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Nissan Hints a Revival of Xterra May Be in the Works

Could it be based off the same platform as next-gen Frontier pickup?

by on Dec.29, 2017

The Nissan Xterra drove off into the sunset in 2015.

All things go in cycles, even when it comes to booming demand for utility vehicles. Make that CUVs, or crossover-utility vehicle, which have all but bumped traditional sport-utes off the market.

But there are signs a revival of classic, body-on-frame SUVs just might be a-coming, with Ford readying a reborn Bronco, Toyota promising to follow the FT-AC Concept with a production model, and Jeep betting big on the all-new remake of the classic Wrangler – currently one of the few true SUVs left on the market.

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Could Nissan be ready to toss its own hat back in the ring, however, with an all-new version of the Xterra, which it pulled from the U.S. market in 2015? Apparently yes, according to a senior Nissan executive.


Spy Shot: 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe

New model full-size SUVs get extensive makeover.

by on May.10, 2013

It appears that major change ares coming for the 2014 Chevy Tahoe. Photo credit: Jim Dunne CAR SPY

If this spy shot of the next generation Chevy Tahoe is any indication, General Motors plans major changes in the design of its 2014 model-year full-size SUV lineup, which includes Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade.

Though the camouflage covering the vehicle is extensive, hiding much of the new sheet metal, some differences from the current models can be seen clearly. Multiple horizontal bars fill the familiar grille design, with its shield-like outline, centered “Bow Tie” emblem and heavier center bars.

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Flanking the grille are new headlight composites with over and under headlights and LED running lights. The front fascia will also feature a flatter face on the bumper grille housing rectangular parking lamps.


Sportage Shows Kia’s Styling Growth

Small sport ute is beautifully designed, but please, fix the ride.

by on Feb.10, 2011

Kia's new Sportage continues the automaker's recent trend toward building stylish vehicles.

For the better part of two decades Kia has made progressively better cars, but the design and styling still lagged.

The designs were often boring (previous generation Sportage) and sometimes strangely ornate (Amanti).

Not many people looked at a Kia, any Kia, and said “Wow, I want to drive that.”

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That is changing rapidly. The latest Optima is a smartly styled mid-size sedan. The Soul is a funky little box, the type of shape that hipsters love. And now, Kia has an swoopy new Sportage small crossover.

Kia says the new Sportage design takes its – sorry about this – cue from the Kue concept that was introduced at the 2007 North American International Auto Show. Well, OK. That sleek two-door concept did have a high beltline and a low roof, much like the new Sportage, but after that, they don’t have all that much in common.

GMC Terrain Review

More than an Equinox clone.

by on Sep.10, 2010

GMC's Terrain is built on the same platform as the Chevrolet Equinox, but unique sheetmetal gives it a completely different look.

There was a time when it seemed General Motors was content to slap a different grille on the front and a different sticker on the back and sell the same car under three or four different brands. A Chevrolet Uplander minivan was the same as a Pontiac Montana, not to mention the Buick Terraza and Saturn Relay.

In fact, this GMC Terrain illustrates how GM is now going about what many have derisively called “badge engineering.” The Terrain is a twin of the new Chevrolet Equinox, but you’d hardly notice based on the sheetmetal.

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Where the Equinox has a sleek look, the GMC version is blocky and angular. It’s safe to say that those who find the Equinox appealing probably won’t care for the Equinox and vice versa.

In reality, the two vehicles’ hardpoints, such as the wheelbase, windshield and door openings are all the same.

Prices for Some Used SUVS Up More Than 30%

Overall used vehicle sales up more than 10% since July 2009.

by on Aug.20, 2010

Used vehicle prices for the Cadillac Escalade rose more than 35% between July of 2009 and July of 2010.

Prices for used cars are up about 10% overall, fueled in large part by a dramatic 30% increase in prices for some used sport utility vehicles, particularly large ones, according to a study released Friday.

“Consumers are generally paying considerably more for used cars this year compared to 2009,” stated Joe Spina, a senior analyst for “A lack of confidence in the economy is driving more people to used cars, putting upward pricing pressure on a limited supply of vehicles.”

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Certainly part of the issue is the government’s “Cash for Clunkers” program where car buyers were offered incentives to dump their inefficient old cars for more fuel-efficient new ones last summer. The ability to buy a new car at a significant savings last summer certainly depressed the market for used cars. The program, technically known as Cars Allowance Rebate System (CARS), gave car buyers up to $4,500 to trade in a used car for a more fuel-efficient one.

But the dramatic price increase for some large SUVs in particular was shocking. For example the average price of a used Cadillac Escalade went from went from an average for all model years of $25,600 in July 2009 to $34,715 in July 2010, a 35.6% increase. The value of a used BMW X5 jumped from $30,711 to $40,843, a rise of 33%.

