When Toyota’s Camry-Wagon-turned-crossover known as the Highlander debuted in 2001, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical about its existence. This is, after all, essentially the vehicle that assured the demise of the wagon variant of the Camry around the world, though in the US that body style had been dormant since 1997 anyway. Keen as we car guys are on the station wagon, it’s clear by now that the crossover is here to stay. The Highlander has changed a lot in the intervening years, too – though this 2014 redesign might be the most radical departure yet from that oddball Camry with two rear windshield wipers.
When Volkswagen offered to fly me up to drive a full smattering of their 2015 model lineup around Northern Virginia’s rolling hills and the quaint towns they are dotted with, they were ostensibly asking me to really focus on just two of those 2015 models – the fully electric e-Golf, and the refreshed Jetta. Still, though it already had its official launch and has been on sale for a few months now, I was also eager to sample the current GTI. Here’s a recap of what I drove, put in order from “really, really liked it” to “liked it”. There wasn’t a dud in the bunch, honestly, though I admit to steering clear of models like the Passat and Tiguan, which I’d already spent time in recently, and others that weren’t significantly changed for the 2015 model year.
Photos courtesy of Jeep.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, the auto market is starting to slow down after its post-recession sugar rush. But Jeep ain’t listening. Right now Jeep is like Rocky Balboa. Jeep is jogging up stairs of automotive success that are 50% year-over-year steep. Eye Of The Tiger is playing on every Jeep factory radio. I don’t know what Jeep is doing right, and I’m not sure if Jeep knows either, but Jeep is diligently trying to meet the enormous demand with new products. Jeep invited us to take a first look at their new pocket-sized offering, the 2015 Jeep Renegade, which Jeep bills as the most affordable, most city-friendly Jeep to date.
The Toyota Camry was the best selling sedan in the United States for 2013, with over 408,000 units sold. This is the twelfth year straight that Toyota has held the #1 spot for sedan sales, besting the likes of the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima which round out the top three. There are plenty of newcomers clamoring for consumer attention in the mid-sized sedan segment like the fantastic Ford Fusion, Mazda 6 and Kia Optima.
So what keeps the Camry at the #1 spot year after year, even with increased competition from other manufacturers? I spent a week with the 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE to find out.
When development work concluded on the V36 platform, which forms the basis for the 2014 Q60 seen above, it’s easy to believe that Nissan’s engineers had little inkling of the radical brand changes that would occur at Infiniti during their new model’s shelf life. Indeed, during Johan de Nysschen’s two-year tenure as the brand’s chief, much was changed – including their entire system of model nomenclature. Thus, the G37 convertible became the Q60 convertible that I recently spent a week with – but make no mistake, the G37 is still alive and well in this car.