Does Recent Patent Filing Reveal Future CTS?

With a new coupe design unveiled through a patent finding, new insights are available into future Cadillac designs. With the midsize CTS sedan ready for a refresh, will it adopt the design language found on the mysterious coupe? Time will tell, but we certainly hope so.

We’ve grafted on a new front and rear clip based off of the coupe design and it provides a striking refresh for the attractive but rather bland CTS. With Lexus’ designs getting increasingly adventurous, the brand needs to liven up the sheet metal with more complex surfacing and distinctive detailing in order to live up to its “Dare Greatly” mantra.

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Interpretation of Refreshed CTS

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[Images: Cadillac Society, Cadillac, ThirdAuto.com]

2019 Cadillac XT4: What If…

Cadillac recently introduced the 2019 XT4 compact luxury SUV at the New York International Auto Show, where we’ll be reporting from in just a few days. The XT4 builds on the design language seen on the CT6 and influenced by the Escala concept car.

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The 2018 Cadillac XT4 was introduced at the New York International Auto Show this week.

In analyzing the design it seems rather nondescript and it would be very difficult to distinguish which manufacturer produced it when viewed from the front or side. It seems that Cadillac as intentionally excluding much of the “bling” that makes the Escalade its most recognizable, not to mention best-selling, model in its lineup. That is truly a shame because the lack of adornment makes the styling of the XT4 suffer.  In fact, certain models of the Audi Q5 have more chrome and shiny bits than than the XT4. For heaven’s sake, no Audi should ever be covered in more chrome than a Cadillac.

Instead, Cadillac should be fully leveraging the success of the Escalade by offering the same self-confident design in this smaller package. Make the grille massive and reflective, make the wheels chrome, add brightwork to the mirrors, door handles, lower doors and roof rails and remove all black plastic trim. Then suddenly the XT4 will not only out style its competitors, it’ll also look like a proper Cadillac. Why not take it a step further an even resurrect some wheel designs from Cadillac’s 100+ years in the car business and offer an “Eldorado”  wheel package and a “Fleetwood” grille treatment. Vintage is in and the brand has so much vintage material to work with, unlike many of its competitors.

Unfortunately, Cadillac chose the safe route and made a crossover that looks nice, but not special. It’s a missed opportunity. Cadillac should embrace its heritage of producing bold and elegant designs that stand out from the crowd.

With this in mind, I took to Microsoft paint and made a rudimentary update of the 2019 Cadillac XT4 while on a flight yesterday. I updated the front to incorporate more brand characteristics like a large grille and a more luxurious bumper treatment and added chrome detailing to the lower valance.

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A re-imagined XT4 with more of Cadillac’s signature design elements.

The changes are simple but they collectively have a major impact on the vehicle’s identity; it just looks more like a Cadillac.

What are your thoughts? Let us know on Facebook. Thanks for reading Third Auto.

[Images: Cadillac]

Updating A Classic: New Jeep Wrangler Debuts This Month

The new 2018 Jeep Wrangler is set to debut later this month, on November 29, 2017. With the few photos that have been released so far, we can see that the interior has received a major upgrade in terms of content and design. It now features better ergonomics for improved usability and nice design details like stitching on the dash, while still maintaining the rugged character that defines the Wrangler’s legacy. We’d expect improvement in NVH (Noise, Vibration, Harshness) to be baked into the new package for improved comfort. Outside, the look is evolutionary with a few more curves than before and updated lighting elements.

2018 Jeep Wrangler interior

Overall, this update looks to be a great update for an evergreen vehicle that never seems to go out of fashion. Expect more details to come as the 2018 Jeep Wrangler’s release date approaches.

Did you know? The Jeep Wrangler’s basic design traces back to the Willys MB, utilized by the U.S. Army Truck during World War II.

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[Images: Jeep]

Building A $100,000 Lincoln Navigator

When the Lincoln Navigator in 1997 as a 1998 model, the 4×4 version carried an MSRP of $42,960, adjusted for inflation that comes out to $65,614 in 2017 dollars. That’s a lot of coin for what is essentially a fancy version of the Ford Expedition, however it sold well throughout its first generation.

Fast forward two decades, it’s now 2017 and Lincoln has released the 2018 model of the venerable Navigator. The 4×4 regular wheelbase version carries an MSRP of $74,710, nearly ten thousand dollars more than its ancestor from the late 90’s. While certainly better equipped with more comfort and safety features, not to mention technology, this is fairly pricey considering the sales champion Mercedes-Benz GLS starts at $70,545.

What’s truly surprising though is that when fully optioned, the 2018 Lincoln Navigator cross the six figure barrier. We went to Lincoln’s website to build out the top dog of the Navigator family.

First, we selected the Extended model, which adds 15 cubic feet behind the third row compared to the regular bodystyle. Then, select 4×4 followed by the Black Label trim. Combining unique color combinations and wheel designs, the Black Label designation dresses up the look of the Navigator.

