Tag: crossover

By on November 6, 2015

2015JeepRenegade_(4_of_9)

There are myriad ways to improve SUVs and Jeep won’t do any of them to the Wrangler.

Instead, the Wrangler remains hopelessly impractical, wonderfully unapologetic and, to own, like living with a Libertarian: there are no compromises and everything is wonderful when you play by their rules.

Thankfully for the rest of us, who welcome a little compromise, there are other Jeeps. A crowd of SUVs — and soon to be pickup — will sport the seven-slot grille for mountains of money to keep FCA running well into the black at the moment. When it’s convenient, those cars are compared to the Wrangler to tout their capabilities. When it’s not, well, let’s remember the Compass.

Like Robert Hunter said (kind of): The problem with the 2015 Jeep Renegade is the problem with me.

(Read More…)

By on November 4, 2015

Mazda Motor Corporation - Mazda CX-9 - photo

Mazda announced Wednesday that it would unveil its next-generation CX-9 in Los Angeles later this month.

The three-row crossover made its debut in 2007 and hasn’t changed much since. Mazda’s seven-seater still sits atop the Ford CD3 platform used by previous generations of the Mazda6/Ford Fusion and Ford Edge. It also sports the same powertrain as the previous-generation Edge.

Mazda released a teaser image of the CX-9 on Monday that shows what the crossover would look like if the world had Photoshop filters turned on all the time.

(Read More…)

By on November 2, 2015

2016 Volvo S60 Cross Country-016

I understand the logic behind the modern crossover, especially in Sweden.

Sweden’s 360,000 mile network of public and private roads is only 30-percent paved. That leaves some 252,000 miles of unpaved glory to explore. This high percentage of unpaved roads explains why Volvos have long had reasonable ground clearance, why the Swedes invented the headlamp wiper, why the XC70 exists and why Haldex was founded there.

The concept of the crossover is to give you the efficiency of a traditional “car” blended with some offroad ability normally found in a truck-based SUV. (Of course, the modern American crossover is little more than an all-wheel-drive minivan with less practical seats.) While other companies created boxy crossovers like the Highlander and CR-V, Volvo took a European approach by starting with a station wagon, adding all-wheel drive and jacking the ride height up to create the first V70 Cross Country. The result was more aerodynamic than an SUV, had the ride height of a crossover, the practicality of a station wagon and the driving position of a car. Hold that thought.

(Read More…)

By on October 19, 2015

2016 Volvo XC90 Exterior-001

Many of you have asked why we bother to review a car we’ve already reviewed based on a few hours at a launch event. The all-new 2016 Volvo XC90 is a textbook example of why more time with a car allows for a more complete review.

At launch events, you have no time to perform acceleration or brake tests of a vehicle (and, of course, you aren’t testing the car on the same circuit that the rest of the cars have been tested upon) and you have no ability to drive the competition back-to-back to get a sense of comparison. There is a reason that first drive reviews tend to be fact based: it’s hard to review a car in a vacuum.

So why is the XC90 a textbook example? Because of my own biases. Biases are interesting things. They can blind you to a car’s faults, or they can lead you to overcompensate and find fault.

After digesting my time with the XC90, I started falling into the latter camp. Edmunds 0-60 tested the XC90 and found it slower than expected. I started wondering if I had been wearing rose-colored glasses and asked myself: “Was it really that good?” Therefore, I had to get my hand on one again so I could run it through our battery of tests and drive it on my own for a week to find the answer.

The answer: It is better.

(Read More…)

By on October 14, 2015

2015 Mitsubishi RVR (1 of 11)

A preconceived notion — or simply, a bias — forms easily when correlations exist to support it.

Take Mitsubishi.

While the Japanese automaker has seen recent sales success, their newest nameplate — Mirage — has become the butt of many jokes and is often associated with a group of buyers one degree removed from the “Buy Here, Pay Here” crowd. Whether the Mirage deserves that reputation is another story.

The company’s largest model, the Outlander, recently received a refresh that is more than skin deep, but still not very dramatic. A new front fascia and revised rear sheet metal bring up the visual appeal a notch, and Mitsubishi does say numerous engineering changes have been employed on its latest and greatest crossover, but the crossover still houses the same, tired, premium fuel-drinking V-6 engine as always.

