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2010 Domestic New Cars

2010 Ford Taurus SHO

The silcence is deafening

2010 Lincoln MKT
2010 Cadillac Sport Wagon
2010 GMC Terrain
2010 Ford Transit Connect

To paraphrase the late Buffalo News columnist Bob Curran, color me disappointed at the unfolding new car season. The 2010s are arriving at your local dealerships, but the fanfare has been smothered somewhat by: story after story about the cash for clunkers program; the fact that some 2010 models have been available for a while now; and a great sense of ho-hummedness of most of the 2010 lineup—which greatly resembles the 2009 lineup.

Not to say there’s nothing new worth mentioning. Ford’s new Taurus, although I didn’t care for it much when I saw it at the Detroit auto show, is slowly growing on me. It’s certainly an improvement over the former model, known initially as the Five Hundred. This time around there’ll be no Mercury Sable version.

Cadillac has revamped its rather dull SRX crossover into something more in line with the competition—mainly the Lexus RX350. The new SRX looks good, but for my $40,000 I’d want it to look a little less like a Saturn Vue. So spend a little more and spring for the also-new, better-looking Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon. If you buy either, don’t forget to check in the back for a spare tire, as Cadillac makes it an extra-cost option for both models. General Motors has two other new crossovers for 2010 in the redesigned Chevy Equinox, and its GMC clone the Terrain, which I guess they dreamt up to placate the Buick/Pontiac/GMC dealers who will soon lose the Pontiac brand, and with it the current Equinox-twin Pontiac Torrent. Perhaps having learned a lesson with the original Equinox’s not-so-impressive gas mileage, this time around there’s a standard four-cylinder engine which is EPA-rated at up to 32 miles per gallon (the old model was rated no higher than 24).

I guess the biggest news from Chrysler is the fact that there any 2010 models at all. For a while it looked like the whole company was falling off the face of the earth. Not much is new to report except that the PT Cruiser and Chrysler Aspen/Dodge Durango have gone to car heaven. Look for bigger news when the 2011s come out, and the marriage with Fiat has had time to produce some fruit.

Providing some domestic competition for the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon will be the Lincoln MKT, which, if you’re parallel-parking-challenged you can order with an automatic parking system. And if you’re wondering, yes, the MKT and CTS are both—are you ready?—station wagons, although you’ll never see those two dirty words in any official corporate releases.

You’ve seen it previewed in this space before, but the Ford Transit Connect compact van is now available. My 18-year-old daughter saw one the other day and pronounced it “cool.” Maybe Ford is on to something here. It’s bit smaller than the popular Dodge/Freightliner Sprinter models (which are produced by Mercedes-Benz) and are proportionally less expensive. Transits currently on sale in North America are being built in Turkey, but Ford is expected to start building them here for the 2012 model year. Another vehicle you’ve seen here before is the new Buick LaCrosse, which, if it tanks will make GM look pretty silly for keeping the Buick line when it was deciding which brands to jettison at bankruptcy time. In Canada the LaCrosse is known as the Allure because, as you all know, lacrosse is a slang term in French-speaking Canada for, shall we say, self-gratification. And who wants to drive one of those?

Other than that, 2010 domestic news includes the death of the Chevy Trailblazer and all of its GMC, Saab, and Isuzu clones, and the Ford Taurus X. Next time out we’ll look at the 2010 import market—which 50 years ago would have taken up a couple of paragraphs.

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