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Found 231 results

  1. A few weeks ago, I wrote a comparison test between the 2018 Mazda CX-9 and Volkswagen Atlas. It was a close fight, but the Atlas ended up being the victor as it proved to be the better all-around three-row crossover. I find myself comparing these two brands once again, this time with their compact crossovers. Like their larger brethren, the two models take different approaches. The Mazda CX-5 goes for something that provides a premium feel and exciting drive, while the Volkswagen Tiguan uses space and comfort as its guide. Which one of these crossovers Which one of these crossovers is right for you? Exterior Mazda’s design team believed evolution would be the right approach for the second-generation CX-5’s design and we have to agree. Taking the first-generation model, designers added more curves to the body, widened the front grille, and angled the front LED headlights. In what is becoming a very crowded class, the CX-5 stands tall, especially when wearing the optional Soul Red paint. Like the Atlas, the Volkswagen Tiguan’s shape can be explained as “looking like a bit of a square, but a posh square.” Little details such as the three-bar grille, LED daytime-running lights, and slightly bulging fenders help give the Tiguan a touch of class. The optional Habanero Orange Metallic paint color on my test vehicle does show Volkswagen is willing to step outside of its comfort zone. In terms of dimensions, the Tiguan is six inches longer in overall length and rides on a wheelbase that is 3.6-inches longer than the CX-5. Interior The Tiguan’s interior follows Volkswagen’s ethos of keeping it functional in terms of the design. It features simple dash and design touches such as a silver finish for various trim pieces. Volkswagen does make up for the boring design with an excellent layout of controls. For example, the climate control system is slightly angled upward to not only make it easier to reach, but also make it less of a hassle to look down and see the current settings. Material quality is average for this type of vehicle with a mix of hard and soft plastics. The front seats in the Tiguan SE offer a power recline and manual adjustments for fore/aft and height. I really liked the seats in the Tiguan as they provided excellent comfort and firmness for any trip distance. But the Tiguan really surprises in the back seat with head and legroom similar to what you’ll find on a full-size SUV. Passengers sitting back here can also move the seats back and forth, and recline to make themselves more comfortable. The long length of the Tiguan allows for a third-row seat. The seat is standard on front-wheel drive models and optional for all-wheel drive variants. The third-row should only be used for small kids as there is a minuscule amount of legroom. Another downside to the third-row is cargo space. The third-row causes a significant reduction in cargo space. With the third-row folded, it offers 4.6 cubic feet less than the two-row variant (33 vs. 37.6). Fold the second-row and the reduction becomes larger - 7.8 cubic feet. I would recommend skipping the third-row option if you opt for an AWD Tiguan. Like the exterior, the CX-5’s interior stands out. The dash shows Mazda’s effort on trying to make their interiors feel more like a luxury vehicle with sculpted contours, brushed aluminum, soft-touch plastics with a grain texture, and stitching on certain trim pieces. Compared to the Tiguan, the CX-5’s control layout is more spread out, making it somewhat difficult to find and reach certain controls. The Grand Touring tester featured power adjustments for both front seats. The seats will feel a bit too firm for some passengers, but I found them to be just right. It would have been awesome if Mazda provided ventilation for the front seats to bolster their premium ambitions. The CX-5’s back seat offers a decent amount of headroom for those under six-feet. Legroom is somewhat lacking when put against the competition. I found that my knees were almost touching the back side of the front seat. Cargo space is right in the middle with 30.9 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 59.6 when folded. Infotainment A seven-inch touchscreen featuring the Mazda Connect infotainment system and a rotary knob controller is standard on all CX-5s. Grand Touring models get navigation as standard, while the Touring gets it as an option. Mazda Connect is a mixed bag. The interface is beginning to look somewhat old due to the use of dark colors and a dull screen. Also, trying to figure out which parts of the system are touch-enabled becomes quite tedious as there is no way to tell except through trial and error. There is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility, but I’m hoping the 2019 model will get it. For the Tiguan, Volkswagen offers three different infotainment systems ranging from 6.5 to 8-inches. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility come standard. The current Volkswagen infotainment system is one of the best thanks in part to snappy performance and a simple interface. You can do various smartphone gestures such as swiping to move around the system. One disappointment is the lack of any sort of haptic feedback when touching any of the shortcut buttons sitting on either side of the screen. We would also recommend keeping a cloth in the Tiguan as the glass surface for the infotainment system becomes littered with fingerprints. Like in the Atlas I reviewed a few weeks ago, the Tiguan experienced an issue with Apple CarPlay. Applications such as Google Music or Spotify running in CarPlay would freeze up. I could exit out to the CarPlay interface, but was unable to unfreeze the applications unless I restarted the vehicle. Resetting my iPhone solved this issue. Powertrain Under the CX-5’s hood is a 2.5L four-cylinder producing 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet (up one from the 2017 model). Mazda has added cylinder deactivation for the 2018 model that allows the engine to run on just two cylinders to improve fuel efficiency. This is paired with a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. For the Tiguan, Volkswagen has dropped in a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine producing 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive complete the package. With a higher torque figure and being available between 1,600 to 4,300 rpm, the Tiguan should leave the CX-5 in the dust. But at the stoplight drag race, the CX-5 bests the Tiguan thanks to a sharper throttle response and a steady stream of power. The Tiguan’s turbo-four gets hit with a double-whammy of turbo-lag and a somewhat confused eight-speed automatic transmission, making it feel anything but eager to get off the line. As speeds climb, the story changes. The Tiguan’s engine feels more willing to get moving whenever you need to make a pass or merge onto a freeway. The CX-5’s engine runs out of steam and you’ll need to really work it to get up to speed at a decent rate. Fuel Economy The EPA says the 2018 Mazda CX-5 AWD will return 24 City/30 Highway/26 Combined, while the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan AWD returns 21 City/27 Highway/23 Combined. Both models returned high fuel economy averages; the CX-5 return 28.5 while the Tiguan got 27.3 mpg during my week-long test. Both models were driven on mix of 60 percent city and 40 percent highway. Ride & Handling When I reviewed the 2017 Mazda CX-5, I said that it carried on the mantle of being a fun-to-drive crossover set by the first-generation. Driving on some of the back roads around Detroit, the CX-5 felt very agile and showed little body roll. The steering provides sharp responses and excellent weighting. The sporting edge does mean a firm ride, allowing some road imperfections to come inside. Not much road or wind noise comes inside. Volkswagen took a different approach with the Tiguan’s ride and handling characteristics. On rough roads, the Tiguan provides a very cushioned ride on some of the roughest payment. This soft ride does hurt the Tiguan when cornering as there is slightly more body roll. But that doesn’t make the Tiguan a bad driving crossover. The chassis feels very willing when pushed and the steering provides a direct feel. Value The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SE AWD begins at $30,230. This particular tester came to $31,575 with the optional Habanero Orange Metallic and fog lights. But the 2018 Mazda CX-5 Touring comes with more equipment such as radar cruise control, lane departure warning, 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, and power adjustments for the driver for only $2,175 less than the Tiguan SE’s base price. You can add navigation, Bose audio system, and sunroof as part of $1,200 Preferred Equipment package. When it comes to the midlevel, it is no contest as the CX-5 walks away. The script flips however when you put the 2018 CX-5 Grand Touring under the microscope. The AWD version begins at $30,945 and with a few options such as the Soul Red paint and Premium package, the vehicle seen here comes to $34,685. But you can get into the Tiguan SEL AWD that adds adaptive cruise control, power liftgate, and navigation for only $2,295 less than our as-tested CX-5. While the CX-5 does offer more of a premium interior, the larger interior and slightly better infotainment system give the Tiguan a slight edge. Verdict It feels weird to describe the verdict between the two compact crossovers as a decision to satisfy your desires or needs. The 2018 Mazda CX-5 falls into the former as it boasts a handsome look that very few models can match, luxurious interior, and handling characteristics that make you feel like you’re driving a sports car. As for the Tiguan, it falls in the latter camp by offering a spacious interior, smooth ride, and a better infotainment system. I consider these two to be the best-in-class. But deciding which one is better will ultimately come down to deciding whether to give into your wants or needs. Disclaimer: Mazda and Volkswagen Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2018 Make: Mazda Model: CX-5 Trim: Grand Touring AWD Engine: 2.5L DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 187 @ 6,000 Torque @ RPM: 186 @4,000 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 24/30/26 Curb Weight: N/A Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan Base Price: $30,945 As Tested Price: $34,685 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge) Options: Premium Package - $1,395.00 Soul Red Crystal Paint - $595.00 Illuminated Door Sill Plates - $400.00 Retractable Cover Cover - $250.00 Rear Bumper Guard - $125.00 Year: 2018 Make: Volkswagen Model: Tiguan Trim: SE 4Motion Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged 16-Valve DOHC TSI Four-Cylinder Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 184 @ 4,400 Torque @ RPM: 221 @ 1,600 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/27/23 Curb Weight: 3,858 lbs Location of Manufacture: Puebla, Mexico Base Price: $30,230 As Tested Price: $31,575 (Includes $900.00 Destination Charge) Options: Habanero Orange Metallic - $295.00 Front Fog Lights - $150.00 View full article
  2. William Maley

