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Posts Tagged ‘crossover vehicles’

Mazda Brings New CX-3 City SUV to LA Auto Show

Japanese entry playing against an increasingly crowded field.

by on Nov.19, 2014

Mazda's new CX-3 will be about five inches shorter than the maker's current CX-5 model.

Mazda is the latest player to enter the fast-emerging and increasingly crowded market for so-called city SUVs with the launch of its new CX-3 crossover.

It’s one of the globe’s fastest-growing segments, and it’s also gaining traction in the U.S. market where these pint-sized multi-purpose vehicles barely even existed five years ago.

Think of the CX-3 as “”a vehicle to suit the customer’s creative lifestyle in any scene, from inner-city driving to enjoying the great outdoors,” Mazda noted as it took the covers off the new crossover during a Los Angeles Auto Show preview Tuesday night.

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Sharing its basic underpinnings with the earlier Mazda2 hatchback, the 2015 CX-3 is the fifth new Mazda model to adopt the maker’s SkyActiv technology and its Kodo “Soul of Motion” design language. That translates into heavily sculpted body panels and a bold, 5-pointed front grille with integrated headlamps.


Honda Reveals New 2015 CR-V

New cute-ute hits showrooms in October.

by on Sep.22, 2014

Honda will have more to say -- and show -- about the new CR-V next week.

Honda is giving us a first look at its 2015 CR-V – but not much more – hinting it will have plenty of details to reveal later this month.

But some significant details have already leaked out about this mid-cycle update of one of the U.S. market’s best-selling products, the 2015 Honda CR-V set to go on sale at the beginning of October. Beyond the cosmetic changes, the new CUV is expected to get a new 2.4-liter engine that, when paired with a new automatic gearbox, should deliver a solid bump in fuel economy.

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Honda clearly needs to keep the little crossover on the top of its game considering the hefty competition in the compact CUV segment, with buyers offered alternatives as diverse as the Toyota RAV-4, the Nissan Rogue, the Mazda CX-5, and other options from the U.S. and South Korea.


What is It? Many New Car Designs Defy Categorization

Is it a coupe, a crossover or a hatchback? Maybe a little bit of them all.

by on Sep.20, 2013

Infiniti's Q30 doesn't readily invite categorization, says its designer, Alfonso Albaisa.

As the Infiniti Q30 concept car rolled onto the stage during the Frankfurt Motor Show media preview last week, design chief Alfonso Albaisa noticed puzzled expressions throughout the audience. “It defies characterization,” Albaisa said, suggesting that the Q30 might best be thought of as “not a coupe, not a hatch and not a crossover but a fusion of the three body styles.”

During the two days of Frankfurt press previews, Infiniti wasn’t the only automaker to roll out a design that didn’t fall into any easy or traditional category. There was also the Opel Monza which might alternatively be described, depending upon your viewing angle, as a wagon, sedan, coupe or even a sports car. For lack of a better definition, designer Mark Adams said he’s settled on the British-style “Sporting Brake.”

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“What is that?” was a phrase one heard quite frequently during the Frankfurt Motor Show media preview.

And the biennial German auto show wasn’t unique.  It’s becoming more and more difficult to define many of the vehicles – both products and concepts – showing up at other recent automotive events.


Honda, Lincoln to Unveil Downsized Crossovers at Detroit Auto Show

Compact CUVs among the market’s fastest-growing niches.

by on Dec.11, 2012

Honda's Urban SUV Concept will reappear after a new assembly plant opens in Mexico.

Honda plans to unveil the Urban SUV Concept at next month’s Detroit Auto Show, a crossover that will be based on the Japanese maker’s subcompact Fit model.The North American International Auto Show, as it’s formally known, will be awash with downsized crossover-utility vehicles – including the long-rumored Lincoln MKC which will share some of its basic underpinnings with the small Ford Escape, albeit trimmed out for the luxury market.

Small cars, in general, are rapidly gaining ground as fuel prices nudge ever upward. According to Ford Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields, B- and C- segment models have jumped from 13% of the overall U.S. market to 20% since 2005. And the trend is expected to continue at an even faster pace.


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Nowhere is that expected to be more apparent than in the compact and subcompact crossover niches. Manufacturers are rapidly adding ever-smaller crossovers such as the Buick Encore and BMW X1, both in mainstream and upscale market segments.

Honda is offering little detail other than to describe the Urban SUV as “a global concept model combining a sporty and dynamic SUV profile with a spacious, functional interior.”


Honda Tries Again with Updated Crosstour

Honda hopes sales will double for more ute-like CUV.

by on Apr.05, 2012

Honda tries again with the 2013 update of its slow-selling Crosstour model.

Honda hopes to pump some new life into one of its most troubled product lines with a modest but much-needed update for 2013.

No longer linked to the maker’s mainstay Accord, Honda officials are hoping to see sales double for the 2013 Crosstour.  Of course, that starts off a low base.  While the maker presented an assortment of upbeat owner testimonials during the opening of its New York Auto Show preview, the previously named Accord Crosstour simply didn’t connect with the general public.

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As with the new RLX flagship introduced in New York by its up-market Acura brand (Click Here), Honda is calling the Crosstour on its stand a “concept,” though as with the Acura model, the Honda Crosstour show car “is very close to the product we’ll be bringing out this fall,” said Sage Marie.  The executive was a product planner on the program but recently shifted assignments and is now head of Honda public relations.


