QOTD: What Crossover Should Get a Throwback Trim?
Yesterday, when discussing internally which one of us might write up the Buick Encore GX, I accidentally referred to it as an Encore GNX. That's because I am old enough to remember the Buick Regal GNX. We all had a quick laugh and then Chris Tonn reminded me that Dodge's new Hornet will have a GLH trim in a nod to the old "Goes Like Hell" Shelbys.
Chris then suggested that we ask you, the B and B, which new crossover should get a trim level that's nodding to the past.
2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Fast Charging CUV Exposed
The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 ultra-fast charging crossover utility vehicle was revealed yesterday, highlighting its Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP).
Ioniq 5’s 300-mile range, and 10-to-80 percent ultra-fast charging in 18 minutes showcases E-GMP technology.
2022 Subaru Solterra ESUV Proclaimed
In 2022, the Subaru Solterra electric SUV will go on sale. Another Subaru-Toyota joint venture, it’ll roll on the new e-Subaru global platform.
2023 Cadillac Lyriq is Almost Here
Today the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq made its production debut. If this is the highlight of a century of innovation, what’s Cadillac been doing the rest of the time? Cadillac’s luxury electric SUV is starting a new era ahead of schedule. You can place your order in September for a 2022 first-half delivery.
2021 Mercedes-Benz EQB – Electricity Flows
Mercedes-Benz’s 2021 EQB is its third all-electric launch this year, along with the EQA 250 and EQS. The EQB will be produced for the local market in Beijing. The rest of the world will get their EQBs from Kecskemét, Hungary. The EQB will be the first pure EV made in Hungary.
Hyundai Santa Cruz Readies to Kick Some Sand
Gearing up for its debut on April 15th, Hyundai has released renderings of the Santa Cruz, its ground-breaking pickup named for a sleepy Northern California beach city.
2022 Hyundai Kona N Uncovered – Again [Updated]
Hyundai’s New-for 2022 Kona N has been revealed along with the previously-announced Kona, but this time supposedly without masking. A glimpse was provided to tease viewers, and heighten the hype around what they’re calling an addition to their high-performance N division.
2022 Hyundai Tucson Priced to Fit
Pricing for the all-new 2022 Tucson SUV was announced by Hyundai Motor America today, with 15 variations available to suit a wide range of needs and budgets. Starting at $24,950 MSRP for a base SE model with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, 8-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive, the range tops out at $37,350 for a Limited HEV, which is a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder hybrid with a 6-speed automatic transmission and HTRAC all-wheel drive.
Hyundai Releases Bayon Euro Crossover
Don’t get too excited. Hyundai’s Bayon is at present a European-only crossover SUV that the brand announced today. All-new in the B-segment, Bayon is named after Bayonne, a sought-after vacation destination in the south of France.
The growing popularity of SUVs in Europe was the reason for Hyundai’s introduction, and the forward-motion stance of the Bayon is in keeping with the design characteristics of the segment. Bayon is the seventh new or enhanced model Hyundai has released in the past year.
Infiniti QX80 Goes Glamping in Russia
Infiniti’s wanderlust has taken the QX80 to other faraway locations, but none quite as exotic as Privolzhskoe, Tver Oblast, Russia, to go glamping in Villi Ulei’s geodesic domes.
In what’s termed a comfort zone for climatic conditions in Russia, temperatures range from 9-degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, to a high of 66-degrees in the summer. As you can see, snowfall is abundant in the region, from a low of about 16 inches, to almost 32 inches, and it spans anywhere from four to five months of the year. Home to 1.35 million Russians, 30% of whom are Russian Orthodox, it might seem like a great place to go if it were summer at the Boishoe Zavidovo, when Nashestvie, the largest Russian rock festival, is being held.
2022 Infiniti QX60 Luxo Crossover Announced
Infiniti’s 2022 QX60 has merged a 9-speed automatic transmission with the company’s 295-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 in the latest SUV in the QX stable.
2022 Mitsubishi Outlander's Amazon Live Reveal Is a First
As the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander ships to U.S. dealers, there will be a live reveal on Amazon, an auto industry first. On February 16 at 3 p.m. Pacific time, you can see the newly-designed 2022 Outlander.
