Crossover Reviews |
Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Posts Tagged ‘crossover reviews’

First Drive: 2014 Toyota Highlander

In the hunt.

by on Dec.20, 2013

The 2014 Toyota Highlander offers three different powertrains, including a hybrid option.

The Highlander doesn’t get the kind of attention lavished on the Toyota Prius or the Camry, which continues to anchor the Japanese automaker’s line-up as the best-selling passenger cars in the U.S.

However, the Toyota Highlander represents one of the Japanese giant’s more successful forays into the truck side of the business where, despite the enormous popularity of its brand, it has encountered some disappointments over the years, notably with the tepid response to the Tundra, its full size pickup truck.

Product News!

The Highlander came into the U.S. market in 2001 as Toyota was accelerating its ambitious plans to overtake General Motors as the world’s largest automaker.  It was Toyota’s entry into the fast growing-midsized utility markets and was one of the first SUVs constructed around a unibody, rather than truck-like body-on-frame, platform.  And it caught on, in part, because of the company’s reputation for building durable and reliable vehicles.


First Drive: 2014 Kia Soul

Subtle changes yield big improvements.

by on Oct.07, 2013

Kia's 2014 Soul remake delivers subtle visual tweaks but more significant interior changes and revisions to drive dynamics.

Few cars have done a better job of putting a relatively unknown brand on the radar for a broad swath of American car buyers.  The 2009 Kia Soul and the hip-hop hamsters who became its spokes, er, rodents have carved out a unique and enviable niche in the market. So, with the launch of the 2014 Soul, Kia faces both risk and opportunity.

Anyone who has watched TV or gone to the cinema in recent weeks probably knows the slimmed-down “Hamstars” are back, their latest, catchy spot, backed by Lady Gaga vocals, meant to draw attention to the launch of the updated urban crossover.  Their help is needed. The 2014 Kia Soul’s distinctive design undergoes evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, changes that might otherwise be missed by most buyers.

Your Trusted Review Source!

That said, Kia’s priority was coming up with a more comfortable CUV that resolves some of the earlier model’s issues with driving dynamics and refinement. Our experience during a Minneapolis driving event suggests the Koreans have largely succeeded.


First Drive: 2014 Jeep Cherokee

A new face for the Trail-Rated brand.

by on Sep.17, 2013

The new 2014 Jeep Cherokee attempts to maintain the classic Jeep off-roadability while gaining better mileage and on-road manners.

What’s in a name, Shakespeare once asked. When it comes to cars, quite a bit, especially when it’s one of a handful of truly groundbreaking products. Like the Jeep Cherokee.  The folks at Chrysler had to ask themselves some serious questions before simply slapping that once-formidable badge back on the replacement for the largely unloved Liberty SUV.

The original Cherokee, known internally as the XJ, effectively invented the modern sport-utility vehicle, transforming it from a military and commercial vehicle with a modest following among rugged outdoorsmen into a truly mainstream alternative. Of course, success begets imitation and soon, SUVs were everywhere.  The market quickly moved on and by 2001, Chrysler pulled the plug on what was, by then, a dated and forgotten model.

Your Review Source!

The Liberty never quite found its groove.  It was neither fish nor fowl, not quite the rugged off-roader nor the smooth on-roader that the market has largely migrated to. So, Jeep hit the “Reset” button and set out to do it again, wisely deciding to abandon the Liberty name and bring back Cherokee. But is it a fit? That’s what we set out to discover when he headed into the hills north of Los Angeles for a good day’s driving in the all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee.


First Drive: 2014 Subaru Forester

More than just another cute-ute.

by on Jan.25, 2013

The 2014 Subaru Forester delivers both on-road and off-, according to TDB's reviewer.

Subaru, long a favorite of drivers facing snow drifts and steep mountains, is beginning to catch on with motorists in other parts of the country and after driving the new 2014 Subaru Forester it’s easy to understand why.

The first crossover in the maker’s line-up, the Forester is back in all-new form for 2014, and the new model is versatile, nimble and quite capable. It delivers the kind of comfortable, stable ride on both pavement and dirt of gravel roads which other crossovers find hard to match.

Reviews You Can Trust!

Carmakers like to claim their CUVs combine the attributes of a passenger car — with a nicely-tuned suspension and better mileage – with the off-road capabilities of a sport utility vehicle but few come as close as the 2014 Subaru Forester.  Subaru’s engineers have actually delivered a CUV that does handle like a compact sedan out on the highway while showing itself quite adept at moving off the pavement without losing its bearings or having the automotive equivalent of a hissy fit.


First Drive: 2013 Nissan Pathfinder

Switch to crossover design yields plenty of advantages, few sacrifices.

by on Nov.01, 2012

The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder adopts a lighter, more fuel-efficient crossover platform that can still handle moderately rough trails.

Admittedly late to the party, can Nissan regain its place in a radically changed sport-utility market? That’s the big question the maker faces as it rolls out an all-new version of the long-running Pathfinder.

The new model is more than just a face-lift, in fact, more than the usual redesign.  The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder evolves from a classic, truck-based body-on-frame ute to a car-like unibody-based crossover.  The move has significant advantages, shaving about 500 pounds of mass to deliver a more nimble ride and fuel economy.

