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  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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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)
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. 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.”
  13. 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
  14. Last week, Ford CEO Jim Hackett unveiled his plans for the company. One key part of his plan is moving $7 billion from the development of cars to trucks. What does this entail? Car and Driver have done a bit of digging and has brought forth some answers. Jim Farley, Ford’s president of global markets tells the magazine the company will focus on its regional strengths for future products. For the U.S., this means developing “authentic, off-road capable” vehicles according to him. That includes the upcoming EcoSport crossover, Ranger pickup, and Bronco SUV. Ford is planning to focus on utility vehicles in other markets as well as they have found success with “styled, on-road performance" crossovers. Europe will begin seeing models that are “urban-utility products.” For Asia (in particular China), Ford will focus on the "C-plus" larger midsize segment and three-row SUVs. As for cars, Farley said Ford will be repositioning products in certain markets to "lower-volume, higher-revenue sub-segments." For example, the Fiesta and Focus will become more upmarket. Source: Car and Driver
  15. Over a year later after Volvo teased us with the 40.1 and 40.2 concepts, they have introduced the first model in the 40-Series family, the 2018 XC40. While the overall design of the XC40 bears a strong resemblance to the XC60 and XC90, Volvo's designer staff wanted to make the XC40 have some design traits of its own. They include an upswept rear side window. a racier take on the 'Thor's Hammer' headlights, plastic cladding running along the bottom of the vehicle, and the choice of a black or white contrasting roof. The 'similar but different' theme continues inside as the XC40 will come with a 12.3-inch display for the instrument cluster and 9-inch touchscreen for the Sensus infotainment system. What you will not see are speakers in the doors. Volvo has removed them to make room for additional storage space. There will be two engines on offer, both 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinders. The T5 pumps out 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A lowered-power T4 will also be available, but Volvo hasn't released power figures on it. Both engines will come with an eight-speed automatic. T4 models will come with FWD, while T5 variants make do with AWD. A hybrid version is expected sometime later. Since we are talking about a Volvo, we would be remiss if we didn't talk about the XC40's safety equipment. All models will get City Safety that can detect vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians, and large animals, and will bring the XC40 to a complete stop. Other safety equipment includes Pilot Assist, Run-off road protection and mitigation, cross traffic alert, and a 360-degree view camera system. Possibly the big news about the XC40 isn't about the vehicle itself. Volvo announced a new program called 'Care by Volvo'. This subscription program allows you to get an XC40 a national, flat-rate monthly fee that includes things such as insurance and maintenance. You also have the ability to upgrade your vehicle after 12 months - much like what you can do smartphones. Volvo will have more details on Care by Volvo for the U.S. at November's L.A. Auto Show. Volvo will launch the XC40 in the U.S. early next year with the T5 model with a base price of $35,200. The T4 will follow in the summer with a base price of $33,200. Source: Volvo Press Release is on Page 2 The New Volvo XC40 Makes a Bold Statement in the Compact SUV Market (ROCKLEIGH, N.J.) Volvo Cars introduces the XC40 SUV, setting a new benchmark for design, technology and safety in the compact SUV market. Award winning technology from the 90 and 60 series cars are standard in the XC40, including safety innovations rarely offered among competitors. The Volvo XC40 will be among the safest, well-equipped compact SUVs available. At launch, the T5 all-wheel drive Momentum trim will start at $35,200. In summer 2018, a T4 front wheel drive will be introduced starting at $33,200. The new XC40 represents Volvo’s third SUV and is focused on a new expression of Scandinavian design. The XC40 is the smallest SUV offered by Volvo, preceded by Volvo’s largest SUV, the XC90, which is the most awarded luxury SUV of the century. The mid-sized XC60 is arriving at US retailers now and has been positively received. With the introduction of the XC40, Volvo completes its SUV range and offers three of the newest vehicles in their respective segments. “The XC40 is our first entry in the small SUV segment, broadening the appeal of the Volvo brand and moving it in a new direction,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive. “It represents a fresh, creative and distinctive new member of the Volvo line-up.” The XC40’s bold exterior is available with a range of body colors and color-contrast roof, providing up to 17 combinations. In the front, Volvo’s signature Thor’s hammer daytime running lights compliment a new interpretation of Volvo’s grill. The XC40 has a strong, structured profile for a youthful expression. Large wheels, wheel arches and an 8.3” ride height provide a true SUV feeling. With a clever use of space and interior materials, the XC40 introduces a bold rendition of Scandinavian design and functionality. An available panoramic sunroof allows natural light into the cabin and at night, integrated LED mood lighting can be color adjusted to match the mood or temperature the driver desires. This lighting, combined with unique metal and textile materials, creates a feeling of creativity, energy and youthfulness. Volvo conducted extensive global research into how compact SUVs are used and discovered proper storage is essential. With ample interior space for both passengers and storage, smart daily-use features such as large door pockets, integrated bag hooks and a customizable cargo area help organize the driver’s life while in the car. Wireless QI mobile phone charging and Bluetooth connectivity