2022 Nissan Pathfinder – Not All Who Wander Are Lost
The SUV segment is a high-stakes game, and after years without a fresh entry, Nissan is looking to reassert themselves with an all-new 2022 Pathfinder.
GM to Build EV Crossovers for Honda, Acura
Two Honda battery-electric crossovers will be built by General Motors in the next four years. A Honda will be built at a GM plant in Mexico, and an Acura alongside the Cadillac Lyriq in Tennessee.
Toyota Trademarks Grand Highlander Nameplate
According to a report by gr86.org, Grand Highlander is the name Toyota has filed a trademark application for in the U.S. and Canada.
Next Ford EcoSport to Become More Fiesta-like: Report
Once the Fiesta drains from North American Ford lots following its May 2019 discontinuation, it’s up to the company’s subcompact EcoSport crossover to draw entry-level buyers into the Blue Oval fold.
Imported from India, the second-generation EcoSport, which first arrived on these shores at the dawn of 2018, kicked off for the 2013 model year overseas, making the EcoSport anything but all-new. Luckily, there’s a replacement in the works.
Infiniti QX Inspiration: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
“I thought the sun rose in your eyes, and the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave … to the dark … and the endless skies, my love,” sang Roberta Flack in the heady and decadent early ’70s. Suffice it to say this writer didn’t feel the earth move in his hand upon gazing at the Infiniti QX Inspiration, not did his heart tremble like a captive bird.
The QX Inspiration, like the Q Inspiration concept of 2018, heralds Infiniti’s electric — or at least electrified — future, and it’s a future without a face.
GM Files Trademark Application; Are You Ready to Get Enspired?
We know, we know — you just wrapped up a lengthy and animated conversation about Buick with your coworkers, and you’re all Buicked out. Well, here’s something extra to chew on.
General Motors has filed a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for use of the name “Enspire” on motor vehicles. No, this doesn’t concern Chevrolet or Cadillac or GMC, that’s for sure. It does, however, concern Buick, as Enspire is the name given to a concept vehicle revealed last spring in China. But what would a production Enspire look like?
Mazda Doesn't Want to Run Low on Crossovers, Plans Accordingly
Like most automakers, utility vehicles make up the bulk of Mazda’s sales, and the ratio is only swinging further in light trucks’ favor. While the new 3 hatch and sedan may be the freshest products on the automaker’s plate, freshly minted CEO Akira Marumoto knows what butters Mazda’s bread.
To keep the adorably midsized automaker in good standing with customers and accountants, the company is taking great pains to ensure the flow of crossovers never stems. Anywhere Mazda builds cars, Marumoto also wants crossover capacity.
Gap-filler: Cadillac to Debut XT6 in Detroit
It’s no wonder the Cadillac brand is having a rocky time of late — the marque fields only two crossovers, and one of those, the XT4, only reached lots at the end of September. Having pledged to return its headquarters to its ancestral homeland of Detroit, Cadillac also plans to unveil a new vehicle there in January.
The XT6, not to be confused with the marked-for-death CT6 sedan, will bow at NAIAS 2019, the automaker has stated. With this vehicle, Cadillac gains considerable coverage of the light truck field.
An AWD Hybrid Corolla Could Happen, but What Becomes of Toyota's C-HR?
Jack Hollis, Toyota North America’s general manager, was quite forthcoming during a roundtable discussion at the L.A. Auto Show. After unveiling the brand’s upcoming all-wheel drive Toyota Prius and hybrid Corolla sedan, he speculated on what else might be coming down the product pipe.
We already know that Toyota wants to TRD-ify as many models as possible (the Camry and Avalon aren’t an end point, apparently), but AWD and hybrid power serve the purposes of practicality, not style. There’s more reason to desire a vehicle that sips gas or blasts through snowbanks with aplomb.
That’s why an AWD, hybrid Corolla isn’t off the table. Upon hearing this, this writer’s mind drifted to the new-for-2019 Corolla Hatch and a small crossover that, strangely, isn’t offered with AWD. What would a would-be C-HR buyer be giving up if Toyota went ahead and electrified the rear axle of the Corolla Hatch?
As Expected, Volkswagen's EV Platform to Breed a Big 'un
As we’ve seen with nearly all mainstream automakers, going without a three-row crossover is akin to cutting one’s throat. Large broods demand seating for seven or eight, environmental considerations be damned.
Volkswagen wants to keep the family together.
