We recently reviewed the 2016 Volvo XC90, the long overdue redesign of Volvo’s family hauler. First introduced as a 2002 model, the XC90 was a teenager by the time it was finally replaced. Oddly enough, it’s a similar story with the Audi Q7.
In response to Volvo’s then-new XC90, Audi began development of the seven-seater Q7 in 2002, which later hit the market in 2005. It received a facelift in 2009, but the basics of the slab-sided Audi remained. Eleven years later, and at around the same time as the new XC90, Audi has finally reinvented the Q7 as a sort of soft-road A8 Avant.
Can it compete against the new XC90 for the hearts and minds of luxury-minded families?
Across the vast and majestic gulf of time and space, the jimmies rustled not-so-softly when I published last week’s column on the reasons people choose crossovers. I was accused of persecuting everybody from innocent children to Fox Wolfie Galen. The author of the guest editorial to which my column was a reply claimed that he would leave TTAC forever unless I renounced my views on traditional masculinity, essentially attempting to no-platform me right off a site that I personally dragged from the abyss just two and a half years ago (with all of your help, of course). But seriously — I edited multiple news items for this site from a hospital bed a couple of hours after they cut out my spleen and this guy thinks I’m going to quit just to spare his delicate feelings.
Not that there wasn’t some intelligent, reasonable, principled opposition among the B&B to what I had to say, of course. Some of it resonated with me long after I put my laptop down for the day and picked up my bottle of Ketel One for the evening. I started to think about why people settle: for jobs, for spouses, for vacations — but most of all, why they settle for certain cars. Why have so many of us made the pansy-assed decision to buy something like a crossover? And why do so many of us feel the need to defend that decision to the Internet death?
A few hours later, as I unsteadily unbuttoned the blouse of a woman who was a toddler back when I started driving my father’s 733i, I asked myself: What if I took that easy contempt that I feel for crossover-driving single men and pointed that high-powered perception on myself, so to speak? When did I settle, and why did I do it?
Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of editing Daniel Ho’s theories on crossovers as reflections of the zeitgeist. In his thoughtfully-written piece, Daniel argues that crossovers are chimeras, reflecting a social trend towards generalized products that combine social signaling attributes from multiple socio-economic categories. The crossover, therefore, is the “blazer and jeans” look, offering broader but shallower capabilities than the specialized vehicles that preceded it.
It is my hope that Daniel, and the rest of the B&B, will take it as a signal mark of my esteem and admiration for the both the substance of Daniel’s original argument and his stylish manner of expressing it when I say that he is absolutely, completely, thoroughly wrong.
(Welcome Daniel Ho — a.k.a. “Waftable Torque” — who’s here to school you proles on the true appeal of the crossover/cute-ute/abominable mom-van. — JB)
There has seldom been a topic that riles automotive journalists and commentators up as much as crossovers. They inhabit categories that are successfully profitable and growing. Non-existent 20 years ago, they have become increasingly aspirational to a large segment of today’s drivers. There have been many theories as to why they’re successful. Some blame CAFE, others the baby boomers, and others still blame American exceptionalism. They may all be right.
The Truth About Cars has always pointed out things others don’t see. Sometimes it’s the authors who provide the evidence, but sometimes it’s the commentators who supply the observation. I’d like to show you something that, once you see it, you can never un-see.
The crossover is merely the tip of the iceberg.
Compact crossovers are big business and the Toyota RAV4 is one of the segment’s corporate all-stars.
In 2015, the RAV4 almost outsold Mazda. I’m not talking about the RAV4 outselling the Mazda CX-5, which it did handily by over 200,000 units. No, I’m talking about the RAV4 outselling Mazda in its entirely. Everything Mazda sells. All model sales put together. The RAV4 almost outsold MAZDA.
Toyota’s fourth-generation crossover has received a nip-tuck to keep it fresh after just three model years on the market. Its lineup is bolstered this year with the addition of the new RAV4 Hybrid, which we’ll be getting our hands on that in a few weeks. In the meantime, let’s take a deep dive into the second best-selling CUV in the USA in traditional gas-burner guise.
It’s quite trendy nowadays for auto writers to trash the very notion of the crossover, mostly because it doesn’t fit in with their self-defined image of being a swashbuckling, tire squealing, craft-beer-drinking car guy. Also, the economics of writing about cars tend to dictate a certain set of values and behaviors upon said auto writers, meaning that they aren’t incredibly likely to have families or, you know, own a lot of stuff. Finally, don’t forget that in the world of automotive journalism, anything mainstream is lame and everything that sells in single digits annually is awesome.
Thus, it’s now become incredibly bold for an auto writer to say something that is patently and plainly obvious to the vast majority of people who actually buy new cars. So I will: The 2016 Ford Escape is a good vehicle that fits the needs of a great many consumers, and it represents a fair value in the automotive marketplace.
When is a BMW not a BMW? Some would say: when it has four wheels. Others will say: when it’s front wheel drive. But here we are. BMW’s smallest crossover has ditched its BMW 3-Series roots for underpinnings shared with the Mini Countryman.