    Review: 2018 Mazda CX-5 vs. Volkswagen Tiguan

    A few weeks ago, I wrote a comparison test between the 2018 Mazda CX-9 and Volkswagen Atlas. It was a close fight, but the Atlas ended up being the victor as it proved to be the better all-around three-row crossover. I find myself comparing these two brands once again, this time with their compact crossovers. Like their larger brethren, the two models take different approaches. The Mazda CX-5 goes for something that provides a premium feel and exciting drive, while the Volkswagen Tiguan uses space and comfort as its guide. Which one of these crossovers Which one of these crossovers is right for you? Exterior Mazda’s design team believed evolution would be the right approach for the second-generation CX-5’s design and we have to agree. Taking the first-generation model, designers added more curves to the body, widened the front grille, and angled the front LED headlights. In what is becoming a very crowded class, the CX-5 stands tall, especially when wearing the optional Soul Red paint. Like the Atlas, the Volkswagen Tiguan’s shape can be explained as “looking like a bit of a square, but a posh square.” Little details such as the three-bar grille, LED daytime-running lights, and slightly bulging fenders help give the Tiguan a touch of class. The optional Habanero Orange Metallic paint color on my test vehicle does show Volkswagen is willing to step outside of its comfort zone. In terms of dimensions, the Tiguan is six inches longer in overall length and rides on a wheelbase that is 3.6-inches longer than the CX-5. Interior The Tiguan’s interior follows Volkswagen’s ethos of keeping it functional in terms of the design. It features simple dash and design touches such as a silver finish for various trim pieces. Volkswagen does make up for the boring design with an excellent layout of controls. For example, the climate control system is slightly angled upward to not only make it easier to reach, but also make it less of a hassle to look down and see the current settings. Material quality is average for this type of vehicle with a mix of hard and soft plastics. The front seats in the Tiguan SE offer a power recline and manual adjustments for fore/aft and height. I really liked the seats in the Tiguan as they provided excellent comfort and firmness for any trip distance. But the Tiguan really surprises in the back seat with head and legroom similar to what you’ll find on a full-size SUV. Passengers sitting back here can also move the seats back and forth, and recline to make themselves more comfortable. The long length of the Tiguan allows for a third-row seat. The seat is standard on front-wheel drive models and optional for all-wheel drive variants. The third-row should only be used for small kids as there is a minuscule amount of legroom. Another downside to the third-row is cargo space. The third-row causes a significant reduction in cargo space. With the third-row folded, it offers 4.6 cubic feet less than the two-row variant (33 vs. 37.6). Fold the second-row and the reduction becomes larger - 7.8 cubic feet. I would recommend skipping the third-row option if you opt for an AWD Tiguan. Like the exterior, the CX-5’s interior stands out. The dash shows Mazda’s effort on trying to make their interiors feel more like a luxury vehicle with sculpted contours, brushed aluminum, soft-touch plastics with a grain texture, and stitching on certain trim pieces. Compared to the Tiguan, the CX-5’s control layout is more spread out, making it somewhat difficult to find and reach certain controls. The Grand Touring tester featured power adjustments for both front seats. The seats will feel a bit too firm for some passengers, but I found them to be just right. It would have been awesome if Mazda provided ventilation for the front seats to bolster their premium ambitions. The CX-5’s back seat offers a decent amount of headroom for those under six-feet. Legroom is somewhat lacking when put against the competition. I found that my knees were almost touching the back side of the front seat. Cargo space is right in the middle with 30.9 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 59.6 when folded. Infotainment A seven-inch touchscreen featuring the Mazda Connect infotainment system and a rotary knob controller is standard on all CX-5s. Grand Touring models get navigation as standard, while the Touring gets it as an option. Mazda Connect is a mixed bag. The interface is beginning to look somewhat old due to the use of dark colors and a dull screen. Also, trying to figure out which parts of the system are touch-enabled becomes quite tedious as there is no way to tell except through trial and error. There is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility, but I’m hoping the 2019 model will get it. For the Tiguan, Volkswagen offers three different infotainment systems ranging from 6.5 to 8-inches. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility come standard. The current Volkswagen infotainment system is one of the best thanks in part to snappy performance and a simple interface. You can do various smartphone gestures such as swiping to move around the system. One disappointment is the lack of any sort of haptic feedback when touching any of the shortcut buttons sitting on either side of the screen. We would also recommend keeping a cloth in the Tiguan as the glass surface for the infotainment system becomes littered with fingerprints. Like in the Atlas I reviewed a few weeks ago, the Tiguan experienced an issue with Apple CarPlay. Applications such as Google Music or Spotify running in CarPlay would freeze up. I could exit out to the CarPlay interface, but was unable to unfreeze the applications unless I restarted the vehicle. Resetting my iPhone solved this issue. Powertrain Under the CX-5’s hood is a 2.5L four-cylinder producing 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet (up one from the 2017 model). Mazda has added cylinder deactivation for the 2018 model that allows the engine to run on just two cylinders to improve fuel efficiency. This is paired with a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. For the Tiguan, Volkswagen has dropped in a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine producing 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive complete the package. With a higher torque figure and being available between 1,600 to 4,300 rpm, the Tiguan should leave the CX-5 in the dust. But at the stoplight drag race, the CX-5 bests the Tiguan thanks to a sharper throttle response and a steady stream of power. The Tiguan’s turbo-four gets hit with a double-whammy of turbo-lag and a somewhat confused eight-speed automatic transmission, making it feel anything but eager to get off the line. As speeds climb, the story changes. The Tiguan’s engine feels more willing to get moving whenever you need to make a pass or merge onto a freeway. The CX-5’s engine runs out of steam and you’ll need to really work it to get up to speed at a decent rate. Fuel Economy The EPA says the 2018 Mazda CX-5 AWD will return 24 City/30 Highway/26 Combined, while the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan AWD returns 21 City/27 Highway/23 Combined. Both models returned high fuel economy averages; the CX-5 return 28.5 while the Tiguan got 27.3 mpg during my week-long test. Both models were driven on mix of 60 percent city and 40 percent highway. Ride & Handling When I reviewed the 2017 Mazda CX-5, I said that it carried on the mantle of being a fun-to-drive crossover set by the first-generation. Driving on some of the back roads around Detroit, the CX-5 felt very agile and showed little body roll. The steering provides sharp responses and excellent weighting. The sporting edge does mean a firm ride, allowing some road imperfections to come inside. Not much road or wind noise comes inside. Volkswagen took a different approach with the Tiguan’s ride and handling characteristics. On rough roads, the Tiguan provides a very cushioned ride on some of the roughest payment. This soft ride does hurt the Tiguan when cornering as there is slightly more body roll. But that doesn’t make the Tiguan a bad driving crossover. The chassis feels very willing when pushed and the steering provides a direct feel. Value The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SE AWD begins at $30,230. This particular tester came to $31,575 with the optional Habanero Orange Metallic and fog lights. But the 2018 Mazda CX-5 Touring comes with more equipment such as radar cruise control, lane departure warning, 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, and power adjustments for the driver for only $2,175 less than the Tiguan SE’s base price. You can add navigation, Bose audio system, and sunroof as part of $1,200 Preferred Equipment package. When it comes to the midlevel, it is no contest as the CX-5 walks away. The script flips however when you put the 2018 CX-5 Grand Touring under the microscope. The AWD version begins at $30,945 and with a few options such as the Soul Red paint and Premium package, the vehicle seen here comes to $34,685. But you can get into the Tiguan SEL AWD that adds adaptive cruise control, power liftgate, and navigation for only $2,295 less than our as-tested CX-5. While the CX-5 does offer more of a premium interior, the larger interior and slightly better infotainment system give the Tiguan a slight edge. Verdict It feels weird to describe the verdict between the two compact crossovers as a decision to satisfy your desires or needs. The 2018 Mazda CX-5 falls into the former as it boasts a handsome look that very few models can match, luxurious interior, and handling characteristics that make you feel like you’re driving a sports car. As for the Tiguan, it falls in the latter camp by offering a spacious interior, smooth ride, and a better infotainment system. I consider these two to be the best-in-class. But deciding which one is better will ultimately come down to deciding whether to give into your wants or needs. Disclaimer: Mazda and Volkswagen Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2018 Make: Mazda Model: CX-5 Trim: Grand Touring AWD Engine: 2.5L DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 187 @ 6,000 Torque @ RPM: 186 @4,000 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 24/30/26 Curb Weight: N/A Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan Base Price: $30,945 As Tested Price: $34,685 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge) Options: Premium Package - $1,395.00 Soul Red Crystal Paint - $595.00 Illuminated Door Sill Plates - $400.00 Retractable Cover Cover - $250.00 Rear Bumper Guard - $125.00 Year: 2018 Make: Volkswagen Model: Tiguan Trim: SE 4Motion Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged 16-Valve DOHC TSI Four-Cylinder Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 184 @ 4,400 Torque @ RPM: 221 @ 1,600 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/27/23 Curb Weight: 3,858 lbs Location of Manufacture: Puebla, Mexico Base Price: $30,230 As Tested Price: $31,575 (Includes $900.00 Destination Charge) Options: Habanero Orange Metallic - $295.00 Front Fog Lights - $150.00