What a Difference a Grille Makes?
Perusing sales data for the month of November, something popped out from the always entertaining Ford Motor Company file. While the company as a whole saw its volume fall 6.9 percent, year over year, last month, Lincoln finished November on a high note — something it hasn’t seen much of this year, Navigator sales notwithstanding.
Compared to the Ford brand’s 7.3 percent YoY drop, the Lincoln brand saw a 3 percent increase. Still down since the start of the year (a trait it shares with the Blue Oval brand), Lincoln’s November sales increase wasn’t just fueled by the hulking Navigator. A new nameplate appeared last month, tacked onto a pre-existing vehicle. Were buyers holding out for a new grille?
The Possibility of a Hotter Honda HR-V Emerges
Suffice it to say no one was talking about Honda’s HR-V subcompact crossover until this news broke. It sells well, quite well, but the little ute — like most subcompact crossovers — may as well be invisible.
What are people suddenly talking about? The emergence of an HR-V Sport on the other side of the Atlantic, boasting a turbocharged 1.5-liter VTEC four-cylinder that’s good for 180 horsepower — just like the one found in the Civic Sport.
Honda Teases a Passport That's a Real Honda
The space between compact and midsize crossovers, automakers have discovered, is ripe for the creation of a wholly new segment. A tweener, essentially, that bridges the gap with two rows of seating but more cargo room, power, and (often) luxury than a compact can muster.
Ford learned this long ago with its Edge, and General Motors recently discovered it with the reborn 2019 Blazer. Nissan’s Murano stakes out the same ground, positioning itself as the slightly upscale alternative to the Rogue and Pathfinder. Then there’s the former Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, now just Santa Fe. Not to miss out on an opportunity for big crossover bucks, Honda’s preparing to enter the fray with a new iteration of the Passport.
Unlike the Passport that came before, there’s no Isuzu hiding beneath these clothes.
Prepare for Palisade: Hyundai Reveals a Not-so-surprising Name for Its Big Boy
It was generally believed that Hyundai didn’t just wake up one morning and run off to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to secure rights to the Palisade model name for no good reason. The trademark filing came up last April, leading observers to rightfully believe that this large, imposing moniker was set aside for use on a large, imposing vehicle — such as the replacement for the current Santa Fe XL, which Hyundai assured us would appear with a standalone name. No more of this “Santa Fe/Santa Fe Sport” crap.
Sure enough, Palisade it is, but the Korean automaker, long known for value-packed automobiles, didn’t throw a dart at a map of the continental U.S. and land on a small town in Colorado. No, no — Hyundai’s all about the coastal life now. Gwyneth Paltrow and Elon Musk are coming over for tennis.
Like the Saviors They Are, Two Compact Crossovers Lifted Their Struggling Brands in October
It might not be the reality we want, but it’s the only reality we have. As car sales continue to dwindle (they’re down to roughly 30 percent of new vehicles sold), light trucks have picked up the torch at most brands, though some aren’t arriving fast enough to satisfy jittery executives in today’s stagnating market.
At two premium Japanese brands, the arrival of two crossovers in the scorching compact segment had exactly the effect their creators hoped for. Acura and Infiniti, faced with declining sales in recent years, had reason to smile in October. The recipe is working.
Volkswagen Wants the World to Buy Like Americans
The world needs to adopt North America’s penchant for high-riding SUVs if Volkswagen has any hope of building a clean, green, safe future for your kids. That’s basically the message coming from the automaker, which wants 50 percent of its global product mix to be made up of crossovers and SUVs by 2025.
High-margin SUVs will bolster the brand’s business, the company says, helping bring in the cash needed to eventually take your internal combustion engine and steering wheel away.
You Might Not Want It, but That Doesn't Mean There Isn't a Case to Be Made for a Hotter Cadillac XT4
Exactly were the Cadillac XT4 lands in terms of sales volume remains to be seen. The brand recorded its first sales of the just-released compact crossover in September, with 212 examples leaving U.S. lots.
Offered with just a single engine (a healthy turbocharged 2.0-liter four) and single transmission (nine-speed automatic), the XT4 is Cadillac’s desperately needed entry in the premium compact CUV market — a hot segment where Cadillac’s tardiness puts it at a disadvantage. But perhaps this XT4 is just a starting point.
