I’ve been a little quiet in terms of blogging over the last week or so. There are several reasons for this, not least the fact I was engrossed in compiling loads of information for my brother on different potential purchases. Whilst we now have a little bit of a clearer idea of what he wants, I seem to be further away than ever in regards to choosing my next vehicle – the issue of reliability has reared it’s head again and has scared me back into considering the slightly yawn-worthy Lexus RX400h!
But the last week has also seen the launch of several vehicles which have piqued my interest as potential options for the future, or at least vehicles I intend to pay half-attention to over the course of their launches. Both the New York AND Beijing Auto Shows are in the next week and so some rather interesting metal has appeared already…here are a few 🙂
OK so I know this is almost the polar opposite of the car that most car-buffs would be interested in, but then I am not most car buffs! The Kia Sedona/Carnival is a full sized MPV which sold for quite a while in the UK market as well as across the world; large, practical and slightly agricultural it won fans by offering near unbeatable space for the price. After being discontinued a couple of years ago the Sedona is now back with a much more premium look inside and out, but unfortunately not for European buyers seeing as though the market for full sized people carriers has basically fallen apart for non Ford/VAG entries. That’s a shame because the Sedona is a fine looking MPV, with chunky, aggressive styling more in the vein of a crossover than the saggy last-gen car. Inside the Kia looks almost BMW-esque and also offers seating for 8, I reckon that if Kia had skipped on the sliding doors and raised the ride height a bit they could have had a proper full-sized crossover a la Chevrolet Traverse, but as it stands this more honest vehicle will probably still do quite well.
Another vehicle that probably won’t make it to our shores is the 3rd generation Murano. I have been a closet fan of Nissan’s mid-size crossover for a few years and in it’s first generation it is a genuinely attractive alternative to more premium rivals. The second generation had a horribly fussy front end but was in fact offered with a diesel engine in European markets for a few years until 2012, but lack of sales and Nissan’s decision to focus on more upmarket/expensive Infiniti models meant that the Murano’s high-ish price did not sit well in a market dominated by smaller/cheaper/more economical rivals. Still, vehicles like the Murano are popular in North America and so this new generation is an important car for Nissan, and by making it more radically styled than more conventional sister models like the Nissan Rogue/X-Trail it means that it is still appealing for those looking for a cheaper alternative to the likes of the Lexus RX.
Speaking of the RX, after years of waiting it finally has a little sibling! Lexus made their intentions to launch a sub-RX model quite clear last year with the release of the LF-NX concept and whilst it was not met with universal praise, it at least made sense that Lexus were entering the booming luxury compact crossover segment. The finished product has been revealed before it’s Beijing launch and it has again met mixed reviews from commentators on car blogs…but then surely it was always going to? After all it’s both a Lexus and a crossover, neither of which traditionally create good vibes from those obsessed with horsepower and handling. The NX actually looks pretty good in my opinion, admittedly similar to the Mazda CX-5 but the Lexus’ ‘Nike’ running lights are at least distinctive. The interior has met a more positive reaction and comes with an analogue clock and the option of bamboo wood, but possibly more interesting is what’s under the bonnet; Lexus’ first ever turbo engine or the hybrid engine from the IS300h. Launching next year I really hope the NX gets some decent sales in the UK…even without having stepped in one of their dealerships I know they are the best and get people going back to the brand time after time.
Land Rover ‘Discovery Vision’:
Last and by no means least we have a proper concept car from Land Rover; the Discovery Vision gives a good glimpse of the upcoming ‘Discovery’ line of vehicles, which will apparently eventually form a 4-strong addition to Land Rover’s already pretty comprehensive line up. The Freelander will be replaced by a so-called ‘Discovery Junior’, and it’s oft-rumoured 7 seat variant will be christened ‘Discovery Sport’. It’s this car that is previewed by this concept and features sleeker styling than current Discovery/Freelander vehicles, in a smaller form than the existing Discovery which will itself be replaced properly with another move upmarket. The fourth car in the Discovery brand is a replacement for the Defender and will apparently do battle with the likes of the Toyota Land Cruiser ‘Prado’ as a ‘proper’ off roader with few luxury pretensions. The concept also features an amazing interior with a massive touchscreen instead of a centre console, plus amazing features like a ‘see through’ bonnet, remote control via app, suicide doors and tablets in the back of the headrests. The Discovery Sport likely won’t appear in production guise until next year but who knows it may eventually be appearing on my shopping list.