Tag: SUVs

By on February 18, 2017

2017 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD

In the dark days of the recession, as General Motors was frantically attempting to save itself from the abyss, many thought it odd that the automaker’s GMC division was saved while a storied brand like Pontiac met its executioner. As for Saturn and Hummer, well, let’s just say far fewer tears were spilled over those deaths.

Clearly, GM saw long-term profitability in its carless brand — a prediction that has since panned out. From a low point in 2009, GMC sales doubled to 558,697 units by 2015. However, it isn’t the number of vehicles sold that’s the sweet spot for the automaker — it’s the number of GMCs sold in top-end Denali trim.

At GM’s utility brand, luxury versions of non-luxury vehicles are proving increasingly popular. (Read More…)

By on February 14, 2017

Eclipse Cross

Today, Mitsubishi announced that its next model will be called the Eclipse Cross, acknowledging the defunct sport compact beloved by enthusiasts and teenage girls alike while simultaneously spitting on its memory. “Cross is short for crossover,” Mitsubishi helpfully explained in its announcement, as if anyone would have had trouble piecing that puzzle together.

“Eclipse is a word used to describe an astronomical event,” the Japanese automaker continued. “Marrying stylish coupe lines with the freedom of movement the SUV genre gives, the Eclipse Cross’ beautiful, dynamic form serves to bring about the same sense of excitement and inspiration as the diamond ring seen immediately before and after a total solar eclipse does.”

That’s sounds a lot better than saying it looks a lot like a Honda CR-V with a dash of Outlander.  (Read More…)

By on February 13, 2017

mbgmaybach

Few vehicles offer the snob appeal and image enhancement of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, but seriously wealthy Benz buyers interested in comfort are going to hire a private driver and purchase something with a Maybach badge. Of course, that limits them to a tarted-up S-Class, or so it was before the introduction of the G650 Landaulet — which is, quite possibly, the dumbest vehicle currently entering production.

While the Landaulet’s forward-most occupants are treated to the nice but relatively unchanged interior from the G-Class, the rear is an extravaganza of luxury to be enjoyed in or out of the elements. Much like the Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet, it is a convertible. Unlike the Cabrio, however, the only person to benefit from the folding top is the multi-millionaire riding in the back. (Read More…)

By on February 13, 2017

2016 Lexus RX450h

December is typically a peak month for automotive sales, especially among premium brands. With more holiday-themed ads than the majority of its competition, Lexus always sees the year’s final month of sales as its best. However, it did so well last December that January saw a 26 percent drop in sales due to an exhausted supply of sport utility vehicles.

With the narrowest of exceptions for the LX, last December turned out to be the best month in the history of all of Lexus’ SUVs. The bad news is that most of those sales came at the expense of the automaker’s sedans, which saw comparatively low sales. At around 41,000 units, December 2016 wasn’t all that much different from 2015. However, cars made up a significantly smaller piece of that pie. (Read More…)

By on February 9, 2017

2018_toyota_tundra_trd_sport_01_8ee19ebe1c41ad354b59edf3a42fdf0bac4ded48

It’s hard to go a day without overhearing people on the street whispering excitedly about the scandalous Toyota Sequoia. Okay, that statement is completely false, and no doubt part of the reason why Toyota saw fit to add an off-road-minded sport trim to its lightly refreshed full-size SUV for 2018.

Ah, hell, why not add it to the full-size Toyota Tundra pickup, as well? (Read More…)

By on February 7, 2017

2016 Ford Explorer

By the year 2020, you’ll probably forget all about words like “Focus” and “Fusion.”

That’s because Ford, to capitalize on the relentless juggernaut that is the utility vehicle market, plans to add five crossovers or SUVs on the market in three years. Lincoln will see another non-car join its ranks, too.

That’ll bring the Ford brand’s utility lineup up to 12 vehicles, and Lincoln’s to four. The identity of four of the vehicles is well known, but we now have a better grasp of what to expect from the remainder. (Read More…)

By on February 7, 2017

2018 Dodge Durango SRT

If you want to scare your larger-than-average family by surprising them with a round of impromptu autocross through the mall parking lot, you’ll have to limit the size of your brood or risk looking daft while hustling a Toyota Senna around the storefront of a California Pizza Kitchen. However, the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT is prepared to accommodate you and your family on those days where you just can’t help but drive like a lunatic.

Ideally, you would let them out before putting the pedal down, but the Durango SRT’s 6.4-liter Hemi V8 can easily move around an extra few hundred pounds of human flesh without breaking much of a sweat. If you decide not to heed my advice of driving defensively with your kindred in the vehicle, Dodge is offering every new owner a full-day session at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. At least then you’ll be more familiar with the beastly three-row SUV at the limit.  (Read More…)

By on February 1, 2017

2017 Cadillac Escalade

With consumers crawling all over crossovers and SUVs, you’d think that automakers would be eager to make some extra cash by generously hiking transaction prices.

Well, automakers might want it, but they certainly aren’t foolish enough to do it. Not in this stagnating marketplace, and not with the importance heaped on that wildly competitive segment. According to Kelley Blue Book, the average transaction price growth in all SUV and crossover segments remains at or below inflation.

