The new car model year, embracing 2014 AND 2015 models for nearly all segments now, is well underway and for the first time covers most segments with all-new models – from “ supersedan” to subsub compact.
“You name it, we got it”
All new segments will be challenged by the Volkswagen Group, led by a 7-seat crossover positioned between the Chattanooga-built Passat sedan and VW Touareg SUV.
Volkswagen is greeting two model runs (2014 and 2015) on an ‘all-new’ model wave – exterior and interior.
It is leveraging new Passat models to hoist U.S. sales, as it approaches its 2018 goals of 8 million U.S. car sales a year plus 2 million Audi cars.
The upcoming sales target will be further underpinned by a more powerful V-6 turbo engine and hybrid or diesel engine, aimed to compete with the all-new BMW 4 series, met by a Mercedes C-class CLA.
Assuming VW’s “affordability” image, as measured against comparable competitive cars, there follows a list of comparable 2014 and 2015 models in the compact-plus segment established by the upgraded Passat:
Chevrolet Suggested List Prices: 2015 Chevrolet or MINI Countryman Polo/ Cross Blue Edition – $12,500
2015 Nissan Versa Note SUV $14,780 (renamed hatchback) 4-series (new: pullaway floor (Divide & Hide) is really newborn.
2014 Groundbreaking Mazda sedan and Coupe, sporting engine accessories like those of Mazda S – drivers can adjust dampers and enjoy variable-ratio steering. Mazda, now a true “drivers car”, stepping up to Mazda 3 and BMW 4-series. BMW 4 prices from $41,425, striving to keep lead in creamy compact segment with engine leapfrog over Mazda 3 as leader in midsize compact segment and what Motor Trend’s Carlos Longo calls top-of-the pack performance.
This is the model year when the “Boys at Bimmerville” (Munich) seek to stave off the new 4-banger challengers from VW, Audi and Lexus with the all-new 4 series outperforming the poky 3-series. BMW’s speed champion is an IS 350 Sport, price rated ahead of the macho Cadillac ATS 3.6 by Car and Driver.
So… who can beat the 3-series? As was the case in the early 1990’s, Lexus, of course, with Carlos Ghosn’s Infiniti Q50’s outpulling its foes in top speed and price $44,105.
We told you that slick performance will claim a medal in the “family” segment for 2015.
And another medal on the diesel front, the diesel Chevy Cruze “clicking off” zero to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds – all in a maximum driving range of about 700 miles on a single tank. What’s more the test diesel Cruze, spearheading a run at the subsub compact lead had a turbo, a 6-speed AT, and ran test runs up Pike’s Peak.
The Cruze has “the honor of being the only domestic diesel car built in North America!” – from Lordstown, OH. – a UAW stronghold.