By on July 29, 2020

2020 Mazda CX-9 front quarter

If you read nothing else about the 2020 Mazda CX-9, let me be clear: this is the first car in which I’ve experienced a llama gnawing on the exterior trim, and yet I didn’t need to make a dreaded phone call to the automaker to explain any unusual damage.

Day 124 since lockdown yielded, for once, a new experience. Rather than our usual day of driving somewhere remote to get away from humanity, we drove somewhere remote to get closer to nature. Well, caged nature, at least, as we trekked to a drive-through safari/zoo in northern Ohio just to break the kids away from YouTube and Netflix for a few hours.

This biggest Mazda not only shed the licks and nibbles of captive animals – the mark from a bison’s horns wiped off with a towel – but it proved a comfortable long-distance hauler with better than expected fuel economy.

(Read More…)

By on May 26, 2020

2020 Lincoln Aviator front quarter

We were never a family that splurged on high-end brands. Store-brand staples were generally good enough for most household needs. Our TVs and stereo equipment were Sony only because my dad sold electronics at a big retailer in the Eighties. We straddled the fine line between frugality and cheapness. We just weren’t those kinds of people.

If there was a luxury brand of car, it was certain that we wouldn’t have it. Chevy or Olds, not Cadillac. Ford, not Lincoln – at least until I was out of the house. Dad, when choosing yet another car to ferry him on his sales calls around the Great Lakes, finally splurged on a late ‘90s front-drive Continental. As I recall, it was fine, but it didn’t wow me with the luxury I’d expect from the Lincoln nameplate.

Today, however, Lincoln is staging a comeback. First, the brand restored ACTUAL NAMES to its vehicles, rather than tacking MK-whatever on everything. Now, this genuinely elegant 2020 Lincoln Aviator makes a legitimate claim to the luxury SUV throne.

(Read More…)

By on April 1, 2020

2020 Cadillac XT6 front quarterYou’ve seen them lurking in your neighborhood. The suburban ninja. Clad head to toe in skintight black – usually from Lululemon, but other brands work here, too – they jog early in the morning and late at night, oblivious to the world beyond their AirPods. They’ll never jog on the sidewalk, either. They’re always in the street, ready to strike the hood of your car.

Drivers are taking back the streets, however, defending themselves and their precious rides by all means necessary. Cadillac has upped the game with the available Night Vision camera on the 2020 Cadillac XT6. No joke, the feature saved the good folks at Cadillac PR from headlines such as “Hack Journalist Slays Jogger.”

(Read More…)

By on July 16, 2019

2019 BMW X7 front quarter

I wanted to hate this big crossover so much. My expectations were minimal. How on earth could BMW, the standard-bearer of legitimate sports sedans for half a century, build a massive three-row SUV? It’s just a cash grab, I was certain.

Yeah, I’m supposed to be unbiased — but finding anyone that reviews cars that has absolutely no bias is a fools’ errand. Everyone here knows I’d give ten thumbs up should Renault bring a Mégane RS Trophy-R stateside. We all have our automotive loves. There are thousands who adore their Roundel-clad sedans — and will turn their nose at any perceived dilution of the brand.

I’m loath to say it, but this 2019 BMW X7 is worthy of the badge. You won’t find a racing series dedicated to the big three-row beast, but I’m sure in time you’ll find plenty in race paddocks with a caged E36 in tow.

(Read More…)

By on March 28, 2019

2019 Mazda CX-9 front quarter

Yet another three-row crossover. Yawn.

It’s even painted white, like the appliance it’s certain to be.

But people keep buying these things, like it or not. Since few want my ideal family hauler – the minivan – this genre is the best way to haul more than five people. And I’d argue that this 2019 Mazda CX-9 is the best of the breed.

(Read More…)

By on February 4, 2019

2019 Acura MDX A-Spec Front Quarter

Imagine a world in which The Fast And The Furious movie never had a sequel, let alone eight. Dom Toretto and the team didn’t keep being criminals or fighting crime — they just settled down in Southern California and had families.

In this imaginary offshoot of an imaginary world, there is one question that needs to be answered: What would Brian O’Conner drive? He and Mia certainly have a pack of towheaded children that require shuttling to daycare and soccer.

I think your answer is right here: a three-row crossover with some tuner highlights, including a pair of massive exhaust tips and big, blacked-out alloy wheels. The 2019 Acura MDX A-Spec is perfect for cruising the strip on Friday night, followed by a Saturday of dance recitals and antiquing.

(Read More…)

By on January 29, 2019

2019 Kia Sorento front quarter

The three-row crossover has quickly become the bellybutton car. Everyone’s got one. Much as the full-size station wagon was the people hauler of choice in the Seventies and early Eighties, followed by the mighty, mighty minivan, this genre of sorta-big tall wagon is everywhere.

This 2019 Kia Sorento is a refreshed example of a generation first offered in 2016. Kia keeps making impressive strides year after year. The example I sampled was packed to the gills with nearly every luxury bit possible, but does the new Sorento keep up with the competition?

(Read More…)

By on September 13, 2018

2019 GMC Acadia Denali front quarter

Acadia. Denali. Two National Parks that connote wilderness adventure. Acadia — the easternmost National Park — covers much of an island off the coast of Maine. Denali, named after the eponymous mountain that was occasionally named for the best President to come from Ohio in the twentieth century — is a park larger than the state of New Hampshire. The names make you think of wide open spaces, which should be a desirable trait in a family-sized crossover.

Not even a month ago, Associate Editor Steph Willems professed his love for the 2018 edition of the Acadia Denali. And while Steph and I are of similar mind on certain features on this three-row crossover, he and I have diverging uses for such a vehicle. For many, I’m sure, the 2019 GMC Acadia Denali is ideal. Due to some space issues, however, it isn’t the perfect family hauler for me. It comes up a bit short.

