Posts Tagged ‘crossover’

2016 NAIAS: 2017 Cadillac XT5

January 16th, 2016 No comments


Sometimes the automotive world isn’t fair. When Cadillac introduced the original SRX crossover auto journalists largely embraced the three-row largely due to its wagon-like looks, and its enthusiast oriented rear or all-wheel drive layout. The SRX was invisible in the marketplace so the second generation was transformed into a front-wheel drive based 5-passenger crossover that had no enthusiast-car leanings whatsoever. It, of course, became a best seller. So the SRX replacement, the XT5 is more of the same. Don’t let the name confuse you, the XT5 has nothing to do with the large Cadillac XTS sedan. The XT5 looks to us like a crossover that has adopted the styling themes of the Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid coupe with its plunging fender line. XT5 offers a standard 3.6L V6 coupled with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Though the XT5 comes standard with the sometimes finicky CUE infotainment system, some of the potentially useful technology on board includes a rear camera mirror that eliminates the view of obstructions to rear vision such as the rear passengers, headrests, and bodywork. Drivers can select the ride modes to adjust the suspension which feature real time damping.

2016 NAIAS: North American Truck/Utility of the Year

January 16th, 2016 No comments


As we predicted after poking around the Volvo XC90 last year, everyone’s favorite Swede was destined for a good year. After picking up the Motor Trend Truck of the Year calipers no one on this staff was surprised the XC also claimed North American Truck/Utility of the Year honors. It’s beautiful outside and in, plus it is packed with technology like semi-autonomous lane keeping, a supercharged and turbocharged engine with an available plug-in hybrid option and an easy-to-learn central infotainment system called Sensus.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LT

November 13th, 2015 No comments

Chevy’s Tiny Crossover Aims for Average

The Bow-Tie marketers would have you believe the Trax is a custom-built small SUV they’ve gifted to modern urbanites to conquer the rigors of big living in tight spaces. We’re here to tell you it’s actually just a high(er) roof Chevy Sonic that will appeal to average car buyers both young and old that have proven again and again that when given the choice they’d rather sit higher in their vehicle. There’s nothing wrong with that and indeed a whole new class of tiny crossovers are entering the fight for buyers’ attention. We spent a week living with a mid-range Trax LT to see if it could earn our recommendation. Read more…

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2015 NAIAS: 2015 Jeep Renegade

February 8th, 2015 No comments

Renegade. The name may come from Jeep’s past, but it just as well could describe the nature of the brand’s newest and smallest offering.  The first Jeep to be imported to the United States, rather than built here, the Renegade dares to take the brand into new places. The Renegade’s base engine is a turbocharged 1.4L 4-cylinder coupled to a manual transmission. A larger 2.4L and a 9-speed automatic are also available. Hard core Jeep fans may scoff at the origins and FIAT-based architecture, but others may find the Trailhawk version appealing for its off road capability with a 4WD low setting as well as snow, sand, mud, and rock selectable terrain settings. Experience open air freedom with the Renegades two-piece removable ‘My Sky’ roof panels.

2015 NAIAS: 2016 FIAT 500X

February 8th, 2015 No comments

We know and love the FIAT 500 minicab in most of its iterations whether it be in frugal Pop trim or hot hatch Abarth guise. Problem is the brand’s dealerships have, up until now, had to make do with that lovable car and the awkward and clumsy 500L. In an effort to remedy this issue FIAT is bringing us the 500X. Marketed at as crossover (really, does simply offering AWD and hatch qualify this to fit that category?) this 4 door hatch is much prettier than the 500L and truer to the original 500’s character. The 500X offers a 1.4L turbo as standard and, unlike other crossovers like the Chevy Traxx and the Mazda CX-3, allows the buyer to opt to shift their own gears and push a clutch pedal. We suspect most customers will choose the 2.4L Tigershark mated with a 9-speed automatic. It should be interesting if this bigger spin on the 500X will increase traffic at FIAT ‘studios’.

Categories: Auto Shows, Video Tags: , , , , ,

2015 NAIAS: 2016 Volvo XC90

January 19th, 2015 No comments

We could have setup a full camera crew and spent a day at the Volvo display diving into the impressive details of the upcoming XC90 crossover SUV, but that will have to wait until this fall when we can get our hands on one of these stunning luxury rides from Volvo. If it seems like Swedish manufacturer has been a bit quiet these past few years you’re not alone, and we can hardly blame them considering the challenges of new ownership and the inability to borrow from a corporate parts bin for any aspect of their new XC90. But after our first chance to sit in and poke around the tastefully restrained yet modern design, we can confidently say Volvo fans are in for a treat. Beautiful textures, materials and technology make up possibly the most inviting cabin we’ve seen come along in years–certainly at the sub-$60k starting price. Couple that to impressive advancements in powertrain offerings, including a 2-liter four cylinder that is both turbocharged and supercharged and can be paired with a plug-in hybrid system to produce 400hp, and you’ll see why Volvo might have been too busy to draw attention to itself the past few years. Color us impressed and put this on your must watch list this year.

