The Truth About Cars » cuv http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:05:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » cuv http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com American-Spec Honda HR-V Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/american-spec-honda-hr-v-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/american-spec-honda-hr-v-revealed/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:05:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934570 As we learned last week, Honda’s first SUV wasn’t a Honda at all. Caught flat-footed by the SUV boom, Honda took some desperate measures to get bring something to market that had an “H” on the grille. While the CR-V came out at exactly the right time, Honda waited nearly a decade after the Passport’s […]

The post American-Spec Honda HR-V Revealed appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2016-honda-hr-v

As we learned last week, Honda’s first SUV wasn’t a Honda at all. Caught flat-footed by the SUV boom, Honda took some desperate measures to get bring something to market that had an “H” on the grille.

While the CR-V came out at exactly the right time, Honda waited nearly a decade after the Passport’s launch to come up with a large SUV. This time, they’re a little quicker in responding to the next wave of the SUV boom – the subcompact crossover.

The HR-V, already revealed as the “Vezel” in world markets, will go head to head with the Nissan Juke and Chevrolet Trax. Next month will bring the HR-V’s debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, along with details on powertrain, equipment levels and maybe even pricing. Given the success of the CR-V and Pilot, it’s safe to assume that this will be a huge hit for Honda.

The post American-Spec Honda HR-V Revealed appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/american-spec-honda-hr-v-revealed/feed/ 74
Exclusive: Lincoln’s Upcoming RWD Crossover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/exclusive-lincolns-upcoming-rwd-crossover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/exclusive-lincolns-upcoming-rwd-crossover/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 12:06:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=927137 Thanks to TTAC‘s sources inside the Blue Oval (the same ones who scuttled rumors of a revived Ford GT), we can exclusively reveal that the long awaited RWD Lincoln is in the works, along with a Ford counterpart. But the newest rear-drive Blue Oval vehicle won’t be a sedan ala the Lincoln Continental or a Ford […]

The post Exclusive: Lincoln’s Upcoming RWD Crossover appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
1024px-2011_Ford_Territory_(SZ)_Titanium_TDCi_wagon_(2011-11-17)_01

Thanks to TTAC‘s sources inside the Blue Oval (the same ones who scuttled rumors of a revived Ford GT), we can exclusively reveal that the long awaited RWD Lincoln is in the works, along with a Ford counterpart. But the newest rear-drive Blue Oval vehicle won’t be a sedan ala the Lincoln Continental or a Ford Falcon revival. It’s going to be a crossover.

On the surface, the idea of two rear-drive crossovers makes zero sense at all. Rear-wheel drive is now primarily used for enhanced driving dynamics, and a crossover isn’t exactly the kind of vehicle that stands to benefit from such a layout. But Ford has tried this before with the Australian market Territory (above) a vehicle that was widely lauded for its performance and practicality.

But a closer look at the dynamics of the auto market place shows that a new full-size sedan is a fool’s errand. The full-size market is shrinking with each year, as large crossovers take an increasing bite out of a once dominant segment. The next generation Ford Taurus is rumored to be dead in the water after it bombed a series of design clinics – instead, a large Ford sedan based on the Fusion’s CD platform will be built for the Chinese market, alongside Project GOBI, a large Lincoln sedan, akin to the MKS, but focused on Chinese tastes and sold world wide.

Aside from the growing crossover market, there’s also the matter of police car sales. Year-to-date, the Explorer Police Interceptor sales are up 52 percent while Taurus Interceptor sales are down 7 percent, with the Explorer outselling the Taurus by a 2:1 margin. By combining the SUV bodystyle and rear-drive dynamics in a Pursuit rated package, Ford could offer a police vehicle that offers law enforcement officials the best of both worlds, while also offers an alternative to the Chevrolet Tahoe that is more fuel efficient and able to use the same mounting points for police hardware as previous Ford vehicles.

A civilian version would be a slightly different beast. Although rear-drive would be a way to differentiate itself from the Edge and MKX, most of the new upcoming RWD CUVs would likely leave the showroom with AWD. We don’t know much about powertrains, styling details or even a moniker for the future Lincoln, but we do know the name for the upcoming Ford version.

Explorer.

The post Exclusive: Lincoln’s Upcoming RWD Crossover appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/exclusive-lincolns-upcoming-rwd-crossover/feed/ 118
The First Minivan Becomes The Next Crossover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/first-minivan-becomes-next-crossover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/first-minivan-becomes-next-crossover/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:12:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=922249 On October 3rd, 1984, American Motors announced that the Renault Espace would be imported to North America as an AMC product. 30 years later, the Escpace’s minivan heritage will come to an end. The Espace is to Europeans what the Chrysler minivans are to us – the first example of a modern, mass-produced minivan that […]

The post The First Minivan Becomes The Next Crossover appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
image (1)

On October 3rd, 1984, American Motors announced that the Renault Espace would be imported to North America as an AMC product. 30 years later, the Escpace’s minivan heritage will come to an end.

The Espace is to Europeans what the Chrysler minivans are to us – the first example of a modern, mass-produced minivan that set the standard for the entire segment. A front-drive, neatly packaged three-row people mover that proved to be far more modern than the Fiat Multipla or Volkswagen vans.

At this week’s Paris Auto Show, the Espace will be revealed, after undergoing a radical transformation. No longer a minivan, the Espace is now being marketed as a crossover. No more sliding doors or the distinctly French two-box profile that was a trademark of the Espace. The new version is a bling-bling pseudo-CUV with shades of CR-V in the D-pillar.

For Renault minivan customers, the Scenic will still be available. But the Espace, like the wildly successful Captur, is an attempt to give consumers more of what they want – in this case, crossovers – but with the people carrying abilities of the minivan (or MPV) body style.

image (1) image (2) image

 

The post The First Minivan Becomes The Next Crossover appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/first-minivan-becomes-next-crossover/feed/ 26
2015 Honda CR-V Gets New Look, New Transmission http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2015-honda-cr-v-gets-new-look-new-transmission/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2015-honda-cr-v-gets-new-look-new-transmission/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 14:23:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916346 Our own Jack Baruth is full of praise for Honda’s CVT transmission, and it looks like the 2015 CR-V could be the next vehicle from the Big H to adopt it, replacing the 5-speed automatic gearbox. While Honda has released just a single photograph of the 2015 CR-V, we have it on good authority that […]

The post 2015 Honda CR-V Gets New Look, New Transmission appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015-honda-cr-v

Our own Jack Baruth is full of praise for Honda’s CVT transmission, and it looks like the 2015 CR-V could be the next vehicle from the Big H to adopt it, replacing the 5-speed automatic gearbox.

While Honda has released just a single photograph of the 2015 CR-V, we have it on good authority that the CVT will be part of the CR-V’s mid-cycle refresh. It’s unlikely that consumers will notice the changeover, despite the howls of protest from certain corners of the enthusiast community. And the CR-V is unlikely to lose its dominant spot on the top of the crossover sales charts.

The post 2015 Honda CR-V Gets New Look, New Transmission appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2015-honda-cr-v-gets-new-look-new-transmission/feed/ 32
Piston Slap: Why So Uncool Minivan? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-uncool-minivan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-uncool-minivan/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:07:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908561   Josh writes: What is the deal with minivans? I was thinking the other day that as an outdoor person, minivan’s are perfect. They have lots of room for people and gear, AWD (in some cases), lots of roof space, and better MPG’s than an SUV. But apparently I can’t own one because they’re not […]

The post Piston Slap: Why So Uncool Minivan? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
 

1972 Ford Carousel (photo courtesy: forum.chryslerminivan.net)

Josh writes:

What is the deal with minivans? I was thinking the other day that as an outdoor person, minivan’s are perfect. They have lots of room for people and gear, AWD (in some cases), lots of roof space, and better MPG’s than an SUV. But apparently I can’t own one because they’re not cool. I could get a wagon though. Isn’t a minivan just a super-sized wagon?

Will minivans ever be cool to own?