(Read More…)

By on September 10, 2018

Two years after the concept’s debut in Detroit, the “production” 2020 Kia Telluride appeared during New York City’s Fashion Week festivities this past weekend.

Fashion is not a subject this author is particularly familiar with. While I know that a button-up and suit jacket serves me better than an oversized Space Jam t-shirt, the reasons why remain a complete mystery. I just know that people are less likely to ask me to leave their establishment when I’m wearing a tie.

Be that as it may, I am savvy enough to know that Fashion Week is a strange locale in which to introduce a new vehicle. However, fashion designer Brandon Maxwell convinced Kia to donate to his childhood school district in Marfa, Texas, in exchange for the opportunity to showcase the automaker’s giant, unibody SUV. Created by Kia’s American design studio in Irvine, California, the customized Telluride that appeared on the runway drew influence from Texas (where everything is bigger). Fittingly, that was also Maxwell’s inspiration for the Spring/Summer 2019 collection — which I’m told is “fabulous.”  (Read More…)

By on July 17, 2018

2018 Honda Pilot front quarter

The plan was, as are all great and awful ideas alike, both simple and last-minute. A family reunion, over Memorial Day weekend, with a couple dozen family members spread from all over the East Coast, and ages spread from 5 to 93. Let’s pick a small touristy town with limited lodging choices — all while a major regional soccer tournament is happening — just for fun.

And we were hauling my mother along with the kids, which meant we needed room for five and luggage for eight. Why does one person need a 29-inch spinner, while my kids, my wife, and I fit everything needed for the long weekend in a 22-inch carry-on? Trips like this typically mean minivan, but, despite my protests, nobody seems to buy minivans anymore. So a three-row crossover is the best alternative. I figured that since Honda makes a hell of a minivan, any crossover built in the same factory has to be at least okay.

Thus the 2018 Honda Pilot Elite became our steed for a long weekend road trip. Did it make me forget my beloved van?

(Read More…)

By on June 12, 2018

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander front quarter

Car enthusiasts love to argue about cars, and will debate generally anything related to the topic ad nauseum. My wife knows not to talk cars with me unless she’s prepared to engage in an multi-hour discussion with outlines, Powerpoints, and 8×10 glossy photos. Discussions like these have birthed countless internet forums and blogs, including the usually brilliant comment section here at TTAC.

A common topic: are there any truly BAD cars anymore? We may all hate various brands or models because of poor prior experiences, but it can generally be assumed that all cars sold new in the U.S. can at least perform the basic function of a car satisfactorily for roughly the length of the factory warranty.

*Does it move sentient bags of meat from one place to another without parts falling off? Then it qualifies as NOT BAD.

Through that lens, then, we can look at the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander. It’s not a bad looking vehicle, and it certainly does what it’s supposed to. Broaden the view a bit, however, and it’s clear that there are few compelling reasons to buy Mitsubishi’s biggest crossover.

(Read More…)

By on January 24, 2018

Last week we brought you a story about the Kia Telluride and comments made by company execs about its production chances. Hyundai-Kia chief design officer Peter Schreyer reportedly said, “For sure, we are working on that car” to a group of Aussie journos.

Now, WardsAuto is furthering the narrative, reporting that Orth Hedrick, Kia America’s product planning veep, told them the brand will “have some announcements soon” on a production version of the seven-passenger Telluride.

(Read More…)

By on November 15, 2017

2019 Subaru Ascent

Subaru has talked about re-adding a large-ish machine to its lineup for the better part of a year, starting with a concept at this year’s NYIAS and culminating in a Twitter tweet announcing the model’s debut in L.A. on November 28th.

The name “Ascent” is apropos, accurately describing Subaru’s sales fortunes here in America. Having recorded a half-percent increase in year-over-year sales in October, Subaru can lay claim to 71 consecutive months of yearly month-over-month growth.

(Read More…)

By on October 13, 2017

2018 Honda CR-V - Image: Honda AustraliaIf Australia is an effective test bed for American tastes — and it most definitely isn’t — then the three-row version of the fifth-generation Honda CR-V would be a hit stateside.

We told you way back in April that there were plans afoot at American Honda for a utility vehicle to slot in between Honda’s two-row CR-V and three-row Pilot. We then watched, intrigued, at the level of interest among TTAC readers when we showed you images in July of Honda Australia’s three-row CR-V. Could this be the SUV Honda plans to squeeze between the CR-V and Pilot? At the time, Honda told TTAC, “We can’t make comments about any future possibilities.”

So you’re telling me there’s a possibility.

There likely is only the most limited sort of possibility. The third row can’t be linked with all-wheel drive, for starters. It’s obviously snug. And American Honda already has the Pilot, which Honda does not offer in Australia.

Nevertheless, if the Australian test bed is looked upon as a case study, American Honda would discover a three-row, seven-seat CR-V that turns out to be more popular than expected.
(Read More…)

By on October 5, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Traverse Redline - Image: ChevroletPriced at $42,995 including destination fees, the late-arriving 2018 Chevrolet Traverse RS is an oddly positioned member of the second-generation Traverse lineup.

The RS is the only four-cylinder member of the fleet — it’s down 53 horsepower on the 3.6-liter V6 in other Traverses — and yet a basic Traverse RS costs $12,120 more than the least costly Traverse.  The RS consumes more fuel on the highway, albeit slightly less in the city. It’s also available exclusively as a front-wheel-drive model.

Ah, but GM says it’s “sporty.” (Read More…)

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