Category: Crossovers

By on April 21, 2017

2017 Honda CR-V - Image: Honda

It’s really a matter of when, instead of a question of “will it?”

This week’s Shanghai auto show saw the premiere of an electrified Honda CR-V that should hit Chinese dealers in the second half of this year. When that vehicle will get a chance to battle rivals on American turf remains a secret, but it’s abundantly clear that the model has a future on this continent. Read More >

By on April 21, 2017

2018 Lexus NX front – Image: Lexus

Pretty? No.

Popular? Most definitely. In fact, the Lexus NX is twice as popular as Lexus anticipated.

The Lexus NX, a crossover you must never confuse with the Nissan NX, is marketed in the United States both in NX200t and NX300h variants. At the New York International Auto Show three years ago, Lexus revealed the brand hoped to sell around 26,000 NXs per year; roughly 2,200 per month. At that point, in the lead-up to the NX’s 2014 Q4 launch, there were two schools of thought. One, the NX was so ghastly to behold Lexus surely wouldn’t sell 2,200 per month. Or, because Lexus is such a luxury crossover powerhouse, even the NX — with a face even a mother couldn’t love — will be more popular than Lexus anticipated.

Dealers believed Lexus’ forecast was on the low side.

But could anyone have expected the Lexus NX would be more than twice as popular as originally forecasted; that the Lexus NX would be America’s fifth-best-selling luxury utility vehicle; that the NX would account for one-in-five Lexus sales in America? Read More >

By on April 20, 2017

Hyundai Santa Fe Antarctica

Northerners, and almost all Canadians, will tell you that starting your car in -28 Celsius (-18.4 Fahrenheit) weather is a drag, but at least it wasn’t colder that morning.

With this in mind, the temperatures experienced during an expedition to the South Pole in that continent’s high summer aren’t outside the realm of personal knowledge. A good many of us have gauged the frostiness of the outside air by the speed in which our nose hair freezes.

Still, Hyundai’s recent stunt, which put famed explorer Ernest Shackleton’s great-grandson behind the wheel of a modified Santa Fe Sport, impresses. It’s not solely the distance covered, the conditions experienced during the 3,600-mile crossing of Antarctica, or the mechanical feat of turning a pedestrian crossover into the most rugged of all-terrain vehicles. It’s the historical tie-in.

If you grew up reading — and re-reading — Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, you know what I mean. Hollywood writers could not have penned a better adventure, nor can any scientific-minded person believe that such a feat was even survivable. Read More >

By on April 19, 2017

volvo emblem logo grille

With the stately S90 sedan and V90 wagon out of the way, Volvo’s main focus falls on the upcoming S40 and XC40 compact sedan and crossover. In the middle ground, the Swedish automaker has already unveiled the handsomely redesigned 2018 XC60.

Will it stop there? Not according to Volvo Car USA’s president and CEO.  Read More >

By on April 18, 2017

[Image: Audi AG]

If the future is electric, it’s also crossover heavy. Volkswagen and Audi plan to dominate two tiers of that fledgling segment by the turn of the next decade with the production version of two crossover EVs revealed today.

The selection of the Auto Shanghai 2017 show for the unveiling wasn’t a fluke of timing. Both automakers plan to field a slew of electric models in China, while saving certain high-profile products for North American and European markets.

Bet on these two models eventually making the cut. Read More >

By on April 13, 2017

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir Front 3/4, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

The second-generation Buick Enclave will be the first model in the brand’s lineup to gussy itself up in an Avenir cloak.

While Buick’s extra-lux sub-brand will soon attach itself to other models, the redesigned 2018 Enclave unveiled at this week’s New York International Auto Show serves as the vanguard of the automaker’s upselling ploy. If GMC can do it with Denali, Buick’s going to try its best to scoop up those extra bucks. Read More >

By on April 12, 2017

[Image: Steph Willems/The Truth About Cars]

The Subaru Ascent concept SUV unveiled today at the New York International Auto Show heralds a very real vehicle with similar proportions, styling, and name.

While the model’s name aptly describes the automaker’s sales performance, the Subaru brand hasn’t fielded a large-ish utility vehicle since the slow-selling, second-generation Tribeca disappeared after 2014. With the Ascent, due to appear in production form in 2018, the brand delivers a three-row, seven-passenger vehicle with a wheelbase that’s longer than a Chevrolet Tahoe. Read More >

By on April 12, 2017

[Image: Toyota]

Are you the “casualcore” type? If you have to ask what the hell that means, you’re not hip enough for this concept. There’s also a chance you live outside the city, or perhaps in the suburbs, and don’t take seldom, unplanned adventures with your trendy urban buddies on their day off from PR work or coding.

If so, Toyota didn’t spare a thought about you when it crafted the promotional copy behind its new FT-4X four-wheel-drive crossover concept. Based on the same platform as Toyota’s C-HR pseudo-crossover — a vehicle that omits four-wheel motivation from its roster of options — the FT-4X is meant to be a do-anything, go-anywhere vehicle for the trendiest people you’ve ever met.

