Model Year Preview : New Vehicle Overview

Toyota’s 467-hp RC F is one of many new and exciting vehicles due to appear on the scene in the coming months. (Photo: Toyota)

Toyota’s 467-hp RC F is one of many new and exciting vehicles due to appear on the scene in the coming months.
(Photo: Toyota)

AutoJournal is charting the changes and significant vehicles’ debuts and updates heading our way in calendar year 2015… and beyond.

The new and revised vehicles we will see over the next 12 months continue the trends we saw in 2014 — more globalized vehicles, more compact and subcompact crossovers, smaller but more efficient and powerful engines, eight and nine-speed transmissions and CVTs, more EVs and plug-in hybrids, more active safety systems including lane-keeping and pseudo self-driving, and connectivity and infotainment features up the ying yang.

Ford & Lincoln

MY 2015 will be a big one for Ford, with the complete overhaul of two iconic nameplates — F-Series Pickup and Mustang. Following those two into showrooms in 2015 is the Ford Transit, a full-size cargo and passenger van, to replace the old body-on-frame E Series van.

Ford also goes to market in 2015 with a completely redesigned Ford Edge, and many models benefiting from mid-cycle refreshing of various degrees (Expedition, Edge, Escape, Explorer, Fusion and Focus).

At Lincoln the big news was the arrival of the Escape-based MKC, and its prominent advertising campaign featuring eclectic actor, Mathew McConaughey. Like its Edge twin, the Lincoln MKX, is also all new for 2015.

General Motors

All eyes will be on Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon in 2015, to see how much appetite is out there for compact/midsize pickups. Also just added to the GM fold are the Cadillac ATS Coupe, and the Chevrolet City Express (a re-badged Nissan NV200), which effectively replaces the departing light-duty versions of the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savanna.

Late in 2015, Buick will welcome the Envision crossover, which slots in between Encore and Enclave. Like the Chevrolet Orlando, the crossover is based on GM’s compact car (Cruze/Verano) platform.

Late in 2015 Cadillac will finally get a big rear-drive flagship — the LTS — to do battle with the likes of BMW 7 Series, M-B E-Class, Audi A8, etc. Before the end of 2015, we should also see new-generation versions of Cadillac CTS-V, Chevrolet Spark, Volt, and Camaro, the latter migrating to the ATS/CTS platform.

BMW & MINI

The i3 EV and i8 plug-in hybrid are the newest members of the BMW’s fleet. On deck to next join is the 2 Series Convertible. A new-generation X6 is also in showrooms.

The 3 Series sedan and wagons will get refreshed mid-year 2015, but the bigger BMW development next year (late) will be the introduction of the automaker’s new RWD platform, which gets its first airing on the 7 Series sedan. Eventually all rear-drive BMWs will gravitate to this new platform.

BMW’s new FWD platform sedan, which first debuted on the new MINI, will gradually get more and more assignments, starting with a new-generation X1 crossover.

The X5 crossover will get a plug-in hybrid version this year.

The first of the “new-platform” MINIS was the 2015 Cooper. So get ready for a steady stream of new-MINI variants. The first three, which we will see next year, will be Cooper Convertible, a hardtop four-door (new model), and the Clubman.

Chrysler

After this year’s introduction of the 200 and a refreshed 300, the Chrysler brand will be quiet over 2015.

Dodge brand gussied up Charger and Challenger for MY 2015, with new interiors and eight-speed automatics, and saw fit to install a 707-hp V8 in the Challenger to create the Hellcat SRT. Dodge’s next move is re-freshening Viper SRT (late 2015), and adding a convertible version in the process.

Fiat 500X and Jeep Renegade are new subcompact crossovers, built in Italy and based on a modified Fiat 500 platform. Later in 2015, look for a refreshed Jeep Grand Cherokee and FIAT’s new roadster, which will be a re-branded version of the new Mazda Miata.

Debuting in early 2015 is the Ram Promaster City, a FIAT-based, front-drive compact van. The bigger and original Promaster (also front-drive) is scheduled for a refresh later in the year.

Hyundai and Kia

After a busy launch cycle, Hyundai will be quieter during 2015. Its last moves were the new-generation versions of Sonata and Genesis sedan. Its next anticipated moves, coming later in 2015, will be the introduction of a new Hybrid version for Sonata (regular and plug-in), and a re-engineered Tuscon.

Kia will also add a PHEV at some point, to join the recently introduced Soul EV.

Kia will keep the minivan flame burning in 2015 with a totally new-generation Sedona. Kia also introduced its new K900 flagship recently (based on Hyundai Equus). Optima will follow Sonata to a new-generation platform during the year. Sorento will soon get a major mid-cycle review, which includes new styling and interior.