A rendering spotted on Cadillac’s XT4 show-and-tell page suggests the brand may hold loftier performance expectations for the little ute.
Atlas Shrugged: Volkswagen's Big Crossover Doesn't Have Much Time for Four-cylinders
The three-row Atlas was the midsize utility vehicle Volkswagen needed, but the model’s entry-level 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is apparently the engine Volkswagen doesn’t want.
For 2019, the Atlas seems some unusual rejigging occur at the bottom end of the trim ladder. Unless you’re totally stoked with the idea of having the least amount of power going to the fewest number of wheels, you’ll end up paying more.
2019 Chevrolet Blazer Starts at the Most Obvious Price in Its Class
Sporting two rows of seating, front-wheel drive as a starting point, and a historical name sure to anger Bowtie brand diehards, the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer revealed itself in June and almost immediately fell from view (and conversation). Compare the nameplate’s return to that of the yet-unseen Ford Bronco, which generated gigatons of buzz in the months and years preceding its upcoming reveal.
The Blazer name’s resurrection, unlike that of the Bronco, wasn’t designed to signal the return of the same vehicle. Chevy had a hole in its utility lineup — created by the newly downsized Equinox and generously sized Traverse — in need of filling. While the sizing seems correct, many took exception to the vehicle being just another a unibody brossover. The appeal of name recognition tipped the decision makers at GM into dusting off a nameplate easily recognized by anyone who lived and breathed in North America during the past 40 years. Purists be damned.
As for pricing, to best battle its midsize(ish) competitors, GM decided on a very predictable base MSRP for its reborn Blazer.
Fear Not - a Lincoln MKT Might Still Cart You Off to the Afterlife
Seldom talked about by the teeming masses, the slow-selling Lincoln MKT crossover gets a lot of buzz among certain subsets of the population. People transporting corpses, for example, or perhaps prom-goers who’ll soon learn their tolerance for badly mixed alcoholic drinks.
The aging, whale-faced MKT fills a niche role, and Lincoln isn’t ready to ditch its livery clientele just yet, despite rumors of its imminent demise. It seems Ford Motor Company has more respect for the occupants of hearses than drivers of small passenger cars.
2019 Audi E-Tron: And Then There Were Four… Premium Electric Crossovers
Audi found itself preempted in a number of ways last night. Not only did the San Francisco unveiling of the brand’s new electric crossover take place not too far from the home of Tesla’s well-established Model X, it also comes as Jaguar’s I-Pace EV prepares to pop up at U.S. dealers. Meanwhile, rival Mercedes-Benz saw fit to debut its EQC electric crossover just two weeks prior.
The crossover’s side-view cameras — pods on the end of thin arms, replacing a traditional mirror (and not legal in the U.S.) — would have been revolutionary, had Lexus not revealed its Japanese-market ES last week. And, if that wasn’t enough, Elon Musk choose Monday night to reveal the hapless individual slated to become the first SpaceX tourist. The lucky bidder will be fired around the moon.
All of this took away from the unveiling of a conventionally styled utility vehicle tailor made to avoid striking terror into the hearts of non-EV fans.
Shocked? One in Six Vehicles Bought Last Month Was a Compact, Mainstream Crossover
America knows what it wants, and the rest of the world — even those hard-to-reach places — is beginning to follow. Each week brings us news from far-flung locales pointing to increased demand for affordable crossover vehicles, if not the wholesale abandonment of certain car segments by certain automakers. Basically, the global auto industry in 2018 boils down to this: build a crossover, or become (or remain) a struggling niche company.
It’s hardly a new situation, but it’s hammered home with each passing month — as cars continue trickling out of every parking lot you pass and trunks begin appear on “Missing” posters at the post office.
Given that the compact crossover is arguably the most ubiquitous vehicle on the roads today, your author decided to look at just how prevalent their sales really are. Tossing aside premium or luxury offerings (a category we’ve tossed Buick into), this data dive focuses solely on the mainstream. The results? It’s grim stuff if you’re not the family type, so brace yourself.
Ford: Does This Ass Turn You On?
A lengthy Medium post penned by Darren Palmer, director of product development for Ford’s Team Edison, went live yesterday, no doubt at the request of Ford PR types and company brass. (It was shared on Ford’s media page.)
