Category: SUVs

By on March 13, 2017

2016 Volkswagen Tiguan

You’ll have a choice of Tiguans after the newly enlarged 2018 model goes on sale. As it desperately seeks ways of diversifying its utility vehicle lineup in the U.S., Volkswagen will have the old compact crossover soldier alongside its updated, three-row successor.

The company has listed SUVs as the central pillar of its new American product strategy, but coming up with new models isn’t easy for a car-centric company that’s low on cash. Satisfying the  public’s seemingly insatiable demand for mobile cargo space requires a solid plan, and VW thinks it has one. Read More >

By on March 13, 2017

2016 Lincoln MKX, Image: Ford

Not content with just offering Chinese buyers the Lincoln Continental, Ford Motor Company plans to take a page from General Motors’ playbook and offer the expansive market its own home-built SUV.

The automaker intends to partner with China’s Changan Automobile Group to build Lincolns in the city of Chongqing, starting in late 2019, Ford claims. The two companies reportedly began talks early last year. Read More >

By on February 27, 2017

2011 Ford Flex

It’s getting harder to ignore automotive safety recalls, but it’s easy for one to go unnoticed if it’s handed down after the owner buys a vehicle used.

While the circumstances surrounding the purchase of a vehicle involved in last weekend’s incident in Lake St. Clair aren’t clear, one thing is: the owner had no knowledge of a nearly two-year-old power steering recall. On the surface (so to speak), this seems to be the culprit behind the saga of the USS Ford Flex. Read More >

By on February 27, 2017

2017 Mazda CX-3 AWD – Image: Mazda USA

Operating in the burgeoning subcompact crossover market that’s soon to welcome new entries from Toyota and Ford, the still fresh Mazda CX-3 is already suffering from declining sales.

And the CX-3 is not declining from a particularly high and lofty point achieved earlier in its short lifecycle. There was no hot start for the Mazda CX-3, no early high-volume response to hyped-up demand from which sales would inevitably decrease.

Over the last three months, U.S. sales of the Mazda CX-3’s direct competitors have grown 21 percent, year-over-year. Yet sales of the CX-3 during the same period have declined 4 percent.

The Mazda CX-3 is a new model, only on sale for a year and a half. It’s attractive and highly regarded by reviewers. Yet sales are slowing at the very same time as sales of its competitors are flourishing.

Mazda doesn’t intend to chase volume for volume’s sake, but Mazda does intend to get the CX-3 product mix right before the CX-3 is labelled a flop. Read More >

By on February 24, 2017

2017 Jeep Compass

We knew that Jeep’s redesigned small crossover was going to be sized up, priced up, and niced up in order to avoid cannibalizing the Renegade. What we didn’t know was that Jeep would dump it into the KL Cherokee’s lap like a scalding cup of coffee. At $22,090, the base 2017 Compass is only a stone’s throw away from the larger model’s pre-destination price of $23,695 MSRP.

Worse still is that Fiat Chrysler’s inability to update or enhance the Jeep Cherokee in any meaningful way has helped sales implode in recent months. The KL was Jeep’s top selling model in 2015, with 220,260 units sold in the United States, but it took a sales hit of almost 30,000 vehicles the following year and saw a noticeably weaker beginning for 2017. Read More >

By on February 22, 2017

2017 Land Rover Discovery

Call it a case of thinking out loud, or perhaps the spark that could propel a company in a new and potentially disastrous direction.

Either way, Land Rover and Range Rover’s design chief, Gerry McGovern, is pretty open-minded about a future where a British automaker famous for making utility vehicles — and only utility vehicles — spawns a car-like model or two. And by open-minded, we mean in a first-year university kind of way. Read More >

By on February 22, 2017

range rover velar

Land Rover has confirmed Velar as the name of Range Rover’s new luxury crossover, positioned to rival Porsche’s Macan.

While Velar sounds hand-picked to hang in the air and mimic the vowel placement of the Macan, Land Rover has used it before. According to the company, the name is derived from the original Range Rover prototypes from 1969, dubbed Velar as a way to disguise or veil them. Although why any vehicle before the Defender would need a secret working title is rather baffling when the company called almost every product it made before 1983 either “Range Rover” or “Land Rover” — sometimes tacking on a generational identifier, like “Series III.”

