable parts, from roof to doors to its fold-down windshield. There were rumors that some of these details would go away, and that Fiat-Chrysler would go heavily aluminum with the structure, but the traditionalists have won out mostly, with only some body panels being made of soda can metal, and much more use of high-strength steel to achieve the needed weight reductions. The rear “swing gate” is actually made out of magnesium, which is even lighter than aluminum. Who is this vehicle for? Wrangler buyers tend to be a fairly diverse bunch, and its cross-shopping list would drop your jaw. That’s because for many shoppers it’s about the vehicle’s image and lifestyle statement, especially those drawn to its status as a rare four-door convertible—currently the only one on the market. [...]
Subaru Ascent Rising Above the Outback By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | January 2018 A new 3-row crossover from Subaru debuted at the LA Auto Show, which will bring the brand back into one of the hottest segments in the market. The Ascent won’t hit showrooms until next year, but it should help the brand extend its reach in the U.S., and sustain its momentum. What is this vehicle? The 2019 Ascent marks Subaru’s return to the 3-row SUV game for the first time since 2014, when the Tribeca left the market. While the Tribeca was smaller and more upscale than most of its competitors—telegraphed by its swanky Manhattan neighborhood namesake—the Ascent is a more conventional approach. It’s dimensionally similar to the larger competitors in the mid-size segment, like the Ford Explorer, so it has one of the most spacious interiors in the class, and can carry up to 8 people up the mountain. Who is this vehicle for? Big families and carpoolers can finally check out Subaru, and the brand can retain even more of its fierce loyalists who might have looked elsewhere when the Outback no longer met their needs. Subarus are highly popular in the Pacific Northwest and mountainous regions like Colorado, since the brand has been built on its all-wheel drive heritage. This expansion into one of the hottest segments in the industry is likely to broaden that appeal [...]
Autonomous Vehicles, Hype vs. Reality By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | December 2017 At the recent AutoMobility LA conference that led into this year’s LA Auto Show, there were a few topics that were on the lips of nearly every attendee. These included electric vehicles, the connected car, and the major future disrupter, autonomous vehicles (AVs). What will the impact of autonomous vehicles be? While EVs may change the product mix that car companies will be offering to their customers, self-driving cars have the potential to change their entire business model. And indeed, it’s not just the auto industry that autonomous technology will impact, but the countless other industries with which it’s connected, like public transit and ride-hailing, hotels and hospitality, and even media companies that seek to capture a piece of the attention that’s freed up when we no longer have to attend to the driving task. To be sure, autonomous vehicles are now considered a future inevitability, but a significant portion of the current discussion is now dedicated to teasing out when we’ll actually be seeing these vehicles on the road in any legitimate numbers. But in order to understand how these vehicles will actually impact our lives, it’s important to first define what we mean by autonomous technology. How to talk about autonomous vehicles Some people who talk about autonomous cars may assume that cars will either have the technology [...]
On Your Radar: Sub-Compact Utilities By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | December 2017 Auto show season kicked off last Friday, when the LA Auto Show opened to the public. It features 20 world debuts and runs until December 10th at the LA Convention Center. If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, going to one of the shows in the coming months—whether it be one of the big ones in Detroit, New York or Chicago, or a smaller regional show—is a great way to see what’s out there. Whatever segment you happen to be looking in, there are no doubt several vehicles that just aren’t on your radar. In a new series of posts, we wanted to take a look at some popular segments and point out a few entries that might not have caught your attention, but are definitely worth looking into. We start with one of the hottest segments in the industry, which has been growing quickly in both offerings and sales. The Sub-Compact Utility Segment What is it? These cute utes are often based on subcompact cars—the Honda HR-V, one of the top sellers in the segment, is built off the Fit platform—offering the cargo room, increased ride height and aggressive styling of SUVs, but with reasonable fuel economy. They also usually offer all-wheel drive for buyers in colder regions. Who is it for? Younger buyers grew up during the [...]
On Your Radar: Luxury Utilities By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | December 2017 Luxury brands really helped to kick off the crossover SUV craze of the 1990s. What started with the Mercedes M-Class and Lexus RX quickly blossomed into a full-scale invasion of utilities that has continued to this day. The onslaught began with mid-sized 2-row vehicles, but eventually spread outward to longer 3-row crossovers and compact utilities that offer an entry into these premium brands. Several of the vehicles that bowed last month at the LA Auto Show offer an illustration of these trends. Since they’re adding choice to what are some of the most popular luxury segments, we definitely think you should know about them, so here’s a roundup of the latest entries into the upscale utility fray. Luxury Crossover Utilities What are they? These SUVs from premium brands are built on car platforms—without a separate underbody frame—meaning they offer car-like handling and fuel economy, but generally still have a ride height advantage for a more commanding view of the road, and offer either standard or optional all-wheel drive. Who is it for? Luxury buyers have just as much desire for all-weather and cargo-hauling capability. Many buyers have reported appreciating the height advantage of a utility vehicle, especially with the other SUVs and trucks on the road. Families also enjoy the many flexible seating options, and the choice to include rear-entertainment systems [...]
The Sport Model Craze – Available from Any Brand! One of the trends to be seen in the Auto Show circuit of 2017 is the democratization of the “Sport Model.” No matter the vehicle segment – from small cars to large SUVs – a sport model with several special pieces of design and content can be found.