In it, the Ford product veteran goes on about the challenges facing his team of electric vehicle developers, mentioning, “The stakes are high.” Are they ever. With 16 fully electric vehicles on the way by 2022, joined by 24 electrified vehicles, that’s a heavy plate to carry. Despite having nearly 20 years of hybrid vehicle exposure under its belt, large swaths of the buying public remain confused by electrified powertrains (“Will my PHEV leave me stranded with an empty battery?”) and anxious about EV range. It takes time — a lot of time, apparently — to change hearts and minds. The U.S. EV take rate is less than 1 percent of new vehicle sales.
However, what created a splash on Thursday was not the revelation that building and selling EVs to the American public is hard, but the image accompanying the post.
Mercedes-Benz's 2020 EQC Boasts Plenty of Tech, Less-than-revolutionary Range
Mercedes-Benz has started pre-production on the first vehicle of its electric EQ model range, this one based on the GLC platform and called — what else? — the EQC. It’s a tony but not outlandish electric crossover for posh (but maybe not that posh) types who like the three-pointed star appearing on the front of their vehicle but kind of feel guilty about their carbon footprint.
Luckily, owning an electric car means never having to think about upstream emissions or other unpleasantness that took place before the assembled materials made it to your vehicle.
The EQC, according to M-B, falls under the automaker’s “Progressive Luxury” theme, promising lots of high-tech creature comforts and convenience, as well as an emission-free driving experience. However, it’s starting to become a crowded EV market out there, and some buyers might take exception with one particular aspect of this vehicle.
Tipping the Sales Scales: Honda's Light Trucks Continue Filling the Hole Left by Cars
It’s nothing new in the industry, nor is it at all uncommon, but Honda’s distinctly balanced product mix continues to tip ever further towards the trucks and SUV side, despite the assertion of American Honda’s assistant VP of sales, Ray Mikiciuk, that cars will continue as the brand’s mainstay.
With the same number of selling days as August 2017, last month showed the automaker’s volume on the upswing, propelled by the strength of light truck sales. In keeping with the theme of balance, only one mainstream car saw its sales increase, year over year, while only one light truck model saw its sales decrease.
Granite State: It Looks Like GMC's Finally Pulling the Trigger on a Sub-Terrain Crossover
A Jeep Wrangler fighter it ain’t, but that doesn’t mean General Motors’ truck division can’t go smaller and still have buyers lining up at its door.
Spy shots taken in Arizona show not one, but three small camouflaged crossovers undergoing tests, and the horizontal chrome slats filling the grille should tip you off that there’s a future GMC vehicle under those wrappings. A small or subcompact model has long been in consideration for the brand, and one look at Buick would tell GMC brass why it’s a good idea to have an Encore-like model of its own.
However, GMC buyers would not be pleased if their new vehicle looked like a Chevrolet Trax or Encore.
Spied: The 2020 Buick Encore You've Been Waiting For
Buick’s pint-sized Encore is the brand’s biggest volume generator, accounting for 44 percent of all U.S. Buick sales in the first half of 2018. While hard to imagine for those who just stepped out of the time machine from 1975 (just think if the Skylark was the model holding up the brand), it’s nonetheless a reality we have to live with. Crossovers are king, and crossovers are what’s keeping Buick alive.
The division no doubt wants to keep it that way, which is why there’s an all-new Encore coming for the 2020 model year. Here’s our first glimpse.
Mazda CX-5 Diesel: Is This Fuel Economy Enough to Get Buyers In Line?
The diesel version of Mazda’s wildly popular CX-5 crossover was originally supposed to land on these shores in late 2017, but the plan hit a snag. As such, we’re still waiting. But the model’s appearance now seems imminent.
Having cleared the Environmental Protection Agency’s stringent testing regimen, we now know exactly what fuel economy to expect from the CX-5 and its compression ignition 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D inline-four. The question is: is the CX-5 diesel thrifty enough?
So Much Winning: Even With Cars Tanking, Subaru Hits Another Record
We’ve seen this kind of meteoric rise before, so it’s our duty to tell Subaru to “just say no” to drugs. Let’s not have this end in heartbreak for all the fans.
With that important announcement out of the way, it’s time to toss around some numbers — which, at Subaru of America, are quite positive. Despite an industry that sank over 3 percent overall, and with one less selling day than July 2017, last month was the brand’s best July in history, which followed its best June, and May, and… you get the picture. The first half of 2018 was Subaru’s best sales half to date.
