Category: Crossovers

By on January 21, 2017

Image: Nissan 2017 Nissan Rogue One Star Wars

If compact crossovers were feature films, Nissan’s Rogue would be tapped for an Academy Award statuette. The surging model ended a record sales year with a truly boffo month, and Nissan can give partial thanks to the visibility heaped on it by the Rogue One marketing campaign.

You couldn’t escape it — simply, it was everywhere. No longer dodging monsters made out of ice, the Rogue spend the holiday season dodging lasers as it plowed across a Martian-like landscape. The automaker’s partnership with Lucasfilm took the vast marketing power of the Star Wars franchise and brought it to bear on a relative latecomer to the crossover game, cranking its exposure up to “11.”

That, coupled with a cringe-inducing (or lustworthy) limited-edition Rogue and an end-of-year sales push, made the Rogue the best-selling non-pickup vehicle in the U.S. for the month of December. Unfortunately for Nissan, nothing lasts forever. Rogue One won’t stay in theaters forever, and there’s no new partnership on the horizon.

What to do? Read More >

By on January 18, 2017

Mini Cooper Countryman John Cooper Works

Mini’s largest model is about to get the most powerful engine currently available to the brand from its parent company, BMW. The company will offer up its 2018 Countryman as the latest John Cooper Works model, adorned with polarizing paint jobs and a powerful 2.0-liter turbo.

While the idea of a performance crossover might seem like an oxymoron, as well as being a bit impractical — especially considering Mini already makes a quicker and more nimble JCW Cooper with the same engine — there’s a precedent of the concept workingRead More >

By on January 9, 2017

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

As if to further the global agenda to kill off all sedans in favor of yet more SUVs, two of Audi’s three reveals at this year’s NAIAS were crossovers (the third was the new S5 Cabrio).

By 2015, the mid-size Q5 represented a quarter of Audi’s annual sales. It only stands to reason the Ingolstadt company has high hopes in its pursuit of another record year ahead. While not a volume leader, the pricier, high performance SQ5 nevertheless helps line the coffers at Audi.

Read More >

By on January 9, 2017

GMC Vice President Global Sales and Marketing Duncan Aldred introduces the 2018 Terrain and Terrain Denali Sunday, January 8, 2017, on the eve of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. The compact SUV's shape was refined in the wind tunnel to ensure its new profile cuts through the air with optimal efficiency and quietness. The Terrain is available with three new turbocharged propulsion systems, including a new 1.6L turbo-diesel. The 2018 Terrain will go on sale this summer. (Photo by John F. Martin for GMC)

GMC rolled out a redesigned 2018 Terrain SUV at the North American Auto Show in Detroit, with the usual promises of added refinement, new electronic convenience and safety features, and greater versatility. But GMC also added one feature not commonly found in an SUV, particularly one of the non-behemoth variety: An available diesel engine.

The diesel Terrain gets a 137-horsepower 1.6-liter turbodiesel with 240 lb-ft of torque matched with a six-speed automatic transmission. Gasoline powertrains include a 170-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and a 252-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder, both with direct injection and paired with a nine-speed automatic.

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By on January 9, 2017

Chevrolet Traverse 2018

Chevrolet’s current Traverse is an amorphous blob of rounded sheet metal. While not offensively homely, it lacks a distinctive silhouette or any purposeful styling. A layperson could be forgiven for confusing the globule with a minivan. However, with the Lambda platform being replaced by the C1XX, General Motors seized an opportunity to enhance the 2018 Traverse’s angles and make it more of a traditional-looking SUV — resulting in a more handsome and eerily truck-like crossover.

Undiminished in size, Chevrolet claims the squared-off CUV now provides more headroom and legroom for occupants in its second and third rows. Despite a wheelbase that’s two inches longer than its precursor, rear cargo space has been reduced to 23 cubic feet. That’s still enough to beat Ford’s Explorer, and the hold climbs to 98.5 cubic feet with all of the rear seats laid flat. Seven- and eight-passenger seating configurations will be offered on the new Traverse. More affordable versions will be equipped with benches for the second and third rows, while fancier editions will see that middle area replaced with two captain’s chairs.