  3. The three-row full-size crossover has taken the place of large SUVs as the vehicle of choice for growing families. Crossovers offer the tall ride height and large space, but not at the cost of fuel economy and ride quality. Recently, I spent a week in the 2018 Mazda CX-9 and Volkswagen Atlas. These two models could not be any different; one is focused on providing driving enjoyment, while the other is concerned about providing enough space for cargo and passengers. Trying to determine which one was the best would prove to be a difficult task. Exterior There is no contest between these two when it comes to design as the CX-9 blows the Atlas out of the water. The overall look balances aggressive and elegance traits. For the front, Mazda has angled the clip to give off a sporting profile while a large grille and a set of slim headlights accentuate this. Move around to the side and you’ll notice the CX-9 has quite a long front end and the rear roof pillars are angled slightly forward. These design cues help make the CX-9 look slightly smaller than it actually is. Someone once described a Volkswagen vehicle as “looking like a bit of a square, but a posh square.” That’s how I would sum up the Atlas’ design; it is basically a box on wheels. There are some nice touches such as the LED headlights that come standard on all models and chunky fenders. The 18-inch alloy wheels that come with the SE w/Technology look somewhat small on the Atlas, but that is likely due to the large size of the vehicle. Interior The Atlas’ interior very much follows the ideals of the exterior, which are uncomplicated and utilitarian. While it does fall flat when compared to the CX-9’s luxury design, Volkswagen nails the ergonomics. Most of the controls are within easy reach of driver and passenger. One touch that I really like is the climate control slightly angled upward. Not only does this make it easier to reach, but you can quickly glance down to see the current settings. There is only a small amount of soft-touch material used throughout the Atlas’ interior, the rest being made up of hard plastics. While that is slightly disappointing as other crossovers are adding more soft-touch materials, Volkswagen knows that kids are quite rough to vehicles. If there is one benefit to Volkswagen’s plain styling on the outside, it is the massive interior. I haven’t been in such a spacious three-row crossover since the last GM Lambda I drove. Beginning with the third-row, I found that my 5’9” frame actually fit with only my knees just touching the rear of the second-row. Moving the second row slightly forward allows for a little more legroom. Getting in and out of the third-row is very easy as the second-row tilts and moves forward, providing a wide space. This particular tester came with a second-row bench seat. A set of captain chairs are available as an option on SE and above. Sitting back here felt like I was in a limousine with abundant head and legroom. The seats slide and recline which allows passengers to find that right position. The only downside to both rear rows is there isn’t enough padding for long trips. For the front seat, the driver gets a ten-way power seat while the passenger makes do with only a power recline and manual adjustments. No complaints about comfort as the Atlas’ front seats had the right amount of padding and firmness for any trip length. The cargo area is quite huge. With all seats up, the Atlas offers 20.6 cubic feet of space. This increases to 55.5 cubic feet when the third-row is folded and 96.8 cubic feet with both rows folded. Only the new Chevrolet Traverse beats the Atlas with measurements of 23, 58.1, and 98.2 cubic feet. As a way to differentiate itself from other automakers, Mazda is trying to become more premium. This is clearly evident in the CX-9’s interior. The dash is beautiful with contouring used throughout, and a mixture of brushed aluminum and soft-touch plastics with a grain texture. If I were to cover up the Mazda badge on the steering wheel and ask you to identify the brand, you might think it was from a German automaker. Ergonomics aren’t quite as good as the Atlas as you have to reach for certain controls like those for the climate system. The CX-9’s front seats don’t feel quite as spacious when compared to the Atlas with a narrow cockpit and the rakish exterior are to blame. Still, most drivers should be able to find a position that works. The seats themselves have a sporting edge with increased side bolstering and firm cushions. I found the seats to be quite comfortable and didn’t have issues of not having enough support. Moving to the second row, Mazda only offers a bench seat configuration. This is disappointing considering all of the CX-9’s competitors offer captain chairs as an option. There is more than enough legroom for most passengers, but those six-feet and above will find headroom to be a bit tight. Getting into the third-row is slightly tough. Like the Atlas, the CX-9’s second row slides and tilts to allow access. But space is noticeably smaller and does require some gymnastics to pass through. Once seated, I found it to be quite cramped with little head and legroom. This is best reserved for small kids. Cargo area is another weak point to the CX-9. With both back seats up, there is only 14.4 cubic feet. This puts it behind most of the competition aside from the GMC Acadia which has 12.8. It doesn’t get any better when the seats are folded. With the third-row down, the CX-9 has 38.2 cubic feet. Fold down the second-row and it expands to 71.2 cubic feet. To use the GMC Acadia again, it offers 41.7 cubic feet when the third-row is folded and rises to 79 with both rows. Keep in mind, the Acadia is about six inches shorter than the CX-9. Infotainment All CX-9’s come equipped with the Mazda Connect infotainment system. The base Sport comes with a 7-inch touchscreen, while the Touring and above use a larger 8-inch screen. A rotary knob and set of redundant buttons on the center console control the system. Using Mazda Connect is a bit of a mixed bag. The interface is beginning to look a bit dated with the use of dark colors and a dull screen. Trying to use the touchscreen is an exercise in frustration as it is not easy to tell which parts are touch-enabled and not. On the upside, moving around Mazda Connect is a breeze when using the knob and buttons. Currently, Mazda doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility. Thankfully, this is being remedied with the 2019 model as Touring models and above will come with both. For the Atlas, Volkswagen offers three different systems. A 6.5-inch touchscreen is standard on the S. Moving up to either the SE, SE w/Technology, or SEL nets you an 8-inch screen. The top line SEL Premium adds navigation to the 8-inch system. All of the systems feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The current Volkswagen system is one of the easiest to use thanks in part to intuitive menu structure and quick responses. Moving through menus or presets is easy as the system reacts to the swiping gesture like you would do on your smartphone. There are a couple of downsides to the Volkswagen system. One is there is no haptic feedback when pressing the shortcut buttons on either side of the screen. Also, the glass surface becomes littered with fingerprints very quickly. I did have an issue with the system when trying to use Apple CarPlay. At times, applications such as Spotify would freeze up. I could exit out to the CarPlay interface, but was unable to get the apps unfrozen until I shut the vehicle off. After resetting my iPhone, this problem went away. This leaves me wondering how much of this problem was with my phone and not the infotainment system. Powertrain Both of these crossovers are equipped with turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The CX-9 has a 2.5L producing either 227 or 250 (on premium fuel) horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The Atlas has a 2.0L producing 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. An optional 3.6L V6 with 276 horsepower is available for the Atlas. For the Mazda, power is routed to a six-speed automatic and the choice of front or all-wheel drive. The Volkswagen makes do with an eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive only. If you want AWD, you need the V6. Thanks to its higher torque figure, the CX-9 leaves the Atlas in the dust. There is barely any lag coming from the turbo-four. Instead, it delivers a linear throttle response and a steady stream of power. NVH levels are noticeably quieter than the Atlas’ turbo-four. The six-speed automatic delivers seamless shifts and is quick to downshift when you need extra power such as merging. The turbo-four in the Atlas seems slightly overwhelmed at first. When leaving a stop, I found that there was a fair amount of turbo-lag. This is only exacerbated if the stop-start system is turned on. Once the turbo was spooling, the four-cylinder did a surprising job of moving the 4,222 pound Atlas with no issue. Stab the throttle and the engine comes into life, delivering a smooth and constant stream of power. The eight-speed automatic provided quick and smooth shifts, although it was sometimes hesitant to downshift when more power was called for. Fuel Economy Both of these models are close in fuel economy. EPA says the CX-9 AWD should return 20 City/26 Highway/23 Combined, while the Atlas 2.0T will get 22/26/24. During the week, the CX-9 returned 22.5 mpg in mostly city driving and the Atlas got 27.3 mpg with a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving. The eight-speed transmission in the Atlas makes a huge difference. Ride & Handling The CX-9 is clearly the driver’s choice. On a winding road, the crossover feels quite nimble thanks to a well-tuned suspension. There is a slight amount of body roll due to the tall ride height, but nothing that will sway your confidence. Steering has some heft when turning and feels quite responsive. Despite the firm suspension, the CX-9’s ride is supple enough to iron out most bumps. Only large imperfections and bumps would make their way inside. Barely any wind and road noise made it inside the cabin. The Atlas isn’t far behind in handling. Volkswagen’s suspension turning helps keep body roll in check and makes the crossover feel smaller than it actually is. The only weak point is the steering which feels somewhat light when turning. Ride quality is slightly better than the CX-9 as Atlas feels like riding on a magic carpet when driving on bumpy roads. Some of this can be attributed to smaller wheels. There is slightly more wind noise coming inside the cabin. Value It would be unfair to directly compare these two crossovers due to the large gap in price. Instead, I will be comparing them with the other’s similar trim. The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SE with Technology begins at $35,690 for the 2.0T FWD. With destination, my test car came to $36,615, The Technology adds a lot of desirable features such as three-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, and lane departure alert. The Mazda CX-9 Touring is slightly less expensive at $35,995 with destination and matches the Atlas on standard features, including all of the safety kit. But we’re giving the Atlas the slight edge as you do get more space for not that much more money. Over at the CX-9, the Grand Touring AWD begins at $42,270. With a couple of options including the Soul Red paint, the as-tested price came to $43,905. The comparable Atlas V6 SEL with 4Motion is only $30 more expensive when you factor in destination. Both come closely matched in terms of equipment with the only differences being the Grand Touring has navigation, while the SEL comes with a panoramic sunroof. This one is a draw as it will come down whether space or luxury is more important to you. Verdict Coming in second is the Mazda CX-9. It may have the sharpest exterior in the class, a premium interior that could embarrass some luxury cars, and pleasing driving characteristics. But ultimately, the CX-9 falls down on the key thing buyers want; space. It trails most everyone in passenger and cargo space. That is ultimately the price you pay for all of the positives listed. For a first attempt, Volkswagen knocked it out of the park with the Atlas. It is a bit sluggish when leaving a stop and doesn’t have as luxurious of an interior as the CX-9. But Volkswagen gave the Atlas one of the largest interiors of the class, a chassis that balances a smooth ride with excellent body control, impressive fuel economy, and a price that won’t break the bank. Both of these crossovers are impressive and worthy of being at the top of the consideration list. But at the end of the day, the Atlas does the three-row crossover better than the CX-9. Disclaimer: Mazda and Volkswagen Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2018 Make: Mazda Model: CX-9 Trim: Grand Touring AWD Engine: Turbocharged 2.5L Skyactiv-G Four-Cylinder Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 227 @ 5,000 (Regular), 250 @ 5,000 (Premium) Torque @ RPM: 310 @ 2,000 rpm Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/26/23 Curb Weight: 4,361 lbs Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan Base Price: $42,470 As Tested Price: $43,905 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge) Options: Soul Red Metallic - $595.00 Cargo Mat - $100.00 Year: 2018 Make: Volkswagen Model: Atlas Trim: 2.0T SE w/Technology Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve TSI Four-Cylinder Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 235 @ 4,500 Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,600 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/26/24 Curb Weight: 4,222 lbs Location of Manufacture: Chattanooga, TN Base Price: $35,690 As Tested Price: $36,615 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge) Options: N/A View full article
  4. Before the start of this year's Detroit Auto Show, Ford held a press conference revealing new models such as the new Bullitt Mustang and Ranger. But they also teased a new electric crossover wearing an iconic name - Mach 1. The only details provided by Ford is that it would provide a range of 300 miles and launch in 2020. A new report from Autocar has some possible new details on the vehicle. The Mach 1 crossover currently has the codename of CX430 and will likely have some design cues inspired by the Mustang. Underpinning the model will be Ford's C2 platform. Currently, this platform is being used for the next-generation Focus and Escape crossover. The Mach 1 is part of Ford's plan to launch 16 electric vehicles by 2022. Source: Autocar View full article
  5. William Maley