with the standard 9” Sensus Connect touchscreen helps reduce the clutter of charging cables and connectors. A dedicated cell phone storage space frees up cup holders and other areas commonly used by customers to store their phone. The development of a unique air-ventilated woofer located behind the dashboard allows for more storage in the door panels without sacrificing stereo sound in the cabin. Connectivity is core to the XC40, featuring 4 years of Volvo On Call as standard and the ability to share the car with trusted friends and family via a mobile phone app. Applications such as Spotify, Pandora and Yelp are available via the center touch screen, as well as Volvo’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. With standard City Safety, which includes pedestrian, cyclist, vehicle and large animal detection with emergency autobrake, the XC40 is one of the best-equipped small premium SUVs on the market. Safety and driver assistance features on the XC40 include Pilot Assist, Run-off Road protection and mitigation, Cross Traffic alert with brake support and the 360° Camera that helps drivers maneuver their car into tight parking spaces. Volvo Cars is inventing a new model of car access with the launch of the new Volvo XC40 called “Care by Volvo.” Care by Volvo is an all-inclusive, negotiation-free option that will be offered alongside traditional purchase and lease choices. This will make having a car as transparent, easy and hassle free as having a phone: a national, flat-rate monthly fee, combined with the opportunity to upgrade to a new car as early as 12 months. Care by Volvo in the United States includes almost everything needed to own and operate a car such as maintenance, insurance, wear and tear items and protection services. The new XC40 is the first model on Volvo Cars’ new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), which will underpin all other upcoming cars in the 40 Series including fully electrified vehicles. From start of production, the XC40 will be available with a T5 four-cylinder Drive-E powertrain with all-wheel drive. Further powertrain options, including a hybridized as well as a pure electric version, will be added later. Production of the new XC40 starts in Volvo Cars’ plant in Ghent, Belgium in November, while order books will open today. Details regarding Care by Volvo will be released at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.
  16. A few weeks ago, we reported that Volkswagen wasn't planning to bring the T-Roc over to the U.S. No reason was given, but we suspected price was a key reason. At the Frankfurt Motor Show, Volkswagen's director of development, Dr. Frank Welsch confirmed the T-Roc isn't coming. "Let's be very clear: The T-Roc will not go to the U.S. I don't believe it's too expensive, but it's because it's a very small car. They tell us people in the U.S. expect more size for that money. It is too small. We are going to have an SUV that is even smaller than a T-Roc [the T-Cross] and it will also not go to the U.S., but will go to South America. We have the new Polo and the T-Cross in Brazil, but for North America, this car is also too small," he told Autoblog. That doesn't mean Volkswagen isn't planning something smaller than the Tiguan for the U.S. Welsch explained the company is working on a new model for China that will launch late next year. The model will around the size of the Tiguan Limited and feature gas and plug-in hybrid powertrains. There is talk about this vehicle coming to the U.S. "We are checking the feasibility of a car which is right between T-Roc and Tiguan, and this could be interesting for America," Welsch said. "In the U.S., you have Tiguan long wheelbase, and the other [new] one is close to what we have here in Europe as the Tiguan SWB. It's a little bit smaller than that, about the size of the old Tiguan, but new and it's off the MQB. This is the idea behind it. In China, we will have this car next year, and we are thinking whether this could be a good idea for America and Russia." Source: Autoblog
  17. Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a surprise announcement earlier this year with the upcoming Model Y crossover using a new platform and not the one used for the Model 3. Musk has changed his tune, however. “Upon the council of my executive team . . . who reeled me back from the cliffs of insanity—much appreciated—the Model Y will in fact be using substantial carryover from Model 3 in order to bring it to market faster,” said Musk during the second quarter earnings call yesterday. How much faster? Previously, Musk said the Model Y (if that is the final name) could arrive by 2019. But during this call, Musk did not give a date - possibly a wise idea. Source: Autoblog, Car and Driver
  18. General Motors CEO Mary Barra said something interesting about the Chevrolet Bolt EV earlier this year. “…the Bolt is our platform that we’re going to continue on and have a huge range of vehicles.” Now, a new report from InsideEVs has possible details on one of these new models. According to a source that attended a focus group in California, the vehicle in question is a new Buick crossover that is said to look like a next-generation Encore. The model will use the Bolt's structure and powertrain, but come with a different design and features such as a floating roof and a push-button drive selector. The Buick crossover will be about the same size as the Bolt, but offer slightly more rear legroom. It will also be slightly slower than the Bolt - a 0.4-second difference in 0-60 mph time.Bolt, but offer slightly more rear legroom. No timeframe was given as to when we might see this new Buick EV crossover. Source: InsideEVs
