Tag: SUVs

By on April 26, 2017

[Public domain]

The frustration never seems to end for Hyundai executives. After last year’s Korean labor strife and political scandal, the brand now faces flagging fortunes in the all-important North American market, all thanks to a car-heavy lineup that once guaranteed piles of profit.

Now, the automaker faces the same problem in another global growth engine — China. While that market has also discovered its love for crossovers and SUVs, there’s another problem that Hyundai can’t turn around by rushing a new vehicle to production. Hyundai, it seems, can’t do a damn thing about high-altitude defensive missiles. (Read More…)

By on April 19, 2017

2018 Jeep Wrangler

If photos taken of a strange feature on a camouflaged 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited make it to production, expect an even larger smorgasbord of ways to let the sun shine in.

Many details of the next-generation off-roader remain unconfirmed, but we’ve seen spy photos of cloaked prototypes for what seems like forever. Each time, there’s (usually) something new to see, and these photos aren’t any different. The interest here lies above the driver’s head. (Read More…)

By on April 18, 2017

2017 Honda SUV lineup – Images: Honda

American Honda will build a Pilot-based SUV intended to carve out a space between the Honda CR-V and Honda Pilot.

According to a report published by WardsAuto with AutoForecast Solutions, Honda will assemble this Co-Pilot in Alabama alongside the Pilot beginning in the fall of 2018.

Co-Pilot? How about Honda Pilot Sport? Nah, that’s Michelin territory. Honda Pilot Sidekick? Suzuki grabbed that one already. Honda Pilot Junior? Too juvenile.

The name matters less than the positioning. Is there room for a midsize two-row utility vehicle in between the CR-V, traditionally America’s top-selling SUV/crossover, and the Pilot, one of America’s most popular three-row vehicles?

It’s a gap Ford, Nissan, and Hyundai have no trouble filling. (Read More…)

By on April 13, 2017

2017 Subaru Ascent Concept - Image: Subaru

Still nearly eight months away from being revealed in final production form, it’s already assumed inside Subaru HQ that the 2018 Subaru Ascent will generate the bulk of its conquests from inside the Subaru family.

Subaru expects to sell approximately 60,000 Ascents on an annual basis in the United States. But according to statements made about the long-awaited three-row Tribeca replacement by Subaru CEO Yasuyuki Yoshinaga at last month’s Geneva Motor Show, the Ascent won’t be stealing many sales of the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse, and Nissan Pathfinder.

Hey, Outback and Forester: Subaru’s looking at you for donations to the Ascent’s cause. (Read More…)

By on April 12, 2017

[Image: Steph Willems/The Truth About Cars]

The Subaru Ascent concept SUV unveiled today at the New York International Auto Show heralds a very real vehicle with similar proportions, styling, and name.

While the model’s name aptly describes the automaker’s sales performance, the Subaru brand hasn’t fielded a large-ish utility vehicle since the slow-selling, second-generation Tribeca disappeared after 2014. With the Ascent, due to appear in production form in 2018, the brand delivers a three-row, seven-passenger vehicle with a wheelbase that’s longer than a Chevrolet Tahoe. (Read More…)

By on April 12, 2017

navigator

There has always been something distinctively inelegant about Lincoln’s Navigator. It never felt nearly as special as the Cadillac Escalade and it was difficult to see its owners as people worthy of emulating. Lincoln made some positive headway in its third generation, but Navigator ownership still felt like you received a bum deal on an well-equipped Ford Expedition. It was working-class utility embellished with the lies of premium luxury and sold for more than it was worth.

While the 2018 Navigator still shares its platform with the Expedition, it has done away with that sense of unsavory sameness. They’re both hulking SUVs and fit for similar duties, but the Lincoln now feels prestigious. You can soon say that you drive one while raising your eyebrows in a suggestively triumphant manner. People might even envy you. The 2018 Navigator finally matches the Escalade in both kitschy flair and genuine class. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s better than the Expedition, but it does — for the first time in history — provide a real reason to covet one over the other.  (Read More…)

By on April 11, 2017

18-ford-explorer-sport_hr_01

When Ford updated the Explorer for 2016, many wondered if the mid-cycle refresh was extensive enough. If those voices were on the fence two years ago, then the 2018 update must have them fuming. Where the 2016 model year saw observable styling changes, an improved digital interface, and a brand new engine option, the 2018 model year will receive next to nothing.

While Ford did upgrade the visuals, distinguishing it from the 2017 MY is exceptionally difficult. Ford altered the Explorer’s front clip and grille slightly to make it look 2 percent more like something built by Land Rover, and changes to the rest of the bodywork are far too subtle to notice.

Unless you have a strong affinity toward quad exhaust ports or wifi access, there really isn’t any reason to rush out and buy one.  (Read More…)

By on April 10, 2017

[Image: Lincoln/Twitter]

“We like to think some things are worth the wait,” tweeted Lincoln Motor Company this morning.