Subscribe Now! It's Free!

But it also raises the possibility that classic SUV buyers might turn up their noses.  On the other hand, the market for classic, truck-like utes has all but vanished, so the bigger question is whether Nissan can regain the buyers who’ve migrated to competing products, such as the latest-generation Ford Explorer, that previously made the SUV to CUV migration.


First Drive: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

No one-trick pony.

by on Sep.14, 2012

Hyundai remakes the Santa Fe crossover with its Fluidic Sculpture design language.

Hyundai has been on a roll of late. But like an eager new homeowner it is still looking to knock down some walls to enlarge a space that it believes holds additional promise — which is precisely where the new 2013 Santa Fe comes into the picture.

Small crossovers are hot in today’s fast-changing market and Hyundai executives believe they aren’t getting a fair share of what is one of the fastest-growing segments. Hence, the 2013 Santa Fe has been groomed and tailored to make it more appealing to buyers looking for a blend of practical utility and new technology while also delivering on some of the old school automotive fundamentals such as power and good handling.

Your News Source!

The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe line-up is not a one-trick pony – and that means the updated line-up could be a bit confusing. There are actually two versions of the crossover-utility vehicles for 2013. The five-door Santa Fe Sport is the direct replacement for the outgoing model while the Santa Fe name — full stop — now goes onto a 3-row, 7-passenger offering that replaces the largely ignored Hyundai Veracruz.


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.

Such a Deal!

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.


Ford to Launch Performance Sport Version of Explorer

Muscle with mileage.

by on Mar.28, 2012

The 2013 Ford Explorer Sport will deliver 350 hp and up to 22 mpg on the highway.

Gas may be inching ever closer to an all-time record but Ford Motor Co. is betting there are still plenty of buyers who want performance as well as high mileage.  With the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport, it’s hoping to deliver both.

Scheduled for a formal unveiling at the New York Auto Show next week, Ford lifted the covers to provide a sneak peek at the performance SUV, which will deliver muscle car levels of acceleration using a turbocharged V-6 rather than a conventional V-8 – which Ford abandoned when it introduced an all-new version of the Explorer for the 2011 model-year.

“We’re confident there are people out there who still want the extra horsepower – but want to do it in a smart way,” said marketing manager Eric Peterson.

Your Auto News Heavyweight!

Instead of the traditional big-block V-8, the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport turns to the maker’s turbocharged, 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine which makes 350 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque.  That’s in line with competitors like the more up-market Ranger Rover Sport, at 375 hp, and the similarly priced, Hemi V-8-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee, at 360 hp.

According to Ford, the Explorer Sport will turn 0 to 60 in about 6.0 seconds, or a full two seconds faster than the normally aspirated V-6 version of the SUV.

The Explorer Sport will rely on a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 rather than the old Explorer's big, gas-guzzling V-8.


First Drive: 2012 Honda CR-V

Aiming to gain the advantage.

by on Nov.16, 2011

Honda weighs in with the fourth-generation CR-V getting its official launch at the L.A. Auto Show.

The folks with the fancy MBAs like to call it the “first-mover advantage.”  Discover a need or niche and fill it before the competition does.  If your product resonates with consumers you’ll likely get a lock on the market.

And that’s precisely what happened when Honda introduced the original CR-V, 15 years ago, creating what is now one of the fastest-growing niches in the automotive market: the compact crossover.  The Honda CR-V has been the perennial favorite among American shoppers – though the king has tumbled down the hill in recent months as the result of production shortages caused by the earthquake and tsunami that struck northeast Japan last March.

Your Trusted Source for Auto Reviews!

Now, as its plants slowly get back to normal, the Japanese maker is ready to roll out a fourth-generation of its compact CUV, but whether the 2012 Honda CR-V can regain its lead remains to be seen.  It has a lot going for it, like an easy-to-use, 1-touch system for folding down the rear seats. But the crossover also suffers from a few glaring flaws — notably a numb new steering system — that could provide an opening for the next-generation 2012 Ford Escape, the outgoing domestic model already outselling the CR-V.


First Look: 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG

Muscle, luxury and plenty of space.

by on Nov.14, 2011

Mercedes delivers a big bump in power with the launch of the 2012 ML63 AMG.

Mercedes-Benz is seldom shy about adding some muscle to its more mainstream offerings, and the AMG badge on the back of the third-generation ML line suggests that this sport-utility vehicle isn’t meant for crawling all over boulder-strewn trails.

Then again, neither are any of the other members of the ML line-up, which is more likely to win over soccer moms and commuter dads than rugged outdoorsmen.  In the case of the Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG, the pitch is to those who want a reasonable degree of functionality and flexibility but still hope to find something with the soul of a sports car.

Upgrade Your Insight!

There’s no question that the fast-beating heart of the 2012 ML63 can impress, the updated 5.5-liter biturbo V8 making518 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque – up 15 hp and 44 lb-ft, respectively, over the old model.  For those who need to press things to the limit, you’ll also find the AMG Performance Package bumps that up to 550 hp and 560 lb-ft.  Power is channeled through the Mercedes Speedshift Plus-7 automatic gearbox.