Sajeev answers:

What’s the deal with minivans? From public perception, CUV popularity, fleet usage, etc. the “uncool minivan” is indeed a sad reality.  But there is plenty to love here on TTAC, from the Farago era to something brilliantly Baruthian.  My second favorite rental vehicle was the 3.6L Pentastar Caravan: it was quick and comfortable with chassis/suspension/steering components ready to play. No surprise, my fav rental was a white 2011 Crown Vic. But I digress…

Isn’t a minivan just a super-sized wagon?  Not really, even if they (kinda) ended the station wagon era. Uncool minivans are a radical rethink: eschewing the traditional notions of the family wagon and the creepster’s van with the adoption of a modern front-wheel drive layout (Aerostar and Astro notwithstanding) for maximum utilization of a traditional two box design, while adding the styling of a family sedan/wagon for curb appeal. Supposedly the Chrysler minivan’s early concepts were lifted from Ford’s work in the early 1970s: possible since Lee Iacocca famously left FoMoCo after butting heads with Henry II far too many times, and took some design staffers with him…though that’s the subject of some controversy.

Will minivans ever be cool to own? Keep in mind the Minivan was and remains an enlightened design: that will attract people. Just like so many Pistonheads go nuts over vintage wagons these days (especially with wheels you’d expect on a restomod ’69 Camaro), the uncool minivan will come back to win our hearts.

Until then, who gives a crap what people think? Go buy one and brush off the haters, no matter what they say!

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

The post Piston Slap: Why So Uncool Minivan? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-uncool-minivan/feed/ 198
This Is Not The Hyundai Crossover You Are Looking For http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/hyundai-crossover-looking/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/hyundai-crossover-looking/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 11:30:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889065 Here’s an interesting study in how two markets, with a similar affinity for small crossovers, will get wildly different products. Hyundai is planning on launching a new small crossover in America, one that will reportedly be akin to the Nissan Juke: small, targeted at Millennial buyers and, ahem, distinctively styled. The ix25, shown above at […]

The post This Is Not The Hyundai Crossover You Are Looking For appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
hyundai-ix25-china-1-660x434

Here’s an interesting study in how two markets, with a similar affinity for small crossovers, will get wildly different products.

Hyundai is planning on launching a new small crossover in America, one that will reportedly be akin to the Nissan Juke: small, targeted at Millennial buyers and, ahem, distinctively styled.

The ix25, shown above at Carnewschina, is probably not it. Hyundai has shown a concept of the ix25 before, but this version will reportedly be for the Chinese market only. Built in China and based on the Kia Soul platform (look hard and the resemblance is obvious), the ix25 is designed to compete with the Ford Ecosport and other B-segment crossovers.

Offering the ix25 and the North American Juke-fighter would probably result in overcrowding in Hyundai showrooms, not to mention, fierce competition for finite marketing dollars. But it’s a nice looking vehicle that would be a solid competitor to the Honda HR-V and Chevrolet Trax, if nothing else.

hyundai-ix25-china-1-660x434 hyundai-ix25-china-2-660x496 hyundai-ix25-china-3-660x485 hyundai-ix25-china-4-660x448

The post This Is Not The Hyundai Crossover You Are Looking For appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/hyundai-crossover-looking/feed/ 8
Question Of The Day: Who Will Win The Luxury Compact Crossover Sales Race? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/question-of-the-day-who-will-win-the-luxury-compact-crossover-sales-race/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/question-of-the-day-who-will-win-the-luxury-compact-crossover-sales-race/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:28:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=875425 With pricing for the Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA announced, the fight for the luxury compact crossover sales crown is officially on. It’s going to be the most important battle of the year for the luxury car market. Crossovers are, without a doubt, the hottest sales segment right now, and one of the most profitable […]

The post Question Of The Day: Who Will Win The Luxury Compact Crossover Sales Race? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Audi_Q3_2.0_TDI_quattro_S_tronic_Karibubraun1

With pricing for the Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA announced, the fight for the luxury compact crossover sales crown is officially on. It’s going to be the most important battle of the year for the luxury car market.

Crossovers are, without a doubt, the hottest sales segment right now, and one of the most profitable segments for OEMs. Take some normal car underpinnings, add a bit of cladding, a higher ride height and a two-box body and all of a sudden, you can charge a hefty premium over what you’d normally have to sell a sedan for. And what better way to lower your CAFE rating than to sell a ton of “light trucks” that get the kind of fuel economy that you’d normally find in a compact or mid-size car? These little trucklets/wagonlets are going to float the ability of the German brands to keep making AMG, M and RS cars by keeping things kosher with the Feds. Remember that when you bemoan the lack of wagons on sale today.

Audi’s Q3 starts at $33,325, versus $29,900 for an A3, though the Q3, unlike the A3, does come standard with AWD .  The Q3 is front-drive, but it does have a 2.0T engine, unlike the A3’s 1.8T mill. A Mercedes-Benz GLA starts at $32,225 for a front-drive model versus $29,900 for a front-drive CLA. The one wildcard is the BMW X1, which is both rear-wheel drive and $30,900, making it the cheapest BMW in the entire model range.

I’m going to put my money on the Q3 taking the crown, just because Audi is very much the brand of the moment. This segment is a fickle, fashion-driven one, and products live and die by how cool they are. The Audi A3 quickly toppled the Mercedes-Benz CLA from the small sedan sales charts, and this won’t be any different.

The post Question Of The Day: Who Will Win The Luxury Compact Crossover Sales Race? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/question-of-the-day-who-will-win-the-luxury-compact-crossover-sales-race/feed/ 87
Buick Envision Photos Leaked http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/buick-envision-photos-leaked/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/buick-envision-photos-leaked/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 21:27:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=874801 The first photos of the Buick Envision have leaked, with prices said to be ranging from $26,000-$32,000 USD. Car News China is reporting that the Envison will be unveiled at the Chengdu Auto Show, with sales starting in Q4 of this year. The Envision is also said to be based on the Delta compact car […]

The post Buick Envision Photos Leaked appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
buick-envision-china-3-660x296

The first photos of the Buick Envision have leaked, with prices said to be ranging from $26,000-$32,000 USD.

Car News China is reporting that the Envison will be unveiled at the Chengdu Auto Show, with sales starting in Q4 of this year. The Envision is also said to be based on the Delta compact car platform, rather than the Theta CUV platform that underpins the Chevrolet Terrain and GMC Equinox.

buick-envision-china-1-660x405 buick-envision-china-1a-660x304 buick-envision-china-2-660x286 buick-envision-china-3-660x296 buick-envision-china-4-660x381

The post Buick Envision Photos Leaked appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/buick-envision-photos-leaked/feed/ 44
Chrysler’s Crossover Will Share Minivan Architecture http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/chryslers-crossover-will-share-minivan-architecture/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/chryslers-crossover-will-share-minivan-architecture/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:37:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872946 What’s obvious to us isn’t always clear to the rest of the automotive world. To anyone who frequents TTAC, the upcoming Chrysler three-row CUV was destined to be built off of the minivan platform, but some other corners of the auto world didn’t seem to get the memo. Chrysler brand boss Al Gardner took the time […]

The post Chrysler’s Crossover Will Share Minivan Architecture appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
550x366x2014-Dodge-Duranto_00141.jpg.pagespeed.ic.pOnDvu-PCw

What’s obvious to us isn’t always clear to the rest of the automotive world. To anyone who frequents TTAC, the upcoming Chrysler three-row CUV was destined to be built off of the minivan platform, but some other corners of the auto world didn’t seem to get the memo. Chrysler brand boss Al Gardner took the time to clear that up.

Speaking to Motor Trend, Gardner all-but confirmed that the front-drive crossover will share the next-gen front-drive architecture that will be utilized by the next-generation vans. A close reading of FCA’s 5-year plan, as well as Chrysler’s overall product portfolio suggests that the three-row crossover is a great way to help lower their CAFE rating, especially with a plug-in hybrid variant – which the new minvan will have from the get-go. You can bet that the CUV will get this technology as well.

According to MT, the Dodge Durango was ruled out because “simply isn’t large enough for many customers in the segment and is too aggressive”. I can’t say I agree with the former, but even so, it’s a moot point. Leveraging the front-drive architecture, with its superior fuel economy, regulatory and packaging characteristics is a no-brainer for a company that badly needs to put a dent in its CAFE ratings.