Ford’s premium division had a reason to be cheeky when it teased the backlit face of its next-generation full-size SUV, as the Navigator hasn’t seen a full redesign in 11 long years. That’s an eternity in the automotive world.

When the current-generation Navigator began production in August of 2006, Twitter was a month old, the American job scene and housing market seemed sturdy, and Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer were looking forward to long, happy futures. So, this week’s New York International Auto Show should be quite the momentous occasion for the resurgent automaker. (Read More…)

By on April 10, 2017

[Image: FCA]

Just in time for spring and dry pavement, FCA heeds the internet credo to Hellcat All the Things by dropping that model’s supercharged 6.2-liter mill in its Jeep Grand Cherokee.

This completes the trifecta of gonzo SUVs, with the Tesla Model X and fish-faced Bentley Bentayga already scorching the pavement. Think a Jeep won’t play in the same league as those rarified SUVs? Both of those vehicles lay claim to 0-60 times in the three-and-a-half second range; with 707 hp on tap, all-wheel drive, and an estimated weight of around 900 lbs more than a Charger Hellcat, the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk should do the same.

(Read More…)

By on April 8, 2017

[Image: Infiniti]

There’s no debating this. The Infiniti QX80 isn’t just the most overdone vehicle in the full-size SUV segment — it may be the most ungainly looking utility vehicle on the market today.

Oddly proportioned and baroque, Infiniti’s flagship is an affront to the eyes when contrasted with the crisp, creased and traditionally boxy silhouette of, say, the Cadillac Escalade. Well, not for long. (Read More…)

By on April 6, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST

Unlike the new crop of sport-oriented crossovers bound from Europe, full-size, body-on-frame American SUVs usually fail to elicit much excitement among enthusiasts. General Motors hopes to change that.

Starting this fall, the General will begin handing over keys to a new variant of its venerable Tahoe and Suburban — one that promises to get junior soccer teams to the practice field with newfound vigor. While the RST (Rally Sport Truck) trim brings a host of performance upgrades, it also gives Tahoe buyers an opportunity to kick that 5.3-liter V8 to the curb. (Read More…)

By on April 4, 2017

Mercedes-Benz’s AMG sub-brand might run out of sensible products to turn into rip-snorting powerwagons before too long.

Once again, the compact GLC SUV lineup has gone under the knife, emerging from the German operating room with an even darker persona and plenty of new inches where it counts. Cubic inches, of course. For the growing family with a small garage and an urgent desire to reach 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds, your chariot has arrived. (Read More…)

By on April 4, 2017

2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid

You might look at the 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid and think, “Hmm … maybe it’s just me, but that looks a lot like the normal 2017 MDX.”

But don’t be fooled. This seven-passenger midsize SUV is just an incognito NSX; a tiger in Montessori parking lot camouflage. Hey, sometimes you have to ferry around the kids — and, holy God, have you ever tried hauling groceries in a two-seater? Those multiple trips eat into “you time.”

Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but that’s what Acura wants you to think. Honda’s luxury division is in the midst of overhauling its image, and it’s doing so by injecting a little NSX into its products — both spiritually and mechanically. While that supercar, reborn as a hybrid last year following a decade’s absence, might seem totally removed from Acura’s popular — and tastefully refreshed — MDX, some familiar DNA appears beneath the new Sport Hybrid’s sheetmetal. (It also appears in the RLX sedan, if you weren’t aware.)

Oh, you’ll get better fuel economy with the MDX Sport Hybrid, but don’t talk to your friends about that. You bought it for the power. Capisce? (Read More…)

By on March 28, 2017

2015-Corvette-Z06-rear-spoiler

Maybe the answer’s a no-brainer, but perhaps it’s more complicated than that. We’re living in an era where traditional norms no longer apply to the auto industry.

Yesterday, we told you how ex-General Motors product man Bob Lutz is totally open to the idea of turning Corvette into its own brand — a progression of an opinion he’s held for years. Corvette needn’t offer just two-seat hardtops and convertibles, at least not in this day and age, he claims. SUVs are simply too big to ignore, and everybody’s doing it, don’t you know?

Maybe Corvette aficionados don’t want to leave those checkered flags in the garage when they pick up the kids at soccer practice. And what about those times when Home Depot is closing in 14 minutes and you really need that slab of particle board? (Read More…)

By on March 27, 2017

2015-Chevrolet-CorvetteZ06-003-sm

Former General Motors vice chairman and product development bigwig Bob Lutz has always had lots to say about the Chevrolet Corvette, and advanced age hasn’t diminished his enthusiasm for the model and its potential.

Even in the pre-recession, pre-bankruptcy days, a pre-retirement Lutz opined that the ‘Vette nameplate could host more than just a sports car. Back then, Lutz wasn’t saying that Corvette should be spun off as its own make, but he is now. (Read More…)

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