By on June 16, 2017

2017 Mazda CX-5 white - Image: MazdaSitting just $500 below the top-spec 2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring is a new Grand Select trim.

Mazda spokesperson Jacob Brown tells CarsDirect, which spotted the addition, that the 2017 CX-5 Grand Select is an attempt by Mazda USA to examine consumer tastes.

Grand Select, Brown says, “will be offered for a limited time and will test the waters for customer options preferences in the marketplace.”

Like the CX-5 Grand Touring, the $29,835 Grand Select is a very well-equipped, premium-aping compact crossover. Unlike the CX-5 Grand Touring, the Grand Select lacks forward collision warning, adaptive cruise, auto high beams, lane departure warning, and lane keeping assist. A few years down the increasingly autonomous road, those are the kinds of features that might be a real boon to resale.

Sure you wanna save $500? (Read More…)

By on January 9, 2017

2017 Infiniti QX30 AWD - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

Look familiar?

The 2017 Infiniti QX30, launched in the United States in late August, is the product of a now tenuous partnership between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler. There’ll be more such vehicles, most notably the Mercedes-Benz X-Class pickup truck that uses the Nissan Navara as its foundation.

That truck won’t come to America. But by procuring the Mercedes-Benz GLA’s architecture, Nissan now has an entrant in the rapidly growing subcompact luxury utility vehicle sector. Built in Sunderland, England, rather than the GLA’s German factory, the Infiniti QX30 shares its powertrain with the GLA250 and benefits from an Infiniti renovation.

Fittingly, there’s a meaningful discount available for a buyer who’s willing to consider the Infiniti variant instead of the original Benz. A fully optioned 2017 Infiniti QX30 AWD enters the playing field with a haughty $45,495 MSRP, absent a number of features you’d expect on a much less costly car, lacking the space of a typical compact car, and deprived of the illustrious three-pointed star that adorns its twin. Yet this QX30 costs roughly $5,000 less than a comparably equipped Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4Matic.

$5,000 less, but better. Marginally better. (Read More…)

By on August 9, 2016

2017 Kia Sportage SX Turbo, Image: © 2016 Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

Recognize this Kia?

TTAC’s Matthew Guy drove and reviewed this particular 2017 Sportage SX Turbo in early July. Readers need not an ability to read between the lines to locate Guy’s disappointment in the turbocharged 2.0 liter’s responsiveness, or the nearly complete and total lack thereof.

“Kia’s intent is to offer V6 power with four-banger economy. Unfortunately, I found little of either in this Coke-bottle-sized engine,” he wrote at the time.

The Sportage SX, rated at 237 horsepower and 260 lbs-ft of torque, shuffles its power through all four wheels in a 3,997-pound package. In a 2016 Kia Sorento weighing 4,303 pounds, I said the same powerplant’s mid-range “is as punchy as the Sorento’s available 3.3-liter V6,” and “passing power is plentiful as you ride a 260-lb-ft wave across a plateau of torque.”

Yet in the smaller and lighter Sportage, Matthew says, “Outside Sport Mode, it didn’t even feel like 137 hp, let alone 100 more.” In TTAC’s hyperactive Slack chat at the end of July, he continued, “It drove like cold molasses going backward uphill.”

But Guy was the first auto writer to get seat time in this specific 2017 Kia Sportage SX Turbo. Unbeknownst to him, and to the Kia Sportage’s instrument cluster, the Kia was wounded before getting to the battlefield. (Read More…)

By on May 7, 2015

2015 Buick Encore

U.S. sales of the Buick Encore have increased, on a year-over-year basis, in each of the last 16 months. That streak includes these last five months, a period in which a more affordable twin of the Encore, the Chevrolet Trax, has also been generating meaningful U.S. sales activity.

Encore volume grew 31% in the five months preceding the Trax’s U.S. launch. Since the little Chevy’s arrival, not only has the Encore avoided a decline, the rate of its volume expansion has hardly slowed: Encore sales jumped 28% between the final month of 2014 and April 2015.

In fact, as General Motors attracted 7,477 sales with the less costly Trax in March and April, Buick reported the best month ever for the Encore in March and the second-best ever Encore performance in April, the latter being a slightly slower month for the overall auto industry. (Read More…)

By on April 10, 2015

2015 Lincoln MKCWith November’s sales results in hand, we asked four months ago whether Ford Motor Company’s Lincoln division had reached “Peak MKC.” Initial evidence suggested the Escape-related small crossover wasn’t able to cross the threshold from middling success in the Acura RDX and Audi Q5-dominated small luxury CUV arena into the upper tier.

With the MKC’s U.S. sales results from the first-quarter of 2015 now in, there’s yet more evidence leading us to believe that demand for the MKC – at its current price point, with its current level of incentives, without a new MKX stealing limelight – won’t climb noticeably higher. (Read More…)

By on March 26, 2015

2014 Volvo XC60, Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Teknikens VärldSales of small luxury crossovers jumped 40% in February 2015 and so far this year are up 40% compared with the first two months of 2014.

