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