Helping the brand achieve a 6.7 percent year-over-year sales increase was the arrival of Subaru’s largest vehicle to date. Go figure, Americans seem to like it.
Get Out of China Free Card: GM Wants the Buick Envision to Get a Pass on Import Tariffs
General Motors wants an exemption from a 25 percent U.S. tariff for the Buick Envision, the Chinese-made sport utility positioned between the Encore and Enclave. On Thursday, the automaker said it filed the request on July 30th with the U.S. Trade Representative to exclude the model from the prospective Section 301 tariff on products shipped from China.
The Envision hasn’t been a strong seller in the United States. While it managed to move 41,040 units in 2017, this year is not on track to meet that number. Obviously, the model has had some troubles. Early reviews were unfavorable, often accusing the Envision of being a faux luxury vehicle with an overly ambitious price tag. However, the manufacturer has since dropped the price and updated the vehicle for the 2019 model year.
Unfortunately, enough damage was dealt in those first two years to make the new model look less appetizing to customers. It now holds the stigma of an overpriced, Chinese-made compact crossover that falls short just about everywhere. It needs time to rebuild its image after the refresh, and it won’t be able to manage that if it is taxed into oblivion.
Foreign Influence? Europe Tilts Even Further Into SUV Mania; Diesel Popularity Plummets
The continent that spawned microscopic postwar bubble cars and made the “city car” segment a thing is moving ever further away from its automotive past. European buyers, perhaps influenced by their American counterparts, are beginning to realize they truly can have it all, adjusting their buying habits accordingly.
Of course, by “all,” we mean all the cargo space.
Mitsubishi Mirage May Become Brand's Next Crossover Vehicle
Having already bastardized the Eclipse name by affixing it to a new crossover vehicle, there’s palpable fear within the automotive media that Mitsubishi might try the same with another iconic property. While FTO and 3000GT don’t have the right ring to them, we can imagine trendy performance SUV wearing an Evolution badge — to our chagrin.
In our fantasies, we imagine Mitsubishi bringing back a new, harder-hitting Lancer compact and a menacing mid-sized Galant. Maybe the Starion could even make an appearance. However, those models probably wouldn’t sell outside the Land of Make Believe even if they were stellar models. Sport utility vehicles and crossovers are where the money’s at right now, and cash is exactly what Mitsubishi is after.
Keeping that in mind, a new rumor claims the brand is working with Nissan to get its Alliance partner’s modular platform inside the Mirage, or whatever replaces it. The end result will be a small crossover with sporting pretensions, which doesn’t sound bad in the least.
Acura's Redesigned RDX Did Exactly What the Brand Wanted It to Do
Acura would love it if we talked about the brand in the same manner that we did, oh, say a decade ago. Maybe the turn of the century. But we don’t, as vehicles like the second-generation NSX simply didn’t capture our imagination like the original. There’s no cheap, fun little car like the Integra anymore, and cars as a whole are vanishing from conversations as quickly as they fade from sales sheets.
Sales of Acura cars in the U.S. fell over 25 percent in June, year over year, and volume over the first half of 2018 was down 6.5 percent. That leaves Acura’s utility vehicles with the job of counteracting the loss — a difficult task for just two models.
For the freshest model in Acura’s stable — the totally revamped 2019 RDX compact crossover — June returned the news Acura execs were hoping for.
Tweaked for 2019, Acura's Largest Wants You to Let a Bit of Your Hair Down
Having first appeared back in 2000 as a 2001 model, the Acura MDX is the Ed Asner of premium midsize import crossovers and a crucial breadwinner in the brand’s utility-light portfolio. While the model’s smaller sibling, the RDX, just underwent massive changes, the MDX soldiers on into 2019 muttering, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Thus, most changes fall into the minor but meaningful category.
One thing the 2019 MDX does seek to fix is its mildly conservative persona, but only for buyers willing to take that leap.
As Sales Begin, the Nissan Kicks Will Be an Interesting Vehicle to Watch
Some of you might have read our first-drive review of the subcompact Nissan Kicks out of simple curiosity, knowing that the vehicle would never find its way into your driveway. And that’s fine.
