Category: Crossovers

By on May 25, 2017

2015 Nissan Juke, Image: Nissan

When you burst out guns blazing from the get-go, it’s sometimes difficult to follow up with an impressive sequel. Such is the case with the Juke, which will have no second generation — at least not in North America.

According to two independent sources familiar with Nissan’s future product plans who spoke with TTAC, the Japanese automaker will kill off the funky four-wheel-drive subcompact crossover after the 2017 or 2018 model year, and replace it — in body and name — with the Aguascalientes-built Nissan Kicks.

Representatives for Nissan said it would not comment on future product.

Read More >

By on May 24, 2017

Mazda SUV lineup: CX-3, CX-4, CX-5, CX-8, CX-9 - Images: Mazda

Spotted recently on the streets of Chicago was a Japanese crossover that will never — not in final production form — actually make it to the streets of Chicago.

Nor to the streets of any other American city, for that matter. Wearing no camo and sitting in broad daylight, the diesel-powered Mazda CX-8 was photographed by Peter Lazar, albeit not from the front.

When the 2018 Mazda CX-8 is launched later this year, its primary market will be Mazda’s Japanese home base. “It will not be sold in the U.S., as CX-9 fills that role quite well,” Mazda spokesperson Jacob Brown told TTAC yesterday.

Mazda also re-confirmed that the CX-4, a more rakish take on the CX-5, is also still primarily a Chinese market crossover that will not make its way across the Pacific. In other words, 40 percent of Mazda’s global utility vehicle lineup stays outside the mighty SUV market that is America. Read More >

By on May 22, 2017

hyundai-kona-teaser

Hyundai, which found itself lagging behind its rivals in the lucrative crossover and SUV market and figured it should do something about it, is having trouble getting its desperately needed subcompact crossover into production.

The 2018 Kona, which we’ve so far seen only a portion of, is part of a better-late-than-never product push by the Korean automaker. A new small crossover was needed to to mine a growing segment and boost Hyundai’s flagging U.S. sales, but the reality of building cars in Korea has thrown up a roadblock. Read More >

By on May 11, 2017

mazda cx-5

Diesel power has traditionally proved a tough sell in the United States, at least among light-vehicle buyers. If it doesn’t belong on a worksite, chances are a vehicle’s engine choices have remained gasoline-only since the model’s debut.

While the high-mileage technology suffered a black, sooty eye from the Volkswagen affair, several automakers are gambling on Americans want of higher torque figures and improved fuel economy — the rosy promises of diesel motivation. Mazda, the only automaker without a hybrid or electric vehicle in its stable, plans to add a diesel CX-5 to its gas-only U.S. fleet later this year.

The automaker knows exactly how many it wants Americans to buy. If this litmus test on wheels reaches the pre-determined mark, expect to see more zoom-zoom diesels appearing in local showrooms. Read More >

By on May 10, 2017

2017 Nissan Rogue SL AWD Palatial Ruby Front Quarter, Image: © 2017 Chris Tonn

America’s insatiable crossover thirst has made the Nissan Rogue — a relative newcomer to the segment — a sales juggernaut and a top rival to the likes of the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.

As summer approaches, two of those vehicles are undergoing a sales strategy shift to better position the models against each other. No, one of the models isn’t the new-for 2017 CR-V. Nissan and Toyota, however, hope to draw in more customers by tweaking prices and content on the Rogue and RAV4, though the two automakers are going about it in very different ways. Read More >

By on May 8, 2017

2017 Cadillac XT5 luxury crossover

Cadillac’s controversial 2015 move from its Detroit birthplace to the glittering spires of Manhattan is already showing signs of working, says the brand’s stern and methodical president.

By packing their bags and heading to Soho, Cadillac’s braintrust hoped the brand’s swanky new digs would rub off, distancing it from the likes of GMC and Chevrolet and helping to pull in discerning new customers. So far, Cadillac is — just not in its home country. Read More >

By on May 8, 2017

2017 Kia Niro blue rear - Image: Kia

It’s a hybrid. It’s attractive. It’s affordable. It’s the Kia Niro. Launched at the beginning of 2017, the Kia Niro is already proving to be a surprisingly successful hit for Kia Motors America.

As competitors quickly fade into the background, Niro volume is rising steadily each month, with the Kia attracting buyers for a wide variety of reasons, not just fuel efficiency.

In fact, the Kia Niro isn’t that fuel efficient compared with other dedicated hybrids on the market today.

