Tag: SUVs

By on October 19, 2017

Ford Police Interceptor Utility

Two Austin-based police officers have filed lawsuits against Ford Motor Company after being incapacitated by carbon monoxide that leaked into the cabin of their Interceptor Utilities. Ford finds itself flooded with hundreds of complaints over unacceptable carbon monoxide levels in 2011-2017 Ford Explorers, receiving the most flack from police departments with problematic SUVs. Officers across America have complained of dizziness while driving, with some requiring hospitalization.

The issue had become so bad that Austin’s police department actually pulled about 400 Explorer-based squad cars from its motor pool. Scrambling for a solution, Ford has implemented a special task force to investigate the problem and develop a solution. The automaker also offered to fix 1.33 million Explorers to ensure there is no exhaust leak, but was quick to remind everyone this wasn’t a recall, as no U.S. government standard for in-vehicle carbon monoxide levels exists.  (Read More…)

By on October 16, 2017

cami-assembly factory circa 2013

General Motors and Unifor representation at the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, announced a tentative agreement on Friday. Today, that deal proved amicable to both parties, as union employees voted to approve a new four-year contract with the automaker — ending a month-long strike at a factory producing the incredibly popular Chevrolet Equinox crossover.

While the deal includes a salary increase of four percent over four years and $8,000 in lump sum payments over the lifespan of the proposal, it lacks Unifor’s primary demand of a written assurance that CAMI will remain the lead producer of the Equinox. GM proved unwilling to give way on that issue, which is likely due to the ongoing and uncertain nature of NAFTA renegotiations.

“Despite our every effort, General Motors steadfastly refused to accept our members’ reasonable demand to designate the CAMI plant as General Motors lead producer for the Chevy Equinox,” Unifor president Jerry Dias wrote to local union members prior to the factory vote.  (Read More…)

By on October 13, 2017

Kia Stonic and Soul - Images: KiaIt seems so obvious as to be unmistakable. You’ve been selling an unexpectedly successful Kia Soul for nearly a decade, turning it from what was thought to be a niche-market idea into one of your most popular products.

Do that again.

Hence, here cometh the Kia Stonic. It’s not bound for America, at least not yet, but the Stonic serves elsewhere as the Kia version of the Hyundai Kona. Only unlike the Kona, the Stonic is — like the Soul — a front-wheel-drive subcompact-based “utility vehicle.”

Cargo volume? Virtually identical, at 12.4 cubic feet for the Stonic and 12.5 cubic feet for the Soul. Pricing? In the United Kingdom, the Soul stretches from £14,310 to £23,565, starting slightly below the Stonic’s £16,295 entry point and rising above the Stonic’s top-spec £20,495 price.

This overlap in price, mission, and size is exactly what the doctor ordered, so we have a few vital recommendations for Kia’s rivals. (Read More…)

By on October 13, 2017

Ford storage bin patent, Image: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Cargo covers only hide so much. And at the end of the day, your SUV’s cargo area is merely a receptacle for refuse — you can’t tote the contents around outside the vehicle without a stolen shopping cart.

If a patent application filed by Ford Motor Company bears fruit, your cargo hold will have everything you need for tailgate parties, camping trips, and, just maybe, a long wait at the border. (Read More…)

By on October 12, 2017

20171008_175523

I suffered a nearly fatal narcissistic injury to the journosaur gland when I arrived at the Oakland airport last Friday night, only to find out that my press-loaner 2018 Mazda CX-9 was the Grand Touring model instead of the Signature.

Why does this matter? Well, as any self-respecting Mazda fanboy knows, the Signature has a center console made from rosewood provided by Fujigen, the famous Japanese guitar maker behind Pat Metheny’s infamous Roland GR-808, the bulk of Fender Japan production across the Eighties, and several different models of Electra six-strings. I happen to be an avid collector of Japanese guitars, with over one hundred and five Electras, Westones, and Grecos in my basement. I’m also semi-obsessed with Metheny’s Roland GR-808 sound, to the point that I’ve assembled some remarkably expensive hardware in order to precisely duplicate the tone found on tracks like “Are You Going With Me?”.

In other words, if ever there was a crossover capable of capturing my heart, it would be the CX-9 Signature. Oh well. I’m sure I’ll get over it eventually. In the meantime, let’s take a look at how Mazda’s newly-refreshed version of its still-youthful three-row CUV handles a brief trip to California’s central coast.

(Read More…)

By on October 11, 2017

1983 Oldsmobile Toronado brochure pageLast month we featured a Question of the Day about the worst model names ever glued onto the back of a vehicle. Everyone had fun trashing corny, little-known nameplates from here and abroad, as well as the various and oft-nonsensical letters applied to the back of many North American offerings today.

Today we flip this question and talk about the best model names. What’s your selection for the best vehicle names out there?

(Read More…)

By on October 10, 2017

Ferrari emblem logo

Despite months of denial, Sergio Marchionne confirmed that Ferrari will put a sport utility vehicle into production on Monday. “We’re dead serious about this,” Marchionne said at the New York Stock Exchange earlier this week. “We need to learn how to master this whole new relationship between exclusivity and scarcity of product, then we’re going to balance this desire to grow with a widening of the product portfolio.”

