Foreign Pickup Trucks – Successes and Fails

Mercedes X-Class

What makes an ideal pickup truck to buy and what makes a truck that no one will buy?

Kei Truck

To look at the Kei Truck first; it is called a mini-truck, a very small, but practical, pickup truck. It is built very small and is classified as an ATV in some states. Subaru, Honda, and Suzuki, among others, manufacture the Kei Truck. It was developed from a three wheeled truck which could be seen in Japan even before WWII. It weighs less than a metric ton – about 1,500lbs (700Kg) and has a maximum speed of 75 mph. They are produced outside the US and are used in the fishing and construction industries. Unless you’re in one of a handful of states where they’re classified as an ATV, only Kei Trucks older than 25 years may be imported into the US.

The Isuzu V-Cross PCP is designed for both off-roading and traveling on country roads. There are several features you don’t immediately associate with a pickup such as leather seats, a gun-metal exterior, and heated front seats – just the thing for journeying through the colder states. There’s also a touchscreen and a back-up camera to aid your parking.

Unfortunately, a number of pickups didn’t succeed, like the Mercedes X-Class. This was only used between 2018 and 2020. Although Mercedes tends to make waves all over the car market this was a new area for them.  The engine had two different levels of power and had a design based on the Nissan Frontier. Ultimately it had some problems – it was tricky to turn, requiring an excess of 42 feet (13 meters) and was thought too expensive for most customers, not even reaching 17 thousand sales.

Did you know that a Toyota Hilux features in Back To The Future? If so, you are not alone. This bulky pickup has been available since 1968. It has “sports bars” at the front and a strong towing capacity at the back with the additional robust frame and why not take advantage of the cruise control and a collision prevention control. The music tech is also worth mentioning, the Smartphone integration. There are also test drive available from the website. 

The story of the Mahindra is a whole different affair. Its lack of fuel efficiency held it up during production, although it duped hundreds of US audio dealers into investment. The parent company, Global, was selling utility vehicles in 2004. It managed to obtain 350 potential buyers around this period. Unfortunately, it never got to launch.  Despite being planned for a number of years, the fuel emission certificate was only signed in 2011. Dealers paid to get the franchise but it all came to naught.  Several millions were syphoned into branding the product and even creating showrooms. The company later admitted the pressure was too great.

There are so many brilliant pickups out there it would be surprising if some different fall by the wayside. The working nature of the vehicle is important but so is comfortability and style.

Various Gear Sticks

How do you drive a stick shift car?

You’ll want to engage the services of an actual driving instructor to learn to drive, but here’s a simple description of the process. We’ll start off with the basics.

The neutral sign in the middle is surrounded by the numbers one to five and the R for reverse (sometimes there is a P instead for Parking). 1-2-3-4-5-R (or P) form an extra wide H shape with the N in the middle. (If their were only gears 1-3 and R you’d have an H.

Shifting into first

With the gear shift should be in neutral you must depress the clutch and the brake.

Turn on the ignition. If you are sure it’s in neutral take the parking brake off if it is on. Then check your mirrors and signal your intention.

After some moments keeping the brake with the right foot and the clutch with your left, move into first gear. Take your foot off the brake now. Slowly release the clutch while pressing down the accelerator pedal roughly equal to the release of the clutch. You’re now in first gear.

Going Up Gears

You probably need to go up a second gear to go faster than 10mph. You will repeat the left and right foot motion to go up a gear, but your car will be rolling forward as you do. Despite this, many people feel like starting from zero forward motion is the hardest part.

You probably change gear without thinking about it but the best way apparently is to cup the gear-shift (or lever), rather than swipe or thump it. It needs to be a conscious decision that you make. Unless the gear shift pedal is pressed down the gear stick shouldn’t move.

Note: shifting up or down is informal terminology. It is more formally called a transmission level.

If you do something like go over a bump or go downhill, you need to change to a lower gear. However, most people just put it in neutral or depress the pedal the whole way downhill. It’s a better idea to shift down on a downhill so you can more quickly re-engage the engine at the right power level, or if your brakes fail you can use the engine to slow your vehicle down.

Odd Shift Levers

Some cars like the Mercedes Benz 180 have a shifter sticking out of the steering wheel. The BMW and the Audi both use a joystick, while the Jaguar and Land Rover use a rotary shifter instead of shifting a stick. A push button gear stick is the rarest – you have to press the button to change them.