So trendy, in fact, that you’ll need to take a Gravol just to read about them. Read More >

By on April 11, 2017

Audi Q8 Concept Front 3/4, Image: © 2017 Jeff Wilson/The Truth About Cars

Audi issued a press release today to remind the world that it’s going to be Germany’s preeminent source for sport utility vehicles. While every major automaker is making a push into the segment, Volkswagen Group has assigned Audi with one of the largest.

Today, the company outlined its production strategy for the forthcoming Q4 and Q8 models, reaffirming its claim that crossovers could account for half of its global sales in the very near future. By 2019, Audi will have expanded its SUV lineup to include seven individual models and increased its overall production volume to meet the growing demand. Read More >

By on April 10, 2017

2014-Jeep-Cherokee-002

Chinese car buyers are big fans of stretched American midsize sedans, and extra-long crossovers are seen as the next logical way for U.S. automakers to woo buyers into the brand.

In China, where Jeep began production of the Cherokee in late 2015, a new vehicle has appeared online ahead of the Shanghai Auto Show. Rather than a longer Cherokee, the concept in the image seems to preview an entirely new three-row Jeep that could see a different body and badge in North America. Read More >

By on April 5, 2017

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Sit back and place a nitroglycerine pill under your tongue. It’s product announcement time.

As it revamps its utility vehicle lineup, Mitsubishi isn’t letting the looming introduction of the poorly named Eclipse Cross compact crossover stop it from foisting attention upon its existing products. To keep things fresh, the automaker plans to revamp its very own Eclipse Cross competitor — the Outlander Sport — for 2018.

So, say goodbye to the aging model you see above. Wait — hold on. That is the 2018 model. Read More >

By on April 3, 2017

2018 hyundai kona

After its skyrocketing post-recessions sales hit a roadblock in the United States, Hyundai can’t wait to sell Americans more crossovers. It just needs to build them first.

While the Korean automaker already has plans to tinker around with its existing utility lineup, it lacks product on the small end of the scale, which currently gives rivals an edge.

Well, not for long.

Today, Hyundai revealed the name that will soon join the subcompact CUV fray — Kona. Overseas markets will see the Kona in the second half of this year, but those all-important U.S. buyers will have to wait just a little while longer.  Read More >

By on March 30, 2017

2017 Mini Cooper S Countryman All4 - Image: Mini USA

It’s can be difficult to wipe the smug look of a home field advantage off your face.

Yet in its home English market, the all-new second-generation 2017 Mini Countryman is failing to find favor with British car critics. evo Magazine, never one to pull its punches, published a review of the 2017 Mini Countryman chock full of significant objections.

“Mini’s new SUV has grown up, but it’s lost the Mini fun factor along the way,” Antony Ingram writes. evo says it expects “the BMW-owned company to turn out cars that are fun to drive and show up their rivals as sloppy, dull and character-free.” Yet, Ingram says, “the latest Mini Countryman doesn’t manage that.”

Citing poor value, disappointing acceleration in the hi-po S model, un-Mini-like dynamics, a cabin too twee, and a design that continues “to look ever more contrived,” evo suggests you may prefer — get this — a Toyota C-HR. Read More >

By on March 30, 2017

2017 Jaguar F-Pace – Image: Jaguar

Jaguar’s U.S. volume more than doubled in 2016, rising to a 12-year high thanks to the launch of an all-new entry-level sedan and the brand’s first-ever SUV.

The XE and F-Pace, which now account for nearly three-quarters of Jaguar’s U.S. volume, have taken the brand to a high-volume place (relatively speaking) Jaguar hasn’t visited since the X-Type roamed dealer forecourts.

One year ago, those models didn’t exist, and Jaguar was selling fewer than 50 cars per day in America.

Now Jaguar’s on fire. Year-over-year growth is explosive, with Jaguar’s U.S. volume more than doubling in each of the last ten months and more than tripling in each of 2016’s final three months.

That level of growth can’t be sustained. Jaguar Land Rover North America’s CEO Joachim Eberhardt told Wards Auto, “We have to continue to grow, but we are not looking to grow at the pace we have been.”

All that growth “still does not make us a giant luxury brand,” Eberhardt says. “It makes us a bigger luxury brand that now has scale but is still special and exclusive.”

There’s the key word. Exclusive. “I think that is part of our appeal and something to focus on maintaining,” claims Eberhardt.

What a revolutionary approach for a premium auto brand. Read More >

By on March 27, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Equinox

To say the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is an important model for General Motors is to downplay the importance of the crucial compact crossover segment. Lighter, trimmer and more fuel efficient than before, the new right-sized Equinox erases many of the drawbacks of its long-in-the-tooth predecessor.

However, if “Old GM” was still in existence (and some would argue it still is), the 2018 model would have arrived on dealer lots with a built-in drawback approved by Detroit bigwigs. By that, we mean design. According to the vehicle’s chief engineer, the third-generation model’s initial design sent focus groups scurrying up a tree. Read More >

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