Tag: crossovers

By on August 24, 2016

2017 Volkswagen Teramont

Volkswagen’s long-awaited three-row SUV has appeared on a Chinese website completely free of camouflage, months ahead of its expected appearance at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The Chattanooga-built SUV, which will likely take the Teramont name, draws inspiration from the 2013 CrossBlue concept and is a big part of Volkswagen’s planned American brand revival.  (Read More…)

By on August 10, 2016

Lada XRay

Times are still tough in Russia, and your average Moscovite or St. Petersburgian doesn’t want to risk buying a new car — unless it’s a vivid, modern new Lada.

Lada, the much-maligned butt of Western jokes for decades, has reaped the rewards of luring a British ex-Volvo designer into its fold. In a vehicle market that continues to contract like a dying star, Lada’s new models are a pinpoint of light. (Read More…)

By on August 9, 2016

Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV II

There’s a sea change underway in America — the once-unstoppable passenger car now has a minority market share compared to SUVs and crossovers, according to July sales figures.

Mitsubishi, the troubled but earnest automaker desperately looking to boost its U.S. comeback, has plans to take a bigger slice of the crossover pie. A third utility vehicle is on the way, and it just stepped out from behind the curtain. (Read More…)

By on August 9, 2016

Hyundai Tucson, Image: Hyundai

Here’s something to depress our older readers: There is an entire generation of drivers that has never known a world without Lexus. Note that I did not say “Lexus and Infiniti.” The majority of American drivers probably have no idea Infiniti exists.

It wasn’t supposed to be that way. I was there at the start, working for a BMW dealer, and I can tell you that many people on the retail side of the business thought that Infiniti would prove to be just as successful as Lexus. Maybe more successful. All of the momentum seemed to be on Nissan’s side: They had the near-legendary Nissan Primera as Infiniti’s entry-level car, beloved of autowriters and cognoscenti everywhere. Toyota had a Camry with frameless windows. Infiniti had the mighty, dream-crushing Q45, which was as fast as a V12 Bimmer and styled from nose to tail in an original, tasteful, fake-wood-free fashion. Toyota had a store-brand copy of the S-Class.

It didn’t turn out that way, of course. We now live in a Lexus world. The brand is so strong that other brands, like Cadillac, obtain the bulk of their sales volume selling knockoff versions of the RX350. I don’t have access to hard numbers, but I would suspect that Lexus dealers are more profitable, per unit sold, than any other franchise south of, say, Porsche.

And where is Infiniti? Nowhere. Lost. Sinking. The reasons for the brand’s failure are too numerous to consider in a single article. But I’m going to discuss what I think might be the most important reason here, because it doesn’t just apply to Nissan’s boutique brand and it continues to affect everyone from Honda to Hyundai.

(Read More…)

By on August 5, 2016

ford edge vignale

Ford doesn’t just want European SUV buyers to flock to its Edge, it wants luxury buyers, too.

The automaker is busy rolling out a refined version of its midsize CUV on the Continent, but an even plusher version is on the way, Automotive News Europe reports. With no Lincolns to sell, Ford figures it can turn one of its own into an Audi-fighter. (Read More…)

By on July 28, 2016

2016 BMW X4 M40i

U.S. sales of SUVs and crossovers grew 8 percent in the first-half of 2016, a gain of more than 240,000 units compared with the January-June period of 2015.

Producing a utility vehicle which transfers buyers from the passenger car sector to the SUV/crossover side of the ledger is almost as automatic as increasing ride height, installing body cladding, and inserting an X into the nomenclature.

Or is it? (Read More…)

By on July 25, 2016

Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept

Forget head-scratching model names like Tiguan and Touareg. For its new midsize crossover, Volkswagen scrapped its naming-by-German-committee tradition and turned the process over to its American division.

When the new models goes on sale next year, expect a rugged, easy-to-pronounce name designed solely for the U.S. market, Automotive News reports. That name could be “Teramont.” (Read More…)

By on July 15, 2016

2016 Hyundai Sonata, Image: Hyundai Motor America

“Well, I mean, all this is basic and terrible,” said Mrs. Bark, pointing to the dash of our rental Hyundai Sonata. “But this could work for us.”

Mrs. Bark just turned 40. She’s an educated woman with four college degrees. She’s a college professor, almost the definition of a middle-class job. And yet she’s never owned the most middle class of vehicles — a mid-sized sedan.

When she became pregnant with our first child in 2007, she owned a 2005 Scion tC that we bought new from the dealership. After roughly a month of dealing with taking a baby seat in and out of the back seat of the little coupe, she decided that she needed something more suitable for motherhood. Since I owned an RX-8 then, I decided that we’d look at Mazda’s offerings, the Mazda5 and the CX-7.

Strangely enough, we never even considered a mid-sized sedan … but maybe we should have.

(Read More…)

By on July 11, 2016

2015 Nissan Murano (4 of 13)

When the Pathfinder Hybrid quietly ended production early last year, it didn’t spell the end of Nissan’s electrified crossover plans in the U.S. The powertrain has now been resurrected in another model, but there’ll be slim pickings for U.S. buyers, according to AutoGuide (via Hybrid Cars).

The Nissan Murano Hybrid bows as a 2016 model, and its specifications can more or less be directly imported from a 2014 Pathfinder brochure. However, the new model’s fuel economy is higher than its spiritual predecessor. (Read More…)

By on June 24, 2016

2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature front

I want you to sit down for this.

The 2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature we’re driving this week costs $45,215.

Mazda USA’s $45,215 sticker includes the destination fee and $300 for Machine Grey Metallic.

Yes, that’s 34-percent more than the next-most-expensive Mazda.

No, there’s not a panoramic sunroof at this price point; no ventilated seats, either. On paper, the new CX-9 produces only 227 horsepower from its 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four when filled with regular fuel. Cargo space behind the third row? Negligible. Third row seating? Technically, yes, there is a third row for the headless and legless among us, like many of its rivals. The eight-inch Mazda Connect infotainment unit is intuitive but not the swiftest operator.

And other than that, the all-new second-generation Mazda CX-9 is pretty much, well … is perfect too strong a word? (Read More…)

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