Review: 2010 Land Rover LR4
Time was Land Rovers evolved at a leisurely pace, with a redesign perhaps once every decade or two, and name changes pretty much never. But, if you want some of those soccer mom dollars, this just won’t do. So the Disco II became the LR3 (on this side of the pond at least; in the more tradition-minded UK it became the Disco 3). And, just five years later, the LR3 was itself superceded by the LR4. Will the smaller LR2 become the LR3 when it is next redesigned? I suppose they’ll cross that bridge when they come to it. Perhaps they’ll toss the alphanumeric rubbish into the dustbin. The topic for today: what’s the LR4 got that the LR3 did not?
Not Again! Your SUV Just Dropped In Value
It’s a rough world out there: First new cars and especially SUVs were pretty much unsalable. A few months ago, the recession drove used car prices sky-high. Then truck sales were back with a vengeance. Now that you finally have a new shiny SUV in the driveway (yeah!) you wake up and it has lost a huge chunk of its value, overnight. Says USA Today today: “The run-up in gas prices past $3 a gallon has been running down the value of used SUVs, causing prices to plummet below levels listed in well-known buying guides.”
About That Cajun…
When Porsche introduced the world to its first production SUV in 2003, it set off an intense, polarized debate that continues to this day. For some, the Cayenne was a crossing of the Rubicon (no pun intended) leading to the dumbing-down of a proud marque… for others, it was a new, more accessible way to experience the brand. Sure enough, sales of the Cayenne have been good (significantly better than the Cayman and Boxster combined), but Porsche seems to have let passion for its brand run out of control.
Since the Cayenne controversy, every V6 Panamera and Cayman S has given the anti-Cayenne faction evidence of the slippery slope of brand destruction they saw coming with Porsche’s first SUV (and which Jack Baruth traces back as far as the 914). And now, as if to confirm the worst fears of even some of its own executives, Porsche is throwing rocket fuel on the fire in the form of a new, smaller SUV. The question this time: after the Cayenne, Pana V6, and various sins against the fanbase (some more deadly than others), are the purists still fired up enough to rage against the Cajun?
Review: 2010 Toyota 4Runner SR5
After ruling the American roads for most of the 1990s and 2000s, the conventional midsize SUV has rapidly become an endangered species. GM, Ford, and others have abandoned the segment entirely. The Grand Cherokee, from its inception intended for more of an on-road role than other Jeeps, has become ever more refined and luxurious in a bid to survive. Nissan still offers the Pathfinder, but will it still be a conventional SUV if and when it’s redesigned? The Borrego? A mistake Kia won’t be making a second time. Only one company has had the guts and/or cluelessness to recently redesign a midsize SUV that is first and foremost an SUV. Could the 2010 Toyota 4Runner be the last of its kind?
Rumor Control: Mercedes (Not GM) Outsources Electric SUV Development. But What About Tesla?
What's Wrong With This Picture: Wrangling The Details Edition
Jeep has released the first pictures of its next refreshed product, the 2011 Jeep Wrangler, but the changes don’t exactly jump out. That’s because, besides a new body-color hardtop and five new exterior colors, the changes have all taken place on the inside. You know, where they’re most needed. Have they done the job? Hit the jump for the first peek…
Chart Of The Day: SUVs And Luxury/Premium SUV/CUVs
Wrangler went on a summer tear last month, more than doubling its July 2009 number, and leading SUVs to a strong rally. The segment’s top 18 nameplates all improved their year-over-year numbers last month, as gas prices look to hold steady through the summer (only the Suzuki Grand Vitara lost ground). SUVs should be way up again (year-on-year) this month as well, as Cash For Clunkers limited SUV sales in August 2009. Strong sales in this segment could continue into the fall on the strength of new launches like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Ford Explorer. On the other hand, with the Explorer moving to a Crossover platform and lines between SUVs and CUVs generally blurring, it’s becoming increasingly important to compare mid/large CUVs against this SUV segment. Based on that comparison, it’s easy to see that the mass market tends to pick road-oriented people-haulers rather than offroad-oriented rock crawlers. SUVs may be booming this summer, but in the big picture they’re melting away into the ever-expanding Crossover category. Hit the jump for a bonus graph of Luxury-brand SUV/CUV sales in July.
Ask The Best And Brightest: Is Crossover A Dirty Word?
I recently attended a fancy-pants dinner held by Chrysler PR for some Houston-area bloggers. We were wined, dined and introduced to the 2011 Grand Cherokee. While free food and journalistic integrity are a tough combo to swallow, I found something entertaining and inherently blog worthy: the castrated 2011 Ford Explorer is in the new Grand Cherokee’s gunsight. Why? One of the SUV’s most famous nameplates is now a crossover, while another is still an SUV. But neither of them like being called names.
Review: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Several years ago, I paid heed to my inner child and attended Iron Maiden’s “Aces (Very) High Tour”. During one of the breaks, singer Bruce Dickinson said, “I don’t know what’s going on. We’re still making records, and I think they’re pretty good. But nobody on the radio wants to play them. They don’t play that kind of music now. Even if people want to hear it.” Intrigued by his comment, I bought the new Maiden record. He’s right. It’s pretty good, even if the music industry has moved on. It’s also a completely standard, formulaic effort that sounds exactly like every Iron Maiden record after their final burst of creativity, “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son.”
What if… the new Iron Maiden record had been a double album, with the first disc being an absolutely perfect distillation of every previous record, and the second one being ten jazz standards, all performed to the highest standard of musicianship? Would anybody buy it, or would they still line up for the latest MP3s from the Silversun Pickups? That’s the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee in a nutshell. It’s staggeringly competent off-road, but it’s also an absurdly composed, quiet, and comfortable freeway cruiser. Are you interested, or would you rather have a GMC Acadia?
What's Wrong With This Picture: Alfa's SUV Plans Parody Themselves Edition
2011 Explorer: Ford Dealing With SUV Withdrawal?
Saudi Arabia Sheiks Up The SUV Game
Which Cars Had 90 Percent Growth In China?
Spoiled market watchers were disappointed by China’s less than red-hot May numbers: Passenger vehicles grew just 23.2 percent, the whole market grew 26 percent. Now here’s a number worth waiting for (or to induce a heart attack, if you have green leanings:)
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Priced: 4X2 Starts At $30,995, 4X4 Starts At $32,995
Chrysler has announced pricing for the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, arguably the most important vehicle it will launch this year. The cheapest option, the Laredo 4×2 (which isn’t even mentioned in Chrysler’s release), starts at an MSRP of $30,995 (including destination charge, confirmed via Twitter)… at least until ChryCo rolls out the $5k cash back it’s offering on the outgoing model. Hit the jump for trim levels and corresponding pricing.