  19. Unless you have been living underneath a rock, then you know that the popularity of crossovers and SUVs have been booming. A new analysis reveals this popularity will not be going away anytime soon. IHS Markit looked at consumer loyalty rates for various body styles from 2012 to April 2017 and found that 66.2 percent owners of SUV and crossover models returned to buy another - the highest IHS has ever recorded. To give some perspective, pickups come second at 50.9 percent. "We collect this data and provide it to our clients once a month, but we felt that the results were so extraordinary in terms of consumer loyalty numbers for SUVs and CUVs that we wanted to publicly release it," said Tom Libby, manager of automotive loyalty and industry analysis at IHS Markit. More surprising is how much the loyalty rate for SUVs and crossovers has been rising since 2012. That year saw a loyalty rate of 52.9 percent. "While one can make the case that a factor is gas prices, there are some other key drivers to sport and crossover utility. One is wide range of selection in price and size of crossover vehicles. SUVs also have the appealing combination where the driver gets the comfort level of being in a car but also gets the versatility of being in a larger vehicle," Libby said. With one body style going up, one must go down. In this case, it happens to be the sedan. In 2012, loyalty for sedans stood at 56 percent. Since then, the rate has been dropping - stands at 49 percent through the first four months of this year. IHS Markit analysis revealed that in the first four months of 2017, two-thirds of sedan owners that bought a new vehicle chose an SUV/crossover. Those likely to switch from a sedan to an SUV/crossover are ones that have owned only one sedan. But don't expect sedans to go away anytime soon. "While loyalty in sedans has gone down, sedans aren't going away. Sedans still play a significant part in the market, and that's not going away anytime soon," said Libby. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  20. The Jaguar F-Pace has proven to be quite the success, selling 9,559 units through June and sitting on top of the company's sales charts. Jaguar hopes they can strike gold once again with the 2018 E-Pace that made its debut today. Compared to the F-Pace, the E-Pace is about foot shorter in overall length. Many design cues from the F-Pace are here such as a tall beltline, sculpted rear fenders, an F-Type-inspired rear tailgate, and slim taillights. The interior looks to be directly lifted from F-Type with a similar center stack layout - including the grab handle on the passenger side. All models get a 10-inch touchscreen with the latest version of Jaguar Land Rover's InTouch Pro infotainment system and two USB ports - optional is each seat getting a USB port. The U.S. will get a turbocharged 2.0L inline-four in two states of tune; 246 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque or 296 and 295 if you opt for the R-Dynamic. Power flows through a nine-speed automatic to all four wheels. 0-60 takes 6.6 seconds with the standard 2.0L and 5.9 seconds with the R-Dynamic. Interestingly, the E-Pace isn't based on the platform that underpins the F-Pace. Instead, it uses the same platform that you'll find under the Range Rover Evoque. Jaguar has made some changes to it to make it feel more Jaguar-y with a multi-link suspension setup for the front and rear, stiffer bushings, and a set of anti-roll bars. An optional Configurable Dynamics package will bring adaptive dampers to tune the ride to your liking. The E-Pace arrives in the U.S. early next year with a base price of $39,595 with destination. Source: Jaguar NEW JAGUAR E-PACE ROLLS INTO THE RECORD BOOKS – All new Jaguar E-PACE revealed with epic barrel roll – Dynamic twist sets an official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for the Furthest Barrel Roll in a Production Vehicle5 – Final test proves E-PACE lives up to the Jaguar ‘Art of Performance’ philosophy – Inspiration from one of cinema’s most iconic car stunts – Attitude and stance come as standard with Jaguar’s new compact performance SUV – Sports car looks with SUV practicality for the next generation of Jaguar customers – Agile, responsive chassis and sports car driveline technology make E-PACE the hot hatch of its segment – Next-generation digital tech keeps you connected, with available 4G Wi-Fi, and a 10-inch touchscreen as standard – Standard all-wheel drive keeps you connected to the road in adverse conditions – Priced from $38,600, customers can order and configure their Jaguar E-PACE at www.jaguarusa.com (LONDON, U.K.) – July 13, 2017 - The new Jaguar E-PACE has set an official GUINNESS WORLD RECORD™ title during its world premiere. The compact performance SUV leapt into the record books with a 50 foot-long jump, complete with a 270-degree corkscrew-like ‘barrel roll’. Demonstrating the agility, precision and performance of the newest Jaguar SUV, the feat was the final test for E-PACE after 25 grueling months of work across four continents to test extreme durability and that it lived up to the Jaguar ‘Art of Performance’ philosophy. The Jaguar E-PACE is a five-seat, compact SUV that packs the design and performance of a Jaguar sports car into a practical and connected all-wheel drive vehicle. Trademark Jaguar driving dynamics and design put the brand’s sports car DNA in a practical design, packed with advanced technologies to keep you connected. The E-PACE is the newest member of the Jaguar SUV family, joining the all electric I-PACE Concept and the 2017 World Car of the Year winner, the Jaguar F-PACE, which was launched in 2015 with a spectacular GUINNESS WORLD RECORD™ setting loop-the-loop. The E-PACE exterior design is inspired by the Jaguar F-TYPE sports car and characterized by the distinctive Jaguar grill, muscular proportions, short overhangs and powerful haunches that give the vehicle a bold and purposeful stance, instantly communicating its dynamic agility. Jaguar sports car DNA is also evident in the fast sweep of the roofline and the distinctive side window design. Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar, said, “Established Jaguar design principles ensure the E-PACE is immediately recognizable as the sports car of its class. Our new compact SUV combines the interior space, connectivity and security that families expect with the kind of proportions, purity of design and performance not usually associated with such a practical vehicle.” The E-PACE completed its world record jump at ExCeL in London – one of only a handful of venues in the UK big enough to accommodate the 525-foot run-up and run-off, vital for the 50-foot leap. Behind the wheel was stunt driver Terry Grant, who has completed stunts on many film sets and holds an impressive 21 GUINNESS WORLD RECORD™ titles. Grant said, “As far as I am aware, no production car has ever cleanly completed a bona-fide barrel roll and therefore it has always been an ambition of mine to perform one ever since I was a boy. After driving the Jaguar F-PACE in the record-breaking loop-the-loop, it has been amazing to help launch the next chapter of the PACE family in an even more dramatic dynamic feat.” Unsurprisingly, the barrel roll is not one to be tried at home. Months of testing and analysis were completed to fine-tune the stunt, including achieving precisely the correct speed of run-up. The ramps were modeled extensively using CAD before any jumps took place. Terry experienced a G-Force of 5.5 during the 270 degree twist, and required a 525-foot run up to hit the air at the correct speed. Guinness World Record™ adjudicator Pravin Patel said, “This amazing feat really was a sight to behold. While I’ve seen the barrel roll stunt in film, witnessing this incredible feat in real life was something pretty special. Congratulations to Terry and Jaguar for setting another epic Guinness World Record ™ title.” The reveal of the E-PACE was followed by a spectacular musical performance by Pete Tong & The Heritage Orchestra who presented the now legendary Ibiza Classics. As a celebration of the new Jaguar E-PACE, Pete collaborated with singer-songwriter Raye to perform “You Don’t Know Me” by Jax Jones - a hit that features Raye and has over 230 million plays on Spotify and over 130 million YouTube views. Tong said, "I've been working with the Heritage Orchestra for the past couple of years but this is the first time I've been involved in something like this, it's very exciting and I'm glad to be a part of it! Jaguar breaking the Guinness World Record for the barrel roll was mind-blowing. This creative approach to revealing the new Jaguar E-PACE was the inspiration behind the collaboration between myself and Raye and we are now planning to put the track on my new album." The Jaguar E-PACE: Connected, Intelligent, Agile, Responsive The Jaguar E-PACE is connected and intelligent. A 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system comes as standard and connects customers to their favorite apps, including Spotify. The standard InControl Remote & Protect system automatically alerts emergency services in case of an accident and allows you to check fuel levels and mileage remotely via a smartphone or smartwatch. Customers can also warm up the vehicle or cool it down via their smartphone as part of this system. Digital connectivity can be found throughout the cabin, ready for every need of the modern family. There are up to four 12-volt charging points and five USB connections as well as an optional 4G Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight devices. The compact SUV can seat five in comfort with generous rear legroom, while the large luggage space is made possible by the vehicle’s sophisticated Integral Link rear suspension architecture. The optional Configurable Dynamics system gives the driver even more control with individual settings for the throttle, automatic transmission, steering, and, where fitted, the Adaptive Dynamics suspension system3. The optional Adaptive Dynamics system is designed to sense driver input, body and wheel movements and pre-emptively loads the suspension and chassis and adjusts the damping for improved roll control and agility. The E-PACE is available with the choice of two 2.0-liter turbocharged Ingenium gasoline engines. The flagship 296HP Ingenium engine powers the sporting SUV from 0-60mph in just 5.9 seconds (6.4 seconds for the 0-100km/h sprint) before reaching an electronically-limited top speed of 152mph (243km/h). The Active Driveline all-wheel-drive system in R-Dynamic models is a technological first for Jaguar. The intelligent set-up combines all-wheel drive traction with Jaguar’s unmistakable rear-wheel-drive feel. The system’s torque-biasing capability delivers added stability and dynamics in varying conditions and weather. The E-PACE features the very latest driver assistance technologies as standard equipment. A stereo camera underpins the advanced Autonomous Emergency Braking system, which supports Lane Keep Assist and Traffic Sign Recognition, as well as the Intelligent Speed Limiter and Driver Condition Monitor systems. Front and rear parking aids are also standard. The camera also combines with the electric power assisted steering system and rear radars to deliver a Blind Spot Assist function, to help reduce the risk of sideswipe collisions on multi-lane roads. A new Forward Traffic Detection system also warns drivers of approaching vehicles at junctions where visibility is restricted. The E-PACE is the first Jaguar vehicle to feature the company’s next-generation Head-Up Display technology. The advanced display can project up to 66 percent more information onto the windshield using large, full-color graphics with enhanced clarity. Essential information including vehicle speed and navigation directions are in full view at all times, with alerts and updates for the infotainment and convenience features all projected in the driver’s eyeline. An optional 12.3-inch full color digital instrument panel and choice of two premium audio systems developed with Meridian™ put the E-PACE on a par with its class when it comes to interior technology. The E-PACE is also available with Jaguar’s innovative wearable Activity Key. The waterproof and shockproof wristband has an integrated transponder, allowing the driver to lock the main key inside the vehicle when enjoying outdoor pursuits such as running or cycling. Whenever the Activity Key is activated, by holding the wristband up to the upper edge of the license plate surround on the tailgate, any conventional key fobs left inside the vehicle are disabled. Jaguar Land Rover has confirmed that the newest member of its Jaguar PACE family, the E-PACE, will be manufactured in Europe and Asia to satisfy expected customer demand for the compact SUV. From late 2017, the Jaguar E-PACE will be the first vehicle to be produced as part of Jaguar Land Rover’s contract manufacturing agreement with Magna Steyr, an operating unit of Magna Inc, in Austria. It will be joined by the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE from 2018. The Jaguar E-PACE will be also be manufactured at Chery Jaguar Land Rover’s state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Changshu exclusively for Chinese customers.