Americans may be surprised to hear that the X1 is not BMW’s first front driver. Neither is it the last BMW with a transverse engine. Our European friends will soon be seeing the 2 Series Gran Tourer — a small 7-seat … minivan. Yes, a BMW minivan. What’s that sound, you ask? Minds blowing.
For purists, the notion of a trio of transverse-engined BMWs prowling around the countryside is an abomination; an affront to everything E46 M3 owners holds sacred.
For the rest of you? It’s no big deal. Seriously.
Volkswagen may bring to Geneva two new small crossovers to complement its aging crossover lineup —including a production version of the T-ROC Concept it showed off in Geneva two years ago — Autocar reported ( via Car and Driver).
The T-ROC and reported T-Cross would both be MQB-based crossovers. The T-ROC is Golf-sized and much more probable for North American audiences than the Polo-sized T-Cross.
That’s in line with what we’ve heard, but don’t bet on a refreshed Golf to bow in Geneva in March — we’re hearing Paris in October for that particular reveal.
Revealed overnight before its in-person, on-stage performance at the 2016 North American International Auto Show, the 2017 GMC Acadia will gain a new, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with start/stop tech and lose nearly 700 pounds of heft.
The former Lambda-based crossover also sees a significant realignment in size thanks to a switch to the new Chi platform that underpins the new Cadillac XT5. The Acadia’s wheelbase shrinks by over 6 inches, length by 7 inches, and width by 3 inches.
The next-generation Nissan Z (which may or may not be: 1. A crossover; 2. Real; 3. Inspired by a bicycle; 4. FWD; 5. All of the above) may be less expensive than the current car, Nissan design chief Mamori Aoki told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
A lower price would appeal to a younger generation who can’t afford the Z’s current $30,000 price tag, Aoki said. Well, yeah.
Interestingly, the report notes that a less-expensive Z could make room for a more powerful Nissan sports car that isn’t called a GT-R. Aoki told the newspaper that the GT-R would remain a flagship performance car that wouldn’t compromise speed for something as silly as price. Wonderful.
As soon as I finished my time with the 2015 Nissan Murano, my mind immediately wandered to the new Ford Edge.
You see, the Murano is fantastic. It’s effortlessly comfortable. The ride is sublime. When you’re driving the Murano, everything is damn-near perfect. But the Murano could only be considered pretty by someone subjected to the “ Ludovico Technique” and thousands of flashing images of the Infiniti [s]QX56[/s] QX80.
The Murano is the violently green neon dress and pink knee-high boots to the Edge’s fitted black number and Saks Fifth Avenue pumps. At a black-tie affair, one of those is going to stick out, and for all the wrong reasons.
Yet, looks can be deceiving. It was underneath that retina-burning attire I found an incredibly comfortable, competent crossover in the Murano. It’s hard to fault it with your eyes closed.
Now it’s the Edge’s turn. Would I find the same characteristics in it that made me fall in love with Nissan’s lifestyle-mobile?
There comes a point in our lives when we all fly off the handle. It can happen when we’re still young and ready to believe anything or when we’re old and the voice of those young’uns make us instinctively say nasty, insensitive thoughts.
Temporary insanity comes and goes with the seasons. With that I am about to recommend a [s]car[/s] [s]truckster[/s] [s]minivan[/s] lame duck vehicle that has a surprisingly good fit for one type of buyer in particular: Those with large families who want a new car but don’t really give a shit about cars.
Settling the debate between whether Mazda’s Koeru concept from Frankfurt was a new CX-5 or CX-9 (or CX-7?), CEO Masamichi Kogai told Automotive News that the answer may be “none of the above,” apparently.
On Monday, Kogai said that the Koeru could get the green light as a sporty crossover, sold alongside the CX-5 as a wagon-esque crossover aimed “to generate more driving pleasure,” Kogai told Automotive News.
Media reports on Tuesday likened the lower, fastback, five-door Mazda wagon to a possible Subaru Outback competitor, which completely forgets what an Outback looks like today.
Mitsubishi’s sedan offering in the United States may very likely begin and end with its Mirage ( which Mark says they didn’t ruin for 2017) as the company builds more and more crossovers to sell.
“We are strong in SUVs and four-wheel drives. And that is what we would like to focus on as core models in the U.S. market. We have changed direction,” CEO Osamu Masuko told Automotive News. “We are going to allocate more resources to the areas where we are strong in the U.S.”
Mitsubishi will announce a mid-sized crossover to fit between its Outlander and Outlander Sport, which are both due for a redesign in 2017 and 2019 respectively. The automaker is also betting big on electrification: all of its crossovers will either offer a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric version.
Ford unveiled Tuesday its refreshed 2017 Ford Escape complete with two new-ish engines and a slew of new technologies, including stop-start, that could help the crossover catch the best-selling Honda CR-V.
The base Escape still comes equipped with a 2.5-liter four, but Ford replaced its 1.6-liter turbo four with a 1.5-liter turbo four that produces the same power in higher trims. The outgoing 1.6-liter engine was the subject of at least two different recalls, including an incorrectly installed fuel line and overheating problem that could potentially cause fires.
A 2-liter boosted four from the Edge will also be available in the Escape. That engine produces 245 horsepower and will be available in SE and Titanium trims.