For myself and others, the Kicks holds more interest simply because of what it is — a lightweight, unpretentious, fuel efficient addition to the crossover space with a very low starting price. Low enough to serve as an effective alternative to thrifty compact or subcompact car buyers. North of the border, that entry price ($17,998, eight bucks more than U.S. MSRP) is four grand less than a base, front-drive, three-cylinder Ford EcoSport. In the States, it’s two grand less.
With the front-drive-only Kicks now available in both countries, its sales performance will be interesting to watch. Actually, it already is.
Volkswagen's Newest Crossover Is Yet Another VW Crossover America Can't Have
Following Volkswagen’s disastrous, reputation-fouling diesel scandal, the brand quickly pivoted to utility vehicles in a bid to recapture lost U.S. sales. So far, so good on that front. The Atlas is a strong contender in the midsize field and the new-generation Tiguan saw a surge of buyers after VW added a third row and piles of length.
Still, the lineup isn’t fully fleshed out. While the old-generation Tiguan (called the Tiguan Limited) remains as a small crossover offering, that model disappears for the 2019 model year. VW hasn’t even named its compact successor, a model initially geared solely for the North American market.
Meanwhile, overseas buyers already have two small VW crossovers to think about — the T-Roc, already on sale, and now the T-Cross.
Honda's Largest and Smallest Crossovers Go Under the Knife for 2019
Despite early reviews featured on this site, ones that surely didn’t please Honda PR, the Honda HR-V subcompact crossover is a hit, has always been a hit, and that’s really all that matters to the automaker. American buyers quite enjoy the HR-V, so Honda felt the little ute deserved a mild makeover for the 2019 model year. It isn’t the only Honda-branded crossover to enter 2019 with a new face, however.
The three-row Pilot, always an upright, strong-selling foil to Toyota’s Highlander, sees its own refresh for 2019.
Room at the Bottom: Volvo Crafts a New Entry-level XC60
Few will disagree that the second-generation Volvo XC60 crossover, which debuted for the 2018 model year, is a handsome vehicle. The midsizer adopts many of the styling decisions bestowed upon its larger XC90 brother, and that’s a good thing. Still, despite its smaller footprint, the XC60 remains a premium vehicle with a premium price.
For 2019, however, the entry-level XC60 sheds both content and price.
Volvo Puts Pedal Down to Bring Next-generation, All-American Volvo XC90 to Market
The Chinese-owned Swedish brand’s first U.S. assembly plant, which is about to launch into production of the next-generation S60 sedan, will gain a second exclusive product in the form of the next-gen XC90.
As the priciest vehicle bearing a Volvo Cars badge, the XC90 remains a huge part of the brand’s — presence and profits — in the United States. And, when sole production of the model comes to the Southeast factory in just three years, workers will be tasked with building a model capable of Level 4 autonomy and all-electric driving. It’ll be a challenge, Volvo’s CEO says, but it’s necessary.
Subaru Crosstrek Prices Rise Just a Tad for 2019 (As Sales Leave Earth's Atmosphere)
In a repeat of last year, Subaru of America plans to inflate the price of its 2019 Crosstrek models by a dollar figure that’s small and manageable. Wouldn’t want those buyers to feel used, and with good reason. As the automaker rolls out MSRPs for next year’s physically unchanged models, it’s enjoying record sales for the lifted all-wheel-drive [s]hatchback[/s] crossover.
By placing its Impreza five-door hatch in the time machine and pressing the “AMC Eagle” button, Subaru turned what many first saw as just an interesting alternative and turned it into a juggernaut. Colourful pie charts await.
2019 Chevrolet Blazer: Forget the Past, This Is Our Future
General Motors has pulled the wraps off its 2019 Chevrolet Blazer, a vehicle that in no way reminds anyone of past vehicles bearing that heritage-steeped nameplate.
Sporting two rows of seating, an edgier profile than either its smaller Equinox sibling or its hulking Traverse big brother, and two engine choices, the Blazer’s main competition seems to be the Ford Edge, rather than its three-row GMC Acadia platform mate.
Volkswagen Tiguan Limited Will Soon Become Volkswagen Tiguan Unavailable
If you’re in the market for a very small (for its class) German crossover that demands premium fuel, you’ll soon be out of luck. Volkswagen says the Tiguan Limited — the old model kept in production alongside the newer, much larger Tiguan — will not return for the 2019 model year.
