Tag: crossovers

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

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 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 14, 2017

Eclipse Cross

Today, Mitsubishi announced that its next model will be called the Eclipse Cross, acknowledging the defunct sport compact beloved by enthusiasts and teenage girls alike while simultaneously spitting on its memory. “Cross is short for crossover,” Mitsubishi helpfully explained in its announcement, as if anyone would have had trouble piecing that puzzle together.

“Eclipse is a word used to describe an astronomical event,” the Japanese automaker continued. “Marrying stylish coupe lines with the freedom of movement the SUV genre gives, the Eclipse Cross’ beautiful, dynamic form serves to bring about the same sense of excitement and inspiration as the diamond ring seen immediately before and after a total solar eclipse does.”

That’s sounds a lot better than saying it looks a lot like a Honda CR-V with a dash of Outlander.  (Read More…)

By on February 13, 2017

2016 Lexus RX450h

December is typically a peak month for automotive sales, especially among premium brands. With more holiday-themed ads than the majority of its competition, Lexus always sees the year’s final month of sales as its best. However, it did so well last December that January saw a 26 percent drop in sales due to an exhausted supply of sport utility vehicles.

With the narrowest of exceptions for the LX, last December turned out to be the best month in the history of all of Lexus’ SUVs. The bad news is that most of those sales came at the expense of the automaker’s sedans, which saw comparatively low sales. At around 41,000 units, December 2016 wasn’t all that much different from 2015. However, cars made up a significantly smaller piece of that pie. (Read More…)

By on February 13, 2017

2017 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Limited

The 2017 Subaru Crosstrek has the bad luck of living in the shadow of a vehicle that doesn’t yet exist. That phantom would be the looming 2018 Crosstrek, which borrows the new-for-2017 Impreza’s modular platform and, no doubt, enough technological, mechanical and appearance upgrades to make the old model look ancient overnight.

So, if you’re stuck living in northern climes and counting pennies is your idea of a thrilling good time, now’s a great time to sit back and wait patiently for a killer deal on the outgoing model. Because, replacement or not, it’s popular for good reason. And no, not just because of Subaru’s newfound status as the go-to conveyor of the nonconformist middle class.

With little changed since its 2013 model year debut, save for the elimination of the “XV” prefix, a minor 2016 facelift, and the disappearance of a short-lived hybrid variant, the Crosstrek enters the last year of its first generation with confidence. This jacked-up Impreza 5-door has a life ahead of it and a fan base behind it. Anyone who questions the reasons for the model’s popularity had best pack their bags, head north, and experience a month where it snowed at least every other day. (Read More…)

By on February 9, 2017

2018 toyota rav4 adventure

No longer worried about being eaten by wolves, humans have developed a desire to carefully reintroduce a little excitement into their lives now and again. Sometimes, just the illusion of excitement is sufficient.

The compact crossover crowd isn’t exactly a pulse-quickening segment, so the 2018 Toyota RAV4’s Adventure trim, exposed Thursday at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show, didn’t need to do backflips to stand out. The Adventure is essentially an appearance package with some tow prepping performed at the factory. However, Toyota’s current hit-or-miss styling seems to have made its mark on the RAV4, and is further improved by trim-specific upgrades both inside and out. (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…)

By on February 7, 2017

2017 Ford Flex Limited EcoBoost - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

My sister hates the Ford Flex.

She’s never driven a Ford Flex, mind you. She just hates the way it looks.

I, on the other hand, am a huge fan of the Ford Flex’s exterior design, particularly in Blue Jeans paint, particularly without these black wheels.

There are only two sides to this argument. There is no middle ground on which you stand and declare, “Meh, it’s alright.” Since 2008, consumers have fallen on either one side of the fence or the other. You either love the Ford Flex, or you hate the Ford Flex.

Based on the Flex’s lack of marketplace success, there are apparently too many haters. Some nine years after the Flex was launched, inspired in 2008 by the 2005’s Ford Fairlane Concept, Ford’s alternative crossover is increasingly forced into an ever-narrowing niche. The style quotient remains high — at least in the eyes of those who’ve always loved it — but the Flex now manifests too many signs of old age in a market full of remarkably competent and more popular challengers. (Read More…)

By on February 6, 2017

The great philosopher Jerry Seinfeld one ridiculed automobile naming conventions, reserving an extra helping of scorn for the long-running Ford LTD.

“Yes, it’s limited to the number we can sell.”

Mitsubishi won’t have to worry about jokes — not that particular joke, anyways — when it trots out the Outlander Sport Limited Edition to its dealer network. The value-packed variant, inserted near the bottom of the trim ladder, is, like the model itself, not long for this world. (Read More…)

By on February 2, 2017

2017 Cadillac XT5 luxury crossover

Okay, who’s getting all excited about the upcoming refreshed XTS? Anybody? Hello?

While the prospect of a mildly revamped front-drive holdover might not set the enthusiast blogs on fire, the sedan’s recent salvation from the Island of Defunct Models is a prudent move for the troubled automaker.

It’s also the only “new” product you’ll see between now and the middle of next year.

(Read More…)

By on February 1, 2017

2017 Cadillac Escalade

With consumers crawling all over crossovers and SUVs, you’d think that automakers would be eager to make some extra cash by generously hiking transaction prices.

Well, automakers might want it, but they certainly aren’t foolish enough to do it. Not in this stagnating marketplace, and not with the importance heaped on that wildly competitive segment. According to Kelley Blue Book, the average transaction price growth in all SUV and crossover segments remains at or below inflation.

However, when it compared transaction prices — minus incentives — in January of this year compared to the same month last year, the research company found that a certain hot-selling segment saw a consistent drop in window sticker value. (Read More…)

By on January 30, 2017

crosstrek teaser

Subaru decided to show a little leg last week, teasing an image of the upcoming 2018 Crosstrek. Despite expecting it to have roughly the same sex appeal as a ham sandwich, the glimpse hints at some unexpected curves and the possibility of an intentionally attractive design.

The next-generation Crosstrek makes use of the Subaru Global Platform currently sitting under the bodywork of Subaru’s redesigned Impreza, which will eventually become the basis for the brand’s entire fleet. The new architecture is designed to achieve “the world’s highest levels of collision safety” via high-strength steels and a 70- to 100-percent boost in stiffness. It also incorporates Subie staples like all-wheel drive and a boxer engine — likely a 152 horsepower 2.0-liter four coupled to a CVT. (Read More…)

By on January 27, 2017

dealership

The cornerstone of every healthy relationship is frank and frequent communication. Last year, consumers wanted more sport utility vehicles, but automakers still had too many cars rolling off assembly lines. Caught in the crossfire were forlorn dealerships that were incapable of providing the trucks and crossovers that customers cannot seem to get enough of.

At the 2017 National Automobile Dealers Association Conference & Expo, this issue is apparently weighing so heavily on the minds of America’s automotive purveyors that it wouldn’t be surprising if gray matter began leaking out of their ears and onto the expo floor.  (Read More…)

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