Still, any tieback you can make to your heritage is a win when it comes to marketing. Velar also fits Range Rover’s premium image and borderline sensual naming strategy that started with the Evoque. These are names that would work just as well being whispered by a model in a perfume advertisement; they just so happen to also be the names of two British sport utility vehicles. Read More >

By on February 19, 2017

2015 Honda CR-V

Sport utility and crossover vehicles have gradually become hotter than the surface of the sun as the public has come to treat sedans with the sort of disdain usually reserved for an old high school flame. It was decent while it lasted, but now you don’t even really want to acknowledge that it was ever a part of your life.

Sales have reflected this and automakers have hurried to supply an eager market with utility vehicles. While some did not quite meet demand, and have suffered for it, others are seeing rising incentives to meet the growing inventory surplus — giving us our first indications that interest in SUVs and crossovers has its limits.  Read More >

By on February 18, 2017

2017 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD

In the dark days of the recession, as General Motors was frantically attempting to save itself from the abyss, many thought it odd that the automaker’s GMC division was saved while a storied brand like Pontiac met its executioner. As for Saturn and Hummer, well, let’s just say far fewer tears were spilled over those deaths.

Clearly, GM saw long-term profitability in its carless brand — a prediction that has since panned out. From a low point in 2009, GMC sales doubled to 558,697 units by 2015. However, it isn’t the number of vehicles sold that’s the sweet spot for the automaker — it’s the number of GMCs sold in top-end Denali trim.

At GM’s utility brand, luxury versions of non-luxury vehicles are proving increasingly popular. Read More >

By on February 17, 2017

2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum - Image: Toyota

For far too long, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid has been an especially costly version of Toyota’s popular three-row crossover.

Fortunately, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid’s base price drops by $11,600 in 2017 as Toyota introduces two additional lower trim levels, which have eased the cost burden of upgrading to the hybrid. Read More >

By on February 15, 2017

2016 Ford Explorer

After the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration launched an investigation into reports of a sulphurous exhaust smell in the cabins of 2011-2015 Ford Explorers, numerous complaints have rolled in concerning newer models.

Now, a California police officer claims the exhaust led him and his patrol vehicle on a date with a tree. Read More >

By on February 15, 2017

Land Rover Defender (wikimedia commons)

Last year, we reported on how British chemical company Ineos had approached Land Rover, asking for permission to build a copy of its now-deceased Defender. Land Rover responded unequivocally, stating, “There is no way this is happening.”

Hold on, not so fast there.

Read More >

By on February 13, 2017

mbgmaybach

Few vehicles offer the snob appeal and image enhancement of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, but seriously wealthy Benz buyers interested in comfort are going to hire a private driver and purchase something with a Maybach badge. Of course, that limits them to a tarted-up S-Class, or so it was before the introduction of the G650 Landaulet — which is, quite possibly, the dumbest vehicle currently entering production.

While the Landaulet’s forward-most occupants are treated to the nice but relatively unchanged interior from the G-Class, the rear is an extravaganza of luxury to be enjoyed in or out of the elements. Much like the Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet, it is a convertible. Unlike the Cabrio, however, the only person to benefit from the folding top is the multi-millionaire riding in the back. Read More >

By on February 9, 2017

2018_toyota_tundra_trd_sport_01_8ee19ebe1c41ad354b59edf3a42fdf0bac4ded48

It’s hard to go a day without overhearing people on the street whispering excitedly about the scandalous Toyota Sequoia. Okay, that statement is completely false, and no doubt part of the reason why Toyota saw fit to add an off-road-minded sport trim to its lightly refreshed full-size SUV for 2018.

Ah, hell, why not add it to the full-size Toyota Tundra pickup, as well? Read More >

By on February 7, 2017

2016 Ford Explorer

By the year 2020, you’ll probably forget all about words like “Focus” and “Fusion.”

That’s because Ford, to capitalize on the relentless juggernaut that is the utility vehicle market, plans to add five crossovers or SUVs on the market in three years. Lincoln will see another non-car join its ranks, too.

That’ll bring the Ford brand’s utility lineup up to 12 vehicles, and Lincoln’s to four. The identity of four of the vehicles is well known, but we now have a better grasp of what to expect from the remainder. Read More >

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