  21. This morning in South Korea, Hyundai unveiled the 2018 Kona subcompact crossover. This is a big deal for the Korean automaker as it is the brand's first subcompact crossover. The Kona stands out from Hyundai's other crossovers thanks a polarizing design. Up front, the Kona features Hyundai's new mesh grille that debuted on the 2018 Sonata. The split headlights resemble those found on the Jeep Cherokee. A slim vent above the grille, flared out fenders with cladding, and a two-tone roof finish off the design. “With the Kona, we have created a stylish and highly functional compact SUV, perfectly suited to the needs of customers who pursue challenging, action-filled lifestyles,” said Euisun Chung, Vice Chairman of Hyundai. The Kona's interior isn't as polarizing as the layout is similar to the upcoming Elantra GT/i30 hatchback with a floating screen for the infotainment system. Hyundai is claiming the Kona will have the largest amount of interior space for the class thanks in part to a new architecture it rides on. Various tech features include infotainment systems ranging from 5 to 8-inches, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration; and an optional heads-up display. In terms of power, the U.S. will get the choice of either a 2.0L Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder (147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque) or a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder (177 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque). The 2.0 gets a six-speed automatic and the 1.6T comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Front-wheel drive comes standard while all-wheel drive is available as an option. Hyundai will also be adding an electric variant that promises a range of 240 miles sometime next year. In terms of safety, the Kona will offer automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, driver drowsiness monitor, forward collision braking and lane-keep assist. The Kona will go on sale in South Korea this summer, before heading off to the U.S. and Europe later this year. Source: Hyundai Press Release is on Page 2 Kona: World Premiere of an Urban SUV for Active Lifestyles Hyundai Motor launches Kona, its first global B-segment SUV Voluminous, aggressive body styling, complemented by a low and wide stance Advanced technology and class-leading safety features for urban pleasure-seekers Kona All-new sub-compact SUV platform to set new standards for the B-SUV segment June 13, 2017 – Hyundai Motor has unveiled the latest vehicle in its expanding line-up of stylish SUVs, the Kona compact SUV. With a strong, impactful design and uncompromised individuality, the Kona is designed to appeal to modern customers with active lifestyles. The Kona joins Tucson, Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport in a growing line-up of Hyundai Motor SUVs, as the company continues to widen customer choice in the segment. At the world premiere of its new B-segment SUV, Hyundai Motor reaffirmed its promise to deliver SUVs that feature progressive design with high interior refinement and spaciousness. The Kona will go on sale in Korea later this month, followed by North America and Europe. “With the Kona, we have created a stylish and highly functional compact SUV, perfectly suited to the needs of customers who pursue challenging, action-filled lifestyles,” said Euisun Chung, Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Company. “We aim to set new standards for the compact SUV segment, with appealing design, cutting-edge connectivity and class leading safety features.” Uncompromised individuality and purposeful character The Kona is a brand-new challenger in the B-SUV segment, with uncompromised individuality and innovative features. The Kona’s bold, daring image hints at the future design direction of Hyundai Motor’s next generation of SUV models and creates a unique proposition in the compact SUV segment. Kona stands out from the crowd with high contrast design elements and striking style. Its masculine protective, ‘armor’, combines powerfully with the futuristic LED lighting to create a high-tech look. Despite its unique appearance, the Kona doesn’t sacrifice sophistication and is highly capable – a combination designed to appeal to the Millennial demographic. Unique and stylish exterior design The Kona’s stand-out design is reinforced by the car’s voluminous, aggressive body styling, that emphasizes the car’s well-proportioned, dynamic silhouette. Its low and wide stance complements the car’s stylish profile, with the long wheel base and short overhangs ensuring sporty, nimble handling, in addition to delivering superior driving stability at high speed. ‘Composite lamps’ enhance the Kona’s high-tech and mechanical appearance. The slim daytime running lights (DRL) incorporate turn signals and are positioned in a ‘stack’, separate to the LED headlights. The Kona’s front is powerful, as its ‘armor’ shows its readiness for extreme activities. The compact SUV also adopts Hyundai Motor’s new family identity, the Cascading Grille, featuring a sporty mesh pattern, flanked by exceptional wing-type fenders that dominate the front design. The visual relationship between the composite lamps, Hyundai's signature Cascading Grille and the unique armor design results in a totally distinct character, which is important in the increasingly competitive B-SUV segment. Further stand-out design elements at the side reinforce the car’s tough and functional qualities. Most notably the contrasting black ‘armor’ that provides a protective skin and visually connects the front to the rear. As with the front LED arrangement, the rear light configuration also creates a truly unique signature appearance. The slim brake lights, turn indicators and reverse lamp are placed in a separate configuration, surrounded by protective skin that begins at the C-pillar garnish. In addition to the instantly recognizable shape, a number of playful color variations allow buyers to customize their Kona. The roof is finished with a two-tone color scheme, providing high contrast between the body and wheels – satisfying customers with a desire to express their individuality. Spacious interior delivers comfort and convenience The unique features of the exterior continue inside, with a strong horizontal character line creating a wide and spacious feel. Even with its compact dimensions and low roof line, the Kona delivers best-in-class interior space. The sleek and simple layout interior contrasts with the bold, adventurous exterior design. The AVN (Audio, Visual, Navigation) monitor