Category: SUVs

By on August 22, 2017

Hyundai santa cruz concept

Hyundai intends to launch a small pickup truck in the United States as part of its plan to catch up with the industry’s shift away from sedans. Up until now, that strategy has involved cramming as many SUVs onto the market as possible. But Hyundai brand sales are still dragging behind 2016’s monthly averages in the U.S., with end-of-year estimates falling short of company goals.

The solution is to keep pushing the Tucson, start deliveries on the Kona mini SUV before 2018, and begin development of a pickup truck based on the Santa Cruz concept from 2015 (seen above). Hyundai is also rumored to be planning on adding three additional sport utility vehicles or crossovers to its North American lineup by 2020 — helping it shore up waning sedan and hatchback sales. Read More >

By on August 17, 2017

2017-hyundai-next-gen-fuel-cell-suv, Image: Hyundai

Hyundai isn’t about to let Tesla hog all the eco glory. The automaker has announced a near-term roadmap for green vehicle production, promising 31 hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric, and fuel cell models by 2020, shared between the Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis brands.

Having already joined the fray with its compact Ioniq, offered in hybrid, plug-in, and EV flavors, the company wants a larger presence in the fledgling (but growing) EV scene. To this end, it’s planning long-range, high-end EVs built on a dedicated platform, as well as a much-needed crossover that dispenses with gas stations altogether. The Kona, which arrives in the U.S. in gas-powered guise this winter, serves as a body donor.

Will a 242-mile electric crossover give Elon Musk reason to sweat? Read More >

By on August 15, 2017

2018 Jeep Wrangler, Image: Reddit

Someone at Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Toledo, Ohio, assembly complex might be in trouble. That’s assuming management pins down the person who whipped out a phone while a next-generation Jeep Wrangler Unlimited sat exposed on the plant floor. (We’re assuming it’s Toledo, for obvious reasons.)

A photograph posted to Reddit this morning, clearly shot in a hasty manner as workers line both sides of the vehicle, shows part of the 2018 Wrangler — a.k.a. the JL/JLU Wrangler. It’s a vehicle at the center of an expensive redesign and lightweighting process, and it’s also one of the most heavily leaked vehicles in years.

So, what does this picture show us? Read More >

By on August 15, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom - Image: ChevroletGeneral Motors announced today the September 2017 arrival of the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom, priced from $44,995, including destination fees. That represents a $3,750 price cut for what will now become the base Tahoe, down from the 2018 Tahoe LS’s $48,745 MSRP.

GM says the 2018 Tahoe Custom is a response both to “strong consumer demand for Tahoe,” and to the “full-size SUV segment moving upmarket.”

Therefore, there’ll be no cooled seats here. No adaptive cruise. No head-up display.

No third row of seating. Gasp. Read More >

By on August 11, 2017

Jeep Cherokee

Not to sound overly patriotic or offend my Canadian coworkers, but United States is responsible for giving the world so much greatness that it’s difficult not to get a little misty eyed when I stop to think about it.

America’s long history of inventiveness has blessed the globe with modern marvels like sunglasses, chewing gum, kitty litter, the atomic bomb and, of course, sport utility vehicles. While the atomic bomb doesn’t get much broad praise these days, the rest of the aforementioned items are exceptionally popular outside the nation’s borders — especially SUVs and their bastard offspring, the crossover.

In fact, they’ve been such a runaway success that SUVs accounted for over 25 percent of all European passenger vehicle sales in 2016. That’s up from 21 percent in 2015 and there’s no sign of it stopping anytime soon. Sport utility vehicles are expected to surpass a third of the region’s new vehicle market by 2020. Assumedly, America’s own SUV sales will be hovering around 100 percent by then — maybe more. But let’s not discount how crossover-crazy the rest of the globe has become or forget to remind ourselves that most of the world’s best-selling SUVs aren’t exactly “Made in America.”  Read More >

By on August 10, 2017

2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

Screenshots of preliminary information added to the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles dealer network computer system suggest the next-generation Jeep Wrangler, due for a late-November reveal, breaks with tradition in more than a few ways. The largest break involves how the 2018 Wrangler puts its power down to all four wheels.

The dealer system images, shared by JL Wrangler Forums, show the Wrangler adopting a Selec-Trac full-time four-wheel-drive system, among other drivetrain details. Is this a goodbye to the manly transfer case lever? Read More >

By on August 9, 2017

Jeep Trackhawk

Jeep announced pricing for the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk this week and whether it’s a good value or not largely depends on your priorities. At $85,900 with an additional $1,095 destination charge, it’s essentially the same price as the Dodge Demon before dealer markups. That’s roughly $20,000 over Dodge’s four-door Charger SRT Hellcat, which uses the same supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine delivering an identical 707 horsepower.

So, how do you plate the price to make it appear more appetizing? Direct comparisons. Midsize performance SUVs sit in an odd category almost entirely dominated by premium German vehicles and two less-lavish American models using a seven-year-old platform derived with help from Daimler. What sets the Trackhawk apart is it’s the most bonkers of the bunch and manages its madness at a lower price point than the competition.  Read More >

By on July 26, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Chattanooga - Image: VolkswagenJune 2017 was only the Volkswagen Atlas’s first full month on sale in the United States, but the Atlas, still ramping up inventory, already accounts for more than half of Volkswagen’s U.S. utility vehicle sales. In fact, the only Volkswagens that sold more often than the Atlas in June were the Jetta, Passat, and (if you count all variants together) the Golf.