The Honda Odyssey has buttons on a central dashboard or console, usually where you have your entertainment system. It’s doubtful that most people would be comfortable using a crystal glass gear shaft used by the Volvo XC60 at least to start with but if you drove this type of car you would have to get used to it.

In the Lexus LC 500 the joystick matches the leather upholstery which again takes some getting used to.

The Hurst has a pistol grip which is a bit like a huge joystick, only cooler. The Chevrolet Camaro uses a horseshoe switch design which has a certain steampunk appeal, it doesn’t however look that practical. It is not clear immediately how you change gear or even how you get out of neutral as the only control seems to be only one switch.

Historic Types of Shifting

Many old trucks have the Reverse where 1st should be or way off to the left or right of the other gears. And many trucks were geared to be able to skip gears when the truck isn’t loaded or hauling a heavy trailer. But you are unlikely to run into such things.

Hardly anyone has driven a car with sliding mesh manual transmission which was the first way to change gear, the first car invented with gear in 1894. It only had three forward gears so parking was a problem. It slid left or right but the gearing unit was basically a rotational shaft which moves or “transmits” the power from one end to the other.  Luckily this has all changed.

Pros & Cons of Manual Cars

The transmission in a manual car is much simpler so it breaks down less and is cheaper to fix when it does. By the time your automatic transmission breaks down it’ll be hard to find a replacement. You’ll have to seek out one from a junk yard which will have some milage and age on it. So if you keep a car for several years, manuals are considered the better option.

On the other hand, if you drive in congested city traffic on a regular basis, operating a clutch gets really old, really fast. So it’s just a strategic choice.

One reason we included the “how tos” in this post is that it’s a good idea to know how to shift even when you have an automatic car. You’ll get a better understanding of how your car operates when you are accelerating, even though its doing it for you.

Cars Which Allow Three Child Seats?

First things first, if you need to ask questions like this, life could be hard. So, take some time out and relax while you read this article because there’s a number of details to get through.

There have been many tests to see how to fit child seats in different cars.

Fitting child seats is a pain, but what happens if you have three car seats which need to be fitted? Here your choices may be limited, as there just isn’t enough room to accommodate them in the average subcompact or compact and even larger cars. You have to be looking an SUV or similar.

There are no such problems with the Audi Q7. It’s an SUV which gives a clue as to why it’s so accommodating. It’s also a five door with air suspension and has mild-hybrid tech. There are severa versions or trims available. It also has Audi Matrix LED headlights with indicators both on the front and rear.

Next there’s the SEAT Alhambra. Considering the capacity (seven) it would be surprising if it doesn’t fit three car seats but fitting them in a row is harder–you can only use the second row. Other features include blind spot detection and a choice of soft or metallic shades. The trim options are Style, Xcellence and FR-Line.

The feature of being superbly spacious goes without saying but the Volkswagen Touran also has a high-quality interior. It has long lasting LED headlights and a cruise control which can calculate what the car in front is doing. Other technology features are lane assist and even trailer assist. You have the choice of “configuring” or choosing individual features online.

There’s a certain something about the Land Rover Discovery. Although you don’t immediately associate Land Rover with the family commute there’s absolutely no reason not to. It had a choice of interiors so you needn’t have three seats at all, you may only require two seats in the back. It has a number of other features such as the tailgate, surround sound system and fast start up.

The S-Max is defined by Ford, its manufacturer, as a minivan, which are supposed to be designed for the family, although some fall way short. The contoured seats are adjustable with a massage feature. For your peace of mind there’s an emergency brake assist. It has Titanium, ST-Line and Vignale. Unfortunately, the last one was made in 2020.

The Mercedes-Benz GLS (the third-generation type) is another SUV. Its design is towards the minimal. There have been GLS vehicles manufactured since 2006; the GLS is short for a German word geländewagen which indicates it is an off-road vehicle at least in style, which explains its four-wheel drive. The third-generation car is a 3.0 liter turbo.

The Tesla Model S in an electric car with all-wheel drive; the charge point being located behind one of the taillights. It is defined simply as a large car in the US. An interesting feature with this car is the front trunk (or frunk in the US) for storage.

