Easter is behind us, which means the world’s car companies have shot all their auto show bullets for the season. The New York and Beijing shows are done; time to sum up and pick hits and misses. (Photos from AP Photo, Reuters, and auto makers).
MISS: 2015 Hyundai Sonata
From the peanut gallery out here, the formula for success in the car business seems incredibly simple – make sexy-looking cars that drive well, don’t break and make complicated technology easy to operate. The last-generation Sonata nailed this formula. The reinvented Sonata, on the other hand, has gone all conservative on us. Who makes these decisions?
HIT: 2015 Nissan Murano
The revamped Murano crossover looks just like the dramatic Resonance concept from the 2013 Detroit auto show. Love it. Most crossovers are boring. Not this one.
MISS: 2015 Bentley Flying Spur V8
HIT: 2015 Acura TLX
MISS: BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe
BMW already has shown us the X4 crossover, a miniaturized X6, so what’s the point of a four-door hatchback BMW calls a “coupe?”
HIT: 2015 Toyota Camry
The best-selling car in the United States for 12 years running went stale as old donuts these last few years. The new design is not adventurous, but aggressive enough to please the millions of existing Camry owners longing for a new sedan that doesn’t put them to sleep at first glance – yet remains true to the twin values of reliability and resale value that resonate with all of them. This is that car.
MISS: 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C
HIT: 2015 Aston Martin Vantage GT
MISS: 2015 Dodge Challenger
HIT: 2015 Corvette Z06 convertible
HIT/MISS: 2015 Honda Fit
HIT: 2015 Ford Focus
MISS: 2015 Infiniti Q70L
Well, it will be a miss in North America. No one needs a long-wheelbase version of the former M sedan on this continent, but in China... Hit.
HIT: 2015 Honda HR-V
The car market is ready for a really well-done small crossover and this one, based on the Fit chassis, is it.
MISS: 2015 Jeep Renegade
Jeep should have spent its money on updating the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited. Maybe they’ll like this one in Europe or China.
HIT: Land Rover Discovery Vision concept
Jaguar Land Rover is reinventing itself, and in brilliant ways. An entire new line of Discovery models will be aimed at mid-range buyers, where the volume is in SUVs. This concept shows us what is coming.
MISS: 2015 Kia Sedona
The only car maker that can sell minivans in volume is Chrysler and that’s because they are massively discounted. Perhaps the new free trade agreement with South Korea will allow Kia Canada to discount this one in ways Chrysler has perfected.
HIT: 2015 McLaren 650S
MISS: 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG coupe
The very fast S-Class coupe is a car in search of a market. Not necessary.
HIT: 2015 Subaru Outback
MISS: Volkswagen Golf SportWagen
The Jetta wagon replacement is, unfortunately, a station wagon, not an SUV or a crossover. Wagons don’t sell in North America, especially with Americans.