The post Chrysler’s Crossover Will Share Minivan Architecture appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/chryslers-crossover-will-share-minivan-architecture/feed/ 48
Chart Of The Day: Crossovers Are King http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/chart-of-the-day-crossovers-are-king/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/chart-of-the-day-crossovers-are-king/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 16:33:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=867074   This chart, courtesy of IHS Automotive, shows that for the first time in America, crossovers have edged out sedans as the most popular body style. While the data only shows new vehicle registrations through May, 2014, don’t expect this trend to reverse any time soon. The crossover’s rise to market dominance is an inexorable […]

The post Chart Of The Day: Crossovers Are King appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
BsrTeYECEAAYuq0

 

This chart, courtesy of IHS Automotive, shows that for the first time in America, crossovers have edged out sedans as the most popular body style.

While the data only shows new vehicle registrations through May, 2014, don’t expect this trend to reverse any time soon. The crossover’s rise to market dominance is an inexorable fact of our automotive landscape, both in America and around the world.

Now you see why Nissan isn’t so crazy to forgo the new IDx in favor of the Juke. Sure, nobody will ever cross-shop the two cars, but one plays in a space that is constantly growing, while the other competes in a market that has a future that’s slightly worse than the U.S. Postal Service. If you were an auto executive with a few billion to spend on a new car that must turn a profit (so, no fantasy brown wagon projects), the choice would be easy.

The post Chart Of The Day: Crossovers Are King appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/chart-of-the-day-crossovers-are-king/feed/ 234
Buick Gets Another Crossover – What Took So Long? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/buick-gets-another-crossover-what-took-so-long/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/buick-gets-another-crossover-what-took-so-long/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 18:10:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=856833   Buick will launch a new mid-size crossover, dubbed “Envision” in China first, then presumably in other markets. All we can say is “hurry up”. Given the sales strength of the Enclave and Encore, it’s amazing that Buick isn’t busting their hump to get this thing on sale tomorrow. Then again, China is Buick’s most […]

The post Buick Gets Another Crossover – What Took So Long? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
All-new high-end midsize SUV, the Buick Envision, will make its

 

Buick will launch a new mid-size crossover, dubbed “Envision” in China first, then presumably in other markets. All we can say is “hurry up”.

Given the sales strength of the Enclave and Encore, it’s amazing that Buick isn’t busting their hump to get this thing on sale tomorrow. Then again, China is Buick’s most important market, and their thirst for CUVs seems nearly impossible to satiate. No word on what platform this new CUV will ride on, but the Theta chassis that underpins the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain is a good bet.

The post Buick Gets Another Crossover – What Took So Long? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/buick-gets-another-crossover-what-took-so-long/feed/ 51
Slow Roll-Out For The Lincoln MKC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/slow-roll-out-for-the-lincoln-mkc/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/slow-roll-out-for-the-lincoln-mkc/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 15:53:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=855961 Over the past week, two separate readers have emailed regarding the Lincoln MKC. “How can the most important Lincoln in years be hitting dealer lots,” asks one reader “and yet there’s zero marketing behind it?” The most obvious answer seems to be a lack of supply. Automotive News shows just 300 units nationwide (or 12 […]

The post Slow Roll-Out For The Lincoln MKC appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015-Lincoln-MKC-Main-2

Over the past week, two separate readers have emailed regarding the Lincoln MKC. “How can the most important Lincoln in years be hitting dealer lots,” asks one reader “and yet there’s zero marketing behind it?”

The most obvious answer seems to be a lack of supply. Automotive News shows just 300 units nationwide (or 12 days of supply) for the MKC. Industry sources I talked to suggest that Lincoln doesn’t want a marketing push that will get consumers excited for the car, only to have them show up at a dealer and find exactly zero units on hand to look at.

The other alternative theory being floated is that a last minute part change has led to unexpected delays – but our generally trustworthy sources have given no indication that this is the case.

Edit: From our colleagues at Autoblog comes this story. It seems that Lincoln is looking to avoid the same mistakes they made with the MKZ, where early advertising and a delayed roll-out led to less than desirable results. 

The post Slow Roll-Out For The Lincoln MKC appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/slow-roll-out-for-the-lincoln-mkc/feed/ 46
Don’t Hold Your Breath For A Diesel Jeep Cherokee http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/dont-hold-your-breath-for-a-diesel-jeep-cherokee/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/dont-hold-your-breath-for-a-diesel-jeep-cherokee/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 12:30:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=853345 The Jeep Grand Cherokee received a diesel option earlier this year, but don’t look for the Cherokee to get one any time soon – at least not in North America. Speaking to Automotive News, Manley said that while the Grand Cherokee diesel take rate is about 8 percent, that number would have to increase before the […]

The post Don’t Hold Your Breath For A Diesel Jeep Cherokee appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
550x365x2014-Jeep-Cherokee-001-550x365.jpg.pagespeed.ic.ku6Uutu7nr

The Jeep Grand Cherokee received a diesel option earlier this year, but don’t look for the Cherokee to get one any time soon – at least not in North America.

Speaking to Automotive News, Manley said that while the Grand Cherokee diesel take rate is about 8 percent, that number would have to increase before the Cherokee could get a diesel

“Cherokee is slightly different because of its weight and size. When I think about bringing Cherokee diesel here, I would like to see Grand Cherokee diesel get much higher than 8 percent…It would have to be in mid-double digits.”

While a diesel Cherokee likely has many fans on the internet, reality is more complex. A diesel Cherokee would have to sell in sufficient numbers to meet very stringent U.S. regulations, and would have to come in at a pricepoint that is palatable to American buyers. In the Grand Cherokee, the diesel carries a $4,500 premium.

There’s also the matter of capacity. With Jeep building about 250,000 units globally at its Toledo, Ohio plant, they may not have room to mess with the current model mix by adding a diesel. The Cherokee may not be tops on the compact CUV sales charts, sales are brisk and inventories are well controlled. Jeep is likely selling every Cherokee they can produce for the U.S. market, and a diesel may not be necessary – yet.

The post Don’t Hold Your Breath For A Diesel Jeep Cherokee appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/dont-hold-your-breath-for-a-diesel-jeep-cherokee/feed/ 22
Ford Will Market Long-Wheelbase Edge In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/ford-will-market-long-wheelbase-edge-in-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/ford-will-market-long-wheelbase-edge-in-china/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 13:34:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=853057 Our friends at Autos.ca are reporting that China will get a long-wheelbase version of the 2015 Ford Edge. According to the site, the Edge will get longer rear doors, while retaining much of the same sheetmetal. The Edge will be built in Oakville, Ontario for global markets, but due to China’s restrictive tariffs on imported […]

The post Ford Will Market Long-Wheelbase Edge In China appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Our friends at Autos.ca are reporting that China will get a long-wheelbase version of the 2015 Ford Edge.

According to the site, the Edge will get longer rear doors, while retaining much of the same sheetmetal. The Edge will be built in Oakville, Ontario for global markets, but due to China’s restrictive tariffs on imported cars, there will presumably be a Chinese assembly site as well.

Long-wheelbase versions of sedans are highly popular with Chinese consumers, who value rear passenger space as an attribute of luxury vehicles. Being driven by a chauffeur is also a sign of wealth among affluent Chinese consumers, and a long-wheelbase crossover neatly capitalizes on these trends.

The post Ford Will Market Long-Wheelbase Edge In China appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/ford-will-market-long-wheelbase-edge-in-china/feed/ 17
2015 Ford Edge Revealed [Updated With Live Shots] http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/2015-ford-edge-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/2015-ford-edge-revealed/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 22:30:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=851433 Ford released photos and specs for their new Edge, becoming the first Ford to have a standard Ecoboost engine. Riding on the same CD4 platform as the Ford Fusion and MKZ, the Edge come standard with a 2.0L Ecoboost making 245 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. Also on offer are a 3.5L naturally aspirated […]

The post 2015 Ford Edge Revealed [Updated With Live Shots] appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ford released photos and specs for their new Edge, becoming the first Ford to have a standard Ecoboost engine.

Riding on the same CD4 platform as the Ford Fusion and MKZ, the Edge come standard with a 2.0L Ecoboost making 245 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. Also on offer are a 3.5L naturally aspirated V6 and a 2.7L Ecoboost V6, with power figures not announced for either engine. FWD is available on the base four, with AWD standard on the other engines. The sole powertrain is a 6-speed automatic.