incorporates Hyundai Motor’s advanced infotainment features. The monitor appears to float on the dashboard, contributing to the sense of openness. The mechanical air vents and functional button arrangement reflect the high-tech functionality of the exterior. The AVN and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) controls are surrounded by soft, fluid details that contribute to a sensuous experience and enhance the comfort-focused environment. The all-new compact platform has been developed to provide customers with a true SUV experience. SUV-level ground clearance and an elevated seating position ensure better visibility for drivers and increases comfort on long journeys. Kona offers occupants generous interior space by optimizing the underfloor layout, including the 4WD drivetrain and exhaust system, to reduce central tunnel intrusion. The suspension component layout is optimized at the rear, allowing for a lower floor and seating position to deliver class-leading levels of headroom and ease of access for rear occupants. Designers also optimized interior space to maximize luggage storage capabilities, reflecting the requirements of customers with active lifestyles. The split-folding rear seats fold flat, with a two-level loading floor that allows easy access for a bicycle or golf club storage. All-new platform delivers exceptional power and performance With an all-new compact SUV platform developed for the Kona, Hyundai Motor looks to set new performance standards for the compact SUV segment. The powertrain layout is optimized to create a compact platform capable of incorporating the car’s four-wheel-drive system while maintaining interior space. The Kona blends exceptional fuel efficiency with a fun urban driving experience, delivering power and performance levels that are not often found in vehicles in its segment. The range of small-displacement turbo-charged petrol engines and diesel powertrains deliver a dynamic driving experience for nimble, easy motoring. The new Kona is offered with a combination of gasoline and diesel engines of various power outputs – dependent on the market. A 2.0-liter MPI Atkinson engine produces 149PS, with a 0-100km/h time of 10 seconds and a top speed of 194km/h. Paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, the engine delivers maximum torque of 179 NM (13.8 kgf · m) at 4500rpm. The Gamma 1.6T-GDI engine boasts 177PS, a 0-100km/h time of 7.7 seconds and a top speed of 210km/h. The engine delivers maximum torque of 265NM (27kgf · m) from 1,500 to 4,500rpm and is mated to Hyundai’s efficient and responsive seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (7DCT). In addition to the 1.6T-GDI engine, customers in Europe can also opt for Hyundai’s downsized 1.0 T-GDI turbocharged three-cylinder engine with six-speed manual transmission. This turbo-charged powerplant is optimized for efficiency and produces 120PS, a 0-100km/h time of 12 seconds, top speed of 181km/h and maximum torque of 172NM (17.5kgf · m) from 1,500 to 4000 rpm. Also available will be a 1.6 diesel engine for select markets, including Europe. The newly-developed SUV’s chassis is engineered to be rigid, topped with a lightweight body for dynamic driving performance and a comfortable ride. The platform is optimized to permit SUV levels of ground clearance, while the optional 4WD system and drivetrain is intelligently packaged to offer a spacious interior despite its compact proportions. To integrate the optional four-wheel drive system, Hyundai Motor engineers created a new intercooler layout and setting for the transmission to minimize intrusion into the cabin space. The rear layout of the platform is also optimized to save space. The suspension, fuel and exhaust components carefully package to maximize rear occupant room. The front suspension features a McPherson strut system, receiving a new sub-frame bush mounting and best-in-class tire trace to enhance comfort and reduce NVH. The system incorporates SUV geometry for refined body movement on rough roads or harsh off-road terrain. Different rear suspension systems have been developed for both 2WD and 4WD, to deliver a comfortable ride and sporty handling with either drivetrain. At the front, the rear subframe receives new bush structure for the 2WD suspension set-up, with a high-stiffness torsion beam for greater stability and control. The 4WD configuration features a dual-arm multi-link suspension system to refine overall driving dynamics on all surface types. Strong and protective body for passenger safety Hyundai Motor is the only car manufacturer to make its own steel to produce its vehicles globally, providing great benefits for the Kona. The lightweight body frame has been developed with 51.8% Advanced High Strength Steel to deliver class-leading levels of passive safety. Hot stamping methods produce lightweight, super-strong structural elements to maximize the cabin’s central safety zone. This proves that small cars can deliver exceptional passenger protection. The length of structural adhesives used in production extends to 114.5 meters, providing additional torsional rigidity and further reducing weight – which also benefits fuel efficiency. The platform also features an innovative multi-load path structure – an advanced energy dispersion technology that boosts impact tolerance by dispersing crash energy across multiple structures to protect passengers in the event of an accident. Class-leading driver assistance through active safety systems Hyundai Motor sets out to care for its customers in all of its activities. The new model showcases Hyundai Motor’s capabilities and commitment to enhancing the safety of drivers, passengers and fellow road-users. Class-leading active safety features include Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), which uses the car’s front-facing camera and radar to detect imminent collision and avoid impact or minimize damage by braking autonomously. Three further systems also utilize the front-view camera to boost safety and convenience: Lane Keeping Assist (LKA); High Beam Assist (HBA); and Driver Attention Warning (DAW). By sensing road markings, Lane Keep Assist helps to prevent accidental lane departure by steering the car automatically if required. High Beam Assist automatically controls the high beams depending on surroundings, while the Driver Attention Warning system monitors a spectrum of driver-related characteristics to detect driver fatigue or careless driving. The car’s radar systems also assist with the Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW) to detect approaching