The Safest Cars, 2016 Honda Pilot, Bentley SUV: The Week In Reverse

January 24, 2015

Safety is no longer a back-burner priority for new-car shoppers. Across most types of vehicle shoppers, it’s one of the top concerns. Some vehicles simply don’t make the cut in occupant safety. This week, The Car Connection examined the field of new 2015 models to recommend the safest cars you can buy--cars that earn perfect crash-test scores. This year, our list includes the 2015 Subaru Legacy; the 2015 Volvo S60; the 2015 Hyundai Genesis; the 2015 Mazda 3; the 2015 Mercedes-Benz M-Class (soon to become the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class); the 2015 Subaru Outback; the 2015 Chrysler 200; and the 2015 Mazda CX-5.

When you look at the Honda Pilot, "graceful" isn't the first word that comes to mind -- and that's okay. The Pilot's blocky, somewhat awkward styling has helped it stand out from the increasing number of crossovers littering American showrooms. But that may soon change. Honda has published a teaser image of the all-new 2016 Pilot, and even from the incomplete silhouette, we can tell it's going to look very, very different from what's come before. Beyond the silhouette, Honda hasn't provided many details about the new 2016 Pilot, other than to say that it will feature the same three rows as its predecessors, as well as "new technology, advanced safety, class-leading fuel economy and enhanced family utility and versatility". Thankfully, Honda fans won't have to wait long to learn more. The automaker plans to reveal the 2016 Pilot on February 12 at the Chicago Auto Show (alongside "details and styling direction for its forthcoming Ridgeline truck").

Hyundai and Kia have agreed to a massive $360 million fine, following a two-year-long investigation of the Korean automakers by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Added to the $395 million that Hyundai and Kia have paid to vehicle owners, the companies will have forked over $755 million for misstating fuel economy in 13 models. The fiasco began in the fall of 2012, when the EPA identified over a dozen Hyundai and Kia vehicles from model-years 2011, 2012, and 2013 that failed to meet their stated fuel economy. The underachievers included the Hyundai Accent, Azera, Elantra, Genesis, Santa Fe, Sonata Hybrid, Tucson, and Veloster, and the Kia Optima Hybrid, Rio, Sorento, Soul, and Sportage. Most were found to earn between one and six miles less than their advertised economy. As the EPA probe began to garner headlines, Hyundai and Kia owners filed a class action lawsuit, seeking $775 million in damages. The automakers eventually gave in to those demands via a $395 million program that either paid owners for the additional funds they spent on gas or provided a credit that owners could put toward a new Hyundai or Kia. For additional details about Hyundai and Kia's reimbursement plans for owners, visit or

If you're looking for big rebates on crossovers this month, look to Jeep. CarsDirect says incentives on vehicles like the 2014 Jeep Patriot are posting incentives worth almost 17 percent of the manufacturer's suggested retail price. The big spending isn't limited to the Patriot, either. Many of the most-discounted vehicles on sale in recent weeks have been Jeeps--and Fiat Chrysler products in general. Incentive spending by the newly merged company was up by more than 31 percent last month, outstripping domestic rivals General Motors and Ford.

And finally this week, the Bentley Bentayga is the British automaker's first SUV. Due early next year, it's arguably the biggest product news from Bentley since the Continental GT first was introduced. The new SUV isn't all Bentley has on its plate, however. Sales are booming in all its major markets, especially China. It's making its initial forays into plug-in hybrid and diesel offerings. It's also deep into the development cycle for the next Continental GT, a joint effort with its VW Group cousins at Porsche. We sat down with Kevin Rose, Board Member for Sales and Marketing at Bentley Motors Ltd., at this year's Detroit auto show, to get the latest on both new vehicles--and how the Bentayga will be the fastest SUV of them all.


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