However, when it compared transaction prices — minus incentives — in January of this year compared to the same month last year, the research company found that a certain hot-selling segment saw a consistent drop in window sticker value. (Read More…)

By on January 23, 2017

Jaguar logo

Jaguar is giving the F-Pace a baby brother and, unfortunately, it is going to continue the company’s terrible SUV-naming trend and dub it the E-Pace — a moniker it probably should have reserved for the all-electric I-Pace concept. Sized as a compact crossover, its existence meshes with Jaguar’s current modus operandi and brand manager Steven de Ploey’s promise to expect “a family of SUVs.”

Destined to be a direct competitor for the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, the E-Pace is Britain’s attempt to get a piece of the freshly-baked pie that is the compact crossover segment.  (Read More…)

By on January 21, 2017

Just as geese fly south in the winter, metal conducts electricity, and tides rise and fall at the will of the moon, a luxury-laden SUV that rivals yachts for sticker price is guaranteed by all of science to become a premium brand’s best-seller.

After seeing the stunning success of the once-unthinkable Bentley Bentayga, what other conclusion could the folks at Mercedes-Benz draw? Carving out a stratospheric utility vehicle niche well above a brand’s high water mark means money falling from the sky. Period.

Naturally, Stuttgart wants in on the action. Like any rational competitor, the company now plans to tart up an existing SUV, slap on a Mercedes-Maybach badge, and sit back to await the arrival of the money train. (Read More…)

By on January 16, 2017

BMW X Models

Mercedes-Benz and BMW have more in common than just a bitter rivalry and the Fatherland — they both feel the need to get more crossover vehicles into North America.

Despite being known largely for their rich heritage of premium sedans and coupes, Bavaria’s Motoren Werke and Daimler’s Three-Pointed Star want to see utility vehicles replacing more of the cars they ship to the United States.

Last year, crossovers and SUVs comprised 42 percent of BMW’s sales in North America — an almost ten percent increase from 2015. Mercedes-Benz also saw an increase in truck sales. Sport utility vehicles now account for 47 percent of its passenger vehicle volume. However, both companies are anticipating a balanced ratio right around the corner.  (Read More…)

By on January 11, 2017

Ford Everest Front 3/4, Image: Ford

Update: TTAC has received information refuting the claims below. You can read the update here.

While Ford finally confirmed the return of the Ford Ranger and Bronco at the North American International Auto Show earlier this week, the automaker remains stingy with details on the reborn models.

Ford aficionados — and Bronco lovers especially — want to know if the resurrected nameplates will offer the same magic as their dear, departed forebears. Perhaps eager to quench the public’s thirst for information, a shadowy Ford employee posted juicy — and potentially disappointing — details during a Reddit AMA. (Read More…)

By on January 9, 2017

Audi Q8 Concept Front 3/4, Image: © 2017 Jeff Wilson/The Truth About Cars

As if to further the global agenda to kill off all sedans in favor of yet more SUVs, two of Audi’s three reveals at this year’s NAIAS were crossovers (the third was the new S5 Cabrio).

By 2015, the mid-size Q5 represented a quarter of Audi’s annual sales. It only stands to reason the Ingolstadt company has high hopes in its pursuit of another record year ahead. While not a volume leader, the pricier, high performance SQ5 nevertheless helps line the coffers at Audi.

(Read More…)

By on January 9, 2017

Chevrolet Traverse 2018

Chevrolet’s current Traverse is an amorphous blob of rounded sheet metal. While not offensively homely, it lacks a distinctive silhouette or any purposeful styling. A layperson could be forgiven for confusing the globule with a minivan. However, with the Lambda platform being replaced by the C1XX, General Motors seized an opportunity to enhance the 2018 Traverse’s angles and make it more of a traditional-looking SUV — resulting in a more handsome and eerily truck-like crossover.

Undiminished in size, Chevrolet claims the squared-off CUV now provides more headroom and legroom for occupants in its second and third rows. Despite a wheelbase that’s two inches longer than its precursor, rear cargo space has been reduced to 23 cubic feet. That’s still enough to beat Ford’s Explorer, and the hold climbs to 98.5 cubic feet with all of the rear seats laid flat. Seven- and eight-passenger seating configurations will be offered on the new Traverse. More affordable versions will be equipped with benches for the second and third rows, while fancier editions will see that middle area replaced with two captain’s chairs.

GM is also offering the 2018 in two new trim levels — the debatably sporty RS and the suede-enhanced High Country. (Read More…)

By on December 29, 2016

Ford Police Interceptor Utility

North America’s romantic entanglement with the sport utility vehicle is not limited to retail consumers, as police fleets in the United States and Canada have been getting in on the action for a while now. Valuing durability and flexibility above all else, law enforcement’s gradual shift toward SUVs seems to have been inevitable.

Ford said that sales of its Explorer-based Interceptor Utility surpassed its Taurus-based Interceptor Sedan in 2014, claiming that the SUV had “officially” become North America’s most popular police vehicle. While that might not be entirely accurate until current fleets retire the horde of large sedans that proved so popular in the past, the utility trend is growing and departments have plenty of praise for them — especially departments rife with oversized officers.  (Read More…)

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