Tag: SUV

By on May 19, 2017

ford logo

Welcome to the first entry in a new series, Domestics Abroad. We’ll be taking a look at the international models proffered around the world that wear a domestic company’s badge on the grille but are not offered in their brands’ domestic markets. This is ground zero for “you can’t get that here.” All nameplates you’ll see in this series are current production models.

We kick off the series with Ford, which has the largest number of other-market vehicles than any other domestic manufacturer despite its “One Ford” mantra.

(Read More…)

By on April 7, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Atlas grey front quarter off road

For whatever reason, Volkswagen has shied away from the mainstream, large, family vehicle market for decades. When most American parents and spawn headed to Wally World in massive station wagons, Volkswagen offered the Microbus. When minivans became the rage, the sages of Wolfsburg set forth the quirky, rear-engined Vanagon. And through the ‘90s, as the SUV became the default soccer mom transport, the Eurovan continued the tall and narrow van theme.

Certainly, the Routan was a typical minivan — albeit provided by Chrysler — and the Touareg followed a traditional (if pricey) luxury SUV path, but VW hasn’t been a player in the meat of the market. Considering the challenges the company has faced over the last couple years, Volkswagen simply cannot afford to yield high-volume market segments. Besieged dealers need something bigger than a midsized sedan to sell.

Most of all, as noted by Michael Lovati, Volkswagen’s Vice President of Midsize and Fullsize vehicles in North America, “VW needs to regain trust.”

Step one in rebuilding trust is the all-new, American-made 2018 Volkswagen Atlas, which aims squarely at the ever-popular three-row midsize crossover market, especially the beloved Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot.

Does Atlas hit the bulls-eye, or miss wildly?

(Read More…)

By on March 23, 2017

1988 GMC S15 Jimmy

There was a time when just about every day of the week you’d see one (or several) S10/S15 Jimmy/Blazer examples driving around, doing middle-class America things because the Explorer didn’t exist yet. But on account of salt, rust, neglect, and the general “use it up” that happens to trucks in this country, that time is no more.

But is our pristine Rare Ride of today worth anywhere near the sucker-punch $15,000 its owner is asking?

(Read More…)

By on March 14, 2017

2017 Land Rover Discovery, Image: © 2017 Matthew Guy

The Land Rover Discovery has, up until now, always been so veddy, veddy British. Since 1989, Land Rover mixed the Discovery’s bolt-upright styling with mountain goat off-road capability — not to mention a few features only people from the UK or its former colonies would understand.

For 2017, the curry hook and other British quirks remain, but the purveyor of British SUVs has finally straightened the Disco’s teeth in search of wider appeal.

(Read More…)

By on March 6, 2017

1990 Land Rover Range Rover in Denver wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Denver drivers love their luxury SUVs, and European luxury vehicles tend to depreciate in a hurry. This means plenty of Land Rovers show up in the area’s big self-service wrecking yards. While this is good news for the several Coloradans who might be interested in finding a Rover V8 to drop into a homegrown MGB-GT V8, I don’t pay much attention to these trucks. IHC Scouts, sure, and maybe the occasional Jeep Cherokee get into this series, but I have walked right by hundreds of discarded British status-boxes and not paid much attention.

A Range Rover with 266,666 miles on the clock, though, is another story. (Read More…)

By on March 2, 2017

2015 Infiniti QX70

On Tuesday, Infiniti announced it would enter a new market for the brand, bringing gasoline and diesel wares to New Zealand. New markets can be tough for manufacturers to crack, but don’t worry — Infiniti isn’t alone in this.

(Read More…)

By on February 15, 2017

Land Rover Defender (wikimedia commons)

Last year, we reported on how British chemical company Ineos had approached Land Rover, asking for permission to build a copy of its now-deceased Defender. Land Rover responded unequivocally, stating, “There is no way this is happening.”

Hold on, not so fast there.

(Read More…)

By on February 8, 2017

Saab 9000

Maybe it’s not reliable, or sucks down fuel like it’s going out of style. Maybe it’s prone to tipping over, catching fire, or having spiders live in it. Or perhaps parts availability is such that the mere thought of owning and driving the thing causes undue stress.

But you just can’t help yourself.

Today I ask: What lousy vehicle do you covet despite the ways it would inevitably ruin your life?

(Read More…)

By on February 7, 2017

2017 Ford Flex Limited EcoBoost - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

My sister hates the Ford Flex.

She’s never driven a Ford Flex, mind you. She just hates the way it looks.