    Review: 2018 Mazda CX-9 vs. Volkswagen Atlas

    The three-row full-size crossover has taken the place of large SUVs as the vehicle of choice for growing families. Crossovers offer the tall ride height and large space, but not at the cost of fuel economy and ride quality. Recently, I spent a week in the 2018 Mazda CX-9 and Volkswagen Atlas. These two models could not be any different; one is focused on providing driving enjoyment, while the other is concerned about providing enough space for cargo and passengers. Trying to determine which one was the best would prove to be a difficult task. Exterior There is no contest between these two when it comes to design as the CX-9 blows the Atlas out of the water. The overall look balances aggressive and elegance traits. For the front, Mazda has angled the clip to give off a sporting profile while a large grille and a set of slim headlights accentuate this. Move around to the side and you’ll notice the CX-9 has quite a long front end and the rear roof pillars are angled slightly forward. These design cues help make the CX-9 look slightly smaller than it actually is. Someone once described a Volkswagen vehicle as “looking like a bit of a square, but a posh square.” That’s how I would sum up the Atlas’ design; it is basically a box on wheels. There are some nice touches such as the LED headlights that come standard on all models and chunky fenders. The 18-inch alloy wheels that come with the SE w/Technology look somewhat small on the Atlas, but that is likely due to the large size of the vehicle. Interior The Atlas’ interior very much follows the ideals of the exterior, which are uncomplicated and utilitarian. While it does fall flat when compared to the CX-9’s luxury design, Volkswagen nails the ergonomics. Most of the controls are within easy reach of driver and passenger. One touch that I really like is the climate control slightly angled upward. Not only does this make it easier to reach, but you can quickly glance down to see the current settings. There is only a small amount of soft-touch material used throughout the Atlas’ interior, the rest being made up of hard plastics. While that is slightly disappointing as other crossovers are adding more soft-touch materials, Volkswagen knows that kids are quite rough to vehicles. If there is one benefit to Volkswagen’s plain styling on the outside, it is the massive interior. I haven’t been in such a spacious three-row crossover since the last GM Lambda I drove. Beginning with the third-row, I found that my 5’9” frame actually fit with only my knees just touching the rear of the second-row. Moving the second row slightly forward allows for a little more legroom. Getting in and out of the third-row is very easy as the second-row tilts and moves forward, providing a wide space. This particular tester came with a second-row bench seat. A set of captain chairs are available as an option on SE and above. Sitting back here felt like I was in a limousine with abundant head and legroom. The seats slide and recline which allows passengers to find that right position. The only downside to both rear rows is there isn’t enough padding for long trips. For the front seat, the driver gets a ten-way power seat while the passenger makes do with only a power recline and manual adjustments. No complaints about comfort as the Atlas’ front seats had the right amount of padding and firmness for any trip length. The cargo area is quite huge. With all seats up, the Atlas offers 20.6 cubic feet of space. This increases to 55.5 cubic feet when the third-row is folded and 96.8 cubic feet with both rows folded. Only the new Chevrolet Traverse beats the Atlas with measurements of 23, 58.1, and 98.2 cubic feet. As a way to differentiate itself from other automakers, Mazda is trying to become more premium. This is clearly evident in the CX-9’s interior. The dash is beautiful with contouring used throughout, and a mixture of brushed aluminum and soft-touch plastics with a grain texture. If I were to cover up the Mazda badge on the steering wheel and ask you to identify the brand, you might think it was from a German automaker. Ergonomics aren’t quite as good as the Atlas as you have to reach for certain controls like those for the climate system. The CX-9’s front seats don’t feel quite as spacious when compared to the Atlas with a narrow cockpit and the rakish exterior are to blame. Still, most drivers should be able to find a position that works. The seats themselves have a sporting edge with increased side bolstering and firm cushions. I found the seats to be quite comfortable and didn’t have issues of not having enough support. Moving to the second row, Mazda only offers a bench seat configuration. This is disappointing considering all of the CX-9’s competitors offer captain chairs as an option. There is more than enough legroom for most passengers, but those six-feet and above will find headroom to be a bit tight. Getting into the third-row is slightly tough. Like the Atlas, the CX-9’s second row slides and tilts to allow access. But space is noticeably smaller and does require some gymnastics to pass through. Once seated, I found it to be quite cramped with little head and legroom. This is best reserved for small kids. Cargo area is another weak point to the CX-9. With both back seats up, there is only 14.4 cubic feet. This puts it behind most of the competition aside from the GMC Acadia which has 12.8. It doesn’t get any better when the seats are folded. With the third-row down, the CX-9 has 38.2 cubic feet. Fold down the second-row and it expands to 71.2 cubic feet. To use the GMC Acadia again, it offers 41.7 cubic feet when the third-row is folded and rises to 79 with both rows. Keep in mind, the Acadia is about six inches shorter than the CX-9. Infotainment All CX-9’s come equipped with the Mazda Connect infotainment system. The base Sport comes with a 7-inch touchscreen, while the Touring and above use a larger 8-inch screen. A rotary knob and set of redundant buttons on the center console control the system. Using Mazda Connect is a bit of a mixed bag. The interface is beginning to look a bit dated with the use of dark colors and a dull screen. Trying to use the touchscreen is an exercise in frustration as it is not easy to tell which parts are touch-enabled and not. On the upside, moving around Mazda Connect is a breeze when using the knob and buttons. Currently, Mazda doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility. Thankfully, this is being remedied with the 2019 model as Touring models and above will come with both. For the Atlas, Volkswagen offers three different systems. A 6.5-inch touchscreen is standard on the S. Moving up to either the SE, SE w/Technology, or SEL nets you an 8-inch screen. The top line SEL Premium adds navigation to the 8-inch system. All of the systems feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The current Volkswagen system is one of the easiest to use thanks in part to intuitive menu structure and quick responses. Moving through menus or presets is easy as the system reacts to the swiping gesture like you would do on your smartphone. There are a couple of downsides to the Volkswagen system. One is there is no haptic feedback when pressing the shortcut buttons on either side of the screen. Also, the glass surface becomes littered with fingerprints very quickly. I did have an issue with the system when trying to use Apple CarPlay. At times, applications such as Spotify would freeze up. I could exit out to the CarPlay interface, but was unable to get the apps unfrozen until I shut the vehicle off. After resetting my iPhone, this problem went away. This leaves me wondering how much of this problem was with my phone and not the infotainment system. Powertrain Both of these crossovers are equipped with turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The CX-9 has a 2.5L producing either 227 or 250 (on premium fuel) horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The Atlas has a 2.0L producing 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. An optional 3.6L V6 with 276 horsepower is available for the Atlas. For the Mazda, power is routed to a six-speed automatic and the choice of front or all-wheel drive. The Volkswagen makes do with an eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive only. If you want AWD, you need the V6. Thanks to its higher torque figure, the CX-9 leaves the Atlas in the dust. There is barely any lag coming from the turbo-four. Instead, it delivers a linear throttle response and a steady stream of power. NVH levels are noticeably quieter than the Atlas’ turbo-four. The six-speed automatic delivers seamless shifts and is quick to downshift when you need extra power such as merging. The turbo-four in the Atlas seems slightly overwhelmed at first. When leaving a stop, I found that there was a fair amount of turbo-lag. This is only exacerbated if the stop-start system is turned on. Once the turbo was spooling, the four-cylinder did a surprising job of moving the 4,222 pound Atlas with no issue. Stab the throttle and the engine comes into life, delivering a smooth and constant stream of power. The eight-speed automatic provided quick and smooth shifts, although it was sometimes hesitant to downshift when more power was called for. Fuel Economy Both of these models are close in fuel economy. EPA says the CX-9 AWD should return 20 City/26 Highway/23 Combined, while the Atlas 2.0T will get 22/26/24. During the week, the CX-9 returned 22.5 mpg in mostly city driving and the Atlas got 27.3 mpg with a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving. The eight-speed transmission in the Atlas makes a huge difference. Ride & Handling The CX-9 is clearly the driver’s choice. On a winding road, the crossover feels quite nimble thanks to a well-tuned suspension. There is a slight amount of body roll due to the tall ride height, but nothing that will sway your confidence. Steering has some heft when turning and feels quite responsive. Despite the firm suspension, the CX-9’s ride is supple enough to iron out most bumps. Only large imperfections and bumps would make their way inside. Barely any wind and road noise made it inside the cabin. The Atlas isn’t far behind in handling. Volkswagen’s suspension turning helps keep body roll in check and makes the crossover feel smaller than it actually is. The only weak point is the steering which feels somewhat light when turning. Ride quality is slightly better than the CX-9 as Atlas feels like riding on a magic carpet when driving on bumpy roads. Some of this can be attributed to smaller wheels. There is slightly more wind noise coming inside the cabin. Value It would be unfair to directly compare these two crossovers due to the large gap in price. Instead, I will be comparing them with the other’s similar trim. The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SE with Technology begins at $35,690 for the 2.0T FWD. With destination, my test car came to $36,615, The Technology adds a lot of desirable features such as three-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, and lane departure alert. The Mazda CX-9 Touring is slightly less expensive at $35,995 with destination and matches the Atlas on standard features, including all of the safety kit. But we’re giving the Atlas the slight edge as you do get more space for not that much more money. Over at the CX-9, the Grand Touring AWD begins at $42,270. With a couple of options including the Soul Red paint, the as-tested price came to $43,905. The comparable Atlas V6 SEL with 4Motion is only $30 more expensive when you factor in destination. Both come closely matched in terms of equipment with the only differences being the Grand Touring has navigation, while the SEL comes with a panoramic sunroof. This one is a draw as it will come down whether space or luxury is more important to you. Verdict Coming in second is the Mazda CX-9. It may have the sharpest exterior in the class, a premium interior that could embarrass some luxury cars, and pleasing driving characteristics. But ultimately, the CX-9 falls down on the key thing buyers want; space. It trails most everyone in passenger and cargo space. That is ultimately the price you pay for all of the positives listed. For a first attempt, Volkswagen knocked it out of the park with the Atlas. It is a bit sluggish when leaving a stop and doesn’t have as luxurious of an interior as the CX-9. But Volkswagen gave the Atlas one of the largest interiors of the class, a chassis that balances a smooth ride with excellent body control, impressive fuel economy, and a price that won’t break the bank. Both of these crossovers are impressive and worthy of being at the top of the consideration list. But at the end of the day, the Atlas does the three-row crossover better than the CX-9. Disclaimer: Mazda and Volkswagen Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2018 Make: Mazda Model: CX-9 Trim: Grand Touring AWD Engine: Turbocharged 2.5L Skyactiv-G Four-Cylinder Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 227 @ 5,000 (Regular), 250 @ 5,000 (Premium) Torque @ RPM: 310 @ 2,000 rpm Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/26/23 Curb Weight: 4,361 lbs Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan Base Price: $42,470 As Tested Price: $43,905 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge) Options: Soul Red Metallic - $595.00 Cargo Mat - $100.00 Year: 2018 Make: Volkswagen Model: Atlas Trim: 2.0T SE w/Technology Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve TSI Four-Cylinder Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 235 @ 4,500 Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,600 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/26/24 Curb Weight: 4,222 lbs Location of Manufacture: Chattanooga, TN Base Price: $35,690 As Tested Price: $36,615 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge) Options: N/A
  6. William Maley