First Look: Mazda CX-5 Skyactiv

Maker claims new technology will outdo hybrid mileage, performance.

by on Nov.16, 2011

Mazda will introduce a wide range of Skyactiv technologies on the new CX5 crossover.

With the launch of the new 2013 Mazda CX-5, the Japanese automaker is “planting a stake in the ground” that will very likely determine the future of the zoom-zoom brand.

The third crossover in Mazda’s line-up will introduce the full range of technology that the maker collectively calls Skyactiv.  Mazda, which has a history of taking a different path on powertrains with technology like the Wankel rotary engine, is putting itself even further out of the mainstream with the Skyactiv system.

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The technology – which ranges from significantly modified gas and diesel engines to a distinctly different approach to body and chassis development – promises to deliver fuel economy that’s as good as more complicated gas-electric hybrid systems, declared Takashi Yamanouchi, the maker’s president and CEO, but also much better performance.

Mazda’s strategy, he said during the keynote speech at the 2011 L.A. Auto Show, is to “improve the efficiency of core technologies and then offer them as standard equipment.”


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.

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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.


First Look: 2011 Kia Sorento

Buy American?

by on Dec.02, 2009

The first car to roll out of the Korean carmaker's new U.S. assembly plant, the 2011 Kia Sorento.

The first car to roll out of the Korean carmaker's new U.S. assembly plant, the 2011 Kia Sorento.

The “Made in America” tag continues to become more confusing, now that Kia has become the latest Asian brand to set up a “transplant” assembly plant.  The factory, in West Point, Georgia, launched production of the all-new 2011 Kia Sorento just two weeks ago.

The stylish Korean-engineered crossover could build on the brand’s already significant momentum; Kia sales have been defying gravity during the current economic downturn, posting a 7.8% increase since the beginning of the year.

The crossover market is critical for automakers hoping to take advantage of shifting consumer tastes, said Kia’s vice president of sales, Tom Loveless.  “We see customers rightsizing, rather than downsizing.”

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The stylish five-door is based on the Kia KND4 concept vehicle which was unveiled at the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show.  It’s both longer and lower than the outgoing Sienna, and is aimed at buyers who want room for 5 full-size adults, with occasional seating for 7, noted Kia’s marketing director, Michael Sprague.

The unibody-based CUV features a new McPherson strut front suspension and a mult-link rear.


First Look: 2010 Hyundai Tucson ix35

New maker goes radical with ix-Metro crossover.

by on Sep.15, 2009

Hyundai will introduce the new ix35 crossover in Europe, and sell it in the States as the 2010 Hyundai Tucson.

Hyundai will introduce the new ix35 crossover in Europe, and then will launch it in the States as the 2010 Hyundai Tucson.

If you want to get a closer look at the next-generation compact SUV from Hyundai, you’re going to need to book a quick flight to Germany.  The 2010 Hyundai Tucson – known to Europeans as the ix35 – is getting its official debut at the 63rd Frankfurt Motor Show.

Company official are calling the crossover a “new approach to the SUV,” and the Tucson/ix35 is clearly not your classic, 2-box utility vehicle.  Instead, it features a very coupe-like shape that is reminiscent of other new, hard-to-categorize offerings, such as BMW’s X6 and 5-er GT.

The Hyundai offering, of course, competes in a much more mainstream segment, but the maker’s new “Fluidic Sculpture” design language is designed to give it a much more premium and hard-to-ignore appearance.  That will be critical for the Korean carmaker, which has been gaining ground in the U.S., but which still faces challenges in brand-conscious Europe.

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Bridge the News Gap!

“Bridging the gap between public perception and reality is difficult for Hyundai,” admitted the company’s Chairman Eulson Chung.

The 2010 Hyundai Tucson is larger and wider than the old crossover – which helps improve interior space – though it’s also been lowered about an inch.  The updated crossover will be offered with larger 18-inch alloy wheels.


Honda Confirms Accord Crosstour

Japanese maker planning wagon-like Accord variant.

by on Jul.08, 2009

Honda will launch the 2010 CrossTour by September, with the crossover targeting a niche between CR-V and Pilot.

Honda launches the 2010 CrossTour by September, targeting a niche between the CR-V and Pilot.

With the economy continuing to stumble and car sales languishing, new models like the Toyota Venza, a wagon – or, if you prefer, crossover-type vehicle — built off the Camry platform, haven’t exactly set the world on fire. That’s all the more so after Toyota shut down production last winter as part of a broad campaign to reduce inventories.

Nevertheless, Toyota executives remain relentlessly upbeat about how will it has done in the current market. Since the first of the year, Toyota has delivered 20,463, including more than 4,500 in June.

Now Honda, which often tends to mirror the moves of its chief Japanese competitor — more than its own executives ever want to admit — has confirmed plans for its own wagon-like crossover, this one to be built off the Accord platform.

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Dubbed the Accord Crosstour, the all new CUV will go on-sale in the fall of 2009 as a 2010 model, according to officials from American Honda Motor Co., Inc., who are only belatedly confirming what had been widely suspected for months.  (The spy shot shown here, provided by our own Brenda Priddy, first appeared on more than a month ago.)