Ford’s new adaptive steering system which can vary the steering ratio is available, as well as active grille shutters, start-stop, MyFord Touch, blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert and a 180 degree front camera. Ford will continue to build the Edge at its Oakville, Ontario plant with sales starting early next year.

[Thanks to AutoGuide.com for the live shots]

15FordEdge-Sport_01_HR 15FordEdge-Sport_03_HR 15FordEdge-Sport_14_HR 15FordEdge-Titanium-Sport_HR 15FordEdge-Sport_01_HR 15FordEdge-Sport_03_HR 15FordEdge-Sport_04_HR 15FordEdge-Sport_06_HR 15FordEdge-Sport_09_HR 15FordEdge-Sport_10_HR 15FordEdge-Sport_13_HR 15FordEdge-Sport_14_HR (1) 15FordEdge-Sport_14_HR 15FordEdge-Sport_15_HR 15FordEdge-Titanium_02_HR 15FordEdge-Titanium_04_HR 15FordEdge-Titanium_08_HR 15FordEdge-Titanium_13_HR 15FordEdge-Titanium_21_HR 15FordEdge-Titanium-Sport_HR (1) 15FordEdge-Titanium-Sport_HR OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The post 2015 Ford Edge Revealed [Updated With Live Shots] appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/2015-ford-edge-revealed/feed/ 63
Volkswagen Crossover Will Be Built In Chattanooga http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/volkswagen-crossover-will-be-built-in-chattanooga/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/volkswagen-crossover-will-be-built-in-chattanooga/#comments Mon, 23 Jun 2014 04:01:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=849794 Reuters is reporting that the long-awaited decision on the production site of Volkswagen’s new crossover is set to be handed down any day now, and the winner is Chattanooga. According to Reuters, a generous incentive package swayed the decision to build the new CUV in the United States, rather than Mexico The state of Tennessee […]

The post Volkswagen Crossover Will Be Built In Chattanooga appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
550x366xVolkswagen-CrossBlue-Concept-550x366.jpg.pagespeed.ic.uF-8gWFYml

Reuters is reporting that the long-awaited decision on the production site of Volkswagen’s new crossover is set to be handed down any day now, and the winner is Chattanooga.

According to Reuters, a generous incentive package swayed the decision to build the new CUV in the United States, rather than Mexico

The state of Tennessee is offering tax breaks, staff training, free land and infrastructure upgrades worth about $300 million in total, giving it a clear edge over Puebla, Mexico

Dealers have been crying out for a CUV sized above the Touraeg, but priced closer to the Honda Pilot (rather than in the pseudo-luxury space occupied by the Touraeg). With CUV sales growing in globally, the lack of competitive crossovers in Volkswagen’s North American product portfolio is undoubtedly holding them back from further growth in North America. The new three-row CUV should help put them on track – but without a next-generation Tiguan that’s adapted to North American tastes, it may be too little too late.

The post Volkswagen Crossover Will Be Built In Chattanooga appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/volkswagen-crossover-will-be-built-in-chattanooga/feed/ 27
Junkyard Find: 2003 Pontiac Aztek http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-2003-pontiac-aztek/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-2003-pontiac-aztek/#comments Wed, 04 Jun 2014 13:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=832177 Now that we’re all about 21st-century Junkyard Finds this week, let’s admire another JF first: the Pontiac Aztek. A popular TV show really ended up muddying the cultural waters around the Aztek, in a process similar to what happened with the DeLorean DMC-12 in the late 1980s, so let’s try to remember back to a […]

The post Junkyard Find: 2003 Pontiac Aztek appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
09 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNow that we’re all about 21st-century Junkyard Finds this week, let’s admire another JF first: the Pontiac Aztek. A popular TV show really ended up muddying the cultural waters around the Aztek, in a process similar to what happened with the DeLorean DMC-12 in the late 1980s, so let’s try to remember back to a time when each of saw our first Aztek and thought what could The General have been thinking?
07 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI live in urban Denver, which means I’m surrounded by vast armies of backpackers, skiers, campers, rock climbers, snowboarders, and the like, and many of these folks thought that the Aztek was a vehicle perfectly suited to the stuff they wanted to do on weekends. There are at least four Azteks that live within a few blocks of my house (and a half-dozen VW Vanagon Syncros, which indicates a masochistic and/or delusional streak to go with the tolerance of ugly vehicles that your typical Denver Aztek owner demonstrates), and I see them on the street all the time. It was only a matter of time before they started showing up at self-service wrecking yards, and now that day has come.

“An aggressively styled, technologically advanced sport utility vehicle.”

“I’m all about working hard, standing out, and playing large.”

For the kind of people who eat baby carrots on road trips. I assume that GM had Avalanche ads running at the same time that showed dudes driving Avalanches over the skulls of endangered tortoises while knocking back Hog Blood Gushers™ and tossing M-1000s out the windows.

Sam and Kate like to swing to the beat.
05 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThat’s because the Aztek had rear sound-system controls, which worked pretty well at tailgate parties. Of course, once Bluetooth-enabled smartphones allowed you to control your car’s sound system from a device in your pocket, the Aztek’s setup became less useful.
01 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one has been stripped of the tent and many of the options that made the Aztek so useful to outdoorsy types. All that remains is the ugly.
04 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, this was a better version of “hide the minivan” than most faux-offroader machines styled to look like military trucks. Who knows, maybe I’ll spot the notorious “bite the banana” Aztek in a junkyard one of these days.

01 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The post Junkyard Find: 2003 Pontiac Aztek appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-2003-pontiac-aztek/feed/ 107
BOF, IRS, CKD, SUV… Automotive TLAs, What Are Your Most (and Least) Favorite Acronyms? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/bof-irs-ckd-suv-automotive-tlas-what-are-your-most-and-least-favorite-acronyms/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/bof-irs-ckd-suv-automotive-tlas-what-are-your-most-and-least-favorite-acronyms/#comments Sun, 25 May 2014 14:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=831122 TTAC’s post by J. Emerson on how so-called Millennials’ automotive tastes have been shaped by their coming of automotive age in an era when their parents embraced body on frame sport utility vehicles brought forth a lot of thoughtful comment. One comment that caught my eye, though, had little to do with the topic of […]

The post BOF, IRS, CKD, SUV… Automotive TLAs, What Are Your Most (and Least) Favorite Acronyms? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
BoysOverFlowersJewelryBox

TTAC’s post by J. Emerson on how so-called Millennials’ automotive tastes have been shaped by their coming of automotive age in an era when their parents embraced body on frame sport utility vehicles brought forth a lot of thoughtful comment. One comment that caught my eye, though, had little to do with the topic of the post but rather was a complaint about the use of the acronym BOF. To most of us that means “body on frame” but to manga or Korean sitcom fans it might mean Boys Over Flowers and when you’re using abbreviations you have to be sure your audience recognizes them. In an earlier life I did IT support and we would make a recursive joke about the proliferation of TLA’s, three letter acronyms. Such acronyms, abbreviations, and jargon serve a useful purpose to those in the know, but can also function as a mark of group identification, a shibboleth, if you will. Sometimes the use of jargon can function as a barrier to others, which can be contrary to how inclusive we want TTAC to be.

 

Click here to view the embedded video.

As a writer I have to realize that not everyone knows all the lingo of being a car enthusiast or industry watcher but at the same time I don’t want to condescend and assume that our readers don’t know about what we’re talking. Partly it’s a matter of following a style manual but it’s also an issue of respecting the readers. When discussion suspensions at a car site is it really necessary to say “independent rear suspension” the first time in a post before switching to IRS? When I’m reading about possible government targeting of tax-exempt groups for political purposes does a site have to write out “Internal Revenue Service” for me to know that in that context IRS has nothing to do with the Porsche 928’s Weissach axle?

tech_pic_sus_weissach

Offhand I can think of a few automotive TLAs besides BOF and IRS. There’s the CAN bus I recently discussed, and SLA, short long arm, another suspension term. Getting back to the post that spurred this one, there’s SUV and CUV.

front suspension

Sometimes, instead of exporting fully assembled cars or setting up full overseas assembly operations with a body shop and local suppliers, a lot of automakers will ship CKD, completely knocked down, kits that are then put together in their foreign markets with local labor (though some sources say that the abbreviation stands for “cars knocked down”).

vwckd

While researching this post I discovered another related TLA, those fully assembled exported cars are referred to as CBUs, completely built units.