Mitsubishi

The Outlander Sport heads into MY 2015 with a new CVT. Doesn’t look like Mitsubishi will have anything else new until later in 2015, when it brings out re-engineered versions of Mirage, Lancer, and Outlander. Outlander’s PHEV may be ready then as well, but probably not the new midsize sedan, which looks to be sourced from Renault. 2015 is the last year for Lancer Evolution.

Mazda

Mazda’s product cycles are among the shortest in the business. The new-generation Mazda2 is in the wings, as is an all-new CX-3 subcompact crossover, and the new-generation MX-5 Miata. But Mazda has even more new stuff coming, such as a substantial mid-cycle revision of Mazda6, and updates for CX-5.

Subaru

Subaru just launched new-generation versions of Legacy and Outback. The other newbie on the fleet is the 2015 WRX, which is now based on the newer Impreza platform. BRZ and VX Crosstrek will get updates soon, but after that, Subaru will be quiet, until 2016/17 or so, when all sorts of stuff happens, most notably the first use of Subaru’s new platform (for Impreza), which will be used on all models, from Impreza to a new 7-seat crossover.

Mercedes-Benz & smart

With the introduction of its new compact FWD series (CLA sedan and GLA crossover), and an all-new C Class and S Class, Mercedes-Benz has a showroom full of newness. In 2015, look for more all-new C Class and S Class variants (convertibles, coupes, hybrids, etc.), but also some totally new models, such as: the MLC, a coupe-like version of the ML crossover to compete with BMW X6; the S550 plug-in Hybrid; the GT AMG sports car targeted at Porsche 911 and Audi R8; the extended-wheelbase S Class “Maybach” edition; and the $1 million or so “Pullman” limousine. Mercedes-Benz is also considering a new passenger van, and a new below-Sprinter commercial van.

The new-generation smart fortwo will touch down by summer.

Jaguar & Land Rover

Jaguar’s new XE compact sedan is still over a year away, and crossover, wagon and coupe versions of XE are two years away plus cheese. But before the end of 2015, we should see the new-generation XF, which will flaunt lots of aluminum and AWD. 2015 will be the last model year for XK Coupe and Convertible.

Land Rover is re-organizing its offering into two sub-brands: Discovery for entry level buyers; Range Rover for high-end buyers. Hence, the Discovery Sport is the new name of the new-generation LR2, when it hits showrooms summer 2015, and Discovery will be the new name of the next LR4, when it shows up in 2016.

Volvo

After a long dry spell, Volvo is ready with new product. When it debuts in early 2015, XC90 will show off Volvo’s new modular architecture, which will eventually be used on all models, except V40, which will use an architecture co-developed with parent company, Geely. After the XC90 debuts, an all-new S90 will soon follow.

Honda & Acura

Honda’s big news is HR-V, the new subcompact crossover based on Fit. CR-V heads into 2015 with a major mid-cycle update, complete with a new direct-injection engine and CVT. 2015 is the last model year for the current Pilot, which is scheduled for a new-generation format.

Acura’s new TLX slots in under flagship, RLX, and attempts to cover ground previously trod by TL and TSX. RLX gets a hybrid. But Acura’s big news for 2015 is the much-anticipated new-gen NSX sports car.

Toyota & Lexus

After creating the new Corolla and RAV4, and revamping the Camry, Toyota will focus next on bringing out all-new versions of Prius and Tacoma (both later in 2015), and revamping Avalon. While we won’t see it in Canada anytime soon, 2015 is the year Toyota’s production fuel cell car, the Mirai, touches down in select cities in Japan and elsewhere.

Lexus goes wild in 2015 with the just-introduced RC coupe. Based on the four-door IS, the new coupe pushes the new Lexus design language into aggressive sport territory. The RC F version is powered by a 467-hp V8. A GS-F is also in the works for later in 2015. Lexus NX is a new entry; the compact crossover is the brand’s first to offer a turbo gas engine (235 hp, 2.0-litre I4). RX gets totally redesigned for MY 2016.

Nissan & Infiniti

Lots of new items coming down the Nissan product pipeline: Freshened up versions of Versa and Juke; re-designed versions of Murano, Titan, Armada, and Frontier; and a new hybrid model for Rogue, to name a few.

Infiniti’s new nomenclature goes with “Q” for cars, and “QX” for anything crossover-ish. The new entry-level, front-drive Q30, coming in 2016, leverages the collaboration agreement between Infiniti and M-B; both Q30’s engine and platform will come from the German automaker (think CLA/B Class). A QX30 crossover will follow. A long wheelbase version of Q70 is now available.

Volkswagen & Audi

2015 is the first model year for the new Golf, and all its variants, which are shuffling slowly but surely into Canada. Golf Sportwagen and Golf R will show up next year, but the electric Golf will not. A spruced-up Touareg is also on its way.

Audi’s big news is the arrival of the Q3 entry-level crossover. Otherwise lots of A3 variants on the way, including A3 convertible, S3, and A3 e-tron, a plug-in hybrid.

 

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