It would be fascinating to see these cars lined up. Despite having enough space for the child seats there’s a great variation between them.

Looking Through Car Websites

The cliché is that a website is a shop window, but we can do more these days. What makes a car website a “good” website? It must have all the usual UXUI functionality we’ve come to expect, and a little bit more. It needs the kind of things you can only do on a car website—like a virtual test drive. Ideally, it should have everything you need in order to make a decision about which car you will end up with.

How does a virtual drive compare to an actual drive?

A bit of science: It seems people behave in a more reckless fashion in the virtual drive according to several studies, including Bella’s study in 2008 which would suggest that most people are more likely to let go in a virtual car than a real one.

In both real and virtual test drives the heart rate goes up as can be seen in Reimer and Melher’s study and both require the same amount of work and precision. You may possibly have thought that a virtual image could be more or less attractive than real life, but no, it needs to be as realistic.

There’s bad news too if you find driving stressful; you will find simulated driving stressful as well. (This was according to Walshe, Lewis, O’Sullivan and Kim’s study in 2017). According to the measured heart rate there was a slight feeling that you are in a vehicle and it’s under your control, even if it is patently obvious that this is not the case.

Apart from having a test drive how should the site be arranged?

Although first impressions count, and people examine the shine of the website before examining the goods it’s important not to be taken in by money spent on the website. Okay, it may be important that the website is optimized to your mobile device for instance, but what is more vital is how these vehicles look and what they are like to drive.

Layout:

So how to negotiate the car site? Various places online chose to publish the price of their vehicles from the highest to the lowest. They don’t do this because you would find the car on the front page and stop looking. They know you’ll keep searching until you find what you’re looking for…but there’s no reason not to make you walk past what you can’t afford on the way there. But there should be short cuts to cars most commonly bought.

Try seeing which cars are nearest to your zip code, there is little point in considering a car if it would need to be delivered and that incurs extra expense. If it’s used car inventory they should be willing to state the milage. It’s an important element to consider so it should be possible to filter for a range of mileage.

Selecting by brand is helpful if you know exactly which brand you require, but many don’t. Selecting by vehicle type would be better as you can compare brands but it will only show relevant cars.

Selecting by year of production is only that useful if you are sorting through vintage cars or classic cars. Selecting by mileage is a better way to judge the age of a car than the actual age.

It’s a good idea to look for the latest listings – most people ask themselves why are these cars still unsold – but it’s also worth seeing everything a site has to offer.

New Car Rules And Guidelines

A new president in the US means new legislation. Specifically the amount of emission of a new car as well as the number of new EV – electric vehicles – on the market.

Congress plans to add $2500 to the amount of credit to US EVs with a possible additional $2500 if unions are involved. This means that more electric vehicles can be made – SUVs. pick-up trucks or whatever.

Joe Biden proclaims himself as “American car guy” but more precisely “American e-car guy”. In 2021 only 5% of all car sales were electric. There also needs to be a massive investment in charging stations. But it’s none too clear where they should be.

Although the path to further electric cars seems a path we will have to follow eventually it is still highly expensive and as a result controversial.

The vehicle metals need to be shipped from abroad. Many US citizens wish this wasn’t so and they were using metals from US mines though it primarily went into battery parts for the US market.

Previously there was a reliance on China for metals, which will be reversed by this legislation. The metal will come from such places as Canada and Brazil.

What will become or 2021?

2021 may seem like a pivotal year with the theme of “Build Back Better,” and it’s great PR to make bold claims, but how do these ideas stack up?

There’s a feeling in the air that it’s something that needs to happen but not exactly right now. Volvo for instance wants to remove combustion engine “tech” by 2030. General Motors wants to remove any emissions from the tailpipe by 2035. It’s not clear if this will be reached because of the 2021 legislation.

One way to tackle gas emissions in an increase in loans and funding, as suggested by the Environmental & Energy Program. There’s a number of costs involved in e-cars, such as expensive lithium batteries and the difficulties in charging the cars, when compared with filling up on gas or diesel it takes too long. Or so the current surveys may suggest…

There are also regulations designed to make passenger cars more efficient and decrease how much carbon dioxide it produces. It also affects light trucks – exactly why heavy trucks are omitted is unclear because the same agency (Corporate Agency Fuel Economy) also deals with larger vehicles. Nor does it seem to affect SUVs or crossovers, again vehicles known for their substantiality over their economy.