Categories: Auto Shows, Video Tags: , , ,

2015 NAIAS: 2016 Mazda CX-3

January 18th, 2015 No comments

For anyone who thought Mazda’s CX-5 was as small as SUV’s needed to be, there is a surprise in the CX-3. Small crossovers, such as the Buick Encore, prove there is room to go smaller in the segment. The CX-3 draws on styling cues first presented by the fresh Mazda3 and Mazda6. SKYACTIVE-G is Mazda marketing lingo attached to the brand’s 2.0-liter gasoline engine that will be mated to a standard 6-speed automatic transmission. All wheel drive is optional and features a front wheel slip warning system that detects slippage of the front wheels and redirects the car to the intended direction based on initial driver input. Sounds to us like Mazda is spending a lot of investment in technology to make an all wheel drive car handle like it is rear wheel drive. It all sounds promising, but Americans will have to wait until fall to try the system out for themselves.

2015 NAIAS: 2016 Audi Q3

January 16th, 2015 No comments

Audi is a brand long associated with all wheel drive, wagons, and hatchbacks.  The refreshed-for-2016 Q3, then is a natural fit into the brand’s portfolio.  The most noticeable update is to the grille, which Audi executives refer to as a ‘three-dimensional Singleframe grille.’  Whatever you call it, this apparently the new look for Audi’s signature oversized grille opening.  Audi would like to draw your attention to the unseen in the form of a 17% reduction of CO2 emissions.  We’re sure enthusiasts will be more interested to know that the Q3 offers powertrain ranging in horsepower from 120 to 220 in most markets.  The top engine will be Audi’s 2.0L TFSI.  Not a lot of power, we admit, but as the smallest of Audi’s crossover offerings there are plenty of more powerful (and larger) offerings.  Expect to see the Q3 this fall in the US.

2015 NAIAS: Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE Concept

January 16th, 2015 No comments

Volkswagen seems determined to convince America that the brand can provide precision German engineering while appeasing America’s desire for larger, more powerful vehicles.  The Cross Coupe GTE concept is VW’s interpretation of just such a combination.  Intended to preview the brand’s upcoming 7-seat crossover the Cross Coupe differs from that production model by hacking down the wagon portion of the green-house into something far less practical.  To our eyes it still doesn’t look like a coupe but it seems that our friends in Wolfsburg are eager to associate themselves with such spectacularly low volume hardware as the Acura ZDX and BMW X6.  Even if buyer’s aren’t willing to give the abbreviated crossover bodystyle another chance, we can expect the full-fledged 7-passenger version to wear the same square jawed face of the GTE concept. Production for the 7-seater begins in Chattanooga, TN by the end of 2016.  The GTE is powered by a plug-in hybrid drivetrain which produces 276 horsepower by means of a 3.6L VR6 and two electric motors (54 and 114 hp).  It is capable of traveling 20 miles on electrified propulsion alone and is estimated to achieve a fuel economy rating of 70 MPGe.  While it remains to be seen whether the production 7-passenger crossover will employ the GTE concept’s powertrain we can expect that Volkwagen will finally have a legitimate 3-row crossover to offer stateside coming late 2016.

2015 NAIAS: 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe

January 16th, 2015 No comments

Mercedes isn’t content to let one automaker suck up all the consumers clamoring for a crossover utility that thinks it’s a four-door coupe (we’re looking at you BMW X6 ). So today they took the wraps off a new addition to their rapidly expanding lineup of utilities with the GLE Coupe. Available in regular GLE 450 guise with a twin-turbo 3-liter V6 at its heart or 577-hp extra speedy GLE 63 AMG strength, the new high-style crossover will get down the highway just fine. Both models utilize standard 4Matic all-wheel drive and 7-speed automatic. We didn’t think there was much of a market for crossovers with limited people and cargo hauling abilities (RIP Acura ZDX) but Mercedes has produced a solid looker with massive 22″ wheels pushed out to all four corners and a full range of interior luxuries to help convince people to part with their money.