I, on the other hand, am a huge fan of the Ford Flex’s exterior design, particularly in Blue Jeans paint, particularly without these black wheels.

There are only two sides to this argument. There is no middle ground on which you stand and declare, “Meh, it’s alright.” Since 2008, consumers have fallen on either one side of the fence or the other. You either love the Ford Flex, or you hate the Ford Flex.

Based on the Flex’s lack of marketplace success, there are apparently too many haters. Some nine years after the Flex was launched, inspired in 2008 by the 2005’s Ford Fairlane Concept, Ford’s alternative crossover is increasingly forced into an ever-narrowing niche. The style quotient remains high — at least in the eyes of those who’ve always loved it — but the Flex now manifests too many signs of old age in a market full of remarkably competent and more popular challengers. (Read More…)

By on January 25, 2017

Lincoln Blackwood

We’re forever hearing the tap-tapping of superior keyboards around here and elsewhere on the wild and crazy interwebz, condemning those who drive CUVs for not having a real SUV, and those who have SUVs for not having trucks. And if you have a truck and don’t use it for these paramount truck activities, then you should be in a small sedan. End of discussion.

But since this is (North) America and freedom of choice abounds, I want us all to play a trucky little game for today’s Question of the Day.

(Read More…)

By on January 23, 2017

1978 IHC Scout Traveler in Colorado wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Because I think that any highway-legal vehicle made by a farm-equipment manufacturer is interesting, I photograph IHC Scouts when I see them in the junkyards I frequent (and we have not seen a truck in this series since October, so we’re due). Living in Colorado, this happens often.

Here’s a ’78 Scout II Traveler that I spotted in my local U-Pull-&-Pay. (Read More…)

By on January 12, 2017

Ford Bronco Concept, Image: Ford

Bronco.

While the name isn’t as intertwined in Ford history as much as Mustang or F-Series, the Bronco nameplate is something Ford can’t affix to just anything.

And according to rumors we’re hearing, we don’t need to worry about Ford refreshing an Everest for North American consumption and relying on a nostalgic nameplate to carry it off the lot.

(Read More…)

By on January 9, 2017

Mark Stevenson's Former 1995 Ford Bronco, Image: © 2011 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

We knew it would happen, but now it’s official.

Ford, in two very short paragraphs bookended by more spilled corporate ink over mobility and futurethink, has given me a reason to save my nickels and dimes for 2020.

The Bronco, like the Terminator, will be back.

(Oh, and the Ranger is coming back too.)

(Read More…)

By on January 9, 2017

GMC Vice President Global Sales and Marketing Duncan Aldred introduces the 2018 Terrain and Terrain Denali Sunday, January 8, 2017, on the eve of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. The compact SUV's shape was refined in the wind tunnel to ensure its new profile cuts through the air with optimal efficiency and quietness. The Terrain is available with three new turbocharged propulsion systems, including a new 1.6L turbo-diesel. The 2018 Terrain will go on sale this summer. (Photo by John F. Martin for GMC)

GMC rolled out a redesigned 2018 Terrain SUV at the North American Auto Show in Detroit, with the usual promises of added refinement, new electronic convenience and safety features, and greater versatility. But GMC also added one feature not commonly found in an SUV, particularly one of the non-behemoth variety: An available diesel engine.

The diesel Terrain gets a 137-horsepower 1.6-liter turbodiesel with 240 lb-ft of torque matched with a six-speed automatic transmission. Gasoline powertrains include a 170-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and a 252-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder, both with direct injection and paired with a nine-speed automatic.

(Read More…)

By on January 4, 2017

2017 Ford Expedition XLT EL

Sometimes a manufacturer churns out a base trim that is — all things considered — the primo choice for that particular model. Here’s a candidate.

While I may have dipped into the good cheer while penning last week’s Ace of Base, the B&B can rest easy knowing I have been off the sauce for at least the last couple of hours. Hey, where I’m from, the Christmas season extends to January 6th.

Ford made a lot of noise yesterday, broadcasting announcements ranging from a sudden aversion to the label “Hecho en Mexico” to the imminent construction of hybrid Mustangs and F-150s. Now, I get the appeal of hybridization — especially when it results in MOAR POWERRR for fun stuff like burnouts or towing a four-ton trailer. Taking technology that was originally developed to save fuel and subverting it to produce shocking 0-60 times or stump-pulling torque is akin to weaponizing a wind farm.

(Read More…)

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