When compared to previous initiatives:

NY City Now

In 1970 congress passed the Clean Air Act and established the EPA to champion the cause. According to the EPA’s own site the 1970’s clean air act was a success(https://www.epa.gov/transportation-air-pollution-and-climate-change/accomplishments-and-success-air-pollution-transportation), but it’s noteworthy that US automakers couldn’t meet the standards by the initial deadline. They were nearly impossible to meet, although Japanese automakers Honda made it by the deadline and almost became the only brand allowed to be sold in the US. Congress ultimately extended the deadline giving US makers a chance to catch up.

NY City Pre Clean Air Act

By comparison, these new rules – not exactly laws – seem to have been led by public demand. The previous rules were hard for the companies to use, a far too high standard, these ones seem more realistic. There are always pressures from various quarters to bring down the numbers. Emissions are coming down but it’s not a steep decline.

This standard is expected to stay stable until 2026. They are based on ideas of being “tougher but feasible” according to Congress, ensuring that cars are safe and remain relatively affordable. It’s a compromise but it had to be in order to make progress.

On the subject of progress, there is some way to go. The companies which are agreeing to these changes make up only 30% of all cars sold in the US. Could it be described as only a token victory? Perhaps.

The Soft Top vs The Hard Top Car

This is about the two basic choices of buying a convertible or cabriolet: soft top or hard top. There are more choices to be made with these types of cars, but this is the focus of this post.

Soft Top

A soft top is an informal way of referring to a convertible with a thick fabric roof which can be taken down or removed altogether.

The bad side of the soft top are the maintenance issues. If you maintain it properly it will last about 6 years or so, but hundreds of owners forget regular maintenance.

It’s important to get rid of any specks of dirt and repair any rips in the fabric. It’s awkward to find the right material to clean them, as you can’t use any product that contains citric acid, bleach or petroleum. The acid in these products aren’t reactant to water. An auto shampoo is better though you do need to rinse the shampoo off, otherwise the colour will fade.

If you leave the top in the weather for a long time it may develop mold or spores, the first can be removed using a hood cleaner, the second using a mix of white vinegar and warm water applying it using a clean microfiber cloth. It’s best to use protective gloves when handling vinegar.

You should also use the microfiber cloth and cool water for the plastic window, a normal glass cleaner will make it speckled.

Although it seems a simpler treatment, a car wash will ruin the fabric. In a similar way a power wash is also a no no, the basic message here is there are no shortcuts!

The Real Gotcha of Soft Tops

You shouldn’t leave the top down overnight, as it can become stuck down. If you park outside you might want to leave it up in case of rain, but then it’s going to get more sun fade and wear from the weather and more incidental damage. If the roof does become stuck it is important not to force it – see expert help.

Soft tops are hard to secure – and it means insurance premiums are higher unless you keep it in a garage or similar. It’s best to shop around to discover the insurers who offer specialist rates for convertible. So bottom line, be sure to always garage your convertible.

Hard Tops

Merc Hard Top (self storing)

There are certain advantages to buying a hard top – it’s harder to break into and offers better protection against the elements. However, they are more expensive, and many drivers seem to think they don’t have the look of an iconic convertible.

There is also a color difference between the top and the body of the car. This isn’t noticeable for some consumers while others it drives crazy. Some describe the roof color as “too perfect.” The sun will also fade the roof at a different rate than the rest of the car, but it sort of does that even on standard cars, so just expect a paint job to expire after a few years.

There are two main types of hard top, those that come off in one piece to store in a garage and those that fold into a compartment in the trunk space for safe keeping. The first is more like having a regular roof, the second is more convenient and lets you take the car out when there is a chance of rain (because you have the roof with you if it starts to rain).

Which is Better?

What you may not know is that a soft tops flip much easier than a hard top due to the lower center of gravity because of the flexibility of the roof which reduces the structural integrity of the car. The soft top is more likely to be bent out of shape after an accident even if it does have other elements of structural stability, designed to prevent injury in a crash. (The safety structure, or lack of it, in a soft top is not easily spotted if you lack the knowledge of aerodynamics.)