    Review: 2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Premium

    I need to get something out of the way before diving into the review of the 2018 Toyota C-HR. Originally the C-HR was to join Scion’s lineup, but the C-HR would become a Toyota as the Scion brand would shut its doors in late 2016. With this change of brands, does this leave the C-HR with an identity crisis? The C-HR is short for ‘Coupe High Roof’ and the design makes that very clear. Proportions are very similar to a coupe with a long front and stubby back. Other coupe details to be aware of are a set of wider fenders, a sloping roofline, and a rear spoiler. It makes for a very polarizing design that many will agree catches your eye for better or worse Toyota’s designers must have been infatuated with diamonds as you’ll notice this shape throughout the C-HR. Key examples include the pattern on the cloth seats and arrangement of buttons on the steering wheel. The center stack is slightly angled towards the driver to emphasize a sporty nature. Material quality is about average with a mix of soft-touch plastics on the dash, and hard plastics for the door panels and center console. The C-HR’s ergonomics are excellent as controls are laid out logically and easy to use. I found the front seats are lacking in lower-body support. I’m 5’9” and after driving the C-HR for an hour, I found my thighs and legs started to ache. This comes down to a short bottom cushion. Shorter drivers will likely not run into this issue. ‘Claustrophobic’ is the word to describe the C-HR’s back seat as the small rear windows make it feel small. Not helping is the limited amount of legroom as I found my knees touching the backside of the front seat. CH-R’s cargo space is in the middle of the class when the rear seats are up at 19 cubic feet. To give some perspective, the Mazda CX-3 is the smallest at 12.4 cubic feet, while the Honda HR-V has the largest at 24.3. Fold the rear seats and the C-HR is at the bottom of the class with 36.4 cubic feet. The Mazda CX-3 has 9.1 cubic feet more space when its rear seats are folded. All C-HRs come equipped with a 7-inch touchscreen radio with the basics; AM/FM, Bluetooth, and inputs for USB and aux cords. While I found the system to be intuitive to use with a simple menu structure and decent performance, I did find myself wishing Toyota had included Apple CarPlay and Android Auto or the option of a larger system with navigation. Powering the C-HR is a 2.0L four-cylinder with 144 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a CVT and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is nowhere to be found despite the C-HR offering it in markets outside the U.S. Driving in town, the C-HR feels lively thanks to a responsive throttle. But above these speeds, the C-HR reveals a major weakness; put your foot down and the engine takes its sweet time to get up to speed - taking over 11 seconds to hit 60 mph. This makes certain tasks such as passing a slower vehicle treacherous. Under hard acceleration, the CVT is quite loud. Toyota does offer other engines for the C-HR elsewhere, including a hybrid. Reading through various test drives, the hybrid is slightly quicker; recording a 0-60 time of 11 seconds. Fuel economy figures for the 2018 C-HR are 27 City/31 Highway/29 Combined. My average for the week landed at 28.1 mpg. Like most new and redesigned Toyota models, the C-HR rides on the modular TGNA platform. I have praised this platform on both the Prius and Prius Prime as it makes them feel playful on a winding road. This extends to the C-HR. Despite a higher ride height, body motions are kept in check when cornering. Steering feels precise and has ample weight when turning. Ride quality is on the firm side, but it will not beat up passengers. A fair amount of tire and wind noise comes inside when driving on the expressway. The Toyota C-HR is quite expensive for a subcompact crossovers. The base XLE begins at $22,500. My XLE Premium tester begins at $24,350 and with some added accessories, the final price was $25,633. That’s without leather seats, navigation, or a sunroof. Toyota is quick to point out that the C-HR does come equipped with a number of active safety features such as adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist as standard. That only helps the base XLE when it comes to arguing value. The XLE Premium has a tougher time since you can get into a well equipped Hyundai Kona Limited FWD with a sunroof, leather seats, a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration; and 18-inch alloy wheels for only $53 more. You do miss out on the active safety features since as you can only get those on the top-line Ultimate, but the Kona presents a better value than the C-HR when you compare features bit by bit. The Toyota C-HR left me very frustrated as the week came to a close. The crossover has some charm with sharp driving dynamics and a very willing chassis. But it is clear that the C-HR feels more like a Scion than a Toyota as it was built to be cost-effective as it doesn’t offer any options. What you see is what you get. The problem is that competitors offer more equipment for similar money. The C-HR also trails competitors in terms of cargo capacity and performance. I do believe there is a crossover that can stand out from the growing field of subcompact models, but Toyota needs to think of the C-HR as one of their own models, not as a Scion. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the C-HR, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2018 Make: Toyota Model: C-HR Trim: XLE Premium Engine: 2.0L DOHC, 16-Valve Four-Cylinder with Valvematic Driveline: CVT, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 144 @ 6,100 Torque @ RPM: 139 @ 3,900 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/31/29 Curb Weight: 3,300 lbs Location of Manufacture: Arifiye, Sakarya, Turkey Base Price: $24,350 As Tested Price: $25,633 (Includes $960.00 Destination Charge) Options: Carpeted Floormats and Cargo Mat - $194.00 Mudguards - $129.00 View full article
  7. William Maley

    Review: 2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Premium

    I need to get something out of the way before diving into the review of the 2018 Toyota C-HR. Originally the C-HR was to join Scion’s lineup, but the C-HR would become a Toyota as the Scion brand would shut its doors in late 2016. With this change of brands, does this leave the C-HR with an identity crisis? The C-HR is short for ‘Coupe High Roof’ and the design makes that very clear. Proportions are very similar to a coupe with a long front and stubby back. Other coupe details to be aware of are a set of wider fenders, a sloping roofline, and a rear spoiler. It makes for a very polarizing design that many will agree catches your eye for better or worse Toyota’s designers must have been infatuated with diamonds as you’ll notice this shape throughout the C-HR. Key examples include the pattern on the cloth seats and arrangement of buttons on the steering wheel. The center stack is slightly angled towards the driver to emphasize a sporty nature. Material quality is about average with a mix of soft-touch plastics on the dash, and hard plastics for the door panels and center console. The C-HR’s ergonomics are excellent as controls are laid out logically and easy to use. I found the front seats are lacking in lower-body support. I’m 5’9” and after driving the C-HR for an hour, I found my thighs and legs started to ache. This comes down to a short bottom cushion. Shorter drivers will likely not run into this issue. ‘Claustrophobic’ is the word to describe the C-HR’s back seat as the small rear windows make it feel small. Not helping is the limited amount of legroom as I found my knees touching the backside of the front seat. CH-R’s cargo space is in the middle of the class when the rear seats are up at 19 cubic feet. To give some perspective, the Mazda CX-3 is the smallest at 12.4 cubic feet, while the Honda HR-V has the largest at 24.3. Fold the rear seats and the C-HR is at the bottom of the class with 36.4 cubic feet. The Mazda CX-3 has 9.1 cubic feet more space when its rear seats are folded. All C-HRs come equipped with a 7-inch touchscreen radio with the basics; AM/FM, Bluetooth, and inputs for USB and aux cords. While I found the system to be intuitive to use with a simple menu structure and decent performance, I did find myself wishing Toyota had included Apple CarPlay and Android Auto or the option of a larger system with navigation. Powering the C-HR is a 2.0L four-cylinder with 144 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a CVT and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is nowhere to be found despite the C-HR offering it in markets outside the U.S. Driving in town, the C-HR feels lively thanks to a responsive throttle. But above these speeds, the C-HR reveals a major weakness; put your foot down and the engine takes its sweet time to get up to speed - taking over 11 seconds to hit 60 mph. This makes certain tasks such as passing a slower vehicle treacherous. Under hard acceleration, the CVT is quite loud. Toyota does offer other engines for the C-HR elsewhere, including a hybrid. Reading through various test drives, the hybrid is slightly quicker; recording a 0-60 time of 11 seconds. Fuel economy figures for the 2018 C-HR are 27 City/31 Highway/29 Combined. My average for the week landed at 28.1 mpg. Like most new and redesigned Toyota models, the C-HR rides on the modular TGNA platform. I have praised this platform on both the Prius and Prius Prime as it makes them feel playful on a winding road. This extends to the C-HR. Despite a higher ride height, body motions are kept in check when cornering. Steering feels precise and has ample weight when turning. Ride quality is on the firm side, but it will not beat up passengers. A fair amount of tire and wind noise comes inside when driving on the expressway. The Toyota C-HR is quite expensive for a subcompact crossovers. The base XLE begins at $22,500. My XLE Premium tester begins at $24,350 and with some added accessories, the final price was $25,633. That’s without leather seats, navigation, or a sunroof. Toyota is quick to point out that the C-HR does come equipped with a number of active safety features such as adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist as standard. That only helps the base XLE when it comes to arguing value. The XLE Premium has a tougher time since you can get into a well equipped Hyundai Kona Limited FWD with a sunroof, leather seats, a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration; and 18-inch alloy wheels for only $53 more. You do miss out on the active safety features since as you can only get those on the top-line Ultimate, but the Kona presents a better value than the C-HR when you compare features bit by bit. The Toyota C-HR left me very frustrated as the week came to a close. The crossover has some charm with sharp driving dynamics and a very willing chassis. But it is clear that the C-HR feels more like a Scion than a Toyota as it was built to be cost-effective as it doesn’t offer any options. What you see is what you get. The problem is that competitors offer more equipment for similar money. The C-HR also trails competitors in terms of cargo capacity and performance. I do believe there is a crossover that can stand out from the growing field of subcompact models, but Toyota needs to think of the C-HR as one of their own models, not as a Scion. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the C-HR, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2018 Make: Toyota Model: C-HR Trim: XLE Premium Engine: 2.0L DOHC, 16-Valve Four-Cylinder with Valvematic Driveline: CVT, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 144 @ 6,100 Torque @ RPM: 139 @ 3,900 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/31/29 Curb Weight: 3,300 lbs Location of Manufacture: Arifiye, Sakarya, Turkey Base Price: $24,350 As Tested Price: $25,633 (Includes $960.00 Destination Charge) Options: Carpeted Floormats and Cargo Mat - $194.00 Mudguards - $129.00
  8. Before the start of this year's Detroit Auto Show, Ford held a press conference revealing new models such as the new Bullitt Mustang and Ranger. But they also teased a new electric crossover wearing an iconic name - Mach 1. The only details provided by Ford is that it would provide a range of 300 miles and launch in 2020. A new report from Autocar has some possible new details on the vehicle. The Mach 1 crossover currently has the codename of CX430 and will likely have some design cues inspired by the Mustang. Underpinning the model will be Ford's C2 platform. Currently, this platform is being used for the next-generation Focus and Escape crossover. The Mach 1 is part of Ford's plan to launch 16 electric vehicles by 2022. Source: Autocar
  9. Jeep has introduced a new three-row SUV for the Chinese market called the Grand Commander. There is a lot of design inspiration from the Yuntu concept shown at the Shanghai Motor Show last year. The Grand Commander has squared-off corners, large glass area, and front-end styling similar to the Grand Cherokee. In terms of dimensions, the Grand Commander is about two inches longer in overall length than the Grand Cherokee. But it is two-inches narrower than the Grand Cherokee. Only one engine will be available, a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 230 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This is sent through a nine-speed automatic to either the front wheels or four-wheel drive system. Underpinning the model is FCA's Compact U.S. Wide (CUSW) platform. The Grand Commander is expected to go on sale sometime later this year. Before anyone asks, this is not the Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer that is expected sometime in 2020 or so. Source: Motor Authority
  10. Jeep has introduced a new three-row SUV for the Chinese market called the Grand Commander. There is a lot of design inspiration from the Yuntu concept shown at the Shanghai Motor Show last year. The Grand Commander has squared-off corners, large glass area, and front-end styling similar to the Grand Cherokee. In terms of dimensions, the Grand Commander is about two inches longer in overall length than the Grand Cherokee. But it is two-inches narrower than the Grand Cherokee. Only one engine will be available, a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 230 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This is sent through a nine-speed automatic to either the front wheels or four-wheel drive system. Underpinning the model is FCA's Compact U.S. Wide (CUSW) platform. The Grand Commander is expected to go on sale sometime later this year. Before anyone asks, this is not the Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer that is expected sometime in 2020 or so. Source: Motor Authority View full article
  11. There has been a lot of talk about Cadillac working on a three-row crossover, but no substance to this. That changed this week as spy photos of the three-row crossover, possibly named the XT6 came out. The test mule is heavily camouflaged, but we can pull some details out. The front end looks somewhat similar to the recently launched XT4 with a large grille. Headlights appear to be off-the-shelf projector units - we're expecting different units on the production model. Around back, the tailgate design is similar to the XT5. As Car and Driver pointed out, the XT6's roofline shape is alike to the Chevrolet Traverse. Underpinning the XT6 is expected to be the long-wheelbase version of the C1XX architecture, which also underpins the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse. No details on powertrains, but we're guessing the 3.6L V6 found in the Enclave and Traverse will be used for the Cadillac variant. This would be paired with an nine-speed automatic and the choice of front or all-wheel drive. Everyone seems to think that the XT6 will debut at the LA Auto Show in November, with sales to begin next spring. Source: Car and Driver, CarScoops
  12. There has been a lot of talk about Cadillac working on a three-row crossover, but no substance to this. That changed this week as spy photos of the three-row crossover, possibly named the XT6 came out. The test mule is heavily camouflaged, but we can pull some details out. The front end looks somewhat similar to the recently launched XT4 with a large grille. Headlights appear to be off-the-shelf projector units - we're expecting different units on the production model. Around back, the tailgate design is similar to the XT5. As Car and Driver pointed out, the XT6's roofline shape is alike to the Chevrolet Traverse. Underpinning the XT6 is expected to be the long-wheelbase version of the C1XX architecture, which also underpins the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse. No details on powertrains, but we're guessing the 3.6L V6 found in the Enclave and Traverse will be used for the Cadillac variant. This would be paired with an nine-speed automatic and the choice of front or all-wheel drive. Everyone seems to think that the XT6 will debut at the LA Auto Show in November, with sales to begin next spring. Source: Car and Driver, CarScoops View full article
  13. Jaguar is possibly working on another crossover, one to take on the likes of the Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5. Autocar reports that Jaguar is planning a flagship crossover to not only build on the massive success of their current crossovers (F-Pace and E-Pace), but also to attract wealthy customers, especially in China. Reportedly named J-Pace, the crossover will debut a new design language that is currently being worked on by design director Ian Callum. Underpinning the model will be the aluminum architecture used in the Range Rover. For the J-Pace, the architecture will be made slightly longer and wider. It will also sit lower for better on-road behavior. Also coming from the Range Rover will be a number of powertrains, including a plug-in hybrid. The model is expected to launch in 2021. Source: Autocar View full article
  14. William Maley