vehicles that may be obscured from view during high speed driving. The Rear Cross-Traffic Collison Warning (RCCW) detects when another vehicle may have entered the car’s reversing path. Advanced infotainment and connectivity technology The Kona boasts a suite of sophisticated technologies, paired with user-friendly functionality to ensure driver and passengers can stay informed and entertained. The premium infotainment system offers various advanced connectivity features, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay where specified with a 5-, 7- or 8-inch display (offered as standard or option dependent on market). Further options include DAB digital radio (Europe), HD Radio (North America), rear view camera display, and 4G telematics (North America) to ensure absolute connectivity. A new combiner Head-Up Display (HUD) is fitted to the Kona, projecting a virtual image onto the clear glass panel mounted behind the instrument panel to enable the driver to keep his or her eyes on the road. With a projected image size of eight-inches at a two meter distance and class-leading luminance of more than 10,000 candela per square meter, the Kona’s combiner HUD ensures both excellent day- and night-time visibility. Information projected to enhance safety and usability include speed, navigation instructions, Lane Departure Warning messages, and audio information. Deployed vertically by a simple touch of a button beside the steering wheel, the combiner disappears into the dashboard when not in use. In a first for the segment, the Kona features smartphone wireless charging. Available as an option with all Kona models, customers simply place a compatible smartphone on the wireless charging interface, located in the center console storage, to easily recharge without the need for cables. The system also indicates when the phone has fully charged, reminds occupants to remove their phone when exiting the vehicle, and detects when a foreign object is in the recharging area that could interfere with charging. Enhanced driving dynamics for urban and off-road fun The Kona was developed with a focus on enhanced driving dynamics and responsive performance for city driving. The wide, long wheelbase and short overhangs create a planted stance that results in exceptional agility in busy urban environments and enhanced stability when driving at speed. The three differentiated driving modes (Sports, Normal and Eco) optimize the torque distribution and gear-shift settings to make the compact SUV suitable for all driving style requirements. In Sport mode, there is a greater emphasis on acceleration with early downshift on braking, while Eco mode optimizes fuel economy over performance with longer gear ratios. The Kona name Hyundai Motor continues the approach established by Tucson and Santa Fe of naming crossover and SUV models after acclaimed travel destinations. The Kona is named after the coastal region on the Big Island of Hawaii, USA. The Kona region is famous among thrill-seeking travelers and the island’s energetic image is reflected in the innovative, practical and highly functional design of Hyundai Motor’s new lifestyle-focused SUV. Kona Iron Man Special Edition At the world premiere of the all-new Kona, Hyundai Motor unveiled a special edition that shares the name of the Marvel’s heroic and powerful character – Iron Man. The Kona’s design is inspired by the strong, armored appearance of the Iron Man suit, with its powerful lines echoing the sensual body of the comic and cinematic hero. Again, aligning its characteristics with the technologically advanced Stark Industries armored suit, the Kona Iron Man Special Edition majors on safety and advanced technologies. With greater width (+40mm) the Kona Iron Man Special Edition presents a confident stance while suggesting a voluminous interior. Further visual enhancements set apart the Iron Man edition from the standard Kona. Special LEDs are applied to the headlights, which sit beneath a matt grey hood, embellished with red and gold accents. The Kona Iron Man Special Edition’s dynamic exterior is further complemented by a 19-inch directional wheel badged with an Iron Man Mask in the center as well as off-road tires 716mm in outside diameter. The special edition will go on display at Hyundai Motor’s Motorstudio in Seoul, Korea for a month following its global reveal.
  22. Not wanting to be left in dust, Kia has released some sketches of their upcoming subcompact crossover called the Stonic. No, we're not sure how to pronounce it. But Kia explains the name comes from combining "‘Speedy’ and ‘Tonic’, which refers to the first and last note in the musical scale." Let's move on to the crossover itself. It is clear that Kia is pulling from the Nissan Juke and Toyota C-HR design playbook as the Stonic. The concept sketches show a low roofline, angled headlights, and a tailgate design from the Sportage. The interior is mostly the same as the upcoming Rio subcompact with the floating infotainment screen and control layout. Kia isn't spilling any details on the Stonic's powertrain, but we're guessing a four-cylinder of some kind with the option of front or all-wheel drive. The Stonic will debut later this year at the Frankfurt Motor Show, with sales following sometime after. Source: Kia Press Release is on Page 2 Kia introduces the Stonic: an eye-catching and confident compact crossover Kia’s new B-segment crossover will be named ‘Stonic’. An eye-catching and confident compact crossover with true European design flair, the Stonic is inspired by the form and function of larger Kia SUVs. The name ‘Stonic’ combines ‘Speedy’ and ‘Tonic’, which refers to the first and last note in the musical scale. Thus, ‘Stonic’ suggests that the vehicle is agile and offers something new and fresh in the compact SUV segment. A sweeping roofline and uniquely designed roof rack add a sporty look to the vehicle. The unique tail lamp graphics amplify Stonic’s young and futuristic appearance. The car blends sharp horizontal feature lines with softer sculpted surfaces, and brings compact dimensions and a low centre of gravity to the class. The European-designed cabin echoes the appearance of the exterior, with straight lines, smooth surfaces and geometric design forms. The Stonic’s interior places technology and ergonomics at its heart, with smart packaging maximising space for all occupants, and a ‘floating’ HMI (human-machine interface) seamlessly blending smartphone access with the car’s many functions. On sale in the second half of 2017, the Stonic will be the most customisable Kia ever, inside and out.
