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Posts Tagged ‘compact cuvs’

Honda HR-V Making U.S. Debut at L.A. Auto Show

Slotting below CR-V as new entry-level crossover.

by on Oct.20, 2014

Honda's new compact CUV, the HR-V, was shown during the Paris Motor Show recently and will hit U.S. shores later this year.

We were offered a sneak peek at the Honda HR-V earlier this year, and got a first look at it in Paris, a few weeks back. But if it strikes your fancy and you live in the U.S., you’ll have to wait another month for a look at the actual sheet metal. The good news is that Honda is providing a teaser image of the compact crossover that will become the new entry point into its growing CUV line-up.

Original hinted at with the 2013 Urban SUV Concept, Honda plans to put the new HR-V on sale shortly after its official debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

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The new crossover utility vehicle will be positioned below the CR-V both in price and overall size, but if the Fit is any indication, the new crossover may deliver nearly as much cargo and passenger space. (more…)

Compact Crossovers Commanding Big Car Prices

Pushing $110,000 with the new Porsche Macan.

by on Nov.25, 2013

Porsche reveals the new Macan at the LA Auto Show.

American motorists have long lived by the mantra, “bigger is better.” And that’s been fine for automakers, as well, as they’ve traditionally tied prices – and profit margins – to the size of the vehicles they’ve sold.

But with the steady run-up in fuel prices, Americans are downsizing at a pace not seen since the twin oil shocks of the 1970s.  Indeed, compact crossovers have become the fastest-growing segment in the U.S. market – echoing trends in other key markets around the world.  And while you can still get a reasonably good bargain on some of these smaller, mainstream CUVs, the industry has been fracturing the traditional equation that measures price by the pound and inch.

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That’s especially true in the luxury end of the spectrum where manufacturers are charging into the compact crossover segment.  Just last week, Lincoln and Porsche entered the fray at the L.A. Auto Show.

Porsche has had a history of challenging conventional wisdom.  It proved naysayers wrong when it launched its first crossover-utility vehicle for the 2004 model-year, then did it again with the four-door Panamera – today, the brand’s best-selling models.  Now, it’s hoping to score again with what’s been called the “baby Cayenne,” the compact Macan.


First Drive: 2014 Nissan Rogue

Affordable, stylish, comfortable.

by on Nov.01, 2013

Nissan strives for segment design leadership with the launch of the 2014 Rogue.

Compact crossovers have become one of the U.S. market’s hottest segments right now. And as sales surge, a growing number of manufacturers are competing for buyers attention with new or restyled offerings.  Over the last year or so we’ve seen major remakes of the Toyota RAV4, the Honda CRV and the Ford Escape, to name a few.

Now, Nissan is weighing in with a redesigned version of the Rogue targeting a broad cross section of consumers, from older, empty nesters to young buyers just starting families.

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The second-largest Japanese maker is taking an unusual approach, however, launching a new 2014 Nissan Rogue while maintaining the old model as the budget-priced Nissan Rogue Select. Whether that strategy will work remains to be seen, especially if Nissan hopes to get buyers to shell out the several thousand additional dollars it takes to get into the newer model.


Nissan to Offer Both Old, New Versions of Rogue

“Rogue Select” to remain through 2014, possibly 2015.

by on Oct.31, 2013

The new 2014 version of the Rogue - which is now Nissan's second most popular model.

Nissan is planning to sell two different versions of the Nissan Rogue by offering both a new model and the old version of the popular crossover vehicle which competes directly with products such as the Honda CRV and the Ford Escape.

The completely redesigned 2014 Rogue, which is being built at Nissan’s big assembly complex in Smyrna, Tenn. will begin reaching U.S. showrooms starting in mid-November.

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Since it was first introduced for the 2008 model-year, the Rogue has become Nissan’s second most popular vehicle after the Altima by addressing the functional and emotional needs of the buyers, according to Pierre Loing, Nissan vice president of product development, while offering great value.


Compact Crossovers Becoming a Full-Size Market Segment

Small CUVs rapidly gain traction with mainstream, luxury buyers alike.

by on Sep.26, 2013

The Lexus LF-NX may have been the single most controversial vehicle to debut in Frankfurt this year.

It created quite a buzz – and more than a bit of controversy – when Lexus officials lifted the covers off the angular LF-NX concept vehicle during the Frankfurt Motor Show earlier this month. But while the edgy look is a subject of hot debate among industry insiders and potential buyers alike, there’s one thing everyone seems to agree on: Lexus, like its competitors, critically needs to add a compact crossover to its line-up.

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And the maker isn’t alone.  In fact, an assortment of production models and compact crossover concept vehicles shared the stage during this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, and even more are expected to make their debut in the months ahead as brands as diverse as Infiniti, Lincoln, Cadillac and even Jaguar enter the fray.

“We’re all reading the same tea leaves,” suggests Mark Templin, the new global chief executive for Lexus, Toyota Motor Co.’s luxury brand.


Jeep Compass Gets New Look, New Direction

Jeep Patriot gets a temporary reprieve.

by on Jan.14, 2013

The 2014 Jeep Compass adopts a style more in keeping with "big brother" Grand Cherokee.