2003 Land Rover CKD

What other automotive acronyms can you think of? Which do you think most car enthusiasts should recognize without explanation? Which do you particularly like to use? Which do you find annoying?

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

The post BOF, IRS, CKD, SUV… Automotive TLAs, What Are Your Most (and Least) Favorite Acronyms? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/bof-irs-ckd-suv-automotive-tlas-what-are-your-most-and-least-favorite-acronyms/feed/ 63
Coming of Age in the BOF Era http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/coming-of-age-in-the-bof-era/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/coming-of-age-in-the-bof-era/#comments Sat, 24 May 2014 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=829945 Standing on the sidewalk in front of his house, a young boy watches his neighbor across the street back out of her driveway. Her moss green Expedition starts to roll backwards. Suddenly, a blue beach ball blows into the SUV’s path. She hits it with one of her rear tires, and the truck rises up […]

The post Coming of Age in the BOF Era appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
DSCN2839 - Copy

Standing on the sidewalk in front of his house, a young boy watches his neighbor across the street back out of her driveway. Her moss green Expedition starts to roll backwards. Suddenly, a blue beach ball blows into the SUV’s path. She hits it with one of her rear tires, and the truck rises up on top of it for just a moment. The ball bursts with an enormous bang, and the truck crashes back to the pavement with an equally loud noise. The top-heavy rig sways back and forth as the boy laughs.

That young boy was me, sometime over a decade ago. The moss green Expedition was hardly the only SUV on the block. Our own family had two, at various points in time. The first was a second-gen two-door S-10 Jimmy that we assumed the lease on after my grandfather passed away suddenly. The second was another Jimmy, this time a four-door in dark green. The parents didn’t keep either of them for long. The two-door wasn’t very practical, and of course had to be returned at the end of the lease anyway. My mother hated the swinging rear spare configuration because it was difficult for her to lock securely; one time the latch came loose on a freeway exit ramp, and the tire swung out crazily on the swivel mount. The four-door was more practical, but a maddening front-end squeak that was never quite fixed led them to trade it in on a new Mustang. It was the last GM product my family owned.

For us Millennials, the SUV defined the automotive era in which we grew up. Consider that the first Ford Explorer, the most paradigmatic SUV of the entire boom, rolled into showrooms in 1990. The Explorer was mostly just a softer clone of the unibody XJ Cherokee, with fewer off-road chops and less sophisticated engineering. It didn’t matter- the Explorer went on to become one of the greatest sales successes of the 90s, despite the notorious rollover scandals. The Explorer inspired yet more imitators, and the passenger vehicle market has never been the same since. A multitude of causes have been cited to explain the SUV boom: historically low gas prices, a booming economy, a resurgence of interest in outdoor leisure activities, tax write-offs, and regulatory loopholes. In terms of the Millennials and their relationship to the automobile, arguments about what caused the SUV boom are less important than the mere fact of its existence. The rise, fall, and partial rebirth of the SUV made a powerful impression on the automotive consciousness of the Millennials. The negative externalities of the BOF Era (a period I’ll define as the years between the introduction of the Explorer in 1990 and the collapse of the world economy in 2007) are at least partly responsible for the ambivalent, occasionally hostile attitude of many Millennials towards the automobile.

SUVs became a ubiquitous sight on the roads as Millennials were growing up, but their conquest of America’s driveways and garages was never total. Low gas prices made it feasible for more middle-class people to operate them as regular-use vehicles, but they were never particularly cheap to buy. In 2000, the Explorer hit its all-time sales peak of 445,157 units, although Ford managed to shift more than 400,000 units in all but two years between 1995 and 2002. At that time, the very cheapest four door, two-wheel-drive model was still over $23,000- close to $32,000 in today’s money. In reality, most models were nudging thirty grand in year 2000 dollars by the time all the paperwork was signed. The bigger Expedition and Excursion were more expensive still.

In hindsight we now know that there was some pretty hair-raising over-leveraging of credit that went on in the first decade of the 2000s. Even so, not everyone could afford an SUV, and they became an unavoidable distinction between haves and have-nots. They introduced a classist element to the American roadways that differed from the old brand hierarchy. That made a deep impression on myself, as well as many of my friends. We were getting old enough to start understanding the basic tenets of American consumerism. Things cost money, and people made money by working. If you had more money, you could buy more things. In the context of our economic times, this had two important manifestations. Wealthy people drove SUVs and lived in large houses; poor people had sedans (or nothing at all) and lived in apartments or bungalows. The childish mind doesn’t understand that size isn’t always a virtue; nor, it turns out, did many adults.

The logic of the SUV boom was wildly simpler than in the supposed salad days of the Sloanist brand hierarchy in the 50s and 60s. It’s debatable to what extent that brand hierarchy ever penetrated the public consciousness in the manner imagined by automotive historians, anyway. The “buyers’ strike” of 1957, the failure of Edsel, the backlash of the nascent independent consumer press against the excesses of Detroit, the overwhelming dominance of “low cost” brands even during times of rising affluence, and the early success of the Volkswagen Beetle and its imitators are all challenges to the old story. The point remains that drivers who were uneducated about brands, or who didn’t care about cars in general, could easily fail to be impressed. The 1957 Chevrolet looked a lot like the 1957 Cadillac, and this was still true two decades later. If you didn’t pay attention to the brand, the conspicuous consumption aspect was lost on you. That’s how all pure, tiered branding works, right? You have to convince the consumer of his position in the brand hierarchy; but you also have to impress everyone else with the strength of the brand.  The non-purchasers of your product are the ones that make the act of conspicuous consumption truly possible. They are the ones that provide the admiration (or envy) that makes the whole system turn.

The marketing genius of the SUV was that it radically simplified the display of wealth. You didn’t need to know anything about brands, drivetrains, or interior fabrics to guess that an Expedition was more expensive than an Explorer, and an Excursion more still. Pure size turned out to be an incredibly effective substitute for the delicate logic of branding. Unlike the carefully cultivated advertising of yore, SUVs didn’t need an abundance of consumer knowledge to be effective in their message. Bigger meant more expensive, and thus more exclusive. Every kid of the 90s understood this, as did their parents. It was consumption reduced to its crassest, most vulgar form. Even the most ostentatious land yachts of the 50s, 60s, and 70s were rarely much larger than the more pedestrian sedans on which they were often based, and they utilized most of the same styling cues. The SUV was an unavoidable sensory assault that based its appeal not on some form of enlightened coexistence, but on physical dominance of the road. It was literally impossible to ignore.

SUVs trampled the notion of an enlightened, “real” luxury. They put paid to the idea that a luxury vehicle must somehow provide the owner with a superior driving experience, even if that only meant a plusher ride or easier steering. No, the remorseless logic of SUV ownership proclaimed. It must only be expensive and readily identifiable as such. Sure, there was an avalanche of phony “lifestyle” marketing associated with SUVs- they were “sport utility vehicles,” after all. We all know, though, that most SUV purchasers had no interest in the supposed rugged capabilities of their vehicles. They were minivan and wagon replacements with more swagger. As the Germans and Japanese joined in on the SUV orgy, this logic was carried to completion. The hopes of the David E. Davises of the world that the late Seventies had marked some kind of turning point in America’s love affair with the automobile were crushed. Those yuppies didn’t buy their Porsches, BMWs, Mercedes, and various other upscale European and Japanese hardware because they offered superior driving experiences or quality; they bought them because they were the latest trend in loudly advertised wealth. Those cars might have been excellent driving machines, but that isn’t why most people bought them. Toyota learned this lesson and hit a home run with Lexus. Nissan and Honda didn’t, and their luxury ventures floundered.