But the Kia Niro is a crossover. (Allegedly.) And Niro’s amalgam of characteristics — hybrid, design, affordability, crossover image — has returned a degree of sales success simply not enjoyed by most dedicated greenmobiles. Read More >

By on May 5, 2017

ford explorer police interceptor utility

Normally, a safety recall concerns an intrinsic defect found in a vehicle and, barring some regional temperature-related issues, usually covers units sold throughout the country. While Ford Motor Company is no stranger to recalls, its most recent callback concerns late-model Explorers with a very specific problem in a very specific region.

Blame the mud. Read More >

By on May 4, 2017

Jeep Compass ad

The only thing missing is Fleetwood Mac’s Go Your Own Way bleating from the speakers, but songs from 1977 often don’t play well with those born after 1980. (Or 1982, depending on your source.) Slow, maudlin hipster “rock,” if you can call it that, is how you reel in those youngsters these days.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, knowing exactly what it wants the second-generation Jeep Compass to mean to the most sought-after segment of car buyers, is placing its sales pitch to scruffy Millennials in a new ad campaign.

As Millennial automotive marketing is usually a cringe-inducing affair, each new product launch and ad campaign targeting this generation sparks morbid interest in cynical observers. Hence, this post. Read More >

By on May 4, 2017

Elon Musk + Tesla Model S Circa 2011

Tesla CEO Elon Musk isn’t getting any. By that we mean profits, as the electric automaker reported a $397 million first-quarter loss yesterday, adding to the red ink spilled in the previous quarter.

While the company’s revenue rose 18.4 percent in Q1 and deliveries climbed 12 percent, spending on Model 3 production more than offset the increase in cash flow. Musk took the loss in stride, playing the long game in a quarterly investors call, and claimed a combination of higher production numbers and lower operating costs will send those gray clouds packing.

Finances aside, the conference call yielded far more interesting topics, including details of the upcoming Model Y. Also, it seems people are becoming confused by Tesla’s naming strategy, and Musk has no one but Ford — and a dirty mind — to blame. Read More >

By on May 3, 2017

GMC Unveils Terrain and Terrain Denali

Not surprisingly, you’ll pay more for the redesigned 2018 GMC Terrain than its squared-off predecessor, but you’ll pay considerably more for the top-flight Denali variant.

Perhaps this isn’t surprising, as the luxury Denali trim is General Motors’ favorite way to squeeze profit give consumers what they want from GMC’s lineup. Read More >

By on May 2, 2017

2017 BMW 340i - Image: BMW USA

BMW isn’t known for revolutionary design changes, so it likely won’t be hard to pick the upcoming 3 Series and X3 crossover out of a crowd of domestic and Japanese competitors. Nor will the models’ powerplants see a complete overhaul.

One somewhat surprising claim, given recent events, is that both next-generation models will retain a diesel option in the United States — and a new one, at that. Read More >

By on May 1, 2017

Acura CDX

If you’re not familiar with Acura’s subcompact CDX crossover, take a gander at Honda’s HR-V and think of China. Right now, that’s the only country that gets to buy the HR-V-based utility, but things could change.

Acura is reportedly mulling a trans-Pacific journey for the little CUV as it takes stock of its meager U.S. utility lineup. Read More >

By on May 1, 2017

Mitsubishi Lancer GT

While nothing is set in stone just yet, Mitsubishi should have a blueprint for its U.S. product strategy as early as September. The automaker, recently enlivened by its entry into the Renault-Nissan Alliance, suddenly finds itself with new options on the table as it plots a course towards greater U.S. market share.

Part of that strategy will likely mean covering segments now left empty in the brand’s product lineup. Before entering the Alliance, Mitsubishi’s main goal was getting more utility vehicles out the door, and that will remain the company’s growth driver in the near future, says chief operating officer Trevor Mann.

Still, the newfound ability to share components and platforms with Nissan opens the door to interesting new possibilities, and Mann knows what he wants. Read More >

By on April 28, 2017

hyundai-kona-teaser

Hyundai has teased its entry into the subcompact crossover segment in the past but only acknowledged that it would have at least one thin LED headlamp, be called the Kona, and finally serve round out the company’s SUV lineup. On Friday, the company released another teaser to give us a better sense of what the little crossover will actually look like.

For starters, the thin LED strips are now running lamps positioned above the vehicle’s actual headlights, à la Nissan Juke. However, Hyundai appears to have accomplished it in a much more understated manner than Nissan. Unlike the Juke, the Kona has its light strips running just below the hood opening and very near the actual illumination sources. It’s a lot less funky, but should be interesting enough to set it apart from the rest of the segment — an important consideration, as there’s much more stylistic variation between subcompact crossovers than between their compact equivalents.  Read More >

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