    Rumorpile: Jaguar Readies A Larger Crossover

    Jaguar is possibly working on another crossover, one to take on the likes of the Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5. Autocar reports that Jaguar is planning a flagship crossover to not only build on the massive success of their current crossovers (F-Pace and E-Pace), but also to attract wealthy customers, especially in China. Reportedly named J-Pace, the crossover will debut a new design language that is currently being worked on by design director Ian Callum. Underpinning the model will be the aluminum architecture used in the Range Rover. For the J-Pace, the architecture will be made slightly longer and wider. It will also sit lower for better on-road behavior. Also coming from the Range Rover will be a number of powertrains, including a plug-in hybrid. The model is expected to launch in 2021. Source: Autocar
  15. Jeep's boss Mike Manley told reporters at the Detroit Auto Show that the brand is looking 'very closely' at building a crossover smaller than the Renegade. The model would be targeted at markets like Europe where small cars are dominate. If given the go-ahead, the new Jeep would be based on FCA’s Mini platform that underpins the Fiat 500 and Panda. Production could take place in Pomigliano, Italy. One issue that needs to be addressed before a decision is made is making sure the model is capable off-road like other Jeep models. According to supplier sources, FCA has been talking about possibly producing this model. However, the project has suffered many stop and starts. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  16. Jeep's boss Mike Manley told reporters at the Detroit Auto Show that the brand is looking 'very closely' at building a crossover smaller than the Renegade. The model would be targeted at markets like Europe where small cars are dominate. If given the go-ahead, the new Jeep would be based on FCA’s Mini platform that underpins the Fiat 500 and Panda. Production could take place in Pomigliano, Italy. One issue that needs to be addressed before a decision is made is making sure the model is capable off-road like other Jeep models. According to supplier sources, FCA has been talking about possibly producing this model. However, the project has suffered many stop and starts. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  17. For the past few years, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne holds a conference with journalists and analysts at the Detroit Auto Show, taking various questions. According to Motor Trend, Marchionne revealed that more crossovers are on the way for Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, and Ferrari. Alfa's Three-Row Crossover: Sergio Marchionne confirmed that Alfa Romeo is working on a larger SUV to sit above the Stelvio. He says this model is very important for the brand. As we reported towards the end of December, the model would use a stretched version of the Stelvio's platform and possibly feature a mild-hybrid powertrain. Chrysler's Pacifica-based crossover: It seems the platform that underpins the Pacifica will be used for a long-promised crossover. The model was in the previous five-year plan for FCA, but was pushed back. The model will be in the next five-year plan (expected to be shown sometime later this year) and could go into production within the next 18 months. Ferrari SUV: Progress on Ferrari's upcoming SUV is moving quite quickly as Marchionne said it would be ready by the end of 2019 or early 2020. At the moment, the Italian automaker has mock-up bodies of the SUV, but nothing driveable. “I have seen the car when I was in Europe. It’s not finished. It’s going to be Ferrari. It will drive like a Ferrari or I’ll be taken to the shed. But it looks good,” said Marchionne. Other bits from Marchionne: When asked about a performance electric vehicle, Marchionne said, “Ferrari has looked at this forever, and if there is an electric supercar to be built, Ferrari will do it,” FCA hasn't "found an economic way to get this done” when asked if there was the chance of a midsize Ram pickup. Wrangler Pickup is expected to debut towards the end of 2019 Marchionne is planning to retire as FCA CEO next year The most pressing question asked during the session? Where does he buy his sweaters? Answer: Online. Source: Motor Trend
  18. For the past few years, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne holds a conference with journalists and analysts at the Detroit Auto Show, taking various questions. According to Motor Trend, Marchionne revealed that more crossovers are on the way for Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, and Ferrari. Alfa's Three-Row Crossover: Sergio Marchionne confirmed that Alfa Romeo is working on a larger SUV to sit above the Stelvio. He says this model is very important for the brand. As we reported towards the end of December, the model would use a stretched version of the Stelvio's platform and possibly feature a mild-hybrid powertrain. Chrysler's Pacifica-based crossover: It seems the platform that underpins the Pacifica will be used for a long-promised crossover. The model was in the previous five-year plan for FCA, but was pushed back. The model will be in the next five-year plan (expected to be shown sometime later this year) and could go into production within the next 18 months. Ferrari SUV: Progress on Ferrari's upcoming SUV is moving quite quickly as Marchionne said it would be ready by the end of 2019 or early 2020. At the moment, the Italian automaker has mock-up bodies of the SUV, but nothing driveable. “I have seen the car when I was in Europe. It’s not finished. It’s going to be Ferrari. It will drive like a Ferrari or I’ll be taken to the shed. But it looks good,” said Marchionne. Other bits from Marchionne: When asked about a performance electric vehicle, Marchionne said, “Ferrari has looked at this forever, and if there is an electric supercar to be built, Ferrari will do it,” FCA hasn't "found an economic way to get this done” when asked if there was the chance of a midsize Ram pickup. Wrangler Pickup is expected to debut towards the end of 2019 Marchionne is planning to retire as FCA CEO next year The most pressing question asked during the session? Where does he buy his sweaters? Answer: Online. Source: Motor Trend View full article
  19. William Maley

    Review: 2017 Jeep Compass Limited 4X4

    There are some vehicles that leave you scratching your head, wondering why is anyone buying them. A perfect example is the previous-generation Jeep Compass. The model had a long list of negatives ranging from a very cheap interior to powertrains that could be beaten by a snail. But a number of folks bought the Compass and its sister car, the Patriot, in droves. It offered the looks and the image of owning a Jeep vehicle without the downsides of owning something that provided a rough ride or was too expensive. Almost a decade later, we have the new Compass which hopes to right the wrongs of the previous model. We spent a week in the Limited trim to see if Jeep was able to. First impressions seem promising when it comes to the exterior. There is a lot of Grand Cherokee in the Compass’ shape with similar profiles, angled front end, and rear tailgate. Our Limited tester came with 18-inch aluminum wheels and two-tone paint that helps make the model pop. Compared to the last Compass, the new model is slightly shorter (173.2 vs. 175.1-inches). A big complaint about the Compass/Patriot was their interiors. It was easy to tell they were built to the lowest cost possible with cheap plastics, a short list of standard features, and odd design decisions. The new Compass thankfully fixes many of those mistakes. Step inside and it becomes quite clear that Jeep focused on making the Compass a special place to be in. Again, there is a lot of Grand Cherokee influence with a similar dash design and the extensive use of soft-touch materials. We like the contrasting trim pieces around the vents that help make the interior not feel as dark. One thing we’re not so keen on is the low placement of HVAC and audio controls in the center stack. It is a bit of reach to adjust the temperature or change the volume. In terms of seating, you feel that you’re sitting on top of the Compass, not inside it. This is due to Jeep raising the seats to provide the high-riding experience of an SUV. The front seats provide decent support for long trips and optional power adjustments make it easier to find the right position. In the back, there is plenty of legroom for those over 6-feet. Headroom is tight for taller passengers if you get the optional panoramic sunroof. Cargo space measures out to 27 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 61 cubic feet folded. Our test Compass came with the 8.4-inch UConnect system. Recently updated for the 2018 model year, the system features an updated interface and integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Unlike other FCA vehicles equipped with UConnect, the system in the Compass was problematic. For starters, the system had trouble trying to pair an iPhone 7 Plus via Bluetooth. The system would try to connect to the phone for about 30 seconds and then give up. On the third attempt, UConnect froze and I had to shut off the vehicle and walk away for a minute before the system turned off. After doing some troubleshooting, I realized that I had too many UConnect pairings on my phone and deleted them all. After this, the system was able to connect to connect to my phone with no issues. Yes, this is only a problem to those of us who review a number of new cars. But other problems with this system would pop up such as the system taking a few moments to bring up certain functions, being unable to find my iPod or iPhone when plugged in, and the system crashing when I was trying to bring up navigation. I believe these most of these issues are isolated to this vehicle, but it doesn’t leave a good impression with the new version of UConnect. There is only one engine available for the Compass, a 2.4L four-cylinder with 180 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. Our Limited came equipped with a nine-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive models have the choice between a six-speed manual or automatic. This engine has been a weak point in many Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ vehicles we have driven and the Compass is no exception. Acceleration is very anemic as the engine takes its sweet time to get up to speed. The engine is also very noisy when accelerating but thankfully quiets down when cruising at a steady speed. The nine-speed automatic is well-behaved for the most part as it smoothly and quickly upshifts to help boost fuel economy. There is some hesitation when it comes to downshifting. Fuel economy is not a strong suit for the Compass. EPA ratings for the nine-speed and AWD combination stands at 22 City/30 Highway/25 Combined. Our average for the week landed at 23 MPG. The tall height may hint that the Compass is a bit of handful when cornering, but the model is surprisingly agile. There is some lean when cornering, but the Compass feels planted and controlled. The steering feels nicely weighted and responds quickly to inputs. In terms of the ride, the Compass’ suspension is able to smooth over most bumps with no issue. We sadly didn’t get the chance to try the Compass’ off-road capability. AWD models come with Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system that offers four different driving modes that alter various settings. Those who have taken the Compass off the beaten path say it is surprisingly capable. The second-generation Jeep Compass is worlds better than the original model. A lot of the changes made to this model have been for the better with a sharp-looking exterior, pleasant interior, and surprising driving dynamics. But there are two issues that hold the Compass back from reaching greatness. First is the 2.4 four-cylinder engine which feels sluggish and fuel economy is somewhat poor. FCA really needs to come up with a replacement for the 2.4 ASAP. Second is the price. The Compass Limited starts at $28,995 and our as-tested price came to $34,955. This makes a bit of a poor value, especially when the Hyundai Tucson Limited we reviewed a few weeks ago was only $300 more. Given the choice, we would pick the Hyundai. Despite the changes made by the Jeep, the Compass is relegated to mid-pack. If they can get a new engine and work on the value argument, then the Compass could be a real threat. Disclaimer: Jeep Provided the Compass, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2017 Make: Jeep Model: Compass Trim: Limited 4X4 Engine: 2.4L MultiAir 16-Valve Four-Cylinder Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 180 @ 6,400 Torque @ RPM: 175 @ 3,900 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/30/25 Curb Weight: 3,327 lbs Location of Manufacture: Toluca, Mexico Base Price: $28,995 As Tested Price: $34,955 (Includes $1,095 Destination Charge) Options: 19" x 7.5" Polished Black Pocket Aluminum Wheels - $895.00 Advanced Safety & Lighting Group - $895.00 Navigation Group - $895.00 Safety and Security Group - $745.00 Beats Premium Audio System - $695.00 Power Liftgate - $495.00 Compact Spare Tire - $245.00 View full article
  20. William Maley