GM is also offering the 2018 in two new trim levels — the debatably sporty RS and the suede-enhanced High Country. Read More >

By on January 9, 2017

2017 Nissan Rogue Sport, Image: Nissan

You know it. Nissan knows it.

Consumers are fleeing cars in favor of high-riding crossovers. And the Rogue Sport is another one.

Despite the name, Nissan’s newest utility is less Rogue Jr. and more overseas transplant. Nissan America adapted the Qashqai, available in global markets since 2006, with a new name to meet North American tastes (though not in Canada, where it’ll still use its Turkic nomenclature). The renaming ensures we can pronounce it (and Nissan can preserve its Star Wars connection). More importantly, it hitches the new crossover to Nissan’s best selling nameplate.

Read More >

By on January 4, 2017

2016 Hyundai Sonata, Image: Hyundai Motor America

There’s no shortage of uncertainty afflicting the auto industry these days, but Hyundai Motor Company is facing 2017 like a tense office worker determined to put on a brave face around its colleagues.

After seeing its 2016 delivery targets swamped by a wave of market reality — and after canning the CEO of its American division for missing his own targets — Hyundai claims the gray skies will clear up in the New Year. Read More >

By on December 30, 2016

infiniti-qx50-concept-jpg

Infiniti has had enough of the QX50’s voluptuous curves.

An edgier future awaits the brand’s midsize crossover, as shown by photos of the QX50 “Concept” released ahead of the North American International Auto Show. If this concept looks almost production-ready, that’s because it is.

Borrowing heavily from the earlier QX Sport Inspiration concept, the QX50 Concept’s updated design language isn’t the only way Infiniti plans to lure prospective buyers. Underneath the newly creased sheetmetal beats a very different kind of heart — one two decades in the making. Read More >

By on December 29, 2016

Nissan Qashqai

Nissan will add the overseas Qashqai crossover to its U.S. lineup, with the model debuting at next month’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, multiple sources tell TTAC.

Pressed into domestic service to satisfy a crossover-hungry marketplace, the compact Qashqai will slot just below the popular Rogue. Read More >

By on December 28, 2016

Hyundai Tucson, Image: Hyundai

Once a juggernaut, Hyundai’s recent sales and financial performance hasn’t kept pace with its lofty post-recession boom. The automaker now finds itself in one of the weakest positions in the industry for growth, all thanks to rising costs and a product lineup that doesn’t meet consumer demand.

To patch the holes and regain momentum, Hyundai has taken on some seemingly desperate cost-cutting measures. In this all-out scramble for profits, last week’s firing of its American CEO is just the tip of the iceberg. Read More >

By on December 16, 2016

2016 Ford F-150 Limited

All that leg-stretching, snot-nosed kid-hauling, hockey equipment-carrying, ATV-lugging space that new vehicle buyers so desperately crave comes at a premium.

Thanks to this insatiable thirst for crossovers, SUVs, and pickups, the average new vehicle transaction price jumped to a new record in 2016. Good news for manufacturers, but also for those selling their old ride. Read More >

By on December 14, 2016

2017 Mazda 3 5-Door red - Image: Mazda

“It’s the one to have,” we said of the 2017 Mazda 3 on the last day of November, “but not the one you’ll buy.”

Pat TTAC on the back for such an accurate forecast, as the very next day, Mazda revealed that Americans acquired fewer Mazda 3s in November 2016 than at any point since January 2014, a 34-month low.

With the worst U.S. sales results in nearly three years, Mazda USA’s most popular car is now on track to potentially see annual volume fall to a decade low in 2016.

There’s nothing new about the American car buyer’s prerogative to avoid critical advice when it comes to Mazda’s compact sedan. The degree to which the Mazda-supporting suggestion is ignored, however, is, increasingly apparent. Read More >

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