As so often happens “better” is in the eye of the beholder. In summary, a hard top is over all better, but people just prefer the soft top in terms of status. It could be worth taking both for a test drive to see what you prefer.

Reliability in Cars

For a person, being called reliable is not a good thing. It tends to mean you’re soft or boring. Yet it’s precisely what most people are looking for in a car, whether it be a compact, mid-sized or SUV.

When a car becomes unreliable, what is the problem? It may be the air conditioning, the battery, brakes, the engine and its electrics, suspension and items such as the clutch/gearbox.

Once a car buyer chooses a model, they find dependable its very likely they will stick to that model, maybe for life. Psychologically speaking, people reaffirm their decision by ascribing good feelings towards it. I chose it, so unless I’m confronted with clear evidence that I made a poor choice, I’m going to believe I made a great choice.

What does Reliability Mean?

Family cars and commuter cars most likely to advertise their reliability, but that doesn’t mean they have the same definition of reliability.

In a family car, look at how practical it is and what are the running costs/how fuel efficient is it?

Does it up all the gas? Because families like fuel economy but in a commuter car, there is no reliability in a gas guzzler. Either way, it can’t break down often, which is what most of us think of when we think of reliable.

As for unreliable…

The cars least likely to be advertised as reliable are sports cars and indeed they have their brand of problems. Take Porsches – the 718 Cayman had faults with their engines as well as electrics. A third of them couldn’t even be driven. It may have been linked to having two engines; after all more can go wrong.

Porsche 718 Cayman

Then there’s the Panameras, 47% of which had faults due to their bodywork and other items such as the exhaust. Although the company did pay for some alterations, a number of people had to fork out for their own fixes. You could call buying some of these cars a gamble.

A sports car of the same Porsche brand you can rely on is possibly the 911 with an impressive 370+ horsepower engine. The precise hp is dependent on the exact model so it is best to check with your dealer. It has luxury and has the advantage of not needing those trips to the repair shop. As it has the obscure “number” name that is the number you would dial for assistance in the U.S. it’s a bit ironic that it’s considered the Porsche least likely to break down. Still not a ringing endorsement in many people’s books.

Cars that Might Make the Reliable List

Okay, we don’t have stats on the models that break down the least. Some companies claim to publish this info and they are hotly disputed by manufacturers who don’t make those lists.

We will, however, mention a couple cars that are boring enough to be considered reliable the way we mean it when talking about a person.

Hyundai Electra

When it comes to reliability in a staid, dull kind of way, some critics may look to a vehicle such as the Mitsubishi Mirage. It has an evident grayness and the controls seem workaday. Is it reliable though? It does have a tendency to gobble up the gas, not that good an attribute.

Another example is the Hyandai Electra which is built to attract the older generation; note the black/brown interior. There is something weird about the steering wheel, you either have to strain your arms or position your body too far forwards. The rear view is too obscured by the head rests, and the acceleration seems cursed, it just doesn’t get going. But it wasn’t designed to be “peppy.”

Okay, we know what you really mean by reliability….

Reliability means that the car is inexpensive to repair and won’t be in the workshop for several weeks when it does break down. For those who use the car everyday, say for commuting, this must surely be the most prominent meaning of the word “reliable”. So the trick is finding a car that’s reliable but not boring!

Altering the Car’s Interior

What can be altered about a car’s interior? Is it even worth it?

People do want their to personalize their car and to express their creativity but there are consequences if you go too far.

1st Reselling

Obviously if they car’s interior is in bad shape then there is nowhere to go but up, however it depends on how you intend to sell your car—should you be thinking of eventually doing so. In the second-hand market, yes, a consumer who looks at a nicely redone interior will prefer it to seeing an original interior with scuffs or holes, even if it’s not a factory color. You would need to do some research to find out what’s desirable based on your make and model.

If you try and sell the car in a mainstream way you may have difficulty selling the vehicle. A car lot will be able to spot customized interiors no matter how well it is done.

Other Factors

The layout of some interiors could mean that the comfort of passengers have been compromised and some changes may even be illegal – please don’t overdo your alterations!

It could make your insurance invalid depending on the changes made. You call it custom, your insurance calls it vandalism. That’s assuming you’ve done it well, which frankly a lot of people don’t. It is hard to do well and highly difficult to change back.

