By on September 13, 2017

2016 Mazda CX9 rear - Image: MazdaIt was a tidbit easy to skip over, a tacked-on phrase designed to illicit nary a response, a drip-drip-drip of information without the two latter drips. In Mazda’s press release announcing the addition of more safety equipment to the base Sport model of the 2018 Mazda CX-9, the company briefly made mention of a reconfigured passenger compartment.

“Among the highlights are more features at every price point,” Mazda says, “such as an improved second row for both greater comfort and easier third-row access and greater sound insulation in what is already one of the quietest vehicles in its class.”

An improved second row? Easier third row access? Of all the things the second-generation Mazda CX-9 required, those elements would certainly rank near the top of the list. But is this just a fanciful claim, or did Mazda actually make meaningful changes to the CX-9 less than a year and a half into its lifecycle?

We have answers. (Read More…)

By on July 26, 2017

2018 Honda CR-V three-row - Images: Honda AustraliaWith the launch of the seven-seat Honda CR-V in another ASEAN market, this time Australia, one wonders about the potential popularity of a three-row CR-V in the United States.

The Honda CR-V, America’s top-selling utility vehicle in each of the last five years, currently tops American Honda’s sales charts. The CR-V now accounts for more than one-quarter of Honda’s U.S. sales and generated more volume in the first half of 2017 than in any of the CR-V nameplates’s first 10 calendar years.

Broadening the already popular CR-V’s appeal sounds, at first glance, like an entirely reasonable plan.  (Read More…)

By on June 15, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan red - Image: Volkswagen

Volkswagen of America announced pricing for the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan starts at $26,245, including fees, when the second-generation small crossover arrives at U.S. dealers this summer.

Volkswagen will charge $500 for an optional third row of seats for buyers who are selecting 4Motion all-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive 2018 Tiguans include the third row as standard equipment

Base Tiguan pricing increases by only $385 compared with the 2017 model, another sign that Volkswagen plans to move the first-generation Tiguan — which takes the Tiguan Limited name — downmarket.

The top-spec 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan’s U.S. price, when every option and package plus all-wheel drive and a third row are added to the SEL Premium trim, climbs to $40,445. (Read More…)

By on July 20, 2013

rust 1

In March Ford announced another recall for their Ford Freestar minivans. The last time this happened I took my Freestar to my local dealership for transmission work and a few weeks later ended up replacing the entire transmission at my own cost when the part suffered an “unrelated problem.” This time Ford tells me that my van may suffer from corrosion in the wheel wells and that the affected areas include the third row seat mount. Presumably, the metal under the seat rusts out which could prevent the seat from latching properly. The condition, they continued, affects about 196,500 vehicle registered in the United States and that the vehicles most at risk are in states where salt is used on the roads to melt snow in the winter. I made note of the recall but then life intervened and my best laid plans to take the van in for a quick repair evaporated.

(Read More…)

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