Steering You Right with Sharon Peters: New and Big

New Model >

Q: All of the three cars I’m looking at right now are a little bigger this year than they were in previous years. Is this prevalent? And why?

A: Yes, a lot of models are growing. Among them: The RAV4 has been sizing up for awhile, as has the Honda Civic and all Audis. The 2017 Buick LaCrosse was 2.7 inches longer and 1.2 inches wide than its predecessor.

And this is continuing for the upcoming 2019 models. Among the cars that are upsizing: the VW Jetta will be 1.3 inches longer than last year’s, Kia Forte will be 3.2 inches longer and Toyota’s Avalon will be longer and wider.

Why is this happening? In this country, we’ve always tended to prefer larger vehicles – sales of passenger sedans have been decreasing for years as folks have gone to SUVs (sales up 4.3 percent last year following several years of increases) and even pickup trucks (sales were up nearly 5 percent last year over the year before) largely because of the additional size.

When gas prices are relatively low, as they’ve been in recent years, buyers are far more likely to go in the direction of larger. Many carmakers are hoping to spark an increased consumer fervor for sedans and small crossovers by sizing up a bit.

Even a couple of inches can matter, especially smaller vehicles, which is the arena experiencing the greatest attention to upsizing.

Q: I know Subaru is coming out with a giant SUV called the Ascent. What are you hearing about it?

A: It’s for the 2019 model year, so there’s some buzz but no real hands-on info yet that I can tap into.

Most of what I know is from the Subaru website – just go to and click on Ascent. The Ascent is indeed a big one, “up to eight passengers” it proclaims, and at this point promises just four boring colors (black, white, gray, silver) though the three more expensive versions of it have more color options.

It also got a huge amount of attention at its recent unveiling at the car show for this fact: 19 cupholders. Yup. 19. Each of the seven passengers and one driver can have two drinks; three of them can have three.

What’s your question? Sharon Peters would like to hear about what’s on your mind when it comes to caring for, driving and repairing your vehicle. Email

Copyright © CTW Features