In the BOF era, the crude size contest undermined the traditional logic of branding to an unprecedented degree. It proved that customers could be receptive to expensive pleasure vehicles without the benefit of a premium brand image. A Land Rover Discovery with leather, a V8, and four wheel drive retailed for $36,100 in 2000; an Eddie Bauer Explorer with the same set of options was only about two grand less. BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac, and Lexus maintained their pricing premiums at the top end of the market, but their advantage was slim and their overall share of the market small. The reality is that nobody struggled to sell SUVs at huge margins in the late 90s and early 2000s, regardless of the strength of their brand. Honda was so desperate to get in this game that it agreed to stick its badges on a GM product. There were plenty of weak brands that got a new lease on life because of the SUV gold rush. When the SUV market entered a sharp decline around 2003, Oldsmobile imploded, Isuzu and Mitsubishi ceased to be relevant entities, and Saab and Mercury were fatally weakened. Sales were more a function of capacity and availability than anything else; “brand” was a secondary consideration. The incessant drive downmarket by virtually all of today’s luxury automakers, and their subsequent erosion of pricing power, is at least partially a legacy of what happened in the SUV market.

In this atmosphere of radical consumption, my contemporaries and I played out our formative years. I didn’t get as much seat time in SUVs as many of my friends, but I had a favorable impression of them. SUVs and trucks were cool. Bill Paxton drove a Ram in Twister. The kids drove an Explorer in Hocus Pocus, and people got eaten out of them in Jurassic Park. I had a die-cast Explorer that I played with constantly. I didn’t have any deep ideas about resource depletion, or climate change, or driving a car that actually put you in touch with the road. I just thought they looked awesome, and that cool people drove them- the main criteria of any adolescent boy. If nothing had changed in the American political and economic picture, I’d probably be driving one today.

Of course, things did change. 9/11 was the first major world political event that Millennials experienced in a meaningful way. The long-term implications of that are enormous and wide-ranging in scope, but for the purposes of the current discussion it’s sufficient to say that the attack and the wars that followed were fodder for a critical look at the American transportation complex. Nobody who was an adolescent in the mid-2000s could avoid the acrimonious debates about American energy policy that accompanied the wars. They couldn’t ignore the mounting crisis that was beginning to thin the SUV herd either. After the Iraq invasion, gas prices began to rocket upwards. Suddenly, middle class budgets were squeezed. Expenditures had to be cut in order to feed ravenous 14 MPG gas hogs. Family trips were curtailed. Parents carpooled. Young teenagers spent long hours in boring dealership waiting rooms as Mom and Dad desperately tried to get out from under their mountain of debt and into something that didn’t cost $150 to fill up.

Meanwhile, there were other problems that combined to make driving a gas guzzler deeply unfashionable and out-of-touch. Casualty lists were ever-present in newspapers and on television. Weapons of mass destruction weren’t found where they were supposed to be; nor was the zealot who had caused us all this pain in the first place. Despots in oil-rich nations laughed at us. The public debt ballooned. Climate change science became harder and harder to deny. Deindustrialization was a mounting problem. Corporate fraud cases exposed shocking levels of institutionalized avarice. Political discourse was ever frothier. In the grim atmosphere of national suffering and sacrifice, people began to question the wisdom of consumption for consumption’s sake. SUVs were beginning to decline in a major way after the gas price spike, but others doubled down- the H2 was introduced in 2002, you might recall. Even so, the long term projections weren’t good. The political Left embraced the SUV as a bogeyman and a symbol for a wide variety of ills.

Just as those kids born the same year the Explorer debuted were about to start their senior year of high school, the bottom fell out. Of everything. The BOF Era had really died that summer, when gas crested $4 a gallon nationwide. The financial crisis was just the nail in the coffin. Now we got to see just how over-leveraged our “boom economy” really was. It was a swift, brutal lesson about the value of living within your means. More than anything, it taught us that luxury and consumption were two different things. You can get by without fancy clothes, eating out, and expensive vacations. Those can be easily set aside when times are tough. It’s much harder to get out from under a car payment for a vehicle that is now too expensive to drive and which no dealer wants to take in trade; to heat a house full of empty rooms you never use; or to pay the mortgage on that same house when the fixed-rate term is suddenly up. I was lucky in that I had a family which understood these things, so our pain was minimal. Lots of people in our community weren’t so fortunate, as was the case all across America.

So what did observant Millennials learn from the BOF Era, when the dust had settled? Mostly, that overspending on commodities isn’t a smart or fulfilling substitute for luxury. You can’t go without a place to live or a way to get around. If you’ve over-leveraged yourself into buying more housing or vehicle than you really need, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to jettison those commitments when times are tough. This doesn’t mean that luxury cars or expensive houses are going to disappear. What it does mean is that the mindless “more is more” mentality of full-size SUVs with two passengers and poorly-constructed McMansions with no furniture in bland suburbs is dead. Energy and space are basic goods that everyone needs. They aren’t meant to be burned up in an endless quest for inefficiency. Neither is inexhaustible, or totally predictable in value. Better to indulge in something with a fixed cost whose long-term obligation isn’t dependent on the vagaries of global financial and commodities markets. Keep your money tight to your chest. Only take out debt that enriches your personal equity: student loans or perhaps a fixed-rate mortgage on a right-sized house in an established neighborhood. Of course, I can’t speak for everybody. There will always be people who make bad decisions as long as money exists. If we start to experience the same level of prosperity our parents enjoyed, we might regress. But we’ve seen the inevitable end to irrational exuberance, and the conspicuous waste that follows. The shameful discarding of SUVs, many with lots of life still left in them, is the final and most sordid legacy of the era.

Like the car-critical Baby Boomers of the 60s and 70s, Generation Y is looking for alternatives. The Boomers looked to fuel-efficient imports as an antidote to Detroit behemoths. The CUV is one of Gen Y’s alternatives to the excesses of the BOF Era. The CUV offers the efficiency of a car with the headroom, seating position, and interior space that were the most redeeming qualities of SUVs. Mid-size pickup trucks are dead, so they say- but new materials and engineering techniques are already making full-sizes more efficient. Hybrids and alternative energy vehicles are only going to grow in demand. The Millennials have been castigated as a generation that doesn’t care about driving or mobility in general, but that isn’t true. We just don’t want the millstone of vehicles that are too cumbersome, too inflexible, and too inefficient to be an effective hedge against the future. The Millennials will go on to buy plenty of cars, but not by the pound.

The post Coming of Age in the BOF Era appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/coming-of-age-in-the-bof-era/feed/ 141
Look What We’re Missing: Suzuki Launches New Crossover For Europe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/look-what-were-missing-suzuki-launches-new-crossover-for-europe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/look-what-were-missing-suzuki-launches-new-crossover-for-europe/#comments Thu, 15 May 2014 13:45:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=820922   The compact crossover market is so hot that even a moribund auto maker like Suzuki is getting into it – and what you’re looking at could very well be the next Vitara. Built in Hungary, the new B-segment CUV is expected to resemble the iv-4 Concept shown above. With a 2015 launch, we’ll have […]

The post Look What We’re Missing: Suzuki Launches New Crossover For Europe appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
iv-4_concept_12_s

 

The compact crossover market is so hot that even a moribund auto maker like Suzuki is getting into it – and what you’re looking at could very well be the next Vitara.

Built in Hungary, the new B-segment CUV is expected to resemble the iv-4 Concept shown above. With a 2015 launch, we’ll have to wait a while to find out whether it’s a rugged off-roader like past Suzukis, or just another milquetoast urban runabout. The latter would be more profitable, thanks to leveraging the Swift architecture, while providing a more civilized driving experience – perhaps at the expense of Suzuki’s brand image. Or whatever is left of it.

The post Look What We’re Missing: Suzuki Launches New Crossover For Europe appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/look-what-were-missing-suzuki-launches-new-crossover-for-europe/feed/ 23
Reader Review: 2014 Cadillac SRX http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/reader-review-2014-cadillac-srx/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/reader-review-2014-cadillac-srx/#comments Thu, 08 May 2014 16:44:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=818258 Reader “Bunkie” aka Peter Hansen, sends us his impressions of the 2014 Cadillac SRX, versus his 2010 CTS Wagon. There are times when it’s a good practice to review long-held beliefs. I’ve never owned an SUV or a CUV. I have owned two Rangers, back when I lived in Columbus and had the whole house/2 […]

The post Reader Review: 2014 Cadillac SRX appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Reader “Bunkie” aka Peter Hansen, sends us his impressions of the 2014 Cadillac SRX, versus his 2010 CTS Wagon.