Subtract the newcomers from that equation and the continuing nameplates, those which were on sale at this time last year, posted a 3% February improvement but are down 1% through two months.

Those new players – NX, MKC, Macan, X4 – generated 29% of the small lux CUV activity in January and February. Yet their collective arrival, both at the lower end with the NX and MKC and at the higher end with the Macan and X4, aren’t slowing down the Acura RDX, Volvo XC60, and Range Rover Evoque. (Read More…)

By on February 10, 2015

2015 Ford Escape Titanium AWD redAfter only one brief stint in last week’s 2015 Ford Escape tester, I was already angry with this heavily optioned Titanium AWD specimen.

The anger had nothing to do with our first drive to the other side of Halifax. And I wasn’t even in the Escape, let alone driving it, when my resentment blossomed. I was shovelling our driveway during a lull in the blizzard that left New York in peace, hammered Boston, and slathered Nova Scotia’s capital with ice after a few inches of snow fell. With four vehicles jammed into our small driveway to avoid the on-street winter parking ban, the Escape’s tailgate insisted on opening of its own accord with frustrating frequency.


• USD As-Tested Price: $38,075

• Horsepower: 231 @ 5500 rpm

• Torque: 270 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm

• Observed Fuel Economy: 19 mpg


Armful of groceries? Yes, hands-free tailgate opening might then be useful, if you can maintain your balance while holding the grocery load in your right hand, perching the 15-month-old child on your left hip, and doing the jitterbug under the rear bumper.

(Read More…)

By on January 26, 2015

2015 Honda CR-V TouringThe Honda CR-V was America’s best-selling SUV in 2014, just as it was in six of the seven previous years. (We’re using the term “SUV” loosely here in order to avoid constant delineation.) CR-V volume increased to previously unseen levels in 2014. Honda reported 335,019 CR-V sales last year, 28,807 more than Ford managed with its second-best-selling Escape; 31,115 more than Honda achieved with the CR-V one year earlier.


• USD As-Tested Price: $33,775

• Horsepower: 185 @ 6400 rpm

• Torque: 181 @ 3900 rpm

• Observed Fuel Economy: 23.8 mpg


American consumers look favourably upon Honda’s reliability reputation. The CR-V is also a long-established nameplate in a relatively fresh category. But there must be numerous other reasons for the CR-V’s wild success. (Read More…)

By on January 26, 2015

2015-Cadillac-Escalade-live-photos-11

Ballers looking for a much smaller Cadillac Escalade may need to wait four years before such a beast arrives, per president Johan de Nysschen.

(Read More…)

By on January 20, 2015

2016 Honda HR-V

Those shopping for a small, fuel-efficient crossover can now add the 2016 Honda HR-V to the list, thanks to its EPA-certified 31 mpg combined rating.

(Read More…)

By on December 18, 2014

Lincoln MKCAfter increasing sales of the brand’s new Escape-related small crossover in five consecutive months, Lincoln MKC volume levelled off in November 2014 at 2152 units. This represents a 2% drop from the total achieved by the MKC in its best month, October, when 2197 were sold. America’s new vehicle market was 2% larger in November than it was during the prior month.

Have we therefore reached the MKC’s maximum monthly volume? Dealers have plenty of copies to sell: there was a 116-day supply at the beginning of November. 2150 sales per month would put the MKC in the same territory as the much larger and more costly Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, ahead of the smaller BMW X1 and also-ex-PAG Volvo XC60, but well back of class leaders like the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK, and BMW X3. This year, the latter four are generating 3610, 3443, 3013, and 2820 average monthly sales, respectively. (Read More…)

By on July 30, 2014

2015-Chevy-Colorado-3

General Motors’ upcoming midsize truck twins — the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon — look to do more than attract those seeking a smaller pickup by also seeking out small crossover consumers.

(Read More…)

By on January 21, 2014

2014_Jeep_Cherokee_North_4x2_Edition_Canada_Front

 

With the first month of 2014 sales nearly wrapped up, we’ll soon get our first look at how the Jeep Cherokee has fared, following the initial shipment of delayed units. Much has been made of the Cherokee selling 10,000 units in November and 15,000 units in December: it was a great storyline for Chrysler to promote in the run-up to NAIAS, and one for the hometown media (in both Detroit and Toledo) to rally around. Left out of the cheerleading was the fact that these figures accounted for the 25,000 units reportedly sent to dealers in one fell swoop. Can you say “pent up demand”?

But even if the Cherokee continued to sell at that pace – say, 15,000 units per month as an optimistic projection, where would that place it in the larger picture of the small crossover segment?

(Read More…)

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