Two weeks ago, the production Ford Mustang was revealed. This involved numerous stories from media outlets on everything from a "burnout button" to articles about whether people would buy hybrid or diesel Mustangs. The Mustang was billed as the 2015 model year reveal of the year and it didn't disappoint. But it's now time to focus on other important cars coming out for the 2015 model year (at least until the first media drives of the Mustang are published).
In the next few weeks, the gainfully employed writers of Jalopnik (and Doug DeMuro) will be writing numerous articles about automotive year in review and the vehicles, features, and PR people they liked the most and least. I, however, will not have that luxury because of my compelling need to be unlike the other automotive writers you read. (There's a reason you haven't seen a "Best Cars Not Sold In the USA List" from me.) That and the fact I don't have access to a press pass.
It is therefore my duty to provide balance in looking to the future in the 2015 model year, mainly since I'm bored of seeing Mustang images and provide an alternative to the plentiful "best vehicle" evaluations at this time of year.
Author's Note: None of what I'm about to write has been confirmed by auto industry insiders. So for the love of God, don't take anything written below as fact. (Except perhaps the bit about the last one.) If it was corroborated by a manufacturer, it's very likely I would have a paycheck from a car publication and not have Michael Ballaban promote these lists every week.
Whatever Replaces the Acura TL and TSX
Why It's Significant: Acura needs to compete with BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi, not to mention Lexus and even Cadillac who are really on their game. This means creating a car that'll actually be on yuppies' radar other than the MDX. Not cars like the RLX, which I've never seen on the road and a car which even auto journalists don't bother writing about.
Look For: No rear-drive version. Instead, all-wheel-drive and/or hybrid versions will be available to show Acura can do sporty and fuel-efficient. The handling might even be on par with an A4/S4, but few will care, mainly because of that grille. So these TL/TSX replacements will end up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and will be blown up at least once every episode so Acura can deplete their inventory.
Lamborghini Gallardo Replacement
Why It's Significant: It's a new Lamborghini. Meaning rappers, exotic car clubs, children, and Jalopnik's favorite divorce lawyer will be ecstatic. The Gallardo has been around since 2004; in that time Ferrari has been through the F430 and introduced the 458 and McLaren has introduced the MP4-12C. So whatever is replacing the Gallardo has better be good enough for people to agree to the wackiest of financing schemes..
Look For: Precautions to make sure these don't catch fire. A lot of drag races against 458s. No manual transmission. No rear-wheel-drive ever being offered because of people's tendency to crash them. Many of these to end up on WreckedExotics.com. Numerous YouTube videos of sightings of these cars. Not to mention too many special editions of this car to list, even at launch.
Why It's Significant: It is literally, and monetarily, Sweden's biggest export. (At certain points, the XC90 itself has accounted for between 5 and 10 percent of total Swedish exports.) It is Volvo's do-or-die vehicle and they're banking on the public liking this concept. Not to mention the current XC90 has been around since the debut of Arrested Development.
Look For: Surprisingly, a lot of dads driving these, because stylish. Safety features that you never thought you needed, such as a seat belt for your coffee mug to prevent spillage and an airbag in the cargo area to protect the family pet. A stratospheric price tag since engineering and building it in Sweden is not cheap. No V-8 option, even though the last XC90 V-8 was so much fun. Though a diesel option may make up for it.
Why It's Significant: Mazda needs to update the car to compete with the BRZ/FR-S, 370Z, and the next Mustang. Enough of these need to bought so Jalopnik readers can pick them up for a song in ten years and take them to the autocross course. In fact, Mazda even decided to ask readers what should be on the next Miata, the results of which had no surprises, unless today is your first time on Jalopnik.
Look For: Jalopnik to have more articles on it than the Mustang from individual posts on the weight of the wheels to one bemoaning the lack of a limited-slip differential. More available colors. Jalopnik commenters complaining it isn't light enough and doesn't have enough power, let alone a limited-slip differential. And most importantly, the MX-5 lead engineer vowing to never again work on a sports car project.
The Chrysler 200 Replacement
Why It's Significant: These mainly lead lives as rental cars, so 90% of America's drivers and 5% of Hertz/Enterprise/Dollar Thrifty employees care what the new 200 is going to be like. For normal people, this consists of concerns over where to stash sand and handling with McDonald's trays under the rear wheels. For rental car company employees, the concerns will be over ease of cleaning it and parking lot maneuverability.
Look For: An incredibly slick advertising campaign like the Dart and Durango. Available engines that you may actually like. Rental car companies will frame renting you the new 200 as an upgrade, though that'll change once the representative realizes there's nothing else on the lot. Expect dealers to first be surprised when you inquire about this car and then promptly attempt to upsell you to a 300 John Varvatos Edition.
Satish Kondapavulur runs Clunkerture, named because "Clunker.com" was $82 at auction and would've taken 30% out of the balance of his Eagle Vision for LeMons fund. In between contemplating cross-country runs, he spends much of his time attempting to convince others that his MkV Jetta 2.0T Wolfsburg is indeed a sports sedan.
Cover background image courtesy Calendars-365. All other images courtesy respective automakers.