2012 GMC Acadia- It’s Not Easy Being Everyone’s Friend

Geography geeks out there will know that Acadia, which clings to Maine’s Atlantic coastline, is the easternmost national park in the United States. And not only that, the 1532 ft. tall summit of Mt. Cadillac, located within the park, is the first spot that sees the sun rise every morning in the country. Fascinating facts, right? Similarly, some car geeks out there will know that the GMC Acadia represented a new direction for GM’s truck brand when it was introduced in 2006. Think of it as a new dawn as well.

The GMC marque was created in 1912 and since then has exclusively sold trucks. Give GM credit for staying true to the same, proven formula for the past century and although most of GMC’s offerings have been nothing more than rebadged Chevrolets, they have resisted selling passenger cars. Even during tough economic times along with periods of spiked fuel prices, walk into a GMC dealer and you‘d only see pickup trucks, vans, and SUV‘s. The last decade has brought much change to the brand- firstly being consolidated into the same dealer network as Pontiac and Buick, then being only one of four brands to survive GM’s restructuring, and then selling a vehicle such as the Acadia.

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2012 Ford Focus- A Real American Reunion

When the original European-designed Focus was introduced for the 2000 model year in hatch, sedan, and wagon guises, it became a game changer within the compact car segment almost overnight.  At the time, the small car market was full of bland, soulless appliances that had no passion, no excitement.  The Focus was revolutionary, proving that an affordable small car does not have to feel cheap.  It did everything well- offering plentiful room for five full-size adults, superb driving dynamics, and looked good- boldly expressing Ford’s then-current “New Edge” styling theme.  It was such a good all-around package that it was hard to imagine that the car was developed on a tight budget.  Critics raved and the Focus received numerous awards, including European Car of the Year and scoring a place in Car And Driver’s coveted “Ten-Best List” three years in a row.

The Ford Focus always brings back fond memories.  Coincidently, that Focus debuted in the midst of my senior year of high school.  It became the “must have” car during the twilight years of being a teenager.  If the Focus were a person- it would’ve been the captain of the school football team; handsome, athletic, taut, envied, and extremely popular.  It was a car that could do little wrong and had its whole life ahead of it.
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2011 Nissan Altima- Filling Some Big Shoes

Americans love the word “big”.  We’re a big country with big mountains, big rivers, big portions of food, and big people.  We invented the Big Gulp, Big Mac, Big Lots, Big And Tall, Big KMart, Bob’s Big Boy, and the Notorious B-I-G. If it’s not ridiculously large then it’s not worth wasting time over.

The original Nissan Altima faced this dilemma when it was introduced in 1993.  Its mission was to compete head-to-head with the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Ford Taurus of the time.  But it was more compact than its rivals and had tighter interior quarters.  Although it was a competent car, buyers stayed away in droves.  Nissan, not one to be bullied out of the market, rethought its strategy when it redesigned the Altima for 2002.  The car was not only striking in design, but was much larger in almost every dimension.  Sales skyrocketed and the Altima has consistently been one of the 10 best-selling cars in America since then.  Bigger really is sometimes better.

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