  23. The quirky Nissan Juke could be on its way out of the North America. The Truth About Cars has learned from two sources that Nissan could kill the Juke after the 2017 or 2018 model year. Its replacement is the Brazilan Nissan Kicks crossover which was introduced last year. Not surprisingly, Nissan declined to comment. The Juke received a mixed reception when it launched in 2010 mostly down to its looks. But soon, the model would begin to find buyers. Its best year was back in 2014 with 38,184. Now, the Juke has been in freefall with sales of 19,577 in 2016. 2017 isn't faring any better with only 5,047 Jukes leaving dealer lots. The Kicks isn't as polarizing as the Juke in terms of looks. It is also slightly bigger than the Juke - 3.2 inches longer wheelbase. TTAC says the Kicks is likely to get the turbocharged 1.6L from the Juke. Sources say it could just be front-wheel drive only. Source: The Truth About Cars
  24. It has been the ongoing story for a couple of years; buyers flocking to crossovers and sales of sedans falling down. While some automakers it seems are giving up on sedans, others are trying to figure out ways to make them more appealing. Tokuo Fukuichi, Toyota Motor Corp.'s global branding chief tells Automotive News the brand will be employing two strategies to help keep their sedans relevant - improve the driving dynamics and be more daring in terms of design. "Unless we can really offer a sedan experience you cannot have with an SUV or crossover, I think the sedan may not be able to survive if it does not evolve," said Fukuichi. "At a certain point of time, the traditional, square, three-box sedan will go away." The LC coupe is the first model that is taking these ideas and running with it. It features a low ride height, the highest torsional stiffness of any Lexus model in history (partly due to the new GA-L platform), and a design that stands out. The all-new LS is following its footsteps as it features more of a fastback look than the standard three-box silhouette. Intriguingly, Fukuichi dropped the idea of there being a station wagon in Lexus' lineup. It could take some ideas found on Porsche's Panamera Sport Turismo in terms of design. Before you get your hopes, there are no plans for a wagon at this time. "Personally, I would like to have a Lexus wagon if we had enough resources. Maybe not as tall as an SUV but not as short as a wagon. There could be some optimized packaging," said Fukuichi. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  25. Subaru is taking a page out of Honda's playbook with previewing new models via thinly disguised concepts. This morning at the New York Auto Show, the Japanese automaker unveiled the Ascent Concept. To our eyes, the Ascent looks like a bigger Forester. Yes, it does have a more muscular look with a large grille and sculpting along the doors. The back end reminds us of the Levorg sold elsewhere in the world as it features similar styling. Move inside and the Ascent offers seating for up to seven people. The dashboard is concept-esq with touch-sensitive controls for the infotainment system, locks, and windows. One interesting tidbit Subaru dropped was the Ascent would be powered by new turbocharged boxer-four engine. Specifics on horsepower and torque were not revealed. The Ascent will go on sale in 2018. Expect to see the production version sometime later this or early next year. Source: Subaru Press Release is on Page 2 SUBARU ASCENT SUV CONCEPT MAKES WORLD DEBUT AT THE 2017 NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW Subaru confirms future 3-row SUV will be named Subaru Ascent The Ascent will be powered by an all-new turbocharged DI Boxer Engine Ascent SUV Concept showcases 7 passenger interior NEW YORK - Subaru of America, Inc., which this month posted its 64th consecutive month of record-breaking sales, today made the world debut of the Subaru Ascent SUV Concept. The styling concept also confirms the name Ascent for the upcoming Subaru 3-row SUV. Both the design concept and the production Ascent will feature an all-new turbocharged direct injection boxer engine. The exterior design of the concept follows Subaru’s “Dynamic x Solid” theme with powerful fender flares representing Subaru’s all-wheel drive system and a large, bluff grille denoting a true SUV look. The interior of the concept features a flowing dashboard design and a 7-passenger configuration with center captain’s chairs. The Ascent production model will be based on a modified version of the Subaru Global Platform that debuted last year. The model will be built at Subaru of Indiana, Inc. in Lafayette, Indiana and will be sold exclusively in the North American market starting in 2018. Specifications: Body size: (Length x Width x Height) 198.8 x 78.3 x 72.4 inches Wheelbase: 117 inches Tire Size: 275/50 R21 Seating Capacity: 7

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