As has happened in the past, buyers appear to have quickly erased their memories of gasoline prices shooting well past $4 per gallon during the summer of 2008 when many big SUV drivers abandoned the gas-guzzling vehicles for smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles. With gasoline holding steady at less than $3 per gallon in many parts of the country, even during the busy summer driving months, buyers appear willing to return to bigger vehicles.

Sneak Peek: 2010 Mercedes-Benz ML450

German maker belatedly enters the hybrid market.

by on Apr.08, 2009

Mercedes' U.S. boss, Ernst Lieb, reveals the automaker's first hybrid-electric vehicle, the ML450.

Mercedes' U.S. boss, Ernst Lieb, reveals the automaker's first hybrid-electric vehicle, the 2010 Mercedes-Benz ML450.

Better late than never, at least as far as Mercedes-Benz is concerned.  Though the automaker has been putting most of its emphasis on clean, fuel-efficient diesels, it used the New York International Auto Show as the opportunity to unveil its first high-mileage hybrid-electric vehicle.

The ML450, which goes on sale for the 2010 model-year, “offers V-8 torque with 4-cylinder fuel economy,” declared Ernst Lieb, President of Mercedes’ U.S. sales subsidiary, during a NY press preview.

You’ll need a close look to spot the hybrid badge on the ML450, which relies on a two-mode gasoline-electric drivetrain system developed through an unusual joint venture with Chrysler, BMW and General Motors.  The goal of the consortium was to overcome a fundamental problem with early hybrid systems, such as the drivetrain in the Toyota Prius, which provides a significant boost to mileage in-town, but can actually reduce fuel efficiency on the highway.

The hybrid SUV delivers 24 mpg on the EPA’s City cycle and 24 mpg on the Highway.


Sneak Peek: 2010 GMC Terrain

Breaking new ground or covering old territory?

by on Apr.05, 2009

With the new 2010 GMC Terrain, the automaker hopes to go after soft-roaders like the Ford Edge and Hyundai Santa Fe.

With the new 2010 GMC Terrain, the automaker hopes to go after soft-roaders like the Ford Edge and Hyundai Santa Fe.

Is General Motors breaking new ground or covering old territory with the launch of its new, 2010 GMC Terrain?  The public will get a chance to find out at the upcoming New York Auto Show, but readers of will get a sneak peek well before the spotlights start shining at the Big Apple’s Jacob Javits Center.

If the look triggers a sense of déjà vu, it’s not only because of the familiar GMC logo and three-tier grille.  The new Terrain shares the same platform and most of its underpinnings with the current Chevrolet Equinox.  And it would have had a sibling SUV offering in Pontiac showrooms – in the form of the next-generation Torrent – had GM not decided to eliminate all trucks from the Pontiac line-up as part of its ongoing corporate restructuring.

Lest we leave you with the sense that the 2010 GMC Terrain is nothing but badge engineering, know that the upscale truck brand has taken a number of steps to distinguish its new offering from the more mainstream Equinox.  Though the basic wagon/SUV shape is similar, the GMC Terrain has a distinctly more rugged, off-road-ready appearance, with a decidedly upright nose and boldly flared fenders.  It’s much more macho in appearance than the distinctly soft-roaders it will go up against, like Ford’s Edge and the Hyundai Santa Fe.


Sneak Peek: Hyundai HED-6

“Urban Nomad” SUV slated for debut at 2009 Geneva Motor Show

by on Feb.09, 2009

Hyundai HED-6 Concept, debuting at 2009 Geneva Motor Show

Hyundai HED-6 Concept, debuting at 2009 Geneva Motor Show

Forget the great outdoors. The Hyundai HED-6 is for “urban nomads,” according to the Korean carmaker, which offered up this first, computer-generated look at the show car that will make its debut at the Salon International de L’Automobile in Geneva on March 3rd.

Think of it as a “a car of contrast for a world of contrast,” the automaker says, in a release, suggesting that the HED-6 reflects the cultural influence of major European cities like Berlin, Paris and London. One of the more interesting design touches is the three-dimensional, sculpted shape of the rear window is achieved using “Lexan” high-performance plastics instead of conventional automotive glass.

More to the point, says Allan Rushforth, Vice President at Hyundai Motor Europe, the show ute gives an indication of the next generation of Hyundai SUVs. “The HED-6 brings an entirely new look to Hyundai’s SUV line-up. It fuses a robust exterior with a fresh and elegant interior, making for an eye-catching package, while its latest-generation power train highlights Hyundai’s clean-technology expertise.”

In concept trim, HED-6 is equipped with LED daytime running lights and powered by a 175 HP, 1.6-litre GDi turbocharged engine.

The HED-6 will make its debut the same day as another Korean SUV prototype debuts at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show. Hyundai’s sibling, the Kia division, will reveal a compact Euro-ute of its own, which you can see here.