A quick search of the web reveals a wide range of opinions about what Jeep has in store for its two smallest models, the Compass and Patriot.  And there’s good reason.  They’re actually two takes on the same platform, one designed to look like a fairly conventional SUV, the other a crossover.

Contrary to some forecasts that the one or both models would vanish or be replaced by the 2014 model-year, it seems they’re due to stick around, at least for now. But the changes being revealed at this year’s North American International Auto Show would suggest that the Jeep Compass is the most likely to remain in the line-up long-term.

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“We knew that Compass and Patriot needed work to take them into the future,” explains the brand’s chief executive Michael Manley.

Both undergo some notable changes for 2014, and they will share a new PowerTech 6-speed automatic gearbox that replaces the previous CVT transmission, and which will help the two compact crossovers achieve an EPA-rated 30 miles per gallon on the highway.


Subaru Betting Big on New Forester

Updated CUV critical to maintaining maker’s string of yearly sales record.

by on Nov.29, 2012

Subaru is betting the latest Forester remake will help it continue its ongoing string of sales records in 2013.

With 2012 already another notch in its string of five consecutive annual sales records, Subaru is preparing for a big 2013 as it launches the all-new 2014 Subaru Forester.

The latest model made its appearance durin the press previews for the Los Angeles Auto Show on its way to a spring arrival in U.S. showrooms.

While perhaps not quite the blockbuster of the original Outback line, the Forester has been a solid and reliable member of the Subaru line-up, sales increasing by 60% even during the deep automotive recession of recent years.  Now, with the U.S. auto industry in a spirited recovery, Subaru is hoping to gain even more momentum.

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Tom Doll, Subaru’s chief operating officer, said the next generation Forester builds on the qualities that have made it so popular with owners over the years, combining both the all-wheel-drive capability of classic Subaru models with the aggressive spirit of the maker’s WRX.


New Toyota RAV4 Grows Up

Big changes in a little package.

by on Nov.29, 2012

Toyota's new RAV4 adopts a more expressive design - and a number of other changes.

Toyota helped define the “cute-ute” segment with its original RAV4. And it is hoping that the all-new crossover making its debut at this year’s LA Auto Show will help redefine the increasingly popular compact CUV segment.

But there’s no question that competition is getting tougher – no surprise – as sales soar to record levels.  Americans have purchased 1.7 million compact crossovers since the 1994 RAV4 debut, and a flood of new models has been entering the market, including an all-new version of the Ford Escape that has been transformed from classic, truck-based design to a car-based crossover for 2013.

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The basic design is likely to catch eyes and reflects a new emphasis on styling at Toyota, which has long been faulted for its plain vanilla approach.

The new Toyota is roomier, sportier and offers more luxury than its predecessor. According to Bill Faye, Group vice president and general manager Toyota Motor Sales, the RAV4 also is at the forefront with respect to handling, equipment, ergonomics and cost of ownership.


First Drive: 2013 Ford Escape

The hands-free tailgate is a real "kick."

by on May.08, 2012

Ford's new 2013 Escape shares the same underlying platform as the maker's latest Focus line.

The compact crossover segment is today one of the biggest and most competitive segments in the American market, with entries ranging from the Toyota RAV4 to the Chevrolet Equinox.  Ford’s offering, the Escape, has always been a solid and reliable performer, and one of the segment’s best-sellers.  But if you were looking for refinement, charm and comfort, well, you’d be advised to look elsewhere.

Until now, anyway.  The maker has an all-new version of the Escape in the pipeline for 2013, and after spending a full week behind the wheel we’ve discovered that it maintains the flexibility and functionality that buyers have long expected while delivering the sort of creature comforts and driving dynamics that one could only hope for.

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Better yet, the 2013 Ford Escape also scores with a new powertrain line-up that can haul and tow with the best in its class even while delivering significantly better mileage than before.

The redesigned 2013 Ford Escape is more than just an update.  The maker has redesigned the crossover from the ground up, and like the 2012 Ford Explorer, Escape has migrated to a new unibody platform that it now shares with the nimble Ford Focus and soon-to-launch C-Max people mover.


First Look: 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK

A crowded crop of compact crossovers.

by on Mar.26, 2012

Mercedes hints the diesel GLK 250 will be the most fuel-efficient offering in its segment.

We’re going to be seeing a crowded crop of compact crossovers in the coming months, and there’ll be something for seemingly every wallet, with all-new offerings as well as updates like the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK set to roll into showrooms.

It seems the German maker will be updating both ends of its crossover line-up, previously revealing the new GL that will make its debut at the New York Auto Show next month.  Now, we can take a closer look at the 2013 Mercedes GLK –which will also make its first appearance in the Big Apple.

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For those with a weak grasp of the Teutonic tongue, that “K” makes all the difference.  It’s German for “kurz,” and like the SLK and CLK designations, means a downsized model.  In this case, the smallest of the Mercedes-Benz crossovers, designed to compete with the likes of the BMW X3, the Audi Q5 and even the Cadillac SRX.

The timing of this modest update probably couldn’t be better considering that rising fuel prices have lots of buyers looking to downsize.  Better yet, Mercedes is signaling that the 2013 GLK will offer a new diesel option that could make it the most fuel-efficient offering in the compact luxury crossover segment.