There are times when it’s a good practice to review long-held beliefs. I’ve never owned an SUV or a CUV. I have owned two Rangers, back when I lived in Columbus and had the whole house/2 kids/2 cars/mortgage-in-a-new-subdivision sort of life. I loved my Rangers. The last one came in really handy when that life imploded and I needed to ferry my things to the storage unit that I referred to as the “museum of my former life”.

Since then, it’s been a life lived in Manhattan with a progression of 3 Taurii (wagons) and 2 Cadillac sedans Now, I drive a 2010 CTS Wagon purchased as a CPO car back in 2012. We keep our car in a garage, which is an unholy but necessary expense. Our usage pattern is to escape the city on Fridays, driving about 120 miles to a weekend house in Pennsylvania. This results in about 15-18K miles per year.

Two cars back, we got our second Cadillac (a CPO STS with the Northstar) from R.J. Burne in Scranton, and I returned to the dealer to purchase our CTS. When our CTS Wagon went in for service, R.J. Burne was kind enough to give me a loaner SRX, since they’re quite a distance away from New York City, and I was interested to see how a CUV would compare to my beloved station wagon. By the time I pick up my car (which should be as you read this), I will have put almost 200 miles on the SRX, over a mix of highways and very rough back roads.

I like a certain amount of functionality in a vehicle. I love sports cars, but we live in the real world with a single vehicle, so I must compromise. That’s exactly why I worked so hard to locate a CTS Wagon. The biggest letdown is the 3.0L V6, which feels inadequate compared to the torquey turbo 4 in my sister’s 328xi. I hadn’t yet tried the new 3.6L V6, but the SRX loaner afforded me that opportunity.

Like most CUVs in this class, The SRX’s shape and size is defined by its mission to provide a high level of comfort and space. To me, it looks short and squat with overly large wheels. I can’t say that I’m a fan of the new grill, as it appears too busy. I’ve always liked the vestigial tail fins that are part of the tail lights, largely because I’m a child of the 1960s and loved the befinned Caddies of my youth.

image001

Maybe it’s my age, but my very first impression was how damned easy it is to get into the driver’s seat. I’m about 6’2” with long legs for my height. I usually swivel my butt over and drop into the seat then swing my legs into the car. In the SRX, I was able to just step in and sit down. Like Etta James, the SRX appears to be built for comfort, not for speed. The second impression is that the driving position is more upright. This SRX was a Luxury trim, which included a thigh support. I’ve seen this feature on other cars, but the seat height has been to low for it to make a difference. Here it worked wonderfully and, for the first time, the weight of my upper legs is actually supported by the seat, not my knees and hips.

Visibility isn’t quite as good as our CTS Wagon. The A-pillar is huge. This SRX has deeply tinted rear and passenger windows, but at least the side mirrors are large and have a blind-spot monitoring feature. The rearview camera is acceptable, with a curving path graphic when you turn the wheel.

image003

This was my first experience with CUE, and I found the learning curve to be brutal. Nothing was intuitive and every action, from setting the climate control, to finding Deep Tracks on SiriusXM, took a long time. The sound system is from Bose and, frankly, the sound quality isn’t very good. As someone who builds speakers as a hobby – and onced worked for Bose – it’s disappointing to think of how many superior components are out there.

I have yet to find the way to reset the fuel mileage and trip computer, I suspect that I won’t get time to figure this out. Having said all that, we must accept that if we want this level of control and this rich feature set, there will always be a learning curve.

The driving experience far surpassed my expectations. Compared to the most recent CUV I’ve driven (an Ecoboost Escape), the SRX felt well-planted, free of the usual top-heavy sensation through curves. The steering does an excellent job of pointing the car despite lacking feedback. The primary characteristic when pushed hard into a corner is mild understeer. Body roll is well-controlled. The brakes are nice and linear, well-suited to the car’s weight. Ride quality is another surprise. Compared to my CTS, the SRX feels sharper yet the effect of this year’s crop of monster potholes barely unsettled the car. Road surfaces that have the CTS transmitting every small irregularity to the seat bottoms are no problem for the SRX. You feel them, but the amplitude and impulse are greatly reduced. Another side benefit is that the car is very quiet, more so than the CTS.

The difference between the 3.0L in the CTS and the 3.6L in the SRX is vast. In the 3.0L, there’s simply no torque below 4000 rpm – manual shifting and driving like a lunatic are needed to extract its full performance. The SRX is almost 1000 lbs. heavier than the CTS yet it feels much stronger. Put your foot in it, and it needs one less downshift to find the ponies. Shifts are smooth but leisurely. Manual mode is better, but compared to the 328, they are slow – not that any GM/Cadillac transmission I’ve experienced has performed with authority.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

From a practicality perspective, the SRX has a shorter cargo area than the CTS wagon, by about 4-5 inches. Depth is better and hatch height is much better. The CTS manages barely 19 inches while the SRX is about 28 inches.

Feature-wise, I like the driver info center. This is an area where all cars have been getting better with more customization. My loaner SRX has the Intellibeam automatic headlight-dimming feature. We had this on our STS and, at times, it required manual intervention. The SRX is much improved. It dims when following other cars, and isn’t fooled by reflective signs. I miss the fog lights and adaptive lighting from my CTS, however.

Now we come to re-examining part. I’ve stated publicly that I don’t like CUVs all that much. But as my needs are changing, I have become more impressed with the segment – provided that they are executed properly. Since I can’t have a pickup, I own a cheap trailer and can tow it behind my CTS. While my car is only rated for 1000 lbs, the SRX can tow 3500 lbs. I probably won’t even exceed the CTS’ rating, but it’s nice to know the extra capacity is there.

As someone who needs one vehicle to do it all, the SRX really won me over. I like the idea of the higher ground clearance and AWD (even with proper snow tires, the CTS does require more care in winter weather). The better seating position and larger cargo capacity are welcome. The 3.6L is a gem, and makes the 3.0L mill in my car look stone age. I may need to re-consider my biases against CUVs. At the very least, the SRX is a way for Cadillac to keep us CTS Wagon owners (all 4 of us) in the fold.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA image001 image002 image003 image004 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA unnamed

The post Reader Review: 2014 Cadillac SRX appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/reader-review-2014-cadillac-srx/feed/ 120
Crossovers Outsell Sedans For The First Time Ever http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/crossovers-outsell-sedans-for-the-first-time-ever/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/crossovers-outsell-sedans-for-the-first-time-ever/#comments Thu, 01 May 2014 04:01:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=813289 For the past decade, midsize sedans have been the most popular segment in America. But data from Polk and IHS Automotive suggests that might be changing. According to Polk, the first two months of 2014 saw compact crossovers take the top spot in terms of market share. As Polk’s Tom Libby notes We may now […]

The post Crossovers Outsell Sedans For The First Time Ever appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
20140430_largest_segments_tl

For the past decade, midsize sedans have been the most popular segment in America. But data from Polk and IHS Automotive suggests that might be changing.

According to Polk, the first two months of 2014 saw compact crossovers take the top spot in terms of market share. As Polk’s Tom Libby notes

We may now be at an inflection point in the U.S. automotive industry – IHS Automotive data based on Polk new vehicle registrations indicate that in the first two months of 2014 U.S. drivers purchased more small crossovers than any other type of vehicle, car or light truck. Non-luxury compact crossovers’ share of the industry has jumped almost six share points in the past five years, including more than three points in the last year alone.

We’ll know more as more sales data emerges today and in subsequent months. While many observers tend to focus on individual nameplate sales races (Camry vs. Accord, Ram vs. Silverado) and brands (BMW vs. Mercedes-Benz), the moment when CUVs eclipse regular passenger cars would be a true game changer for the American auto market.