    Review: 2017 Jeep Compass Limited 4X4

    There are some vehicles that leave you scratching your head, wondering why is anyone buying them. A perfect example is the previous-generation Jeep Compass. The model had a long list of negatives ranging from a very cheap interior to powertrains that could be beaten by a snail. But a number of folks bought the Compass and its sister car, the Patriot, in droves. It offered the looks and the image of owning a Jeep vehicle without the downsides of owning something that provided a rough ride or was too expensive. Almost a decade later, we have the new Compass which hopes to right the wrongs of the previous model. We spent a week in the Limited trim to see if Jeep was able to. First impressions seem promising when it comes to the exterior. There is a lot of Grand Cherokee in the Compass’ shape with similar profiles, angled front end, and rear tailgate. Our Limited tester came with 18-inch aluminum wheels and two-tone paint that helps make the model pop. Compared to the last Compass, the new model is slightly shorter (173.2 vs. 175.1-inches). A big complaint about the Compass/Patriot was their interiors. It was easy to tell they were built to the lowest cost possible with cheap plastics, a short list of standard features, and odd design decisions. The new Compass thankfully fixes many of those mistakes. Step inside and it becomes quite clear that Jeep focused on making the Compass a special place to be in. Again, there is a lot of Grand Cherokee influence with a similar dash design and the extensive use of soft-touch materials. We like the contrasting trim pieces around the vents that help make the interior not feel as dark. One thing we’re not so keen on is the low placement of HVAC and audio controls in the center stack. It is a bit of reach to adjust the temperature or change the volume. In terms of seating, you feel that you’re sitting on top of the Compass, not inside it. This is due to Jeep raising the seats to provide the high-riding experience of an SUV. The front seats provide decent support for long trips and optional power adjustments make it easier to find the right position. In the back, there is plenty of legroom for those over 6-feet. Headroom is tight for taller passengers if you get the optional panoramic sunroof. Cargo space measures out to 27 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 61 cubic feet folded. Our test Compass came with the 8.4-inch UConnect system. Recently updated for the 2018 model year, the system features an updated interface and integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Unlike other FCA vehicles equipped with UConnect, the system in the Compass was problematic. For starters, the system had trouble trying to pair an iPhone 7 Plus via Bluetooth. The system would try to connect to the phone for about 30 seconds and then give up. On the third attempt, UConnect froze and I had to shut off the vehicle and walk away for a minute before the system turned off. After doing some troubleshooting, I realized that I had too many UConnect pairings on my phone and deleted them all. After this, the system was able to connect to connect to my phone with no issues. Yes, this is only a problem to those of us who review a number of new cars. But other problems with this system would pop up such as the system taking a few moments to bring up certain functions, being unable to find my iPod or iPhone when plugged in, and the system crashing when I was trying to bring up navigation. I believe these most of these issues are isolated to this vehicle, but it doesn’t leave a good impression with the new version of UConnect. There is only one engine available for the Compass, a 2.4L four-cylinder with 180 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. Our Limited came equipped with a nine-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive models have the choice between a six-speed manual or automatic. This engine has been a weak point in many Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ vehicles we have driven and the Compass is no exception. Acceleration is very anemic as the engine takes its sweet time to get up to speed. The engine is also very noisy when accelerating but thankfully quiets down when cruising at a steady speed. The nine-speed automatic is well-behaved for the most part as it smoothly and quickly upshifts to help boost fuel economy. There is some hesitation when it comes to downshifting. Fuel economy is not a strong suit for the Compass. EPA ratings for the nine-speed and AWD combination stands at 22 City/30 Highway/25 Combined. Our average for the week landed at 23 MPG. The tall height may hint that the Compass is a bit of handful when cornering, but the model is surprisingly agile. There is some lean when cornering, but the Compass feels planted and controlled. The steering feels nicely weighted and responds quickly to inputs. In terms of the ride, the Compass’ suspension is able to smooth over most bumps with no issue. We sadly didn’t get the chance to try the Compass’ off-road capability. AWD models come with Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system that offers four different driving modes that alter various settings. Those who have taken the Compass off the beaten path say it is surprisingly capable. The second-generation Jeep Compass is worlds better than the original model. A lot of the changes made to this model have been for the better with a sharp-looking exterior, pleasant interior, and surprising driving dynamics. But there are two issues that hold the Compass back from reaching greatness. First is the 2.4 four-cylinder engine which feels sluggish and fuel economy is somewhat poor. FCA really needs to come up with a replacement for the 2.4 ASAP. Second is the price. The Compass Limited starts at $28,995 and our as-tested price came to $34,955. This makes a bit of a poor value, especially when the Hyundai Tucson Limited we reviewed a few weeks ago was only $300 more. Given the choice, we would pick the Hyundai. Despite the changes made by the Jeep, the Compass is relegated to mid-pack. If they can get a new engine and work on the value argument, then the Compass could be a real threat. Disclaimer: Jeep Provided the Compass, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2017 Make: Jeep Model: Compass Trim: Limited 4X4 Engine: 2.4L MultiAir 16-Valve Four-Cylinder Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 180 @ 6,400 Torque @ RPM: 175 @ 3,900 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/30/25 Curb Weight: 3,327 lbs Location of Manufacture: Toluca, Mexico Base Price: $28,995 As Tested Price: $34,955 (Includes $1,095 Destination Charge) Options: 19" x 7.5" Polished Black Pocket Aluminum Wheels - $895.00 Advanced Safety & Lighting Group - $895.00 Navigation Group - $895.00 Safety and Security Group - $745.00 Beats Premium Audio System - $695.00 Power Liftgate - $495.00 Compact Spare Tire - $245.00
  21. At the 2017 Los Angeles Auto show today, Lexus unveiled a three-row version of their popular RX luxury crossover. The RX has been one of the best selling luxury vehicles since its introduction in 1997. To make the 6 and 7 passenger three-row version, Lexus stretched the vehicle 4.3 inches and used a steeper rear glass to improve headroom. Overall, the key look remains largely the same with the partially blacked out C-pillar, a now widespread industry styling trend, being the main visual distinction for the 3-row models. Powertrain hardware is largely unchanged for the L models, available in the standard V6 front-wheel drive, V6 all-wheel drive, and V6 Hybrid all-wheel drive configurations. The V6 is a 290 horsepower / 263 lb-ft unit with an advanced combination of variable valve timing technologies that allowed the engine to shift between Otto Cycle or Atkinson Cycle for optimum power and efficiency. The Hybrid version uses a rear mounted electric motor instead of a drive shaft to power the rear wheels and is only used when the vehicle detects slippage of the front tires. Like other hybrids in the Toyota-Lexus stable, the hybrid system allows for complete EV operation at low speeds for short distances. The 2018 RX350 L and RX450h L go on sale in December. Photos: Lexus Press release on page two Lexus RX Drivers Now Have the Power of Three (Rows) New RX L provides luxury and logistical liberty Choice of Six- or Seven-Passenger Models Available with V6 Gas or Hybrid Powertrains Power-Fold Third Row Seat Standard Leather Trimmed Seating on First Two Rows and Tri-Zone Climate Control Standard Optional Hands-Free Power Tailgate November 29, 2017 2018 RX L 350 Product Info Sheet 2018 RX L 450h Product Info Sheet 2018 Enform Remote RX L Infographic 2018 RX L Press Release LOS ANGELES – Nov. 29, 2017 – Families will now be able to enjoy more space with their luxury utility vehicle thanks to the new three-row Lexus RX L models. The RX created the luxury crossover segment 20 years ago and has reigned supreme as the most popular luxury utility vehicle on the market. The 2018 RX 350L and RX 450hL models retain their stylish figures, but now offer the choice of six or seven-passenger capability. Once in dealerships late this year, the RX 350L will have a starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $47,670* (FWD) and $49,070* (AWD). Function and Fashion With the new RX L models, Lexus drivers will now have the option of a third row without compromising the sleek styling and easy maneuverability that they have long valued. With help through the mastery of vehicle packaging, Lexus extended the body length 4.3 inches (110 mm) at the rear and used a steeper tailgate window angle than on the two-row models – ensuring good headroom for third-row passengers. The standard seven-seat version uses a 40/20/40 split bench-type second row seat. Access to the third row is made easy with the touch of a lever that slides and folds the second seat forward. The available six-seat configuration features second-row captain’s chairs that make third-row ingress/egress easier with “walk-in” convenience. Lexus designed the third row of the RX L models to offer the same comfort and luxury as in the middle row. The positioning of the second row is slightly higher than the third row, creating more foot room for rear passengers. Standard leather-trimmed upholstery is standard for the first and second rows, in the choice of Black, Stratus Gray, Parchment or Noble Brown. A tri-zone climate control system gives third-row passengers separate heating and air conditioning vents, and for convenience, a power-folding third-row seat and power tailgate are both standard on the RX L models. Details that enhance three-row versatility in the RX L models include a flat load floor behind the folded third-row, two third-row cupholders, an easily stowable tonneau and covered slide rails. Lexus Signature Design The 2018 RX L models offer the same award-winning safety, style, luxury and performance as the two-row versions. The LUV trend-setting combination of SUV versatility and luxury sedan-like comfort comes packaged in the brand’s dramatic mix of sharp creases and curves. The Lexus signature spindle grille, a focal point, is set off by an elegant chrome-plated surround and standard Bi-LED headlights. Available premium LED headlights use three unique L-shaped elements per side. The RX L models’ elegantly blacked-out C-pillars create a floating-roof effect. The spindle theme repeats at the rear, with L-shaped LED taillights enveloping the tailgate and wrapping into the rear fenders. Available 20-inch wheel designs enhance the powerful-looking stance. All ten RX L paint colors feature a scratch-resistant self-restoring coat, using a high-performance macromolecular polymer. Lexus Safety In the 2018 RX L models, the full-length side curtain airbags cover all three rows. The standard Lexus Safety System+ includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Intelligent High Beams and All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Blind Spot Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist and Rear Cross-Traffic Braking are also available. Panoramic View Monitor is an optional feature. RX 350L: 290-Horsepower V6 The 2018 Lexus RX 350L offers plenty of power to go with its six- or seven- passenger cabin and added cargo capacity. The 3.5-liter V6 employs the advanced D-4S fuel injection system, which combines direct and port fuel injection systems. To maximize efficiency, Variable Valve Timing – Intelligent Wide (VVT-iW) is used on the intake camshaft, along with VVT-i on the exhaust camshaft, allowing the engine to switch between Otto and Atkinson combustion cycles. The result is 290 hp and 263 lb.-ft. of torque, with performance and efficiency optimized by an eight-speed automatic transmission. Use of regular-grade gasoline is a boon to customer value. Using Drive Mode Select, the RX 350L driver can exert more control by choosing from among three driving modes. Normal provides an ideal everyday balance of performance and energy conservation, Sport puts an edge on powertrain responsiveness and Eco mode operates the powertrain at its most efficient level. As on the two-row RX 350, the RX 350L is available with front-wheel drive or available Dynamic Torque Control All Wheel Drive. Under normal cruising conditions, the system engages front-wheel drive to help reduce fuel consumption. Continuously taking input from various sensors (such as wheel speed, engine RPM, steering angle, throttle opening angle and yaw rate), Dynamic Torque Control AWD actively governs torque distribution to the rear wheels using an electromagnetically controlled coupling in the rear differential. When the vehicle is accelerating, the system automatically shifts to AWD to help prevent front-wheel slippage. While cruising, the system reverts to FWD, and when sensors detect wheel slippage, it can vary front to rear torque distribution from 100:0 to 50:50. The 4.2” TFT multi-information display conveys torque-distribution status (front to rear, and side to side). RX 450hL Hybrid with AWD Luxury buyers seeking an eco-advanced family three-row vehicle will find the ideal travel mate in the 2018 Lexus RX 450hL. The Lexus Hybrid Drive system pairs the D4-S injection 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine with two high-torque electric drive motor-generators, producing 308 combined system horsepower for strong acceleration and passing performance. The standard AWD system is unique. Instead of transfer gears and a driveshaft to the rear wheels used on the RX 350 AWD models, an independent rear-mounted electric motor drives the rear wheels when needed to help maintain optimal traction. In the RX 450hL, the Drive Mode Select system adds a fourth mode, EV, that enables the vehicle to drive under electric power at lower speeds for short distances. It’s an excellent way to navigate a large parking lot or garage, or to run a local errand. Ride and Handling All onboard the 6- or 7-passenger 2018 Lexus RX L models will experience the same luxuriously smooth, quiet ride as the two-row models offer. Front strut and rear double-wishbone type suspension systems ensure agility and exemplary ride compliance over all types of surfaces. Electric Power Steering (EPS) yields a light and comfortable steering feel with excellent feedback. Impeccable Cabin Design and Luxury The RX L cabin is designed with impeccable details, including form-fitting seats, and the available richly finished wood trim (Premium and Luxury Packages) that curves gently up from the center console toward the glove box. Available interior ornamentation includes Matte Bamboo, Espresso Walnut, Matte Linear Dark Mocha Wood, Striated Black Trim (standard) and laser-etched Gray Sapele Wood with Aluminum. For the Striated Black Trim on the base model, a glossy black three-dimensional embossed pattern is applied to create a high-quality film design with a sense of depth. An available full-color Heads-Up Display (HUD) incorporated into the design of the instrument panel can project key information on the windshield to help the driver focus on the road. Multimedia Powerhouse From powerful audio to cutting-edge displays, the multimedia choices available for the 2018 Lexus RX L models cover all needs. The standard Display Audio system includes an eight-inch screen, HD Radio™, Scout GPS Link, Bluetooth® audio, voice recognition, an AUX mini jack, two USB ports and nine speakers. The driver will find frequently used switches placed close at hand for convenience. Middle-row USB ports enable passengers to use and charge their own multimedia devices. The Navigation Package upgrades to a 12-speaker premium audio system. Also included, the 12.3-inch high-resolution split-screen multimedia display offers a full-screen navigation map or can provide simultaneous access to audio or climate controls and various systems; as well as the mouse-like Remote Touch Interface. The 2018 RX L models offer audiophile-quality mobile sound with the available 835-watt, 15-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround System in conjunction with the navigation system. Advanced Clari-Fi™ compressed music restoration technology instills new life into digital music files. The new three-row RX L models join the two-row, five-seat RX versions that continue for 2018. All RX models now offer Enform Safety Connect and Enform Service Connect complimentary for the first 10 years of vehicle ownership. Both were previously offered with a one-year trial. With the new RX 450hL Hybrid, the most powerful and most fuel-efficient RX model, owners will still reap the benefits of the two-row model, such as optional heated/ventilated front seats and Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Additional photos and video available at pressroom.lexus.com. Vehicle Details Engine/Transmission/Drivetrain/Performance RX 350L: 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine. 8-speed Electronically Controlled Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i). Available Active Torque Control AWD system uses an electronically controlled coupling ahead of the rear differential to vary torque distribution anywhere from 100:0 to 50:50 front to rear, depending on driving dynamics and road conditions. RX 450hL: Lexus Hybrid Drive with 3.5-liter V6 engine, Motor Generator 1, Motor Generator 2 and a planetary-type electronic continuously variable transmission. 308 total system horsepower. Standard AWD with independent rear electric motor-generator. 37 kW nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) hybrid battery. Chassis/Body/Suspension/ Brakes/Tires A number of cutting-edge technologies enhance structural rigidity, including high-tech body adhesives and laser screw welding; liberal use of high-tensile strength steel throughout the vehicle, and annular frame construction for strengthened frame sections around the front and rear doors. 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 235/65R18 tires. Two 20-inch wheel options: Split-Five-Spoke Alloy Wheels with Dark Silver and Machined Finish; Split-Five-Spoke Alloy Wheels with SuperChrome and Machined Finish and Interchangeable Painted Inserts (requires Luxury Package). Safety/Security Lexus Safety System+ includes Pre-Collision System, Lane Keep Assist, Intelligent High Beams and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Available Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Braking. For 2018, all RX and RX L models offer Enform Safety Connect and Enform Service Connect complimentary for the first 10 years of vehicle ownership. 10 SRS airbags including dual-stage and dual-chamber driver’s and front passenger airbags; driver’s and front passenger knee airbags; front side airbags; rear side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags for all three seat rows. 4-sensor, 4-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Traction Control (TRAC), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Hill-start Assist Control. Additionally, Smart Stop Technology automatically reduces engine power when there is simultaneous application of the brake pedal and accelerator pedal under certain conditions. Active front headrests help to reduce the severity of a whiplash injury in the event of certain types of lower speed rear collisions. Panoramic View Monitor (optional). Luxury/Comfort/Convenience (Highlights) 10-way power front leather seats with power lumbar adjustment. Memory settings standard (mirror, seat, steering wheel) Aluminum roof rails Power-folding autodimming mirrors with memory Rear armrest with storage box with two USB ports Acoustic glass windshield Customizable vehicle settings, including personal door-lock preferences, interior/exterior light adjustments, driver’s seat Easy Exit, and window-closure settings Tri-Zone automatic climate control with interior air filter Leather seating surfaces (first and second row) Leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel with integrated audio controls Lexus Display Audio with 8-inch color multimedia display and 9 speakers Power liftgate with optional hands-free operation Power tilt-and-telescopic steering column SmartAccess with push-button Start/Stop Subscription-free Traffic and Weather updates via HD Radio™ The RX 450hL enjoys the same standard equipment as the 350L, with the added feature of Captain’s Chairs as standard. Luxury Options (Highlights) Premium Package with moonroof and wood trim. Luxury Package includes contents of Premium Package plus 20-inch super chrome wheels, heated maple steering wheel, semi-aniline leather trimmed seating, manual rear door sun shades, LED ambient illumination, four-way power lumbar, cushion extender, laser-cut gray Sapele wood with aluminum and LED illuminated door sills. Navigation Package with 12.3-inch display, Remote Touch Interface, advanced voice control, Lexus Enform® App Suite, Lexus Enform® Destination Assist, HD Radio with iTunes®Tagging and more. 15-speaker Mark Levinson® Surround Sound system (with Navigation Package). Connected Technologies The 2018 Lexus RX L offers five available Enform services for enhanced convenience: Complimentary now for the first ten years, Lexus Enform Safety Connect includes an Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), Roadside Assistance, Automatic Collision Notification, and Stolen Vehicle Notification. The Lexus Enform response center operates 24/7/365. Lexus Enform Service Connect (complimentary 10-year subscription now included), enables the LS to send alerts for specific factory recommended maintenance, simultaneously alerting a preferred Lexus retailer. With Lexus Enform Remote (one-year trial subscription included), the customer can remotely view and control certain aspects of the vehicle using a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. Once registered, the app can operate remote door lock/unlock; remote stop/start for the engine and climate control; vehicle finder, guest driver monitor, and more. The complimentary Lexus Enform App Suite app offer access to favorite mobile applications through the vehicle’s center console display, including Pandora®, iHeartRadio, Slacker and Yelp (with Navigation Package). Lexus Enform Destination Assist (complimentary for one year) acts as an in-car personal concierge, providing directions and destinations delivered by a live agent (with Navigation Package). Warranty 48-month/50,000-mile basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48 months/unlimited miles. 72 months/70,000 miles powertrain and restraint system coverage. 72 months corrosion perforation protection coverage, regardless of mileage. Hybrid System Warranty coverage is for eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever occurs first, and covers the following components: hybrid control module, hybrid battery control module, hybrid battery and inverter with converter. *MSRP does not include a delivery, processing and handling fee of $995. Lexus' passion for brave design, imaginative technology, and exhilarating performance enables the luxury lifestyle brand to create amazing experiences for its customers. Lexus began its journey in 1989 with two luxury sedans and a commitment to pursue perfection. Since then, Lexus has developed its lineup to meet the needs of global luxury customers in more than 90 countries. In the United States, Lexus vehicles are sold through 238 dealers offering a full lineup of luxury vehicles. With five models incorporating Lexus Hybrid Drive, Lexus is the luxury hybrid leader. Lexus also offers six F SPORT models and two F performance models. View full article
  22. Drew Dowdell