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Select the Yacht or Chalet interior themes, which carry a slight price premium over the Destination theme. Let’s go with Yacht; it not only looks elegant, the name befits the massive Navigator. By the way, how fun are these name? It’s all seems so very old money. Next up, the exterior.

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Designers did a great job of giving the Navigator a unique and upscale look inside. There’s some nods to Lincoln’s heritage with the formidable dash, which evokes Detroit iron of decades past.

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Selecting one of the two premium paint colors adds $1,790 to the MSRP, moving it perilously close the the six figure market at $98.850. Chroma Blue Crystal carries on the nautical theme, so let’s to with that.

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The Navigator comes very well equipped, however there are a few available options. The $1,230 30-way front seats seem perfectly suited to such an over the top vehicle.

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And there we have it, the 2018 Navigator 4×4 Extended Black Label with Yacht theme interior, Chroma Crystal Blue exterior and upgraded front seats. The grand total MSRP comes out to $100,100, that’s a whole $25,390 more than the regular length 4×4 Navigator.

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Lincoln Motor Company was founded in 1917 and named after President Abraham Lincoln, who is featured on the five dollar bill. In order to pay for the Navigator above in Lincolns, plan to bring 20,020 along to the dealership.

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[Images: Lincoln, Wikipedia]

 

 

Game On: New Expedition Goes To War Against Tahoe

Ford has finally given the Expedition a major restyle with the introduction of the 2018 model and it is ready to do battle against the sales leaders from GM. The Ford’s styling now very closely mirrors the Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and GMC Yukon. Clearly, Ford had GM in their cross hair when building out the new model.

Up to this point the GM models have handily outsold the Expedition. However, now that they are several years into their life cycle it will be interesting to see how sales fare over the next few months. This could turn into a battle royale as GM attempts to defend it turf in the full-size SUV game, possibly through the use of compelling incentives.

The Expedition and the extended Expedition MAX have a trick up their sleeve with their interiors, which look far more upscale than those in the GM SUV’s. Also, the independent rear suspension creates more interior room, especially in the third row and cargo area.

Interestingly, gas mileage is essentially a tossup. While the standard Expedition with its EcoBoost V-6 achieves one MPG over the standard Tahoe in city and highway, it’s not a significant difference considering the Ford’s aluminum-intensive platform and two fewer cylinders. Given the minimal trade off in mileage, potential customers might be more inclined to go with the standard V-8 in the GM models.

The war has just begun. Check back in with Third Auto as we report from the full-size SUV battlefield.

[Images: Ford, GM]

Welcome to Third Auto

Three is said to represent the past, present and future. As I’ve planned the launch Third Auto, I’ve spent just about as much time thinking ahead as I have glancing back.

Try as I might, I cannot pinpoint an exact moment that sparked my interest in cars. From a very young age I began compiling mental inventories of makes and models, and soon enough picked my favorites from the crowd. The third-row jumpseat in the family station wagon was an ideal vantage point, as was the view onto busy Norwood Avenue from the bedroom window of my childhood bedroom.

I can remember being enamored with Volvo station wagons which had a windshield wiper on the back window; something I was absolutely thunderstruck by. So much so that I would pretend our Chevrolet Celebrity EuroSport had a rear window wiper, too. I’d accomplish this by clearing the foggy window with my arm, but only in the radius with which a wiper blade would hit. If the Chevy didn’t have a rear wiper at least I could pretend it did.

The fixation with wipers continued as I explored the glorious Monoblade wiper on Mercedes-Benz models in the 80’s and 90’s, which moved with mesmerizing theatrics as it cleared the windshield. Other curiosities included headlamp wipers, found on countless European makes of that era.

Chrysler minivans were another revelation. I was partial to those with woodgrain trim, and found their tall cabins filled with cupholders and cubbies to be wondrous. The massive overhead console with map lights and a digital compass found in some upscale models were especially endearing. A minivan, with its door that slide open and enough space with walk around while in motion, was worlds away from the layout of our Chevy station wagon.

Over time my ability to identify cars from a distance became laser sharp and soon enough I was accumulating car magazines with every trip to the food store. By the age of ten I began helping family members pick out cars to buy. 1996 was especially memorable when the old Chevy wagon was replaced with a gleaming candy apple red 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan ES. I miss that car; the design of the third-generation Chrysler minivans still looks good today.

As years went on, in addition to family members I began helping friends pick out vehicles and also started my own summer job of washing cars in my parent’s backyard. My car brochure collection grew to massive proportions as I’d constantly request material on all the latest models, and then diligently read them in my spare time. For any road trips, I’d usually select a handful of brochures beforehand and take them with me to read along the way.

I’ve continued to closely follow the auto industry throughout the subsequent years and created Third Auto to offer my perspective on industry news, trends, design analysis and more. I hope to provide thoughtful and informed commentary for both auto enthusiasts and car shoppers alike.

Third Auto is dedicated to my supportive family, friends, neighbors and colleagues, who have encouraged me to pursue my interest in automobiles.