Design Analysis: 1999-2003 Land Rover Discovery Series II

When the quirky Land Rover Discovery entered its second incarnation, known as the Series II, it reached its zenith. Released in 1999, the Discovery Series II took the utilitarian jungle-traversing design of the original and made just enough tweaks to make a timeless design better. The styling was refined just enough to make it look more substantial, modern and sophisticated, without sacrificing the height, massive greenhouse, signature safari windows, very short wheelbase that made it look rugged and far more…

Infiniti And Beyond: With Its Recent Hot Steak, What’s Ahead for the Brand?

Propelled by the popular QX60, Infiniti is quickly catching up to Acura on the sales chart. Last month there was a difference of just 201 sales in the United States between the two brands. Sales are up double digits year to date while Acura’s are down by around 5%. Whether or not this momentum can be maintained is entirely contingent upon the brand’s SUV lineup. Holding court in the compact luxury SUV field is the QX30, sibling to the Mercedes-Benz…

Chrysler Minivans

What is it about the Chrysler minivans that makes them so fascinating? There’s the underdog story of how they helped save Chrysler from its dark days in the 80s. There’s the friendly  styling that contrasted sharply with monstrosities like the Chevrolet Astro, Ford Aerostar, VW Vanagon, Chevrolet Lumina APV and Toyota Previa. And who would forget the woodgrain trim? That signature styling key that somehow fit. For its first three generations Chrysler had the secret minivan sauce. Focus was lost with…

2000 & Late: 2002-2005 Mercedes-Benz C230 Kompressor

You might say that it was something of forbearer to the current day CLA, the 2002 C230 Sport Coupe was an entry point into the Mercedes-Benz dynasty at the dawn of the millennium. Fifteen years later, the design has aged incredibly well. The aerodynamic front with its swept back fascia still looks fresh and the tall rear treatment, which seemed awkward upon launch, almost looks fresher in 2017 when tall rear treatments are on trend. Hyundai and Honda have a…

Finding Buick

In recent years Buick has experience most of its success with its SUVs, then large three-row Enclave and the compact Encore. For 2017, the Envision was introduced to slot in between the two. While its sedan sales have been tepid overall, SUVs have carried the brand. For 2018 the popular Enclave receives its first major redesign since being introduced back in 2008. Building upon the design first seen on the Avenir concept and then on the 2017 Lacrosse full-size sedan,…

Who Will Kia’s Stinger Hurt The Most?

As Kia continues its ascent into the premium category with the flashy 2018 Stinger, questions arise over what models it will compete most closely with. On one hand, its RWD layout and performance focus mean it could conquest muscle car fans in need of more space than what’s offered in a Camaro or Mustang. In terms of brand identity, Kia is more traditionally aligned with Ford and Chevrolet. However, now that features once exclusive to luxury cars like heated leather…

Sharpening The Focus

Let’s face it, the Honda Civic is eating the Ford Focus’s lunch. Last month in the U.S. Honda sold 35,452 Civics, while Ford sold just 11,751. That means that for every one Focus sold, Honda moved three Civics off the dealer lot. Clearly the Ford is not the focus for compact car shoppers. So, what can be done to sharpen Ford’s spear in the compact car sales battle? Outlined below are the steps that could make the next Focus a winner…

2000 & Late: 2003-2006 Volvo XC90

Volvo designs with their stoic minimalism have traditionally aged well. A mid-90’s 850 sedan with its high trunk or 850 wagon with taillamps dominating the D-pillars, just like the latest Escalade, still look remarkably fresh over 20 years after their debut. Another enduring design released in the early 2000’s in Volvo’s first SUV, the XC90. Released for model year 2003, the XC90 was a home run in terms of both sales volume and styling. Just enough height was added to…

Cars That Look More Expensive Than They Actually Are

When it comes to cars, sometimes you get more than you paid for, or at least it can appear that way. A select few cars are styled in such a way that they look more expensive than other vehicles within their class. Although priced no more than their contemporaries, these vehicles have a more premium appearance that belies their price. Tasteful applications of chrome, restrained lines and proper proportions lend an air of elegance to designs that punch above their…

Design Analysis: 2018 BMW 5 Series

Part of what makes the auto industry so fascinating is that it is constantly changing. Like clockwork, every five to seven years most models get redesigned. With reputations and standards to uphold, not to mention customers to impress, stakes are always high for automakers as they go back to the drawing board to rethink, restyle and, occasionally, reinvent their offerings. The iconic BMW 5 Series has long been a favorite among those in the know, so the release of a…