The working title for Ferrari’s SUV is “FUV” and its confirmation undoes months of Marchionne’s claims that it would “never be built.” In February of 2016, the CEO even said he would have to be shot and killed before Ferrari made an SUV. For his sake, we hope that is no longer a provisional aspect of the build.  (Read More…)

By on October 5, 2017

Image: 1991 UAZ 469, image via sellerEarlier this week, we brought you a Rare Ride straight from the Eastern Block. The Skoda 120 was Czechoslovakia’s answer to the middle-market family sedan. Today we keep it Communist and look at Russia’s answer to the decadent and capitalistic Jeep Wrangler and Land Rover Defender, the UAZ-469.

This four-by-four can really do some work.

(Read More…)

By on September 28, 2017

mitsubishi-outlander-phev-america-5

Even though North American Mitsubishi sales have ticked upward in recent years, the current decade has not been kind to the brand. Volume is roughly a quarter of what it was just 15 years ago and the bulk of those deliveries come from the Outlander and Outlander Sport.

When your entire existence hinges on a couple of models, you do what you can to keep them relevant. While plug-in hybrids aren’t exactly a massive sales draw, they’re gaining ground and Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV bests most of its EV competition in Europe. Naturally, the automaker deemed it worthy of coming to America (on the slowest boat imaginable).

We know this exciting news probably has you squirming in your chair, covering your mouth as you utter uncontrollable squeaks of joy. But hold on, we haven’t even told you about the price.  (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2017

2014 Range Rover, Image: Jaguar Land Rover

Last week we took entries for the worst utility vehicle of the past decade. There were certainly plenty of submissions; it’s always easy to dream up crossover criticism (less dream, more nightmare in the case of the Acura ZDX).

This time around, we flip the question: What’s the best utility vehicle of the past 10 years?

(Read More…)

By on September 26, 2017

2018-jaguar-e-pace

Jaguar introduced its newly expanded 2018 model year lineup for North America last week, with the British automaker adding the subcompact E-Pace SUV, XF Sportbrake wagon, and XJR575 flagship sedan to its roster. With these new models, Jaguar hopes to continue the sales momentum that made it the fastest-growing automotive brand in the US market in 2016.

The 2016 model-year addition of the F-Pace SUV and XE sedan led to a doubling of the brand’s annual sales, and its best showing since 2004. For the coming year, Jaguar aims to cover more bases and lure in the buyers it missed. (Read More…)

By on September 14, 2017

Toyota FJ Cruiser Final Edition - Image: ToyotaHas there ever been a better time for a Toyota Tacoma-based, offroad-oriented, style-conscious SUV? It’s 2017. Americans are fully invested in the idea of riding high. Jeep is selling 17,000 Wranglers per month. At the other end of the spectrum, Toyota just sold a record number of RAV4s: more than 43,000 in August. In between, Subaru is selling more than 38,000 crossovers monthly.

As total industry-wide auto sales fell 3 percent through the first two-thirds of 2017, SUV/crossover volume is up 6 percent.

Toyota itself is selling more than 16,000 Tacomas per month, the pickup on which a potential second-gen FJ Cruiser would likely be based. That fact alone is likely a factor that limits an FJ Cruiser rebirth. Indeed, Toyota hasn’t sold the FJ Cruiser in the United States since the 2014 model year, having reached its end just as the U.S. SUV/crossover trend really broke through. Americans now buy 14-percent more utility vehicles than cars.

But the Toyota FJ Cruiser lives on, at least for a little while longer, if only in the Japanese domestic market. This is — say it in a movie trailer voiceover pitch — the Toyota FJ Cruiser Final Edition. (Read More…)

By on September 13, 2017

Image: Nissan Pao, via Wikipedia

It happened quite by accident last week, as good ideas often do. After last Wednesday’s Rare Rides post concerning the Nissan Stanza Wagon, reader comments got a little sidetracked. Dal20402 lamented there had never been a worse name for a car than Axxess (the Stanza Wagon’s successor).

Before I could unplug TTAC from the Canadian outlet on the wall, other commenters were jumping in with their terrible name suggestions. Seemed like a fun game, so today we open the floor to everyone’s suggestions.

Give us your submissions for the worst-ever automotive model names.

(Read More…)

By on September 8, 2017

p90274805_highres

BMW spent a good portion of this week ensuring the public that it is an aggressively forward-thinking brand with a clear plan for mobility and electrification. However, it took things a step further by letting the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show patrons know it’s offering “a whole new take on luxury” with its X7 iPerformance Concept.

Clearly assembled in a manner designed to embrace futurism and highlight its proposed electrified drivetrain, the X7 is unnecessarily odd-looking. The sculpted body could be handsome, had some designer decided not to accent it with gregarious chrome trim inlayed at right angles. Likewise, the brand’s signature kidney grille seems to have gone off the rails completely. BMW admits the styling aspect “hogs the attention” and urges us to “look at it again” so that we might truly understand the vibrancy and class it exudes.

You’re welcome to humor them, but we found even a fifth look didn’t remedy the situation. The grille remains an oversized eyesore, begging to be toned down. Thankfully, there’s more going on here than an overcooked exterior. The X7 Concept introduces an important third row to BMW’s sport-utility lineup, as well as a plug-in hybridized powerplant with twin turbochargers.

(Read More…)

By on September 5, 2017

2003 Chevrolet Tahoe

Those of you who follow TTAC regularly and with some interest (so, 100 percent of you) are no doubt aware of a high-level used car search I’ve been conducting as of late. A rather unexpected purchase occurred this past Saturday while everyong was enjoying their long Labor Day weekend.

Come and have a look.

(Read More…)

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