The post Crossovers Outsell Sedans For The First Time Ever appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/crossovers-outsell-sedans-for-the-first-time-ever/feed/ 98
New York 2014: Outtakes Part 1 – The Masses Are Asses http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-outtakes-part-1-the-masses-are-asses/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-outtakes-part-1-the-masses-are-asses/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:01:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=808714 One of the cars I was least impressed with was the Mercedes-Benz GLA. Even when giving the show floor example the benefit of the doubt for being pre-production or early build, this car just screams “poor execution”. Like the CLA, the interior has a veneer of “premium” – until you get up close and see […]

The post New York 2014: Outtakes Part 1 – The Masses Are Asses appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
photo (20)

One of the cars I was least impressed with was the Mercedes-Benz GLA. Even when giving the show floor example the benefit of the doubt for being pre-production or early build, this car just screams “poor execution”.

Like the CLA, the interior has a veneer of “premium” – until you get up close and see that the wood “veneer” is really just molded plastic with a tortoise-shell looking finish. The switches are all horribly cheap and the screen jutting out of the dash is reminiscent of a cheap Taiwan-made Android tablet.

Most glaring was the rear hatch area. The amount of seam sealer placed on the top near the hatch struts is gratuitous, even for an early build car – especially for one sitting on the floor of a major auto show. You wouldn’t expect that on a $15k Hyundai Accent, let alone a Mercedes-Benz.

But it doesn’t matter. Mercedes will sell every single one of these cars (or lease them for $0 down, $299 a month at 36 months), just on the back of their stellar brand. Nobody will care about this, the crummy interior or the lack of cargo and passenger space. They won’t even notice it – just the three-pointed star on the hood. As my late grandfather used to say “The Masses Are Asses”.

 

The post New York 2014: Outtakes Part 1 – The Masses Are Asses appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-outtakes-part-1-the-masses-are-asses/feed/ 123
Honda Vezel Becomes HR-V In USA http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/honda-vezel-becomes-hr-v-in-usa/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/honda-vezel-becomes-hr-v-in-usa/#comments Mon, 07 Apr 2014 04:36:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=788618 Automotive News is reporting that Honda is reviving an old, but unused moniker for their new small crossover. Honda fansite Temple of VTEC originally reported that Honda will ditch the “Vezel” name for North America, instead dubbing their new B-segment CUV the “HR-V”. This finding seems to be confirmed by AN, which found trademark filings […]

The post Honda Vezel Becomes HR-V In USA appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015-Honda-Vezel-Main-Art3
Automotive News is reporting that Honda is reviving an old, but unused moniker for their new small crossover.

Honda fansite Temple of VTEC originally reported that Honda will ditch the “Vezel” name for North America, instead dubbing their new B-segment CUV the “HR-V”. This finding seems to be confirmed by AN, which found trademark filings for the moniker.

Like the Vezel, the original HR-V was positioned below the CR-V, though it never was exported to North America. For a Honda, its design was fairly progressive, though it was likely too small and too slow to succeed in the size-obsessed North American market in the early 2000’s.

This time, things are different. Crossovers, not SUVs, are the hot new thing, displacing sales of more traditional B, C and D segments. Honda will produce the HR-V at its new Mexican plant, which is set up to build both the Fit and the HR-V. And with the B-segment crossover space heating up, the HR-V is a well timed move for Honda.

The post Honda Vezel Becomes HR-V In USA appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/honda-vezel-becomes-hr-v-in-usa/feed/ 37
Capsule Review: Jeep Cherokee Take Two http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/capsule-review-jeep-cherokee-part-two/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/capsule-review-jeep-cherokee-part-two/#comments Thu, 27 Mar 2014 15:12:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=782265 The problem with a “take-no-prisoners” approach to evaluating new cars is that when you’re the only one adopting a particular stance, it can get pretty lonely – even your own readers begin to doubt you. My initial review of the Jeep Cherokee was a great example of this. Most reports are fairly positive – and […]

The post Capsule Review: Jeep Cherokee Take Two appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
photo (13)

The problem with a “take-no-prisoners” approach to evaluating new cars is that when you’re the only one adopting a particular stance, it can get pretty lonely – even your own readers begin to doubt you. My initial review of the Jeep Cherokee was a great example of this. Most reports are fairly positive – and indeed, there was plenty to like about the car, as my own review mentioned – but many of the car’s flaws were glossed over or simply not mentioned. On the other hand, we at TTAC gave you the unvarnished truth about the Cherokee – and Chrysler was gracious enough to let us review the Cherokee again.

On the launch program in California, there was some confusion over whether the vehicles were pre-production or production units. This time, there was none, and it showed in the overall fit and finish of the Cherokee. The unsightly stitching on the steering wheel? Gone. The wobbly console? Not quite perfect, but less wobbly than before. Like the newly released Chrysler 200, the fit and finish, particularly of the supplied interior components, is very nicely executed. Next to an Escape, CR-V or RAV4, the interior of our Cherokee Limited tester was undoubtedly a cut above the others. If nothing else, Chrysler has managed to carve out a real leader with the UConnect 8.4, offering the best infotainment system along with excellent tactile controls.

Judging from my test example, Jeep has made strides in other areas that previously came up for criticism. After a harsh winter of volatile temperatures, our local roads have been mutilated by potholes and divots, but the Cherokee handled them with aplomb. It would be a stretch to call the ride “plush”, but the little trucklet felt much more sedate than it did on the launch loop, and if FCA plans on selling these in world markets, it’s a good indication of how it will fare on the roads of Europe and developing countries. Similarly, the ZF 9-speed was far less frenetic in its operation, and felt better equipped to handle the more-than-adequate power of the 3.2L Pentastar V6. The major disappointment here was the rather dismal fuel economy.

Driving mostly in heavy stop-and-go traffic, I netted just 15 mpg, despite slow speeds and a rather gentle foot (helped by the much improved throttle calibration – another bone of contention at launch). One can chalk that up to the (literally) freezing temperatures, winter tires, all-wheel drive or my incompetence as a vehicle reviewer. I had assumed that a V6 would be a more economical alternative to a larger turbo 4-cylinder such as the Escape 2.0T, which is known for delivering sub-par fuel economy in the real world. Apparently not. The EPA rates the AWD V6 Cherokee with Active-Drive II (included on my tester) at just 19 mpg around town, so perhaps the results aren’t terribly off base. This is also one heavy CUV, weighing in at over two tons, thanks to the sophisticated AWD, the V6 engine and the hearty CUSW architecture.

Of course, some of my original complaints still remain. The brakes, which I initially compared to a damp dishrag, are still weak, and seem to engage only when the pedal is millimeters away from the floor, as if the whole system was in bad need of bleeding and some new fluid.

The other problem, which is literally impossible to change barring a total redesign, is the rather cramped rear seat area and small cargo compartment. Having driven every vehicle built of CUSW, I realize that this is something that is endemic to this particular architecture, but the Cherokee especially is the kind of “lifestyle” vehicle that should be able to carry people and property with minimal fuss. Nearly everyone who rode around in the back found it cramped, especially if they were above 5’10”. Cargo room is tight, with just 24.8 cubic feet of space in the back – by comparison, a CR-V has 37.2 cubic feet, which makes all the difference when you’re doing a Costco run.

The last major annoyance was something that was not readily apparent on the launch, though it proved to be a real bear around town. The Rear Cross Path detection system would seemingly brake the car for no reason when parallel parking or backing into a stall at just a touch above crawl speed. While I can understand the good intentions and legal rationale behind this programming, it simply turned into annoyance in the real world, where experienced drivers can perform that at more than a snail’s pace. If I were to buy one, I would do whatever I could to opt out.

Having had the chance to experience the car on my home turf, and gain a better understanding of its capabilities, I was able to warm to it more than I did in September. In a segment full of anodyne entrants, the Cherokee is something unique, both aesthetically and mechanically. Unfortunately, it’s missing a few key elements in terms of practicality that would make it a true class leader.

Nonetheless, I’m far more optimistic after having driven the Chrysler 200. It seems that CUSW improves with each iteration: the Dart’s weak point was the powertrain. The Cherokee had a number of initial quality teething issues. The 200 still needs a bit more space for rear passengers. If the pattern of continuous improvement sustains itself, then the next-Cherokee could be a serious player in the market. Not that the Cherokee isn’t competitive, but you better be willing to accept some compromises for the sake of non-conformity.

Chrysler provided the vehicle and a tank of gas for this review.

The post Capsule Review: Jeep Cherokee Take Two appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/capsule-review-jeep-cherokee-part-two/feed/ 221