10 New Year’s Resolutions We Hope Automakers Are Making

I’ll keep this short and sweet. When your key brand value is the ability to go anywhere at any time, the fact that you still have two-wheel-drive Jeeps on the road (and likely stuck every winter) is an affront to the brand’s legacy.—Christian Seabaugh

Automakers: Bring back front bench seats

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Car makers continue to adopt electronic shift-by-wire transmission systems, which means traditional shift levers have been replaced by everything from push buttons to knurled knobs to piano keys for gear selection. These new input controls have often been moved to the center stack, freeing up space between the seats for more cubbies and USB ports. But why not a front middle seat? Who wouldn’t want to become the industry’s first nine-seat luxury SUV? While we’re at it, how about bringing back those six-passenger family sedans of yore? And yeah, I’d love a three-seat Supra or five-seat Porsche 911.—Ed Loh

Subaru: More power, please!

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Subaru, you give us many reasons to love your vehicles, but power is usually not one of them. Your engines make lots of noise when you get on the gas, but the resulting acceleration (or lack thereof) leaves us wanting. Give your powertrains some torque and stop eating the competition’s dust.—Michael Cantu

FCA: Keep working on that nine-speed

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I don’t have too much to complain about in our long-term Chrysler Pacifica yet, but by far my biggest gripe concerns the nine-speed automatic transmission. Thanks to numerous software updates since its launch five years ago, the nine-speed has come a long way from the jerky, gear-hunting ZF-sourced unit we first sampled in the Jeep Cherokee. But the rough shifts are still there, and they happen far too often. I hope FCA can further improve the transmission’s software, but if this is as good as it’s going to get, then I hope the nine-speed’s successor is more refined.—Alex Nishimoto

Automakers: Give us better sun visors

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I’ve driven many cars this year with wimpy sun visors. Even some of the most functional vehicles, like the Subaru Forester which I otherwise enjoy, have this issue. On many vehicles, the pull-out extensions don’t reach far enough to cover the whole side window, and they’re so thin they don’t block more than a strip of sunlight from your face. It’s a small but important detail that I hope automakers can pay a bit more attention to in the future.—Kelly Pleskot

Toyota and Lexus: Redesign your infotainment systems

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Toyota and Lexus‘ infotainment teams need to go back to the drawing board. The systems of both automakers operate as if they were designed by someone whose personal computer is a typewriter and who still calls friends by picking up the phone and asking the operator to please connect them with Fordham 4141. I highly suggest spending some time with FCA’s UConnect system, or the systems from Hyundai and Kia, when considering a replacement. Sincerely, frustrated millennial.—Christian Seabaugh

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