Ways to Customize.

Carpets

One place to start is the car’s carpets as most of them have a dull black or gray pattern and a bit of pattern might make a change.

An alternative is to buy some mats, the more expensive the better value it will give the car. If you bought your car used you might start by having the carpets shampooed. Don’t replace them if they’re simply dulled by soil.

PS grime ads wear to carpets so keeping them clean radically extends their life.

Seats

Moving on to the seats, you can buy what are known as aftermarket seats for instance bucket seats as replacement for the originals. As hinted to above, it is vital that you do this properly which means getting a professional in. You’ll need to inform your insurer in any case.

Alternately you can have the old seats reupholstered in leather or leatherette or just buy some seat covers. Look to see which fabrics you like. Maybe looking at massage seats, especially if you have back problems.

Steering Wheel & Dash

Back in the day one could unbolt a steering wheel from the column and replace it for a unique look that fit the owner…now there are air bags…

When it comes to altering the steering wheel and the dashboard the prices will escalate very quickly. But there are ways to do it without breaking the bank and also not damaging your insurance.

A simple way of improving the dashboard region is to look at under dash lighting using LED lights or to add vinyl to the steering wheel or dashboard or perhaps a colorful steering wheel cover. A dash kit will change the finish and is relatively easy to install.

Perhaps the most common car customization involves the dash and is the exception to the rules we’ve been talking about. You radio is virtually built to be replaced if you have the right tools and training. Many stereo stores offer instillation services, and you are wise to take advantage of them. An improved stereo won’t get you much in trade in value, but can make a big difference in the second-hand market, depending on the kind of car you are selling.

Other Changes

Another popular upgrade for young people are racing pedals instead of the regular sort. Maybe a trunk liner to make the most of this region of the car? Again, these are pretty inexpensive ways to improve your vehicle. 

For the music lover you might look into upgrading your speakers. There are car owners who alter the entire trunk by filling it with gigantic speakers, but it does render it unusable.

While you are making all these improvements you may as well add some video screens or a video game console. Depends on the amount of pressure from your children, really.

If your driving is a bit under par you may decide to invest in a collision avoidance kit, particularly if you drive at night. Even if you do drive well, it’s good for your piece of mind and helps your insurance premiums.

Your car is likely the second most costly thing you own after your house. Don’t take chances on totalling your car in the name of self-expression. Or do, the choice is yours.

Changing Luxury Cars

2022 Bentley Continental

The definition of a luxury car is not set in stone. We all know what a convertible is, for example, but a luxury car is constantly evolving. A luxury car is about an increased level of comfort, performance and a mix of popular-right-now attributes which increase your well-being or status.

For a long time, then needed to be large, but these days not so much. There is a whole sub-category of luxury sports brands for instance. Increasingly luxury is coming into the world of SUVs, coupes as well as compact luxury and mid-size luxury.

Luxury Brands:

Lincoln MKX

What often leaps to mind is the brands that make exclusively luxury cars, but we do get luxury models from makers who are better known for their everyday cars. Ford, as an example is best known for their trucks, but they make Lincoln and a few other pricey lines. (To be fair, most of their luxury cars are concept cars or collaborations with other automakers.)

One challenge for Luxury only automakers is that they may face a takeover from another company, Bentley is now owned by VW and BMW now owns Rolls Royce.

New Class of Luxury SUVs: (Yes its Oxymoronic)

Rolls Cullinan SUV

There’s even a Rolls Royce SUV which is due to enter the market. Why do we call it an Oxymoron? Well the idea of a luxury vehicle and a “go off road” vehicle just clashes in the mind. If it doesn’t in your mind, please comment on this post and let us know we got it wrong.

The SUV is designed to deal with any terrain in a bold new look. They don’t like the term “SUV” preferring to call it a full-bodied car. It was rumored to be based on a BMW X7 platform.

When Luxury Just Doesn’t Say Enough:

There are also ultra-luxury cars. Many potential customers are young and do not like the old style. Even Rolls Royce are shifting the focus from 60 year old’s to 40 year old’s and looking at an improved interior.

The Rolls Royce Wraith is an ultimate grand tourer not to be confused with the 1938 model with the same name. It has the hardtop design, which is more expensive than the sedan, and all the side windows can roll down.

