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Kia Sportage: A Good Asian All-Rounder

Kia Sportage

Most of the Asian automakers are known for making cheap and bland cars. Though they do have some luxury marques that they use to sell their premium models, still their core business is selling nondescript cars. To confirm this, take a look at Toyota, then take another look at Nissan. You’ll see that as much as they do have luxury spinoffs Lexus and Ifiniti respectively, their business architecture is high volume and low margins. Kia does sport some of these characteristics, though it doesn’t have a luxury brand. However, to change this perception the Kia Sportage is a great all-round SUV that has quality and a lot of verve. It’s positioned to compete with the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and the Ford Kuga.

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Volvo XC70: The Swedish Outback

Volvo Xc70

Volvo has been making a comeback of sorts in recent years especially with its much acclaimed SUV line. There was a time a Volvo wasn’t considered as a true luxury brand and was deemed as a fringe player in this segment. However, after the Chinese takeover, the Swedes have been on a comeback trail, and have established themselves as a true luxury car brand. Having the XC90 SUV as a flagship, the new Volvos feature a revolutionary new design that has them competing with the traditional old guard of German brands. Thus, meet the Volvo XC70 which looks like a Subaru Outback drives like an Outback, however feels very different from an Outback. Its similarities to the Outback aside, the XC70 draws its inspiration from the V70 sedans.

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Hyundai Elantra: The Sensible Compact Sedan

Hyundai Elantra

Having become the fifth largest car automaker in the world Hyundai looks to be setting its eyes on the top spot. Hyundai have done this by building mostly affordable and reliable cars. Keeping an eye on the luxury market Hyundai have spawned off the Genesis brand. Genesis represents the Asian automaker’s ambitions. Ambitions aside, the Asian automaker’s bread and butter comes from cars like the Hyundai Elantra. To be honest, the Elantra isn’t Hyundai’s finest work but it is one of its most sensible.

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Audi Q5: Old is Gold

Audi Q5

With the recent SUV crazed car buying consumers, it was only logical for automakers to have a larger catalogue of the crossovers they offered. Another company that has taken to this trend is Audi, who have a very large catalogue of SUVs all badged with a Q. One of its most recent entrant to this line is the Audi Q5, which is meant to compete with the likes of the Evoque and the Macan. Aging rather gracefully, the Q5 is expected to receive another facelift around the end of this year.

The History

Unveiled in the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show, the Audi Cross Cabriolet quattro concept went on to have the underpinnings of the first and current generation of the Q5. This gave way to the production version of the Q5, which was launched at the 2008 Beijing Auto Show, and later in the 2008 LA Auto Show. Continuing to 2012, the Q5 received a facelift, which gave it a redesigned rear and front, with a new set of engines for improved power and efficiency. After the facelift, Audi debuted the S-version of the Q5 later in 2013, and it was known as the SQ5.

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Nissan Murano: Meet the Floating Roof

Nissan Murano

The Nissan Murano is a mid-sized SUV that is marketed somewhere between the Xterra and the Pathfinder. However, note that it is oddly enough more expensive than the Pathfinder. It was also the first crossover that Nissan entered into the American and Canadian market. The Murano wasn’t available as a crossover strictly, as it had a convertible counterpart known as the CrossCabriolet, which was launched back in the 2010 Los Angeles International Auto Show. This variant lasted until production from 2011-2014. Simply, as I suspect I am not the only one who thinks convertible SUVs aren’t a good.

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Ford F-150: The Bestselling Car in America

Ford F-150

During the recent recession, automakers in America were facing some serious challenges. Bleak was their present circumstance and bleaker still was their impending future. There was only one thing to do and that was to ask the government to intervene. Ford was the exception to the rule as it braved through the economic turmoil and made it through. It wouldn’t have done this without the Ford F-150. This has been the bestselling car in America from 1981 and the bestselling pickup since 1977. Now, that is an incredible record. The F-150 light-duty truck is the most popular of the F-Series, which also includes, the Super Duty (F250 to F-550), and the medium-duty trucks Super Duty F-650 and F-750.

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Ford Mondeo: The World Car

Ford Mondeo

Meet the Ford Mondeo, a car meant for the world. Competing for its segment with the likes of the Accord and the Mazda 6, the Mondeo has curved a reputation for itself. It’s one of the cars that saved Ford in Europe

What’s in a Name?

Mondeo seems to draw its name from the French word monde which means world or fashionable world. The Mondeo is known as the Ford Fusion in the North American market.

The History

Development of the Mondeo started all the way back in 1986 and cost Ford an incredible $6 billion to design it. This is one of the biggest new car programs ever in the auto industry. The Mondeo was designed to be as a world car. It was codenamed as the CDW27. Another factor in its astronomical costs was that the Mondeo was a completely new design from its predecessor the Sierra. By the time it launched in 1992, Ford Europe was going through a tough time. At the time it had acquired a reputation of building its cars through accountants rather than engineers. The models at the time had poor handling and a less than impressive ride-quality. Thus, the Mondeo was do or die for Ford in Europe.

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Volkswagen Touareg: The People’s SUV

Volkswagen Touareg

Everyone in the Volskwagen Group seems to be making SUVs, Porsche’s Cayenne and Audi Q7 spring to mind. Now this may not be the Group’s flagship, but the Volkswagen Toaureg is VW’s flagship SUV. The Touareg is not doing as well as VW would have liked, however that isn’t to say that it’s an awful SUV. The main chagrin with it is that there are other cheaper offerings that offer relatively the same features in the market.

What’s in a Name?

The Touuareg are a nomadic people that inhabit the Sahara in North Africa.

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Audi A7: Four-Door Coupes, It’s a German Thing

Audi A7

Okay, when it comes to four door coupes we don’t have as many options as compared to other auto segments. Each option offers its own perks, but the Audi A7 is something truly special. This is a really special car that contends to be at the top of its class. Rivalling the A7, are all German exports Porsche Panamera, BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe and the Mercedes CLS-Class, however facing such esteemed competition, the A7 really holds its own.

The History

Back in the 2009 Detroit Auto Show the Audi Sportback concept was unveiled, and it had the underpinnings of the A7. Later in 2010, the production version was first unveiled in Pinakothek der Moderne art museum in Munich and then at that year’s Paris Motor Show. It was based on the Volkswagen Group MLB platform. This time the A7 was released before the A6 sedan, which was unconventional.

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BMW 5-Series: BMW’s 5th Symphony

BMW 5-Series

The BMW 5-Series has somewhat fallen down the pecking order, as it has lost some of the luster that made it such a hot commodity in days gone by. Especially, with new players like the Volvo S90 and Hyundai Genesis, BMW really needs to revamp the 5-Series or face the prospect of being phased out. However, this is the second bestselling BMW in the market and still the de facto go-to executive car for most. The 5-Series is incredibly important to BMW and it accounted for 50% of BMW’s profits in 2010. It is the second bestselling car from BMW after the 3-Series, and it reached the 5 million mark back in January, 2008.

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