Tag: crossovers

By on March 24, 2017

2016 BMw X1 white

Europe always seemed like a safe haven for the sort of car lover who turns up their nose over North America’s obsession with the sport utility vehicle. That’s now changing, as European demand for SUVs and crossovers continued to grow in 2016. While it may have a penchance for slightly smaller models, the EU saw disproportionately high sales of compact crossovers last year.

In total, SUV sales accounted for 25 percent of all European passenger vehicle sales in 2016 — up from 21 percent the previous year. That doesn’t quite equal the United States’ fervent addiction but, if the European Union keeps this pace, it’ll be less than a decade before it closes the gap.  (Read More…)

By on March 24, 2017

t-roc teaser

There’s a Terminator-like CGI image floating around that purports to show the upcoming Volkswagen T-Roc compact crossover. If it is VW’s new sub-Tiguan utility vehicle, and you’ve already seen the flashy T-Roc concept, prepare to be underwhelmed.

As we reported earlier this week, the T-Roc — which might adopt a new moniker in the U.S. — was reportedly green-lit for the American market after dealers gave it their seal of approval. VW needs utility vehicles, and a youthful, sporty little ride that encourages owners to drop their tops seems like just the ticket to stimulate interest in the brand. However, it seems the targa-top, pillarless two-door will lose all of those unique features before appearing on dealer lots.

If this image is indeed the T-Roc, well, those reports didn’t lie. (Read More…)

By on March 21, 2017

2017 Nissan Rogue SL

I was talking with a friend last night, telling him about the Buick LaCrosse tester currently in my stable and describing the declining fortunes of the traditional passenger car market. Full-size cars, especially.

Now, let me tell you about this friend. Ex-military. Practical. Lives in the city but enjoys occasional forays into the bush. Sensible with his money, and prefers products with a natural versatility. Now, guess what he drives? If your answer was anything other than, “A crossover, obviously! Stop wasting my time!” you’d be correct. (Read More…)

By on March 20, 2017

2017-Mitsubishi-Outlander-Sport-Limited-Edition-Front

Mitsubishi is stalling the much-needed redesigns of its Outlander SUV and Outlander Sport compact crossover as engineers explore ways of sharing components with Nissan.

This means that, until the Outlander Sport gets its proposed downsizing, Mitsubishi could have two vehicles sharing a segment and potential customers when the 2018 Eclipse Cross hits dealerships. Both Outlanders were expected to assume a new form to better distance themselves from the Eclipse Cross compact crossover and each other. While they don’t look much alike, the Cross’ dimensions are only an inch-and-a-half away from the Sport.

It may make good financial sense to appropriate Nissan parts and platforms, but Mitsubishi would be shooting itself in the foot by having two models in the same segment — even if it were only for a year or two. Considering how important crossovers and SUVs are for the North American market, there is little benefit in bringing in the flashy new Eclipse Cross just to rob sales from another model.  (Read More…)

By on March 20, 2017

Volkswagen-T-ROC-Concept

Desperate for more utility vehicles in the U.S. market, Volkswagen has reportedly green-lit a sporty crossover concept that has made the auto show rounds since 2014.

The T-Roc, which shares the same MQB platform as the Golf, debuted as a two-door compact crossover with a targa-like removable roof and pillarless side glass. Just don’t expect the T-Roc to drop its top when it appears in the U.S. in 2019. Oh, and the two-door thing? Don’t expect that, either. (Read More…)

By on March 16, 2017

Honda Canada Utility Commercial: Image: Honda Canada/YouTube

Underneath its skin, the Honda Ridgeline is a significantly altered Honda Pilot, a large three-row utility vehicle related to the next-generation Honda Odyssey minivan. That’s hardly the stuff of which traditional, body-on-frame pickups are made.

But the Ridgeline has a separate, exposed bed, an elevated ride height, and competitive payload ratings. Therefore, it’s a pickup truck.

Or is it? In one recent Honda Canada commercial, the Ridgeline is portrayed alongside the HR-V, CR-V, and Pilot under the Honda Utility banner.

“Go where you wanna go,” The Mamas & the Papas sing, as a tree-lined bike trail appears with the CR-V in the HR-V’s rear seat, as a mountainside Pilot scene materializes in the CR-V’s cargo area, as the Ridgeline’s soccer setting unfolds from the Pilot’s third row.