Rolls Royce Wraith

The Rolls Royce Ghost, named in honor of the Silver Ghost, has the Ghost Extended Wheelbase. It’s designed to be more “realistic” – so more defined than the Phantom at a lower price.

The 2022 Bentley Continental is all about power and handling having air suspension by three-chamber all-wheel drive. It has a series of modes: Bentley, Comfort, Sport and Dynamic. Another selling point is the carbon ceramic brakes. It also has a darkened grille on its hood.

A Luxury Hybrid or EV?

The Mercedes C is defined as a “mild hybrid” having 48V of power as well as having four cylinders. It can rely on a battery pack or plug in as it’s a hybrid. It’s power reaches 25.4kwH, one of the most powerful plug-ins on the market. The interior has been recently updated, now the focus is the touchscreen on the central console.

Merc C

Jaguar is looking at becoming an electric vehicle only brand, but only after 2025. They also have plans to become net zero in 2039 but this may be somewhat optimistic.

Having to wait four years for an electric model might be considered a strange business dynamic but on the plus side there will be six different variants to choose from.

Apart from being electric it remains to see the features of these Jaguar cars. As this is slightly in the future it’s a waiting game.

Ultimately What is a Luxury Car?

It seems that even ultra-luxury cars have to move with the times as luxury needn’t be looking back to a golden age. Sometimes it’s just about getting a modern appearance but with noticeable extras—sometimes it’s just about price.

Passenger and Commuter Cars

Op-Ed By P. Wimsett

Does it matter if you commute in a passenger car or drive your family in a commuter car? Probably not, but we still have these distinctions.

Do commuter cars just exist for lonely single people who desire an extra mile per gallon in exchange for not being reminded that you don’t have a family to fill the rest of your vehicle. What happens if you neither commute nor have a family?

To complicate matters…

…All cars may have the description “passenger cars,” since all commercially produced cars these days can carry passengers. By that token, all cars are commuter cars since they are transportation after all. An alternative to the commuter car and the passenger car is the pleasure car, one used purely for weekends but it’s yet to catch on with the general public.

There are other ways to define cars – a minicompact, a compact and midsize, though a midsize vehicle can also describe pickups and vans.

The truth is it’s hard to market anything that’s all things to all people so it’s practical to put a primary use forward when describing your car to the marketplace—even if consumers don’t always use a certain car for that purpose.

Then the question is, is there a design difference between Commuter and Passenger Cars? Yes! But not a huge one. Passenger cars make a priority of seating capacity, with legroom, smoothness of ride and gas milage a bit behind in the design priority list.

So, what is a Good Commuter Car?

Dacia Duster

Now to commuter cars, you need a way of dealing with excess amount of traffic such as the infotainment system. The greater the size the greater fuel bills. Commuter cars tend to be vehicles such as a subcompact or coupe. There’s no reason to have a big car if you only use it to commute.

SEAT Terraco

Dacia Duster and Toyota Corolla are two examples of regular commuter cars. Electrical alternatives include the SEAT Terraco and the Audi 35 TFSH. If you have an especially long commute you need to look at air conditioning and possibly heated seats for your own sanity and maybe health. Look for a car noted for comfort, cruise control, wifi and hotspots, look at the Vauxhall Insignia or the Ford Focus which has eight engines and a strong EcoBlue color.

The Toyota Hybrid may not have the best hood, because it is a crossover, not a regular SUV.

Another Toyota, the Camry makes the most of not being a hybrid in terms of its four cylinders.

Can you do Both?

Sure, the Vauxhall Passat for example, has features you don’t automatically expect – those being the spacious seat area and the trunk. It’s a good all-rounder rather than purely a commuter car? Who said sorting out these cars was easy?

VW Jetta

The VW Jetta is a small sedan which offers a smooth ride with its supportive and stylish seats. Its selling point is that some people don’t like a hatchback. (The VW Golf has cornered the VW hatchback niche). According to Volkwagen’s own figures it has sold about 14 million units of this model since it was introduced in 1980.

The passenger and the commuter car owner want different things from their car. True there are more convenient ways of dividing the drivers; no one can convincingly say there are two types of driver.

In the end, it’s nice to have a primary function a car was designed around as a handy starting point when you start searching for a car.