The recent news that Mitsubishi will shut down its manufacturing operations in Normal, Illinos, a plant that’s been open since 1988, also doesn’t help optics on the surface. And, unfortunately for the automaker, stories about sales gains just aren’t sexy enough to grab the attention of the average consumer.

Therefore, with all this bad news and bad press, you’d think the Outlander Sport (RVR in Canada) is just another zit on the face of the Japanese automaker.

But you’d be (mostly) wrong.

(Read More…)

By on October 13, 2015

2013-volvo-v40. Photo courtesy Volvo

Automotive News Europe reported that Volvo will offer a new compact crossover, based on a new architecture, in 2018 that will likely be called the XC40.

The crossover will be built in Ghent, Belgium and possibly in China, using the same platform being developed for compact cars in Europe.

The crossover will get Volvo power plants that include a hybrid variant. It would also likely get some sort of semi-autonomous driving feature as the Swedish automaker further develops its technology.

(Read More…)

By on October 9, 2015

2016InfinitiQX50_(2_of_12)

2016 Infiniti QX50 RWD

3.7-liter VQ37VHR V-6, with Variable Valve and Event Lift (325 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm; 267 pounds-feet of torque @ 5,200 rpm)

7-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode and Downshift Rev Matching

17 city/24 highway/20 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

19 mpg on the 70/30 city/hwy grocery loop (Observed, MPG)

Tested Options: Technology Package — $2,750 (Intelligent cruise, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning); Deluxe Touring Package — $2,400 (19-inch wheels, power folding up second-row seats); Illuminated Kick Plates — $440 (!); Premium Package — $500 (Bose 11-speaker sound system, maple interior accents, aluminum roof rails); Premium Plus Package — $2,000 (Navigation, 7-inch touch-screen display, Bluetooth).

Base Price:
$35,445*
As Tested Price:
$43,535*

* All prices include $995 destination fee.

Cars will be built in China.

Scratch that — cars are being built in China already, but cars sold in America will soon be built in China.

It’s an inevitability that American car buyers will understand when Volvo brings over its long-wheelbase S60 that promises to be the first Chinese-made car sold in America. It’s already happened in most markets around the world — including Canada — but Americans are averse to cars being built in the C-word like, well, the C-word.

The 2016 Infiniti QX50 (formerly the EX35 in old-Infiniti nomenclature) was not built in China — but for all purposes that we’ll discuss, it was made in China. That’s because the car, which sold at a phenomenally slow pace in the U.S., has been thrown a lifeline from overseas. In China, the QX50 launched six months ago with a longer wheelbase to satisfy that country’s appetite for driving everyone, everywhere, all the time. It was a no-brainer for the U.S., but to justify significantly updating the car for our market, it needed sales — and to sell, it needed to be upgraded. And you can see where this is going.

We’ve had plenty of chances to buy one before now, it’s that just Infiniti hasn’t really ever given us a reason.

(Read More…)

By on October 7, 2015

IMPREZA_CONCEPT(フロント)

Subaru may have taken away our hot hatch goodness with the WRX and WRX STI, but the down-market Impreza looks to continue with all five doors intact.

In a release on Wednesday, Subaru announced they would show off the next Impreza in hatchback form at the Tokyo International Motor Show.

(Read More…)

By on October 6, 2015

Scion LAAS Teaser

Scion, Toyota’s “youth” brand, released the above teaser image Tuesday morning along with a brief press release stating their third all-new vehicle will be displayed at the Los Angeles Auto Show this November.

Is this the Toyota CH-R in Scion drag? It very much looks to be.

(Read More…)

By on September 16, 2015

Polestar

This one we should have seen in the cards already: Last month, Volvo announced that it purchased Volvo tuner Polestar to bring in-house and churning out more models for eager hands.

Last year, Volvo announced it had developed a triple-turbo, 2-liter four that could produce 450 horsepower.

It’s entirely likely, TTAC has learned, that the two will meet in a Polestar-branded XC90.

Details about the car were few and far between, but the engine combination and newly branded vehicle would up the ante on what Volvo powertrain chief told Auto Express earlier this year.

Instead of slotting between the 316-horsepower XC90 T6 and the 400-horsepower hybrid T8, the Polestar version would offer the 450-horsepower variant, with a 48-volt supercharger boosting twin turbochargers on the craziest family crossover.

(Read More…)

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