Has Honda decided the Ridgeline is a sport-utility vehicle? A CUV? (Read More…)

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 10, 2017

2018 Toyota C-HR, Image: Toyota

Like so many vehicles, Toyota’s C-HR leads a somewhat confused life. Its identity, like that of the Kia Niro, seems obvious to PR types, but wary observers continue to cite both vehicles’ lack of available all-wheel drive as a reason why neither should carry a “crossover” label.

We haven’t come to blows here at TTAC, but in the great Crossover Or Not debate, the “tall wagon” camp has a clear edge. Certainly, the C-HR, billed as a subcompact crossover, has the proper dimensions and ride height to qualify, but its lack of four-wheel traction sets it apart from its rivals. Usually, an automaker would prefer to live up the segment’s tepid go-anywhere pretensions by tossing in an optional prop-shaft and rear differential.

It could be that the C-HR’s missing AWD has more to do with its humble, one-size-fits-all Scion origins than anything else. However, there’s mixed information coming out about the model’s future. (Read More…)

By on March 10, 2017

2017 Mazda CX-5 – Image: Mazda USA

Mazda, heretofore an avid provider of manual transmissions, is killing off the manual transmission in the brand’s most popular product, the CX-5.

CarsDirect’s pricing analysts informed TTAC of the CX-5’s exclusively two-pedal future, having received confirmation from Mazda.

Few consumers were taking Mazda up on the company’s offer of an entry-level CX-5 with a manual transmission, so while the CX-5’s advertised base price shoots up by $2,290 with the loss of the standard shift, the typical transaction price for the typical CX-5 buyer won’t change.

CarsDirect says the CX-5’s manual transmission will continue to be offered north and south of the border. But for American consumers in search of a manual shift crossover, where are they to turn? (Read More…)

By on March 9, 2017

2017 Cadillac XT5

The first of several new utility vehicles to roll into Cadillac dealers won’t carry the name many expected.

Recent spy photos show a heavily camouflaged compact crossover due to launch next year, part of Cadillac’s bid to boost sales by going all-in on the SUV craze. The automaker has offered a name for this looming profit machine, and it doesn’t stray far from place-holder we’ve used for some time. (Read More…)

By on March 8, 2017

2018 Toyota C-HR, Image: Toyota

Today’s marketplace is a crowded affair. Each manufacturer seems to sit down at the table every new model year with more. More variants, more things with all-wheel drive, more CUVs, and more vehicles which split the pieces of the sales pie down to ever smaller fragments. This fragmentation leads to the eye splinter above, whatever the hell Toyota thinks it is, which will clog up parking lots everywhere starting next year.

To cure this portion issue, I think some models need to die, and I want you to help me choose which ones.

(Read More…)

By on March 7, 2017

2018 Volvo XC60, Image: Volvo Cars

When the Volvo XC60 first entered the premium compact CUV market, the world was still fully in the grip of a financial crisis, Twitter was relatively new, and America was transitioning from its 43rd to 44th president.

Despite enjoying remarkably stable sales from its solid entry in the wildly competitive segment, Volvo clearly felt it was time for a change. And what better strategy exists besides emulating the model’s critically acclaimed bigger brother, the XC90?

The answer: none. Fully made over, the second-generation 2018 Volvo XC60 revealed today at the Geneva Motor Show borrows some of the XC90’s best hardware and design cues, resulting in a strikingly handsome and grown-up crossover. (Read More…)

By on March 3, 2017

Toyota Corolla and Kia Niro, Image: © 2017 Chris Tonn

Crossover — it’s such a magical term. To the average consumer and the shiny marketing executive, adventure and utility come standard with a crossover. The consumers who own a crossover can rest assured they’re interesting, well-rounded, and worthwhile people. The marketing executive can also rest assured with the knowledge the CUV is without a doubt the fastest growing segment in the entire North American market.

But you are neither consumer nor person of marketing lineage, you’re the B&B. So tell me, what defines a crossover for you? (Read More…)

By on February 28, 2017

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Ahead of its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show, Mitsubishi has lifted the curtain on a new compact crossover with a familiar — but now confusing — name.

Yes, the 2018 Eclipse Cross bastardizes the memory of that sporty coupe your 18-year-old co-worker once owned, but the name is the least of anyone’s concerns right now. Shoehorned into the lineup to give Mitsubishi a new player in a scorching-hot segment, the Eclipse Cross sports styling that can charitably be described as controversial. (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…)

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