    Lexus adds a row to the 2018 RX

    At the 2017 Los Angeles Auto show today, Lexus unveiled a three-row version of their popular RX luxury crossover. The RX has been one of the best selling luxury vehicles since its introduction in 1997. To make the 6 and 7 passenger three-row version, Lexus stretched the vehicle 4.3 inches and used a steeper rear glass to improve headroom. Overall, the key look remains largely the same with the partially blacked out C-pillar, a now widespread industry styling trend, being the main visual distinction for the 3-row models. Powertrain hardware is largely unchanged for the L models, available in the standard V6 front-wheel drive, V6 all-wheel drive, and V6 Hybrid all-wheel drive configurations. The V6 is a 290 horsepower / 263 lb-ft unit with an advanced combination of variable valve timing technologies that allowed the engine to shift between Otto Cycle or Atkinson Cycle for optimum power and efficiency. The Hybrid version uses a rear mounted electric motor instead of a drive shaft to power the rear wheels and is only used when the vehicle detects slippage of the front tires. Like other hybrids in the Toyota-Lexus stable, the hybrid system allows for complete EV operation at low speeds for short distances. The 2018 RX350 L and RX450h L go on sale in December. Photos: Lexus Press release on page two Lexus RX Drivers Now Have the Power of Three (Rows) New RX L provides luxury and logistical liberty Choice of Six- or Seven-Passenger Models Available with V6 Gas or Hybrid Powertrains Power-Fold Third Row Seat Standard Leather Trimmed Seating on First Two Rows and Tri-Zone Climate Control Standard Optional Hands-Free Power Tailgate November 29, 2017 2018 RX L 350 Product Info Sheet 2018 RX L 450h Product Info Sheet 2018 Enform Remote RX L Infographic 2018 RX L Press Release LOS ANGELES – Nov. 29, 2017 – Families will now be able to enjoy more space with their luxury utility vehicle thanks to the new three-row Lexus RX L models. The RX created the luxury crossover segment 20 years ago and has reigned supreme as the most popular luxury utility vehicle on the market. The 2018 RX 350L and RX 450hL models retain their stylish figures, but now offer the choice of six or seven-passenger capability. Once in dealerships late this year, the RX 350L will have a starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $47,670* (FWD) and $49,070* (AWD). Function and Fashion With the new RX L models, Lexus drivers will now have the option of a third row without compromising the sleek styling and easy maneuverability that they have long valued. With help through the mastery of vehicle packaging, Lexus extended the body length 4.3 inches (110 mm) at the rear and used a steeper tailgate window angle than on the two-row models – ensuring good headroom for third-row passengers. The standard seven-seat version uses a 40/20/40 split bench-type second row seat. Access to the third row is made easy with the touch of a lever that slides and folds the second seat forward. The available six-seat configuration features second-row captain’s chairs that make third-row ingress/egress easier with “walk-in” convenience. Lexus designed the third row of the RX L models to offer the same comfort and luxury as in the middle row. The positioning of the second row is slightly higher than the third row, creating more foot room for rear passengers. Standard leather-trimmed upholstery is standard for the first and second rows, in the choice of Black, Stratus Gray, Parchment or Noble Brown. A tri-zone climate control system gives third-row passengers separate heating and air conditioning vents, and for convenience, a power-folding third-row seat and power tailgate are both standard on the RX L models. Details that enhance three-row versatility in the RX L models include a flat load floor behind the folded third-row, two third-row cupholders, an easily stowable tonneau and covered slide rails. Lexus Signature Design The 2018 RX L models offer the same award-winning safety, style, luxury and performance as the two-row versions. The LUV trend-setting combination of SUV versatility and luxury sedan-like comfort comes packaged in the brand’s dramatic mix of sharp creases and curves. The Lexus signature spindle grille, a focal point, is set off by an elegant chrome-plated surround and standard Bi-LED headlights. Available premium LED headlights use three unique L-shaped elements per side. The RX L models’ elegantly blacked-out C-pillars create a floating-roof effect. The spindle theme repeats at the rear, with L-shaped LED taillights enveloping the tailgate and wrapping into the rear fenders. Available 20-inch wheel designs enhance the powerful-looking stance. All ten RX L paint colors feature a scratch-resistant self-restoring coat, using a high-performance macromolecular polymer. Lexus Safety In the 2018 RX L models, the full-length side curtain airbags cover all three rows. The standard Lexus Safety System+ includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Intelligent High Beams and All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Blind Spot Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist and Rear Cross-Traffic Braking are also available. Panoramic View Monitor is an optional feature. RX 350L: 290-Horsepower V6 The 2018 Lexus RX 350L offers plenty of power to go with its six- or seven- passenger cabin and added cargo capacity. The 3.5-liter V6 employs the advanced D-4S fuel injection system, which combines direct and port fuel injection systems. To maximize efficiency, Variable Valve Timing – Intelligent Wide (VVT-iW) is used on the intake camshaft, along with VVT-i on the exhaust camshaft, allowing the engine to switch between Otto and Atkinson combustion cycles. The result is 290 hp and 263 lb.-ft. of torque, with performance and efficiency optimized by an eight-speed automatic transmission. Use of regular-grade gasoline is a boon to customer value. Using Drive Mode Select, the RX 350L driver can exert more control by choosing from among three driving modes. Normal provides an ideal everyday balance of performance and energy conservation, Sport puts an edge on powertrain responsiveness and Eco mode operates the powertrain at its most efficient level. As on the two-row RX 350, the RX 350L is available with front-wheel drive or available Dynamic Torque Control All Wheel Drive. Under normal cruising conditions, the system engages front-wheel drive to help reduce fuel consumption. Continuously taking input from various sensors (such as wheel speed, engine RPM, steering angle, throttle opening angle and yaw rate), Dynamic Torque Control AWD actively governs torque distribution to the rear wheels using an electromagnetically controlled coupling in the rear differential. When the vehicle is accelerating, the system automatically shifts to AWD to help prevent front-wheel slippage. While cruising, the system reverts to FWD, and when sensors detect wheel slippage, it can vary front to rear torque distribution from 100:0 to 50:50. The 4.2” TFT multi-information display conveys torque-distribution status (front to rear, and side to side). RX 450hL Hybrid with AWD Luxury buyers seeking an eco-advanced family three-row vehicle will find the ideal travel mate in the 2018 Lexus RX 450hL. The Lexus Hybrid Drive system pairs the D4-S injection 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine with two high-torque electric drive motor-generators, producing 308 combined system horsepower for strong acceleration and passing performance. The standard AWD system is unique. Instead of transfer gears and a driveshaft to the rear wheels used on the RX 350 AWD models, an independent rear-mounted electric motor drives the rear wheels when needed to help maintain optimal traction. In the RX 450hL, the Drive Mode Select system adds a fourth mode, EV, that enables the vehicle to drive under electric power at lower speeds for short distances. It’s an excellent way to navigate a large parking lot or garage, or to run a local errand. Ride and Handling All onboard the 6- or 7-passenger 2018 Lexus RX L models will experience the same luxuriously smooth, quiet ride as the two-row models offer. Front strut and rear double-wishbone type suspension systems ensure agility and exemplary ride compliance over all types of surfaces. Electric Power Steering (EPS) yields a light and comfortable steering feel with excellent feedback. Impeccable Cabin Design and Luxury The RX L cabin is designed with impeccable details, including form-fitting seats, and the available richly finished wood trim (Premium and Luxury Packages) that curves gently up from the center console toward the glove box. Available interior ornamentation includes Matte Bamboo, Espresso Walnut, Matte Linear Dark Mocha Wood, Striated Black Trim (standard) and laser-etched Gray Sapele Wood with Aluminum. For the Striated Black Trim on the base model, a glossy black three-dimensional embossed pattern is applied to create a high-quality film design with a sense of depth. An available full-color Heads-Up Display (HUD) incorporated into the design of the instrument panel can project key information on the windshield to help the driver focus on the road. Multimedia Powerhouse From powerful audio to cutting-edge displays, the multimedia choices available for the 2018 Lexus RX L models cover all needs. The standard Display Audio system includes an eight-inch screen, HD Radio™, Scout GPS Link, Bluetooth® audio, voice recognition, an AUX mini jack, two USB ports and nine speakers. The driver will find frequently used switches placed close at hand for convenience. Middle-row USB ports enable passengers to use and charge their own multimedia devices. The Navigation Package upgrades to a 12-speaker premium audio system. Also included, the 12.3-inch high-resolution split-screen multimedia display offers a full-screen navigation map or can provide simultaneous access to audio or climate controls and various systems; as well as the mouse-like Remote Touch Interface. The 2018 RX L models offer audiophile-quality mobile sound with the available 835-watt, 15-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround System in conjunction with the navigation system. Advanced Clari-Fi™ compressed music restoration technology instills new life into digital music files. The new three-row RX L models join the two-row, five-seat RX versions that continue for 2018. All RX models now offer Enform Safety Connect and Enform Service Connect complimentary for the first 10 years of vehicle ownership. Both were previously offered with a one-year trial. With the new RX 450hL Hybrid, the most powerful and most fuel-efficient RX model, owners will still reap the benefits of the two-row model, such as optional heated/ventilated front seats and Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Additional photos and video available at pressroom.lexus.com. Vehicle Details Engine/Transmission/Drivetrain/Performance RX 350L: 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine. 8-speed Electronically Controlled Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i). Available Active Torque Control AWD system uses an electronically controlled coupling ahead of the rear differential to vary torque distribution anywhere from 100:0 to 50:50 front to rear, depending on driving dynamics and road conditions. RX 450hL: Lexus Hybrid Drive with 3.5-liter V6 engine, Motor Generator 1, Motor Generator 2 and a planetary-type electronic continuously variable transmission. 308 total system horsepower. Standard AWD with independent rear electric motor-generator. 37 kW nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) hybrid battery. Chassis/Body/Suspension/ Brakes/Tires A number of cutting-edge technologies enhance structural rigidity, including high-tech body adhesives and laser screw welding; liberal use of high-tensile strength steel throughout the vehicle, and annular frame construction for strengthened frame sections around the front and rear doors. 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 235/65R18 tires. Two 20-inch wheel options: Split-Five-Spoke Alloy Wheels with Dark Silver and Machined Finish; Split-Five-Spoke Alloy Wheels with SuperChrome and Machined Finish and Interchangeable Painted Inserts (requires Luxury Package). Safety/Security Lexus Safety System+ includes Pre-Collision System, Lane Keep Assist, Intelligent High Beams and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Available Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Braking. For 2018, all RX and RX L models offer Enform Safety Connect and Enform Service Connect complimentary for the first 10 years of vehicle ownership. 10 SRS airbags including dual-stage and dual-chamber driver’s and front passenger airbags; driver’s and front passenger knee airbags; front side airbags; rear side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags for all three seat rows. 4-sensor, 4-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Traction Control (TRAC), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Hill-start Assist Control. Additionally, Smart Stop Technology automatically reduces engine power when there is simultaneous application of the brake pedal and accelerator pedal under certain conditions. Active front headrests help to reduce the severity of a whiplash injury in the event of certain types of lower speed rear collisions. Panoramic View Monitor (optional). Luxury/Comfort/Convenience (Highlights) 10-way power front leather seats with power lumbar adjustment. Memory settings standard (mirror, seat, steering wheel) Aluminum roof rails Power-folding autodimming mirrors with memory Rear armrest with storage box with two USB ports Acoustic glass windshield Customizable vehicle settings, including personal door-lock preferences, interior/exterior light adjustments, driver’s seat Easy Exit, and window-closure settings Tri-Zone automatic climate control with interior air filter Leather seating surfaces (first and second row) Leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel with integrated audio controls Lexus Display Audio with 8-inch color multimedia display and 9 speakers Power liftgate with optional hands-free operation Power tilt-and-telescopic steering column SmartAccess with push-button Start/Stop Subscription-free Traffic and Weather updates via HD Radio™ The RX 450hL enjoys the same standard equipment as the 350L, with the added feature of Captain’s Chairs as standard. Luxury Options (Highlights) Premium Package with moonroof and wood trim. Luxury Package includes contents of Premium Package plus 20-inch super chrome wheels, heated maple steering wheel, semi-aniline leather trimmed seating, manual rear door sun shades, LED ambient illumination, four-way power lumbar, cushion extender, laser-cut gray Sapele wood with aluminum and LED illuminated door sills. Navigation Package with 12.3-inch display, Remote Touch Interface, advanced voice control, Lexus Enform® App Suite, Lexus Enform® Destination Assist, HD Radio with iTunes®Tagging and more. 15-speaker Mark Levinson® Surround Sound system (with Navigation Package). Connected Technologies The 2018 Lexus RX L offers five available Enform services for enhanced convenience: Complimentary now for the first ten years, Lexus Enform Safety Connect includes an Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), Roadside Assistance, Automatic Collision Notification, and Stolen Vehicle Notification. The Lexus Enform response center operates 24/7/365. Lexus Enform Service Connect (complimentary 10-year subscription now included), enables the LS to send alerts for specific factory recommended maintenance, simultaneously alerting a preferred Lexus retailer. With Lexus Enform Remote (one-year trial subscription included), the customer can remotely view and control certain aspects of the vehicle using a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. Once registered, the app can operate remote door lock/unlock; remote stop/start for the engine and climate control; vehicle finder, guest driver monitor, and more. The complimentary Lexus Enform App Suite app offer access to favorite mobile applications through the vehicle’s center console display, including Pandora®, iHeartRadio, Slacker and Yelp (with Navigation Package). Lexus Enform Destination Assist (complimentary for one year) acts as an in-car personal concierge, providing directions and destinations delivered by a live agent (with Navigation Package). Warranty 48-month/50,000-mile basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48 months/unlimited miles. 72 months/70,000 miles powertrain and restraint system coverage. 72 months corrosion perforation protection coverage, regardless of mileage. Hybrid System Warranty coverage is for eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever occurs first, and covers the following components: hybrid control module, hybrid battery control module, hybrid battery and inverter with converter. *MSRP does not include a delivery, processing and handling fee of $995. Lexus' passion for brave design, imaginative technology, and exhilarating performance enables the luxury lifestyle brand to create amazing experiences for its customers. Lexus began its journey in 1989 with two luxury sedans and a commitment to pursue perfection. Since then, Lexus has developed its lineup to meet the needs of global luxury customers in more than 90 countries. In the United States, Lexus vehicles are sold through 238 dealers offering a full lineup of luxury vehicles. With five models incorporating Lexus Hybrid Drive, Lexus is the luxury hybrid leader. Lexus also offers six F SPORT models and two F performance models.
  23. In a recent interview with Automotive News, Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai revealed that the company is working on an all-new crossover designed and built exclusively in the U.S. "We are actually going to introduce a totally new and different type of SUV. R&D is coordinating with our North American operations on that right now," said Kogai. He said the new model would slot into Mazda's current crossover lineup (CX-3, CX-5, and CX-9) and would not cannibalize the sales of any of the current models. Production will begin in 2021 at a plant that will be a joint venture between Mazda and Toyota. Mazda is planning to dedicate its entire capacity of 150,000 vehicles for this new model. It is unclear what this crossover could be, but some believe it could be the successor to the the CX-7. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) Photo Credit: William Maley for Cheers and Gears View full article
  24. William Maley

    Mazda Plans a New Crossover For the U.S.

    In a recent interview with Automotive News, Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai revealed that the company is working on an all-new crossover designed and built exclusively in the U.S. "We are actually going to introduce a totally new and different type of SUV. R&D is coordinating with our North American operations on that right now," said Kogai. He said the new model would slot into Mazda's current crossover lineup (CX-3, CX-5, and CX-9) and would not cannibalize the sales of any of the current models. Production will begin in 2021 at a plant that will be a joint venture between Mazda and Toyota. Mazda is planning to dedicate its entire capacity of 150,000 vehicles for this new model. It is unclear what this crossover could be, but some believe it could be the successor to the the CX-7. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) Photo Credit: William Maley for Cheers and Gears
  25. Hyundai was caught off guard by the rise of crossovers with their car heavy lineup. This has caused their sales to fall down. But the Korean automaker is hoping to change that with the announcement of eight new or redesigned crossover models by 2020. The plan will begin with the launch of the Kona crossover in March and will include a wide range of models from a small A-segment model to 8-seat midsize model taking the place of the Santa Fe. There are also plans for an electric, hydrogen, and diesel powered models. The electric one is likely the Kona. “The Kona is only the beginning of our product revolution for Hyundai. These vehicles are aimed squarely at the sales leaders in each segment and will emphasize Hyundai’s continued focus on sustainability and efficiency without compromising performance,” said Mike O’Brien, Hyundai Motor America vice president for Product Planning. Source: Hyundai Press Release is on Page 2 Hyundai Motor America to Release Eight New Crossover Utility Vehicles by the Year 2020 Vehicles will be powered by Gasoline, Diesel, Hydrogen and Electricity SUPERIOR TWP., Mich., Nov. 15, 2017 – Hyundai Motor America today announced its commitment to debut eight new or re-engineered crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) in the United States by the year 2020 during a press conference at the Hyundai America Technical Center. Beginning with the launch of the Kona small CUV in March, this new lineup will encompass models from the A-segment (entry level) size class all the way up to the eight-passenger midsize class. Hyundai also will showcase its latest gasoline engine, diesel engine, hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric technologies in these vehicles. “Very soon we are going to have the most diverse CUV powertrain lineup in the industry,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president, product, corporate and digital planning, Hyundai Motor America. “These vehicles will show the engineering prowess of the more than 13,000 engineers Hyundai Motor Company has working on current and future models every single day. Our customers are going to have a lot of great CUV choices in our dealerships.” Debuting at major auto shows including those in Detroit, New York and Los Angeles, this new fleet of CUVs will maintain Hyundai’s promise to make customer’s lives and driving experiences better. Further, Hyundai will be the only manufacturer offering CUV customers four different fuel choices. “The Kona is only the beginning of our product revolution for Hyundai,” O’Brien, added. “These vehicles are aimed squarely at the sales leaders in each segment and will emphasize Hyundai’s continued focus on sustainability and efficiency without compromising performance.” View full article

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