Instead, buyers who can’t go without a Tiguan badge on their vehicle will have to come to grips with knowing they’ll need to spend just over two grand more to satisfy their urge. Alas, we all knew it couldn’t last long.
Take a Wild Guess What This Means
General Motors enlivened the perpetually grim Twitterscape Wednesday with a tweet depicting what Corey Lewis calls a “pure trust fund” gentleman wearing natty duds. After the initial discussion surrounding the nature of the tweet, your author, Chris Tonn, and Lewis attempted to pin down the particular hue of this fellow’s outerwear.
Celery. Pistachio pudding. 1960s motel bathroom. All applicable.
But wait, that wasn’t the purpose of the tweet! Surely this can’t have something to do with a gaping hole in the Chevrolet brand’s crossover lineup?
Smallest Jeep Appears Ready to Embrace Itty Bitty Engines
The subcompact Jeep Renegade, despite not carrying the heritage and go-anywhere trail cred of the Wrangler, remains a valuable asset for Fiat Chrysler, and with good reason. The Fiat-based model sets the lineup’s price floor, luring first-time buyers into the brand — hopefully for life.
As we saw earlier this month, there’s a mildly refreshed Renegade arriving for the 2019 model year. Unfortunately, the model’s European debut didn’t tell us much about engine availability for U.S. buyers. It now looks like an FCA service portal provided some of the answers to our powertrain questions.
Ahoy! Lincoln's Next MKC Might Debut As the 'Corsair'
Alphanumeric naming strategies don’t seem to work particularly well on American cars. There are exceptions, Chrysler’s 300 and the Ford F-Series come to mind, but usually you get a name and then a string of numbers and letters tacked on to denote badassery or size when applicable. While this is just a personal theory, it really seemed like America’s luxury brands were just trying to copy the Germans when they collectively made the swap and everyone noticed.
While alphanumeric monikers help automakers avoid certain issues in countries where a word may hold a different meaning, they aren’t particularly imaginative. It also distances new models from established names that help to move units on brand recognition alone. That isn’t to suggest those names are inherently better, but going against tradition can definitely work against you.
Lincoln knows that better than most, and has decided to give the MKC a real name for its 2020 redesign.
Is the Mazda CX-5 About to Go Turbocharged?
Where would Mazda be without the hot-selling CX-5? Of the 29,980 vehicles Mazda sold in the U.S. last month, 47.3 percent of them were CX-5s. Suffice it to say the stylish compact crossover is the brand’s most important model, regardless of what MX-5 fans would have you believe.
Parents everywhere applauded when a crisper, better-handling CX-5 appeared for 2017, content in knowing a family vehicle existed that wouldn’t relegate them to a world of bland conformity. Our own Chris Tonn was enraptured by the sight of his Grand Touring tester as it sat in an Ohio parking lot. Still, despite its on-road prowess, the zoom-zoom brand’s most popular offering isn’t exactly a pavement scorcher. That might not be the case for long.
Fiat 500X Exposes Some Chest Hair With 'Adventure Edition'
Calling the Fiat 500X rugged is like calling Star Wars actor Adam Driver sexy. While both have happened, neither of those ideas were conveyed via particularly reputable outlets. Likewise, the general public probably doesn’t agree with those statements — and the few that do are assuredly women.
Unlike the Star Wars franchise, Fiat owes the majority of its modern-day “success” to the fairer sex — a phrase I’m absolutely positive no one uses anymore. Still, both are trying to broaden their appeal by tweaking their product. Let’s stick to discussing automobiles.
While the breakdown fluctuates from year to year, roughly 60 percent of all Fiat drivers are women. But the brand does market to men, sometimes in ways we can’t quite comprehend. It also builds vehicles that seem specifically targeted at gentlemen, like the 500 Abarth and new 500X Adventure Edition.
Two Aging Midsize SUVs Fail Latest Round of Crash Tests
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety never rests, always thinking up new ways to expose flaws in contemporary passenger vehicles. Lately, the IIHS has begun applying the dreaded small overlap front crash test to the passenger side of new models. There’s a seat on that side for a reason, and it’s not inconceivable that a roadside utility pole or obstruction could take out that corner of the vehicle.
The latest IIHS test put popular midsize crossovers through their paces, exposing serious safety concerns in two models.