Tag: small SUVs

By on September 21, 2017

Volvo XC40 - exterior

Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture is turning out to be a little sexier than one might have imagined. With the arrival of the XC40 we were expecting something akin to a baby X90, but we ended up getting a better-looking Range Rover Evoque. It’s certainly reminiscent of its bigger brothers, yet possesses an individual sense of style that Volvo claims will make its way into other models using the CMA platform.

All of this style is likely to come at the expensive of rearward visibility. We haven’t sat behind the wheel of a XC40 but we can already tell you that bulky C-pillar is probably going to get in the way from time to time. That said, it looks so good that it’s difficult to truly fault it — especially when the small SUV is fitted with a black or white contrasting roof.

Offsetting the chic styling is a modest amount of plastic cladding along the bottom of the vehicle. This ought to provide some necessary protection for urban owners forced to park close to banged-up models with drivers less inclined to appreciate the XC40’s unibody beauty.  (Read More…)

By on August 23, 2017

Volkswagen T-Roc

Opening with a query as to whether or not the audience was, “Ready to Roc” or not, Volkswagen showcased the production version of the T-Roc today in Italy. However, the model that arrived on stage didn’t quite resemble the compact crossover concept vehicle we’ve grown accustomed to.

While shorter in appearance than a traditional baby SUV, the T-Roc isn’t the coupe-adjacent vehicle we were led to believe it might be. True to form, VW played it safe.

There are some notable exceptions, however. The bi-color design allows the roofline to be mismatched with the bodywork and the interior has some fun color options — both in its lighting and trim. But it lacks the swept-back roofline and lowered stance of the prototype. The upside to this is superior interior volume and more traditional SUV characteristics that the public will be less likely to shy away from. Volkswagen wants volume, after all.  (Read More…)

By on April 28, 2017

hyundai-kona-teaser

Hyundai has teased its entry into the subcompact crossover segment in the past but only acknowledged that it would have at least one thin LED headlamp, be called the Kona, and finally serve round out the company’s SUV lineup. On Friday, the company released another teaser to give us a better sense of what the little crossover will actually look like.

For starters, the thin LED strips are now running lamps positioned above the vehicle’s actual headlights, à la Nissan Juke. However, Hyundai appears to have accomplished it in a much more understated manner than Nissan. Unlike the Juke, the Kona has its light strips running just below the hood opening and very near the actual illumination sources. It’s a lot less funky, but should be interesting enough to set it apart from the rest of the segment — an important consideration, as there’s much more stylistic variation between subcompact crossovers than between their compact equivalents.  (Read More…)

By on April 25, 2017

2017_nissan_rogue_sport_11

Taking a cue from Mitsubishi, which offers the Outlander and the smaller Outlander Sport, Nissan has decided to introduce a Sport version of the strong-selling Rogue — though it is actually an entirely divergent model.

The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport fills a relatively tiny gap between the brand’s smaller CUVs. While the sizing difference is easier to appreciate against the Juke, the two Rogues are actually more dissimilar than a first glance would suggest. For starters, the standard Rogue is about a foot longer and can be outfitted with three rows while the Sport is limited to only two. The larger crossover also comes with a 2.5-liter inline-four that the Rogue Sport won’t have. Instead, buyers receive a 2.0-liter inline-four that produces 141 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque, mated to a continuously variable transmission.  (Read More…)

By on February 23, 2017

2017 Honda CR-V Touring Front 3/4, Image: © 2017 Timothy Cain

We’re all supposed to enjoy, or endure, an Alfa Romeo ownership experience at some point in our lives.

The 2017 Honda CR-V is diametrically opposed to everything the Alfa Romeo SZ stands for.

You’re supposed to drive a car that reveals its character through its flaws, as if a shifter that only slots into third at 2,755 rpm is somehow symbolic of soul.

The 2017 Honda CR-V doesn’t shift. At all.

You’re supposed to tell a great breakdown story that involves a leafy Vermont village, a greedy mechanic, and a 48-hour wait for a repair that resulted in the best drive ever with an ex-girlfriend who severed your relationship the next day.

Not a single word of that could possibly apply to a 2017 Honda CR-V.

You’re an enthusiast, you have taste, you’re vulnerable. We get it. But maybe you should just drive a Honda CR-V and accept the fact that boring, or dull, or soulless cars can be wonderfully effective ways of transporting one’s family.

I’m not thrilled by the realization. But I’m impressed by the all-new, fifth-generation Honda CR-V. (Read More…)

By on September 6, 2016

2016 RAV4 and CamryWill the Toyota RAV4 outsell Toyota’s long-running best-selling car, the Toyota Camry, within the next five years? Nine months ago, Toyota Motor Corp.’s U.S. boss, Bob Carter, said, “I’ll bet you lunch that will happen.”

It didn’t take five years.

To be fair, Carter wasn’t referring to a single month’s results. Indeed, through the first two-thirds of 2016,  the Camry produced nearly 36,000 more U.S. sales — about one month’s worth — than the RAV4.

But in August 2016, for the first time in Toyota’s U.S. history, the Toyota RAV4 was more popular than the Toyota Camry. And the RAV4 was by no means the only vehicle to outsell the most popular car in America. (Read More…)

By on July 12, 2016

2014 Jeep Patriot, Image: FCA

Compact SUV headlights have a long way to go if they want a passing grade from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The organization now rates headlight performance, and ] small SUVs are the latest crop of vehicles to undergo testing. The study results aren’t dazzling.

Out of 21 vehicles and 47 headlight options, no small SUV received a “good” rating from the IIHS, and two-thirds garnered a “poor” rating. Only four vehicles — the 2017 Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson and Mazda CX-3 — earned a rating of “acceptable.” (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 March 8, 2014

Volkswagen-T-ROC-Concept-02

Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn is optimistic for the future of the T-ROC, with the automaker willing to build the crossover if the customers want it.

(Read More…)

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