That Infiniti-badged Nissan Juke that seemed so outlandish? It’s coming – but only for China.
Tag: Compact Crossover
It’s impolite to gloat, but we called the introduction of the Chevrolet Trax back in March. It’s nice to be right once in a while.
With the first month of 2014 sales nearly wrapped up, we’ll soon get our first look at how the Jeep Cherokee has fared, following the initial shipment of delayed units. Much has been made of the Cherokee selling 10,000 units in November and 15,000 units in December: it was a great storyline for Chrysler to promote in the run-up to NAIAS, and one for the hometown media (in both Detroit and Toledo) to rally around. Left out of the cheerleading was the fact that these figures accounted for the 25,000 units reportedly sent to dealers in one fell swoop. Can you say “pent up demand”?
But even if the Cherokee continued to sell at that pace – say, 15,000 units per month as an optimistic projection, where would that place it in the larger picture of the small crossover segment?
When the RAV4 landed, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. In a world of unified corporate identity the RAv4 goes off script with a look all to its own. While the old RAV sold on mini-truck looks, the new one is undisguised crossover. The new nose has grown on me slightly since I recorded the video above, but I still find the look a little awkward. Since I was scolded for wearing striped pants with a striped shirt the week I tested the RAV4, feel free take my style opinion with a grain of salt as you click through the jump.
Officially this is just a concept, but the Lexus LF-NX is supposed to preview an upcoming competitor to the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. Using the familiar 2.5L 4-cylinder hybrid powertrain, the LF-NX will be available in FWD or AWD variants, though specific figures like power output have yet to be announced.
Buick’s been on a roll this year, their sales are up and their owner demographics are younger than they have been in recent memory. The cynic in my says that’s because half their clientele died of old age, but it has more to do with their product portfolio. Say what? Yep, it’s true, the brand I wrote off for dead last decade is targeting younger buyers with designs imported from Europe and finding sales success. The Verano turbo shattered my preconceptions, but can Buick do it again? A brown Encore arrived one rainy morning to see if it was possible. (Read More…)
MINI is the most unlikely successful new brand in America. Why? Because the brand’s “tiny transportation” ethos is at odds with America’s “bigger is better” mantra. Of course, these contradictory philosophies explain why the modern MINI is nowhere near as mini as Minis used to be. Still with me? Hang on to your hats because the German owners of the iconic British brand have decided American domination hinges on making the biggest MINI yet. Enter the MINI Countryman. Or as I like to call it, the MINI Maxi.
As a small, independent, enthusiast-oriented automaker, Mazda is constantly in a fight for its life, and with its profits eaten away by a rising yen, this is more true than ever. And though Mazdas tend to consistently receive critical praise for their handling characteristics, styling has long been something of a sticking point for the brand. Last year Mazda launched a new look, called KODO, which aimed to position the company as “the Japanese Alfa-Romeo.” And though the first KODO car ever shown was a rather stunning sedan (since nicknamed the “Mazda-rati”), its first production KODO design is a rather more prosaic compact crossover, the CX-5. Which, in a way is fitting: if Mazda wants to survive to build Miatas and Speed3s, it will need to sell a grip of compact platform-variants like this one. Not only does this CX-5 look like it should sell better than the aging Escape-rebadge Tribute it replaces, its fuel economy (ranging between 26-33 for FWD/MT and 25/30 with AWD/AT) is finally competitive too. Now, as long as it drives like a Mazda…
As a global vehicle, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is already something of a name-shifter. In Europe the compact crossover is called the ASX, and in Japan (and Pacific Rim export markets) it’s part of the proud RVR lineage that dates back to the Eagle Summit. And now it’s shifting shapes as well, morphing into a set of French twins: the Citroen C4 Aircross and the Peugeot 4008. And unlike their big siblings, the blatantly Outlander-based 4007 and C-Crosser, these twins are from the new school of brand-engineering. In terms of sheet metal, only the doors carry over directly from the Outlander Sport… although the roofline gives away the secret. But the fact that PSA is rebadging Mitsubishis at all might just give you a little insight into why Mitsu is doing relatively well as a company, despite a weak image and sagging sales in the US: a little market share in a lot of markets still pays the bills.