What a Year It Has Been!! Part 2

As promised here is a very tedious run-down of the year’s news.

2017 Alfa Romeo Stelvio QF: Alfa Romeo UK

Launches, launches, launches. Alfa Stelvio. Range Rover coupe. Porsche 911 GT3. Renaultsport Megane RS. Porsche 911 GT2RS. Volvo XC40. Kia Stinger. Bugatti Chiron. Rolls-Royce Phantom. Aston Martin V8. Ford GT. Koenigsegg Regera. Audi A8. Bentley Continental GT. BMW X3. Lamborghini Urus. That’s the list according to one of the car magazines. DTW wrote about the Bentley and the Lamborghini and we didn’t really like them. We also didn’t much like the Stelvio, describing it as a tall Giulia, if memory serves.

If falls to me to

2018 Kia Stinger: Kia Ltd

declare the Suzuki Ignis as the most likeable car of the year. The Kia Stinger gets a “that’s how to do it”. Ford, perhaps most of all, should sit up and note that Kia has designed and manufactured a very credible rear-drive sport saloon. It doesn’t matter that it may not reach the sublime pitch of perfection reviewers somehow detect in BMWs, Audis and Mercedes. What matters is that it costs less than those but offers more than Ford’s larger cars can.

Genesis, Kia’s cousin, takes the battle to Lincoln and Cadillac. Between them, the two cars are showing that GM and Ford’s refusal to countenance RWD for at least some/more of their cars is absurd. Sure, it’s not the most effective package and indeed many people don’t care. Kia though recognizes that there exists a slice of the market – quite possibly enthusiasts indifferent about badges – who see in the Kia a decent car for a lot less than BMW charge.

If I read the US press correctly, BMW have a less than stellar reputation for reliability or long-term ownership that Kia doesn’t. What Kia needs to fix is the dealer experience because I am pretty sure BMW sales people are oily smooth while Kia sales people are more homely in their style. Another slice of the market consists of Ford and GM customers tired of being forced into FWD cars and who might otherwise get an SUV. Now they have a Stinger.

While I am thinking about it, the Stinger really ought to be compared to Alfa Romeo’s Giulia, another RWD throwback. I have yet to see a comparison so it’s hard to see which is better on tarmac. It’d be very unfunny for AR if the Stinger even came close in terms of competence and I expect it does.

In general terms, 2017 is probably the beginning of the tipping point away from ICE cars. For all Tesla’s faults and the limitations of e-cars generally, they are becoming a more and more common sight. The economics of the form improve every year; coupled with the steady fall in the price of renewables, energy will not be a limiting factor either. ICE cars will remain in production; new technology never entirely kills the old. ICEs will be a special form of vehicle for narrow applications.

And that wraps up the year’s news. Well done to the Ignis!

[AutoExpress have done a proper job of this, here.]

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

5 thoughts on “What a Year It Has Been!! Part 2”

  1. I prefer your version, mainly as AE makes no reference to the splendid Ignis (it does make the cut in Autocrosser, though). HNY!

  2. Suzuki Ignis? That’ll set the world on fire!

    Stinger? Well, it’s not cheap at $60,000 Canadian out-the-door for the V6 AWD with all the options – rear-wheel drive is not available. The “homely” KIA dealers you so fondly imagine are really places for credit-challenged customers to get high-interest loans spread over 84 months for “affordability”. Salubrious places they’re not. The cars that actually sell in some quantity are, like Hyundai, not very inspiring and most look alike except for the Soul.

    There are virtually no company cars here or the US, so it’s your own money on the line. Whether badge snobs will venture into a cut-throat KIA dealer to stare at KIA on the wheel hub and fork over $60K is the question, no matter the looks. They’ll also expect service beyond the utter BS my niece is receiving from them at the moment over her 2014 Soul and inoperative driver’s door lock. Their solution? Replace the door for $1200! Right. Checked the internet and KIA makes lousy door lock actuators that don’t work in cold weather – for the last 15 years.

    The Germans have the premium market sewn up with cheap leases based on high residuals. KIAs drop like stones in value. So it’s a gamble for the company, which like sister Hyundai is suffering significant worldwide sales declines, to put out an expensive car. The crossover is king and big cars do not sell well.

    Ford here has a twin-turbo AWD Fusion/Mondeo for less than the Stinger; A V8 Mustang is also less. But people with some money actually buy/lease BMW X1 and X3, Audi Q5 and bucketloads of the ugly Lexus NX200T in the $60K space. So good luck KIA! You’ll need it.

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