2,413 units is not a terribly impressive number, although it’s stronger than what the Mitsubishi Outlander, Ford Flex, Mazda CX-9, and Volkswagen’s two other utility vehicles managed last month. But the rate at which Volkswagen is building the Atlas at the company’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, assembly plant suggests dealers are only beginning to see just how many copies of the Atlas they’ll soon have to sell.

Will there be buyers? Read More >

By on July 24, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Trax and Sonic - Images: GMPerhaps we oversimplify it. Perhaps we don’t.

Take one Honda Fit or Chevrolet Sonic or Mazda 2, alter the exterior body panels, clad the wheel arches or bumpers in a modest amount of black plastic, periodically route power to the rear wheels without any fancy AWD systems, elevate the roofline, and increase ride height just a bit. Use a typical small car engine, the same transmissions, and many of the same interior bits.

The result: HR-V, Trax, CX-3. Call it a crossover. Dare even to call it an SUV.

And then, according to Kelley Blue Book, charge customers $7,700 more for the privilege. Read More >

By on July 24, 2017

All-new 2017 Jeep® Compass - Image: JeepIf the rate of growth FCA’s Jeep brand experienced in the United States in 2016 could be carried forward into 2017, Jeep would sell 1,000,000 SUVs/crossovers this year.

Count the zeros. 1 million.

For a company that sold fewer than 300,000 vehicles per year coming out of the recession, that’s an absurd figure.

Jeep earned 5.4 percent of the overall auto market in the first half of 2016, yet through the first half of 2017, Jeep’s market share has taken a dive to 4.8 percent. In a market gone mad for utility vehicles — where sales of SUVs/crossovers are up 6 percent, year-over-year, despite the market’s downturn — no-car Jeep is losing sales faster than every auto brand aside from Chrysler and Smart.

Worrying? According to Jeep boss Mike Manley, Jeep is, “exactly where I thought we would be in the U.S.” Read More >

By on July 22, 2017

2017 Jeep Wrangler boasts LED headlamps.

As the next-generation 2018 Jeep Wrangler draws ever closer to its debut, an anonymous source who apparently attended a cozy, invite-only Fiat Chrysler Automobiles dealer meeting has spilled his or her guts.

The unconfirmed powertrain details leaked to JLWranglerForums shed light on what to expect under the slightly longer hood of the lighter, more aerodynamic Wrangler. It seems FCA’s battle with the Environmental Protection Agency hasn’t squashed its desire for a diesel Wrangler. Read More >

By on July 17, 2017

2017 BMW X1 white off road - Image: BMWDepending where you live, it’s possible the shift away from luxury cars to luxury SUVs is dramatically more apparent than America’s nationwide figures suggest.

In 48 of 50 states, luxury utility vehicles outsell luxury cars. In seven states, premium brand utility vehicles form more than 65 percent of the premium market.

But according to Edmunds, the two states in which luxury cars still outperform luxury utility vehicles account for 31 percent of America’s luxury SUV market. Read More >

By on July 17, 2017

2017 Cadillac Escalade

If Cadillac’s top boss, Johan de Nysschen, had his way, The Hunt for Red October would feature a scene in which Capt. Vasili Borodin describes his dream of seeing the United States in an Escalade, not an recreational vehicle.

While General Motors’ luxury division counts on American and Chinese buyers to keep it flush with cash, there’s still room in the fold for other markets. Assuming, of course, those citizens have a willingness to cast off deep-seated consumer habits and, perhaps, prejudices.

After dropping pedestrian vehicles for an all-prestige lineup, GM’s conquest of the Russian luxury market hasn’t yet occurred, though it’s still early days. Sales are looking up. With a new partner in tow, Cadillac feels confident it can muscle out the Germans on the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg. Read More >

By on July 14, 2017

2015-Buick-Avenir-Concept-10

Today marks the third and final entry in our Domestics Abroad miniseries. This is where we take a look at the models proffered around the globe that wear a domestic company’s badge on the grille, but are not offered in the brands’ domestic markets. This is ground zero for “you can’t get that here.” All nameplates you’ll see in this series are current production models.

We kicked off this series with Ford and its 13 qualifying models. Second was Chevrolet, which had 9 models accounted for, and one which I forgot (you can see it below the jump). The Unmentionables will cover the remaining international offerings from Buick, Dodge, and Ram.

Read More >

By on July 11, 2017

2017 Honda CR-V Touring – Image: Honda

What’s big these days? You know the answer. Avocados. Leasing. Saying “it me” on Twitter. But above all else, crossovers and SUVs.

Not only have utility vehicles become the driving force in the North American automotive marketplace, ownership of these versatile vehicles is apparently becoming harder and harder to quit. More than ever, owners of crossovers and SUVs find themselves bolting from their old utility vehicle into a brand new one.

As for sedan buyers, never has love drained so quickly from a relationship. Read More >

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